In this chapter:
The evolutionary studies of this chapter have both practical and theoretical interest. On the one hand, there are many controversial questions in evolution theory and the simple genotype/phenotype system of gene expression programming can give us some insights into natural evolutionary processes. On the other hand, evolutionary computation not only inherited all the controversial questions from evolution theory but also created some of its own, casting more shadow than light into evolution theory.
In this chapter we are going to discuss three fundamental questions of evolution theory: (1) genetic operators and their power; (2) the importance of initial diversity; and (3), the importance of neutrality in evolution. Furthermore, related to these fundamental questions, are several other pertinent questions that have been around for a long time in evolutionary computation and are here clearly answered in an empirical way. Such questions include, among others, the role of building blocks in evolution and the problem of premature convergence.