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Author Topic:   Is this Intelligent Design or not?
Me
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 15 (16438)
09-02-2002 3:16 PM


I raised this in another thread, but thought it was sufficiently important to run on its own.

Evolutionary techniques are not only applicable to biological organisms; they can (and are) being used in other areas of engineering. I have heard of a couple of circuit designs built this way, and the story below is particularly interesting. It concerns an attempt to evolve an oscillator, which resulted in the development of a radio receiver.

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992732

The points which seem to be raised:

There was no conscious desire on the part of the computer or the operator to create a radio - it just happened as a result of the application of evolution. So was it designed or not?

Would you recognise it as being designed? If so, why? (the design will almost certainly not resemble a human design)

Is this a case of a new object being created by evolution - something the creationists say cannot happen?


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 Message 9 by mopsveldmuis, posted 09-12-2002 9:16 AM Me has responded

  
gene90
Member (Idle past 2159 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 2 of 15 (16440)
09-02-2002 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Me
09-02-2002 3:16 PM


Great article. I'm sure it won't be mentioned on any Creationist websites.

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Tranquility Base
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 15 (16451)
09-02-2002 10:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Me
09-02-2002 3:16 PM


There's been some fascinating work in this area of artificial evolution within and outside of biology.

One issue frequently neglected by evoltuionists is that when these systems are considered it is often found that the initial set up is designed to achieve the result. When the set up is slightly changed, you don;t get the result! SO yes, the result is encoded in the intial set-up automatically.

The classic example is the 'Life' computer simulation. This simulaiton which generates non-random patterns turns out to only work from one or a handful of rules chosen out of trillions of possibilities. I had this told to me recently by an evolutionary astrophysicist collegue.

Genomes are fantastic examples of this. It looks only marginally different from a random genome and yet it will lead to a self-developing organism complete with eyes and limbs and a brain.

[This message has been edited by Tranquility Base, 09-02-2002]


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Peter
Member (Idle past 2260 days)
Posts: 2160
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 4 of 15 (16467)
09-03-2002 4:02 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Tranquility Base
09-02-2002 10:21 PM


But the end-result of a radio reciever was not even imagined,
let alone accomodated for in the original set-up.

If a perfect oscillator had been produced, I might say that
you had a point ... but it wasn't.

The selection criterion was 'output of an oscillating signal'
but the evolutionary process applied developed this by evolving
radio reception capability (most likely thru random mutation)
and finding that it was receiving an oscillating signal
from elsewhere.

Not only is it unexpected by the experimental set-up, it's
what creationists would call IC if it occurred in nature,
after all how could the thing work as a radio-receiver if even
one of the transistors were connected wrong or there was not
antenna.


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Tranquility Base
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 15 (16476)
09-03-2002 7:43 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Peter
09-03-2002 4:02 AM


Well, regardless of whether it was designed to do it or not (OK - I se it wasn't) the point is that we all know that a series of tranistors will produce an amplifier or an occillator or a radio receiver if the right combinaiton is hit on. (Do you realise a radio receiver is simply an RF amplifier with a rectifier?). It's the same deal with biochemistry - of course if you put the right mix of stuff in a soup you'll get amino-acids. BUt 30 years after those classic experiments we haven't come any closer to getting life from soup.

So email here when they get a TV working this way or a microprocessor.


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Peter
Member (Idle past 2260 days)
Posts: 2160
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 6 of 15 (16478)
09-03-2002 9:04 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tranquility Base
09-03-2002 7:43 AM


But that's the point being made ... given a number of
components that can produce an effect, time, reproduction
and chance mutation can have effects which were not intended
and yet, in hind sight, give the impression of design.

The circuit (in terms of the precise connection pathways)
evolved via a process which is modelled upon the supposed
evolutionary scenario. And the end result utilises a 'component'
as an antenna which did not originally have that intended
purpose.

Selection criteria aimed at a particular result, actually had
an unexpected result.

And something VITAL to the operation of the circuit as a receiver
was originally in place for a completely other purpose.

Remove a component and the thing doesn't work as a receiver ...
but it did evolve.

Doesn't that cast some doubt on IC as a concept related to design?

And again, abiogenesis and evolution are not the same.


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Me
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 15 (16503)
09-03-2002 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tranquility Base
09-03-2002 7:43 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Tranquility Base:
Well, regardless of whether it was designed to do it or not (OK - I se it wasn't) the point is that we all know that a series of tranistors will produce an amplifier or an occillator or a radio receiver if the right combinaiton is hit on.

The point was that an item which was not 'designed' nontheless emerged out of the evolutionary process. That is why the post is in the Intelligent Design section, and was headed 'Is this Intelligent Design...'

[QUOTE][B]
(Do you realise a radio receiver is simply an RF amplifier with a rectifier?)
[/quote]

[/b]

Umm. Most conductive objects are radio receivers. If they resonate they are discriminators as well, and if they are rectifiers then they can decode an AM broadcast. If you add an AF amplifier you can drive a speaker. I don't think you need an RF amplifier, and you can easily get away without an amplifier at all. I don't think the issue is whether it was technically difficult or not.

quote:

BUt 30 years after those classic experiments we haven't come any closer to getting life from soup.

I thought that we were getting along quite well.


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3369 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 8 of 15 (16508)
09-03-2002 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Me
09-02-2002 3:16 PM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Me:
[B]I raised this in another thread, but thought it was sufficiently important to run on its own.

Evolutionary techniques are not only applicable to biological organisms; they can (and are) being used in other areas of engineering. I have heard of a couple of circuit designs built this way, and the story below is particularly interesting. It concerns an attempt to evolve an oscillator, which resulted in the development of a radio receiver.

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992732

The points which seem to be raised:

There was no conscious desire on the part of the computer or the operator to create a radio - it just happened as a result of the application of evolution. So was it designed or not?

Would you recognise it as being designed? If so, why? (the design will almost certainly not resemble a human design)[/QUOTE]

[/B]

I generally try to flesh out the best evolutionist's response before I attempt to put my own opinion in to the mix so for this series of quiries it seems to me that Ernst Mayr committed some time and labor to working on these sorts of answers for how he could hold to a genetic revolution under allopatric speiciation( for me this has more to do with topography but then it would take me too long to work that sentence in or out as you would prefer i do...) while he attempted to bring Aristotle's notion of unmoved mover and cause types into the modern view of molecular biology. Like Mayr adjudged "bean bag genetics" I do not think he has been programtically succusseful in this his attempt at philosophy for the organicist but describing the structure underlying your questions in this kind of biology should not prevent one from retaining an interest in an answer in terms of design but a more information technology appreication of science and less attention to traditional philosophy of science would be needed in the specification given that I carry out to the implementation.

quote:

Is this a case of a new object being created by evolution - something the creationists say cannot happen?

mY OWN interest in object oriented programming extends to the truncated disscussion on maps and standards that I started elsewhere but for being distracted again and again have not taken up directly as yet. The founder population would not be "new" in a thermodynamic sense but then again the theory of evolution even to the Ford view of ecological genetics simply does not operate on this physical a level but that biology is badly in need of a more throughgoing physicologcial genetics able to term wise associate with "evolution" in th economic and instrumental sense would help if it had truths for transmission genetics within the program being worked on yet my viewpoint continues to see come conceptual work here where simple pragmatic application across disciplines would not work.


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mopsveldmuis
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 15 (17249)
09-12-2002 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Me
09-02-2002 3:16 PM


The oscillation was picked up by the antenna from the start of the experiment and therefore would have been detected at the output all the time aswell. The computer program just chose the design that would amplify this already existing oscillation to the output in the best way, because all the computer is programmed to do is check the output and try to make it oscillate.

Like any other experiment there was intelligence involved with the design. Humans chose a set number of transistors and decided that the connections had to be the changable parameter. To get closer to simulating the evolution theory electronically, you have to use an unlimited number of components, each one being any of the thousands of components available today and let the computer program attempt to evolve a personal computer.


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Me
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 15 (17276)
09-12-2002 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by mopsveldmuis
09-12-2002 9:16 AM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by mopsveldmuis:
[B]The oscillation was picked up by the antenna from the start of the experiment and therefore would have been detected at the output all the time aswell. The computer program just chose the design that would amplify this already existing oscillation to the output in the best way, because all the computer is programmed to do is check the output and try to make it oscillate.[/quote]

[/b]

We know what happened, and why it happened. The point I am making is that the original designer had no intention of producing a radio receiver. So how can the receiver be said to be designed?

quote:

Like any other experiment there was intelligence involved with the design. Humans chose a set number of transistors and decided that the connections had to be the changable parameter. To get closer to simulating the evolution theory electronically, you have to use an unlimited number of components, each one being any of the thousands of components available today and let the computer program attempt to evolve a personal computer.


That doesn't seem a very sensible emulation of evolution. Where are the evolutionary pressures? And why should you have an 'unlimited' number of components?

I thought that the principles of the evolutionary theory had already been demonstrated electronically with the original experiment. I was just asking the 'Intelligent Designer' question.


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mopsveldmuis
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 15 (17331)
09-13-2002 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Me
09-12-2002 12:31 PM


Humans chose the transistors, the number of transistors and what the output should look like. That is all part of what you call design specifications.

What pressured dead mud to come to life? The "prebiotic soup" where life is supposed to have originated had an unlimited number of particles that could have binded in any way possible to them. To expect life to start like that is to think that a computer program connecting any number of random components in a random way will make a working and useful and complicated electronic device somewhere along the line, like a computer or a cellular phone.

Without intelligent human beings to guide such a program it will never produce anything worth while.


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Me
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 15 (17342)
09-13-2002 7:08 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by mopsveldmuis
09-13-2002 3:38 AM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by mopsveldmuis:
[B]Humans chose the transistors, the number of transistors and what the output should look like. That is all part of what you call design specifications.
[/quote]

[/b]

Yes - I agree. That is the point of this question. All their design intention was to get an oscillator. They got something they didn't expect, so how can you say that it was designed?

[quote][bold]
What pressured dead mud to come to life? The "prebiotic soup" where life is supposed to have originated had an unlimited number of particles that could have binded in any way possible to them. To expect life to start like that is to think that a computer program connecting any number of random components in a random way will make a working and useful and complicated electronic device somewhere along the line, like a computer or a cellular phone.
[/B][/QUOTE]

You do not appear to be talking about ID here, but about Abiogenesis, which is quite a different topic. I am not addressing abiogenesis here. If you want to talk about abiogenesis, there is a separate forum for this - see the list of forums above. It is important to understand that evolution does NOT address issues of how a self-replicating process starts, but rather what self-replicating systems do under various pressures. Obviously evolutionists believe that self-replicating systems can and do arise, but how this happens is a different issue.

If you are thinking of using the argument from incredible complexity, you might want to look at this site before posting:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html


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mopsveldmuis
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 15 (17351)
09-13-2002 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Me
09-13-2002 7:08 AM


Sorry about going off the topic like that. I'll try not to do that again in future.

To go back to the electronic experiment:
From a human point of view the object was to design an oscillator, but the scientists simply programmed the computer to get a oscillating output. The computer delivered exactly what it was asked to do, so the problem was just that the scientists didn't think about what external disturbances might do to the experiment.


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blitz77
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 15 (17356)
09-13-2002 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by mopsveldmuis
09-13-2002 9:07 AM


Or, to put it another way, fitness is defined as the ability of the circuit to oscillate. No such criterion is permissible in evolutionary theory, as it is unguided.

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Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4812 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 15 of 15 (17357)
09-13-2002 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by blitz77
09-13-2002 9:47 AM


quote:
Originally posted by blitz77:
Or, to put it another way, fitness is defined as the ability of the circuit to oscillate. No such criterion is permissible in evolutionary theory, as it is unguided.

*********************************+

Or to put it another way...your grasp of evolutionary theory is misguided...


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