Synthesis between neo-Darwinism and intelligent
Darwin’s theory of natural selection has three ingredients:
1. Each living entity has a genetic memory that contains a blueprint of the organism that is manifested by its phenotype. The genetic memory and blueprint may change randomly in an unpredictable way, leading to a change of the phenotype.
2. Genetic memory is inherited.
3. Blueprint changes affect the chances of the individual to survive in the hostile environment. Actually the environment "selects" the best fitting individuals.
More concisely: Evolution consists of two basic
types of processes: Those that introduce random genetic variation
into a population, and those that affect the frequencies of existing
variation. We have seen previously that randomness
does not exist in nature, it is a concept to describe nature.
The following thought experiment ought to highlight the shortcoming of random variation. First we ought to examine the notion of pseudo-randomness. Pseudo-random numbers are derived from a known starting point (seed) by repeated iteration, while “truly” random numbers are generated by radioactive decay. All known statistical tests for randomness cannot distinguish between the two. Even a rule 30 cellular automaton may serve as an efficient pseudo random generator (NKS p.315)
Now assume that genetic variation is not random but pseudo-random. You would not know the difference, since no statistical test can distinguish between them. Natural selection would have been driven by a deterministic process like rule 30 CA. The initial condition might be set by the Creator, thus taming the somewhat heretic theory of evolution.
Why stop here? Apparently other kinds of pseudo-random processes
might drive variation as well. It seems to me pathetic that
genetic algorithms (GA) still rely on traditional pseudo-random generators
which drive the program to an inconclusive local maximum. They were
led astray by the simplistic and naïve assumptions of the theory of
Finally let’s turn to Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). After describing the scientific elements of neo-Darwinian theory, then-Cardinal Ratzinger asked: "What response shall we make to this view [evolution]? It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error."
Shouldn’t we embrace deterministic pseudo-randomness for unraveling the mystery of life?
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