Monday, June 04, 2007
Estimating a Cell's Contribution to Directed Mutation
Since, according to Marks, you can measure the number of bits imported into a search algorithm by running trials, why don't we apply this to known cases of evolution? It seems that we should be able to calculate the number of bits the cell itself is applying to its own evolution, shouldn't we?
Now, before getting too excited, there are some caveats. The biggest one is that Marks doesn't separate importing information into the search algorithm versus importing information into the environment. Just like you can import bits into the search algorithm, given any search algorithm, you can also import bits into the environment to match the algorithm. So is the design in the search or in the environment? It's a thorny issue.
In any case, even if we can't follow all of the possibilities, we should at least be able to get an estimate of the number of bits being supplied by the cell for its own evolution. This would be interesting to apply to some of the existing data for evolutionary scenarios.
There are several goals. On a personal basis, I love understanding new things, and understanding how God worked the genome seems to be the pinnacle of interest. The stuff I've learned so far is really cool, especially the ways in which it seems God applied metaprogramming (program-generating-programs) into the immune system.
On a more practical note, learning what causes change from generation to generation will help learn the direct causes of genetic disease, and will help future transgenic technologies understand how to better play nicely with the genome.
"You already know the results of all experimentation"
I do? Perhaps I have merely forgotten.... Care to explain your thoughts?
"if God decides to change how things are done, won't that render even your expected results moot?"
Certainly this is true. There are a lot of things that God has, could, and will do that will render a great many things moot. Even if you didn't believe in God, you would have the same conundrum -- life throws a great many unexpected things at you that can render everything you've done moot. But we are here, and here is where we should live. In the meantime, I enjoy learning more and more about God's creation.