Four Eyes

Happy Samhain

In the spirit of the pagan festival Samhain, which the Catholic church co-opted by moving All Saint's Day to November 1st and eventually became the secular Halloween festival, I present yet another celebration of evolution: how to evolve a watch (via: reddit).

ID proponents routinely use the "watch implies a designer" argument as a rebuttal against evolution. What they forget is that there's a crucial difference between watches and living things: watches aren't alive. They don't breed. They don't mutate. They don't compete for limited resources. Those are three key things for living organisms. So the author of the "How to evolve a watch" decided to write software to find out what would happen if watches could do those things (competing for natural resources is referred to "natural selection", but it's the same thing). The results are fascinating. Complicated yet accurate watches, some with four hands, evolve.

But some people will say that since the author wrote the software, that implies that he's a designer. This is false. It's the abiogenesis/evolution confusion. The two should not be conflated. Abiogenesis is complicated and science cannot explain it. Perhaps science never will. Who knows? The author merely provided the initial conditions necessary for "life" (abiogenesis). He did not design the watches (evolution).

For those desiring a more (recently) traditional topic, here are my pumpkins from a couple of years ago.
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I saw that not long ago and was tempted to post about it myself - I've always loved evolutionary techniques in software. And also hardware - did you hear about that experiment years back where they evolved a "clock" (a periodic oscillator) using real circuit boards? The result was something considerably simpler than anyone could have designed, but which stopped working when they took out components that were theoretically nonfunctional - hooray for chaotic induction effects!
You made me curious. Is pumpkin carving something they do over there?
A little while ago, someone surveyed New Zealander's attitudes towards God and evolution. They found a reasonable percentage of creationists, which surprised a lot of people.

A local Catholic bishop was asked to comment:

Catholic Bishop Barry Jones said many Christians understood that God was the creator of all that exists, but "that evolution is very likely to be the correct way to understand the development of life".