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Dr Who: The Lazarus Experiment - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

May. 8th, 2007

01:00 am - Dr Who: The Lazarus Experiment

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Date:May 8th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
[posted again, sorry John please nuke the anon post - I hate LJ sometimes! :) ]

Evolution is neither good for the species (which is an arbitrary descriptive label used by humans because we can understand it better than 'semi-closed subset of the available gene space') nor any individual in it. It fact it's not good for anyone; it's a natural process that occurs whenever you take information and process it in a 'genetic' fashion. You can see evolution occurring in e.g. software viruses and antivirus systems. The concept of the rightness of the 'March of Evolution' is a religious idea as much as any other. Humans have used evolution as a tool for millennia, whether it be for animal husbandry or microchip design - seeing it as anything else is silly :)

>However, unlike biological organisms, the old solutions don't >automatically die out

Don't relate a genetic algorithm's solution to an individual. A better relationship is between each separate test that you run on that solution (to check its efficacy) and an individual. You'll probably run hundreds if not thousands of tests (in order to get statistical strictness) and the same applies in nature. Old gene solution certainly don't die out - not at the time scale you're thinking of and mixing between the old and the new is very common. Indeed, the concept of generations of solutions in genetic algorithms is artificial (and imposed simply to make things easier for us humans); evolution in nature is a lot less quantised than that.

As in your example, if you take a culled population of say 1000 rabbits of a particular genotype and you put them through 70 generations (oo.. say a 50 years) in environment that they've evolved to match and if that environment doesn't change, then I'd fully expect the rabbits at the end to be very similar to the ones you started with. Unless they’ve evolved to avoid your culling technique, of course.

You'll also have one hell of a rabbit skin carpet...

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