I wish to respond to some questions Dave Thomas posted at: Design Challenge Results: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Evolution is Smarter than You AreÃ¢â‚¬Â . This is a continuation of several threads:
Dave Thomas says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“CordovaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s algorithm is remarkableÃ¢â‚¬Â
Kudos to George Atkinson, Bram de Beer, Paul Flocken, Virgil Keys, Alex Labram, Mike McCants, Ray Spurlin and Kim Van der Linde for nailing it [ideal solution], and showing us that the answer to this tricky problem can indeed be obtained via Intelligent Design!
Kudos for finding this solution [1st approximation] go to Roy Thearle, Ray Spurlin, Duncan Buell, Kevin Vicklund, Matthew Vonk, and Salvador Cordova (our official IDM respondent). At a length of 1596.3 units, this shape is only 0.6% longer than the [ideal] formal Steiner solution!
I’m actually pleasantly surprised mine came so close to being optimal!
Dave asks a question:
The first is, why did Salvador go the conventional route, finding web pages that discussed Steiner Trees or Fermat Points, and using trigonometry and algebra, like our other Designers? Why didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Salvador instead simply go get the answer from the Fortran listing of my genetic algorithm,
The answer is complex software doesn’t give the answer without running it (unless of course one’s brain is equipped with a compiler and appropriate hardware), and since I don’t have a fortran compiler on my computer to run Dave’s software, I didn’t run his software to get the answer and instead chose to give it a shot on my own.
Why didn’t I derive the answer from the code snippet? The computer software outlines a strategy that entails many (possibly thousands) of computations. Because such an approach is tedious, the humans attempt to find shortcuts using far fewer calculations. Thus I wasn’t about to recreate the algorithmic process of his software by hand. That’s why I didn’t derive it from the code snippet.
And if Thomas boasts that he reversed engineered my software, that’s more because I chose something that can be succinctly described. I even gave a narrative describing how it works, plus the program boils down to a compact formula :
where SUM(i) is the sum total of all integers, i = 1, 2, 3, …. 1000
His program can not be alternatively expressed in such compact form. Thus he is again being disingenuous by demanding that I describe his code in the same way he described mine, since his cannot achieve such a compact expression as mine.
Dave Thomas wrote:
What is it going to be like having to go to Bill Dembksi and admit that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve learned the hard way of the true meaning of what Daniel Dennett terms Leslie OrgelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Second Law: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Evolution is smarter than you areÃ¢â‚¬Å“?
Thomas has proven no such thing, neither Dennett nor Orgel. Computers can compute certain things faster than us, that is why they exist to help us. For Thomas to argue that evolution is smarter than humans because computers can compute faster than humans is a non-sequitur.
Is an adding machine (or simple hand calculator) smarter than us because it can compute square roots in a flash? No. Intelligence creates adding machines, not the other way around.
Intelligence created the computers and software which enabled the creation of genetic algorithms on computers. Because computers came into existence via human intelligence, in the formal sense, they can’t be said to be smarter than us, because we made them, and never the other way around. Thus the “evolution” in the computer simulation, though faster at computing answers, is not smarter than us, since it was through human intelligence these evolutionary algorithms in the computer came into existence in the first place.
Even after a weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth of effort, you still couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find the correct Answer. You were close, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Charlie Darwin (along with some very Intelligent Designers) who got the cigar.
For Thomas to suggest that I spent an entire week is highly disingenuous, as that is not what I was spending time on for an entire week. But even if it did take me a week because I wasn’t as quick as the others on his website, it’s highly uncharitable to dismiss someone who invested time attempting to respond to his formal request. I credit the others who gave speedy answers. I devoted a few hours on and off to reading his posts and finding information on the internet about this topic, and dusting off some of my trig skills. Thomas should be a little more courteous to people attempting to respond to his formal request and who take the time to study his material and the topic at hand in order to respond to his question. But then trying to belittle me by saying his computers were faster than me at figuring out an answer is bad form on his part, par for Panda behavior.
In any case it was intelligent agents or intelligent agents acting through intelligently designed systems that solved the problem. To claim that it was undesigned Darwinian evolution that solved it is doublespeak given the fact that the evolutionary algorithm was designed.
I predict thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be some Ã¢â‚¬ËœsplaininÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to do backstage at Uncommon Descent.
No backstage explaining to do. The little puzzle Thomas offered was amusing. It only shows that computers can compute faster than humans and that some at Pandas thumb can connect dots with lines better than others. What he didn’t prove was mindless undesigned agents can create Genetic Algorithms from scratch.