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Testing Darwinism

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posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 11:24 AM
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Just came across the rather lengthly article, read about half-way through and its rather interesting. They are actually trying to actively test Darwinism through self-evolving computer algorithims.



Testing Darwinism
If you want to find alien life-forms, hold off on booking that trip to the moons of Saturn. You may only need to catch a plane to East Lansing, Michigan.

The aliens of East Lansing are not made of carbon and water. They have no DNA. Billions of them are quietly colonizing a cluster of 200computers in the basement of the Plant and Soil Sciences building at Michigan State University. To peer into their world, however, you have to walk a few blocks west on Wilson Road to the engineering department and visit the Digital Evolution Laboratory. Here you'll find a crew of computer scientists, biologists, and even a philosopher or two gazing at computer monitors, watching the evolution of bizarre new life-forms.

These are digital organisms-strings of commands-akin to computer viruses. Each organism can produce tens of thousands of copies of itself within a matter of minutes. Unlike computer viruses, however, they are made up of digital bits that can mutate in much the same way DNA mutates. A software program called Avida allows researchers to track the birth, life, and death of generation after generation of the digital organisms by scanning columns of numbers that pour down a computer screen like waterfalls.


I know I'm going to get flamed for this comment but I believe that these tests along with Richard Lenski's work with watching bacteria evolve by tightly restricting thier diet, is just another nail in the coffin of "Creationism". I believe we are close to proving Darwin was right once and for all, and we can stop calling Evolution just a Theory, but a Fact. Not there yet though so I guess there is still some debating left to be done.




posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 11:47 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
is just another nail in the coffin of "Creationism".

Darwin seemed to have done a good enough job of that in his own lifetime.

I believe we are close to proving Darwin was right once and for all

Darwin's theory can not be proven right; its a scientific theory. One can't prove it right.

, and we can stop calling Evolution just a Theory, but a Fact.

Theories, no matter how well tested, can't become facts.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

Theories, no matter how well tested, can't become facts.


Well, that's not really correct. There is a point where a theory can be proven. Then, of course, it can no longer be called a theory.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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Thats your opinion however I disagree. I happen to remember two theories that were proven to be a fact. 1. The Earth orbits the Sun 2. The Earth is Round not Flat

Both Theories were opposed by the Established "Conventional Wisdom" at the time, sometimes violently. I believe Evolution can become a fact allthough the Theory itself will be different from the facts and laws that makes it into the textbooks. Only Theories that cannot be tested can't be proven IMHO. EDIT: Like the Big Bang theory, I have no Idea how we could test that without causing the death of all life in the Universe


[edit on 19-1-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 04:31 PM
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I read this article too. I don't see how it 'proves' evolution. IMO, this article does more to advance the idea of intelligent design as opposed to advancing evolution.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
I read this article too. I don't see how it 'proves' evolution. IMO, this article does more to advance the idea of intelligent design as opposed to advancing evolution.


I'm not saying it proves evolution(my exact wording was that they were "close" but that is a relative term when dealing with science), I'm just saying it could go down the road to proving it. As for your other comment about it supporting "intelligent design" you're welcome to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. For one thing, you read the part about the Microbiologist and his experiments right? Did you happen to miss the part where he said the results of the Program were similiar to his experiments(in how the progress went in fits and starts as well as small steady improvements over time)? How does that give more credence to Creationism? I have yet to read the article in its entirety yet so please point me to the point where the Creationism "evidance" is at ok?



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 05:15 PM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
I read this article too. I don't see how it 'proves' evolution. IMO, this article does more to advance the idea of intelligent design as opposed to advancing evolution.

Originally posted by sardion2000
As for your other comment about it supporting "intelligent design" you're welcome to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. For one thing, you read the part about the Microbiologist and his experiments right?

When I say I read the article, that's what I mean, therefore I read the section that referred to the work of which you speak.


Did you happen to miss the part where he said the results of the Program were similiar to his experiments(in how the progress went in fits and starts as well as small steady improvements over time)?

Again, this goes along with having read the article. It is nice to have your experiments confirmed by a secondary source.



How does that give more credence to Creationism?

Who said anything about Creationism. I said I think this article lends more support to intelligent design theories than to evolution. Intelligent Design doesn't necessarily have religious implications. Panspermia technically would fall under the idea of ID, which distinctly avoids any religious implications. Because Creationist movements latch on to ID, and because some proponents of ID are religious doesn't mean that ID absolutely is associated with creationism.


I have yet to read the article in its entirety yet so please point me to the point where the Creationism "evidance" is at ok?

The entire article is a monument to intelligent design. The PI designed a computer program consisting of digital organisms. Perhaps you missed the part in the beginning of the article that stated "After more than a decade of development, Avida's digital organisms are now getting close to fulfilling the definition of biological life." These guys tinkered around with or 'designed' these organisms to do what they want, specifically to 'evolve.' Hence, this entire system is devised via the intelligent input of human beings. None of these types of experiments, including Kaufmann's much lauded 'self organization' demonstrations, operate without intelligent input. If they really wanted to 'get close to proving evolution' with a computer algorithm, they need to have a coherent algorithim 'evolve' from completely meaningless code. Only an experiment such as this would support the theory of evolution via computer algorithims. The moment you add a person in there, writing code with a specific purpose, you cease to test a random process like evolution, and test an intelligence driven process like ID.

Perhaps you can explain how a computer program, designed with a specific purpose, specifically, the demonstration of evolution, tweaked and refined for more than a decade is support for the completely random and non-goal oriented process described by Darwin and other evolutionists? All it proves is that with intelligent input, you can design 'evolving' digital organisms... hardly support for evolution.

Please note: This is NOT an endorsement for ID.



posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 07:38 AM
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this poses a ethical question, what if those digital organisms evolve into something much like ourselfs... do we just pull the plug? (even if its just a primitive form from many billions of years ago?)

what if we ourselfs are those digital organisms only evolved on a alien computer...



personally id like to know what the specs are in the computer god uses.. (potentially the computer we are digital organisms from....
)

kidding....but hey what if eh...



posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 08:03 AM
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Originally posted by jupiter869

Originally posted by Nygdan

Theories, no matter how well tested, can't become facts.


Well, that's not really correct. There is a point where a theory can be proven. Then, of course, it can no longer be called a theory.

This is simply not true. Theories, no matter how well corroborated, allways have the possibility of being disproven. Any of the experimental results that supported it could've been done in error. Or there could simply be a whole different sort of phenomenon out there. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is very well supported, its never failed the tests that its been put to and its very well corroborated. It is not, however, a fact. Similarly, Newton's theory of gravity, as 'obviously correct' as it is, and as well supported as it is, is not a fact, it remians a theory. Any number of things could occur that would demonstrate it to be false. Theories are 'potentially false'. Actual 'facts' can't be. Of course, I will agree that there are many times where 'apparent' facts are pretty well theory laden.

Take evolution for example. Its not, in some sense anyway, a 'fact' that species exist, the 'species concept' is an application of theory to the biological world. Or take chemistry. Its not a 'fact' that atoms exist in a certain sense, at least in so far as one is dependent on multiple theories to understand this phenomenon called 'atoms'. In the real extreme, nothing is a fact, because everything must pass thru one's senses, which are only understood 'in theory' and operate on various theories, like the optics of the eye and such, and all information requires processing inside the brain, rather than 'direct experience'.



this poses a ethical question, what if those digital organisms evolve into something much like ourselfs

Actually its not so strange a question, things like these are, at least to a certain extend, alive. They meet some of the qualifications at least. 'killing' them is at least as unethical as randomly killing bacteria and such.



posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 08:58 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
2. The Earth is Round not Flat.

I guese that depends on your reference frame since space is bent around the earth it is technically flat to those on it I beleive.


Nygdan
Take evolution for example. Its not, in some sense anyway, a 'fact' that species exist, the 'species concept' is an application of theory to the biological world. Or take chemistry. Its not a 'fact' that atoms exist in a certain sense, at least in so far as one is dependent on multiple theories to understand this phenomenon called 'atoms'. In the real extreme, nothing is a fact, because everything must pass thru one's senses, which are only understood 'in theory' and operate on various theories, like the optics of the eye and such, and all information requires processing inside the brain, rather than 'direct experience'.


I agree. Nothing is a "fact" to us with our lmited perception in this universe however a theory which fits the evidence, is unlikely to be ever disproven and is used as a basis for taking actions can be called a fact as an indication that it is beleived to be true acording to the limit of human understanding.

I don't have time to read the full article right now but heres my thoughs on this.
In this universe if you could perceive everything and understood all of the forces at work you could predict all events for the rest of time. The same is true for a simulated computer environment. Assuming the same random number generation algorythm is used and it dosen't use external input to get it's random number seeds (such as current time, cpu clock, etc) then no matter how many times the program was run the same organisms would evolve.
I'm almost certain that evolution takes place but it's not random as nothing is random in this universe.



[edit on 20-1-2005 by TruthResearcher2000]



posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 10:18 PM
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Insofar as the random in evolution, the randomness comes from, lets say, two sources, or in two areas. Mutations arise, more or less, randomly. That is to say, selection doesn't control what mutations come about. Irradiate a genome, you get random mutations. Heck, leave it alone, and you get random mutuations. Most have no effect, many have deleterious effects, some are completely fatal, and some are beneficial. Then selection comes into play, which is non-random.

THe other part that the randomness comes into is a little more vague. Selection pressures direct evolution. Pressure for thicker beaks results in populations with thicker beaks (more or less). But overall, there needn't be selection pressure for long term changes. On primative apes, for example, there could've been pressure to walk more upright and have more mobile hands, but not selection pressure to 'become human'.



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 07:07 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000

Originally posted by mattison0922
I read this article too. I don't see how it 'proves' evolution. IMO, this article does more to advance the idea of intelligent design as opposed to advancing evolution.


I'm not saying it proves evolution(my exact wording was that they were "close" but that is a relative term when dealing with science), I'm just saying it could go down the road to proving it. As for your other comment about it supporting "intelligent design" you're welcome to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. For one thing, you read the part about the Microbiologist and his experiments right? Did you happen to miss the part where he said the results of the Program were similiar to his experiments(in how the progress went in fits and starts as well as small steady improvements over time)? How does that give more credence to Creationism? I have yet to read the article in its entirety yet so please point me to the point where the Creationism "evidance" is at ok?


Its not hard to understand why someone would believe this is indicative of intelligent design, because there seems to be a paradox here. If humans can simulate (or even create) life or evolution in a lab, that actually adds strong evidence that creationism is possible. Afterall, if we can do it, who's to say that we weren't created ourselves?



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by vor78
Afterall, if we can do it, who's to say that we weren't created ourselves?

So, if researchers in a lab were able to generate something like 'proto-cells' from mere chemicals, that woudl be for or against intelligent design? And if they couldn't, is that for or against intelligent design?



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 10:39 AM
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I am one of those bad people that think life began as some of both ends of the argument , Creation and Evolution. No I do not care to elaborate on that at this time but I did find a curious article on world population through history and found it interesting. Have a look.
www.ldolphin.org...



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 12:16 PM
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So, if researchers in a lab were able to generate something like 'proto-cells' from mere chemicals, that woudl be for or against intelligent design? And if they couldn't, is that for or against intelligent design?

I personally don't believe the experiment you've proposed has anything to do with intelligent design. Intelligent Design isn't likely use 'mere chemicals.' It'd be more likely to use actual biomolecules. I personally HAVE attempted to regenerate living cells from crude cell lysates. I can't get it to work. Even when all I have in solution is crude cell lysate... getting the cell lysate is easy enough to get back into bi-layered vessicles, but I've never generated living material... even with ALL the components required for cellular life present.



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 12:19 PM
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both sides have been presented well. when i entered the forum i believed that Darwin's Theory was correct, but now im not so sure...hate that, you buggers always seem to change my mind or bend it a bit so i cant decide what side to take



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 01:25 PM
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just like that school which placed stickers on books

images.vpro.nl...(400)

well and the school lost and i am glad they did.

We have currently to theories

the one of darwin.
and
the one of religions.

the theory of god isn't proven yet only it is a older one.

well I am going for darwins theory which its sounds more believeble.



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 02:22 PM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
but I've never generated living material... even with ALL the components required for cellular life present.

You should have an interesting perspective on this then. Would you say that this failure supports a theory of intelligent design? Or would you say its a refutation of the theories regarding abiogenesis?



posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

Originally posted by mattison0922
but I've never generated living material... even with ALL the components required for cellular life present.

You should have an interesting perspective on this then. Would you say that this failure supports a theory of intelligent design? Or would you say its a refutation of the theories regarding abiogenesis?


Hmmmm...... interesting and thoughtful question, Nygdan
.

I would have to say that these failures don't support either theory. There are incredible difficulties with the experiments that I've tried though. The problem with a theory like ID is that it's not really testable, and IMO, is a little bit of a cop-out. Certainly we can look for what we perceive to be signs of intelligence, hell, that's what the entire SETI project is based upon, but it's not really testable and 'provable' at least in the case of bio.

I wish I could have more faith in the abiogenesis theories, but I don't, as you are aware. While intriguing, IMO even the Self organization experiments of Kaufmann not only do little to advance the idea of abiogenesis but smack of intelligent design as well.

I think in one of your earlier posts in this thread you referred to 'proto-cells,' were you referring to the coascervate experiments of ...... can't think of his name? Also intriguing, but again having several difficult to overcome problems. Just curious.



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
but it's not really testable and 'provable' at least in the case of bio.

I have to wonder at it, because the IDists seem to not be saying too much that is very different than what Paley was supposed to have been getting at in the pre-darwin 'Vestiges of Creation', ie, that one can infer the existence and even teh characteristics of the designer by studying that which he designed. I don't think that the IDists make the 'characteristics of the designer' argument tho, even tho it seems that it would follow from being able to detect design. In a sense then modern ID is pre-paleyian.

Also, with intelligent design, one sometimes hears that 'this item is too complex to have formed naturally, therefore it was designed'. But the arguement isn't really that just this bacterial flagella was created ex nihilo by some god, or just this organ, but rather that everything everwhere was, everything was designed, and yet design, which so many argue is 'obious', is only 'detectable' in a handful of items?


I wish I could have more faith in the abiogenesis theories, but I don't, as you are aware.

Yes, that conversation made me re-think just how much those theories support. I would say that a person need not see any of the failures as refuting the idea that life can arise 'naturalistically', but can't say from them that it had to've. To put it roughly anyway, since 'naturalism' can be taken differently.



I think in one of your earlier posts in this thread you referred to 'proto-cells,' were you referring to the coascervate experiments of ...... can't think of his name?

I wasn't thinking of any particular experiment, I just meant 'proto-cells' as a moderately accurate hypothetical example, prot because I wouldn't expect an amoeba or the like to pop up out of chemicals.



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