Work and Not Work

Let’s see, following my talk last week I was treated to one of those nasty summer colds. While I’m still hacking (the lovely phrase “productive cough” is all too familiar at the moment), I am on the mend.

Between the new laptop from the lab (a MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM) and the newly refurbished workstation (AMD Athlon X2 2.4 GHz with 2 GB of RAM), I’ve suddenly got some spiffy computational capability on the desktop here. Last week, I was able to get some changes committed to the Avida development code branch (and a bug found by one of my colleagues in about 15 minutes). I basically added two new instructions and some configuration values to control when/if they apply, plus the ability to set a “carrying capacity” that is smaller than the world grid size. I’m now working on runs to see what difference these changes make.

Diane entered an idea in the iRobot Create Challenge for a scholarship robot, and was selected as a recipient. I didn’t get one of my own, but we can likely use the same base and put in two submissions to the contest. Diane’s idea concerns using the robot as a prototype for a sound recorder that could approach animals in the wild and get good recordings. Mine concerned transferring programs evolved using Avida to the robot to demonstrate some basic orientation behaviors.

For things that aren’t work related, Diane and I are working toward having a pen for quail and/or chukar partridge. This is back about 150′ beyond the backyard fence, which hopefully will be far enough away from the hawks that they don’t get over-excited by the prey birds. I have a number of writing projects that need attention desperately.

Tomorrow I have some meetings and some work to do in the lab.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “Work and Not Work

  • 2007/07/22 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve presented at the 1997 Naturalism, Theism, and Scientific Enterprise conference, where Dembski also presented. I pointed out that genetic algorithms would have to be useless if Dembski’s arguments (explanatory filter stuff) were empirically valid. Dembski’s response? That his logic was sound and his premises valid, therefore his conclusions followed. That’s propositional logic talk, not math. Notice how much of Dembski’s career thereafter has been given over to failed responses to the challenge that evolutionary computation poses for his notions.

    Dembski and I gave argument and counter-argument concerning order and design at the 2001 “Interpreting Evolution” conference at Haverford College. There is video, and I linked to the various RealPlayer files in the following post on PT:

    Has Dembski ever addressed the criticism I made at that conference and repeated in that post concerning his verificationism? If so, I missed it. It seems to me that is a “tough question” that he has indeed dodged.

    I’ve been a published critic of Dembski’s ideas since 1999. I still have one more peer-reviewed “intelligent design” article to my credit than Dembski.

    We’ve met on stage in 2002 and 2006 as well. The notion that I or other critics are so easily dismissable is a laugh.

    Dembski’s notion of silence being indicative of capitulation is simply projection. It is his preferred method of ignoring substantive criticism.

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