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The Peppered Moths Stike Back Monday, August 27, 2007

Posted by henry000 in evolution, Icons of Evolution, intelligent design, Jonathan Wells, Judith Hooper, Majerus, natural selection, pepper moth, science, science experiment.
4 comments

If you ask anyone off the street to give you one example of evolution, chances are it will be the peppered moth phenomenon. The story of the darker type of moths out-surviving the lighter coloured moths in industrial polluted areas has been cited in just about all evolution and biology textbooks.

However, this icon of evolution has been under heavy attack recently, raging from flawed experiments to outright fraud or fakery. The charges include manipulated photographs, deliberate suppressed evidence and dismissing other alternative conclusions out of hand. The critics include the Intelligent Design proponent Jonathan Wells in his infamous book Icons of Evolution and Judith Hooper’s Of Moths and Men.

This attack has completely repelled, and vindicated by a recently experiment conducted. A Cambridge professor named Michael Majerus has repeated this experiment in his own backyard for a span of seven years – taking into the criticism into account as well. His study has conclusively shown that the phenomenon is indeed a shining example of natural selection:

(more…)

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Awesome, Awesome Evolution Software Friday, August 17, 2007

Posted by henry000 in animation, art, artificial intelligence, evolution, Jeffrey Ventrella, natural selection, simulation, software.
1 comment so far

This man – Jeffrey Ventrella – is quite incredible. Here on his website you can find a myriad of beautifully designed evolution simulation software:

http://www.jjventrella.com/

Please go to website and I am sure you will be impressed with Ventrella’s artistic talent and programming skills. Exploring the website is like discovering treasures upon treasures in a dream world. There are not just one but many evolution themed software, as well as fractals and other beautiful artwork. I know, you might say that there are many other evolution simulation software programs out there – true, but Ventrella’s are different in that they are aesthetically awesome.

Ventrella is both a famous and somewhat elusive figure. His is an artist as well as a researcher in artificial intelligence as well as an Internet entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of the online virtual world There and several other ones.

Here is a screenshot (click to enlarge) of one of the Java applet named Music Gene Pool which demonstrates the power of selection in creating music from randomness to your own liking:

EvoMusic

Here is the screenshot of a Windows program called Gene Pool:

Gene Pool is an artificial life simulation in which populations of physics-based organisms evolve swimming capabilities over time. These organisms are called “swimbots”. You can set mate preference criteria and thus influence what the swimbots consider as attractive qualities in potential mates. The most attractive swimbots get chosen most often and so their genetic building blocks propogate to future generations. Eventually, swimbots get better at pursuing each other, competing for food, and becoming babes to other swimbots. Local gene pools emerge which compete for sex and food (for energy to have more sex). Eventually a dominant sub-population takes over.

Gene Pool

I am nuts about evolution and as a software engineer, I can tell you I really admire and envy the works of this man. I wrote a small Java applet a few years ago simulating Conway’s Game of Life, and it is infantile and woeful comparing to Ventrella’s works (which I will be playing with for the next few days whenever time permits…)

Darwinists’ Worst Nightmare – The Frightening Spectre of ID Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, creationism, Darwinism, evolution, Fred Hoyle, fundamentalism, intelligent design, natural selection, naturalism, rationality, reason, religion, science, scientists, straw-man.
2 comments

Apparently the Intelligent Design movement has got the “Darwinists” scared, according to an article posted on an American right-wing extremist website (courtesy of the resourceful Darwininia).

While the title of the article “The frightening specter of Intelligent Design” sounds spectacularly frightening, it fails spectacularly to frighten anyone who knows something about ID. This is because the article is a simple repetition of the usual ID and creationism rhetorics.

So why are Darwinists scared? Because the progresses of science have rendered natural selection more and more unable to explain the complexity of life.

And this is pretty much the entire article offers – it mentions absolutely nothing, zero, nil, nada, on what these recent science progresses are.

And unlike many other more sophisticated ID arguments, the author displays all the hallmarks of basic creationism knowledge. The article starts with the main ID theme that life is too complex to be explainable by natural selection. This is where the ID argument (if there is one to start with) ends, and the good old dose of creationism takes over.

The author says that life is too complex to have come about by random chance – and he even brings up the really, really, really old and wrong Fred Hoyle chance calculation which I thought has been buried for good!

Then the scientific community is under attack with his straw-man argument:

But if design, conversely, is rational, why do so many scientists reject it? Because this is not an issue of science, but of religion. Their religion is that of materialism and naturalism, and they are under no illusions as to the implications of design.

Now this line of thinking exemplifies the frightening spectre of religious fundamentalism.

An Update on Chemical Origin of Life Friday, June 15, 2007

Posted by henry000 in chemical catalyst, chemistry, enzyme, natural selection, origin of life, science, scientific model.
2 comments

According to Science Daily, the study of the origin of life has made further progress.

A pair of scientists have proposed a model where natural selection is the seen as the driving force at chemical level. An enzyme catalyst might produce chemicals that other catalysts require, and they will seek that enzyme, and they stabilise and thus forming a complex. This process is coined as a “search, selection and memory” Darwinian process. For example:

The process could go like this: Catalyst A produces a chemical that catalyst B uses. Now, since B normally seeks out this chemical, sometimes B will be attracted to A — if its desired chemical is not otherwise available nearby. As a result, A and B will come into proximity, forming a complex.

Of course, currently this is only a proposed model. However, it is testable, and depends only on known chemical and physical laws (no skyhook required here).