O Sean Pitman

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Zachriel

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Mar 7, 2004, 6:10:33 PM3/7/04
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Reposted.

From: "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com>
Subject: Re: O Sean Pitman
Date: Sunday, January 25, 2004 10:33 AM


"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04012...@posting.google.com...
> "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:<100j472...@corp.supernews.com>...
> > "Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in
message
> > news:80d0c26f.03120...@posting.google.com...
> > >
> > > So, what you
> > > "start with" is quite important to determining what is and what is
> > > not beneficial. Then, beyond this, say you start with a short
> > > sequence, like a two or three-letter word that is defined or
> > > recognized as beneficial by a much larger system of function, such as
> > > a living cell or an English language system. Try evolving this short
> > > word, one letter at a time, into a longer and longer word or phrase.
> > > See how far you can go. Very quickly you will find yourself running
> > > into walls of non-beneficial function.
> >
> > First you made this challenge. I responded with a word puzzle where,
> > starting with the single letter word "O", and by only changing one
letter at
> > a time, and with concatenation, I constructed the phrase, "Beware a war
of
> > words, Sean Pitman, ere you err."
> >
> > We can trace the "etymology" of each word used in the poem. Some of the
more
> > difficult words to create include "light", "choose", "instead" and
"simple".
>
> You think that if you have the individual words available that you can
> just stick them together without regard to their collective
> *beneficial* meaning or the possibility of mistaken/misaligned
> insertions? Look at your "rules" again and note something very
> interesting:
>
> Rules: Change only one letter at a time from any existing string. Can
> concatenate any two strings. However, only one operation at a time.
> All words, phrases and sentences must make sense in standard English.
>
> Your main problem here is your mistaken notion that you can
> "concatenate" or simply connect, in a meaningful way, two separate
> strings of independently meaningful code into a united stretch of
> meaningful code.

We certainly can concatenate two words to create meaning. It's called a
phrase, or a sentence. Indeed, the meaning of two words put together can be
completely different than the words separately -- novelty from simple, even
random, changes.

i
a
am
at
hat
what

I am
What I am
I am what I am


> This is a common misconception among evolutionists.
> However, the likelihood that two independent sequences will be united
> so as to form a new collective function that is also
> meaningful/beneficial in a given situation is inversely proportional
> to the size of the final product - in an exponential manner - due to
> the huge numbers of ways that they could be connected in a meaningless
> way.

This is simply incorrect. There are only two ways to concatenate two
phrases. And there are only a limited number of letter-mutations, as well.


> You must consider the odds that they will concatenate themselves
> in a meaningful way vs. all the huge numbers of
> meaningless/non-beneficial possibilities that also exist.

You are moving the goal-posts. You gave no indication, nor is it necessary,
that I must calculate all the possible combinations in order to demonstrate
that complex ideas can be built up step-by-step from simple ones. Indeed,
you yourself gave the selection mechanism as "beneficial", which with
letters means words and phrases.


>
> For example, say that I have two phrases that read, "I like ice cream"
> and "Life often follows a rocky road". Now, a mutation to the second
> phrase could clip out the words "rocky road" and insert them just
> right into the first phrase so as to create a new phrase, which reads,
> "I like rocky road ice cream".

That's not concatenation, but insertion. Gee, if we allowed insertions, the
game would be trivial. At least by limiting ourselves to mutation and
concatenation, the game forms a bit of a poetic challenge.


> This is certainly possible, but you
> must ask yourself how likely such a perfect snipping and insertion
> will be? I mean, the insertion could have read, "I lirocky roadke ice
> cream" or the clipping could have been messed up from the beginning
> and read "ows a rocky roa" and have been inserted to read, "I li ows a
> rocky roake ice cream".
<snip>

Concatenate, to link together.


>
> I'm afraid that your little scenario, although it must have taken you
> quite some time to think of and write out, is fundamentally flawed.
> Just because various sequences and codes already exist in a genome
> does not mean that these sequences will be able to "concatenate"
> themselves so neatly in a meaningful way as you seem to think vs. the
> vastly more likely non-meaningful possibilities. And, this problem
> only gets worse at higher and higher levels of specified complexity.

Actually, our word game gets easier and easier. Perhaps you should take
advice and "beware a war of words".


> That is why the "homology" arguments are weak. Just because all the
> necessary parts for a new beneficial function exist within a genome as
> subparts of many other systems of function does not mean that all
> these parts will simply come together in a meaningful collective way
> to form an entirely new function beyond the lowest levels of
> functional complexity - even if it would be highly beneficial if it
> happened. You see, in order to work in a new way the parts must be
> brought together in a very specific way, as you have illustrated
> nicely in your concatenating example. The likelihood that such a
> specified mindless placement will be meaningfully achieved at anything
> beyond the lowest levels of specified complexity gets exponentially
> more and more remote as you move up the ladder of specified
> informational complexity.

Exactly wrong. Once having 'evolved' an idea, a beneficial phrase, it can be
used over and over again, often in novel ways. As anyone can see (even you,
if you try), we can build an essay "In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step."


>
> So, you simple cannot get from "O" to "Beware a war of words, Sean
> Pitman, ere you err" without crossing significant gaps of neutral or
> even detrimental meaning/function. The simple "pasting together" of
> pre-established words and phrases doesn't help you because you have
> pasted them, with the help of your intelligent mind, in "just the
> right way" so that they will work, when, in real life, it is far far
> more likely that they will get pasted together in non-meaningful ways.

Yup. You moved the goalposts. It's your analogy Sean, not mine. You claimed
that I couldn't evolve novel meanings in words from a simple set of rules.
This is incorrect, and shows the failure of your entire thought-process. You
can't see how it could be done, so you claim it can't be done. Well, it
doesn't work that way. I couldn't immediately see how to 'evolve' the word
"simple", but it turned out there was a way. My ignorance was not sufficient
evidence to exclude the possibility.

And this process could be completely random, except for the selection
process, of course. Every change is well within the realm of possibility for
a random circumstance in a sea of words swimming with trillions of words and
phrases.


---------------------------------------------

In the beginning was the Word.

There was a little pond and in the pond was a little letter "O", a word.
Soon the pond was full of trillions of O's, happily mouthing their meaning.

And the word was fruitful and multiplied.


Then something happened. An "O" changed to an "I". Another changed to an
"A". (Others changed to "x" and "p", but these were not fruitful and were,
sadly, deselected.) Soon, the pond was swimming with O's and A's and I's.
The I's, in particular, thought they were something special, but the O's
were happy just to be noticed.

And the words were fruitful and multiplied.


Then it rained new letters. The rain concatenated with the O's and A's and
I's. Soon, the pond was filled with "an", "or", "in" and "ox". (So the "x"
finally found a home.) Then some of the letters changed and soon the pond
was filled with every possible two-letter word including "up". And every
possible three-letter words, and four-letters. Indeed, soon there were
trillions of each of hundreds of different words swimming in the pond.

And the words were fruitful and multiplied.


As the pond was filled, it spilled over its banks and formed a river of
words flowing down to the Sea of Beneficence. And in the Sea, the words
bumped into one another and formed phrases. "I am", "A war", "Am I" "You
ere", "of words", "I am what I am" and all manner of phrases and sentences.
All with meaning, and most with new meanings never before seen in the world.

And the phrases were fruitful and multiplied.


Along the Sea, there was a shore composed of iambic clay. And of the
multitude of words and phrases in the Sea of Beneficence, only certain ones
would stick to the iambic clay.

be-ware
wordy ward, a wordy ward
a war, a kiss
a war of words
beware a war of words
beware a war of words
beware a war of words
Sean pit-man
you err
I err
ere you err

One day, a new phrase appeared, "Beware a war of words Sean Pitman, ere you
err."

And this new phrase was selected, and was fruitful and multiplied.


Zachriel

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Mar 7, 2004, 6:10:39 PM3/7/04
to
Reposted

From: "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com>
Subject: Re: O Sean Pitman
Date: Sunday, January 25, 2004 7:05 PM


"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04012...@posting.google.com...
> "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:<100j472...@corp.supernews.com>...

<snipped>

>
> I'm afraid that your little scenario, although it must have taken you
> quite some time to think of and write out, is fundamentally flawed.
> Just because various sequences and codes already exist in a genome
> does not mean that these sequences will be able to "concatenate"
> themselves so neatly in a meaningful way as you seem to think vs. the
> vastly more likely non-meaningful possibilities. And, this problem
> only gets worse at higher and higher levels of specified complexity.

Assume the Sea of Beneficence is populated with a trillion copies each of a
thousand "beneficial" words. How many ways can we concatenate these thousand
words? A thousand squared is a million. So in a Sea of trillions, every
possible two-word phrase will be tried many, many times. Most combinations
will be unmeaningful, that is, non-beneficial, and will be de-selected.

Now, the Sea becomes populated with a thousand words and a few meaningful
two-word phrases. The number of ways to concatenate is still only
(1000+few)^2 or about a million. In a Sea of trillions, every possible
concatenation will be tried many, many times. Select those with meaning and
discard the rest. And so on.

Your "calculation" would demand that every possible phrase of a given length
be explored, a number of trials equal to 1000^length_phrase, which is very
large for long phrases. But this is NOT what science proposes for biological
evolution. Evolution doesn't explore every single possible combination of
genes, nor does our analogous word-game explore every possible complex
phrase; nevertheless, random concatenation with on-going selection for
meaning allows the 'evolution' of very complex phrases.


And even a simple phrase may contain a cornucopia of meaning.

o, or, to, no, not
a, an, man, mean, bean, bear, beer, bee, be

to be
or not
to be or not
to be or not to be

It is the selection that makes it decidedly non-random. The same for genes.

Sean Pitman

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Mar 10, 2004, 5:40:48 PM3/10/04
to
"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message news:<104nbat...@corp.supernews.com>...
> Reposted.

What you fail to do is to take into account all the other possible
arrangements and potentially non-beneficial connections and insertions
of these words. In genetics, for example, what are the odds new
genetic sequence of just the right type will come along at just the
right time AND insert itself in just the proper "concatenated"
location?

Lets use your illustration here for example. Say you have the two
phrases "I am" and "what I am". Lets just say it would be beneficial
if they were to come together to read, "I am what I am." The problem
here is that this is not the only way in which these individual
phrases could come together. First the one phrase has to get cut or
copied from its current location fully intact and transported to its
new location and inserted. You must calculate the odds that a
duplication mutation will cut out the phrase just right and then the
odds that this phrase will get inserted in just the right way next to
the other phrase to make a new collective phrase. In this game, the
insertion of the phrase "I am" with the phrase "What I am" could just
as easily end up reading "wh i am t I am". Of course, that phrase
would not make any sense and it would destroy the beneficial functions
of both previous phrases. You must take this possibility into account
when you do your phrase evolution scenarios. You, of course, skip
over these possibilities and go directly to phrases that make sense
because you can think ahead to what you need. However, I dare say
that you couldn't program a computer to make such creatively
beneficial "concatenations" as you can make with your "intelligent"
mind.

> > This is a common misconception among evolutionists.
> > However, the likelihood that two independent sequences will be united
> > so as to form a new collective function that is also
> > meaningful/beneficial in a given situation is inversely proportional
> > to the size of the final product - in an exponential manner - due to
> > the huge numbers of ways that they could be connected in a meaningless
> > way.
>
> This is simply incorrect. There are only two ways to concatenate two
> phrases. And there are only a limited number of letter-mutations, as well.

You are clearly wrong here. There are many ways to bring different
phrases together that don't make any sense, much less beneficial
sense, at all. You cannot simply bring words or phrases together
end-on-end just because that is how they best fit together. You must
also consider that they may come together in the middle of each other
in many different ways, just like it is possible for genetic
insertions to insert anywhere. In fact, when insertions do occur
around other genes, they almost always disrupt or completely destroy
the function of the gene into which they inserted without creating any
new function whatsoever.



> > You must consider the odds that they will concatenate themselves
> > in a meaningful way vs. all the huge numbers of
> > meaningless/non-beneficial possibilities that also exist.
>
> You are moving the goal-posts. You gave no indication, nor is it necessary,
> that I must calculate all the possible combinations in order to demonstrate
> that complex ideas can be built up step-by-step from simple ones. Indeed,
> you yourself gave the selection mechanism as "beneficial", which with
> letters means words and phrases.

I didn't move any goal posts at all. The rules of the game have
always been to evolve any sort of information system, be it English,
Spanish, Greek, computer code, etc., using the same rules that natural
selection uses as it works on changing genetic codes. Remember now
that natural selection does not detect changes in spelling, but
changes in function. Natural selection has no foresight like you have
so you cannot use foresight in your scenarios. You may have many
different phrases or bits of code doing many different things in a
system at the same time. But, these different phrases will not just
self-assemble with each other in any sort of newly beneficial way as
easily as you seem to be suggesting. And, the problems for such
successful assembly get exponentially more and more massive with each
additional length and specificity requirement to the final phrase.

The pool of options is limited and yet even within this pool the
theoretical beneficial combinations are absolutely huge, as you
suggest, but the non-beneficial potential combinations always
outnumber the beneficial options by an almost infinite number even at
fairly low levels of functional complexity. This creates the
non-beneficial gap problem that I keep talking about.

> > For example, say that I have two phrases that read, "I like ice cream"
> > and "Life often follows a rocky road". Now, a mutation to the second
> > phrase could clip out the words "rocky road" and insert them just
> > right into the first phrase so as to create a new phrase, which reads,
> > "I like rocky road ice cream".
>
> That's not concatenation, but insertion.

And that is exactly my point. You forgot about the possibility of
insertions. Duplicated genes don't know where to go so as to avoid
insertions. So, neither should you when you make up "evolutionary"
scenarios that have no correlation with real life at all.

> Gee, if we allowed insertions, the
> game would be trivial. At least by limiting ourselves to mutation and
> concatenation, the game forms a bit of a poetic challenge.

Oh really? Well then, explain how you can evolve your phrases through
all the potential piles of junk sequences out there. Remember now as
you do your calculations that cells have a limited vocabulary. The
larger the phrases you are dealing with, the less and less common it
will be to duplicate such an equivalent genetic phrase "just right" in
real life and the less and less likely it will be that such a long
phrase will get inserted "just right" into a new place that results in
a collective beneficial function for the cell. In fact, this just
doesn't happen beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity in
the real life evolution of any information system. In living things
systems of function that require more than a few hundred fairly
specified amino acids working together at the same time just do not
evolve - period.



> > This is certainly possible, but you
> > must ask yourself how likely such a perfect snipping and insertion
> > will be? I mean, the insertion could have read, "I lirocky roadke ice
> > cream" or the clipping could have been messed up from the beginning
> > and read "ows a rocky roa" and have been inserted to read, "I li ows a
> > rocky roake ice cream".
> <snip>
>
> Concatenate, to link together.

Concatenate doesn't happen in real life as often as you need it to
happen if evolution is to get beyond the lowest levels of
functional/informational complexity this side of zillions of years of
time.



> > That is why the "homology" arguments are weak. Just because all the
> > necessary parts for a new beneficial function exist within a genome as
> > subparts of many other systems of function does not mean that all
> > these parts will simply come together in a meaningful collective way
> > to form an entirely new function beyond the lowest levels of
> > functional complexity - even if it would be highly beneficial if it
> > happened. You see, in order to work in a new way the parts must be
> > brought together in a very specific way, as you have illustrated
> > nicely in your concatenating example. The likelihood that such a
> > specified mindless placement will be meaningfully achieved at anything
> > beyond the lowest levels of specified complexity gets exponentially
> > more and more remote as you move up the ladder of specified
> > informational complexity.
>
> Exactly wrong. Once having 'evolved' an idea, a beneficial phrase, it can be
> used over and over again, often in novel ways. As anyone can see (even you,
> if you try), we can build an essay "In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step."

You can do this because you have a creative mind that can leap across
the vast ocean of non-beneficial possibilities. A selection system
that cannot recognize anything but changes in function cannot jump
across these non-beneficial gaps. Since the gaps grow exponentially
with each step up the ladder of functional complexity, evolution
stalls in its creative powers in an exponential way until it is simply
untenable at fairly very levels of the functional complexity that is
found in every living thing.

This is a great story, but sadly, it is statistically impossible. Go
ahead and try it. Based on your rules you should be able to program a
computer to evolve new functions requiring higher and higher levels of
informational input using this method. The problem here is that there
simply is not enough time this size of zillions of years to get the
limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make
anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the
input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system.
It just won't happen. Try it and see.

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 7:39:51 AM3/11/04
to
Thank you for your response. It was quite rapid considering my own reply had
been lost in the "ozone" for several weeks.

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message

news:80d0c26f.04031...@posting.google.com...

You called this a word "game". If I remember, when playing crosswords, we
don't have to try every single letter in every single possible position.

But no matter.


> In genetics, for example, what are the odds new
> genetic sequence of just the right type will come along at just the
> right time AND insert itself in just the proper "concatenated"
> location?

Insertion and concatenation are not the same function. What are the odds?

But no matter.


> Lets use your illustration here for example. Say you have the two
> phrases "I am" and "what I am". Lets just say it would be beneficial
> if they were to come together to read, "I am what I am." The problem
> here is that this is not the only way in which these individual
> phrases could come together. First the one phrase has to get cut or
> copied from its current location fully intact and transported to its
> new location and inserted. You must calculate the odds that a
> duplication mutation will cut out the phrase just right and then the
> odds that this phrase will get inserted in just the right way next to
> the other phrase to make a new collective phrase. In this game, the
> insertion of the phrase "I am" with the phrase "What I am" could just
> as easily end up reading "wh i am t I am".

Ok, you want to allow random insertion. In many ways, this will make the
game much easier.

But no matter.


> Of course, that phrase
> would not make any sense and it would destroy the beneficial functions
> of both previous phrases. You must take this possibility into account
> when you do your phrase evolution scenarios. You, of course, skip
> over these possibilities and go directly to phrases that make sense
> because you can think ahead to what you need. However, I dare say
> that you couldn't program a computer to make such creatively
> beneficial "concatenations" as you can make with your "intelligent"
> mind.

Sure you could, contrary to your assertion.

But no matter.

>
> > > This is a common misconception among evolutionists.
> > > However, the likelihood that two independent sequences will be united
> > > so as to form a new collective function that is also
> > > meaningful/beneficial in a given situation is inversely proportional
> > > to the size of the final product - in an exponential manner - due to
> > > the huge numbers of ways that they could be connected in a meaningless
> > > way.
> >
> > This is simply incorrect. There are only two ways to concatenate two
> > phrases. And there are only a limited number of letter-mutations, as
well.
>
> You are clearly wrong here. There are many ways to bring different
> phrases together that don't make any sense, much less beneficial
> sense, at all. You cannot simply bring words or phrases together
> end-on-end just because that is how they best fit together.

Let us allow insertion.

But no matter.


> You must
> also consider that they may come together in the middle of each other
> in many different ways, just like it is possible for genetic
> insertions to insert anywhere. In fact, when insertions do occur
> around other genes, they almost always disrupt or completely destroy
> the function of the gene into which they inserted without creating any
> new function whatsoever.

So you want to calculate every possible insertion and every possible
point-mutation, thinking this will prove your point?

But no matter.


> > > You must consider the odds that they will concatenate themselves
> > > in a meaningful way vs. all the huge numbers of
> > > meaningless/non-beneficial possibilities that also exist.
> >
> > You are moving the goal-posts. You gave no indication, nor is it
necessary,
> > that I must calculate all the possible combinations in order to
demonstrate
> > that complex ideas can be built up step-by-step from simple ones.
Indeed,
> > you yourself gave the selection mechanism as "beneficial", which with
> > letters means words and phrases.
>
> I didn't move any goal posts at all. The rules of the game have
> always been to evolve any sort of information system, be it English,
> Spanish, Greek, computer code, etc., using the same rules that natural
> selection uses as it works on changing genetic codes.

Well, in biology, these would be equivalent strings: dog, dogx, xdog,
slkdrdogqapso. They all include "dog". We have restricted ourselves to only
"perfect" English words and phrases.

But no matter.


> Remember now
> that natural selection does not detect changes in spelling, but
> changes in function. Natural selection has no foresight like you have
> so you cannot use foresight in your scenarios. You may have many
> different phrases or bits of code doing many different things in a
> system at the same time. But, these different phrases will not just
> self-assemble with each other in any sort of newly beneficial way as
> easily as you seem to be suggesting. And, the problems for such
> successful assembly get exponentially more and more massive with each
> additional length and specificity requirement to the final phrase.

That's fine. We will examine every single possible insertion and every
single point-mutation.

But no matter.


> The pool of options is limited and yet even within this pool the
> theoretical beneficial combinations are absolutely huge, as you
> suggest, but the non-beneficial potential combinations always
> outnumber the beneficial options by an almost infinite number even at
> fairly low levels of functional complexity. This creates the
> non-beneficial gap problem that I keep talking about.
>
> > > For example, say that I have two phrases that read, "I like ice cream"
> > > and "Life often follows a rocky road". Now, a mutation to the second
> > > phrase could clip out the words "rocky road" and insert them just
> > > right into the first phrase so as to create a new phrase, which reads,
> > > "I like rocky road ice cream".
> >
> > That's not concatenation, but insertion.
>
> And that is exactly my point. You forgot about the possibility of
> insertions. Duplicated genes don't know where to go so as to avoid
> insertions. So, neither should you when you make up "evolutionary"
> scenarios that have no correlation with real life at all.

That's fine. My previous explanation showed how we could use simple rules to
"evolve" complex phrases. With the ability to select, we can de-select all
insertions if we so choose. But you insist upon a calculation of every
single possibility. Not much of a word-game. I don't think it will catch on.

But no matter.


> > Gee, if we allowed insertions, the
> > game would be trivial. At least by limiting ourselves to mutation and
> > concatenation, the game forms a bit of a poetic challenge.
>
> Oh really? Well then, explain how you can evolve your phrases through
> all the potential piles of junk sequences out there. Remember now as
> you do your calculations that cells have a limited vocabulary. The
> larger the phrases you are dealing with, the less and less common it
> will be to duplicate such an equivalent genetic phrase "just right" in
> real life and the less and less likely it will be that such a long
> phrase will get inserted "just right" into a new place that results in
> a collective beneficial function for the cell. In fact, this just
> doesn't happen beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity in
> the real life evolution of any information system. In living things
> systems of function that require more than a few hundred fairly
> specified amino acids working together at the same time just do not
> evolve - period.

I have been very parsimonious in my arguments. All I ask is that you "Beware
a war of words," and avoid such arguments from ignorance.

But no matter.


> > > This is certainly possible, but you
> > > must ask yourself how likely such a perfect snipping and insertion
> > > will be? I mean, the insertion could have read, "I lirocky roadke ice
> > > cream" or the clipping could have been messed up from the beginning
> > > and read "ows a rocky roa" and have been inserted to read, "I li ows a
> > > rocky roake ice cream".
> > <snip>
> >
> > Concatenate, to link together.
>
> Concatenate doesn't happen in real life as often as you need it to
> happen if evolution is to get beyond the lowest levels of
> functional/informational complexity this side of zillions of years of
> time.

That's fine. We will calculate every single possible insertion and every
single possible point-mutation in every single generation as required.

But no matter.


> > > That is why the "homology" arguments are weak. Just because all the
> > > necessary parts for a new beneficial function exist within a genome as
> > > subparts of many other systems of function does not mean that all
> > > these parts will simply come together in a meaningful collective way
> > > to form an entirely new function beyond the lowest levels of
> > > functional complexity - even if it would be highly beneficial if it
> > > happened. You see, in order to work in a new way the parts must be
> > > brought together in a very specific way, as you have illustrated
> > > nicely in your concatenating example. The likelihood that such a
> > > specified mindless placement will be meaningfully achieved at anything
> > > beyond the lowest levels of specified complexity gets exponentially
> > > more and more remote as you move up the ladder of specified
> > > informational complexity.
> >
> > Exactly wrong. Once having 'evolved' an idea, a beneficial phrase, it
can be
> > used over and over again, often in novel ways. As anyone can see (even
you,
> > if you try), we can build an essay "In meaning, and in kind,
step-by-step."
>
> You can do this because you have a creative mind that can leap across
> the vast ocean of non-beneficial possibilities.

Actually, a lot of trial-and-error was required.

But no matter.

Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry you missed the point.

> Go
> ahead and try it. Based on your rules you should be able to program a
> computer to evolve new functions requiring higher and higher levels of
> informational input using this method. The problem here is that there
> simply is not enough time this size of zillions of years to get the

How big is a zillion?


> limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make
> anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the
> input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system.
> It just won't happen. Try it and see.

I think I will.


Zachriel

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 7:43:36 AM3/11/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04031...@posting.google.com...
<snip>

>
> This is a great story, but sadly, it is statistically impossible. Go
> ahead and try it. Based on your rules you should be able to program a
> computer to evolve new functions requiring higher and higher levels of
> informational input using this method. The problem here is that there
> simply is not enough time this size of zillions of years to get the
> limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make
> anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the
> input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system.
> It just won't happen. Try it and see.

Please review these rules and definitions.

* String: a collection of letters. To be valid and remain extant, it must
form an English word or phrase.

* Population: a collection of valid strings.

* Point-mutations: A point mutation is a change in a single letter to any
other single letter, or the addition of a letter to the beginning or end of
a string, or the insertion of a letter at any point in the string. Every
single possible point-mutation must be considered, but if it forms a
non-valid string, it is automatically de-selected.

* Insertions: An insertion is made by taking any valid string and inserting
it into any valid string at any place in that string. Every single possible
insertion must be considered, but if it forms a non-valid string, it is
automatically de-selected.

* Selection: Besides automatic selection, at the end of each generation, we
can de-select any strings we choose leaving a pool of beneficial strings. We
can cull the herd.

* Calculation: During each generation, we must calculate every possible
point-mutation and insertion. This number must be less than "zillions" or
the game is over. As I don't know what a zillion is, let us use a typical
number from biology. The number of prokaryotes on Earth is on the order of
10^30. That's TOO big. Let's use a smaller number, just for a little
challenge. There are about 10^14 prokaryotes living in the typical human
gut. A hundred trillion. That's about right.

Are these rules and definitions acceptable?

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 8:10:42 AM3/11/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04031...@posting.google.com...
<snip>

>
> > In the beginning was the Word.

Let me emphasize the obvious, that this "game" is just an analogy and has no
direct relevance to genetics. However, it does have relevance to the nature
of arguments from ignorance. As I mentioned before, I wasn't sure I could
'evolve' the word "simple" using the rules from the original game, but it
turned out I could. My inability to see the solution in no way proved that
it couldn't be done.

i, is, his, him, dim
id, lid, led, pled
dimpled, dimple, simple

(Of course, if I couldn't figure out how to 'evolve' this particular word,
perhaps I could have found a different word or phrase that meant the same
thing. Evolution and my word-game are both opportunistic.)

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 2:41:51 PM3/11/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04031...@posting.google.com...

> "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:<104nbat...@corp.supernews.com>...
<snip>

I've updated the insertion rule to include the use of snippets.


> This is a great story, but sadly, it is statistically impossible. Go
> ahead and try it. Based on your rules you should be able to program a
> computer to evolve new functions requiring higher and higher levels of
> informational input using this method. The problem here is that there
> simply is not enough time this size of zillions of years to get the
> limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make
> anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the
> input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system.
> It just won't happen. Try it and see.
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>

Please review these rules and definitions.

* String: a collection of letters. To be valid and remain extant, it must
form an English word or phrase.

* Population: a collection of valid strings.

* Point-mutations: A point mutation is a change in a single letter to any
other single letter, or the addition of a letter to the beginning or end of
a string, or the insertion of a letter at any point in the string. Every
single possible point-mutation must be considered, but if it forms a
non-valid string, it is automatically de-selected.

* Insertions: An insertion is made by taking any valid string or snippet of
a string and inserting it into any valid string at any place in that string.

Hiero5ant

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 4:53:16 PM3/11/04
to

"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:io34c.254$oD...@fe25.usenetserver.com...

Please excuse my late-comingness to the thread, but isn't the
appropriate definition to press him on "input of a higher intelligence or
information system"?
ISTM that that's his euphemism for "turbocharged engine attached to a
pair of goalposts".

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 6:09:55 PM3/11/04
to

"Hiero5ant" <vze4...@verizon.com> wrote in message
news:Ki54c.48407$YN5....@nwrdny03.gnilink.net...

Sean Pitman likes to use an analogy to a word-game. His assertion is that
the space of meaningless 'mutations' is so vast that a random walk with
selection searching for meaningful expression is not possible. The gaps are
simply too large to cross in less than "zillions of years." This is a
classic argument from ignorance and incredulity. His challenge is generally
phrased in rather vague terms such that the goalposts can be moved as
required.

I have already shown that it is possible in principle to use simple rules to
evolve, "in meaning, and in kind, step-by-step", and that this could have
been done by random happenstance (along with selection) in the Sea of
Beneficence.

The original rule was "one letter at a time". Now he wants a more complex
set of slicer/dicer rules. Here is his original challenge.

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 13, 2004, 8:16:59 AM3/13/04
to
I've updated the insertion rule to refine the definitions of point-mutations
to include deletions, and the possible viability of snippets. I have also
included a count for a reasonable number of generations.


> This is a great story, but sadly, it is statistically impossible. Go


> ahead and try it. Based on your rules you should be able to program a
> computer to evolve new functions requiring higher and higher levels of
> informational input using this method. The problem here is that there
> simply is not enough time this size of zillions of years to get the

> limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make
> anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the
> input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system.
> It just won't happen. Try it and see.
>

> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>


Please review these rules and definitions.

* String: a sequence of letters. To be valid and remain extant, it must form


an English word or phrase.

* Population: a collection of such valid strings.

* Point-mutations: A point mutation is a change in a single letter to any
other single letter, or the addition of a letter to the beginning or end of

a string, or the insertion of a letter at any point in the string, or the
deletion of a single letter at any point in the string. Every single


possible point-mutation must be considered, but if it forms a non-valid
string, it is automatically de-selected.

* Snippets: Any contiguous section of a string, in whole or in part. If it
forms a valid string, it can become a member of the population.

* Insertions: An insertion is made by taking any snippet of a string and


inserting it into any valid string at any place in that string. Every single
possible insertion must be considered, but if it forms a non-valid string,
it is automatically de-selected.

* Selection: Besides automatic selection, at the end of each generation, we
can de-select any strings we choose leaving a pool of "beneficial" strings.
We can cull the herd.

* Calculation: During each generation, we must calculate every possible
point-mutation and insertion. This number must be less than "zillions" or
the game is over. As I don't know what a zillion is, let us use a typical
number from biology. The number of prokaryotes on Earth is on the order of
10^30. That's TOO big. Let's use a smaller number, just for a little
challenge. There are about 10^14 prokaryotes living in the typical human
gut. A hundred trillion. That's about right.

* Generation: Consider that a population of prokaryotes will reproduce about
every hour. Let's assume that they reproduce a thousand times a year. In a
billion years, that's 10^12 generations. But let's be conservative. Assume
the population only reproduces once a year for a million years, or 10^6
generations. This is certainly less than a "zillion". For the purposes of
our puzzle analogy, we will assume that a reproductive cycle is simultaneous
for the entire population.

Zachriel

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Mar 13, 2004, 8:26:24 AM3/13/04
to

"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:dr64c.264$oD...@fe25.usenetserver.com...

And here is my original response. This verse was evolved using what I will
be referring to as the "original rules", which included letter-mutation and
concatenation. They are a subset of the new rules. I demonstrated, in the
fanciful "Sea of Beneficence", that this poem could have evolved using the
original rules. I intend to show that it could have also evolved even with
the new rules.

O Sean Pitman
http://tinyurl.com/2rw58

* Beware a war of words, Sean Pitman,
* Ere you err. O Sean Pitman hear me:

* A man wins the crown, but lowers his helm. A kiss
* Is a kiss, and a war can be just, but a war of words
* Just irks the crowd and leads you far astray.
* Words, you know, can lead to a clash of swords.

* Why do you think that you alone have it
* Legit when sages aver another idea?

* Could it be that you could see the light
* But choose instead to close your eyes and block
* The sight? The origin of the life we know
* Just like this poem rose from simple forms,
* In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step.

Zachriel

unread,
Apr 25, 2004, 2:08:26 PM4/25/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote
> "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com>

--------------
TRY IT and SEE
> Statistically impossible . . . zillions of years . . . It just won't


happen. Try it and see.

Sean Pitman discusses "statistical impossibility".
http://tinyurl.com/373pv

---------------------------
The PROOF is in the PUDDING

To test the ability of the Creationist's incredulity to reach accurate
conclusions, I created a simple program (in VBA6) that actually tests the
assertion that words cannot mutate and evolve according to simple rules into
words longer than about seven in length in less than "zillions of years".
The basic algorithm is very simple, with just 30 or so lines coding for
Delete Mutations, Point Mutations, Insert Mutations, Snippets, Snip
Remainders, and Snip Inserts (recombinations). Here are a few typical
results form the Word Mutator, per generation:


-----------------------
The PUDDING in the POND

-----
"I"
Mutations and Snippets
Pond = 25
Selection by Length

id, 2
ibid, 4
biking, 6
immixing, 8
flinching, 9
flinchingly, 11
unflinchingly, 13

So, in just seven generations, we have evolved a word with thirteen letters.


-----
"cat" and "dog"
Mutations only
Pond = 50

Selection by Scrabble score

jog, 11
czar, 15
foxy, 17
cozy, 18
boozy, 19
razzed, 25
jazzed, 32

Note how the selection by Scrabble score resulted in some interesting
"z"-words.


-----
alphabet ("a" through "z")
Snippets only
Pond = 100
Selection by Length

ax, 2
amok, 4
yokemate, 8
whereupon, 9
mainstreamer, 12
mainstreamers, 13
denominationalists, 18

Finding the word, "denominationalists", took about ten minutes to sort
through 12 million possible mutants (with a 250MHz P4). Note also that even
though there are ~29,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (26^18) possible
combinations of 26 letters, this did not stop the Word Mutator from finding
an 18-letter word.


-----
"sean pitman"
Mutations and Snippets
Pond = unlimited (set to empty)
Selection for any word
seaman, 13 words
shaman, 123 words
seminal, 1128 words
bitmapping, 8399 words
fingerprinting, 26000+ words

After over a billion mutants considered, Word Mutation had discovered more
than 26000 words, a third of our entire dictionary! (However, it wouldn't
have taken nearly so long to discover longer words if we had simply limited
our population, as can be seen by the preceding examples.)


---------------------------------
ZACHRIEL's SPECIAL PUDDING RECIPE

It was a subtle and beautiful dawn when I finally had to stop the Word
Mutagenator. The longest word evolved was "fingerprinting" at 14, but also
compound words of length 13, such as "tenderhearted" and "cabinetmakers", as
well as Latin conjugates, such as "intermediates" and "nationalities". The
highest Scrabble score was "hitchhikers" at 26, in the 99th percentile in
our Dictionary (even though selecting for Scrabble score was secondary to
length).

So why doesn't it take 26^14 (10^19) permutations, but only about 10^9—a
much, much smaller number? It's simply because we don't have to consider
every single possible permutation! Basically, most permutations will never
be considered. Some perfectly valid words may be entirely out of reach of
our evolutionary process. Certainly some strings are unobtainable, such as
"qqqq". And yet, even considering only a tiny sliver of the number of
possible permutations, we are still able to evolve a third of the
dictionary. Also note how Malthusian Limitation (of the population) in the
previous "alphabet" example resulted in finding the even longer 18-letter
word, "denominationalists"— and in far fewer computations.

With biological evolution, a similar process is at work. Nature doesn't
consider every single mutation, but just makes small changes to what already
exists and works—and discards those that are less fit. Interestingly, our
word game shows how the complex nature of longer words is a result of their
evolutionary history within the game, "rat", "ion", "ration", "nation" or
"cabinet", "maker", "cabinetmaker". In the poem "Beware a War of Words" we
see how these, and many other words, "rose from simple forms, in meaning,
and in kind, step-by-step".


------------------
NOTES for the COOK

Which brings us to Zachriel's Word Mutagenation. This program starts with
"seed" words and then evolves longer and longer words, using bit-by-bit
mutation, or through recombination. Word Mutagenation is actually two
separate programs.
The first spreadsheet program, Word Mutator, checks every mutation and
recombination for each and every generation. This meets the technical
challenge presented by our Creationist friend. One advantage of this program
is that the results are replicable.

The second spreadsheet program, Word Mutagenator, mutates random words in
random ways, sometimes with mutation, sometimes with recombination. This
more closely approximates the process of biological evolution.
In any case, the programs are quite interesting to watch, and clearly
demonstrate that the Creationist is not only wrong, but completely,
absolutely, utterly wrong.

Word Mutagenation
(Requires VBA6 which is included in Office 2000 and Excel 2000.
Zip format ~2MB. Please extract all files to a folder before running
software.)
http://www.zachriel.com/Mutagenation/


-----------
INGREDIENTS
It's really quite simple and only about 30 lines of code for each engine. I
hope you enjoy the Word Mutagenator. For myself, I found it quite
mesmerizing.
http://www.zachriel.com/Mutagenation/


Dunk

unread,
May 10, 2004, 5:50:02 PM5/10/04
to
On Sun, 7 Mar 2004 23:10:33 +0000 (UTC), "Zachriel"
<an...@zachriel.com> wrote:

< total snip >

A question for Seanophiles:

I think that Dr. Pitman assumes, at least implicitly, that evolution
has 'targets' that it is 'searching' for. My question:
Can you make his system work with that assumption, while being fairly
realistic otherwise? If so, that could be a worthy clarification of
the consequences of a common error.

A question for all: how long does it take for a pond of bacteria to
experience 95 percent of all possible point mutations?

Dunk

Zachriel

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May 11, 2004, 7:32:48 AM5/11/04
to

"Dunk" <pdu...@palebluedot.net> wrote in message
news:409ff8b7...@news.east.earthlink.net...

Real-life is far more complicated than our word-abstraction. However, a
typical bacteria has say a million base pairs, so there are (10^6)^3 = 10^18
possible mutations (according to our abstraction). The rate of mutation is
about 1 in a billion per basepair per generation, or one in a thousand
bacteria per generation.
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/G/GenomeSizes.html

To try every possible mutation would then take 10^18 / 1000 or 10^15
bacteria-generations. In a single human gut of 10^14 bacteria, we would
expect to see every possible mutation every few days or so.

However, real-life is far more complicated than our word-abstraction. There
are repair mechanisms in the bacteria genome. These repair mechanisms are
also subject to mutation so they are generally being degraded. In addition,
this process is subject to selective pressures. In non-motile bacteria, we
see most cells as being clones, with a few that are fast mutators. When the
fast mutator comes across a beneficial mutation, they quickly (over several
generations) take over the entire colony.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?holding=npg&cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1831267&dopt=Abstract

This is one of many reasons why we must be careful in the use of our
analogies.

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