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"Personally, given the resources of geological time, I feel confident that sooner or later that hypothetical chimpanzee sitting at a typewriter, will one day type Hamlet" (Ager D.V., "The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, p.149).[top]
"Things get rapidly worse when we use longer messages. We will let Charlie try for a bit of Hamlet. The phrase "to be or not to be" has 18 characters, if we count the spaces as characters. The chances that our chimp will type this out are 1 in 4518, or 1 in 6 x 109. At one try per second, it will take poor Charlie more than 1022 years to do that number of tries. Should the open model for the universe be correct, Charlie will still be typing away long after the stars have ceased to shine and all the planets have been dispersed into space through stellar near-collisions." (Shapiro R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Origin of Life," Summit Books: New York, 1986, p.169).[top]
"Synthetically reproduced protolife and artificial evolution in computers have already unearthed a growing body of nontrivial surprises. Yet artificial life suffers from the same malaise that afflicts its cousin, artificial intelligence. No artificial intelligence that I am aware of-be it autonomous robot, learning machine, or massive cognition program-has run more than 24 hours in succession. After a day, artificial intelligence stalls. Likewise, artificial life. Most runs of computational life fizzle out of novelty quickly. While the programs sometimes keep running, churning out minor variation, they ascend to no new levels of complexity or surprise after the first spurt (and that includes Tom Ray's world of Tierra). Perhaps given more time to run, they would. Yet, for whatever reason, computational life based on unadorned natural selection has not seen the miracle of open-ended evolution that its creators, and I, would love to see. As the French evolutionist Pierre Grasse said, `Variation is one thing, evolution quite another; this cannot be emphasized strongly enough... Mutations provide change, but not progress.' So while natural selection may be responsible for microchange-a trend in variations-no one can say indisputably that it is responsible for macrochange-the open-ended creation of an unexpected novel form and progress toward increasing complexity." (Kelly K., "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines", , Fourth Estate: London, 1995, reprint, p.476).[top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
Copyright © 2000-2003, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. This page and its contents may be used for non-commercial purposes only. If used on the Internet, a link back to my home page at http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones would be appreciated. Created: 3 June, 2000. Updated: 20 November, 2003.