This article original appeared on Insider Louisville, read the full article here.
by David Serchuk
Louisville computer programmer Alan Canon has partnered with controversial scientist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins to resuscitate a suite of long-dormant computer programs Dawkins wrote decades ago. Canon’s goal is for these programs to help teach how evolution and genetic selection work, and to fight back against the evolution deniers dotting the American landscape.
The programs, called “The Blind Watchmaker,” illustrate how genetic mutations and variances create new varieties of life.
Canon tells IL he is working with Dawkins because even now, decades after the Scopes Monkey Trial, the theory of evolution remains under attack from creationists. He wants to help Dawkins — his intellectual hero — further the cause of rational, science-based thinking. For him, it means helping Dawkins revive long-dormant computer programs that illustrate how evolution and genetic selection work.
“We need every tool we can muster in the arsenal of demonstrating the truth of these ideas,” Canon said. “Evolution explains why we’re here … evolution has produced human brains capable of understanding how they came to be. There’s poetry there.”
The programs, in a nutshell, demonstrate the principles of evolution, including: heredity, mutation, and artificial selection. They allow users to essentially “breed” different kinds of life-forms, to illustrate how offspring, over time, differ from their ancestors. In short, the programs show a souped-up version of evolution.
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