The fallacious results of the Avida computer simulation were used in the infamous Kitmiller vs. Dover trial to argue in favor of Darwinian evolution. Using the evidence from the Avida simulation and other testimony, Judge Jones ruled that it is illegal to contest Darwinism for all time. Prosecution witness Robert Pennock claimed in sworn testimony that Avida solved the problem of Irreducible Complexity (IC).
Unfortunately the incompetent defense team wasn’t privy to later discoveries by me and Richard Hoppe, namely, that Avida offers solutions to the OOL problem and predicts the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse through cosmic radiation. It would have been great to have had the Zombie data entered as evidence in the trial. 🙂
Winston Ewert demonstrated that the Avida computer simulation did not refute Behe’s work on Irreducible Complexity (IC). Understandably, arch Darwinist Richard Hoppe blew a gasket over Winston’s paper. To summarize Dr. Hoppe’s arguments, I quote from Hoppe’s essay. But while blowing a gasket, Hoppe actually doesn’t disagree with Winston:
They [the Avida developers] rigged the game by using a fitness landscape that allowed the performance of EQU to evolve!!!
Look at all those exclamation points by Dr. Hoppe!!!!!!!!!!!!! He admits the Avida developers rigged the simulation.
Hoppe admits irreducible complexity can be evolved by random mutation and designed selection (RMDS). But this says nothing about random mutation and natural selection (RMNS). Examples of Designed Selection (DS) to achieve desired intentional goals are Dawkins Weasel, Avida, Ev, Steiner, Geometric, Digital Ears and Cordova’s remarkable evolutionary algorithm.
But there are other things beyond Avida’s “solution” to IC. Avida has solutions to the OOL problem and predicts the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse.
The cult classic Night of the Living dead was about a strange cosmic radiation that brought people back to life as zombies. Here is the trailer of that movie:
How does this relate to Avida? A little anecdote I’d like to share. Many years ago, Richard Hoppe and I were in a debate over Avida at the Access Research Network (ARN) forum. I argued that real selection in the wild destroys function. He argued otherwise by citing all the discoveries found in Avida software. At first he had me up against the ropes in the ARN debate, but then I found a bug in the Avida 1.6 software.
Avida 1.6 was the same version of Avida which was used to write the 2003 paper in Nature. I had a hunch Avida had this bug (ahem, I mean feature) and my investigations confirmed my scientific intuition. I discovered if you crank up Avida’s cosmic radiation parameter to maximum and have the Avida genomes utterly scrambled, the Avidian organisms still kept reproducing. If I recall correctly, they died if the radiation was moderate, but just crank it to the max and the creatures come back to life!
This would be like putting dogs in a microwave oven for 3 days, running it at full blast, and then demanding they reproduce. And guess what, the little Avida critters reproduced. This little discovery in Avida 1.6 was unfortunately not reported in Nature. Why? It was a far more stupendous discovery! Do you think it’s too late for Richard Hoppe and I to co-author a submission?
Hoppe eventually capitulated that there was indeed this feature of Avida. To his credit he sent a letter to Dr. Adami to inform him of the discovery. Dr. Adami sent Evan Dorn to the Access Research Network forum, and Evan confirmed the feature by posting a reply there.
Now, if Dr. Hoppe wants to insist Avida is a breakthrough in understanding of how Darwinian selection evolves complexity, why doesn’t he go a few steps further and describe how Avida was able to evolve strange new creatures from the dead state with cosmic radiation? Avida virtually put Humpty Dumpty back together again. What should we call him, Humpty Zombie? So Avida not only solved the problem of IC, it solved OOL, and it predicts the Zombie Apocalypse. Now why didn’t these discoveries get reported in Nature since these were features of the original 1.6 version of Avida?
Apparently the Center for Disease Control, a government agency, is taking the Zombie Apocalypse seriously. See: http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm
Photo credits: Center for Disease Control for photo of a Zombie.
HT Winston Ewert , Royal Truman