[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Evolution programs (was: Reevolving bones)

> << A thing like Dinogeorge suggests is feasible, the big problem 
>  is probably the CPU time. 
> This is exactly what I had in mind. Have the evolution program generate an
> "ecosystem" of virtual dinosaurs, hand the dinosaurs over to the
> systematists, then see whether the trees the systematists come up with match
> the trees that the computers constructed when they generated the virtual
> dinosaurs.

Can a computer program really give us insight into evolutionary 
processes?  Doesn't the program itself require all sorts of 
(possibly incorrect) assumptions about what the evolution variables 
*are* in order to function?

Before law school I worked at a civil engineering society.  An 
engineer once told me that a colleague's (very prominent) firm had 
designed a building that later collapsed, killing three children.  
The designer was adamant that there must have been some 
unaccounted-for problem at the site because the CAD program 
had ok'ed everything.  But the program, my engineer friend mournfully 
pointed out, had been written and tested by the very firm that used 
it to design the fatal structure.
"Very funny, Scotty.  Now beam down my clothes."