Oct 072005
 

Jonathan Wells has a post over at ID the Future commenting on Darwinists at Michigan State University’s Avida program.

Zimmer quotes several of the Michigan State researchers. One of them is philosophy professor Robert Pennock, who said: “More and more of the features that biologists have said were necessary for life we can check off… Avida is not a simulation of evolution; it is an instance of it.”

Another is microbiologist Richard Lenski, who has been trying for decades to produce new species of bacteria through intense selection. Having failed at that, Lenski is now tempted to close his laboratory and turn to Avida: “In an hour I can gather more information than we had been able to gather in years of working on bacteria.”

I would just like to rehash some of the old stuff that I’ve posted on ARN and post it here.

I have learned to be skeptical of many Darwinists claims but when I encounter statements like that of professor Pennock, I am struck by momentary speechlessness with incredulity. Does he really think that Avida is an instance of evolution? Based on what, certainly not reality? If Avida was based on reality we would have examples of it from Lenski’s lab. What strikes me is the audacity of the claim that a computer program that does not have any basis in reality is now solving the problems of Darwinian evolution in real life?

Let me just start with a couple of quotes.
From Digital Evolution

For many other biologists, however, digital evolution seems to have very little relevance. One eminent British evolutionary biologist dismissed the research in just eight words, according to the field’s godfather, Tom Ray. ‘His comment: “It’s just not biology. Period. End of discussion” . That’s the whole story right there’, recalls Ray.

Our goal is not to mimic natural systems in detail, but rather to expand Avida to give digital organisms access to more of the basic processes of life’, says Lenski. ‘Our goal is not so much to endow the ancestral organisms with additional capabilities, but rather we want to see how digital organisms will evolve if they are placed in an altered world where such things as sex and communication are physically possible.

Maybe Darwinists are used to making vacuous claims so to them Avida is representative of evolution makes perfect sense. Any other mildly competent person who practices science would have to ask the question of Avida, are the parameters and algorithms of the program representative of real life data? If not then how can you claim that it is solving real life questions?

What is even worst is that you have Darwinists like the double talking RBH over at ARN who claims that the models used in Avida correlates to real life models. When you ask him for a one to one correspondence of the model he can’t produce it.

Where is the real life experiment that correlates to the digital model? For example let’s consider something simple. If you assume that certain environment will apply certain selective pressure on a certain organism. Show the experiment in real life and in simulation of this correlation. Create an experiment with this physical system and a digital model representing each of the constituents of this system. Run your simulation and compare the digital results at various times with actual measurements from the real life system. This would be a correlation. Another test would be to build a single digital organism representative of a real life organism. Apply different input and stimuli to both the digital and real organism and measure the responses. This is how you would correlate the digital result with real life data. Until you can show this type of close correlation Avida is nothing more than a pile of useless waste of time and money.

  10 Responses to “Avida, hasta la vista”

  1. Yes, The next paper is also related to your bright observations:

    Bits, Bytes and Biology: What Evolutionary Algorithms (Don’t) Teach Us About Biology, by Eric Anderson. Nov. 2, 2004.

    “Far from constituting a devastating critique of irreducible complexity, the evolutionary algorithm, Avida, is a flawed effort that bears little relevance to the biological world. In their haste to affirm the Darwinian creation story, the Avida authors seem oblivious to, or conveniently ignore, the fact that they have incorporated as premises the very conclusions they are trying to reach. Such efforts are at best misleading, at worst deceptive. Ironically, the main piece of data obtained by the Avida researchers that is not based on circular evolutionary assumptions, upon closer inspection supports, rather than refutes, Behe’s notion of irreducible complexity.”

    The named authors of the [Avida] study are Richard Lenski, Charles Ofria, Robert Pennock and Christoph Adami [Nature 423, May 8, 2003, pp. 139-44.]

  2. Offtopic:

    Look who is our guest Ed Darrell is:

    http://www.texscience.org/files/darrell.htm

    Whoa!

  3. Yikes!

    2. Evolution is necessary for Texas economic development

    Texas’s economy is based on evolution in large part. The Rio Grande Valley is home of the best grapefruit grown on Earth. Grapefruit, of course, is a new species that did not exist just over a century ago. The Rio Reds that are currently the largest cash crop in Texas grapefruit are the result of a sport mutation in grapefruit a half-century ago, and specifically the result of an intense, evolution-based breeding program by Texas A&M University.

    I like this comment from DaveScot over at Uncommon Descent. 😀

    I wish Ed subscribed to homeschooling his children if he is so concerned with the school curriculum. This way he can indoctrinate his children with as much of his religious belief as he wants. There is no reason to subject our children to his Darwinian indoctrination. Let’s bring science back into the classrooms.

  4. I’m quite happy with the Constitutional set up we have now, and I fully commend the public schools.

    My kids get their religion at home and at church. That’s the American model, and it works well when it is allowed to work.

    The only reason to subject our kids to “Darwinian indoctrination” is if we love them, and if we love learning and healing. If one wishes for a quick, nasty and brutish end to human life, there is little reason to learn how to heal people.

    But then, you’d have to homeschool your kids very selectively to teach them anti-healing stuff.

    Why doesn’t Mr. Cordova deal with the issues instead of attempting crude ad hominem? Is there science in intelligent design? We’re all from Missouri — show us where.

    And, Mr. Cordova: Do you disagree that grapefruit is an important crop in Texas? Do you disagree that Americans should have the benefit of grapefruit? Or are you just anti-Texas because you’re anti-Bush?

    What possible relevance does my testimony to the power of Darwinian science have to do with anything here, unless you wish either to commend me for it, or disagree. Which is it?

  5. We didn’t realize we had Darwinist varsity visiting our website, Ed. We’re honored.

  6. What is even worst is that you have Darwinists like the double talking RBH over at ARN who claims that the models used in Avida correlates to real life models. When you ask him for a one to one correspondence of the model he can’t produce it.

    Neither did Lenski et.al. in their paper. They even stated in the paper that “Some readers might suggest that we ‘stacked the deck’ by studying the evolution of a complex feature that could be built on simpler functions that were also useful. However, that is precisely what evolutionary theory requires….” For all of RBH’s posting and ardent defending of the Avida study (and he has been prolific on the subject), neither he nor anyone else I know of has ever provided one biological example by which we “know” what it is that evolution “requires.”

    But Lenski et.al. (and note that one of the “als” is Robert Pennock) did accomplish one thing: they have demonstrated conclusively that ID, as represeted in Behe’s hypothesis of IC, is, in fact, testable and possibly falsifiable, two qualities that supposedly ID and IC lacked. Guess not. Lenski et.al., failed in the attempt to falsify IC, but that is another matter. And given that ID and IC are amenable to scientific testing, I have to wonder on what basis the anti ID crowd continues moan that ID isn’t “scientific”. Perhaps there’s some additional criterion that ID must meet, but beats me what it is.

  7. But Lenski et.al. (and note that one of the “als” is Robert Pennock) did accomplish one thing: they have demonstrated conclusively that ID, as represeted in Behe’s hypothesis of IC, is, in fact, testable and possibly falsifiable, two qualities that supposedly ID and IC lacked

    Good point Donald! If they accept Avida as a realistic instance of evolution then they must accept the ID hypothesis as testable. Thanks for that insightful comment. 🙂

  8. Avida assigns 100% to the probabillity a selective force exist to increase complexity. The probability is closer to 0% in most cases.

    Avida, by the way, has a software fix in version 1.6 thanks to me. Actually, I would have offered to fix more in order to make it more realistic, but to do so would have resulted in the whole project going down the tubes.

    RBH spent many late nights debating me here:
    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/13/t/001832/p/3.html

    Royal Truman and I finish the Darwinists off here:
    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000532.html

    🙂

  9. […] it. There is insufficient evidence from paleontology, research (here, here, here, here) and simulation. Darwinian distortion of ID : Subjective, fabricates a straw man. ID definition : Strictly sc […]

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