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Author Topic:   SETI mach II
TheoMorphic
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 11 (60934)
10-14-2003 9:53 PM


So maybe this idea has already been done, if it has can someone point me to a link?

ok ready... so we always see these absurdly large improbability numbers for the spontaneous generation of self replicating molecules. Can someone (or a group) write a series of physical laws into a computer program, enter in some matter to begin with, and see what happens to that matter over time? Of course the more complicated the laws, and the smaller the individual units the more computing time it would take for each virtual second (or minute, or day) to progress.

So why not follow in SETI's steps, and divvy up the computations between millions of home computers and see what we end up with? There would have to be a lot of guess work involved... but that would mainly be with the mass to originally start with. The physical laws would be relatively simple (just mimicking what we observe today as much as possible)

thoughts? is this feasible? Given the computing power of the world (or at least those interested in participating in this) how long would it take for... oh... 2 billion years to elapse in this virtual world?

Maybe as a precursor simple virtual life forms can be set loose in a fabricated environment with rules to see what evolves over time. If the end result contains IC system that would be falsification of the assertion that IC systems can not evolve by chance/natural selection.

If these two programs could produce self replicating molecules and IC systems, respectively, this would be direct observations that complex life can arise on its own.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Silent H, posted 10-19-2003 7:12 PM TheoMorphic has not yet responded
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3897 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 2 of 11 (61656)
10-19-2003 7:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by TheoMorphic
10-14-2003 9:53 PM


theomorphic writes:

...so we always see these absurdly large improbability numbers for the spontaneous generation of self replicating molecules.

Unfortunately this may mean nothing more than whoever is doing the computing does not actually know all the mechanisms, or how to properly quantify/formulate the mechanisms.

In grad school I started into computational chemistry. I was modelling activity within small molecules. That was so fricking simple a system, yet the formulas necessary to model the full complexity of the system (and mind you I am talking about a single molecule) were not "simple" and not necessarily "perfect".

While the experiment you suggest is possible, it will depend on our current knowledge regarding all possible chemicals, mechanisms between those chemicals, and the environment their interactions would take place in.

I have yet to see any "information theorists" give any evidence that they fulfill the above. The closest has been saying that they used general laws regarding chance of interaction, which of course is meaningless inside chemistry where random chance interaction is skewed by environment and what is doing the interacting.

I think science would be much better off continuing to investigate mechanisms between certain "basic" organic chemical systems which could lead to the complex ones which are necessary for life as we know it, and seeing what environments aid that process.

Of course this assumes that there was not a chemical system we no longer see (or recognize) that acted as an intermediary between the basic chemical systems and the ones we see making up life today.

------------------
holmes


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 Message 1 by TheoMorphic, posted 10-14-2003 9:53 PM TheoMorphic has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Rei
Member (Idle past 5091 days)
Posts: 1546
From: Iowa City, IA
Joined: 09-03-2003


Message 3 of 11 (61664)
10-19-2003 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Silent H
10-19-2003 7:12 PM


Quite true, Holmes - the CPU load would be preposterously high. However, one possibility is to model a "similar" world, with much simpler rules that behave "in general" in the same manner, and try that out.

Of course, pretty much any distributed 3d world will probably be too bandwidth intense.

------------------
"Illuminant light,
illuminate me."


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Silent H, posted 10-19-2003 11:32 PM Rei has responded

    
TechnoCore
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 11 (61667)
10-19-2003 8:40 PM


Guess it also depends on how closely you want to simulate reality.
A friend of mine just finished his doctor-degree in physics.
For 6 yrs he tried to compute how the electrons move throughout a ~150 atom molecule (I think it was a small protaein). He told me that even though he had access time to (and used alot of) one of the largest super-computer clusters in northern europe, he could only make very crude predictions of the movement of the electrons, and then only at a small part of the molecule at a time. On top of that his work only simulated one aspect of this molecule.
Problems like this grows exponetially with every new atom you add to the problem...

Though alternate realities can always be simulated...


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TheoMorphic
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 11 (61686)
10-19-2003 10:49 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by TechnoCore
10-19-2003 8:40 PM


Actually, i started this topic and no one responded right away, so i figured no one cared. Then i found Percy's Alife thread, and i responded to that, and mentioned generally this same idea there.

I'm not too interested in finding out EXACTLY what the first self replicating molecule... i'm thinking this kind of division of processing power would be used more for finding emerging complexity that arises from a set of basic laws. Like i said above, the emergence of a seemingly IC system would go a long way into showing "IC" systems are not irreducibly complex at all.


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 Message 7 by Silent H, posted 10-19-2003 11:45 PM TheoMorphic has responded

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 3897 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 6 of 11 (61689)
10-19-2003 11:32 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Rei
10-19-2003 8:02 PM


rei writes:

However, one possibility is to model a "similar" world, with much simpler rules that behave "in general" in the same manner, and try that out.

Well I was also trying to suggest that we don't even have the knowledge required to simulate the complex world, much less a simpler version.

The problem with simple models of the world is that they assume too much. While it may be possible that one guesses right, there are so many other ways to guess wrong. Heck you may even get a false positive (suggesting life molecule systems were easier to generate than they actually are).

From my experience one really has to understand a system before modelling it properly. We simply do not have that kind of knowledge on the chemical level of life, or the precursors of life.

This doesn't even include the multitudes of environments (static and dynamic) that would have to be worked into the model.

------------------
holmes


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 Message 3 by Rei, posted 10-19-2003 8:02 PM Rei has responded

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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3897 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 7 of 11 (61690)
10-19-2003 11:45 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by TheoMorphic
10-19-2003 10:49 PM


theomorphic writes:

i'm thinking this kind of division of processing power would be used more for finding emerging complexity that arises from a set of basic laws. Like i said above, the emergence of a seemingly IC system would go a long way into showing "IC" systems are not irreducibly complex at all.

Unfortunately I don't think this is true. Or at least it will be useless as an argument against those who use IC as a reason to believe ID.

They will more than likely point out the obvious... any program that "discovered" the creation of complexity would itself have been designed, even if the outcome was not preprogrammed.

"See, so the laws of nature are designed to create the complexity. If it were up to pure random actions then IC would not come about."

It just goes on and on...

I think science's best bet is finding irrefutable evidence in real biological organisms that IC systems can develop naturally.

------------------
holmes


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by TheoMorphic, posted 10-19-2003 10:49 PM TheoMorphic has responded

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TheoMorphic
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 11 (61702)
10-20-2003 12:55 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Silent H
10-19-2003 11:45 PM


holmes writes:

"See, so the laws of nature are designed to create the complexity. If it were up to pure random actions then IC would not come about."

Right, this is correct, but as you probably know this only talks about the original basic laws. At the most this argument could be used to prove God must have tipped everything off at the very beginning... but then again there are pretty much ONLY un-testable suppositions about how the physical laws came to be what we see them as.

If a computer simulation were to produce "IC" by random, step by step means, that would destroy the argument that "IC" systems can not come about by random step by step means.


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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 9 of 11 (61705)
10-20-2003 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by TheoMorphic
10-14-2003 9:53 PM


TheoMorphic writes:

quote:
Can someone (or a group) write a series of physical laws into a computer program, enter in some matter to begin with, and see what happens to that matter over time?

Already done.

The Golem Project at Brandeis will have your computer evolve an organism that can walk. In fact, if you allow it, it will contact other computers with Golem installed to see how well your walker will work in the physical landscape of other simulations.

And best of all, the results correspond to actual physical processes so you can actually make a robot from the plans generated by the computer (and they've done that...a robot made a robot that walks from a computer-generated design.)

Alas, it only has versions for Windows.

But, there's no need to do this through computer simulation. You can do it in a test tube. Self-replicating, auto-catalyzing, homochiral molecules are not hard to produce.

Your original statement of "so we always see these absurdly large improbability numbers for the spontaneous generation of self replicating molecules," while true, suffers from the problem of thinking it is an accurate assessment of the question. That is, we do see these absurdly large improbability numbers for the spontaneous generation of self-replicating molecules...

...and they are all bogus. The probability of generating a self-replicating molecule depends upon the reagents you start with. Start with the right ones, and the probability is precisely 1. You cannot help but get self-replicating molecules. And you can even go one step further and make them auto-catalysing which means that the reaction starts to speed up one it gets going. And you can even go yet another step further and make them homochiral which means they all have the same three-dimensional structure.

------------------
Rrhain
WWJD? JWRTFM!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by TheoMorphic, posted 10-14-2003 9:53 PM TheoMorphic has not yet responded

    
Rei
Member (Idle past 5091 days)
Posts: 1546
From: Iowa City, IA
Joined: 09-03-2003


Message 10 of 11 (61706)
10-20-2003 1:49 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Silent H
10-19-2003 11:32 PM


You misunderstood, holmes. I was not proposing that we try and model this world with other rules. I proposed that a different world be created with other, easier to model properties. These properties should attemot to model, on the macro-scale, what we see in the real world, but would not be representative of them. Thus, abiogenesis in the virtual world would not guarantee that it could occur in the real world, but would be highly indicative that, if it can occur in a virtual world of simple rules, then it can happen in ours as well.

------------------
"Illuminant light,
illuminate me."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Silent H, posted 10-19-2003 11:32 PM Silent H has responded

Replies to this message:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3897 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 11 of 11 (61827)
10-20-2003 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Rei
10-20-2003 1:49 AM


rei writes:

You misunderstood, holmes.

Indeed I did.

Not sure if I would be interested in doing that kind of stuff myself, a bit too science fictiony (even compared to SETI), but it could work I suppose.

Anyway it would beat calculating odds in a field we know our knowledge of is far from complete.

------------------
holmes


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Rei, posted 10-20-2003 1:49 AM Rei has not yet responded

    
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