1. Start with a Random pattern by hitting Edit Broth. Watch what kinds of patterns appear. Let it run until interesting things stop happening. The program will stop automatically when this happens. You may have to adjust the speed and the zoom to see things. Keep track of some of the still patterns and oscillating patterns you encounter. Do this at least 5 times trying different density settings. What effect does this have?
(a) Draw the 5 most common still patterns you found? (You can also copy them using the right mouse button and paste them into your document) What might these be analogous to in the physical universe?
You might want to compare the list you found to the still patterns in the library in Winlife to see how many of the common still patterns you got.
(b) How many different kinds of oscillating patters did you find? Draw them or copy them. (Just one state of each is fine). You might want to compare the list you found to the oscillators in the library in Winlife to see how many of the common ones evolved in your systems.
(c) Did you see any moving patterns (oscillating patterns that move across the screen)? How many? Which ones? Remember to Zoom out to look for them since they move off the screen.
See if you can observe any laws of behavior or patterns about the Life world as you watch your random universes evolve. You will write your observations down in the questions below.
2. Are the patterns you got from random beginnings complex or simple? What do you think would have to happen in order to get more complex patterns? How is the process you watched like natural selection?
3. Insert a Glider from the library. Advance it one step at a time and draw each of the different configurations (You may find looking at it in the library useful for this) How many of them are there? Change the speed setting up and down. How does the appearance of the glider change? You will discuss this more later.
4. Use the library to look at some oscillating patterns. . Look at 3 of the larger ones. Then use the arrow buttons in the same way as above to look at them. Look at star, Kok's galaxy, and pulsar. Say how many stages each has, and what the period of oscillation is. Describe what each of these looks like at high speed
5. Load some of the unstable patterns from the library. Load pihetomino, bheptomino, rpentomino, and acorn. Turn the Generation Autostop menu on. Write down how many generations each goes and briefly describe what each does. Try each more than once. Do they do the same thing? How does each pattern know what it will become? Is the process stored in the initial object or seed? How would Aristotle describe this? How could you use your knowledge of the program as a criticism of Aristotle and a defense of the way of Necessity?
Part II. Questions using Life32:
Use the left tab set to folder to load the files. You may have to set the directory correctly and set it to look for all files *.*
6. Look at the files 1-5 and 6-7. These are straight lines of cells from 1-9. What does each do?
7. Change to draw mode (F5 or Options Draw). Draw a straight line of 10 cells. What does it do? Experiment making other patterns and seeing what they do. Find at least three that are interesting, and draw them (You can also just copy and paste them. In this program you must select the pattern and hit CNTRL-C to copy). Say what each does.
8. Load breeder. Play it at different speeds and zoom levels. What does it do? Zoom in on the rows of gliders and look at them at different speed levels, noting how the patterns you see change.
9. Answer this question using your observations from the previous question, as well as from numbers 2, 4 and 5 above. What is a glider? Is it the starting pattern? Is it the set of 4 patterns it oscillates between? Is it the single moving pattern you see at high speeds? Which of Dennett's stances are you using in your description? How does this change in appearance relate to our discussion of Kuhn's thesis that the objects one recognizes depends on one's paradigm?
10. Load any other 4 files of your choice and watch them. Describe briefly what each does. Make sure to look at them at different speeds and zoom levels.
11. From your observation of these and of the random worlds of number 1, what conclusions would you as Life scientist be able to make about the Life world? What are its basic entities or objects? What are the laws of nature? You may be as superficial or in depth in your answer to this as you like. (Extra Credit up to 20 points) Answering the following three questions is required, not extra credit: (a)Does knowing the Life program help you to understand the Life world you described? (b)Can you derive the laws you came up with from the program? (c) What does this imply about Dennett's three levels of description?
11. Give an example of each of Dennett's three levels for the Life world. (The Physical stance, The Functional Stance, The Intentional stance)