Evolution and Software - A Fundamental Misunderstanding - or an Outright Fraud?
MIT Technology review published an online article titled, "Evolutionary algorithm outperforms deep-learning machines at video games" I wondered to myself what do they mean by "evolutionary"? Though it's impossible, could they really mean evolution as in Darwinian evolution, or were they just using evolution to mean successive changes in design, the way we might say something like "the evolution of the car has gone from the Model T to the Mustang", in which case we don't really mean Darwinian evolution - we're really just talking about successive changes in the design of an item.
But as I read on, I was amazed to read that they were really talking about Darwinian processes: "This technique is based on the process that created the human brain—evolution." (Darwinists believe the most complex biological organ known to man came about by ignorant, random, purposeless forces.) The technique they're referring to is a new approach to computer programming, and the evolution they are referring to is in fact Darwinian evolution. They make that clear in the next sentences:
Only true believers in Darwinian evolution (which means they have blinders firmly in place) naively believe that "complex and capable machines" such as "the eye, the wing, the brain, and so on" - items which are clearly evidence of an intelligent designer - are in any way products of evolution. So question 1: Are they really referring to Darwinian evolution? Yes, they are. Which brings us to question 2: Are they really trying to use Darwinian evolutionary processes to create the best computer code known to man? Again, the answer is yes. As they put it: "An entirely different type of computing has the potential to be significantly more powerful than neural networks and deep learning."
Which leads me to the question in the title of this article: are the
authors of the article ignorant of what Darwinian evolution teaches and
requires, or do they know and are just outright lying and perpetrating a
grand fraud to promote the idolatry that is Darwinian Evolution? Let me
present some observations and then offer a suggestion.
What they are referring to as "evolutionary" processes in their approach to writing code cannot possibly be "evolutionary". What they are doing is unadulterated intelligent design. Here's why.
"Selection is not Teleological (goal-directed)."
So their process starts with intelligently
designed code, and then they put it through another (intelligently
designed) process intended to direct the various pieces of bits of
intelligently designed code to a specific, even more intelligent,
purposeful goal. They may believe what they're doing is
"evolutionary", but by definition it cannot be evolution. It is in fact
Intelligent Design applied to software.
Second, The Code Designers have Programmed a Selection Process
The article goes on to explain the code makers process:
Not only have the code designers selected a particular goal to aim for - something true evolutionary process cannot do - they've even programmed their system with a means of selecting that better code. They've provided an algorithm for selecting what code is "better."
This violates many evolutionary principles. First off, in evolution, there is no good or bad. Which is why evolutionary philosophy is not opposed to, and even supports moral evils such as racism and abortion. The fact that they are selecting something that's "better" means they've added a value system - which of course cannot exist in Darwinian evolution. Value systems requires a Value maker. Evolutionists of course deny the value maker - God. Thus if they truly want their system to behave like Darwinian Evolution, they cannot inject any values like "better code" and "working better."
Second, another principle they've violated is the introduction of human selection (otherwise known as intelligent design) where natural selection should be. How does a computer "preferentially" reproduce code? The only way a computer can do that is if you program it to do it. You first (intelligently determine) what's better, then you give the computer an (intelligently designed) algorithm to select that better code. The researchers are no doubt trying to emulate natural selection, but that is impossible in this scenario. Computers only do what you program them to do. Thus they cannot select "the best pieces of code" unless you program into them - how to identify what is better (and thus best); and what method, what process, what algorithm the computer will use to select the better. Intelligently programming a computer to make intelligent choices is not Darwinian evolution. It is intelligent design.
Why is MIT allowing this to be called "Evolutionary"
Clearly what these researches are doing have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution. They may be using an iterative process, but virtually every software maker does that. That's why software is labeled with versions, whether it be a sequential number like version 1, version 2, etc.; or based on a year, like Windows 95, 98, 2000, etc. With all of the elements of design inherent in the process why do they insist on calling it evolutionary?
1. Believers in evolution have blinders on.
2. Years of Imprecision and
3. The Snake Oil Effect
Just as Darwin managed to make a legitimate observation, snake oil originally had a legitimate medicinal value - and actually worked:
So the original snake oil was legitimate medicine for a specific purpose. But con men seeing an opportunity in the demand for the medicine combined with a lack of regulation hopped on the band wagon to sell it. Undeterred by the fact that they did not have access to Chinese water snakes to make the real medicine, they made up their own concoctions consisting in one case of mineral oil and other non-snake oil ingredients. And they claimed their oils were cures for many ills, to the point where many saw them as panaceas.
After the government famously sued the maker of one popular brand of copy-cat snake oil - "Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment" - the public realized they had been duped and the term "snake oil" became associated with fraud and quack medicine.
There's a similar dynamic going on with Evolution in this case. As noted, Darwin made one observation applicable in one particular situation, but now scientists everywhere are calling many things that go through iterative processes "evolution" - even though they have nothing to do with Darwinian evolutionary processes. Furthermore, they're calling things "evolution" regardless of whether those iterative processes are a result of design - which would make the process diametrically opposed to evolution. This is the type of fraud that we're seeing here with software engineers calling designed software the result of "evolution." What they're doing is nothing like the evolution that Darwin proposed. But if you think it's appropriate for designed processes to be called "evolutionary" in the Darwinian sense, please contact me, I've got an amazing cure-all oil I think you'll be interested in.
4. Research dollars and academic standing
Let's not forget as Ben Stein so clearly demonstrated in Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed, that in the secular world, the discussion is over. They believe evolution to be fact and will punish you if you support or promote any other theory - particularly intelligent design. Thus for researchers in need of research dollars it's a no brainer. Your theory will support evolution - regardless of how ridiculous it makes your theory appear.
So what's the verdict - fundamental misunderstanding or outright fraudulent lie? Once you take into consideration the common imprecision used in most discussions of evolution and combine it with the snake oil effect - the tendency to falsely claim many benefits from the item you're selling, it seems in this case there's both a fundamental misunderstanding of what evolution is, and a strong desire to overstate what evolution is, and can do.
When it comes to medicine, that type of overstatement is considered fraud. Is fraud limited to representations concerning medicine? Consider the researchers in this case. Are we really to believe that they believe that with all the intelligent design inherent in their process that they seriously believe their software development is as random as Darwinian evolution is required to be? The misdirection in that is obvious. It looks intentional, and it's done - apparently - with a straight face. As near as I can tell, those researchers would make good snake oil salesmen.
Duane Caldwell | July 26, 2018
algorithm outperforms deep-learning machines at video games" by Emerging
Technology from the arXiv, published on MIT Technology Review site,
July 18, 2018,
7. One famous example - "Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment" was found to consist primarily of "mineral oil, a fatty oil believed to be beef fat, red pepper and turpentine." It contained no snake oil, and so the US Government sued him for false representation. The government won, and from that time on, the term "snake oil" referred to any quack medicine.
Quote - ref from: Lakshmi Gandhi, "A History Of 'Snake Oil Salesmen'", NPR, 8/26/2013, https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/08/26/215761377/a-history-of-snake-oil-salesmen
Law suit - ref from: Eleanor Herman,
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