Evolution Intelligent Design

Golem (Genetically Organized Lifelike Electro Mechanics)

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Does the following point up disconfirming evidence against the creative power of unguided evolutionary processes? What has become of this project to vindicate standard evolutionary theory?

The golem@Home project has concluded. After accumulating several Million CPU hours on this project and reviewing many evolved creatures we have concluded that merely more CPU is not sufficient to evolve complexity: The evolutionary process appears to be hitting a complexity barrier that is not traversable using direct mutation-selection processes, due to the exponential nature of the problem. We are now developing new theories about additional mechanisms that are necessary for the synthetic evolution of complex life forms. Some of these new mechanisms are based on ideas of modularity, regularity, hierarchy, symbiosis and co-evolution. These ideas are resulting in a new generation of artificial-life systems. If you are interested in our developments, please follow our recent publications at Brandeis DEMO Lab and Cornell CAD Lab. We thank the more than 30,000 participants for their assistance, and hope it was an enlightening experience.

SOURCE: GO HERE

35 Replies to “Golem (Genetically Organized Lifelike Electro Mechanics)

  1. 1
    shaner74 says:

    “The evolutionary process appears to be hitting a complexity barrier that is not traversable using direct mutation-selection processes…additional mechanisms that are necessary for the synthetic evolution of complex life forms.”

    ok, help me out cause I’m not too bright, but is this essentially saying that life via RM + NS is impossible according to their data?

  2. 2
    Atom says:

    “we have concluded that merely more CPU is not sufficient to evolve complexity”

    Substitute “more time” for “more CPU” and you’ll finally understand why we’re skeptical regarding NDE.

    Great find Dr. Dembski.

    I guess Mount Improbable is becoming more and more unclimbable the more we discover and test.

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    After accumulating several Million CPU hours on this project and reviewing many evolved creatures we have concluded that merely more CPU is not sufficient to evolve complexity: The evolutionary process appears to be hitting a complexity barrier that is not traversable using direct mutation-selection processes, due to the exponential nature of the problem.

    What a surprise.

    Not.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    SCheesman says:

    “We thank the more than 30,000 participants for their assistance, and hope it was an enlightening experience.”

    If it actually provides enlightenment, then perhaps it was a worthwhile experiment; if only the authors would elaborate on exactly what they meant by this!

  6. 6
  7. 7
    JGuy says:

    It hit a complexity barrier. Hmmm.. interesting.

    Maybe, they forgot to program in sexual selection pressures. 😛

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    Hey, this doesn’t count. It would have been front page news if it had worked, but failure just means that they did something wrong. After all, if there is randomness + selection, evolution will inevitably happen, right?

  9. 9
    j says:

    We are now developing new theories about additional mechanisms that are necessary for the synthetic evolution of complex life forms.

    = “We are now intelligently designing (further).”

  10. 10
    dacook says:

    Dang.
    Now they’re going to have to design a new program to disprove design.

  11. 11
    franky172 says:

    The program was not without interesting results – see:
    http://www.demo.cs.brandeis.ed...../arrow.mpg

  12. 12
    dacook says:

    Actually, and more seriously, I think they deserve credit for a program which was allowed to fail. Contrast Dawkins’ “methinks it is like a weasel” program which was set up from the start to progress to a defined end-point, then be very misleadingly claimed to have demonstrated the success of randomness at producing information.

  13. 13
    contrachronos says:

    From the Golem Project:

    Creatures born on your computer are copyrighted to you according to the contact information you provide at installation or at the advanced settings identification tab. They will carry your ownership information during their entire life span, even when they leave your computer.

    The screen saver attributes the “creatures” to a creator. It’s too bad Darwinians are not willing to do the same in this computer program we call Life. Instead of searching for an intelligent proprietor of life they have decided that there isn’t one. Maybe in fear of what they may find?

    I don’t disagree with Darwinians that all creatures have a common descent. Of course they do. They have the same creator. The “missing links” between creatures on Earth are the thoughts between the actions of an intelligent agent. No magic here. No reason to act upon every thought; just the ones that matter.

  14. 14
    DaveScot says:

    Patrick

    I think Alison would make a wonderful evolutionary biologist. She doesn’t know WTF she’s talking about but pretends that she does. That’s all the qualities needed. As a bonus she might be able to make coffee, fold clothes, and other domestic chores in between making “big discoveries” in the evolution of life, curing cancer, and things of that nature.

  15. 15
    Jehu says:

    The project did get lots of media attention when it succeeded in evolving that arrow robot.

    http://helen.cs-i.brandeis.edu/golem/press.html

  16. 16
    Jehu says:

    LOL! Look at this take on the GOLEM project

    “I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil,” Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy wrote in the widely circulating essay “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” published in Wired magazine in April. Joy’s fears center on the danger of intelligent machines “hugely amplified by the power of self-replication.”

    Maybe Alison should contact Bill Joy and let him know it is just a “screen saver.”

    BTW the “screen saver” was apparently considered a significant enough experiment to be worthy of publication in Nature. http://helen.cs-i.brandeis.edu...../SciAm.pdf

  17. 17
    niwrad says:

    “We are now developing [designing] … additional mechanisms [designs] that are necessary for the synthetic evolution of complex life forms … based on ideas of modularity [design], regularity [design], hierarchy [design]…”

    After all they are trying to disprove Intelligent Design.

  18. 18
    LudwigK says:

    I think it’s important to note that this project ended about 6 years ago. And as the authors recognize, it’s not a problem with evolution but with their simplified model.

    Their approach was to evolve the actual form, the phenotype, so to speak. This is what one would expect from a design perspective: an intelligent creator focuses on the desired product.

    However, it is the opposite of what happens in biological evolution, where the replicators that are being selected for do not specify the actual form but guide the interactions that produce that form — more like a recipe than a blueprint. Unlike a blueprint, a recipe can often be improved upon by trial and error.

    If you follow the link to their more recent research you see that they are focusing on devising better computational models of biological processes.

  19. 19
    tb says:

    Dave Patrick Jehu
    Did you guys actually read the heading on Alisons’ blog?

    Semi-Dangerous When Thinking

    Enough said!

    LOL

  20. 20
    tribune7 says:

    I hope Allison doesn’t think when she drives. Then it would be fully dangerous thinking.

  21. 21
    jb says:

    I’m curious. Has anyone ever attempted to study whether computer viruses mutate on their own (i.e., withouth programmer intervention)? And if they do, do the effects ruin the virus or give it new characteristics beneficial to the virus. Seems like it would be an interesting case study. Most of the “mutations” I’ve heard about seem to be the result of hackers trying out new tricks, but I’ve not researched it to verify that assumption.

  22. 22
    Joseph says:

    Canned response:

    All this shows is we are not as clever as Mother Nature, Father Time and the blind watchmaker.

  23. 23
    JasonTheGreek says:

    Poor Allison. I went through her first few posts, and she makes this claim of UD and ID in general:

    “They like to claim that their opponents don’t understand ID, while it is clear that their understanding of ID arises from a deliberate, massive misunderstanding of science in general and evolution in particular. It’s common to see the “if man came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys” argument, as well as challenges to explain the origin of life itself with evolution. “

    First- I’ve NEVER heard anyone here at UD or any ID proponent claim that ‘man didn’t come from monkeys, because there are still monkeys.’ She made that up out of thin air.

    Furthermore- she says in another post that the “designer” is the Biblical God and the proof is Biblical evidence. I read this blog quite often, and have noticed many things…one of these things is that the editor (davescot) isn’t a Christian. Many others here aren’t Christians either. Steve Fuller, I believe is an agnostic. There are many that have commented here that they have no use for the Bible. A cuple of weeks ago, there were many who posted they’d never use the Bible as a source of morality.

    That all alone proves her wrong, and proves she’s making up nonsense. She clearly doesn’t even read the site very closely to conclude that ID= Biblical creationism.

    Finally- she complains that some here mentioned God or the Bible, and that Bill better hurry and delete the comments, lest people think ID- Biblical creationism.

    This argument makes no sense. Double standard with Allison, I see. She links to PZ Myers who uses Darwinism nearly daily to claim it supports his atheism. Sam Harris used NDE to claim atheistic support, as does Dawkins. In Allison’s world, no one is allowed to have personal worldviews that might be supported by ID, yet the two being totally disconnected in evidence.

    She’ll surely keep setting up the strawman and knocking them down on her nifty site there.

    Someone should let her reply here to explain her claims in the face of the above evidence I just presented that crushed her claims. If the main editor is an agnostic who doesn’t think the Bible is a good source of morality- how does ID=Biblical creationism. Where, oh where, has she seen ID proponents claim that man can’t come from “monkeys” since there are still monkeys? Behe himself, who has NO problem with common descent, disproves this bogus claim!

    I’d love to see her wriggle her way out of so many distortions and misrepresentations!

  24. 24
    DaveScot says:

    Ludwig

    it’s not a problem with evolution but with their simplified model.

    Well, yeah. RM+NS is a simplified model of evolution and it’s obviously wrong. That’s pretty much the whole point here on this blog. Design requires a designer.

    If you follow the link to their more recent research you see that they are focusing on devising better computational models of biological processes.

    With similar lack of success.

  25. 25
    bFast says:

    LudwigK, “it’s not a problem with evolution but with their simplified model.”

    We have a bit of a problem right here. Either the simple model RM+NS, easily works, or it only works under very precise parameters.

    If any scenerio that involves: reproduction, random input that may be beneficial, selection produces increased complexity, then this experiment should well have worked.

    If there are significantly more tuned characteristics required before evolution begins to happen, then at best we arrive at life by “law”.

    If the natural world evolved because a whole mass of very precise conditions were met, then, as Denton suggests, the strong anthropic principle applies. The strong anthropic principle is clearly an ID position.

  26. 26
    Patrick says:

    Either the simple model RM+NS, easily works, or it only works under very precise parameters.

    I think that puts the discussion in the best context. By now it’s pretty obvious that it only works under certain conditions and as such that is why the TOE is being extended to include additional mechanisms. Whether those are enough is the real question.

  27. 27
    bFast says:

    Patrick, “that is why the TOE is being extended to include additional mechanisms.”

    I have not found a single additional “mechanism” in the TOE yet. Could you please expound on what these additional mechanisms are?

  28. 28
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    Patrick, DaveScot, Jehu, tb,

    Alison said: “It proves Intelligent Design like a pocket watch in a wheat field.”

    Um, this may crush Alison’s brilliant thoughts, but a pocket watch in a wheat field would be a direct, fully verifiable, and undeniable demonstration of intelligent design.

    I tried to login and address this question to her, but her site wouldn’t email me a password.

    I think her writing needs some random mutations, maybe that will help her find some statements that are semantically logical.

  29. 29
    kengee says:

    Davescot and bFast you both should know better. The fact that a computer model doesn’t work, generally says more about the programmer then the system it’s trying to model. It’s very hard to make a computer model of a system you don’t fully understand. Just look at climate models and weather predictors. At least these guys are trying out their theory in public. Let us know when your computer model showing complex can’t arise is ready for public review.

  30. 30
    bFast says:

    Kangee, let’s rehearse my response. Either RM+NS=Evolution is a very simple law of nature, or the parameters required to make RM+NS work are precise. All this experiment proves is that there are ways of implementing RM+NS that don’t produce evolution. However, this disproves the universality of the RM+NS=Evolution equation.

    If RM+NS=Evolution is true, then any computer model that allows for reproduction, simulated random input, and method of selection should demonstrate evolution. The simulation described above was carefully engineered to do exactly that. It failed. Therefore RM+NS=Evolution is an oversimplification.

    If RM+NS=Evolution is oversimplified, if there are multiple characteristics that must be “just right”, then we are struck by the strong anthropic principle, ie ID.

  31. 31
    Patrick says:

    I have not found a single additional “mechanism” in the TOE yet. Could you please expound on what these additional mechanisms are?

    You know, EvoDevo, homeotic genes, acquisition and fusion of genomes, etc. Personally I think discussing RM+NS is like beating a dead horse even though there’s still many Darwinists that support it. I’d rather move onto discussing these supposed “engines of variation”. I have a feeling they’ll get more popular so think of it as a pre-emptive strike. 😉

    Oh, and for those who never noticed it I put together an OE article a while back that is relevant to this topic:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidenc.....k/ga_chess

  32. 32
    LudwigK says:

    Dave,

    There are two levels at which GOLEM was too simplified. One is, as you mention, that it used only RM+NS, which is adequate for evolution in general but not for modelling biological evolution, which includes a lot of other mechanisms. The RM+NS model is Darwinism, and it is about a hundred years outdated.

    The other level is that the GOLEM authors used a designer approach. Their simulated genes coded directly for features, such as joints and bars, on the simulated organisms. The complexity they could reach was thus limited by the limited number of features used. If you specify a given number of arms and legs you can never get an eyelash. Biological evolution works at a much lower level, and genes are very distant from arms and eyelashes. This allows for a huge number of features available in the phenotype because these features correspond to combinations of genes. If instead of, say, 10 genes coding for 10 traits, GOLEM had used 10 genes that built traits in combinations of 3 they would have 1000 traits available with the same number of genes. The ratio in biological systems is generally much higher than this.

    Bfast,

    At the fundamental level, evolution is chemistry. You cannot have a simple RM+NS=evolution model because the system is very complex. It’s like space exploration, or weather forecasting, or polymer chemistry, or nuclear power stations. Complex systems require complex models even if the underlying natural laws are the simple chemistry and physics laws. And yes, as it generally happens in chemistry, you need the right ingredients in the right amounts to get the right results.

    Also, any model that includes RM+NS does demonstrate evolution. Gene frequencies in the population change over time and the performance in whatever is being selected for increases. However, performance will stop increasing once the limit of the model is approached. And the same probably happens in biological evolution. Organisms can only be so fast, so strong, so quick to reproduce, and so complex. There is no reason to assume that biological evolution has no limits – it just has limits far beyond the limits of a simple model that puts together a few simple pieces.

  33. 33
    DaveScot says:

    ludwig

    There are two levels at which GOLEM was too simplified. One is, as you mention, that it used only RM+NS, which is adequate for evolution in general but not for modelling biological evolution, which includes a lot of other mechanisms. The RM+NS model is Darwinism, and it is about a hundred years outdated.

    Precisely what are these “lot of other mechanisms” and which of them do not depend on random mutation as the ultimate source of variation?

    You’re flat wrong about Darwinism. NS is Darwinism. RM+NS is NeoDarwinism or The Modern Synthesis and its beginnings were about 70 years ago and it was fully fleshed out in the gene centric theory less than 50 years ago when Francis Crick came up with the central dogma of molecular biology.

    Maybe you should read more and write less, Ludwig, until you get more of the basics down.

    GOLEM was a wonderfully illustrative failure. It illustrated the bottlenecks in complexity that are hit when you design without being able to use abstraction. Trial and error techniques with feedback, which is precisely what all natural (unintelligent) evolutionary mechanisms are, with every kind of feedback, cheating, and importing of information mechanism that generations of exceedingly bright engineers and programmers could imagine, have been used to further Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM). Perhaps the toughest job undertaken with the biggest reward for improvements is printed circuit board layout. Thousands upon thousands of interconnections in 3 dimensions, a virtually infinite number of possibilities, and no way at all to find the most optimal routing pattern. Even WITH a human guiding the best auto-routers it’s a tough job and the heck of it is that a PCB isn’t anywhere near as complex as bacterial DNA and a ribosome.

    What GOLEM managed to design with the simple goal of moving the fastest across a flat plane is laughable. It didn’t even invent the wheel. How pitiful is that?

  34. 34
    Patrick says:

    I think that getting Darwinists to admit that biological reality is not as simple as the old paradigm is quite a victory in itself. Instead they must retreat to a highly complex set of interacting mechanisms working in a chaotic system. Never mind that research into these proposed mechanisms has just barely begun and evidence is currently lacking. Does it hurt that much to admit that their case is currently lacking but they believe additional research will bare fruit?

  35. 35
    Jehu says:

    Does it hurt that much to admit that their case is currently lacking but they believe additional research will bare fruit?

    Yes.

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