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If We Understand It, Then It’s Design!

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The following is a short article I ran into at DesignParadigm.blogsome.com. We are continually asked: “Who is this Designer?” I suggest reading the article carefully and critically, having this question in mind. A conclusion that I draw from my reading is this: if biological life developed via evolutionary algorithms, then we shouldn’t be able to figure it out. Conversely, then, if we can figure it out (which we are doing more and more of each day), then we’re looking at something that was designed. In other words, if you want ‘alien’ code, then simply ‘evolve’ a computer program using evolutionary algorithms.

Many of the most interesting problems in computer science, nano-technology, and synthetic biology require the construction of complex systems. But how would we build a really complex system — such as a general artificial intelligence (AI) that exceeded human intelligence?

Designed systems offer predictability, efficiency, and control. Their subsystems are easily understood, which allows their reuse in different contexts. But designed systems also tend to break easily, and they have conquered only simple problems so far. Compare, for example, Microsoft code and biological code: Word is larger than the human genome.

By contrast, evolved systems demonstrate that simple, iterative algorithms, distributed over time and space, can accumulate design and create complexity that is robust, resilient, and well adapted to its environment. In fact, biological evolution provides the only “existence proof” that an algorithm can produce complexity transcending that of its antecedents. Biological evolution is so inspiring that engineers have mimicked its operations in areas such as genetic programming, artificial life, and the iterative training of neural networks.


What is needed as a model for evolution is a program which can seek by reasonable saltational means to find the final product which must be contained in the initial program. It is my carefully considered opinion that the terminal product is Homo sapiens, apparently the yougest mammal to appear, no longer than 100,000 years ago. If there is a newer mammal species I welcome the evidence. I'm all ears. "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable." John A. Davison John A. Davison
Ohhh groooovy, in relation to this post, everyone might really enjoy this link: Synthetic Biology: new engineering rules for an emerging discipline. http://www.nature.com/msb/journal/v2/n1/full/msb4100073.html "It is useful to apply many existing standards for engineering from well-established fields, including software and electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering, to synthetic biology. Methods and criteria such as standardization, abstraction, modularity, predictability, reliability, and uniformity greatly increase the speed and tractability of design. However, care must be taken in directly adopting accepted methods and criteria to the engineering of biology. We must keep in mind what makes synthetic biology different from all previous engineering disciplines." Exciting stuffff!!! Not sure industrial engineers however would agree that its different from an organizational standpoint if you look at the individual human as a "living cell" in the overall manufacturing process. There are so many juicy and quotable text :) Michaels7
/Trace on PaV, the link below in regards to Systems Biology and Integration of sciences to unlock the molecular world of genetics may be an interesting discussion on where ID will travel. http://www.nature.com/msb/journal/v2/n1/full/msb4100080.html BTW, your link is broken pointing back to this post. "Thus, if we evolve a complex system, it is a black box defined by its interfaces. We cannot easily apply our design intuition to the improvement of its inner workings. We can't even partition its subsystems without a serious effort at reverse-engineering. And until we can understand the interfaces between partitions, we can't hope to transfer a subsystem from one evolved complex system to another." This is nonsense. Its not a blackbox if we create it. We can trace dump any existing computer generated algorithm with a thousand external interfaces. Any basic programmer understands this. Any engineer knows they can hardcore dump the chip registers. He's confusing the world of microbiology which we do not yet fully understand due to limits of technology with that of computer generated evolutionary algorithms that we most certainly can trace step by step thru the entire process and determine each subsystem interface, each turn, each new creative information that would lead to any new sort routine. Whenever I wrote code in the past, a dump file was sometimes required of all memory during certain run points. You can do this for an entire run. You can create output to produce step by step reports. Anything we create we control. It would create a huge trace file undoubtedly for every single step, but is only limited by memory or space allocations, not our intellectual inability to trace it. Trace off/ geesh.... MIT Tech review? I expect better. Michaels7
"In other words, if you want ‘alien’ code, then simply ‘evolve’ a computer program using evolutionary algorithms." In the case of ID and NDE, I don't see how this is valid argument since we would have to know the level of intelligence of the designer. I would expect that he/she/they/it would be vastly superior to human intelligence. At very least it's an open question. mike1962

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