Evolution in Excel

Two days ago one of my online students emailed me that the Excel software that I make available to them would not open properly. I checked, and yes, the most recent version posted for them had somehow been corrupted. It opened in a way that could not be viewed full-screen, and would not accept data entries. I don’t know how this happened, but I quickly replaced it with a slightly older backup version.
I originally designed this particular software as a case study for my students about 12 years ago, and I have improved it almost every term since then. Students seem to continually find new ways to do it wrong, so I continually add failsafe responses to get them back on track. It has become quite complex, and very user friendly, but always by my design. Over those 12 years copies have become corrupted many times, but I am yet to have a corruption be an advantage to my students. As far as I can tell, no corruption has ever increased the software’s capacity to do anything, useful or not. They have only reduced capacities. I do find however, that the more complex I develop my software to be, the more easily it can be corrupted. There is more to corrupt, and less chance of it functioning after the corruption. Complexity increases vulnerability, and corruption shuts down function.
And yet the complexity of anything I program, or anybody else programs, for that matter, is so simple compared with the programming we find in DNA. When I think about it, it is incredible that any DNA programming became more complex or useful without design, or that corruption in DNA could do anything except make it less functional. The only way a person could possibly think that chance evolution has improved DNA after experiencing computer programming is for indoctrination to have shut down thinking.

One Response to “Evolution in Excel”

  1. Mike McCants says:

    “The only way a person could possibly think that chance evolution has improved DNA after experiencing computer programming is for indoctrination to have shut down thinking.”
    Apparently your thinking shut down when you were properly indoctrinated when you were very young.

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