Creationist tries to simulate earth, hilarity ensues

inspectormustard
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Creationist tries to simulate earth, hilarity ensues

Okay, this is just too funny.

Quote:
My Failed Simulation on Evolution



By: Granville Sewell
Human Events
February 21, 2008

Original Article.

[Note from the author: The strongest argument for Intelligent Design is to clearly state the alternative view, which is that physics explains all of chemistry (probably true), chemistry explains all of biology, and biology completely explains the human mind; thus physics alone explains the human mind. This little thought experiment is designed to help those who dismiss Intelligent Design as unscientific, to think about what it is they really believe.]

In a 2000 Mathematical Intelligencer article (found here), I speculated on what would happen if we constructed a gigantic computer model which starts with the initial conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago and tries to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics (the gravitational and electromagnetic forces and the strong and weak nuclear forces) would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet. If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, I asked, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards?

Already we're off to a bang up start. But wait, it gets funnier!

Quote:

A friend read my article and said, computers have advanced a lot in the last seven years, I think we could actually try such a simulation on my new laptop now.

HAHAHAHA!

Quote:

So I wrote the program -- in Fortran, naturally -- and we tried it. It took several hours, and at the end of the simulation we dumped the final coordinates of all the particles into a rather large data file, then ran MATLAB to plot them.

AAAAAHAHAHAHA!

Quote:

Some interesting things had happened, a few mountains and valleys and volcanos had formed, but no computers, no encyclopedias, and no cars or trucks. My friend said, let me see your program. After examining it, he exclaimed, no wonder, you treated the Earth as a closed system, order can't increase in a closed system. The Earth is an open system, you need to take into account the effect of the sun's energy. So I modified the boundary conditions to simulate the effect of the entering solar radiation, and reran it. This time some clouds and rivers had formed, but otherwise Earth still looked a lot like the other planets, and still no libraries or computers or airplanes.

This is intellectual dishonesty at its finest. If this guy actually wrote a  any kind of simulation robust enough to be capable of modeling the planet from kilometer to angstrom on a laptop it would be the computer science breakthrough of the century. What's more, he used FORTRAN and Matlab? Additionally, the idea that you could plot stuff in MATLAB and be able to see into the world is just absurd.

Quote:

My imaginary friend looked more carefully at the program, and said, good grief, you are using classical physics, you can't simulate the effects of the four forces without quantum mechanics. He explained that according to quantum mechanics, the exact effects of these forces on any particular particle are impossible to predict with certainty, the new laws only provide the probabilities. I said, you mean there is a supernatural force at work here? He said, well, technically, yes, if you define the supernatural to be that which is forever beyond the ability of science to predict or explain -- British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington said quantum mechanics "leaves us with no clear distinction between the natural and the supernatural". But there is no reason to doubt that this so-called "supernatural" effect is completely random, you can simulate it using a random number generator. So I completely re-wrote my simulator, I used an IMSL random number generator with a user-supplied probability distribution to simulate this randomness, and computed the required probability distributions by solving the Schrodinger equations with my own partial differential equation solver, PDE2D. Still no luck -- no space ships, no TV sets, no encyclopedias, not even a cheap novel.

*facepalm* In a stroke of genius, the writer somehow manages to (on top of everything else) run the Schrodinger Equations for interacting particles. Never mind that this is completely unnecessary for what he's trying to do. Wow, he's solved the very problem that prevents us from having a complete view of chemistry! We don't need huge Bluegene computers but a laptop, equipped with what seems to be implied, a look-up table of probability distributions! Well, that gets around the problem of having to run the equations for every cycle when the basic interactions should be the same.

Wait a second, how big is this guy's hard drive? The number of possible interactions is huge!

Quote:

My friend looked at the new graphs and tried to mask his disappointment. Well, he said, of course the problem is you haven't taken into account the one natural force in the universe which can violate the second law of thermodynamics and create order out of disorder -- natural selection. You mean there is a fifth force -- why didn't you say so? Just give me the equations for this force and I will add it to my model. He said, I can't give you the equations, because it isn't actually a physical force, it doesn't actually move particles. So what does it do, I asked. He explained that one day a long time ago, by pure chance, a collection of atoms formed that was able to duplicate itself, and these complex collections of atoms were able to pass their complex structures on to their descendents generation after generation, even correcting errors. He went on to talk about how genetic accidents and survival of the fittest produced even more complex collections of atoms, and how something called "intelligence" allowed some of these collections of atoms to design computers and laser printers and the Internet. But when he finished, I still didn't know how to incorporate natural selection -- or intelligence -- into my model, so I never did get the simulation to work. I decided the model was still missing a force or two -- or a smarter random number generator.

Once again, they think that Natural Selection is responsible for Abiogenesis.

Please, write to him at sewell@math.utep.edu and remind him of this. Also, ask him to explain how he wrote such a robust simulation of the world in FORTRAN.

I know I will.

(If you do write and he responds, make sure to post it here for all to read!)


HisWillness
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 I guess he's never heard

 I guess he's never heard of the Earth Simulator, the most powerful computer in the world from 2002-2004. Fucking dolt.

Honestly, I think the comments on the original article tell the tale. Nobody's buying. And why would they? His premise is another ridiculous reductio ad absurdam, with the conclusion that if physics can't explain human behaviour, then intelligent design is science. What? How do these people tie their shoes?

(Although I admit the part about Fortran was funny.)

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If Chewbacca doesn't live on

If Chewbacca doesn't live on Endor, then he's not a wookie, and god made everything.  It's very simple.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I'm not sure I follow your

I'm not sure I follow.  If Chewbacca doesn't live on Endor, wouldn't that make him not an Ewok?

 

 


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Precisely!  You must

Precisely!  You must acquit!

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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FORTRAN??? No wonder why it

FORTRAN??? No wonder why it didn't work...

We all know that God wrote in Lisp code.


inspectormustard
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Here's what I wrote to him. . .

Dear Granville Sewell:

I recently read your article titled "My Failed Simulation on Evolution" and found it rather confusing. I can only guess that you did not actually attempt to run a robust simulation of the planet on a laptop, since such a thing is exactly what we've been trying to do for decades. Just running a simplified climatological model of the planet requires a modern supercomputer. Furthermore, how would you have solved the time-dependent Schrodinger Equations for complex systems that prevents us from having a complete view of chemistry? Knowledge of such a thing would put us in the age of nanotechnology! I would also love to know how you would look at whatever microscopic organisms on a planet roughly 7926 miles across in MATLAB.


Anyway, all that aside you must realize that natural selection and evolution have nothing to do with abiogenesis. Evolution takes place once there are organisms, but says nothing about where they come from. I can give you a simple algorithm for natural selection in psuedo-basic (sorry it's not in FORTRAN, I haven't used that since I was 8 ):

\\ Definitions and variables:

\\ The number of organisms in the system
organisms_count :=
\\ The maximum size of each organism's genome
organism_maxgenome :=
\\ A matrix of all the organisms and their genetic instructions
instructions[organisms_count, organism_maxgenome]
\\ The number of organisms in the initial colony
initial_count :=
\\ The size of the initial colony's genome
initial_genome :=

label SetStartingGenome
for x=1 to initial_count
for y=1 to initial_genome
\\ Set all the instructions to random numbers representing each instruction
instructions[x,y]=random()
next y
next x

do
\\ Do the things that each instruction does. If an organism dies its genome is set to null.
Execute(instructions[organisms_count, organism_maxgenome])
\\ If everything dies off, no biggie - life goes on elsewhere.
if AllOrganismsDead() then goto SetStartingGenome
\\ Make more organisms from the ones left over by randomly recombining the instructions that made the surviving organisms
makeNewOrganisms()
\\ Mutate some of the organisms randomly
mutateOrganisms()
loop


Now, what happens mostly depends on what the instructions do. However, let's say that 90% of the instructions are just "kill yourself" and he rest don't do anything. Within just one generation, there will only be non-suicidal organisms. But blueprint is much more useful still: The designers of Polyworld are using evolution to improve artificial intelligence by running simulations with critters similar to bacteria (you can watch the lecture and accompanying simulations here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m97_kL4ox0) although they have much larger brains, on the order of 12 or so neurons. The configuration of the neurons is determined by evolutionary algorithms such as the one you see above. I have personally used evolutionary algorithms to design specialized circuitry automatically - I find it much easier than sitting down and figuring it out myself since all I have to do is set the specifications I want and let the system run for several hours. Eventually I end up with several solutions, all of which require only a little simplification before I can use them.

So the important question is this:
If evolution doesn't tell us how life went from being single celled to multi-celled and beyond, why does it work anyway?


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So he wrote all that to

So he wrote all that to say:

OMG EVILUTION BRAKES 2ND LAW OF THERMODINAMIKS LOL!!!11!

How terribly clever of him

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

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The Kinks-Who'll Be The Next

The Kinks-Who'll Be The Next In Line 1965

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdTCHhtlXKE

   the Kinks       we are god  ......  there is no other ..... 

 


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Hambydammit wrote:If

Hambydammit wrote:

If Chewbacca doesn't live on Endor, then he's not a wookie, and god made everything.  It's very simple.

Actually, Wookies live in Kashyyyk.

But, man. That creationist couldn't have possibly created a thought experiment any more far fetched. If he couldn't replicate our modern civilisation in a computer simulation, how would that prove intelligent design? Does he take meteorites into account? Would our civilisation have been born if that meteor didn't kill the dinosaurs?

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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I suppose his claim is that

I suppose his claim is that if his program didn't reproduce what we see today, then there's no way it actually happened. Of course, as my wife was very quick to point out, that's just a lie. A significantly thorough debunking of basically everything that Granville Sewell says can be found at:

 

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/09/granville_sewell_genius_or_lia.php

 

Even though the person who runs the Good Math blog is Jewish, he seems to be fairly rational. He debunks Creationist claims all the time, and often in a very humorous way (even if that isn't on purpose). Overall, I think he's one of my favorite bloggers, and if you're interested at all in real math and computer science, there's no better blog for it!

"Jesus -- the other white Moses" - Me.


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Well, it's been quite a

Well, it's been quite a while now and no reply to my letter. Not that I was particularly expecting one, but it does go to show either

1. He doesn't read his mail.

2. He doesn't read mail from gmail.

3. He can't take a hit.

or

4. Some combination of the above.

Either way, he's a dumb ass for tackling a topic spanning three fields, two of which he obviously knows precisely dick about - Computer and Biological Science. This makes his credibility in his own field (Maths) dubious since it is possible to use group theory, combinatorics, and the lambda calculus to idealize evolution - the first and last of which I am sure he hasn't the slightest clue about. Hell, you could do it with much less than that if you got creative.

I bet all he really teaches is Math 030 (remedial math here in the States).


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Rather than writing his own

Rather than writing his own simulation, he probably would have been better off and gotten something more accurate by creating an account in Second Life.

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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:

Either way, he's a dumb ass for tackling a topic spanning three fields, two of which he obviously knows precisely dick about - Computer and Biological Science.

... which is hilarious, since that's the basis of his "thought experiment". Also, the presumption of exhaustive knowledge of biological systems is so pompous it defies reason. To assume that one needs exhaustive knowlege of a biological system or one does not understand it AT ALL is insane. When with this black-and-white idiocy stop?

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


inspectormustard
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HisWillness

HisWillness wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

Either way, he's a dumb ass for tackling a topic spanning three fields, two of which he obviously knows precisely dick about - Computer and Biological Science.

... which is hilarious, since that's the basis of his "thought experiment". Also, the presumption of exhaustive knowledge of biological systems is so pompous it defies reason. To assume that one needs exhaustive knowlege of a biological system or one does not understand it AT ALL is insane. When with this black-and-white idiocy stop?

Right. All that's required for any simulation is a functional knowledge. It's like saying we need nuclear theory in order to simulate a basketball game, and nobody waves their hand to say "whoa man, what does nuclear physics have to do with the rules of basketball? Can't we just use Newtonian Physics?"


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my fav part

 yg


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<quote>If this guy actually

<quote>If this guy actually wrote a  any kind of simulation robust enough to be capable of modeling the planet from kilometer to angstrom on a laptop it would be the computer science breakthrough of the century.<quote/>

What should be blatantly obvious to everyone is that simulations are models that are approximations using whatever information is available and can operate within the constrainst of the tools being used. The only way to simulate anything truly accurately is to replicate it in physical reality. A model that simulates the planet accurately would have to be the planet! Now since the planet is affected by the environment in which it resides a whole copy of the universe would have to be used. Not only that, it would all have to replicated from a specific point in time! But which time? I'll give you a hint at the problem; what is happening in a solar system 4 light years from here right now? Who on this planet knows the intial conditions of even a handful of dirt at any given moment? need I mention the Hiesenberg principle? Where exactly are those electrons? How many absurdities can we reveal in this peice of pseudo-science?

I happen to run a business that specializes in developing systems using the Matlab/Simulink/Stateflow suite and have a great deal of hands on experience. If all the computers on the planet where utlised in a parallel processing excercise, we could not even accurately simulate the brownian motion in the atmosphere alone for a day, given those computers for the rest of the century.

If we ever manage to simulate accurately the behaviour of all atom types, given the sheer number of atoms required to make up the planet (I approximate 7 * 1049) we would need to run a simulation on all of our computers many times the life span of this universe just to get to where the planet is today. But somehow these guys managed to do it in a few hours! On a laptop! Fortuntely this kind of nonsense may be convincing to straw chewing rednecks, but not to anyone that matters.


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Don't be too harsh

Don't too hard on these guys, at least they are learning about simulations and science. I recall very well feeling supremely proud of myself for developing an RF field simulator that could demonstrate the patterns of electric fields produced by RF transmitters in vehicles, which was a real problem for the company I was working for at the time. In hind-sight what I had really done was to make a 2 dimensional simulator based on Feyman vectors that really had no concept of the materials that fields were interacting with. I had produced a super peice of pseudo-science. But now I'm alright LOL


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Quote:My imaginary friend

Quote:My imaginary friend looked more carefully at the program, and said, good grief, you are using classical physics, you can't simulate the effects of the four forces without quantum mechanics.

 

Which imaginary friend? Be specific.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


inspectormustard
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subzeroiq wrote:Don't too

subzeroiq wrote:

Don't too hard on these guys, at least they are learning about simulations and science. I recall very well feeling supremely proud of myself for developing an RF field simulator that could demonstrate the patterns of electric fields produced by RF transmitters in vehicles, which was a real problem for the company I was working for at the time. In hind-sight what I had really done was to make a 2 dimensional simulator based on Feyman vectors that really had no concept of the materials that fields were interacting with. I had produced a super peice of pseudo-science. But now I'm alright LOL

What really scares me about the author of the article is that he's some kind of math teacher who apparently has little to no grasp of computation and really, really big things.

And yeah, I think we've all had those "Eureka! I've done it! Er, wait a tick. Hmm. Nevermind!" moments.