189 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins’ Software

  1. Joe Felsenstein: Gosh, you must have missed my offer of a $100 bet! So that explains your not taking it up!

    I followed your link to this statement:

    “OK, here’s the proposed “test” of whether Weasel programs do better than random search.”

    My question is, where did I ever claim that Weasel programs do no better than random search or offer to wager that Weasel programs do no better than random search?

    I responded here:

    Weasel programs perform better than blind search because they are guided. I didn’t think the performance was in dispute, nor why the performance was better.

    Your response:

    Joe Felsenstein: The fact that I am willing to take a bet that I can only win if the Weasel gets to the target that much faster than random search, and that Mung avoids the bet, is objective evidence of a huge performance distance between the Weasel and purely random search

    You want to wager over something that was never in dispute?

    Why not offer a meaningful wager?

  2. Mung:
    No tests for “the power of cumulative selection” either.

    What a blow to Patrick’s empiricism.

    Bump

  3. Mung:
    Richardthughes bows out.

    $10,000.00

    Cowards hate facts.

    Mungs metamorphosis into Joe G continues. I’ll take Joe F’s bet at $100. I’m but a humble cashier, more money won’t make me more right.

  4. Wow the last two got borked

    Mungs metamorphosis into Joe G continues. I’ll take Joe F’s bet at $100. I’m but a humble cashier, more money won’t make me more right.

  5. Please don’t Guano any of Mung’s posts. I’d like them nice and visible. Thanks.

  6. Mung:
    10 grand dickie. Or bow out. Money where your mouth is.

    Original bet Mung. Or bow out. money where your mouth is.

  7. Richardthughes: Original bet Mung. Or bow out. money where your mouth is.

    You have put up nothing. You’re willing to put up or not.The buy in is $10,00.00. This is how we separate the players from the pretenders. You’re a pretender. Joe F. is a pretender.

    $10,000.00

    You have it or you don’t. You’re willing to risk it or you’re not willing to risk it.

  8. My bet offered even odds that a Weasel program, mutually agreed upon by Mung and me, having 10 offspring per parent, one adult, and mutation rate 0.04 per character would reach the target sequence before 10,000 generations. That was clear in my comment.

    Wager would be $5 per run, and we would do 20 runs in all. The runs would differ only in the past number generator seeds.

  9. Joe F, the wager I am offering is for $10,000.00. What odds are you offering? You’re offering even odds for what? Why should I accept the odds you are offering?

  10. So Mung won’t take a 100 dollar bet but will take a 10,000 dollar bet for the exact same thing?

    Hmm, I guess we’ll have to find a genius to work out what Mung’s motivations for this behaviour are….

    Or not!

  11. Mung:
    Ten Grand.

    Ten Thousand Dollars.

    $10,000.00

    Put up or shut up.

    What is your bet, precisely? I see Joe has detailed his bet quite clearly. Can’t imagine anyone putting up ten grand without you making clear what you are betting for or against, who would adjudicate, hold the stake etc.

  12. As far as I can tell Mung is willing to take Joe’s bet but 10,000 instead of 100. Mung, that about right?

    If so, I’ll happily chip in some ££.

  13. OMagain:
    As far as I can tell Mung is willing to take Joe’s bet but 10,000 instead of 100. Mung, that about right?

    If so, I’ll happily chip in some ££

    I’m happy to hold everyone’s stake. 😉

  14. Mung has not said what he is proposing to bet on. I have said very clearly what I am proposing to bet on.

    And Mung also then said (here)

    You want to wager over something that was never in dispute?

    My original offer of a wager still stands.

  15. It turns out that Mung’s offer of a bet was exactly as expected, a bait and switch.

    His bet was that intelligence offers better results than ignorance. You agree with Joe that intelligence offers better results than ignorance. You want me to bet what, exactly? You want me to wager that ignorance offers better results than intelligence?

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/noyau-2/comment-page-15/#comment-127232

    It’s funny how these people never want to go on record one way or another.

  16. Ah, I see. When Mung was calling repeatedly for a test suite, it was because Mung was unhappy with people for being critical of natural selection. Which Mung calls “intelligence”.

    As in Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species by Means of Intelligence”.

    Mung, it turns out, is a big supporter of the Weasel program.

  17. A disappointing amount of weaselling.

    Essentially, any digital evolutionary process operates in a space comprised of all possible strings, given parameters of maximum length and alphabet. A subset of possible strings from that space forms a population, which is mutated and bred from. Because of finite resource, the fraction of space occupied by the current population does not continue to grow – ie as well as birth, there is death.

    If the question is: “does this demonstrate the power of cumulative selection?”, the answer at this stage must be “no”. There is no selection. Or at least, none that makes any difference. All genotypes are of equal fitness, the process can only drift. But the selective differential between genotypes still takes a value. That value happens to be zero.

    So, how to implement a differential between genotypes? It appears, looking at the rearguard action conducted by Mung, to be impossible. One cannot demonstrate ‘the power of selection’, cumulative or otherwise, because any process that differentiates between genotypes – that sets a nonzero selective differential – ‘guides’ the process away from the space occupied by the less fit towards the space occupied by the more fit. Selection is, in many ways, indistinguishable from guiding. This is Blind Watchmaker‘s central theme, so it’s hardly a major ‘win’.

    In the case of Weasel, a single member of the space is taken as a reference, and arithmetic distance from this can be computed. One could take any subset of the space, of any size and do something equivalent. The bigger this subset, the less like a search it becomes. But there is no need to measure fitness by reference to any subset of the space. It’s a feature of Weasel, rather than a feature of GAs, and its use in Weasel largely a rhetorical device, to key into the ‘infinite monkeys’ idea that precedes it. All the phrase actually does is provide a differential between existent genotypes at a moment in the population’s history. There are many ways one could introduce a differential between genotypes without reference to any existent genotype. It’s the reddest of herrings to see GA as universally a search, or Weasel as ‘guided’ because its fitness differential happens to be determined by reference to a single genotype which it ultimately hits.

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