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Panda’s Thumb Richard Hoppe forgot about Humpty Zombie

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The fallacious results of the Avida computer simulation were used in the infamous Kitmiller vs. Dover trial to argue in favor of Darwinian evolution. Using the evidence from the Avida simulation and other testimony, Judge Jones ruled that it is illegal to contest Darwinism for all time. Prosecution witness Robert Pennock claimed in sworn testimony that Avida solved the problem of Irreducible Complexity (IC).

Unfortunately the incompetent defense team wasn’t privy to later discoveries by me and Richard Hoppe, namely, that Avida offers solutions to the OOL problem and predicts the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse through cosmic radiation. It would have been read more

6 Replies to “Panda’s Thumb Richard Hoppe forgot about Humpty Zombie

  1. 1
    Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, Sal. I remember some of your critique, but hadn’t followed closely the whole saga. Interesting history.

    Avida, if anything, far from refuting Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity, actually confirmed it. The authors themselves noted the issue, but then blew it off, knowing that the Hoppes of the world would either bury the issue or completely miss it in their zeal.

    I penned a semi-long critique of Avida a while back as well.

    Avida, of course, demonstrated what every computer program ever written since the dawn of time demonstrates: If you program a computer to do X, it will do X.

    Not impressive.

    Amusingly, the proof is in the pudding. It seems no-one is using a Darwinian-style program to actually do anything significant. Why do companies keep spending all that cash on programmers and designers? Shoot, surely with all the computing resources available we should have evolutionary algorithms cranking out novel, functional apps and programs and designs and products. It should be way cheaper than hiring actual people to do the job.*

    —–

    * No, Dear Reader. Things like the oft-cited antenna are not legitimate examples of Darwinian principles in action. Iterative design, with carefully selected and pre-programmed goals and parameters, is most definitely not Darwinian in nature.

  2. 2
    Blue_Savannah says:

    This is why academic freedom is a MUST! Had you not found this bug (‘feature’) in the program, this would have went unchallenged for who knows how long. No wonder so many think darwin’s ‘theory’ has an alleged ‘mountain of evidence’ supporting it.

  3. 3
    gpuccio says:

    Sal:

    Very good point.

    Random Variation + Intelligent Selection can do a lot of things. RV + NS can do almost nothing.

    The simple reason is that IS (or DS, Designed Selection, as you call it) introduces the elements of knowledge, understanding, meaning and purpose, which are not present in NS. That’s a very big difference! It’s exactly the difference between designed systems and non designed systems.

    The powers of RV + IS are obvious in protein engineering, just to give an example.

    That’s why darwinists take IS and just deny it is there, or simply pretend that it is a simulation of NS. That’s one of their biggest lies.

    The famous Szostak paper about the “evolution” of an ATP binding protein by RV + IS is a perfect example of that strategy, as I have argued many times here. Avida is another good example.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Judge Jones was/is a dupe.

    Just sayin’ (Captain Obvious)

  5. 5
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mung @5:

    Avida was touted as having demonstrated that irreducibly complex features can be created through purely natural Darwinian processes, thus refuting Behe. This was touted by the authors of the famous paper, as well as numerous anti-ID commentators.

    Avida demonstrated no such thing. The whole experience was an exercise in irrelevance (at best) or deception (at worst).

    Furthermore, one of the most important takeaways of the famous published Avida simulation actually supported Behe’s position, but was carefully swept under the rug.

  6. 6
    Eric Anderson says:

    Well, without getting too hung up on terms, I think I understand what Sal means.

    A computer will do whatever it is programmed to do. So we could perhaps quibble over whether the “results” themselves were fallacious.

    Or perhaps it was the reasoning that went into the program, or the reasoning that went into explaining the results. Certainly the results were misrepresented and misinterpreted — not that any of the researchers lied about specific programmatic outcomes, mind you, but in the sense that their claims of what the results demonstrated, what Avida allegedly proved, went way beyond the mark.

    There was plenty of fallacious thinking going on in the whole exercise, both in thinking they had modeled a Darwinian-type situation that might possibly have anything to do with the real world, as well as in thinking that the results had refuted a central tenet of ID.

    —–

    As to the other comment, yes, I am hoping to post something soon. I’m afraid it will be rather simplistic at this point, but might perhaps get the ball rolling on a discussion. I’m out of town this weekend, but maybe next week we can kick off a humble starter-post on Shannon.

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