Mark Perakh posted Entry 1352 on August 15, 2005 04:03 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1350

The latest issue of the Skeptic journal is now available (2005, vol. 11, No 4). It contains, among other things, two articles pertaining to the Intelligent Design and its critique. One of them (pages 54-65) is my article titled “The Dream World of William Dembski’s Creationism.” The other article (pages 66-69) “Creationism’s Holy Grail: The Intelligent Design of a Peer-Reviewed Paper” is by Robert Weitzel.

Given Dembski’s protestations regarding the term “creationism” when applied to his and his cohorts’ views (with some exceptions, like Dembski’s armour-bearer, Salvador Cordova who has frankly referred to himself as a creationist), perhaps it can be expected that Dembski will reject the very title of my paper as well as the reference to his ideas as a dream.

Weitzel’s paper is about Stephen Meyer’s infamous article in June 2004 issue of The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. Weitzel shows the lack of merits in Meyer’s article and favorably quotes the article by Gishlick, Matzke, and Elsberry which was posted both on Panda’s Thumb (see this) and Talk Reason (see this).

I am posting this brief entry in order to explain why I’ve written one more article on Dembski’s already discredited pseudo-theory. Some denizens of The Panda’s Thumb and readers of Talk Reason probably know that I have authored a book Unintelligent Design (Prometheus Books, 2004) with a chapter about 100 pages long dealing in detail with Dembski’s literary output (as the latter existed at the time I was writing my book, in the first half of 2002). Furthermore, I have also authored a chapter in the anthology Why Intelligent Design Fails (Rutgers U. Press, 2004, eds Matt Young and Taner Edis) which specifically deals with Dembski’s misinterpretation and misuse of the No Free Lunch theorems. Why, then, have I written one more paper, which contains a concise critique of the main points of Dembski’s output?

Perhaps it is proper to point out that the article for Skeptic was written in March of 2004, before Dembski posted to the web some papers allegedly providing the “mathematical foundation of intelligent design.” Thus Dembski’s recent “mathematical” papers have not been covered in the Skeptic’s article. My brief critical discussions of those “mathematical” papers by Dembski can be found
here and here ; it was posted much later than the article for Skeptic was written. Other critiques of Dembski’s “mathematical” papers were suggested by Elsberry – see
this (March 15, 2005), and by Tom English (posted on ARN website in March 2005).

Having published the above book and chapter in the Rutgers anthology (besides a number of posts on the web) dealing with Dembski’s publications, I had no reason to return to discussing his output. Of course it was rather obvious that Dembski most probably would continue shooting out multiple articles, posts, and books at a machine-gun rate, but the experience with his output up to 2004 provided a good basis for not expecting from him any material of a greater interest than his production had up to that date.

So, why did I write the paper for Skeptic? The answer is simple. The editor of the Skeptic journal, Michael Shermer suggested that I write a paper for him succinctly analyzing Dembski’s output. In other words, Shermer had in fact commissioned me to write such a paper, asking though to limit it to not more than about 7,500 words.

However strong the aversion on my part to once again dealing with the literary production of Dembski, I just felt I could not afford not to go along with Shermer’s suggestion.

In the paper I submitted to Shermer in March 2004 I tried to analyze as succinctly as reasonably possible the most salient points of Dembski’s output, omitting many details and ignoring his often unethical behavior, but covering his most loudly praised claims.

Up to now, Dembski has never responded to the essence of my earlier critique. All his response boiled down to a couple of sentences, none of which in any way touched on the substance of my critique. On one such occasion Dembski wrote (in a post on the ARN website on March 13, 2004) that he has not replied to my critique because I just was

recycling other criticisms and doing a poor job in the process.

I think that for anybody who is familiar with my critique of Dembski it is obvious that the quoted “reply” displays Dembski’s arrogance and perhaps also his inability to offer counter-arguments to my critique. My book Unintelligent Design has been rather widely reviewed, both in press and on the web. While most of the reviews evaluated my book positively, there were, as could be expected, several quite negative reviews (mostly anonymous) obviously written by adherents of ID. However, in none of these negative reviews (not to mention the positive ones) was there even a hint at the notion that my arguments were not my own. There is little doubt that Dembski knows that my critical comments in no way “recycled” arguments of other critics. His disdainful dismissal of my critique as allegedly “recycling other criticisms” speaks more about his intellectual integrity than about the essence of my critique.

On another occasion, Dembski (see this) similarly dismissed my critical comments (as well as those by Wesley Elsberry) which addressed his article where he claimed to have mathematically “disproved” evolution theory. Again, without uttering a single word related to the substance of my (and Elsberry’s) critique, Dembski, in his habitual supercilious manner, wrote that answering my and Elsberry’s critique is rather low on his priority list since we (Elsberry and I) cannot even respond to his great math “in plain English” not to mention relating to his sophisticated mathematics (see Note 2 at the end of this post). (This was Dembski’s attempt at a pun, as another critic of Dembski’s article was named Tom English and in his critique Tom analyzed some details of Dembski’s mathematical exercise, while Elsberry and I avoided delving into Dembski’s math formalism because all his math exercise was irrelevant both to evolution theory and to the supposed foundation of intelligent design.)

I have no idea whether Dembski chooses not to respond to my article in Skeptic, as he chose so far to do regarding my previous critique of his output, or whether this time he will try to repudiate some parts of the substance of my critique. It does not matter, though. From previous experience with Dembski’s replies to critique (as to that by Richard Wein, H. Allen Orr, Jeffrey Shallit, Robert Pennock, Nic Matzke, and others – see some details here) a pattern seems to emerge: in his replies Dembski avoids addressing the crucial parts of the critical remarks, pointing instead to irrelevant details such as the formal credentials of his critics, distorting the critic’s arguments, triumphantly asserting, without any factual basis for it, the alleged imminent victory of ID etc. Therefore, even if Dembski chooses (as he has not yet) to “respond” to my article in Skeptic, there is no reason to expect that his possible response will have substance.

Anyway, I am hardly concerned with Dembski’s opinion of my critique. I view him as a pseudo-scientist whose prolific output, either as his own discourse or as replies to critics, is largely worthless. Moreover, the documented instances of Dembski’s unethical behavior provide an additional reason for not attaching much significance to his possible replies to critique. (For cases illustrating Dembski’s unethical behavior, see, for example this or this> (posted on March 26, 2004).
After having published my book Unintelligent Design and the chapter in the Rutgers anthology, I had no plans to ever again write any detailed analysis of Dembski’s output, previous or subsequent. Shermer’s suggestion made me change my plans and write the article which appeared in Skeptic, v. 11, No 4. Also, some recent posts by Dembski led to my brief responses, posted on Talk Reason and Panda’s Thumb. Perhaps I’ll have to write about Dembski again in the future, but I’ll do it reluctantly; hopefully such cases will be quite rare, leaving this rather nauseating task to our younger colleagues whose own age is closer to Dembski’s.

Note 1

While Dembski’s output has been extensively critiqued by many experts in relevant fields of inquiry (including information theory, biology, end others) one of the reasons for his contemptuous and supercilious attitude to critics may be the abundance of exaggerated acclaims of his publications by sycophants like Salvador Cordova and such philosophers as Robert Koons. Apparently Dembski is inclined to give much more weight to those acclaims than to critique, as the acclaims jibe well with his own well documented self-admiration. To judge, however, what the reliability of the loud praise for Dembski’s alleged breakthroughs is, let us look at just one example.

In the much derided example, philosopher Robert Koons of Texas wrote (in the blurb on the dust cover of Dembski’s book Intelligent Design, InterVarsity Press 1999):

William Dembski is the Isaac Newton of information theory, and since this is the Age of information, that makes Dembski one of the most important thinkers of our time. His law of conservation of information represents a revolutionary breakthrough.

This super-inflated acclaim apparently did not embarrass Dembski. Were his behavior typical of a scientist, he certainly would have objected to having such a laughable blurb printed, or at least expressed his discomfort after the fact. He never did, thus testifying to his apparent agreement with Koons’s obsequious lines. Now, however, I am interested not so much in Dembski’s self-admiration as in the actual level of Koons’s understanding of what he was writing about. In the Science Insight journal, a publication of the National Association of Scholars (v.7, No 5, 2003 –(see this) there is a letter by that same philosopher Robert Koons who, just a few years after his comparison of Dembski to Newton and acclaiming Dembski’s “law of conservation of information” now writes, among other things, that

William Dembski does not claim to have ‘discovered’ the law of the conservation of information. Instead, he simply brings this well-known and widely accepted result of information theory (the ‘no free lunch theorems’) to bear on problems of the origin of biological information.

The 2003 statement by Koons, which utterly negates his previous claim of 1999, appeared after Dembski’s alleged law was shown to be non-existent by a number of critics. This example illustrates that acclaims of Dembski’s work by his admirers more often than not are worthless. (By the way, Koons’s second claim also demonstrates his ignorance of the matter he endeavors to judge. The “no free lunch theorems” by Wolpert and Macready have no relation whatsoever to Dembski’s alleged law of conservation of information, and even less support it in any way. Moreover, these theorems have little to do with information theory in general. They are part of optimization theory, but philosopher Koons seems to have an equally nebulous understanding of what constitutes both information and optimization theories. Such is the level of authority of Dembski’s multiple admirers and sycophants.)

Note 2.

In a post (see this), Dembski wrote:

I’m happy to acknowledge my critics where I think they are being insightful. There tends to be a disconnect, however, between the criticisms I regard as insightful and those that my critics regard as insightful. I’m afraid that Wesley Elsberry and Mark Perakh do not rank high among those I regard as insightful critics. Since I’m quite busy and have plenty of critics, they tend to fall low in the queue. Consider, for instance, that Tom English on this board at least engaged the mathematics in my article. I’ve seen no indication that Elsberry or Perakh could even state the gist of it in plain English.

I cannot speak for Elsberry, who surely is fully capable of repudiating Dembski’s arrogant claim in regard to Elsberry’s critique (in my view Elsberry’s critique of Dembski has been quite insightful and well substantiated). As to my own alleged lack of understanding of Dembski’s “mathematical” paper, perhaps it is relevant to point out that unlike Dembski, who has a rather unimpressive history of publishing peer-reviewed papers, I have to my credit nearly 300 scientific papers printed in international journals, as well as several scientific monographs. I also was granted a number of patents in several countries. For example, any one of my published papers on stress calculation contains more formulae (all of which I derived) than Dembski’s entire mathematical output. (For example, just one paper printed in Surface Technology, v. 8, 1979, pp. 265-309, contains 131 formulae I derived). Regarding my inability to express my view of Dembski’s mathematical exercise “even in plain English,” in fact I have expressed my ideas in published papers which I wrote in five languages. There seems to be little doubt that Dembski would hardly be capable of even reading most of those languages, or of comprehending the gist of most of those papers, such as those dealing with computation of electric fields in cells of complex shape, with calculation of stress, with kinetics of photodeposition, with electrosorption hysteresis, and with other subjects I used to deal with. It is advisable that Dembski weigh more carefully his disdainful utterances if he wants to be taken seriously beyond the narrow circle of his lickspittles. Of course all this is hardly relevant to the critique of Dembski’s output, and I’d prefer not to have said all of this, but Dembski’s arrogant remarks regarding “plain English” (which are rather typical of his overall attitude to his critics) called for providing, at least once, some reply in a similar vein, at least as a footnote.

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Comment #43183

Posted by ellery on August 15, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

I would like to recommend this site to Panda’s Thumb readers. It purports to challenge the Periodic Table on the basis of ID.

http://www.re-discovery.org/per_table.gif

http://www.re-discovery.org/

It is quite subtle and clever–from their website:

The reDiscovery Institute is non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy think-tank located in Tacoma, Washington, with branches in Atlanta, Georgia and Fort Worth, Texas. The reDiscovery Institute fosters integration of science education with traditional Judeo-Christian principles of free market, limited government, morality, faith, property, obedience, and anti-intellectualism .

Our primary focus is to extend and promote Design Theories, which have been so successful in Biology, to the fields of Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Oceanography, Material Science, Acoustics, Condensed Matter Physics, Fluid Dynamics, Nuclear Physics, Anthropology, Physiology, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Meteorology.

Our goals are to Teach the Controversies, all of them, each and every one. The reDiscovery Institute promotes better education of children, and re-education of adults; those on our current Enemies List. The reDiscovery Institute supports Fellows, who relentlessly write letters to editors and post ‘articles’ on the web. Highly-paid journalists present our Fellows to the public as bonafide scientists.

The reDiscovery Institute maintains a slick web page, and tirelessly promotes archaic religious dogma elegantly dressed in modern scientific terminology, to school boards, museums, theaters, and editorial pages across America. We are consultants to Fox News Network. The reDiscovery Institute urges adherence to John Phillipson’s Ice Pick Gambit: “Until we gain total control, keep the old testament part of our agenda quiet because it frightens normal people.” The reDiscovery Institute is backed by members, a board, and an ultra-conservative, ultra-rich, California savings and loan heir who believes that the American democracy should be replaced with biblical theocracy.

Comment #43192

Posted by Jim Anderson on August 15, 2005 7:08 PM (e)

If he has time to blog, he has no excuse.

Comment #43205

Posted by Jaime Headden on August 15, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

The term “lackwit” may apply, since his ingenuity in replies to critics seems lacking in regard to the quality of his speech. Instead of providing clear or concientious commentary, Dembski resorts to a tactic that I have found familiar in pseudoscientists who receive praise largely from uninformed “scholars” and “philosophers” (people who read and think about things a lot, oooo…) and the responses, if typical, are themselves the only true recycled remarks in the conversations (if you can call them that). Dembski does not try to muster courage and brave the idea he might be wrong, since in his view he is right, and thus only seeks to validate his ideas and disrespect those that contradict what he has faith in are real. His touchiness on his avowed religiosity being mentioned by others is a classical defense when you run a front organization that pretends not to be religious in nature, but is such to its core. All that is lacking are the cheap repeated insults; if he were Jewish, no doubt he’s be claiming antisemitism and jew-baiting, something I had to deal with in regards to another “scholar”.

Comment #43209

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 15, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

Dr. Perakh,

I’ve never said anything publicly derogatory of you personally, and in fact have offered some of my praise for your work (like your critique of Bible codes, and your essay in Shermer’s magazine where you talked of a pebble).

Thus, though we intensely disagree, I was surprised that you would refer to me as a sychophant or lickspittle. If wish to say derogatory comments of me that’s your free speech right…

And if you wish to be-little me by calling me Bill Dembski’s armor bearer, then I’ll say, it’s been an honor serving the Noble Sir William.

I will credit you however with at least stating in your book on page 97 and 98 definitions related to Bill Dembski’s CSI, which more than I can say for the lengthy critique that Shallit and Elsberry made, where they didn’t even quote Dembski’s definitions but rather slapped together their own straw man approximations of CSI.

At least I credit you with typing Dembski’s definition verbatim for CSI:

Complex Specified Information :

The coincidence of conceptual and physical information where the conceptual information is both identifiable independent of the physical information and also complex

So, I credit you with quoting Dembski properly on a key definition, which is more than I can say for Shallit and Elsberry in their paper which I criticize in Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003

That said, on page 97 of your book where you say:

Therefore, insofar as we deal with text, the term conceptual information seems to coincide with the meaning of that text.

Mark Perakh

Which does not represent what conceptual information is, even if text is involved. And thus your critique of CSI is flawed from the start.

I’m not saying you agree with Dr. Dembski, but if you’re going to critique his work you should represent his ideas accurately. The representation you offered on page 97 is inaccurate, but subtle enough that most on this discussion board will not discern.

However, if little old me could figure it out that you made a mistake, someone with 300 published papers in 5 languages liek you should not have made that mistake in the first place. But, hey, the best of us make mistakes, and perhaps in the 2nd edition of your book you can put me in the acknowledgement section for correcting your mistake.

Out of curiosity, nothwithstanding that you are a very well-qualified physicist, does your field of specialty translate into understanding Dr. Dembski’s Displacement theorem and the associated proofs? You may not agree to the assumptions, but are the derivations from the assumptions correct. Are his calculations sound?

But I must say, given you did not represent Dembski’s work accurately on page 97 of your book, I hope you understand this armor-bearer’s reluctance to ascent to any of your other pronouncements against the Noble Sir William.

And until you can represent his work accurately, I suppose you’ll be relegated to having to joust with Sir William’s armor bearer rather than Sir William himself.

Salvador Cordova

Comment #43211

Posted by steve on August 15, 2005 11:33 PM (e)

Sal, maybe you can explain something else. I’m looking at the website for the 2005 IEEE International Symposium for Information Theory. It will be held in Adelaide, Australia. This is The upcoming conference for IT scientists. Now, I was confused when I saw the list of plenary speakers:

* Richard Blahut (Shannon Lecturer)
* P. R. Kumar
* David MacKay
* Benjamin Schumacher
* Terry Speed

Isn’t that weird? No William Dembski. The Isaac Newton of Information Theory, not speaking at the big IT conference? That’s strange. Maybe he’s presenting a paper, though. Is Dembski presenting a paper at the conference? Like you say, Darwin should have known Information Theory to study evolution. Dembski is your big supposed Information Theory guru about evolution. So he should be there, right?

I know. He might have a scheduling conflict. You see, the other big thing going on in September for IT scientists is the workshop in New Zealand. Specifically, the IEEE ITSOC Information Theory Workshop 2005 on Coding and Complexity. Coding and complexity, that’s right up Dembski’s alley, if he’s such an expert at this stuff, isn’t that true? Take a look at the topics covered at the workshop:

Algorithmic information theory; channel coding; coded modulation; complexity, information and entropy; complexity measures; convolutional coding; error-correcting codes; information theory and statistics; iterative decoding; LDPC codes; quantum information theory; quantum-theoretical aspects of coding; randomness and pseudo-randomness; relationships between codes and complexity; rate distortion theory; soft-decision decoding; source coding; source-channel coding; spreading sequences and CDMA; turbo codes.

See that? “Algorithmic information Theory”—“information theory and statistics”—“relationships between codes and complexity”—that’s exactly what you think Dembski is such an expert at. So is he going to be teaching those sections of the workshop? Or will they be discussing any of Dembski’s results there? I mean, it can’t be true that international conferences on Information Theory would fail to discuss revolutionary new results in IT. So if they’re not talking about Dembski, why not?

Comment #43212

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 15, 2005 11:36 PM (e)

Sal said:

Which does not represent what conceptual information is, even if text is involved. And thus your critique of CSI is flawed from the start.

Seriously? Then just what in blazes does “conceptual information” mean? And just to be sure you’re not bluffing, can you give any examples, from both Dembski and others, where the use supports your definition over Dr. Perakh’s?

Comment #43213

Posted by ag on August 15, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

With friends like Salvador Cordova Dembski needs no adversaries. Salvador seems to be under delusion that his diatribes may be taken seriously (re his miserable “critique” of Elsberry & Shallit’s paper} while Dembski seems to revel in praise even if it comes from nincompoops.

Comment #43217

Posted by T. Russ on August 16, 2005 2:48 AM (e)

Hey Sal,

Ever wonder why we deal with people who can’t carry on a simple conversation without resorting to childish name calling. Sychophant, lickspittle, lackwit, nincompoop? How can these guys talk about Dembski being arrogant, unethical, and rude. I have never seen the evidence for such claims. I would say that it is apparent and understandable that Dembski grows frustrated with having to deal with the same old bull all the time from anti-ID propagandists, but he never just gets on his blog and starts calling his critics delusional pseudo-scientists lackwits. The way these guys see Sir William looks to be just another classic case of self-projection?

Anyways, I just finished reading your critique of Elsberry & Shallit’s paper and noticed that you managed to complete a quite thorough response without ever lowering yourself to such pejorative language. Good Job.

Comment #43219

Posted by SEF on August 16, 2005 3:13 AM (e)

it’s been an honor serving the Noble Sir William…. you’ll be relegated to having to joust with Sir William’s armor bearer rather than Sir William himself.

Is anyone else reminded of the Monty Python brave Sir Robin sketch? :-D Any relegation was due to the principal running away. Dembski needs a (more honest) minstrel. Anyone applying for the post of Dembski’s Minstrel would have to be aware that they won’t be allowed to accurately sing his “praises” in his presence (ie on his blog) though.

Comment #43222

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 16, 2005 4:43 AM (e)

T. Russ wrote:

Anyways, I just finished reading your critique of Elsberry & Shallit’s paper and noticed that you managed to complete a quite thorough response without ever lowering yourself to such pejorative language. Good Job.

This must be some usage of “thorough” with which I am not familiar. Salvador’s linked commentary only runs to criticizing our identification of simple computational processes as the means by which apparent “specified complexity” may be obtained and repetition of the curious mantra-like objection that since we didn’t mention Dembski’s vague, non-mathematical “definition” of “complex specified information” we committed an “inexcusable” error. It seems odd to me that our extended critique of the mathematical framework of Dembski’s that was the object of Dembski’s descriptive phrasing went entirely unremarked by Salvador, and yet Salvador’s bit of commentary is considered a “thorough” treatment by “T. Russ”.

So let’s enumerate the bits that Salvador somehow failed to address in his “thorough” criticism (linked in his comment above) of Elsberry and Shallit 2003. I’ll just cover the first ten pages of our 48 pages of essay, so this is just a sample of what Salvador did not bother to address:

* Dembski’s paucity of publications in mathematical journals
* Dembski’s lack of publication in information theory journals
* Dembski’s failure to provide a consistent account of “design”
* The fact that “design” is considered by science, contra Dembski
* The distinction between “ordinary” and “rarefied” design inferences
* The marvelous expanding museum exhibit
* Dembski’s inconsistent stance on what can be studied concerning a detected designer
* The examples of inquiring about identity and intention of designers
* Dembski’s inconsistent usage of “intelligent
* The protected status of intelligent agency in Dembski’s “design inference”
* Dembski’s depauperate listing of hypotheses concerning Nicholas Caputo
* Dembski’s use of the “Erroneous Design Inference Principle” (EDIP)
* The substantiation of EDIP in scientific studies
* Dembski’s refusal to properly consider design hypotheses and chance hypotheses
* Dembski’s overlooking of Jocelyn Bell and LGM-1
* Dembski’s ambiguity in referring to “complex” sequences
* Modern science considers both design and non-design hypotheses
* Dembski’s avoidance of the issue of animal intelligence
* The curious non-application of CSI to demonstrate animals as “intelligent agents”
* The generation of CSI via proxy as a problem for assigning intelligence to humans
* Dembski’s video-camera-certainty method of “induction”

Comment #43223

Posted by Mike on August 16, 2005 5:38 AM (e)

“I would say that it is apparent and understandable that Dembski grows frustrated with having to deal with the same old bull all the time from anti-ID propagandists…”

I thought the entire point is that he never actually “deals” with anyone who criticizes his “work”.

Comment #43224

Posted by GCT on August 16, 2005 5:58 AM (e)

T. Russ wrote:

Ever wonder why we deal with people who can’t carry on a simple conversation without resorting to childish name calling.

This, coming from the guy who just recently called me, “Boy,” and made reference to me being some kind of dog? Once again, the hypocrisy of IDers knows no bounds.

Comment #43227

Posted by Jaime Headden on August 16, 2005 6:50 AM (e)

Besides, aside from definitions of information (using Shannon information theory, that is), the problems with Dembski’s “terms” are the bases of use for “conceptual”, “physical” and “complex”. Complex? Complexity is relative, as any one familiar with Complexity Theory can tell you. A spoon is a collection of millions of atoms is a simple tool is a spoon….

Comment #43232

Posted by Russell on August 16, 2005 7:39 AM (e)

Hey! It’s T. Rex again! Now, forgive me if this is getting a bit repetitious, but didn’t you promise months ago to go away and not return until you had a meaningful response to Elsberry’s critiques? I have to ask, then, if referring to Cordova’s “thorough response” substitutes for providing your own. What about the list provided in comment #43222?

Comment #43238

Posted by Flint on August 16, 2005 8:36 AM (e)

Would anyone care to speculate on T. Russ’ religious orientation? Would anyone wonder whether it is just a coincidence? Is anyone willing to argue that what’s really being addressed here is the math, and not the faith? Does anyone seriously expect that Dembski will ever address substantive criticisms knowing that they invalidate his apologetics?

We’re partway there, I hope. Now, when anyone says “ID is science” there’s little debate as to whether it’s really science; we all know it’s not. But when Dembski says “ID is math” everyone focuses on the math.

People, the topic here is a religious doctrine. Belief in defiance of the evidence is surely the sine qua non of Creationism. Dembski has chosen to misrepresent the evidence in mathmatical terms. Getting Dembski to admit valid criticisms of his treatment is like getting Duane Gish to admit there was no Noah’s Flood. Not going to happen.

Comment #43242

Posted by Russell on August 16, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Getting Dembski to admit valid criticisms of his treatment is like getting Duane Gish to admit there was no Noah’s Flood. Not going to happen.

But surely you’re not suggesting that we quit harping on it?

Aside from the entertainment value of watching the loyal “armor bearers” dodge the questions, and provoking Dembski to ever more childish displays of petulance, there’s the important educational point of continuously demonstrating to anyone who seriously wonders about IDC: there’s no there there.

Comment #43244

Posted by Art on August 16, 2005 9:02 AM (e)

Ed, remember that Sal is on the record as claiming that “information is almost anything you want it to be”. Just make it up as you go along and you cannot be wrong.

This is the acme of ID theory. LOL.

(Url for Sal’s comment: http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/13/t/001771/p/10.html#000365)

Comment #43249

Posted by Rasmus Pedersen on August 16, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

I don’t know if this is the right place to post this, but here goes:

Dembski was featured in a Danish national weekly newspaper (Weekendavisen) article on ID last week. This week saw some letters to the editor, one of which was from an associate professor of mathematics at the Danish Technical University. Dealing with the question of whether scientists should lend academic credibility to ID by discussing it, Hjorth wrote that he had attended a talk by Dembski at his department last year. My translation of part of the letter (titled “Creationists find only a mirror”):

“In the hour at his disposal in front of a friendly-minded but mathematically knowledgeable audience, Dembski wove like a freshman about to fail. He repeated his heuristic, hand-waving arguments endlessly, drew stains on the blackboard, but didn’t produce a single result of any mathematical value.
Unfortunately, this is also what a mathematician gets from reading his “mathematical” book, The Design Inference, which, incidentally, is widely used to scare people who are intimidated by mathematical equations. It looks impressive, but in actuality contains no coherent mathematics.
But now Dembski can boast that he, as a researcher of Intelligent Design, was invited to the Niels Bohr Institute as well as the Danish Technical University. What he doesn’t mention is that he will never be invited again.”

Original letter (for subscribers only).

Comment #43250

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on August 16, 2005 9:29 AM (e)

Does Koons know how to describe Dembski’s work in “plain English”? Does he understand the ‘work’ at all?

Comment #43256

Posted by Sad on August 16, 2005 10:21 AM (e)

I don’t know where I stand with the debate.
But I’m shocked to read some of the insults being thrown at Sal. I re-read his whole post a couple more times to see what he could have said that is drawing such heat. I can’t find it.
What exactly are some of you attacking?

Comment #43257

Posted by SteveF on August 16, 2005 10:28 AM (e)

The general feeling of smug, self satisfaction radiating from every pore does it for me.

Comment #43262

Posted by GCT on August 16, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

Sad wrote:

I don’t know where I stand with the debate.

Perhaps you would like to ask some questions then? What is it about this debate (I assume you mean the debate between evolution and ID) that you are unsure about? Perhaps we can help you.

Comment #43270

Posted by Russell on August 16, 2005 11:41 AM (e)

…I’m shocked to read some of the insults being thrown at Sal. I re-read his whole post a couple more times to see what he could have said that is drawing such heat. I can’t find it. What exactly are some of you attacking?

You’re right; if all there was to Sal was the post you read, you’d have to wonder: why the venomous reaction? I would guess that people are responding to Sal in historical context.

Sal is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). That’s right - he contends that the earth was created a few thousand years ago, just like it says in Genesis. He thinks there was a literal Adam & Eve; that there was a world-wide flood, etc. etc. In other words, he doesn’t give a damn about science, except insofar as it contradicts his religion. That makes him really mad. So he proudly assumes the role of Sancho Panza to Dembski’s Don Quixote, praising his every utterance, comically pretending to grasp the profundity in his master’s mathematical pretensions - even in the face of criticisms* from serious scientists and mathematicians. All because Dembski is the current Great White Hope of the creationists’ dream of making science and logic compatible with scripture.

*(“criticism” is a euphemism here. It implies that there are scientists or mathematicians that take Dembski seriously.)

Aside from finding his obsequious attitude toward Dembski variously comical and nauseating, I think a number of readers detect a hint of hypocrisy in a biblical literalist, Young Earth Creationist touting the party line of the ID movement, which pretends to be more scientifically sophisticated than the cartoon creationists of yesteryear.

Hope this helps.

Comment #43283

Posted by sad on August 16, 2005 12:33 PM (e)

Oh, that makes sense then. He believes certain things that seem to contradict scientific knowledge and other things that can’t be proved. He is a F#$*ing good for nothing piece of trash.
Let’s never listen to anything he has to say then because of his accompanying historical context. Let’s put alot of “LOL’s” following his posts too. We can be our own little clan.

Oh wait!!!! I’m a F#$*ing good for nothing piece of trash too. My stars! I believe things that contract scientific knowledge. That earth cooled and liquid water appears around 3.8 billion years ago…followed immediately by photosynthetic algae. Darn it!!! That’s not gradual. Come on chemical evolution…. where’s my trial and error? Where is the gradualism? Now how about that early bacterial complexity? Crap! That’s out of key too.

Comment #43285

Posted by steve on August 16, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

“chemical evolution”? Have you been reading the Jack Chick tracts again?

Comment #43288

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 16, 2005 12:42 PM (e)

So let’s enumerate the bits that Salvador somehow failed to address in his “thorough” criticism (linked in his comment above) of Elsberry and Shallit 2003. I’ll just cover the first ten pages of our 48 pages of essay, so this is just a sample of what Salvador did not bother to address:

* Dembski’s paucity of publications in mathematical journals
* Dembski’s lack of publication in information theory journals
* Dembski’s failure to provide a consistent account of “design”
* The fact that “design” is considered by science, contra Dembski
* The distinction between “ordinary” and “rarefied” design inferences
* The marvelous expanding museum exhibit
* Dembski’s inconsistent stance on what can be studied concerning a detected designer
* The examples of inquiring about identity and intention of designers
* Dembski’s inconsistent usage of “intelligent
* The protected status of intelligent agency in Dembski’s “design inference”
* Dembski’s depauperate listing of hypotheses concerning Nicholas Caputo
* Dembski’s use of the “Erroneous Design Inference Principle” (EDIP)
* The substantiation of EDIP in scientific studies
* Dembski’s refusal to properly consider design hypotheses and chance hypotheses
* Dembski’s overlooking of Jocelyn Bell and LGM-1
* Dembski’s ambiguity in referring to “complex” sequences
* Modern science considers both design and non-design hypotheses
* Dembski’s avoidance of the issue of animal intelligence
* The curious non-application of CSI to demonstrate animals as “intelligent agents”
* The generation of CSI via proxy as a problem for assigning intelligence to humans
* Dembski’s video-camera-certainty method of “induction”

For one, Wesley, for some of the issues you mention, I may have thought you had a reasonable and potentially valid point. My lack of commentary may simply mean I think those points should be considered, but it does not mean that I believe you are correct.

As you know I was very favorable to your work at first, even giving preference to your ideas earlier over Dr. Dembski’s in 2003. However, in the course of further study, I began to feel Dr. Dembski had a better case. Though I may not be as qualified as Dr. Perakh in terms of semi-conductor films and stress analysis, my background is at least reasonable enough to read through competing arguments regarding ID detection. I’ve worked on automatic target recognition and fingerprint identification. The issues involved are not foreign to me….

I felt your criticisms and that of Dembski’s former professor, Jeffrey Shallit, had much merit and worthy of consideration in several areas. I merely pointed out the areas I considered outrightly wrong. Maybe your other points have merit, maybe not, but the areas I highlighted showed where you inaccurately represented key concepts.

For the sake of the reader, in simplistic terms, the concept of CSI is very well approximated by a “bluprint/artifact” metaphor, where CSI is the design that is evidenced by the PHYISCAL artifact. One infers CSI is in evidence by a PHYSICAL artifact if one has an independent blueprint in hand that describes the PHYSICAL artifact.

A patent violation case is a good illustration. One has a basic blue print in a patent, if one finds a PHYSICAL artifact matching that basic blueprint, one says the PHYSICAL artifact evidences CSI.

Your TSPGRID examples didn’t really touch on PHYSICAL artifacts, but focused on the blueprint alone. Your analysis was therefore totally out in left field, having inaccurately represented what CSI is.

However, I did credit you with helping provide a method of creating independent specifications through your concept of SAI, since we don’t actually have direct access to the blueprints which a designer may have used. Your SAI provided a method of reconstructing such a blueprint…

So I was not totally negative on some of the very ingenious ideas you and Jeffrey put forward. I think, you inadvertently made valuable contributions to ID with your SAI, if one is willing to take a slightly differnt perspective.

My accolades however do not negate that you and Jeffrey complete erred in representing CSI, much less refuting it. My analysis is not hard for someone with a modest background in science to understand.

Again, for the sake of the lurkers, a somewhat plain English, informal critique of Wesley and Jeffey’s work is at:
Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003

I mention favorably the idea tha Mark Perakh put forward regarding a pebble on the beach. I liked that example very much.

Salvador Cordova
PS
thank for the kind words T. Russ, and congratulations also for being mentioned in the journal Nature this past April.

Comment #43291

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 16, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

Ed asked,

Seriously? Then just what in blazes does “conceptual information” mean? And just to be sure you’re not bluffing, can you give any examples, from both Dembski and others, where the use supports your definition over Dr. Perakh’s?

Hiya Ed,

I appreciate your interest in learning more about ID.

You can learn more about conceptual information by purchasing William Dembski’s book, No Free Lunch. A copy can be obtained by making a $35.00 donation to Access Research Network. You can do so through this link:

No Free Lunch by William Dembski

Or, you can also get a free introductory description of conceptual information at the ISCID link I provided earlier at:
Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003

The word “blueprint” is a reasonable approximation of what conceptual information is. The concept of blueprint however needs to be extended a bit when one does not have access to the original blueprint which the designer used. I cover that in my discussion at ISCID.

Salvador Cordova
PS
This is an unpaid promotion for Bill’s books. I just felt you guys at PT need to lighten up a bit with a bit of humor. But you should read Bill’s books if you want to critique them seriously.

I for one have purchased Mark Perakh’s book, Taner Edis’s book (with contributions from many PTers), and Paul Gross’s book. So I do read what the PT authors publish regarding ID.

Comment #43292

Posted by Man with No Personality on August 16, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

Hey, don’t tar Sancho Panza with Sal’s sins–Sancho knew he was working for an idiot. He’s more Bardolph to Dembski’s Falstaff…

Comment #43294

Posted by GCT on August 16, 2005 1:10 PM (e)

Sad, did you come here to ask questions and learn about evolutionary theory? If so, please ask away and the people here will be more than willing to help you.

If you came to complain about the treatment that some people receive, this place is the same as most other discussion boards. Sometimes the rhetoric heats up and people exchange words that they would not otherwise use in polite conversation. IMO it stems from the anonymity of sitting behind a computer screen detached from the person that you are conversing with. In that sense, what you are witnessing with Sal and others is an ongoing back and forth that has been going on for quite a while. And, yes, it is a back and forth. No one, however, has called him a, “F#$*ing good for nothing piece of trash.” People do disagree with him and those disagreements do heat up, but no one has called Sal that. Please don’t put words in other people’s mouths.

If you truly want to learn and discuss things, please, let’s do that. If you came to complain, then perhaps you should try looking back at some of the previous exchanges that have taken place, and you can decide for yourself whether anyone has stepped over the line.

Comment #43310

Posted by island on August 16, 2005 2:12 PM (e)

1) My point is that what you will likely compare to things humans design to call design, “that which projects intent”… is no different than the sum of any otber objects *expressed bias* toward satisfying whatever relevant physical need, necessity being the mother of “invention” in every case. Only human arrogance can put us above nature to make us believe that we aren’t “predisposed” to making our own form of “fairy-rings”… there is no difference.

2) Done and done… ;)

3) Please spend some quality time on it.

Comment #43314

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Salvador Cordova wrote:

And if you wish to be-little me by calling me Bill Dembski’s armor bearer, then I’ll say, it’s been an honor serving the Noble Sir William.

Lickspittle indeed. Sheesh.

Comment #43331

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

Dembski has his usual dismissive post and his other lickspittle lacky, DaveScot has posted pointing to Mark’s “non-existent” publications in his fields of expertise. Of course, the idiot DaveScot didn’t do the correct search, and he apparently is unaware of Dembski’s own paucity of publication in math/probability/philosophy journals. I think Dembski needs new lickspittles.

Comment #43338

Posted by island on August 16, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Dembski booted me the moment that I told him that evidence for design in nature can be no more than that.

He then deleted two of my posts, so that it looked like DaveScot had nailed me trying to promote a book that I used for evidence.

IOW… he made what I’d said into his own lie, and left it that way.

DaveScot also accused me of being a crackpot because he doesn’t understand enough physics to know the difference. Funny how that works… ;)

Comment #43343

Posted by SteveF on August 16, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

DaveScot is a tragic case. He spent many a moon brown nosing John Davison, before they had a bit of a falling out. Last I read between the two, Davison was insulting DaveScot over at Stranger Fruit.

I actually happen to like Davison, I think he’s an amusing eccentric. He had enough of DaveScot drooling over him and got rid. can’t seem Dembski doing that; he likes his little cult around him. I can just imagine him patting Salvador on the head right now, shortly before he takes him out for his afternoon walk.

Comment #43348

Posted by Dave Carlson on August 16, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

SteveF wrote:

I can just imagine him patting Salvador on the head right now, shortly before he takes him out for his afternoon walk.

Hmmmm….No matter what one thinks of Sal, I don’t see why it’s necessary to denigrate him to such a degree.

Comment #43350

Posted by SteveF on August 16, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

I rather enjoy mocking people who deserve to be mocked. Each to his own I guess.

Comment #43353

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 16, 2005 4:33 PM (e)

There may be depths to which we should not stoop.

With specific reference to Sal, however–and indulging myself in a strained cross reference having to do with the structural competence of grasses–we should exert ourselves very little to shelter those who have allowed themselves to be bamboozled from the imeediate effects of their bamboozlement.

Comment #43356

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 4:52 PM (e)

I’m sorry, but constant association of Salvador with Slaveador, sycophant, pet, etc. only serve to continually reinforce the truth. I have never seen anyone so deserving of such epithets, and they also warn others that he really IS that bad.

I don’t look at it as “stooping”, more like civic responsibility in this case.

Comment #43361

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 16, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

…no more than I should be than I should be spared the immediate and predictable effects of my misspelling, should I now be mocked for the same, heh heh.

We’ve had a good deal of side-chatter about civility, ad hominem attacks, and so on recently. Lines are difficult to draw. Generally speaking, though some may choose to resist, I think we are entitled to poke a little fun at each other. Some here dish out their lessons in logic with considerable relish, and with little disposition to suffer what they deem to be the logical errors of others. And, to a greater or lesser degree, some of us are clearly of the mind that–if you are going to indulge in a public debate on issues of public import–you ought to be able to roll with the punches and still snap back with a smile–or a sneer–on your face.

As recent threads, and the real-world developments that have prompted them, have made clearer than ever, we stand near the fire: a highly-charged nexus of science and emotion, faith and fact, religion and politics.

Ultimately, it’s each participant’s choice how nigh to the fire he or she dares to draw.

Sal has not been handled nearly as sharply here as we have, at times, handled our own. He has undeniably been ridiculed and saddled with some unpalatable epithets, but he has also been treated with some rough affection; tolerated rather than ignored. Indeed, a good deal of time and effort have been spent attempting to point him toward appropriate information and to gently remedy the defects in his processing of that information.

Sal has never been banned or deleted, as any of us would promptly have been at, say, Dembski’s site, had we persisted in expounding our own views as, um, doggedly as Sal has done here. Nor have the “accolades” he has received here been entirely unrelated to the way he has portrayed himself, here and elsewhere, as the faithful adherent of some of the more prominent and self-aggrandizing IDists.

Sal chooses to keep returning, whether to prove his mettle to his own acolytes or even in the fond hope that he somehow is making some reciprocal impact–if not on us, then on the impressionable lambs lurking on the far fringes of our fire-circle.

Perhaps, more fundamentally, Sal and Blast and some of the others just can’t help themselves: on some level, they receive some reward for their visits that overmasters whatever perils they may face. Heh, maybe the same could be said of some of us: we wandered into this vortex in all innocence, but now we’re trapped by our own predilictions, unable to escape in spite of our better judgment.

And, to his credit, whatever the gaping holes in his knowledge or the defects in his argumentation, Sal’s rarely whined about his treatment. Indeed, I’d kind of miss Sal if he never returned. But that’s no excuse to pull on the kid gloves. Or to delay the pizza boy in his rounds.

Comment #43362

Posted by steve on August 16, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Comment #43292

Posted by Man with No Personality on August 16, 2005 01:05 PM (e) (s)

Hey, don’t tar Sancho Panza with Sal’s sins—Sancho knew he was working for an idiot. He’s more Bardolph to Dembski’s Falstaff…
I started calling him Sancho P. Cordova. I agree that Bardolph might be a better comparison. Harder to work in that name, though.

Comment #43363

Posted by Dene Bebbington on August 16, 2005 5:55 PM (e)

I see that in Dembski’s blog comments Dave Scot is attempting to show that Mark Perakh hasn’t really got so many published papers and patents as he stated. What I’d like to know is this, if Dembski has discovered such a revolutionary method for inferring design then how come nobody, himself included, is using it properly for anything theoretical or practical?

Comment #43365

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2005 6:07 PM (e)

Dene Bebbington wrote:

What I’d like to know is this, if Dembski has discovered such a revolutionary method for inferring design then how come nobody, himself included, is using it properly for anything theoretical or practical?

That, Dene, is the multi-million dollar question. And one I might add that just about everybody who opposes ID keeps asking and not one IDists can seem to muster the intestinal fortitude to answer.

Comment #43372

Posted by mynym on August 16, 2005 6:52 PM (e)

There may be depths to which we should not stoop.

It’s interesting to note what triggers there seem to be for the psychological dynamics typical to Darwinists. Although the arguments of “scientific consensus” and “They’re scientists, which means everything said is just like gravity or somethin’.” are made by Darwinists often enough any building of consensus or identity politics about being “expert” among the opposition is the subject of rather visceral and personal rhetoric. That’s because projection is all of the person and the personal.

Some Darwinists in recent history guided by viscera/”biological thinking” and visceral reactions merged their projections in with a visceral hatred for the “fairy tales of the Jews” and the “Jewish influence.” The “fairy tales of the Jews” had to do with a disdain for knowledge based on old texts and a shift toward a rather blind sort of focus on organicism and biology as a connection to Nature instead, the other notion of an “influence” of alienation and separation that could be blamed on the Jews was merged in with a further rebellion against any notion of transcendence. Perhaps alienation from Nature comes from the “god-of-the-gaps” that those with the Darwinian urge to merge cannot seem to fill in. There was a weakness to the urge to merge. A “…weakness…due not to inferior training but to the mendacity inherent in any scholarship that overlooks or openly repudiated all moral and spiritual values.”
(Hitler’s Professors: The
Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes
Against the Jewish People
By Max Weinreich
(New York: The Yiddish
Scientific Institute, 1946) :7)

Given Sal’s attempts to focus on “blue prints” or the conceptual information first and the perceptual formation second as well as the way he is apparently influenced by both old texts as well as textual notions of the transphysical or transcendent it would seem that proto-Nazis cannot restrain themselves. They have their type of scholarship to support with their visceral propaganda. There is some notion of transcendence, so they must rebel against it. One scholar used rebellion against transcendence as a key feature in the definition of Nazism, which is probably why scientism was so prevalent in Nazism. Darwinists often show the same tendency, although they don’t quite go all the way. I suspect that economic pressure could act as a trigger for a rather viral set of memes to begin to show up among Darwinists. Money can paper over the worst of disagreements until it can’t.

Comment #43373

Posted by mynym on August 16, 2005 6:54 PM (e)

Perakh sure writes a lot about his book and his writings. I suppose what is in them is best left to the imagination.

Comment #43375

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 16, 2005 7:00 PM (e)

Then there are those who we are tempted to receive with rather less affection.

Indeed, with a mynym

Comment #43377

Posted by Mark Perakh on August 16, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

I have received several emails asking whether my essay in Skeptic is available online. Up to now it was not. However, Skeptic‘s editor Michael Shermer has now given permission to post it. Its full text will be soon posted to Talk Reason.

Comment #43382

Posted by steve on August 16, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

Comment #43373

Posted by mynym on August 16, 2005 06:54 PM (e) (s)

Perakh sure writes a lot about his book and his writings. I suppose what is in them is best left to the imagination.

When something is ‘best left to the imagination’ it is hidden. Information which is published in books available at bookstores and online, is not hidden.

Comment #43384

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 16, 2005 7:37 PM (e)

Salvador P. Cordova wrote:

Your TSPGRID examples didn’t really touch on PHYSICAL artifacts, but focused on the blueprint alone. Your analysis was therefore totally out in left field, having inaccurately represented what CSI is.

I don’t recall having seen quite that spin being put on things before. It’s completely erroneous, but it does look novel.

Sal, don’t look now, but three of the four examples that Dembski has provided any math whatsoever for suffer from the same “defect”. The sequence for the Caputo case is one of Dembski’s invention, since the actual sequence is apparently not readily available. The Contact primes case is based on stuff from a work of fiction. And, of course, Dembski’s analysis of Dawkins’s “weasel” program is the perfect complement to TSPGRID, as both refer to the outputs of algorithms as the analyzed events.

By all means, try again. I am prepared for further amusement.

Comment #43385

Posted by mynym on August 16, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

When something is ‘best left to the imagination’ it is hidden. Information which is published in books available at bookstores and online, is not hidden.

Imagine that.

Comment #43387

Posted by mynym on August 16, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

Then there are those who we are tempted to receive with rather less affection.

Indeed, with a mynym…

Yeah, maybe you’ll get all craaazy and say, “Why now, now I am just about prepared for further amusement!”

I wonder if someone scanned his brain if we could call its state an artifact of intelligence or not. If it is not, then why try to read the symbols and signs that it writes as if they have any intelligable significance? For the events that lead to their existence surely evolved and unfolded in his unintelligable brain.

Comment #43389

Posted by PvM on August 16, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

Never underestimate the level of amusement Sal can bring to this. The problem is that from a scientific perspective his attemtps to understand and defend intelligent design are quite amusing.
Problem is that whenever faced with issues he cannot refute, he returns to childish approaches. Just wait and see, his references to Shallit as Dembski’s former teacher are just the beginning.

In the end nothing Sal has to offer addresses the simple observation that ID is scientifically vacuous. But then again. So is YEC.

Comment #43392

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

“Why now, now I am just about prepared for further amusement!”

I personally don’t find the silly or the ignorant or the sycophantic all that funny or amusing myself.

However, in the case of Sal, as i stated several times long ago, he is his own worst enemy, and a great case in point for the status of the ID crowd.

Comment #43400

Posted by ellery on August 16, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

Isn’t the Achilles’ Heel of ID the matter of implementation? I mean, it is one thing to have a design idea, but it is another thing to bring it to be. All designers and manufacturing engineers have noticed this. Usually there are aspects of the design–however neat–that cannot be made.

In the case of ID, I wonder how “The Creator’s Design” was turned into practice. Does this require another series of {poof}? Usually there is feedback between the designers and the fabricators. I imagine a lot of junior level gods busily making atoms from the design, assembling molecules, and sending them on to the origami section to fold proteins, according to the blueprint. Getting this right for every sperm and ovum is certainly a challenge, and quality control is an issue.

Some versions of design 4.01.34 went extinct. This may have been due to either implementation failures or design flaws. The warranty issues alone are awesome.

ID types are fond of design, but miss the important aspect of turning design into, for example, a real starfish or a real ginko tree (gymnosperm). At what point does design get turned into an implementation? And how do creators do this?

Comment #43401

Posted by ellery on August 16, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

Isn’t the Achilles’ Heel of ID the matter of implementation? I mean, it is one thing to have a design idea, but it is another thing to bring it to be. All designers and manufacturing engineers have noticed this. Usually there are aspects of the design–however neat–that cannot be made.

In the case of ID, I wonder how “The Creator’s Design” was turned into practice. Does this require another series of {poof}? Usually there is feedback between the designers and the fabricators. I imagine a lot of junior level gods busily making atoms from the design, assembling molecules, and sending them on to the origami section to fold proteins, according to the blueprint. Getting this right for every sperm and ovum is certainly a challenge, and quality control is an issue.

Some versions of design 4.01.34 went extinct. This may have been due to either implementation failures or design flaws. The warranty issues alone are awesome.

ID types are fond of design, but miss the important aspect of turning design into, for example, a real starfish or a real ginko tree (gymnosperm). At what point does design get turned into an implementation? And how do creators do this?

Comment #43406

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 10:10 PM (e)

“In the case of ID, I wonder how “The Creator’s Design” was turned into practice. Does this require another series of {poof}? Usually there is feedback between the designers and the fabricators. I imagine a lot of junior level gods busily making atoms from the design, assembling molecules, and sending them on to the origami section to fold proteins, according to the blueprint. Getting this right for every sperm and ovum is certainly a challenge, and quality control is an issue.”

ya know, this sounds an awful lot like a description of Santa’s workshop.

maybe the IDers have actually visited Santa’s workshop and just can’t actually tell us because they signed NDA’s?

Comment #43413

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 16, 2005 11:18 PM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

For the sake of the reader, in simplistic terms, the concept of CSI is very well approximated by a “bluprint/artifact” metaphor….

Ummm, don’t be shy, Sal. Why don’t you use something a little better tha “metaphor” to define “CSI”? Don’t worry; we aren’t allergic to either math or actual workable definitions (and feel that “metaphor[s]” as “approximat[ions]” are far less useful to a scientific argument than precise definitions and rigourous math would be).

The concept of blueprint however needs to be extended a bit when one does not have access to the original blueprint which the designer used.

Oh. IC. So your “metaphor” itself is unworkable. Hmmmm. Guess that clears things up a bit.

Cheers,

Comment #43415

Posted by steve on August 16, 2005 11:31 PM (e)

Is he saying that calculating CSI depends on having access to the divine blueprints, which we can never have?

This might be the worst attempt at a theory in the history of thought.

Comment #43420

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 12:46 AM (e)

“This might be the worst attempt at a theory in the history of thought.”

that’s giving it too much credit.

Comment #43421

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 17, 2005 1:06 AM (e)

It doesn’t look like Dembski’s liable to defend himself on this one, either.

Over at Chez Dembski, there is a suggestion that Dembski and Perakh should debate solely on the math.

Reminds me of working finance at a large corporation. One joke (only when it wasn’t true!) was that the finance guys often worked things out to four decimals on the right side, but were off by orders of magnitude to the left of the decimal. In short, math is only as good as the assumptions one makes in translating whatever it is to math coding.

Dembski uses an assumption that all life is like an electronic signal. A debate on the math would be completely pointless. If life isn’t like an electronic signal, the results of the math debate don’t matter. That’s the assumption that needs debate with Dembski.

Comment #43425

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 1:26 AM (e)

If life isn’t like an electronic signal, the results of the math debate don’t matter. That’s the assumption that needs debate with Dembski.

I think that’s yielding way too much. Even if life is like an electronic signal, Dembski’s “theory” is nonsense.

P.S. I use firefox and back works for me.

Comment #43426

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 1:58 AM (e)

agreed; sometimes i think the only reason dembski exists is just to vex those of us who post here on PT. Debmski hasn’t published anything of note… ever. it’s simply the controversy (read sh*t) he stirs up that garners folks curiosity.

It’s like fascination with a car crash; people slow down, take a quick look, see that it wasn’t worth slowing down for, and move on.

the only thing at the end worth noting is that all the looky-loos end up causing a massive traffic jam.

Comment #43430

Posted by djmullen on August 17, 2005 3:44 AM (e)

The last two URLs in the print article have misprints. They end in “.cmf”, but it should be “.cfm”.

Correct URLs:

www.talkreason.org/articles/math.cfm

www.talkreason.org/articles/newmath.cfm

Comment #43464

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 17, 2005 10:29 AM (e)

Is he saying that calculating CSI depends on having access to the divine blueprints, which we can never have?

No. Wesley inadvertently helped solved part of that problem with his idea of SAI.

That is why the topic of convergence and homoplasies are of interest to IDists. IC systems can even be phrased in terms of “lock and key” or as Dembski put it, “interface compatibility” metaphors. These are blueprints which humans can recognize without having access to “divine blue prints.”

Also there are a few platonic forms such as Turing Machines, language processors, operating systems, digital signal processors which humans can recognize from their engineering blue prints.

Those coincidences suggest the physical artifacts are design just as much as a pattent attorney would recognize a patent violation if a physical object matched the “blue prints” of an existing patent.

Comment #43469

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on August 17, 2005 10:42 AM (e)

Unfortunately for your ‘argument’, Sal, the things you list are hardly platonic forms. They are simply definitional concepts. Even your beloved “Lord Dembski” (can’t you guys simply get a room?) admits that the specification is a wholly subjective construct.

And since he has never actually demonstrated that anything demonstrates CSI, the argument is pretty much moot, isn’t it?

Comment #43473

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 17, 2005 11:03 AM (e)

You all may want to see my insightful comments at Uncommon Descent:

Dembski on Perakh

Salvador Cordova

PS
Rilke’s Grand Daughter (RgD)!!! Is that you? Howya doin’? Haven’t heard from you in a while. Glad to see your happy smilin face here at happy PandasThumb. Hope yer still enjoyin’ your bonding sessions with you know who: RGD explains her bonding with Alix

Comment #43479

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 11:15 AM (e)

You all may want to see my insightful comments at Uncommon Descent:

Tell you what, Sal; I’ll look at them if I’m allowed to post there without being censored or banned.

Comment #43480

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

Silly Sal wrote:

Also there are a few platonic forms such as Turing Machines, language processors, operating systems, digital signal processors which humans can recognize from their engineering blue prints.

Jeez, get a clue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_realism

Comment #43481

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 17, 2005 11:22 AM (e)

From Sal’s “Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003”:

Sal Cordova wrote:

My specification is: let the Heads/Tails configuration of the first 500 coins be replicated by the last 500 coins.

How many bits does my specification have????

Upon thinking, we realize there are only 2^500 such coin patterns out of the 2^1000 possibilities.

Whoopdedoo. If I look at a 250-base double strand of DNA, I see that I have 2^500 possibilities for the first strand. And the second strand has … umm, let me see, one possible configuration … as long as the processes that formed this DNA obey the base-pairing complementarity rules. But FWIW, there’s plenty of reasons why certain base pairings may be favoured here, and the specificity of the enzymatic mechanisms is only one of these. IIRC, the AT and CG pairings are conformationally and thermodynamically favourable as well. IN fact, I suppose an “intelligent designer” might have picked ony of the other 5 pairings possible; fancy that the one used happens to be the most likely one of the six…. Similar consideration may apply to random polymer aggregates forming absent any enzymatic specificity (or “code” or “program”, as Cordova and Dembski seem to deem the DNA mechanisms). Saying that something that exhibits this form of “CSI” (or “SAI”, as defined by Cordova) must be designed is overstepping the logic here.

As a simpler example (and one less tied up to the actual DNA mechanisms found in life), let’s consider Cordova’s first example of “design”:

Sal Cordova wrote:

Get a lab partner.

Take 2 small boxes (like shoe boxes).
Have the lab partner stand a distance away and not look while you do the following:

Place a configuration of coins in one (like stacked or all heads, or in a pattern), and take another boxes with coins and shake it up.

Present the boxes to someone honestly interested in the experiment, and see if they can detect which box evidences design with respect to the coin configuration.

Then let them do the same for you! They will try to make one box look designed, and let the other box be random. I can almost guarantee, if both participants are honest and determined to make the experiment work, you will have a 100% success rate of detection!

Make any variation of this experiment you want and you will see you can detect ID of even things you’ve never seen before!

Clearly the box and the coins are designed. The box is one layer of design and the existence of the coins another. We are also aware of an intelligent agency capable of ordering the coins. What the experiment demonstrated was that a layer of design over and above the design of the box and the coins was detectable. We could detect design in the configuration of the coins.

Ummm. Sal specified coins. But he doesn’t explain why we have to use coins for this. Instead, I’m going to use two boxes. One has a big magnet in the bottom. And the coins will be replaced with round flat button magnets of similar size, with one face “north” and the other “south” (i.e., magnetization polarisation parallel to the cylindrical symmetry axis). Now, one box is shaken, and I carefully place the magnets in the other one far enough from the box magnet to allow frictional resistance to prevent the glomming of the magnets to the one in the bottom). Now the results are reversed! Hell, I even see the darn magnets in the shaken box all neatly stacked up! Sal will see “design” where there was none, and no design where in fact I carefully laid out the coins with a specific end. Hmmmmm. Try again, Sal?

Cheers,

Comment #43483

Posted by Alan on August 17, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Rilke’s Grand Daughter (RgD)!!! Is that you? Howya doin’? Haven’t heard from you in a while. Glad to see your happy smilin face here at happy PandasThumb. Hope yer still enjoyin’ your bonding sessions with you know who: RGD explains her bonding with Alix

Dr Cordova,

You give the impression of a pervert in a dirty mac.

Would you like to address the oft-heard criticism that the “theory” of ID is vacuous. For the benefit of lay-persons, could you attempt a concise summary of the “theory” of ID.

Comment #43484

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Fallacy Sal wrote:

… We could detect design in the configuration of the coins.

All we have here is a fallacy of affirmation of the consequent:

if intelligently arranged then pattern detected
pattern detected
therefore intelligently arranged

Comment #43486

Posted by steve on August 17, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

Comment #43464

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 17, 2005 10:29 AM (e) (s)

Also there are a few platonic forms such as Turing Machines, language processors, operating systems, digital signal processors which humans can recognize from their engineering blue prints.

Those coincidences suggest the physical artifacts are design…

That’s a dodge. We’re talking about determining CSI. You ID guys have a notion which says ‘If there’s CSI, there’s design’. You need to calculate CSI, but you can’t. Whether something resembles a platonic form–and try to name something that doesn’t–is irrelevant to your failure to calculate CSI. Take a loot at this thing Sal said:

For the sake of the reader, in simplistic terms, the concept of CSI is very well approximated by a “bluprint/artifact” metaphor, where CSI is the design that is evidenced by the PHYISCAL artifact. One infers CSI is in evidence by a PHYSICAL artifact if one has an independent blueprint in hand that describes the PHYSICAL artifact.

A patent violation case is a good illustration. One has a basic blue print in a patent, if one finds a PHYSICAL artifact matching that basic blueprint, one says the PHYSICAL artifact evidences CSI.

Your TSPGRID examples didn’t really touch on PHYSICAL artifacts, but focused on the blueprint alone. Your analysis was therefore totally out in left field, having inaccurately represented what CSI is.

It’s no wonder you guys aren’t getting invited to the Information Theory conferences, Sal. You’re talking about heuristics. That’s all ID has ever been. “Boy, this looks designed, I bet god designed it.” That can’t be mathematized, that can’t be turned into a Law of Nature. Even if you could measure CSI, you can’t distinguish between “apparent” and “actual” CSI. But having failed to measure it, you now claim it’s present whenever a thing resembles a platonic machine.

Comment #43494

Posted by Steve on August 17, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

Get a lab partner.

Take 2 small boxes (like shoe boxes).
Have the lab partner stand a distance away and not look while you do the following:

Place a configuration of coins in one (like stacked or all heads, or in a pattern), and take another boxes with coins and shake it up.

Present the boxes to someone honestly interested in the experiment, and see if they can detect which box evidences design with respect to the coin configuration.

Then let them do the same for you! They will try to make one box look designed, and let the other box be random. I can almost guarantee, if both participants are honest and determined to make the experiment work, you will have a 100% success rate of detection!

Make any variation of this experiment you want and you will see you can detect ID of even things you’ve never seen before!

Clearly the box and the coins are designed. The box is one layer of design and the existence of the coins another. We are also aware of an intelligent agency capable of ordering the coins. What the experiment demonstrated was that a layer of design over and above the design of the box and the coins was detectable. We could detect design in the configuration of the coins.

Typical of the ID crowd and why Dembski went out of his way to dishonestly try to dismiss the Bayesian approach. Of course, the person looking in the box is going to condition on all available data and all available data includes the fact that a human was involved and that human’s can design things. The presence of a designer, if IDists were to be honest, is not a given when it comes to nature (hence the attempts to detect the designer). Hence the two situations are not analogous. So big whoopiedoo as somebody has already noted.

Of course, the actual truth is that Dembski, Behe, et. al. actually believe with certainty there is a designer. Further, their work is an attempt to reverse engineer evidence and data to support their preconcieved position (i.e. that there is a designer). This is not science in that scientists do not work to continuously support preconcieved notions and (and this part is important) the scientists will go where the data leads. This again is one of the nice things about the Bayesian approach to analyzing data (could this be another reason Dembski engaged in such dishonesty in his attempts to dismiss this approach?). Two scientists who disagree, but who agree to use the Bayesian approach and let the data settle the difference will eventually end up agreeing.

Comment #43496

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 12:23 PM (e)

Typical of the ID crowd and why Dembski went out of his way to dishonestly try to dismiss the Bayesian approach. Of course, the person looking in the box is going to condition on all available data and all available data includes the fact that a human was involved and that human’s can design things. The presence of a designer, if IDists were to be honest, is not a given when it comes to nature (hence the attempts to detect the designer).

Again, this is a simple fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. It’s really that simple – the argument from design is a fallacy in freshman logic:

if intelligently arranged (e.g., by humans) then pattern detected (e.g., human artifact)
pattern detected (e.g., in biology)
therefore intelligently arranged (perhaps by aliens)

Comment #43502

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 17, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

You all may want to see my insightful comments at Uncommon Descent….”

Ummm … [*peeks over there*] …. Say, Sal, help me out here. Can’t find any “insightful comments” there. Could you tell me where you hid ‘em?

Cheers,

Comment #43542

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on August 17, 2005 3:06 PM (e)

You amuse me, Sally. Your posts remain as content-free as usual. Note the following specimen:

You all may want to see my insightful comments at Uncommon Descent:

Dembski on Perakh

Salvador Cordova

PS
Rilke’s Grand Daughter (RgD)!!! Is that you? Howya doin’? Haven’t heard from you in a while. Glad to see your happy smilin face here at happy PandasThumb. Hope yer still enjoyin’ your bonding sessions with you know who: RGD explains her bonding with Alix

Let’s summarize what you have failed to respond to:

1) Sallie has not demonstrated that Platonic forms exist

2) Neither Dembski nor Sallie has demonstrated that anything actually has CSI, since neither they, nor anyone else, has ever actually used Dembski’s filter.

Do you enjoy showing your ignorance, Sallie? Perhaps you could try addressing one of these points.

Comment #43634

Posted by Paul Flocken on August 17, 2005 10:55 PM (e)

Comment #43291 by Sal. Cordova

PS
This is an unpaid promotion for Bill’s books. I just felt you guys at PT need to lighten up a bit with a bit of humor.

Hey, look, Salvador wants some humor. Well from now on your name can be Chester. Everyone thought that was just hilarious when (lowercase)steve pointed it out. And steve, if you didn’t succeed in locating a reference at the time, you may not have learned that your comparison was even more apt than originally thought, since musclebound “Isaac Newton of Information Theory” DembskiSpike is unable to successfully challenge big, bad, evolutionistsSylvester and SalvadorChester must do it for him.

Comment #43699

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 18, 2005 8:38 AM (e)

Those wishing to continue the “anthropic principle” stuff should visit the Bathroom Wall.

Comment #43713

Posted by steve on August 18, 2005 11:07 AM (e)

Is the Bathroom Wall working again? It’s been on the fritz for weeks.

Comment #43718

Posted by Paul Flocken on August 18, 2005 11:36 AM (e)

Yes, please repair the necessary. It won’t load anything past August 8th.

Comment #43738

Posted by Alan on August 18, 2005 1:08 PM (e)

Wesley R Elsberry wrote:

Those wishing to continue the “anthropic principle” stuff should visit the Bathroom Wall.

But Reed says he’s in the middle of redesigning it and it will be down for a while. So what can one do in the meantime?

Comment #43739

Posted by Alan on August 18, 2005 1:08 PM (e)

Wesley R Elsberry wrote:

Those wishing to continue the “anthropic principle” stuff should visit the Bathroom Wall.

But Reed says he’s in the middle of redesigning it and it will be down for a while. So what can one do in the meantime?

Comment #43740

Posted by Alan on August 18, 2005 1:08 PM (e)

Wesley R Elsberry wrote:

Those wishing to continue the “anthropic principle” stuff should visit the Bathroom Wall.

But Reed says he’s in the middle of redesigning it and it will be down for a while. So what can one do in the meantime?

Comment #43742

Posted by Alan on August 18, 2005 1:10 PM (e)

Oops in spades.

Comment #43759

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 18, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Then open a thread under “After the Bar Closes” at the AE BB.

Comment #44073

Posted by RBH on August 20, 2005 10:19 AM (e)

Rilke’s Grandddaugher wrote

]et’s summarize what you have failed to respond to:

1) Sallie has not demonstrated that Platonic forms exist

2) Neither Dembski nor Sallie has demonstrated that anything actually has CSI, since neither they, nor anyone else, has ever actually used Dembski’s filter.

Do you enjoy showing your ignorance, Sallie? Perhaps you could try addressing one of these points.

Sal declined to do #2 yet again on ARN recently. When offered an appropriate test set (the terminal strings evolved in Avida runs, he said

There are numerous ways one can calculate CSI even over the same physical object, and one would get different CSI scores depending on the dimension of design which one attempts to measure.

Notice to create a sufficient metric, one only needs to formulate a sufficiently improbable specification, and the specification is not post-dictive (the better word is detachable). Thus if several IDists came up with different CSI scores using their individual metrics, as long as they can reasonably demonstrate their independent pattern is improbable within the context of their metric, they have established the existence of CSI.

I anticipate you may object to the fact each IDist may come up with a differnt metric. However, let me give a slightly differnt perspective. Each person is able to recognize designs in configuration of coins. It can be empirically shown with a sufficient number of coins that humans will be able to reliably have a low “false positive” score in detecting design, if the designer is intent on promoting his design. Yet each human has his own unique criteria and metric. By way of extension, measures of CSI by different IDist can achieve different scores, but still detect design. There is nothing illegetimate in that, as far as I can see.

Can’t make it much clearer that CSI is a purely subjective metric.

Sal declined to actually calculate the CSI of the exemplars, of course. It’s much easier to fake it with coins and pretend that has something to do with biology.

RBH

Comment #44504

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on August 23, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Wesley wrote:

I don’t recall having seen quite that spin being put on things before. It’s completely erroneous, but it does look novel.

Sal, don’t look now, but three of the four examples that Dembski has provided any math whatsoever for suffer from the same “defect”. The sequence for the Caputo case is one of Dembski’s invention, since the actual sequence is apparently not readily available. The Contact primes case is based on stuff from a work of fiction. And, of course, Dembski’s analysis of Dawkins’s “weasel” program is the perfect complement to TSPGRID, as both refer to the outputs of algorithms as the analyzed events.

By all means, try again. I am prepared for further amusement.

For starters, you’re TSPGRID program enlarges the dimesions of Omega as it outputs data, thus it is an invalid counter example. You did not even state the dimensions of Omega to try to prove your point.

Define the:

1. Size of Omega
2. Physical Information
3. Conceptual Information

and your error should be apparent.

You and Jeffrey did none of the above. Your point fails and shows more that you can not seem to accurately represent the work you are trying to critique.

You did not state Dembski’s definition of CSI even once in your paper, yet you are trying to critique CSI. Now why is that?

Salvador

Comment #44520

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 23, 2005 8:01 PM (e)

Hi Sal. Welcome back.

A little birdie told me that you were talking smack about me while I was gone. I’m sure that wasn’t just false bravado or craven cowardice on your part, Sal, and that you really DO have the ping-pongs to face up to me and answer some simple questions for me. Right?

*ahem*

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

Here’s your chance, Sal. Right in front of the whole world. Prove that you’re not just all “blow” and no “go”.

Or, prove otherwise.

Comment #44561

Posted by Wayne Francis on August 24, 2005 12:18 AM (e)

*crickets chirping*

You know I always thought that they where supposed to be relaxing … not annoying.

Comment #44593

Posted by slpage on August 24, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

Ahh..

Bill Dembski - the William Hammesfahr of Information Theory and his bootlick, Sal the WonderBoy!

Comment #44946

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 26, 2005 8:21 AM (e)

Sal,

Yes, that is amusing. Wrong again, but amusing.

As to definitions, I have repeatedly made the point that what CSI is depends upon how it is recognized, which is a property (allegedly) of the math Dembski has given. The “physical/conceptual” text is a descriptive interpretation of what the math defines. It is not, itself, the definition. We addressed the math. We didn’t address every handwaving description Dembski wrote.

As to “omega”, Sal is utterly confused. There are two different uses of “omega” in Dembski’s stuff. In The Design Inference, “omega” refers to “probabilistic resources”, a mapping function that yields “saturated” probabilities and events. TSPGRID doesn’t change “omega”_TDI, contrary to Sal’s claim. In No Free Lunch, “omega” is the “reference class of possible events”. TSPGRID is incapable of “increasing omega” by its operation.

Dembski discusses calculation of “omega” on p.52 of NFL. There, he gives the example of a six-sided die rolled 6,000,000 times. His “omega” for this “event” is “all 6-tuples of nonnegative integers that sum to 6,000,000”. In other words, “omega” includes every possible way that one could roll a die 6,000,000 times. In other equations, if one rolls an n-sided die k time, “omega” is k*n. (This is for the case in which only the distribution of rolls matters, which is the context of Dembski’s example, and not the sequence of rolls. For a sequence of die rolls, “omega” becomes n^k.)

As for the Sal’s claim that TSPGRID “increases omega as it outputs data”, that’s just silly. One does have to take into account the number of runs of TSPGRID, just as Sal takes into account the number of coins in his idee fixe. Sal’s objection to TSPGRID is exactly the same as objecting to coin-stacking on the grounds that he “increases omega as he adds coins”.

Sal says that we didn’t give “omega” for TSPGRID. This is literally true, but we do expect some minimal competence from our readers. The “omega”_NFL for TSPGRID with 4n^2 nodes run k times stated in the same way as Dembski’s dice example is “all (4n^2)!-tuples of nonnegative integers that sum to k”, or, more simply, k*(4n^2)! as anyone with a clue should be able to work out from the information that we gave. If you change n or k, you get a different “omega”, just as you get a different “omega” if you stack dice instead of coins, or stack a different number of dice or coins. Once n and k are fixed, as in some specific instance of one or more runs of TSPGRID to be analyzed as an “event” in Dembski’s parlance, “omega” is fixed as well.

So Sal’s random charge of “error” here is just as amusingly inept as his previous outings. It seems that Sal is not well acquainted with Dembski’s work, as “omega” is not all that mysterious. I suspect that Sal “knows” that the TSPGRID example just “has” to be wrong, therefore, any scattershot objection made will do. But if TSPGRID were actually wrong, and Sal were actually capable of analyzing it, he would have come up with a valid objection in the first place, and not have had to resort to flinging any odd objection at hand and hoping something sticks. So far there has been the “a deterministic version of TSPGRID doesn’t output CSI!” objection (which is why TSPGRID is non-deterministic), the “TSPGRID doesn’t provide PHYSICAL information!” objection (though several of Dembski’s own examples share this “error” and a run of TSPGRID or any other algorithm certainly is physical), and now the “you didn’t say what Omega was!” objection (where “omega” is easily calculated given the information we provided).

But I guess I will have to make do with amusement at further instances of random objections.

Comment #44953

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on August 26, 2005 9:33 AM (e)

Can’t make it much clearer that CSI is a purely subjective metric.

Sal declined to actually calculate the CSI of the exemplars, of course. It’s much easier to fake it with coins and pretend that has something to do with biology.

Yes, the ARN thread is classic Sallie: claim that design can be detected, then refuse to do it. Ignore the fact that Dembski’s entire case for making ID different from pure intuition relies on performing the math. It is fairly clear that Sallie is fundamentally incapable of either understanding or applying what Dembski has been rambling about for book after book.

For Sallie, it’s about religion - the actual science is irrelevant.