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  Topic: Evolutionary Computation, Stuff that drives AEs nuts< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2009,16:36   

Quote (Turncoat @ Dec. 12 2009,17:34)
I'm sorry, folks, but I have trouble attending to the minutiae when ED&M are fundamentally wrong in their orientation. From Wikipedia: "Avida is an artificial life software platform to study the evolutionary biology of self-replicating and evolving computer programs (digital organisms)." As I recall, the ability of a virtual organism to reproduce itself depends on how much work it can do, which is determined by its fitness. Different organisms must do different amounts of work to reproduce. Right?

Avida, with the fitness function addressed by ED&M, does not engage in optimization, let alone search. The virtual organisms are operating in a virtual environment offering different payoffs for different behaviors. The  population of virtual critters in fact changes to obtain greater payoffs, but this does not mean that the purpose of Avida is optimization. An outcome is not a purpose. More importantly, when a run of Avida does not yield a critter of maximum fitness, the run has not failed. There are still a bunch of "living" virtual organisms, and they always exhibit greater complexity than did the organisms in the initial population.

The objective of the Avida research under consideration was to address emergence of complex features in artificial life. ED&M analyze runs of Avida as though they were runs of an optimizer, and then argue that the ALife simulator is not a good optimizer. This is the kind of abysmal stupidity you get from pretend-scholars who are on a "mission from God" to deliver payback.

IMHO, this is all about the fact that Richard Dawkins talks about "optimals" (clutch size at the group or individual level, sex ratios, etc.) in The Selfish Gene. Naturally they muck up with words, exploiting the public's possible confusion about theory, optimum, etc., in various contexts, in their arrogance in believing that if they can come up with the right phrase, they'll turn the prince Dawkins into a toad in the eyes of the public, and assume their rightful place as guardians of the world's science, and thus of morals (particularly those of women). They have a bee in their bonnets about Dawkins, who used "optimal" in his book (but they don't mention his discussing Wynne-Edwards's and Fisher's use of the word, what it means in terms of different environments or strategies, etc.). This was another "gotcha" aimed specifically at Dawkins IMO which fell short again.

Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  363 replies since Mar. 17 2009,11:00 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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