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jeffox



Posts: 671
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,16:57   

Lou wrote:

Quote
I am not already a member of that organization (which doesn't exist), and I am not piloting said invisible black helicopter (which doesn't exist) to your location (which may or may not exist) as we speak (which we can't do because I don't exist and neither do you).

You would know this if you had checked the sidebar of my blog (which doesn't exist and doesn't have a link in its non-existent sidebar to the EAC which also doesn't exist).


HA!  I knew that I didn't know that.

:p

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,17:01   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 06 2009,16:54)
 
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 06 2009,15:21)

Are you not entering the Evil Atheist Conspiracy (which doesn't exist) at the same time? Because if you aren't I won't be meeting you at the exclusive Conspiracy Bar (which also doesn't exist) promptly after your induction (which won't be happening) to teach you the secret handshake (which doesn't exist).

It's not at 7:30pm and it's not Black Tie.

Black helicopters are not on their way to your current location.

Louis

I am not already a member of that organization (which doesn't exist), and I am not piloting said invisible black helicopter (which doesn't exist) to your location (which may or may not exist) as we speak (which we can't do because I don't exist and neither do you).

You would know this if you had checked the sidebar of my blog (which doesn't exist and doesn't have a link in its non-existent sidebar to the EAC which also doesn't exist).



--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
csadams



Posts: 124
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,17:10   

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 04 2009,11:05)
Any parenting tips will be gratefully received and of course ignored as advice generally is by everyone, we'll just have to make mistakes like everyone else does.

What I've learned today about parenting:
1.  3:30 a.m. is not an optimal time to be made aware of the fact that Offspring #3 has diarrhea.
2.  Said Offspring is even more stubborn than her mother.
3.  Don't offer to taste mint-flavored liquid Imodium yourself in order to convince said Offspring to take it.  The gagging and retching are dead giveaways.
4.  An isolated population of dirty laundry in said Offspring's room will evolve its own distinct characteristics within an amazingly short time, particularly the odiferous type.
5.  Don't ever run out of zinc oxide ointment or the pre-moistened wipes.  Plan to keep them around for at least a decade.

But knowing that snuggling helps Offspring feel much better . . . that's one you'll learn quickly, Louis, and you'll love that part.  Congrats!

--------------
Stand Up For REAL Science!

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,18:25   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 06 2009,11:57)
However, problems like the salesman's route do have goals, and I'm curious if there are indeed, ways of finding the best fit in fewer steps.

I hesitated to respond at first because I know little about the topic, but here's my 2c worth. As I recall from a course I took many years ago, a method of finding a reasonable solution is to start with a random route then to switch pairs of places and recalculate the distance. If the new distance is shorter, use that route and repeat the process. I'm sure there are many variations, such as switching all possible pairs of neighbours before seeing which is the shortest, then proceeding from there. Of course, you'd also want to start with a number of different random paths as they would probably home in on different solutions.

This is, of course, an evolutionary type of process with no known target, but a clear means of measuring the improvement.

Hope that helps.

--------------
All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,18:29   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 06 2009,22:54)
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 06 2009,15:21)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 06 2009,15:42)
 
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 06 2009,03:43)
   
Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 06 2009,01:32)
On a happier note, I got interrupted while working on my research paper.

I just opened my letter of invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa. It's not as cool as Louis' recent news, but it's the best I could do on such short notice.

Oh I don't know. Pretty much anyone can have kids. Your news is FAR more exclusive and meritorious!

Congrats.

Louis

Well, thanks. I do look forward to my parallel induction into the cabal of Elitist Bastards.

Are you not entering the Evil Atheist Conspiracy (which doesn't exist) at the same time? Because if you aren't I won't be meeting you at the exclusive Conspiracy Bar (which also doesn't exist) promptly after your induction (which won't be happening) to teach you the secret handshake (which doesn't exist).

It's not at 7:30pm and it's not Black Tie.

Black helicopters are not on their way to your current location.

Louis

I am not already a member of that organization (which doesn't exist), and I am not piloting said invisible black helicopter (which doesn't exist) to your location (which may or may not exist) as we speak (which we can't do because I don't exist and neither do you).

You would know this if you had checked the sidebar of my blog (which doesn't exist and doesn't have a link in its non-existent sidebar to the EAC which also doesn't exist).

Ah I didn't not know that already. Not my bad. Hail and well met, Brother (not that either of us exist you understand).

Dang it, now I'm going to have to go and flashy thing* myself.

Louis

*MIB does get credit for the best description of memory wiping device ever.

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,18:35   

Quote (csadams @ Feb. 06 2009,23:10)
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 04 2009,11:05)
Any parenting tips will be gratefully received and of course ignored as advice generally is by everyone, we'll just have to make mistakes like everyone else does.

What I've learned today about parenting:
1.  3:30 a.m. is not an optimal time to be made aware of the fact that Offspring #3 has diarrhea.
2.  Said Offspring is even more stubborn than her mother.
3.  Don't offer to taste mint-flavored liquid Imodium yourself in order to convince said Offspring to take it.  The gagging and retching are dead giveaways.
4.  An isolated population of dirty laundry in said Offspring's room will evolve its own distinct characteristics within an amazingly short time, particularly the odiferous type.
5.  Don't ever run out of zinc oxide ointment or the pre-moistened wipes.  Plan to keep them around for at least a decade.

But knowing that snuggling helps Offspring feel much better . . . that's one you'll learn quickly, Louis, and you'll love that part.  Congrats!

Thanks Cheryl.

We need zinc oxide? Why do kids make devices that require semiconductors of a certain band gap or synthesise rubber? I mean, as a chemist myself I hoped I'd be able to pass on a certain quantity of knowledge, but I was hoping actual serious experiments would wait a few years...

I've missed something haven't I? ;-)

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
dnmlthr



Posts: 565
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,18:39   

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 07 2009,00:29)
Ah I didn't not know that already. Not my bad. Hail and well met, Brother (not that either of us exist you understand).

Dang it, now I'm going to have to go and flashy thing* myself.

Louis

*MIB does get credit for the best description of memory wiping device ever.

This is far too complicated after a drunken night with friends and their sugar-high offspring. I may need to bring out my best FtK impression to get past this one.

ETA: You sons of something something, grumble grumble.

--------------
Guess what? I don't give a flying f*ck how "science works" - Ftk

  
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:02   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 05 2009,17:14)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,19:32)
Define "common descent".

This will do, from Talk Origins:

"The theory specifically postulates that all of the earth's known biota are genealogically related, much in the same way that siblings or cousins are related to one another."

I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

In fact I could completely accept the theory of evolution with just a few tweaks.  (But they're BIG tweaks - as in non-random mutations and supernatural selection!)  Other than that - it's all good!

I think perhaps God designed evolution as a self-constrained process.  Once evolution starts down a certain path, there are only a limited number of avenues it can take.

Potential and partial systems would be favored under this system because there is an active selective agent.

IOW, I have no trouble with planned evolution.  My only quibble is with (repeat after me) "accidental mechanisms sifted through an often arbitrary filter".

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
khan



Posts: 1529
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:14   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 05 2009,17:14)
   
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,19:32)
Define "common descent".

This will do, from Talk Origins:

"The theory specifically postulates that all of the earth's known biota are genealogically related, much in the same way that siblings or cousins are related to one another."

I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

In fact I could completely accept the theory of evolution with just a few tweaks.  (But they're BIG tweaks - as in non-random mutations and supernatural selection!)  Other than that - it's all good!

I think perhaps God designed evolution as a self-constrained process.  Once evolution starts down a certain path, there are only a limited number of avenues it can take.

Potential and partial systems would be favored under this system because there is an active selective agent.

IOW, I have no trouble with planned evolution.  My only quibble is with (repeat after me) "accidental mechanisms sifted through an often arbitrary filter".

You are totally fucking ignorant.

Quote
In fact I could completely accept the theory of evolution with just a few tweaks.


i.e.: rejection of reality.

Quote
I think perhaps God designed evolution as a self-constrained process.  Once evolution starts down a certain path, there are only a limited number of avenues it can take.


So does god stick his finger/penis into the DNA once in a while to produce: scoliosis, bone spurs, crippling arthritis... (and that's just me).  Or does all this happen beyond his control as HE is controlled by a metagod (who prevented god from having more than one begotten son?

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:14   

Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 05 2009,18:58)
   
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,18:27)
As far as I can tell, the TSP is an optimization problem - where the best solution can always be found by a brute force search of all permutations.  As such, it is quite obvious that the shorter overall distance will always be selected.

I don't think you have any idea of the number of routes that are possible. With just 20 places to visit there are 6*10^16 and with 100 places there are 4.7*10^157. In general, there are (n-1)!/2 possible routes. A brute force search is not on the cards for all but the simplest problems.

I didn't say it was practical.  I said that the best solution can always be found that way.  It may take 'billions of years' and be completely impractical, but it would always work.

Of course an omniscient being could immediately assess all possible routes and chose the optimum if he was so inclined.

To me, life (at least biochemically) looks like it was built via that mechanism.

That's just me though.

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:21   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

A response worthy of Richard Nixon.

So, do you or don't you? The possible answers I can think of are,

- "In light of current evidence, one cannot reasonably doubt universal common descent"

- "In light of current evidence, one may reasonably doubt universal common descent."

- "I don't know."

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:26   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 06 2009,06:44)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 05 2009,20:58)
   
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,18:27)
As far as I can tell, the TSP is an optimization problem - where the best solution can always be found by a brute force search of all permutations.  As such, it is quite obvious that the shorter overall distance will always be selected.

I don't think you have any idea of the number of routes that are possible. With just 20 places to visit there are 6*10^16 and with 100 places there are 4.7*10^157. In general, there are (n-1)!/2 possible routes. A brute force search is not on the cards for all but the simplest problems.

:-)

There is a relevant use of complexity that Daniel's statements indicate that he is entirely ignorant of, one that makes anything he says about evolutionary computation (or computation in general) about as valuable as hamster spit.

On the contrary, the TSP proves that optimization - via random generation and selection - can be impractical when the number of variables rise.  

When considering something as basic as paired enzymes along biochemical pathways, (including their shape, specificity, location within the cell, regulation and synthesis), we could quickly be approaching such impracticality.  

Then when one factors in the rest of the organism (nothing exists in a vacuum - especially in living organisms where 'everything is tied into everything else'), the number of variables to consider becomes staggering.

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:32   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 06 2009,17:21)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

A response worthy of Richard Nixon.

So, do you or don't you? The possible answers I can think of are,

- "In light of current evidence, one cannot reasonably doubt universal common descent"

- "In light of current evidence, one may reasonably doubt universal common descent."

- "I don't know."

The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
khan



Posts: 1529
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:35   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:32)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 06 2009,17:21)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

A response worthy of Richard Nixon.

So, do you or don't you? The possible answers I can think of are,

- "In light of current evidence, one cannot reasonably doubt universal common descent"

- "In light of current evidence, one may reasonably doubt universal common descent."

- "I don't know."

The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

Are you capable of not lying?

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:43   

Louis,

I know that you called for a moratorium on such advice, but I'd like to share two simple rules:

1.  Hold your kid.  Don't be afraid to show affection.  Do your best to make your child always feel safe and loved.

2.  Minimize distractions.  Do your best to give your child your undivided attention.

All the rest are details.

Looking back over my handling of two, now 'twenty-somethings' (one who's given us two granddaughters already!), my biggest regret is that I didn't do these two simple things a lot more than I did.

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5414
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:45   

Interesting interview with Judge Jones in PLoS Genetics.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Daniel Smith



Posts: 970
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:47   

Quote (khan @ Feb. 06 2009,17:35)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:32)
   
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 06 2009,17:21)
     
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

A response worthy of Richard Nixon.

So, do you or don't you? The possible answers I can think of are,

- "In light of current evidence, one cannot reasonably doubt universal common descent"

- "In light of current evidence, one may reasonably doubt universal common descent."

- "I don't know."

The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

Are you capable of not lying?

I could be wrong.  It's possible that there is no God and that all life accidentally appeared through sheer luck and coincidence.
I'm open to that possibility, but it's going to take a heckuva convincing case to make me switch to that position.

--------------
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."  Orville Wright

"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question."  Richard Dawkins

  
khan



Posts: 1529
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:48   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:43)
Louis,

I know that you called for a moratorium on such advice, but I'd like to share two simple rules:

1.  Hold your kid.  Don't be afraid to show affection.  Do your best to make your child always feel safe and loved.

2.  Minimize distractions.  Do your best to give your child your undivided attention.

All the rest are details.

Looking back over my handling of two, now 'twenty-somethings' (one who's given us two granddaughters already!), my biggest regret is that I didn't do these two simple things a lot more than I did.

Why would anyone take advice from a lying piece of shit?

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5414
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,19:48   

Also, Science has a special issue out all about speciation. I'm reading the Red Queen paper now, with the Bacterial Challenge paper on deck.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,20:05   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:32)
The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

By the same token you'll agree with the following:

"I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt that the earth orbits the sun. But I don't know all the current evidence, so I could be wrong."

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
khan



Posts: 1529
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,20:09   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 06 2009,21:05)
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:32)
The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

By the same token you'll agree with the following:

"I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt that the earth orbits the sun. But I don't know all the current evidence, so I could be wrong."

And maybe babies are really brought by storks.

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4935
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,20:11   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 06 2009,09:41)
The salesman's route problem seems to have been well researched, even to the point where corporations are using genetic algorithms in daily planning. As someone Egnorant of the underlying details, I'd appreciate a layman's overview of the methods used to avoid a brute force search.

How does this relate to Dembski's claims?

And how soon before I can haz a GPS that will plan a multi-stop route for me?


The TSP is an NP-complete problem; proposed candidate solutions can be efficiently checked, but there is no general efficient algorithm to give the optimal tour for the TSP. This is one reason I've consistently used the TSP as an example: human design of algorithms to solve the TSP hasn't managed an efficient solution. Coming up with an efficient solution to the TSP would prove that P=NP, a major outstanding issue in mathematics and computer science. Evolutionary computation approaches are based upon finding approximate solutions to the TSP rather than finding the optimal tour. For many practical applications, finding a tour that is close to optimal is good enough. Being within a few percent of the optimal length can help a lot.

Brute force search becomes impractical for small values of N; Wikipedia gives the practical brute force limit as under N=20. Exact solutions have been found for TSPs with tens of thousands of nodes. The times to develop those seem to be given in units of "CPU years". Going to approximate methods helps get good solutions to tours with up to millions of nodes. There are a variety of approaches that use iterative improvement to get better solutions. Using a genetic algorithm approach, genetic operators that preserve valid tours include inversion and 2-opt methods noted as good means of getting to iterative improvement in conventional approximate iterative methods.

I don't know when your GPS may feature an approximate TSP solver.

Now, about Dembski and the NFL...

NFL is not about whether an algorithm can find a solution. It is assumed that all algorithms can find solutions. NFL is about comparative efficiency of an algorithm applied to every cost function of a problem.

So for the TSP, a problem is a specific length of tour and data. The cost function part? That just means that every way that you can combine each tour and cost value. You are likely to think of the TSP where the shortest tour gets the least cost and all the tours are associated with a cost proportional to the total distance... that is just one of the cost functions that are possible. Now think of your set of possible tours as X, and the set of possible costs as Y. The NFL result says that any algorithm performs just as well as any other when the performance is averaged over all the ways that the elements of set X (the tours) can be paired with the elements of set Y (the costs). Most of the cost functions will not pair a cost proportional to distance with a candidate tour, thus any algorithm that depends on that sort of cost function will do poorly except in the small number of cases when the cost function is approximately close to the one that does assign costs proportional to distance. Worse, there will be those cost functions that assign things either exactly or nearly exactly in the reverse way, where higher costs are paired with shorter tours. An algorithm that minimizes costs will perform very badly indeed, worse than blind search, on those cost functions of the problem. That's why all algorithms perform on average just as well or badly as blind search in terms of the NFL theorems.

Response to Dembski from 1999/09/14:

     
Quote

WAD>This conclusion may seem counterintuitive, especially given
WAD>all the marvelous properties that evolutionary algorithms do
WAD>possess. But the conclusion holds. What's more, it is
WAD>consistent with the "no free lunch" (NFL) theorems of David
WAD>Wolpert and William Macready, which place significant
WAD>restrictions on the range of problems genetic algorithms can
WAD>solve.

The "conclusion" cannot be said to hold in advance of the argument that would lead to it.

I have the Wolpert and Macready paper, "No Free Lunch Theorems for Search", obtained via ftp from the Santa Fe Institute, beside me here. I can find no reference to NFL limiting or restricting the range of problems *any* algorithm can solve. So far as I can tell, The NFL is about comparing the efficiency of algorithms, not decreeing which ones can or cannot be solved by any particular algorithm. For example, there is this quote to be found therein:

"As another example, even if one's goal is to find a maximum of the cost function, hill-climbing and hill-descending are equivalent, on average."

One's intuition is not to deploy a hill-descending algorithm in order to find maxima. This is an indication that Wolpert and Macready's findings are not about whether hill-descent is *capable* of finding maxima; it is taken as a given that they are.

"Restriction" is a different question from comparison of efficiency. How does Dembski reconcile his statement of NFL determining a restriction upon range of problems for the particular case of evolutionary algorithms when the central result of NFL is that *all* algorithms are equivalent when their performance is averaged over all cost functions?

The central question that Dembski poses concerning evolutionary algorithms is not one of comparative efficiency, but rather that of essential capacity. I find it difficult to see on what grounds Dembski advances NFL as a relevant finding concerning the capability of evolutionary algorithms to perform tasks. I ask Dembski to clarify his reasoning on this point.


And from a bit later in 1999:

     
Quote

Dembski's invocation of Wolpert and Macready's "No Free Lunch" theorem suffers from the same error as his last use of it in "Explaining Specified Complexity". Wolpert and Macready's results are about comparative efficiency, not essential capacity. As mentioned before, Wolpert and Macready treat all algorithms as having the capacity to solve the problem at hand on every possible cost function for that problem. The example that they give of hill-descending algorithms solving hill-climbing problems illustrates this point nicely.

One can characterize the fitness functions which cause some evolutionary algorithm to become less efficient than other algorithms or blind search: the fitness function is "misleading". That is, nearby candidate solutions in genetic space map to worse-performing points when evaluated by the fitness function, and thus away from the solution that would terminate the search. What Dembski needs to do is show that biological genetics instantiates such a situation. Unfortunately for Dembski, the diversity of variants of proteins which perform the same functions would tend to indicate that, in general, that the biological fitness functions do not match the relevant features of misleading cost functions.


NFL applies to all algorithms, not, as Dembski's rhetoric often misleadingly implies, just algorithms instantiated by evolutionary computation.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,20:26   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,19:26)
On the contrary, the TSP proves that optimization - via random generation and selection - can be impractical when the number of variables rise.  

Huh? I get the opposite message. As the system gets more complicated it becomes completely impractical to assess all possible alternatives. With the TSP, for example, given just 30 places to visit it is not reasonable to evaluate all possible 4,420,880,996,869,850,977,271,808,000,000 routes. One alternative that does work is to start with a random route, then repeatedly make changes followed by selection.

BTW What do you mean by 'optimization'? I am using it to mean the finding of a good solution, but not necessarily the minimum length solution. I think this is how the word is generally used in this context.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,20:37   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,19:26)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 06 2009,06:44)
     
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 05 2009,20:58)
       
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,18:27)
As far as I can tell, the TSP is an optimization problem - where the best solution can always be found by a brute force search of all permutations.  As such, it is quite obvious that the shorter overall distance will always be selected.

I don't think you have any idea of the number of routes that are possible. With just 20 places to visit there are 6*10^16 and with 100 places there are 4.7*10^157. In general, there are (n-1)!/2 possible routes. A brute force search is not on the cards for all but the simplest problems.

:-)

There is a relevant use of complexity that Daniel's statements indicate that he is entirely ignorant of, one that makes anything he says about evolutionary computation (or computation in general) about as valuable as hamster spit.

On the contrary, the TSP proves that optimization - via random generation and selection - can be impractical when the number of variables rise.  



That doesn't seem to actually respond to any issue I brought up. Or to correspond to any reality that other people know something about.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Marion Delgado



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,22:18   

Quote (khan @ Feb. 06 2009,20:09)
And maybe babies are really brought by storks.

I used to think that was impossible. But Jonathan Wells taught me that DNA does not determine embryo development. Hence, could it be that storks fly through contrails/chemtrails determines embryo (baby) development? And if not, how would you prove it?

It's better to say, I don't know than i am so sure of myself.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,22:30   

Scientific Storkism

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 06 2009,23:47   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 06 2009,19:48)
Also, Science has a special issue out all about speciation. I'm reading the Red Queen paper now, with the Bacterial Challenge paper on deck.

Thanks - I'll have to look for it.  Just started reading "The Red Queen" by Matt Ridley (IIRC, it's upstairs now).  Interesting book and this magazine would be an addition.

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"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
Louis



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 07 2009,04:58   

Quote (khan @ Feb. 07 2009,01:48)
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:43)
Louis,

I know that you called for a moratorium on such advice, but I'd like to share two simple rules:

1.  Hold your kid.  Don't be afraid to show affection.  Do your best to make your child always feel safe and loved.

2.  Minimize distractions.  Do your best to give your child your undivided attention.

All the rest are details.

Looking back over my handling of two, now 'twenty-somethings' (one who's given us two granddaughters already!), my biggest regret is that I didn't do these two simple things a lot more than I did.

Why would anyone take advice from a lying piece of shit?

Well it IS good advice, no matter the source, and that's the important thing.

Anyway, I'm horribly affectionate, my little lad is likely to suffer from an overabundance of attention and love rather than the opposite. ;-)

Since the little lad is also likely to go to boarding school he'll be appropriately toughened up. I'm relatively optimistic. I imagine that will change.....

Anyway, a good reason NOT to take Daniel's, or indeed any parent's, advice is because (as is painfully clear in Daniel's comment) some people try to live their life through their kids and in their dotage project their regrets onto others. It's a mistake I know about from personal experience and, whatever other mistakes I am guaranteed to make, it is one I am on guard against!

Louis

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Bye.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 07 2009,05:02   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 07 2009,01:47)
 
Quote (khan @ Feb. 06 2009,17:35)
     
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:32)
     
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 06 2009,17:21)
         
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,20:02)
I have no reason - at this present time - to doubt common descent.

A response worthy of Richard Nixon.

So, do you or don't you? The possible answers I can think of are,

- "In light of current evidence, one cannot reasonably doubt universal common descent"

- "In light of current evidence, one may reasonably doubt universal common descent."

- "I don't know."

The fact that I don't know all the current evidence (do you?), forces me to respond the way I did.  I'm always open to the possibility that I could be wrong about anything.

Are you capable of not lying?

I could be wrong.  It's possible that there is no God and that all life accidentally appeared through sheer luck and coincidence.
I'm open to that possibility, but it's going to take a heckuva convincing case to make me switch to that position.

Daniel,

Until you get these caricatures of what evolutionary biology is out of your head you will never learn a single thing.

The opposite of "god governed" development is NOT "sheer luck and coincidence". Evolutionary biology is NOT "sheer luck and coincidence". And also, whatever my personal philosophical reservations about this position, there are a huge number of people that accept evolutionary biology as the best explanation of the diversity and development of life on this planet AND who believe in god. The two, again despite my philosophical misgivings, appear not to be mutually exclusive for some people.

No one is asking you to give up your faith. All anyone is asking is for you to give up your intellectually dishonest misunderstandings of current science.

Louis

Edited for if/of typo

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Quack



Posts: 1961
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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 07 2009,05:06   

Quote
I could be wrong.  It's possible that there is no God and that all life accidentally appeared through sheer luck and coincidence.
I'm open to that possibility, but it's going to take a heckuva convincing case to make me switch to that position.

That's a creationist’s narrow-minded view. May this layman suggest that the world is not ruled by "sheer luck and coincidence" whatever that is supposed to mean but rather works according to what is commonly referred to as natural laws.

To qoute Robert B. Laughlin again:
 
Quote
Nature is regulated not only by a microscopic rule base but by powerful and general principles of organization. Some of these principles are known, but the vast majority are not. New are being discovered all the time. At higher levels of sophistication the cause-and-effect relationships are harder to document, but there is no evidence that the hierarchical descent of law found in the primitive world is superseded by anything else. Thus if a simple physical phenomenon can become effectively independent of the more fundamental laws from which it descends, so can we. I am carbon. But I need not have been. I have a meaning transcending the atoms from which I am made.

I may be wrong but I believe Daniel needs a huge dose of general science that he is not prepared to take. He will have to live with both his doubts and his convictions. They go hand in hand.

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Rocks have no biology.
              Robert Byers.

  
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