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  Computers and Evolution

Lately some evolutionists have begun experimenting with computer programs to simulate evolution. I'm always a bit suspicious of that since you can program computers to do just about anything you want, like making toasters fly, but if there's anything to such simulations, then I suppose my experience is equally valid.

My experience was at a company that had a computer system that nicely handled thousands of transactions daily. Here's the gist of a conversation I heard:

Great!, management said. System works. Let's roll it out to handle tens of millions of transactions a day.

No, the Chief Technology Officer said. The system can't handle that volume.

Well, make it bigger.

No, the CTO said, we need a whole new system, designed from the ground up.

But why? The system works great. Just make it bigger.

CTO, kind of sighing: No, the current system is not scalable. Its structure was not designed to handle a huge load, and no matter how you add to it, it won't be able to do it properly.

I don't know if the management folks ever quite understand why you couldn't just make it "bigger," nevertheless, they wisely took the CTO's advice and came up with a system that could handle a huge volume.

Now, my point in all this is that if computer systems are in any way analogous to life (and that's a big If), then this is an argument against macro-evolution. In my example it looked as if a little tweak was all that was necessary, but to get to the next level actually required a huge, new, ground-up approach.

If this is so with computer systems, then it may be true with life. In other words, it may be possible to evolve from Life 1.0 to Life 1.1, but not from Life 1.x to Life 2.0.

So to speak.

Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard.