Saturday, October 12, 2013

Here Come Those Mathematicians Again

A Gaping Gap?

The last time mathematicians informed evolutionists there was a problem, which was in 1966 at the Wistar Symposium, they were told that evolution is a fact so there must be something wrong with the math. Now Harvard’s Leslie Valiant is taking a different tack in his new book Probably Approximately Correct. Sounding like Stephen Wolfram, Valiant argues that nature works according to algorithms, and that includes evolution. According to Edward Frenkel’s New York Times book review, Valient proposes that ecorithms—algorithms that interact with their environment—are a key missing part of evolutionary theory:

The evolution of species, as Darwin taught us, relies on natural selection. But Dr. Valiant argues that if all the mutations that drive evolution were simply random and equally distributed, it would proceed at an impossibly slow and inefficient pace.

Darwin’s theory “has the gaping gap that it can make no quantitative predictions as far as the number of generations needed for the evolution of a behavior of a certain complexity,” he writes. “We need to explain how evolution is possible at all, how we got from no life, or from very simple life, to life as complex as we find it on earth today. This is the BIG question.”

Dr. Valiant proposes that natural selection is supplemented by ecorithms, which enable organisms to learn and adapt more efficiently. Not all mutations are realized with equal probability; those that are more beneficial are more likely to occur. In other words, evolution is accelerated by computation.

Well natural selection needs something. Why not ecorithms?

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