For sure, the "mechanics" (what a loaded word) of genetic reproduction are not understood, hardly at all. Consider the remarkable complexity of the fruit fly transcriptome. People at UC Berkeley found about 100 genes that can encode hundreds or even thousands of different types of proteins, which they do selectively, in a completely unknown way, in response to environmental stress tests they performed on them. And that's only a fruit fly.
i now close my comments on this question. I hope they have opened some thoughts of those working on the problem of 'Machine intelligence". Truly, one of humanity's "hard" problems and I honor all of you working on it.
That is false. Everybody has the same undestanding of thinking. That is, I believe that there are other beings like me out there. This is the first principle of faith, that makes human communication posssibe. But if you don't understand the difference between "thinking" and "what thinking means"? Gosh, try to crawl out of the mud.
Oh God, that's rediculous. We communicate with programs written by humans (computers can't communicate, what an absurd idea). We communicate with algorithims that supply us with character strings that we can recognize, often provided reasonably directly to us by other humans, but ultimately always provided by humans, even if indirectly. Truly, who else can possily provide us with these symbols from which we generate meaning? And, if they were not intentional human communications, how would we possibly recognize them?
I understand Dijkstra's comment to mean that it's pointless to argue about whether computers can think because everybody has a different understanding of what thinking means. If one argues that a submarine cannot swim, then one would have to argue that an airplane cannot fly. Birds fly, and so do airplanes. Fish swim, but for some reason submarines don't? It's just a question of what semantics you want to assign to the words, and is about as useful as wondering why the plural of mouse is mice, yet the plural of house is houses.
Personally, I like the Turing test. Every day people communicate with other entities on the Internet, and have no way of knowing whether the entity on the other end is another human, an intelligent computer, someone from another planet, or a dog :-)
Update: Besides, one can speak of a vessel as swimming, as in my father's favorite line from Joseph Conrad's Narcissus, which refers to a disabled ship at sea: "As long as she swims I will cook!"
Preposteous. The thought the "evolution can be programmed into a computer" is so absurd, that I immediately don't know how to react to it. I've programmed a lot of computers, but the thought of including evolution into computers, which is an extremely valuable human abstract concept, provided by Darwin and Huxley in the 19th century, is beyond my imagination. How would you do that? Certainly you could not input a bunch of character strings, or operations on and manipulation of same. That would be, on it's face, absurd.
Are you in charge of the Universe, or what? Truly, how would you do that?