Robots Demonstrate Evolution

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Robots “demonstrate evolution” according to an article in Yahoo news 31 May 2009. Researchers at Vassar College New York have built robots that simulate a predator-prey relationship in a quest to understand how vertebrae (backbones) evolved in the Cambrian period. They have built two swimming robots, one named Preyo (the prey) being pursued by another robot called Tadiator. The researchers tested the effects of varying the design of the prey robot’s tail on how well it could escape the predator robot. John Long, a Professor of Biology, explained: "We're applying selection, just like natural selection."

They found that stiffening the tail with rubber rings to simulate vertebrae was the most effective way to improve Peyo’s swimming ability. They concluded that “the evolution of multiple vertebrae could have been influenced by the need to avoid predators while foraging.”

The Vassar College researchers are one of a number of teams that are building robots and trying out variations on structure and function to help understand how animals move. A team at University of California, Berkeley has built robots that can “creep like cockroaches or climb like geckos” and Swiss researchers have built a robot that moves like a salamander to study the evolution from water to land animals.

Editorial Comment: The supporter who sent in this reference commented “This is one of the most ridiculous articles promoting evolution that I have ever seen. They are using machines designed by an intelligent creator (man) to simulate changes due to ‘natural selection’.”

We agree – there is nothing natural about the selection being tested here. What they are testing is human ability to design something that can swim like an already existing animal with a backbone. These experiments, and the others referred to in the Yahoo article, are part of the growing science of “biomimetics” where biologists and engineers get together and use their pre-existing creative intelligence to design and build devices that work like biological structures. When they succeed they should logically argue they have irrefutable proof that the biological systems they copied are the work of a similar but smarter Creative Designer who made His creations with an inbuilt copy program for producing after their kind so they would not evolve. (Ref. biomimicry, engineering, robotics, locomotion)

Evidence News 24 June 2009

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