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FRONT PAGE  |  12/15/2017
MONDAY, NOV 27, 2006  |  8 comments
Digital Darwinism: Evolution for undergraduates
Professional scientists aren’t the only ones who can experiment with evolution.

The researchers at Michigan State University’s Digital Evolution Lab have designed a version of the lab’s Avida software for use in undergraduate biology courses. It’s being tested this year at MSU’s Lyman Briggs School and is due for national release in the spring.

“It’s going to let them observe evolution happening,” said lab researcher Robert Pennock, who served as an expert witness in the 2005 Dover trial that stopped a Pennsylvania school board from teaching intelligent design. ...


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lsj.com

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· Page 1 ·  Found: 8 user comment(s)
News Item11/29/06 6:32 AM
Scott McMahan | Internet  Contact via emailFind all comments by Scott McMahan
I have seen this line of thought before in computer science - genetic algorithms - people design a system from scratch and also design mechanisms for evolution. Then they turn it on and it works and they have "proven" evolution is correct ... although the entire system required vast amounts of creativity. Evolution in the biological definition happens at random - meaningful information emerges from noise - so this isn't biological evolution at all by the definition.
8

News Item11/28/06 7:01 PM
Keith | Georgia  Find all comments by Keith
So, I wonder what the gestation period is on a robot... Or could it be that their supplying the parts for the one robot to build the other.?
7

News Item11/27/06 8:08 PM
Mark  Find all comments by Mark
Well a computer program's the only way you're ever going to 'watch evolution happening'. Because it sure ain't happening in real life, mate.
6

News Item11/27/06 7:32 PM
Protestant | UK  Find all comments by Protestant
Amazing. Assemble some brilliant scientists to design an extreemly sophisticated computer program to prove that evolution has no need of a designer. Only a scientist would be foolish enough not to see how self defeating this is.
5

News Item11/27/06 7:08 PM
Yamil Luciano | Las. Vegas NV  Find all comments by Yamil Luciano
Why not create a simulation that will allow us to observe Santa Clause riding his reindeer.
4

News Item11/27/06 7:02 PM
Mike | New York  Find all comments by Mike
"The researchers at Michigan State University’s Digital Evolution Lab have designed a version of the lab’s Avida software for use in undergraduate biology courses"

Researchers designed?

"It’s going to let them observe evolution happening,” said lab researcher Robert Pennock, who served as an expert witness in the 2005 Dover trial that stopped a Pennsylvania school board from teaching intelligent design"

"Students run this, and they say ‘Wow, evolution works. You can see it happen.’ That’s the thing that before they couldn’t see directly."

So intelligent researchers designed a program to enable students to see evolution happening. Oh.

"Hod Lipson has built a robot that designs and builds other robots, using evolution to drive the design process.

He has built robots that can self-replicate."

He has built? You mean the original "robots" didn't originate in a slime pit, and evolve into more complex robots? Yes, I can see evolution happening here.

"Though, in the case of the self-replicators, what he’s done is bring a biological process, one of the processes that allows evolution to work, to the mechanical world."

He brought? So an intelligent person chose to introduce a process into the system?

What's wrong with this picture?

3

News Item11/27/06 6:47 PM
Byron | Texas  Find all comments by Byron
The fundamental motive here seems to be "anything to justify unbelief in God."
2

News Item11/27/06 6:10 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
Getting robots to replicate tells us nothing about how evolution occurred, even if we grant that it did.

It does, however, prove that
1) researchers are clever at building self-replicating robots, and
2) they were able to raise grant funds.

1
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