Random Becomes Amazing

sparrow_in_flightOne of the huge problems talking to doubters of evolution is catching them up with modern science and math.  The confirmatory data of  biology and paleontology itself is overwhelming.  But to me, the icing on the cake are the mathematical simulators of apparently intelligently designed forms and behaviors spontaneously emerging from very simple algorithms.  Once someone sees simple algorithms generate beautiful awe-inspiring forms, it helps make the evolution talk much easier.

In March, The American Physical Society presented research showing that ants search blindly and randomly but that even with such simple methods, an  apparently complex intelligent behavior emerges.

To see how amazing behavior in birds can emerge from very simple algorithms, I have included here two sites that illustrate bird flight where you can adjust the variables:  A fascinating 2D model and this beautiful 3D model.

Lastly, and I first studied this many years ago, here is the classic Game of Life by Conway which started everything back in the early 70’s.  This alone, if demonstrated properly to a evolutionary-naive listener can make the rest of the education much easier.  Here is a page of links, and this is a fun model.

There are also simulators which show how different tree shapes all come from the same algorithm and how seashell shapes all come from a single algorithm.  I can’t find them — if you run across them, please let me know.

5 Comments

Filed under Evolution, Mathematics, Philosophy & Religion

5 responses to “Random Becomes Amazing

  1. For those unaware, a “glider” is the smallest spaceship in Conway’s “Game of Life”, and it travels diagonally at a speed of c/4. And has actually been proposed to be a symbol for
    “hackers”.
    “FTW” is a blog term meaning is a common internet acronym for “For The Win”, which itself is an expression for enthusiasm which is like saying “This is the Best”.
    So Sisyphus is saying “The Glider is the Best – check it out !”

  2. The Game of Life is pretty darned awesome. One can actually construct self replicating computing machines with it, given a large enough world (needs to be very large).

  3. @myrthryn,
    Really? Any sources on that?

  4. GaryD

    My belief in God is strengthened by science and math. Maybe from a mustard seed to a mustard seed and a half but that is supposed to be enough. “The game of Life” has code that determines the outcome of choices the player makes. It looks fantastic after the program is up and running. It came from a mind to a machine in the form of code. Atheists and theists have the same evidence but we have different interpretations of the evidence.

    Please indulge me by allowing a few quotes:
    [deleted for flooding with cutting & pasting and not interacting with the post]

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