Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Climbing Mount Improbable, by Richard Dawkins.

I bought this at the same time as The Blind Watchmaker with the intent of reading and reviewing it also. A key error of The Blind Watchmaker was the notion that a design space always has an uphill direction. Looking at the title and the first illustration in this book, we again see one mountain, one summit, and there is always an uphill direction. From my engineering experience, I can only rank this as utterly naive. What is clear is that we will be treated to another mountain of errors hidden in a fog of non sequiturs. The book went onto the shelf to gather dust because I have more important things to do.

3 comments:

Bunc said...

I suppose the advantage I have over you is that I only need to read one book to get to grips with and refute the fundamentalists argument - The Bible ( or the old testament to be specific.)

Whereas on the other hand you are in the unfortunate position of having to read and refute over a hundred years of evolutionary thing and theorising.

Ok ok I am being smart-arsed. c ya

Bedtime Bunc said...

Just goes to prove the old saying - never judge a book by its cover!

Looney said...

I was thinking to visit Scotland sometime with my wife awhile back. It is hard to resolve the conflict of entertaining her and wanting to run through the hills!

The key item is probably the earlier one: In a Dawkins design space version of Scotland, there must be one and only one peak for the entire country. Then you are guaranteed to be able to go uphill to the peak.

I have been doing optimization algorithms for 25+ years. There are only a few people in the world with more experience. The key to optimization is visualizing the design space, perhaps modifying it, visualizing a promising start point, and then introducing an optimization algorithm. If the earlier stages are done poorly, the optimizer will run forever without getting a useful answer. 1,000 generations and 1,000,000 generations are the same. If you have properly planned things out before the optimizer is introduced, than any number of algorithms will work. The only question is efficiency.

Thus, I spend my entire life trying to comprehend the design space and make sure I am in a "nice" region with exactly one peak. Today, God granted me a solution to a problem I have been struggling with for 2 months involving heading off to wrong peaks in a multi-material pressure equilibrium problem. This is what millions of engineers face everyday (in some form, but usually not so analytical as mine). ID is the process whereby we overcome these difficulties.

Because neither Dawkins nor any other evolutionist actually "does" macro evolution, there are no practical consequences for assuming a biological design universe which always has an uphill direction and only one peak. The need for an intelligent designer is removed by making an assumption which everyone knows is wrong.