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Eric Holloway: The Salem hypothesis as to why engineers doubt Darwin


Not because they’re terrorists or black-and-white thinkers, as claimed. A simple computer program shows the limits of creating information by chance:

Engineers are more likely to be creationists because they are familiar with what it takes to design complex things for specific tasks. Which is exactly what we see in the biological world. Additionally, engineers who work with computers know about randomized methods, which include evolutionary algorithms. We are aware of their significant limitations…

Let’s set my evolutionary algorithm a simple, fundamental task — to count by ones…

Exponential is bad news. Exponential means it took the evolutionary algorithm twice as long to count to 10 as it did to count to 9.

Let’s put exponential on a cosmological scale. The heat death of the universe is projected to occur in 10106 years. This is well beyond the lifetime of anyone who’ll even remotely know we existed. Seems like a lot of time, but not for exponential doubling!

If we generously say that a step of P’‘ runs in a nanosecond, which is nine decimal places to the right of the dot, then the universe will undergo heat death before the evolutionary algorithm can evolve a program that counts from 0 to 500. And it takes even longer if the program must start from 1 instead of 0. To go up to 501 doubles even that. Completely impossible.

Eric Holloway, “The Salem Hypothesis: Why engineers view the universe as designed” at Mind Matters News (June 7, 2022)

Takehome: Engineers doubt chance evolution because a computer using an evolution-based program to do simple tasks would be chugging away well past the heat death of our universe, as Eric Holloway demonstrates.

Note: The hypothesis was named in honor of Talk.origins contributor Bill Salem.

You may also wish to read:

Dawkins’ Weasel program vs the information life acquires en route To demonstrate what is wrong with fully naturalist assumptions like those of Richard Dawkins’ Weasel program, I developed Weasel Libs, modeled on Mad Libs. When we apply a Mad Libs “epigenetic” approach to Dawkins’ claims about how life’s information can be created, we quickly see a glaring flaw. (Eric Holloway)

Martin_r @101 You're most welcome. I've had many conversations with engineers on the subject who use AM for their work or projects. Applications go well beyond engineering. For example . . . - An art director in the film industry once described how they laser scan an actor's head and then 3D print it, so that makeup artists can try various experiments without requiring the actor to sit for them hours at a time. - In the scientific press, one can read about 3D printing a liver using live cells, and calcium phosphate to print bones (the tiny perforations in the result promotes bone attachment to the prosthesis). I'm sure this is still experimental, but I know it's been done with metal prosthetics. In the course, I once took in the subject, I was amazed to learn that the crossover between AM and traditional injection molds was much higher than I'd ever imagined: about 100,000 units!
Now, when you look at this high advanced human made technology, it still looks like a child play.
Yes, exactly! The more we learn about cells, the more complex and out-of-reach the biotechnology appears, which always the opposite of what's expected. Consider that biologists once named the undifferentiated substance that filled cells "protoplasm." -Q Querius
Querius, thank you for clarification. I see there is a lot of progress in this field. Nice stuff. Now, when you look at this high advanced human made technology, it still looks like a child play. Seriously, the theory of evolution occurs to me like a hoax, or a conspiracy. How can an mentally healthy educated 21st century person think, that the cell with all what it can, is a product of some blind unguided process ? The cell is an engineering marvel ... i seriously doubt, that it ever will be reverse-engineered. martin_r
Martin-r @99,
additive manufacturing vs. 3D-printing, what is difference ? I can’t see any at the first sight.
AM is supposed to be a generic term covering a variety of technologies to contrast with material subtraction. 3D printing is one such AM technology, but the terms are now often used interchangeably. There are seven processes recognized by ISO: https://youtu.be/_0dSVAEIixk?t=21 Here's a fun example of the use of powder bed technology for an inconel exhaust manifold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jbn0ah3u9E Inconel is an extremely tough alloy when compared with stainless steel. The cell is essentially a biosynthesis lab and fabrication center that's fantastically more complex than anything humanity has ever created. And information is central to the processes within the cell. -Q Querius
Querius, additive manufacturing vs. 3D-printing, what is difference ? I can't see any at the first sight. I personally consider the cell as a very advanced 3D-printer. And i am not the only one. A time ago, i watched a TED talk, and to my surprise, this guy Riccardo Sabatini (obviously a Darwinian scientist) thinks the same:
For the next 16 minutes, I'm going to take you on a journey that is probably the biggest dream of humanity: to understand the code of life. So for me, everything started many, many years ago when I met the first 3D printer. The concept was fascinating. A 3D printer needs three elements: a bit of information, some raw material, some energy, and it can produce any object that was not there before. I was doing physics, I was coming back home and I realized that I actually always knew a 3D printer. And everyone does. It was my mom. My mom takes three elements: a bit of information, which is between my father and my mom in this case, raw elements and energy in the same media, that is food, and after several months, produces me. And I was not existent before.
https://www.ted.com/talks/riccardo_sabatini_how_to_read_the_genome_and_build_a_human_being/transcript martin_r
Martin_r @93, I share your admiration for the astounding complexity within a cell and the instructions used for it to grow and maintain its interior structures. The cell certainly uses additive rather than subtractive technologies (such as cutting, milling, and turning) and doesn't require melting anything at high temperatures. As to additive manufacturing, you might be interested in exploring some of these technologies, including photopolymerization: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/additive-manufacturing-technology The materials being used have also progressed significantly although the "grain" and orientation (based on its shape) certainly need to be taken into consideration. I've been particularly impressed by carbon-fiber impregnated materials and the ability to blend from one material into another. -Q Querius
Martin_r at 93, Most 3-D printers that people can afford are junk. The stated resolution is low. The build area is small. The imperfections in the form of visible layers preclude making quality consumer products. Good 3-D printers cost thousands and are way beyond the budgets of most people. Even well-financed companies have to use these sparingly since all costs to operate it need to be factored in. relatd
Relatd- engineers are required to write the GAs. ET
Martin_r- Learn how to do an internet search. The antenna's design is one that works. No one will redesign it if it needs to be mass produced. ET
Another firm that I'm familiar with designed high-voltage electrical insulators for transmission lines. I'm sure most people know what I'm talking about. There are several materials available for the core, which come only in certain diameters, there are several available disks or cups that can be made from insulating materials, the lengths are in increments of the disks or cups, and there are also several styles of end connectors available. Each combination and its dimensions have different electrical properties. What this company did was create a program that accepted a customer's specifications and their routine provided approximations closest to their specifications that they could choose from, along with their prices. This is an example of "artificial intelligence" from the 1980s. It's called AI because you can't tell whether the output was generated by a human engineer or a program. -Q Querius
ET, and one more thing regarding the materials (e.g. the NASA antenna is made of) The cell is an engineering marvel... no doubts ... but what amazes me, is how the cell creates all the needful hi-tech materials at body temperature (e.g. bones, ceramic teeth)... no blast furnace is needed... no material suppliers are needed ... the cell creates everything, a complete product ... this is an engineering SCI-FI ... look at 3D-printers ... if you want to print something, you need to add a filament ... martin_r
Genetic algorithms are used to generate optimal routes .. Fuel consumption optimization ...
i don't want to escalate this conversation, but you keep confirming what i wrote earlier. Look at all your examples ... all of it, it is just an optimization of existing things ... Like i said, EA/GA just another word for optimization algorithms. It has nothing to do with inventing new things from scratch. Basically, it has nothing to do with everyday engineering, the use of EA/GA is very very limited like i pointed out earlier. (see my post about robotics companies survey) One more note regarding the antenna.... no EA/GA will tell you, then you need an antenna to receive a signal... first you have to invent the antenna (including materials the antenna is made of). Then, eventually, you can optimize the shape of that antenna. Moreover, as far as i know, this antenna was designed for NASA spacecraft. That means, it is a single piece(s). No mass production. It is very possible, when there would be a need to manufacture such an antenna in large amounts, engineers would revert to more simple antenna design to lower the production costs, and ignore EA/GA results (and still have a pretty good antenna) martin_r
ET at 87, More fiction. I think most people reading have no idea how actual engineering and design works in the real world. It is now possible to create a realistic image of a new truck design, project it and then invite prospective buyers in to get their views. In one case, a pickup truck was rejected because the grille looked "too girly." The engineers and designers had to translate that into English so they could make the necessary changes, which they did. Producing a grille that was more manly. Replace engineers with programs and Target will go out of business. relatd
ET at 73, Engineers have been doing work like this for decades and the people in charge want to take away their jobs so they can give it to machines and pocket the money. Clueless. How will anyone buy anything from Target? relatd
Even a spreadsheet typically contains formulas to calculate values in other columns. Such spreadsheets are visually and mathematically indistinguishable from generated ones. BUT . . . The intelligence to create them ultimately traces back to an intelligent agent, the ultimate SOURCE of information. -Q Querius
In robotics, genetic algorithms are used to provide insight into the decisions a robot has to make. For instance, given an environment, suppose a robot has to get to a specific position using the least amount of resources. Genetic algorithms are used to generate optimal routes the robot could use to get to the desired position. ET
Genetic algorithms are used to derive designs of automobiles that satisfy constraints such as low fuel consumption. ET
Sensor Data Processing Using Genetic Algorithms ET
Well said. I would like to know, if Dr. Behe believes that humans are here by accident …
Unlike you and Relatd, Behe understands what "evolution" means. You 2 don't seem to have a clue. ET
Wow. Willful ignorance is not an argument. Looking at Martin_r and Relatd Novel design of a dual-frequency power divider using genetic algorithms Whoops! an invention that evolved! Add that to the antenna that also evolved. ET
Turing test? No comprende.
as to AI hype: "The rise of 'pseudo-AI': how tech firms quietly use humans to do bots' work" https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/06/artificial-intelligence-ai-humans-bots-tech-companies AI joke: How to start an AI startup 1. Hire a bunch of minimum wage humans to pretend to be AI pretending to be human 2. Wait for AI to be invented martin_r
Evolution: Human beings are here by accident. That’s it.
Well said. I would like to know, if Dr. Behe believes that humans are here by accident ... martin_r
My apologies. I thought that you could read. You clearly don't know how to use the internet. My bad. ET
Inventions don’t “evolve.” Never have. Things are made to satisfy a usually urgent need.
Touche. ET argues with some scientific articles. I am sorry to say it again, but he sounds like a Darwinist. martin_r
ET, like i said, you sound like a Darwinist, you keep referring me to some articles. Please show me physical products (like the antenna) engineered using an evo/genetic algorithm. martin_r
The point is that genetic algorithms exemplify evolution by means of telic processes. ET
ET Applications for genetic algorithms. A company I worked for used them for programming FPGAs. And there is Product-form design model based on genetic algorithms
So you worked with algorithms ...but you forgot to mention : 1.Repeated fitness function evaluation for complex problems is often the most prohibitive and limiting segment of artificial evolutionary algorithms. ... 2.Genetic algorithms do not scale well with complexity. 3. Goal and randomness don't fit together. Ok. Me think like a weasel algorithms another darwinian "evidence" for evolution. What they call "genetic algorithms" is nothing more than a numerical method with no relation with complexity that exists in the cell . Darwinists tried to escape the insuperable problem of existence of information with another trick trying to mingle Darwin's randomness with functional information and achievement of a goal that wasn't there :) but just happened . Indeed algorithms work in a limited class of problems but have nothing to do with the complexity of the cell . Lieutenant Commander Data
ET @75, Exactly! Anyone who has ever done any programming would know this. The information, logic, computations, and scope of responses that a program is capable of, exists first in the mind of the programmer, who articulates it in a form that is followed by a microprocessor, whether it's in a military guidance system or a programmed sale on the stock exchange or a red flag in a tax return. I don't think anyone seriously proposes that such programs might "evolve" through random changes in the bits even after being filtered by a natural selection mechanism. -Q Querius
Machines are not an extension of intelligence. They have nothing that was not programmed in.
Umm, that they have what was programmed into them means it is an extension of the intelligence of the programmer. ET
Inventions don’t “evolve.” Never have. Things are made to satisfy a usually urgent need.
The Scientific American article refutes you. Reality refutes you. ET
Seriously? Let’s go the even more complicated route? I don’t think so.
Clueless. They went the route that worked. ET
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