Complex Specified Information Darwinism Engineering Evolutionary biology Information

Programming by Accident – The Darwinian Paradigm

Spread the love

The last couple of days I have spent too much time trying to rescue a hard drive.  This drive was intended for a Windows 10 system, but it would not appear anywhere in utilities.  BIOS could recognize it was plugged in, but that was it.  Nothing in Explorer, nothing in Disk Management, not even in the command-line diskpart partitioning utility.  In fact, just plugging the drive in would cause all of these to hang until terminated.

I went through the whole litany of troubleshooting procedures: BIOS check, memory diagnostics, different slots, direct plug, external connections, a special cloning hardware connection.  Nothing.

Finally, after painstaking effort on multiple different machines I was able to get a Linux command-line terminal on one of my machines to see the drive.  A couple of hours and several procedures later, I was eventually able to get the drive initialized and partitioned.  But it still would not accept a file system of any kind, just returning read/write errors every time a format was attempted, regardless of the partition chosen.

Thankfully, there wasn’t anything critical on the drive, so it is going back still under warranty.

—–

In the midst of this, yesterday I decided to deal with one of my little annoyances that has been around for several months.  I have another drive – perfectly good – that regularly drops out of the file manager.  This is completely unrelated to the problems with the other drive and it hasn’t been a big problem, since I know a workaround through diskpart.  But I figured I might as well take care of it too, while I was at it.

So I created a simple desktop shortcut to open the diskpart terminal at the administrator level and feed a short command-line text program into diskpart to mount the drive.  This allows me to mount the drive through a single click whenever I want, rather than having to go through the process manually in diskpart.

I created the shortcut, wrote the command-line text program, made sure the files were in the right location, unmounted the drive to test the program and clicked on the results of my efforts.  Nothing.

What could have gone wrong?

I opened the text file.  Everything looked good on a quick glance.  But with a little more troubleshooting I ascertained that diskpart had indeed been opened and had called the text script and had returned an error before closing in the background, so the error must be somewhere in my text file.  But where?

Then I noticed it.  A simple mistake.  One character mistyped.  In one of the command lines I had written “lixt vol” rather than “list vol”.  Not a big deal.  Just one character out of place.  After all, any other programmer would have known what I meant.  In fact the two letters are right next to each other on the keyboard.  A minor mistake.  Nothing but a “slight successive” change.

But it crashed the whole program.

I fixed the typo, re-ran the script, and it works perfectly.  So my little annoyance is now solved.

—–

But my thoughts kept coming back to this little incident last night.  This example, like a thousand I’ve seen before, shows the importance of information and how precise it sometimes has to be.  True, not every communication has to be this precise, not every instruction this clear.  But in the world of a 4-bit digital code, information storage, translation mechanisms, and instruction sets, a great deal of precision is required.

I continue to be astonished that people, otherwise intelligent people, are so committed to a materialist narrative or so naïve about systems engineering, that they think complex, integrated, functional systems can be built through random changes.

Nobody thinks this in the real world — not with bench science and with actual applications.  They would be laughed out of a job.

But in the conveniently-distant historical context of biology they continue to blindly assert that a highly scalable, massively parallel system architecture incorporating a 4-bit digital coding system and a super-dense, information-rich, three-dimensional, multi-layered, multi-directional database structure with storage, retrieval and translation mechanisms, utilizing file allocation, concatenation and bit-parity algorithms, operating subject to top-down protocol hierarchies all came about through a long accidental series of random changes to the code and the database.

Sure.

That’s the ticket.

84 Replies to “Programming by Accident – The Darwinian Paradigm

  1. 1
    News says:

    “I continue to be astonished that people, otherwise intelligent people, are so committed to a materialist narrative or so naïve about systems engineering, that they think complex, integrated, functional systems can be built through random changes.” It’s not so much that they believe it as that they aren’t allowed to not believe it.

    The pop science media usually makes painfully clear that practically any foolish may be admitted in defense of that proposition.

  2. 2
    Eric Anderson says:

    It’s not so much that they believe it as that they aren’t allowed to not believe it.

    You’re probably right in many cases.

    A lot of people probably can tell that the Darwinian narrative doesn’t hold water. But they have to stick with some kind of materialistic narrative, and Darwinism is the only game in town that is respectable — not for its merits, but due to historical and academic inertia. If you have to stick with some kind of materialistic narrative, the idea of RM+NS + lots and lots of time might be the one you would go with.

  3. 3

    Started programming in 1970, ended in 2009

    Single bit errors, byte errors, syntax errors such as GT vs. LT, missing/wrong message sync characters and on and on …

    Many of these simple errors caused catastrophic system crashes, sometimes with many very expensive fighter jets in the air expecting uninterrupted training missions and debriefs (Colonels, Captains, Admirals, and Generals get a bit upset at this, and make it known — loudly and to bosses)

    Seldom if ever were these problems solved with random keyboard entries, even though some of those all night sessions seemed to stretch on to millions and millions of years.

    Perhaps those such as Coyne & Dawkins pontificating from the podium never went through such crucibles of hell.

  4. 4
    ppolish says:

    An infinite number of monkey programmers given an infinite amount of time could write a FORTRAN program for AI.

    Of course they couldn’t do squat in a mere 14 billion years let alone the FACT that postulating an infinite number of programming monkeys is a bit of a stretch. A bit lol.

  5. 5

    A/mats are simply too deluded to admit the error of their ways. Their faith in Darwin is strong…I’ll give them that much.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    PP, the pivotal issue is config spaces for bit strings and blind search challenge vs intelligently directed configuration. Where, we can talk of strings of coins or equivalently paramagnetic substances in mild B-fields that allow alignment, flipping etc and then allow thermal agitation or the like to search. At once, via binomial distribution, statistical thermodynamics becomes relevant, and the issue arises that the overwhelming bunch of configs is near 50-50 H/T in no particular pattern. From this we see that search challenge and the predominant cluster imply that special configs and clusters that exhibit coded text that functions as messages or algorithmic structures require particular explanation. The only viable, empirically warranted explanation for spaces of at least 500 – 1,000 bits, is intelligently directed configuration, aka design. Comments in this thread illustrate aptly. This then points to R/DNA, proteins and the folded functional structures in the cell. Design is the only empirically backed explanation given the above. And, for organised structures that function based on configuration, information is implicit as say an AutoCAD DWG file can show, i.e. we see reducibility to a description language so that a string of Y/M Q’s is informationally equivalent. Discussion on strings is WLOG, and points to the significance of what I often describe as functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I. (It would be amusing but is sad, to see the rhetorical games that use FSCO/I rich strings to try to persuade that such is an ill-founded fantasy irrelevant to the origin of DNA-using cell based life etc.) KF

  7. 7
    rvb8 says:

    It is true that engineers and programmers are usually the most sceptical of evolutionary power, but once again the analogy is poor.

    Well we know errors occur in DNA replication, not all replication is successful. We also know that the errors are usually harmful, but occasionally, accidentally, beneficial. But most errors are recognised as neutral, neither beneficial nor harmful.

    If programmers could programme my computer to ward of viruses, avoid infections, and resist just collapsing after slight knocks, as robustly as RM+NS has designed DNA, bone structure, and organ rehabiltation, I might actually take a programmers arguments seriously.

    Unfortunately human intentionally designed systems, are literally millions of years behind in this area of redundent, failsafe, backups, that evolution has produced.

    Visit TSZ, it is truly lively.

  8. 8
    Eric Anderson says:

    ayearningforpublius @3:

    Started programming in 1970 . . .

    You’ve got me beat!

    I started in the early 80’s on the early personal computers, primarily the Apple II.

    I did a lot of work in BASIC (yes, I’ll admit it, even though one is never supposed to admit they worked in BASIC!). I remember the first time I compiled one of my BASIC programs into binary — what a joy to see it execute at rocket speed. 🙂

    Later did some work in Pascal. Dabbled a bit in COBOL and Fortran as well.

    Even spent a few months one or two summers programming an old Burroughs computer in hexidecimal — poring over page after page of hexidecimal characters to figure out what the code was, before you could even start debugging. That was tedious work! . . . and a great learning experience.

    Perhaps those such as Coyne & Dawkins pontificating from the podium never went through such crucibles of hell.

    It is hard to know what goes through their minds. Why anyone would think a complex, functional, information-rich system can be built through purely natural processes, in particular through the introduction of errors and mistakes, is beyond me.

    I think they must know in their heart of hearts that it doesn’t make any sense, that there is a gaping hole in their story. Surely doubts must creep in late at night during quiet moments of introspection. But the materialist philosophy, as well as the commitment to a career and public position, triumphs reason and makes them blind to the evidence right before their eyes.

  9. 9
    Eric Anderson says:

    rvb8 @7:

    If programmers could programme my computer to ward of viruses, avoid infections, and resist just collapsing after slight knocks, as robustly as RM+NS has designed DNA, bone structure, and organ rehabiltation, I might actually take a programmers arguments seriously.

    Unfortunately human intentionally designed systems, are literally millions of years behind in this area of redundent, failsafe, backups, that evolution has produced.

    Your description of the facts of biological design versus the current capacity of human design is spot on.

    Unfortunately, your conclusion is precisely backwards.

    Yours is but a restatement of the argument Elizabeth Liddle made previously in these pages: namely, biological systems are too well designed, therefore cannot be designed.

    This is such a remarkably illogical position, and has been well-eviscerated in previous discussions.

    . . .

    One sees the materialist carefully scrutinizing the details of biological systems, gasping in wonder at the remarkable engineering, the faithful reproduction, the precision workmanship.

    And then — in a blinding flash of intellectual incoherence and annihilated logic — she looks up from her microscope and declares:

    “This can’t possibly have been designed, because” . . . wait for it . . . “it is too well designed.”

    We try to bring such individuals back from the brink, to re-instill some rational thought. We explain, we beg, we plead. But eventually we realize the sad fact that it is impossible to carry on a rational discussion and bring coherence to a mind that is accepting of such blatant contradiction.

    —-

    I should add that you have also given us a live, updated example of a related failed materialist argument I noted here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-628311

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    Eric Anderson:

    Very good OP. But I must say you are really lucky with hard drives! 🙂

    I was going to answer rvb8, but I see that you have done that perfectly. So, I will pass…

    You say:

    “Yours is but a restatement of the argument Elizabeth Liddle made previously in these pages: namely, biological systems are too well designed, therefore cannot be designed.”

    That’s why I remember Elizabeth with affection, but do my best to forget her arguments. 🙂

    rvb8 says:

    “Visit TSZ, it is truly lively.”

    But what is this? Has he some personal interest in sponsoring that site? Is it really such a brilliant shredding center?

    I don’t know. At the old times, the “best” that I could find in it was some criticism of what is posted at UD, most of it silly, some of it more interesting, almost all of it very arrogant.

    And, of course, a lot of neo darwinian propaganda and self-satisfaction.

    So, if the best in that site is some rarely interesting criticism to this site (UD), and if rvb8 loves that site so much, I suppose he will have to admit that our site (UD) has some merit after all: feeding the site he loves. 🙂

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    Seldom if ever were these problems solved with random keyboard entries…,’

    Splutter ! Splutter !

    You owe me a new keyboard, ayearningforpublius !

    And to top it all, ‘Seldom…’ ?

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson and gpuccio,

    I asked Alexa about the allegedly “shredding” website that your politely-dissenting interlocutor advertises here, but she responded: “huh? say what?”
    What did she mean by that?
    Maybe she didn’t understand my heavy accent?

    🙂

  13. 13

    Axel @11
    Well I suppose ‘seldom’ could be used in the future tense as I did here.
    Much like what I heard back on March 17:

    “So two Irishmen walked out of a bar … …

    Could happen ya know!”

    How about I just send you the keyboard I used randomly for such a long time? It’s got quite a few hits on it, and I’m sure that with a few more of your more youthful hits, a great deal of sense will ensue and you will be on your way to fortune with a best selling “app.”

    Could happen ya know!

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson:

    […] complex, integrated, functional systems can be built through random changes.

    Of course! Why not?
    🙂

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    rvb8: Well we know errors occur in DNA replication, not all replication is successful. We also know that the errors are usually harmful, but occasionally, accidentally, beneficial. But most errors are recognised as neutral, neither beneficial nor harmful.

    Just a minor observation. Suppose, arguendo, that rvb8’s statement “most errors are recognized as neutral, neither beneficial nor harmful” is correct, then this notion does not in any way constitute support for the materialistic view. The materialistic view, as I understand it, is that an extremely lucky domino effect of chemical events produces and maintains an organism. IOWs all parts that build an organism are incredibly fine-tuned by natural selection, to a point that they can build human brains on their own. I would say that such finetunement is beyond staggering.
    My point is that rvb8’s “most errors are neutral” doesn’t sit well within this materialistic view. Indeed the notion fits much better in a context where organisms are more than chemical events. “Most errors are neutral” clearly suggests that there is some non-physical power that can correct, deal with, improvise and/or minimize those errors.

  16. 16
    johnnyb says:

    rvb8 –

    You missed several important facts, but one of the most glaring is that, for Darwinian evolution to work, it had to also work before all of these systems were in place, and to build such systems. It’s one thing to think that Darwinian evolution works now because there is a giant, intricate structure that allows evolution to occur. However, you cannot then use that type of logic to postulate the origin of the system, because at the origin of the system you don’t have such a structure canalizing errors in potentially useful ways with error-recovery mechanisms.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, D/RNA code embedded in strings is not an “analogy,” a point noted as long ago as March 19, 1953 by a certain Francis Crick. The fact that you need to deny the patent facts speaks volumes. KF

  18. 18
    REW says:

    I think this post could be expanded almost to book length – its that important

    Perhaps those such as Coyne & Dawkins pontificating from the podium never went through such crucibles of hell.

    Dawkins has experience programming and I think Coyne does as well, although they certainly dont have the level of experience you do. Still, I think they’re completely familiar with the idea you’re trying to get across here. I have no programming experience but I’ve heard stories about tens of thousands of lines of code being undone by a single missing comma so even I get it. So if they understand you’re point (and they’re intelligent as you grant) and they still accept evolution, maybe its because they know something you dont about the nature of genetic information and the evidence that incremental changes can productively change that information.

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    maybe its because they know something you dont

    Or maybe they just have a belief they are devoted to.

    Andrew

  20. 20

    I have an idea about the successful popularizers of evolution such as Dawkins & Coyne. I won’t call it a theory, a hypothesis or other such things, just an idea which may be very wrong. It goes something like this …

    1) A brilliant high school kid is very taken by science, and is fairly good with writing skills. He/she is skeptical about religion & god. He/she gets a scholarship to a prestigious university.

    2) At university she/he takes on science, in particular the life sciences such as evolutionary biology, and falls under the sway of one like Dawkins or Coyne.

    2) Writing and speaking skills, already formidable, are sharpened.

    3) Skepticisms about god and religion are deepened and fine tuned, and evangelization of such skepticism expands.

    4) On graduation with a BA, an MA is obtained in life science, more than likely evolutionary biology.

    5) The progression is on to PhD and Post Doc where well received papers are written and the first book is written — an apologetic on evolution.

    6) A reputation is gained in the popular media and this PhD, now a professor at a prestigious university, is sought after for commentary.

    7) And so it continues to the next generation ….

    One thing I notice in this progression is an unbroken path in academia with little or no long term deep immersion the operation and maintenance of very complex, designed and engineered systems such as large scale software, petrochemical plants, nuclear aircraft carriers and such.

    As I’ve said, I may be very wrong in this. The only way I could be certain is to have gained entrance into the mind of a Coyne or Dawkins — perhaps through some parallel universe where I, by chance, have been granted such entrance.

    Or, perhaps on reflection, these men might somehow change their mind and world view and admit past errors. But since they have no free-will, that seems very unlikely to occur.

    hmmm …

  21. 21
    Eric Anderson says:

    REW @18:

    So if they understand you’re point (and they’re intelligent as you grant) and they still accept evolution, maybe its because they know something you dont about the nature of genetic information and the evidence that incremental changes can productively change that information.

    I think you may have been talking to ayearningforpublius, but I’ll respond briefly.

    First, from my side I’m not sure I’ve ever granted that they are particularly intelligent. Educated? Sure. Steeped in academic experience and dogma? Absolutely. Intelligent, in the sense of being able to actually think through the issues? Not so much, at least insofar as their publicly-stated positions betray them. Of course one can be intelligent in various ways and still wrong on specific points. One can be generally intelligent and still so dedicated to a personal philosophy that they make logical and mental errors in specific areas impacted by that philosophy.

    Regardless, if they indeed “know something” about how incremental change (by that we mean random mutations) can produce and change functional, specified information, then they “know” something no-one else in the world knows. They should get Nobel prizes all around. They should let the Harvard origin of life institute know right away, so they can save the millions of dollars they are spending to figure out this problem. They should publish papers detailing how this works. They should start a software company or engineering firm based on this principle, as it would be wildly successful and profitable. They should share with the world this remarkable insight.

    Or . . . maybe . . . the fact that many people who actually do engineering scoff at the idea, the fact that mathematically the idea is in ruins, the fact that dedicated researchers for decades have been working on the problem of information content in the origin of life and in biology and have still come up empty . . . maybe that would indicate that people like Dawkins and Coyne who sit comfortably in their academic perches making unsubstantiated claims about alleged events in the deep historical past without having to actually demonstrate the truth of their claims . . . maybe we should conclude they don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

  22. 22
    Eric Anderson says:

    ayearningforpublius @20:

    But since they have no free-will, that seems very unlikely to occur.

    LOL! Priceless.

  23. 23

    Well stated Eric Anderson … thank you!

  24. 24
    john_a_designer says:

    Eric Anderson @ #9:

    Yours is but a restatement of the argument Elizabeth Liddle made previously in these pages: namely, biological systems are too well designed, therefore cannot be designed.

    This is such a remarkably illogical position, and has been well-eviscerated in previous discussions.

    In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins tried to argue that biology was “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Notice that to explain away design he has to concede that there is the appearance or intuition of design. But is it merely just all appearance– an illusion?

    Several years ago on the now defunct site Telic Thoughts I got into a debate with a biologist who was defending Darwinian evolution. Somehow we got into a discussion of teleology and typically he defended Darwinian evolution as being non-teleological. However, he then stunned me by conceding that he didn’t deny that the biosphere was teleological– that it had a plan and purpose.

    Think about it; he was absolutely right. What is the purpose of an acorn? To become an oak tree. Indeed, the purpose of any kind of reproduction is to keep replacing each successive older generation with a newer one and therefore sustain the species. Every organ of an organism has a plan and purpose. What is the purpose of the eye, the ear or the nerve endings of our skin? Yet these things in and of themselves would be useless without a brain and central nervous systems. Indeed, we cannot simply talk about organ without talking about the highly integrated system that that organ is a part of. For example, it is meaningless to talk about the heart without talking about veins, arteries, capillaries and the entire circulatory system… but then we also have to talk about other systems critical for survival, like blood, blood cells and blood clotting… that leads to a discussion of the immune system… Of course, there are other systems we need to talk about– the digestive system, the reproductive system… the systems within the cell, on the sub-cellular level… symbiosis and ecology. All this is integrated to work together as a plan with a purpose. So how could it come about without any kind of plan and purpose– “just accidently?”

    The burden of proof is on those who believe that some mindless, purposeless process can “create” a planned and purposeful (teleological) process. Frankly, this is something our regular interlocutors consistently and persistently fail to do.

  25. 25
    Eric Anderson says:

    gpuccio @10:

    Yes, Elizabeth was, if committed to some strange positions, a polite and capable debater.

    As far as TSZ, I don’t visit there and cannot comment on the content or lack thereof. I don’t think it is appropriate for us to belittle the site generally. Bad arguments and poor logic, sure. But not the effort involved in the site generally. Although we enjoy our discussions here, we should remember that UD remains a rather obscure site itself with only a small and eclectic band of regular authors and commenters (with a slightly broader silent viewer base).

    In any event, I’m happy to eviscerate TSZ for any failed arguments they put up that I find out about through the grapevine, but not for being small or having few views and the like.

    Personally, I think UD would be better off with some of the prior debaters back. I don’t know if Elizabeth and others have been banned or just choose not to comment here anymore. I fear the former. I don’t have any authority in that regard and would oppose banning generally, except for the most egregious behavior.

  26. 26
    Eric Anderson says:

    john_a_designer @24:

    The burden of proof is on those who believe that some mindless, purposeless process can “create” a planned and purposeful (teleological) process. Frankly, this is something our regular interlocutors consistently and persistently fail to do.

    Exactly.

    We know that intelligent beings can create complex, functional, integrated, information-rich systems. And there is no observational evidence these systems ever come about otherwise.

    The burden of proof is clearly on those claiming they have discovered a different state of affairs, that they know of a viable designer substitute.

    That burden has not been met since the days of Darwin. Not even close. All we have ever received are bald claims and vague assertions.

    Meanwhile the evidence continues to mount against such a proposition . . .

    —–

    Part of the value in focusing on specific issues, such as the generation and maintenance of information in a complex, functional, integrated system, is that is forces people to get away from vague assertions and look into the actual details. As I have noted before:

    The perception of evolutionary theory’s explanatory power is inversely proportional to the specificity of the discussion.

  27. 27
    es58 says:

    Eric: In the OP you said:

    “massively parallel system architecture”

    Here’s a post on that I had made on that topic (probably originally 10 years ago, but could only find this one)

    es58 October 11, 2015 at 6:23 pm
    “computer program”
    it also seems to contain:
    loaders, schedulers, assemblers, extraordinary data storage and fetching; massive parallelism and multi-programming; functions provided by an operating system (which of course is a “computer program”), all serendipitously arranged, lucky for us

    on this post:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-software/

    (sorry I don’t recall the syntax for just linking to individual posts, but, if you get 1 character wrong, it wouldn’t work anyway)

    REW April 6, 2017 at 7:35 am
    I think this post could be expanded almost to book length – its that important

    That was my thought as soon as I read about this stuff in the appendix of Behe’s 1st book about 15 years ago.

    Eric wrote:

    Yours is but a restatement of the argument Elizabeth Liddle made previously in these pages: namely, biological systems are too well designed, therefore cannot be designed.

    This is such a remarkably illogical position, and has been well-eviscerated in previous discussions.

    If this is really EL’s position, which appears to be a massive leap of faith, the entire TSZ should consist of 1 single post, with that text, preceded by: “Our declaration of faith:…”

  28. 28
    LocalMinimum says:

    When computer based designers/programmers become a standardized industry and the science behind it becomes far more lucrative than Darwin’s social agenda, we may finally start developing a formal knowledge of what a given heuristic CANNOT EVER build under a given set of conditions.

    Because that, really, is what Darwin so naively proposed; an algorithm; while stating that mathematics has no place in biology, which is how he could allow himself such a poor definition.

    Not to say there’ll be direct conflict. Darwinists will still say “that’s engineering and this is biology”, and “it’s a bad analogy”. The real fun comes when machine based biological/medicinal research and GMO design starts bearing a bounty of wealth using the same algorithmic basis as the machine based programmers/engineers; i.e., out of their “bad analogy”.

    At that point, they will be reduced to an odd species of Luddite.

  29. 29
    john_a_designer says:

    rvb8 @ 7,

    It is true that engineers and programmers are usually the most sceptical of evolutionary power, but once again the analogy is poor.

    “All living cells that we know of on this planet are ‘DNA software’-driven biological machines comprised of hundreds of thousands of protein robots, coded for by the DNA, that carry out precise functions.”

    That sounds to me like an engineering, programming analogy. Oh, oh… tisk, tisk!

    Does anyone know who said that? (Without cheating– googling.) Was he an ID’ist?

    Can rvb8 match his credentials? I don’t know much about rvb8, but what I know of his contributions here, I kind of doubt it.

    I wonder if he has read Dawkins’ 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, in which Dawkins used a computer programming analogy for Darwinian evolution and DNA… Again, I kind of doubt that or that rvb8 is very well read at all.

    Just out of curiousity have any other ID’ists here read The Blind Watchmaker?

  30. 30
    es58 says:

    john_a_designer asked:
    > Just out of curiousity have any other ID’ists here read The Blind Watchmaker?

    I read it until I got to the weasel program that described how simple the probability of getting what you needed was; the first one arrives, and gets locked in, then the next, etc.

    then I burst out laughing and not sure I read any further, except some occasional, ad hoc sections

  31. 31

    This topic proposed by Eric: Programming by Accidents</b> (or even <b>Programing <i>With</i>  Accidents</b> reminds me of the following Challenge launched by niwrad under the title: <i>"The Darwinist and the computer programmer”</i> at Uncommondescent on November 5, 2013:

    </p>
    niwrad:

    <blockquote>
    ……
    Programmer (P): “What’s your problem? I can program whatever you want. What we need is a detailed description of the phenomenon and a correct model of the process.”

    Darwinist (D): “I would like to simulate biological evolution, the process thanks to which a species transforms into another species, by means of random mutations and natural selection”.

    </blockquote>
    </p>
    My response is at <b># 41</b> in the blog

    <p><a href="http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-479274“ rel="nofollow">http://www.uncommondescent.com...../p&gt;

    and this is an exercise in trying to harness the <b> creative power of errors</b> with a real (or only thought) experiment

    ……
    Programmer (P): “What’s your problem? I can program whatever you want. What we need is a detailed description of the phenomenon and a correct model of the process.”

    Darwinist (D): “I would like to simulate biological evolution, the process thanks to which a species transforms into another species, by means of random mutations and natural selection”.

    My response is at # 41 in the blog

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-479274

    and this is an exercise in trying to harness the creative power of errors with a real (or only thought) experiment

  32. 32
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @25:

    I don’t think it is appropriate for us to belittle the site generally.

    Can you point to a case where someone here belittled that site? Thanks.

    Does indicating facts count as belittling?

    If someone says that Rio de Janeiro seems to have a much higher crime rate than Bergen based on media reports, could that be considered ‘belittling’ Rio?

    In any case they belittle themselves right from their own home page, even before reading any post.

  33. 33
    gpuccio says:

    Eric Anderson:

    “Personally, I think UD would be better off with some of the prior debaters back. I don’t know if Elizabeth and others have been banned or just choose not to comment here anymore. I fear the former. I don’t have any authority in that regard and would oppose banning generally, except for the most egregious behavior.”

    Again, I do agree with you! 🙂

    “I don’t think it is appropriate for us to belittle the site generally.”

    I certainly don’t want to belittle it. The discussion, I believe, originated from rvb8’s repeated invitations, on more than one thread, to go there as a requisite for personal survival. 🙂

    However, I am always amazed at the existence of sites that mainly seem to exist in order to criticize another site (in this case, us) or in general another view of things. There are many worldviews that I disagree with, some of them I certainly strongly dislike, but I would never go to some site only to criticize those worldviews.

    I believe in positive intellectual action: I love ID theory, and I come here to support and defend it. If, in doing that, there is the need to criticize neo-darwinism, I do that happily, but criticizing neo-darwinism is not my real aim.

    However, TSZ is not the only site which feeds vastly on what we write here, and it is certainly the best of them. I appreciate their basic idea of a site open to different types of discussants, which derives probably from Lizzie’s original good attitude. However, what really happens there is often a disappointment, at least for me.

  34. 34
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson and gpuccio:

    Let me explain the last statement in my comment @32:

    “In any case they belittle themselves right from their own home page, even before reading any post.”

    Would you consider serious a website whose home page headline contains non-serious statements based on a particular worldview perspective?

    Does that indicate goodwill and good attitude of their authors?

    Is that conducive to discussions on any subject?

    Is that an invitation to serious open-minded discussions?

    The prisoners sent to Auschwitz concentration camp could read the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” at the entrance, but they had no choice on whether to enter or not. However, that phrase by itself -had it not been associated with such a horrendous history- would not mean explicitly any derogatory or disrespectful statement against any particular philosophical worldview. People could agree or disagree with its meaning, but it wouldn’t mock any particular belief.

    You may compare that to the headline in this blog UD. Perhaps its name is not accepted by many folks, but it doesn’t mock their way of thinking. Still I would have called it differently, maybe ID instead of UD, but that’s not of my business. However, the subtitle is serious, simple and clear, and it does not mock anyone’s ideas or beliefs. In the discussion threads the OPs and follow-up comments may seem sometimes off that line, but that’s up to every individual.

    It seems like the Areopagus in Athens in the first century of this age was a place where representatives of different worldviews were invited to present their ideas and discuss.

    The Roman Coliseum was completely different.

    The former was conducive to open discussion while the latter was a place to avoid unless you were part of the audience that was entertained and could thumb down the victims’ fate at their will.

  35. 35
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    I agree with you that the headline there is rather inappropriate.

    Moreover, I find the whole concept of “skepticism” deeply irritating, and therefore even the name itself of the site is rather annoying for me.

    It’s just my personal feeling, but it’s enough, even if there were no other reasons, not to comply with rvb8’s friendly encouragements to go there to be “shredded”. 🙂

  36. 36
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio:

    Agree, who wants to be “shredded”? 🙂

    Though I don’t thing they have what is needed to do it. They even lack the power to turn on the shredder. 🙂

    If they were serious on science -specially biology, where WYSIWYG (unlike astrophysics)- they could have responded to your challenging OPs and follow-up comments which present some interesting scientific concepts and deals with real issues science faces in biology more than any other branch of science. I think that’s what UB was logically expecting at the start of one of your latest OPs.

    Lately I’ve been told to stop the information gathering phase and move on to the next in the project I’m working on, but can’t resist the attraction to reading newer research papers. It’s an addiction that is dragging me down on the project.

  37. 37
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    Count me in as a fellow-addicted! 🙂

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    #36 error correction:

    “Though I don’t think…”

  39. 39
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio:

    Glad to have a doctor in the club too!

  40. 40
    Eric Anderson says:

    gpuccio:

    I certainly don’t want to belittle it. The discussion, I believe, originated from rvb8’s repeated invitations, on more than one thread, to go there as a requisite for personal survival.

    Fair enough. We certainly needn’t go there to have productive discussions. Probably quite the opposite. Indeed, that is part of the reason I haven’t bothered with TSZ.

    However, what really happens there is often a disappointment, at least for me.

    No doubt. And I am certainly willing to “belittle” a poor argument or failed logic.

    —–

    Dionosio:

    Would you consider serious a website whose home page headline contains non-serious statements based on a particular worldview perspective?

    Is it a little cheeky? Sure. Is it in appropriate? I don’t think it is that bad.

    Look, if we had a website dedicated to challenging Darwinism and the tagline on the home page was Darwin’s quote — you know the one about a fair assessment can be obtained only by carefully looking at both sides of an issue — it would be a little cute. Perhaps a little too on the nose. Perhaps annoying to Darwin supporters. But it wouldn’t be beyond the pale.

    —–

    In any event, I am more than happy to eviscerate — yes, belittle — any poor arguments, failed logic, or misunderstandings that come up on TSZ. I just don’t think it is helpful for people here to make a lot of noise about the small number of posts or visitors or Alexa ratings they have. I don’t care whether it is a site run by a single individual with no following. If they have good arguments I’m supportive. If the arguments are terrible, then fair game for belittlement.

    —–

    Anyway, enough on that. I didn’t mean to make a big deal out of this. Just a reminder to us all — which goodness knows, I regularly need — to be careful with my tone and to focus on the arguments and the issues, not the messenger.

    Again, I appreciate all the great comments and thoughts you guys and others have shared the past couple of weeks — I hope you know that. Good discussions.

  41. 41
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson:
    Oh well, whatever.

  42. 42
    gpuccio says:

    Eric Anderson:

    In a sense, the quote in TSZ’s heading could be considered appropriate, IMO.

    Indeed, while it seems to encourage a tolerant discussion, it comes from a personage of history that, whatever his merits, is not exactly a perfect example of cognitive tolerance.

    Like, I would say, most discussions on that “skeptical” site. 🙂

  43. 43
    gpuccio says:

    Eric Anderson:

    Just an afterthought to post #42.

    In my personal experience, indeed, the “argument” of:

    “think it possible you may be mistaken”

    (or something similar)

    always surfaces from intolerant interlocutors when they are no more available to discuss.

    This argument, like most so called “skepticism”, is in no way a rational attitude, but rather a form of abuse. It is the worst enemy of honest discussion and intellectual confrontation.

    The reason is very simple: any honest discussant knows that it is “possible” that he, like anybody else, may be mistaken. That’s simply obvious.

    Still, anyone who enters a discussion with honesty does that because he believes in some idea, and is available to share and test his views with others. So, a honest conviction is not in any conflict with the “possibility” of being wrong: exactly because I know that anyone can be wrong, I accept to test my conviction with you, who think differently.

    So, I am certainly available to change my ideas, but if, and only if, you, my interlocutor, really give me some reason to do that, and you have to do it in an honest intellectual confrontation. Otherwise, I have absolutely no reason to change my ideas, because I honestly believe that they are true.

    Now, if my interlocutor just appeals to the “possibility” that I could be wrong (like, I suppose, himself and anybody else), he is not giving me any reason to abandon what I believe: he is only trying to abuse me intellectually, to shake my honest convictions with a brutal attack.

    In the same way, being skeptic “a priori” is not a form of open-mindedness, but again an intellectual abuse. Any idea deserves to be honestly considered, if one chooses to do so, or simply ignored (in both senses) if one is not interested in it. But no one should be, “a priori”, skeptic about anything, if he chooses to consider and evaluate that idea. Skepticism is only a form of prejudice.

  44. 44
    Dionisio says:

    RE: a quote in the heading of a blog?

    Doesn’t it seem taken out of context? What does that quote have to do with an open forum for general discussions on different topics? Wasn’t that quote taken from a letter about a war? Does it make sense to quote something that was said long ago in a war context? Perhaps sometimes it may, but this time it doesn’t seem to fit.

    Words and phrases may have contextual meanings.

    A site that uses a quote -indirectly associated with a particular worldview- taken out of context as their heading is not serious IMO.

    BTW, the name UD of this blog does not seem general enough to cover the entire ID spectrum, at least as far as I can tell as an outsider. I’ve noticed that both CD and UD groups of folks share the central ID paradigm. Hence the UD/CD controversy seems peripheral to ID. Did I get this right?

    Not long ago a close relative argued that there wasn’t anything wrong with The Eagles’ Hotel California because they repeat the phrase “Such a lovely place” a few times through the song. So much for out of context quotes.

  45. 45

    With regards to anyone who thinks it’s a mature, intelligent position to believe on can get the machinery and coding necessary for life from chance interactions of chemistry: no rational debate is possible. It’s doomed from the outset. It is strictly a fanatical ideological position that can – ultimately – only be effectively defended via irrational means.

    You cannot reason a person out of an unreasonable position. These people think you can get the most sophisticated computer-driven and regulated hardware and software in the world via chance interactions of chemistry. It’s insanity beyond the reach of reasonable discourse.

  46. 46
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    “BTW, the name UD of this blog does not seem general enough to cover the entire ID spectrum, at least as far as I can tell as an outsider. I’ve noticed that both CD and UD groups of folks share the central ID paradigm. Hence the UD/CD controversy seems peripheral to ID. Did I get this right?”

    Yes. I think the name was originally chosen by Dembski, who probably does not accept CD.

  47. 47
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio:
    Ok, I understand now. Thanks.
    I don’t subscribe to either one because I don’t understand them exactly. Yes, the tricky word just hit me back. 🙂
    To understand both concepts very well I’d have to dedicate time I lack. That’s why I stay on the sidelines in those discussions.

  48. 48
    Eric Anderson says:

    William J. Murray @45:

    You cannot reason a person out of an unreasonable position. These people think you can get the most sophisticated computer-driven and regulated hardware and software in the world via chance interactions of chemistry. It’s insanity beyond the reach of reasonable discourse.

    There is much merit in what you say. I don’t think there is a lot of opportunity to have a rational discussion with some of the committed materialists who refuse to address the central issues relating to OOL, information in biology, and so forth. You are probably quite right that many of them have adopted an irrational position purposely and intentionally,* so there is little likelihood of having a rational discussion. As has been noted by others: The materialism comes first; the science is added as a later gloss.

    What I’m hoping is that there are a few individuals who have questions, who aren’t quite sure what to make of all this, who perhaps hold to the materialist view, but only because it is what they’ve heard or what they were taught in school.

    A lot of those people may be willing to look objectively at the evidence and shift their viewpoint.

    But the person who starts with the materialism — yes, it is pretty tough to have a rational discussion if they hold it as an a priori truth. Nevertheless, occasionally even the committed materialist is open-minded enough to look hard in the mirror (Anthony Flew, for example). But it is rare.

    And so we soldier on . . . 🙂

    —–

    * Note, I’m not suggesting they have purposely and intentionally done something that they themselves consider irrational. Just that they have purposely and intentionally taken a position that matches their worldview. And the evidence in this case happens to show that the position is irrational.

  49. 49
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionosio, maybe this was already clarified, but:

    Uncommon descent is not a particular position on the science, so much as a play on words.

    Playing off both terms: common/uncommon and descent/dissent.

    Hinting at all terms, but not directly affirming which.

    Actually pretty clever.

  50. 50
    Charles says:

    Actually pretty clever.

    That’s uncommonly decent of you to say so.

  51. 51
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @49:
    My reading comprehension -specially in English- is rather poor. Sorry, but I did not understand well what you wrote @49. Can you explain it differently? Thanks.

    PS. Off topic:
    I see Dionosio in lieu of Dionisio.
    Was that a “fat-finger” typo or an auto-editor replacement?
    My auto-editor suggests these two (Greek/Latin?) options:
    Dionysius, Dionysus, but not Dionosio.

    This is not important at all. Just curious, because this same misspelling has shown in other posts in this website before. Also, these days I’m trying to learn a little about written communication in English (not my first language). That’s why I’m paying attention to otherwise irrelevant details.

    BTW, FYI – Dionisio is a Spanish version of a Greek name.

  52. 52
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionisio @51:

    I’m terribly sorry I’ve been spelling your name wrong! For some reason I’ve been thinking “osio” instead of “isio”. I’ll try to remember in the future, but if one slips past me, I hope you’ll forgive me beforehand.

    —-

    As to your question, the words “descent” and “dissent” sound very similar in standard American English. There is a very slight difference in the initial vowel sound, such that next to each other you could tell them apart. However, in the right context they sound essentially identical to the ear and could easily be mistaken for each other.

    I can’t speak for Bill, but if he were putting together a website that challenged the normal Darwinian paradigm, the website could certainly be called something like “Dissent from Darwinism.” Then if you think further about this dissent and want to make a little word play, you could write “Common Dissent”, as it sounds virtually identical to “Common Descent” in context.

    But the dissent really is not that common, given that most academics and institutions still support the Darwinian paradigm. So how about “Uncommon Dissent.”

    But then at that point you’ve kind of lost the obvious tie back to Darwinism, as you could be dissenting from anything.

    So, one last twist brings it back to “Uncommon Descent”. It has the sound of “dissent”, gives the hint that it is about “dissent” and that the dissent is going against the institutional and academic status quo. But the spelling of the last word also gives a clear tie back to Darwinism.

    Anyway, I’m just speculating here about how Bill came up with the name. Maybe not exactly this thought process, but probably something along those lines.

    To my mind, at least, rather clever.

    —-

    Then Charles adds his own clever quip @50. Totally different meaning, and very different sound with the word “decent”, but spelled similarly enough to be a word play in writing, rather than sound.

    Good stuff!

  53. 53
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @52:

    Regarding the spelling question:

    Maybe it wasn’t clear enough, so let me repeat what I wrote @51: the name misspelling is not an issue at all. Not a big deal. No problema.

    I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity about the process that leads someone to writing the name that way. Fat finger typo? Editor auto-correct feature? Saw that name spelling somewhere else before (maybe actually here in this same website)? You’re not the only person who has written it that way.

    As I said, I’m trying to learn a little about written communication for a project I’m working on. If you can provide a description of what thinking process led to writing the name that way, it could be a nice addition to my research on this topic. Thank you in advance if you decide to help me with this.

  54. 54
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @52:

    Follow up to the off topic comments I wrote before.

    Regarding the word play question:

    Thank you for the clarification.

    I’ve seen the words “then” and “than” used interchangeably in wrong contexts. Also the words “effect” and “affect” and other words that sound kind of similar but spell slightly different.

    That seems to be a problem that occurs mainly in English language, because it has a very vague (blurred?) phonetic consistency, compared to languages like Polish, German, and specially Spanish, where the letters almost always sound the same way in any word, according to certain phonetic rules.

    Perhaps the “Dionosio” case is related to this too?

    Once I read that in the US government years ago they didn’t know Slovakia and Slovenia were different nations! 🙂

    IOW, it seems like English speakers are not very careful when it comes to spelling because their first language is not very consistent in that area.

    I’m not aware of a “spelling” contest in Spanish -at least in “Castilla”, where the correct Spanish is spoken. If one says the words correctly in “lengua Castellana” then the spelling is piece of cake because what you hear is exactly how it should be written, perhaps except for a very few cases which don’t come to my mind now.

    To a Spanish-speaker the English phonetics is not difficult in the sense that it does not add new sounds that don’t exist in Spanish (maybe with the exception of the short ‘i’ sound?). The problem is the consistency between the written text and the way it sounds in different contexts. See for example the word “READ” which may sound very different depending on whether it is present or past tense. I don’t recall any case of a word in Spanish that may sound different in different contexts.

    The letter ‘i’ has short and long sounds. Our common friend gpuccio writes often about quantification using ‘bits’ but if you add an ‘e’ to ‘bit’ it turns into the word ‘bite’ where the same letter ‘i’ sounds completely different. BTW, this letter has generated some funny anecdotes where some Spanish speakers, used to say ‘i’ in ‘bit’ as you would say ‘beet’. The short ‘i’ sound is not difficult to say but it’s not commonly used in Spanish, at least as far as I remember. Therefore, Spanish speakers sometimes may pronounce ‘bit’ as ‘beet’ or ‘beat’, which could be confusing for the listener. The worse happens when a Spanish speaker uses the short ‘i’ sound even for words like ‘beat’, ‘beet’ or ‘sheet’. 🙂

    That actually happened to me. I couldn’t figure out why everybody in the room was laughing out so loud after I said that word ‘sheet’ with my confusing phonetic translation algorithm that replaced the ‘ee’ with a short ‘i’ sound. 🙂

    There are other examples that could illustrate the difference between a language where the phonetic rules are more consistent vs. English where the phonetic inconsistencies appear quite often.

    Maybe that’s why spelling is such a big deal in the English language?

    On the other hand, Russian and Polish languages have sounds that I can’t pronounce correctly, maybe because I did not hear them when I was a child? That’s a hypothesis I’ve read somewhere out there.

    A colleague tried to teach me how to say “good morning!” in mandarin (Chinese) to no avail. He really tried hard, but his student was worse than incompetent. 🙂
    It didn’t work. I though I was saying exactly what he was telling me, but apparently he was hearing something different, which was not quite correct.

    Several years ago -after my failed attempt to learn Chinese- when my wife and I visited a few cities in China (Shanghai, Dalian, Beijing, TianJin), I tried to test how close I was from the correct pronunciation of that friendly greeting and to my pleasant surprise some locals reacted as if they had understood what I said. At least they smiled back. 🙂
    Perhaps it was understood, though it was said with a heavy accent? I don’t know.
    In Spanish what they teach in school is orthography which is kind of like spelling, but written. One has to learn how the words are written. Once you know to write them correctly, you should say them correctly too, assuming you speak the original “castellano” and not one of the many variations derived from it. Many Spanish speakers say the ‘c’ and ‘z’ sounds like ‘s’ which is incorrect.

  55. 55
    Origenes says:

    WJMurray: You cannot reason a person out of an unreasonable position. These people think you can get the most sophisticated computer-driven and regulated hardware and software in the world via chance interactions of chemistry. It’s insanity beyond the reach of reasonable discourse.

    ‘These people’ are willing to postulate a causeless multiverse, or, alternatively, a causeless universe. Given such irrational tendencies, one may wonder why they torment their little brains with fabricating meaningless narratives about the cause of biological information. Why do they not assume such stuff to be causeless phenomena as well?

  56. 56
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionisio:

    A couple of quick responses:

    Not a typo. Not spell-checker correction. For some reason I’ve just thought of it as “osio” for a long time. Might be nothing more than an initial misread on my part.

    However, I feel like there is a tendency for “osio” to sound more normal in English than “isio” but I’d have to look for some examples to confirm my suspicion.

    Incidentally, is Dionisio your real name, or a name you would commonly find in Spanish, or is it a made-up screen name?

    —–

    I’ve seen the words “then” and “than” used interchangeably in wrong contexts. Also the words “effect” and “affect” and other words that sound kind of similar but spell slightly different.

    This is just because many people don’t know the difference and haven’t learned the distinction properly. These are flat-out mistakes and don’t have anything to do with word plays or communication nuances. However, they do stem from the fact that the words sound similar, so a lot of people simply haven’t learned which word is which.

    IOW, it seems like English speakers are not very careful when it comes to spelling because their first language is not very consistent in that area.

    Actually, there are quite a few rules that are relevant to spelling in English. However, some of them are rather esoteric, and you wouldn’t find 1 in a 1,000 people who know them. English spelling is not as haphazard as is customarily thought. But I agree it isn’t as easy as in many languages.

    I’m not aware of a “spelling” contest in Spanish . . .

    Funny! Just a week or so ago I was watching a national spelling contest (“Spelling Bee”) and was thinking the exact same thing: they probably don’t have spelling bees in Spanish!

    . . . spelling is piece of cake because what you hear is exactly how it should be written, perhaps except for a very few cases which don’t come to my mind now.

    Yes, it generally tracks the sound much more closely. Challenges for Spanish speakers are generally two-fold: silent “h” and some of the voiced-unvoiced pairings.

    For example, I’ve received letters written in Spanish with spellings like “ha veces” and “ace frio”. Also, given that the voiced/unvoiced pairings depend on the prior sound it is common for native Spanish speakers to mix up b/v (in particular). Even the names of those two letters betray the fact that they are closely related.

    In contrast, in English the pronunciation of b/v does not depend nearly as much on context, so they are rarely confused and anyone not trained in linguistics would never even think they are related.

    Other than a few situations like that, however, I agree that spelling is far easier in Spanish (and many other languages) than in English.

    —–

    Alright now you’ve gotten me off on a linguistic tangent. Much more than I intended to write.

    Maybe more later. 🙂

  57. 57
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson

    Thank you for the comment @56.

  58. 58
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @56:

    Incidentally, is Dionisio your real name, or a name you would commonly find in Spanish, or is it a made-up screen name?’

    My “adoption name” is a Spanish version of a Greek name:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysius_the_Areopagite
    https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionisio_Areopagita

  59. 59
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @56:

    For example, I’ve received letters written in Spanish with spellings like “ha veces” and “ace frio”.

    A few questions:

    Can you read letters in Spanish?
    Your name is definitely not Spanish, not even Latin.

    Did the authors of those letters ever go to school in Spanish speaking countries? What grade did they reach? Was their education level that low?

    B is letra be
    V is letra uve

    Going to school does not mean necessarily that one receives good education.

    Some people write ‘tubo’ for ‘had’
    Or write ‘tuvo’ for ‘pipe’

    But that means they don’t know the language.

    Good language learning includes lots of reading and analysis of good text.

  60. 60
    Eric Anderson says:

    Can you read letters in Spanish?

    Yes.

    Your name is definitely not Spanish, not even Latin.

    Norse and Swedish.

    Did the authors of those letters ever go to school in Spanish speaking countries? What grade did they reach? Was their education level that low?

    Yes. Completed at least high school (la secundaria). In one case some university experience.

    The point is that when transitioning from phonemes to written language, native speakers can often make simple mistakes in the written language if they haven’t paid close attention before (or can simply make a mistake in a particular communication if they are in a hurry). (The b/v confusion in Spanish is more widespread.)

    Similar to the examples you gave with “affect” and “effect”, although these are trickier. But I’ve known plenty of university-educated people who occasionally mix these up. Probably not too many English teachers, linguists, or lawyers, but plenty of other people who don’t depend specifically on words for their profession. I’ve even seen these kinds of mistakes crop up with journalists who should know better. In many cases they probably do, but just got sloppy in a particular article.

  61. 61
    Eric Anderson says:

    Some people write ‘tubo’ for ‘had’
    Or write ‘tuvo’ for ‘pipe’

    Good example of the b/v issue, resulting from phonemic similarities in spoken language.

    Yes, people should know better. But it just means they don’t know the written rules and/or underlying base words. Unfortunate, but pretty common.

  62. 62
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson,

    Yes, agree we have digressed much from the main topic.

    Perhaps my fault for bringing up linguistic issues.

    Now, back to your interesting OP, the phrase ‘programming by accident’ could be interpreted as disrespectful to the software developers. 🙂

    Software development involves lots of verbal and written communication between designers, project leaders, analysts, programmers. Some people have to explain concepts, methodology, ideas, to other people, whom have to ‘communicate’ the ideas to computers and ‘teach’ them to do things right.

    By accident projects get messed up.

  63. 63
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson,

    So how did a Scandinavian person learn Spanish so well? 🙂

    I have very god friends in Sweden. My wife and I have stayed in their homes. But I definitely don’t understand their language. Though it does not seem as difficult as my Hungarian friends’ language.

    We were very sad to read the news about what happened in Stockholm recently. We walked on that same street together.

  64. 64
    Vy says:

    It is true that engineers and programmers are usually the most sceptical of evolutionary power

    A fact that I find ironic, at least for me. It was my decision to wander into the lounge section of the C++ forum that got me my first contact with Atheists, and evolutionists by extension. Prior to that point, you guys literally didn’t exist to me.

    You’ve got me beat!
    I started in the early 80’s on the early personal computers, primarily the Apple II.

    LOL. You both have been programming for longer than I’ve been alive by at least a decade 🙂

  65. 65
    Dionisio says:

    Error correction @62:

    change ‘whom’ to ‘who’?

    instead of “‘teach’ them to do things right.”
    it should be “‘teach’ them to do something new according to the designer’s specifications.”

  66. 66
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson,

    Does the phrase “programming by accident” -at the start of your OP- mean:
    1. writing random pieces of code
    2. modifying random segments of a program
    3. mixing/swapping random portions of a program
    4. removing random parts of a program
    5. all of the above
    6. something else

    ???

  67. 67
    Dionisio says:

    Vy @64:

    Where did you quote that text from?

    Which post #?

    Thanks.

  68. 68
    Vy says:

    Dionisio, it’s rvb8’s comment @7 and Eric’s @8.

  69. 69
    Dionisio says:

    Vy,

    Thank you for the information.

    Have a good day.

  70. 70
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    Dionisio is also the italian form of the Greek name. 🙂

  71. 71
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio:

    Si, io sono un italiano vero! 🙂

  72. 72
    Dionisio says:

    “programming by accident”

    Is the term “by accident” related to “random”?

    Is there any kind of “programming by accident” associated with the following processes?

    1.1. location and activation of morphogen sources
    1.2. spatiotemporal degradation of morphogens
    1.2. morphogen gradient formation
    1.3. morphogen gradient interpretation

    2.1. generation of regulatory and transcription factors through signal transduction and other signaling pathways

    3.1. transcription
    3.2. post-transcriptional modifications (including splicing)
    3.3. translation
    3.4. post-translational modifications

  73. 73
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionisio @62 & @66:

    Now, back to your interesting OP, the phrase ‘programming by accident’ could be interpreted as disrespectful to the software developers.

    Not at all. It highlights the irony of the Darwinian claim.

    I’m not disrespecting what it takes to properly program a complex, functional system. There are plenty of app designers I am not impressed with (don’t get me started on all the nonsense decisions made by the Google gmail, Voice and Play Store designers . . .). But the actual programming is good, solid engineering work.

    Software development involves lots of verbal and written communication between designers, project leaders, analysts, programmers. Some people have to explain concepts, methodology, ideas, to other people, whom have to ‘communicate’ the ideas to computers and ‘teach’ them to do things right.

    By accident projects get messed up.

    Exactly.

    The point of the OP title is to highlight the irony — and the absurdity — of the Darwinian claim. Every programmer knows, and most people who have even a passing exposure to programming know, that “programming by accident” doesn’t work. Indeed, it is anathema to a successful outcome. It is nonsense. It is absurd. The idea is laughable.

    And yet the Darwinian claim is precisely the opposite of this real-world reality. The Darwinian claim flies in the face of everything we know and understand about engineering and programming. The Darwinian story asserts that not only can you program by accident, but that the most complex, sophisticated, information-rich, integrated, functional systems known to exist all came about through a long string of random accidents.

    It is preposterous.

  74. 74
    Eric Anderson says:

    Vy @64:

    Thanks for your comment.

    A fact that I find ironic, at least for me. It was my decision to wander into the lounge section of the C++ forum that got me my first contact with Atheists, and evolutionists by extension.

    Can you share a little more about this experience. Why did a C++ forum result in contact with atheists and evolutionists?

    It sounds like there is an interesting back story, so please share if that is OK.

    —–

    LOL. You both have been programming for longer than I’ve been alive by at least a decade.

    No need to rub it in. 🙂

  75. 75
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionisio @63:

    So how did a Scandinavian person learn Spanish so well?

    I have very god friends in Sweden. My wife and I have stayed in their homes. But I definitely don’t understand their language. Though it does not seem as difficult as my Hungarian friends’ language.

    We were very sad to read the news about what happened in Stockholm recently. We walked on that same street together.

    Thanks for the question and the thoughts. I still feel some connection to the old country, although any relatives on the other side of the pond would consider me a thoroughly American Gringo at this point. My forebears immigrated to the United States a couple of generations ago. My grandfather grew up speaking some Swedish in the home and my dad learned a few words here and there, but by the time I came along it was just good old American English. Occasionally at a family gathering my father and his siblings would break into a children’s song in Swedish or sprinkle an occasional word into the conversation, but not enough exposure for me to learn much.

    I’ve been to Stockholm and would love to return again sometime. Thanks for your kind thoughts about the recent incident there.

    As far as learning Spanish, I’ve lived in South America for a while and also studied Spanish at the university. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Spain yet and being immersed in the Queen’s “proper” Spanish, but hopefully someday. 🙂

    I also studied linguistics as a young man at the university and, in a former life, briefly taught each of English, Spanish and Russian at the university level. I’ve dabbled in a few other languages as well, but none I can claim fluency in.

    Anyway, that was years ago and I’ve probably forgotten more than most people ever knew, but occasionally it is nice to dust off the mental cobwebs and talk about languages and linguistic nuances, so thanks for the diversion! 🙂

  76. 76
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @75:
    Russian too?!
    Ty molodets! 🙂

  77. 77
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @73:

    “Not at all. It highlights the irony of the Darwinian claim.”

    Sorry, I didn’t expressed it clearly.
    What I meant was that as long as the functioning of biological systems is kept disassociated from the concepts of software, logical procedures, algorithms, cybernetics, then software developers wouldn’t see anything wrong with the Darwinian claims.
    However, as soon as the association is clearly demonstrated, the same claims turn nonsense and even disrespectful of the whole profession.
    Hence it’s important to highlight such obvious association.
    Basically what you wrote @73 was preaching to the choir. 🙂
    Do you see my point now?
    Ponymayesh? 🙂

  78. 78
  79. 79
  80. 80
  81. 81
  82. 82
    Dionisio says:

    Comments @78-81 just point to papers on the “big data” issue in biology.
    How will this issue change in the near future?
    Will it get smaller, bigger, or remain at the current level?
    How will research technology improvements affect the big data issue?
    It seems like we ain’t seen nothin’ yet in biology.
    Hence it won’t surprise me if the big data gets bigger.
    But more data should help researchers to model biological systems more precisely, assuming more accurate modeling methods get implemented.
    What do you think about this?

  83. 83
    Vy says:

    Eric @74

    Can you share a little more about this experience. Why did a C++ forum result in contact with atheists and evolutionists?

    Before venturing into the forum’s lounge section I had no idea Atheists existed nor was I cognizant of what evolution actually meant. I believed it like I believed “too much salt is bad for you” and with all subliminal messaging on TV (NatGeo) and in school, I didn’t give it much thought. It was for all intents and purposes a “fact” to me prior to that point. Nobody questioned it.“Evolutionist”, “creationist”, “ID” and whatnot wasn’t even part of my vocabulary.

    Same with Atheism. First time I heard the term “Atheist” was in a movie like 24 or so hours earlier and I just laughed it off to mean “believes in another God”. So after having my, IIRC, “Please explain C++ arrays to me” question answered, I decided to find out what exactly the “Lounge” was. The first topic I see is something about letting gay people adopt children and my expectation was that they’d be obviously against it but not so. So I decide to post a comment with (I can’t really remember but I think) a Bible passage or something about God and that was when I realized that there was more to “I’m an Atheist” than I initially thought. Fast forward four bans and four accounts, numerous back and forths (especially one irritating entity that followed me over from another forum), continually being stunned with all the new info I was getting and stumbling upon creation.com, godandscience.something and numerous other sites, and like a light switch, I became “aware” of what evolution actually was.

  84. 84
    Eric Anderson says:

    Vy, thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reminds me of Phillip Johnson’s observation that with so many people the philosophy comes first and the science is just a gloss.

Leave a Reply