Computers Are Not Darwin Machines
Evolution News & Views
Most people think computers are built by intelligent design. How on earth can you say their development follows Darwin’s mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? Yet an article at Science Daily announces, “‘Survival of the Fittest’ Now Applies to Computers: Surprising Similarities Found Between Genetic and Computer Codes.” (Emphasis added.) Certain similarities between Linux code and bacterial genomes may obtain, but one thing should be clear: they are not Darwinian.
Sergei Maslov, a researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory, holds appointments in physics and quantitative biology. His grad student, Tin Yau Pang, assisted with the mathematical model. Their idea was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . What were the peer reviewers thinking?
Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” originally referred to natural selection in biological systems, but new research from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University scientists shows that this evolutionary theory also applies to technological systems.
But the essence of Darwinian evolution is aimless, purposeless churning via unguided natural processes, with no design or intelligence. If Linux code behaved that way, woe unto users of Linux!
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What the authors found, instead, was irreducible complexity — marks of intelligent design:
Maslov and Pang set out to determine not only why some specialized genes or computer programs are very common while others are fairly rare, but to see how many components in any system are so important that they can’t be eliminated.
“If a bacteria genome doesn’t have a particular gene, it will be dead on arrival,” Maslov said. “How many of those genes are there? The same goes for large software systems. They have multiple components that work together and the systems require just the right components working together to thrive.‘”
That’s the point: multiple working parts essential for function is not “survival of the fittest” the way Darwin meant it. It’s what Michael Behe meant by his term irreducible complexity. How did the essential modules in Linux code originate? By intelligent design, obviously. A similar inference can be made for bacterial codes. Darwinism cannot account for the arrival of the fittest in either case. We know that programmers applied their purposeful minds to writing Linux code. In the case of bacteria, while we cannot observe the designer of their codes at work, we can infer design from the function of multiple interdependent parts…
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