Testing Evolution – The Results

This is part of a series: Testing Evolution

I figured out how to test evolution and I wrote an evolution simulator.  Here are the exact results I get when I run it, and some examples of the same phenomena from biology:

Continue reading Testing Evolution – The Results

Testing Evolution – How I Did It

Muller's Foundry Screenshot - A Mutant That's Better Than the Original

This is part of a series: Testing Evolution

I’m writing this post mainly for anyone who wants to make their own version of my evolution simulator, to prove to themselves that I really got it right. I’ll still try to make it accessible to non-geeks.

I figured out how to test evolution, now it was time to actually do it. In this post, I’ll describe in detail the way that I wrote my evolution simulator.

Outline

Continue reading Testing Evolution – How I Did It

Testing Evolution – How to Do It

Sketch by Leonardo da Vinci

This is part of a series: Testing Evolution

This post is mainly written for anyone who wants to duplicate my results. I’ll try to make it accessible to non-geeks, but there are a lot of technical details.

Summary:

  • I used an evolution simulator to test evolution because that was the easiest way to do it with my skill set
  • My big insight: mutation and natural selection are, for lack of a better term, platform-independent
  • I clarify what exactly mutation and natural selection are, and why I can do the same process to self-copying programs
  • I give examples of other evolutionary algorithms, to give an idea of what most of their authors’ goals are and how they write them
  • I list the main differences between my algorithm and most evolutionary algorithms
    1. They do artificial selection, while mine does natural selection
    2. They usually make their creatures a collection of settings or useful attributes, while I made mine actual programs written in a general-purpose programming language
    3. They mutate as few things as practical, while mine mutates the entire creature’s source code
    4. They reward small, but insignificant improvements, while mine only rewards changes that significantly improve a creature’s ability to spread its genes
    5. They put the creature copier in the simulator, while I put it in each creature

I wanted to test Atheism by testing evolution, but I needed to decide how.

Continue reading Testing Evolution – How to Do It

Testing Evolution – Why I Did It

Stages of Mitosis

This is part of a series: Testing Evolution

As a child, I loved to read about science and technology.  I couldn’t get enough.  I remember going turkey hunting with my dad, and I brought a book along – part of a 13-volume series on aviation history.  He says that I was so focused on the book that when he eventually shot a turkey, I was quite startled by the noise.

My parents are both devout Christians who do a good job of living out their faith.  They’re far from perfect, but the more I learn about other peoples’ marriages and families, the more grateful I am for a stable family, with loving parents who know how to raise kids well.  Their success in marriage and parenting is a living testament to the fact that the OEM really knows how to make families work.

My parents are also Young-Earth Creationists.  Of course, they raised me to believe that, too.  Inevitably, I had to choose between what they taught me, and what most scientists believe.  When I started looking for answers, I was probably 15 or 16 years old.  My parents weren’t able to help much – neither of them knew much about science.  It’s just not their thing.  Their main reasons for being Young-Earth Creationists were and are:

  1. The Bible says so
  2. To them, the Atheists’ explanation for the appearance of life sounds ridiculous

Normally, when I read of people who were raised Creationists, and started doubting, the story goes something like this:

  • They were taught by their parents, friends, family, etc. to believe that God created the universe and life, by his own absolute power, possibly only several thousand years ago
  • They were taught in school that life appeared by natural processes and evolved into its present form over billions of years
  • Over time, they believed their parents less and less, and believed their science teachers more and more
  • They eventually rejected their parents’ beliefs and adopted their teachers’ beliefs

For me, it went more like this:

  • I was taught by my parents, friends, family, etc. to believe that God created the universe and life, by his own absolute power, several thousand years ago
  • I read in many science books that life appeared by natural processes, and evolved into its present form over billions of years
    (I was homeschooled for most of my childhood, but I went to the local high school for the last couple of years, and got a dual diploma)
  • I read up on the Creation/Evolution controversy.  I went out of my way to find well-written, well-reasoned defenses of each of the two main sides
  • I tested the thing I was considering believing – Agnosticism bordering on Atheism.
    I did this by testing evolution
  • I found that the Evolutionists were wrong
  • At about the same time, I started testing the thing I currently believed – Christianity, including Divine Creation
    How?  I tested whether God really hears and answers prayer, in a way that can be clearly distinguished from chance, and a dead god not answering
  • I found that the Bible is right

In this post series, I’m focusing on my test of Atheism.  I may eventually write a series on my test of Christianity.

This is part of a series: Testing Evolution

Photo credit:
Daniel Williamson – OpenStax CNX (online biology textbook)

Why I Believe – The Fall of Evolution

Aging Face

This is part of two series:

  1. Testing Evolution
  2. Why I Believe
Summary:
  1. Evolution is the best explanation that atheists have ever had for life, and it’s probably the best they’ll ever have
  2. I figured out a way to test evolution
  3. Its mechanism mainly causes devolution and eventually extinction
  4. Evolutionary biologists have known about this phenomenon for awhile
  5. Their reason why this isn’t the death of evolution doesn’t hold water
  6. Thus, it’s unreasonable to believe that there is no creator god, and it is reasonable to believe that there is a creator god
  7. The only question left is who this god is, and that’s pretty easy to answer

Here’s my evolution simulator.  It’s a web app, but my Github project page doesn’t serve it as a normal web page.  To run it, download it as a .zip file, extract it, and open “Muller’s Foundry.html”.  It’ll open in your web browser, like a web page, but the URL will be on your local machine, in the form file:///path/to/folder/Muller’s Foundry.html

Screenshot of Muller's Foundry

Continue reading Why I Believe – The Fall of Evolution

Defining Life – Putting it All Together

Human egg being fertilized

This is part of a series: Define Life

I’ve listed the most common views on exactly what life is – now I’ll try to do better. But first, I’ll list my biases:

  1. In my opinion, there are a couple of inventions that will likely be created within the next 100 years which I think should be considered life. However, most people who I’ve met disagree. These inventions are:
    • Clanking replicators
      Self-sustaining, fully automated factories made of current human technology, or something not much more advanced. Each “cell” will be easily big enough to see, and would probably come in the form of a small building or a group of robots that can collectively sustain themselves, and even reproduce.

    Continue reading Defining Life – Putting it All Together