PvM posted Entry 1704 on November 22, 2005 12:25 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1699

Fox News reports that Professor Paul Mirecki will be teaching a class on intelligent design.

The class, titled “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies” will be taught in the religious studies department of the university.

John Calvert did not take long to respond. Always good for a laugh, he comments:

John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of the Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County, said Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock.

“To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes (intelligent design) to be simply a religious nut,” Calvert said. “That’s the reason for this little charade.”

Oh the irony…

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #59381

Posted by steve on November 22, 2005 12:43 PM (e)

Ah, PvM, struck down in his prime by the merciless and poorly designed KwikXML.

Comment #59383

Posted by PvM on November 22, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

Should double check my postings. Corrected…

Comment #59388

Posted by Smirk on November 22, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

Dr.Mirecki sure has a sense of humour!

Comment #59390

Posted by Ginger Yellow on November 22, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

Hmm, let’s think who’d be a better judge of the religious nature of ID - a doctor of theology, or a lawyer? I’ll have to think about it.

Comment #59392

Posted by Mike Rogers on November 22, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

John Calvert wrote:

Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock

I can’t believe Calvert thinks anyone will go down in history for discussing Intelligent Design at all. But I suppose its political significance will insure its place in the history of stupid ideas.

Comment #59394

Posted by Jacob Stockton on November 22, 2005 1:34 PM (e)

At least it’s being taught in the right department with a title that does not distort ID’s true nature.

Comment #59396

Posted by BWE on November 22, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

Alittle farther in the fox article it says:
“To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes (intelligent design) to be simply a religious nut,” Calvert said. “That’s the reason for this little charade.”

WHy are there soooooo many examples of that do you think?

Comment #59397

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

That will take …oh all of 5 minutes ?
ctrl h [creationism] tab [intelligent design] ctrl a

Comment #59406

Posted by CBBB on November 22, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

Calvert alreayd IS a laughingstock. What an idiot.

Comment #59410

Posted by Mark on November 22, 2005 2:59 PM (e)

By perpetuating the ID myth, Calvert is probably making lots of $$$ … an idiot? I don’t know, seems pretty well educated. But a scoundrel, for sure.

Comment #59412

Posted by natural cynic on November 22, 2005 3:11 PM (e)

I think mythology is being maligned when it is put on an equal basis as ID.

But, heck, ID is in the classroom. Why isn’t everyone happy?

Comment #59413

Posted by CBBB on November 22, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

an idiot? I don’t know, seems pretty well educated. But a scoundrel, for sure.

Yeah you’re right. He is, however, scum - helping to sell out the future of the US for a quick buck.

Comment #59417

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 22, 2005 3:34 PM (e)

Wow this is funny,
Prof. Mirecki sounds like he has a pretty good sense of humour.
By jings; I bet there are some heckles rising in the ID crowd.

I have a few mental images of red faces and stamping feet in the Disco institute.

Comment #59420

Posted by Ron Zeno on November 22, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

What about the “academic freedom” talking point that the intelligent design creationists are always using? Could it be that they’re not actually interested in academic freedom at all?

Comment #59423

Posted by Steviepinhead on November 22, 2005 3:50 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott:

I have a few mental images of red faces and stamping feet in the Disco institute.

The Disco Institute! I like it: all glitter and no guts.

Comment #59425

Posted by Flint on November 22, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

That’s an insult to disco.

Comment #59429

Posted by kay on November 22, 2005 4:50 PM (e)

googling for “disco institute” does return www.discovery.org as its first entry. :}

Comment #59434

Posted by Mike Walker on November 22, 2005 5:15 PM (e)

Googling for “disco institute” does return www.discovery.org as its first entry. :)

LOL - now all we need to do is “train” the Google toolbar to redirect you there immediately if you type it into your browser’s Address bar.

Comment #59435

Posted by bill on November 22, 2005 5:16 PM (e)

Don’t tell me the Darwinists have invaded the religious studies department at KU!

Oh, the humanity!

Does this mean that if Scientology and Intelligent Disco ever got together that John Travolta would be leading the revivals? Praise the Lord and pass the Spandex!

Comment #59437

Posted by drtomaso on November 22, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

The one problem is that ID isnt valid theology. Its equally out of place in a religion class as it would be in a science class.

Here are some course titles where I think ID would fit well:
Public Relations 420: Lying with a Straight Face
Marketing 370: Selling Crap to the Gullible
Political Science 403: Modern Crackpottery as a Political Movement
Econ 760: Really Bad Ideas that will Cripple America’s Economy

Comment #59441

Posted by David Heddle on November 22, 2005 5:49 PM (e)

I can imagine a scenario where this will backfire from your perspective. Suppose Mirecki knows no science. Now you can dismiss that as a non-concern by saying that it doesn’t matter given that ID is not science. But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning. If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

Comment #59442

Posted by CJ O'Brien on November 22, 2005 5:55 PM (e)

Heddle’s Skool Daze, hmmmm?

The thing is, there are obviously going to be guest lecturers. So, to be relevant, your questions would likely be posed to a cosmologist in front of 100 or so undergraduates.

Waterloo! Waterloo! Waterloo!

Comment #59445

Posted by ben on November 22, 2005 6:22 PM (e)

cn mgn scnr whr ths wll bckfr frm r prspctv. Spps Mrck knws n scnc. Nw cn dsmss tht s nn-cncrn b sng tht t dsn’t mttr gvn tht D s nt scnc. Bt f wr n hs clss, cld (nd wld) sk hm dtld qstns bt fne-tnng. f h cntnlly flbbd th nswer, r nswrd ncnvncngl—wll gt th pctr.

And then you’d tell the world what the scientific theory of ID is, and how to test it. As soon as you were done with that second part, what a backfire it would be.

Otherwise you’d just be a pedantic know-it-all jerk bogging down a religion class.

Comment #59446

Posted by Ron Zeno on November 22, 2005 6:24 PM (e)

drtomaso, on a more serious note, dont forget:

Social Psychology 327: Social Influence

Comment #59454

Posted by Mona on November 22, 2005 6:50 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle proposes: Suppose Mirecki knows no science. Now you can dismiss that as a non-concern by saying that it doesn’t matter given that ID is not science. But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning.

Did you fail to notice that there will be several faculty brought in as guest lecturers? I can virtually guarantee you, there will be a scientist or two in the mix, who no doubt could easily deal with your “fine-tuning” red herring.

Dr. Mirecki is chair of the KU religious studies dept. Religious studies properly addresses the history of the evolution/creationism controversy in the U.S., and this I know because that was my major, and I studied creationism whilst earning my BA in that discipline.

Specifically, in 1989 at the U of Wisc-Oshkosh I enrolled in an inter-disciplinary “Evolution v. Creationism” seminar co-taught by a geologist and a prof of the Old Testament. A biologist and a physicist also addressed the class.

ID clearly picks up where full-blown YEC leaves off, as anyone with a passing familiarity with the content, personalities, tactics and motives of the latter would know. Indeed, Dembski has credited YEC godfather Henry Morris with having influenced him.

At any rate, Dr. Mirecki is not the first to address ID/creationism in the context of religious studies, and I am certain he will not be the last. Good for him.

Comment #59456

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 22, 2005 6:53 PM (e)

If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

And if IDers are asked, every day in class, to produce this scientific theory of ID they keep gibbering ab out (ya know, the one that’s not religion), and then give the same answer YOU do:

(sound of crickets chirping)

I think everyone will get the picture.

Comment #59484

Posted by Keanus on November 22, 2005 9:30 PM (e)

On a more serious note—more serious than Heddle’s repetitive mention of fine tuning when that has nothing to do with Darwin, evolution, natural selection or any other aspect of evolution and origins—does Mirecki plan on taping the lectures or offering the new course as an extension course to Kansas residents? Aside from the KBOE, six of whose members learn all they need to know from the Bible, many Kansan’s might find the course enlightening.

Comment #59486

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on November 22, 2005 10:02 PM (e)

You know, just to be fair, or maybe…rational, we should not simply compare or state that intelligent design is a mere mythology. I can see the rhetorical value in doing so, but c’mon, ID is quite different from say, the greek myths.

As far as I am understanding it, ID begins with observations concerning the type of information produced when intelligent agents act, and then seeks to define some criteria for this (specified complexity, SC), arguing that natural mechanisms cannot produce SC, and then further seeks to identify SC in living systems or the natural world. This seems to me to be a far more reasonable project than opponents often let on. Calling ID a mythology seems a bit silly.

Why not just repeatedly show why the arguments for ID are neither valid nor sound?

MS

Comment #59490

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

ID needs to be understood in the “history of ideas”
the people behind it, their motives, their relationship with “identity politics” and Mammon.

Their co-opting of postmodernist (Vichy and reality denial)verbal obfuscation to support their pseudoscience(magical thought), their attempt to change the meaning of language and logic, the court cases(the cold light of the law has shown them to be ..well not to put too fine a point on it…. Blatant Liars), the battle for the hearts and minds of Religious and Political Leaders not to mention their blatant misuse of the media.

The science is actually irrelevant to them because they want a vote by scientists and have science run as a “democracy” -

They don’t like the vote so they want to change the rules from truth to Truth (democracy to Theocracy)as defined by their interpretation of truth/Truth that may sound schizophrenic to normal people but not to them)

Funny I thought peer review was the search for truth/Truth
but,but,but…..
need I go on?

Comment #59492

Posted by shiva on November 22, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

David
But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning. If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

Didn’t find you on the list here (at the bottom of the page). http://www.phys.cwru.edu/events/cosmol03.php
It would have been fun to watch you ask your questions there! Looks like the those folks had better things to do.

Comment #59494

Posted by Mona on November 22, 2005 11:16 PM (e)

Mark Studdock objects: You know, just to be fair, or maybe…rational, we should not simply compare or state that intelligent design is a mere mythology. I can see the rhetorical value in doing so, but c’mon, ID is quite different from say, the greek myths.

It is all of fair, rational and accurate to denominate ID as a species of myth, specifically, creation myth. That is what it is, and students of religion study that genre of myth.

YEC nakedly parallels a literal rendering of the Genesis creation accounts. Depending on which ID adherent you consult, so does ID; other IDers opt for the logos myth in the Gospel of John, i.e., “In the beginning was the Word & etc…” I believe that is Dembski’s take.

Comment #59495

Posted by PvM on November 22, 2005 11:16 PM (e)

More and more classes and seminars exposing the scientific vacuity of ID are being considered. This is a good side effect of the recent publicity ID has received. Scientists are standing up and presenting compelling overview of the strength of evolutionary theory and expose the scientific vacuity of ID.

More responses to the above initiative

“I think the guy is going to fall all over himself,” Calvert said. “I would love to go to his class and say, ‘Explain to me how DNA arose in the primordial soup?’”

Explain how does ID explain the origin of DNA in the primordial soup. Now compare this to scientific hypotheses.

John Altevogt, a conservative columnist and activist in Kansas City, said the situation was the equivalent of David Duke teaching about race relations or Fred Phelps teaching about homosexuality.
“These guys should not be teaching classes in religion, because they’re both bigots,” Altevogt said of Mirecki and a fellow faculty member who could not be reached for comment Monday.

Bigots eh…

Comment #59496

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 11:25 PM (e)

Shiva I don’t think they take

“The answer to the meaning of Life the Universe and Everthing is 42 Heddles”

Comment #59504

Posted by jay boilswater on November 23, 2005 1:05 AM (e)

ARR! Methinks they be feelin me blade should they include THE HOLY FSM with such bilge as ID! I’ll show em yon myths, the myth that keelhaulin can be survivied! The scurvy bastards!

Comment #59506

Posted by Ebonmuse on November 23, 2005 1:31 AM (e)

As PvM wrote:

“I think the guy is going to fall all over himself,” Calvert said. “I would love to go to his class and say, ‘Explain to me how DNA arose in the primordial soup?’”

Coincidentally, I bet a large number of people on this blog would love to ask Calvert or any other ID advocate that same question.

Comment #59507

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 1:37 AM (e)

CJ Bing!
Heddle’s Skool Daze, hmmmm?

Yes the smell of liniment as he walks by the gym and all those cute young things in tight clothing prancing around in an endless Bacchanalian garden -forever springtime.

He just can’t make up his mind.

Comment #59508

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 2:03 AM (e)

AND lets not forget the renewll/Renewall of culture/Culture
I have a tip for the Prof P. Mirecki
-hah! he don’t need no tips.
Like his TRUE photo tho.

Carol/Heddle remember http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magritte

Heddle and Carol and all the others go to his class and choke down a few cold facts.

The ID movement is the perfect diagram for when logic meets faith, objectivity meets subjectivity.

Pandoras Box.
If you put “god in a box” and that box is a mind…

The result’s are ?

…….never mind they still won’t get IT.

Comment #59509

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 2:19 AM (e)

Bah
AND lets not forget the renewal/Renewal of culture/Culture
NO HIDDEN MEANING

Comment #59512

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 2:47 AM (e)

“I think the guy is going to fall all over himself,” Calvert said. “I would love to go to his class and say, ‘Explain to me how DNA arose in the primordial soup?’”

Begging the question (God do you really exist?)

Do I need to expand on this

Fill in appropriate scripture

There must be miles of it

I like the bits with the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth and
the pricked pride
the pain the pain
the screams the screams
the bodies
the monsters
the unholy of unholy

ending finally in RAPTURE

Holy mother of Mary

Comment #59515

Posted by jason spaceman on November 23, 2005 5:01 AM (e)

More news on the KU ID course:

KU official responds to course critics

Provost tries to put class in context; conservatives threaten to attack funding for higher education

By Sophia Maines (Contact)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Kansas University official tried Tuesday to calm critics of a new religion class that labels intelligent design as “mythology,” but conservatives said they might take aim at the university’s funding.

“It is unfortunate that the course title’s reference to ‘mythologies’ has been misconstrued,” Provost David Shulenburger said in a written statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The terms ‘myth’ and ‘mythology’ are common in the academic study of religion and not an affront. A myth refers to the common use of stories or rituals to symbolize in a meaningful manner the core beliefs of a religion; it does not refer to any religion as a whole.”

But some conservatives, such as Sen. Kay O’Connor, R-Olathe, were unmoved.

“Why poke a stick in somebody’s eye if you don’t have to?” she said. “If you’re going to have an intelligent design course and call it mythology, I think in the very least it’s a slap in the face to every Judeo-Christian religion that’s out there.”

Comment #59517

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 5:21 AM (e)

Good grief, these people can’t help themselves…

But some conservatives, such as Sen. Kay O’Connor, R-Olathe, were unmoved.

“Why poke a stick in somebody’s eye if you don’t have to?” she said. “If you’re going to have an intelligent design course and call it mythology, I think in the very least it’s a slap in the face to every Judeo-Christian religion that’s out there.”

And John Altevogt, a conservative columnist and activist in Kansas City, said Tuesday that state officials should require the university to change the name of the Department of Religious Studies to the “Department of Religious Intolerance.”

“If we can’t do that,” Altevogt said, “maybe we settle for some cuts in spending.”

Who is saying ID has nothing to do with religion?

Comment #59520

Posted by Mona on November 23, 2005 7:46 AM (e)

Provost David Shulenburger said in a written statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The terms ‘myth’ and ‘mythology’ are common in the academic study of religion and not an affront. A myth refers to the common use of stories or rituals to symbolize in a meaningful manner the core beliefs of a religion; it does not refer to any religion as a whole.”

That is not some form of special pleading. When I took my major in religious studies – a discipline that is essentially akin to cultural anthro or sociology – “myth” was offered as a term of art. Multiple of my instructors, including many teaching outside the context of the evolution debate, advised that in the scholarly context it would be wrong to conclude that myth = not true, the common connotation. I also studied Native American religious myths, and I can assure one and all that the last thing these left-of-center professors intended to do was to insult Native Americans when they (the instructors) applied the term myth to various Indian religious narratives.

Religions generally contain creation myths and other sorts. That is the simple fact of the discipline. Attacking religious studies for its employing this term is not much different than insisting on a lay and incorrect understanding of the term “theory” wrt to science and evolution.

Comment #59521

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

“Why poke a stick in somebody’s eye if you don’t have to?” she said. “If you’re going to have an intelligent design course and call it mythology, I think in the very least it’s a slap in the face to every Judeo-Christian religion that’s out there.”

But ID has nothing to do with religion or with Christian apologetics. No siree, Bob.

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #59522

Posted by steve s on November 23, 2005 7:59 AM (e)

Heh good point Stephen. We really should be writing these things down, so when a JBozo type shows up and says “Blah blah nothing to do with religion” we can just toss up 20 quotes showing otherwise.

Comment #59525

Posted by outeast on November 23, 2005 8:07 AM (e)

Should I observe that it’s the Department of Religious Studies, not the Department of Theology? It’s not written into the contract that the Department should sign on to Biblical literalism.

Comment #59557

Posted by inParis on November 23, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

Univ. of Kansas Takes Up Creation Debate

Tuesday November 22, 2005 5:01 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Creationism and intelligent design are going to be studied at the University of Kansas, but not in the way advocated by opponents of the theory of evolution.

A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies.”

“The KU faculty has had enough,” said Paul Mirecki, department chairman.

“Creationism is mythology,” Mirecki said. “Intelligent design is mythology. It’s not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not.”

from http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,12…

Comment #59560

Posted by Blair on November 23, 2005 11:55 AM (e)

We are also stuck with the Kansas Citizens for Science, run by Jack Krebs. This site, purporting to be about science education, has been taken over by a band of about eight atheists who viciously attack and try to drive from the board anyone trying to suggest anything in disagreement.

What they do is to use their view of science to consistently post anti-religion diatribes, making pronouncements about ethics and politics along the way, that go beyond anything science can discuss.

Comment #59562

Posted by Mike Rogers on November 23, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

I think Mirecki’s course is an appropriate venue for this kind of debate. And I don’t see any problem in their approaching it from a highly critical perspective at a public university, because the whole wedge strategy is basically just a simple propaganda technique of making your opponent appear to be unreasonably biased without exposing your own biases (in this case, I would argue, much more severe ones) by employing specious criticisms rhetorically (not logically) supported by ad populum appeals to a sympathetic target audience.

Their use of the word “mythology” in the course title, I honestly believe, is provocative and that was probably the intent. So they might want to rethink that title, but I guess it helps it fit into the religious studies curriculum since that department is hosting the course. But regardless of the title, I think a critical perspective for the course is absolutely fair game given the rules of academic freedom and in light of the disengenuous political and rhetorical ploys through which the creationist and ID movements have foisted this ridicuous debate upon the academic community, particularly in Kansas.

My only concern is that they don’t miss this opportunity to delve into the IDists arguments and show the students why they are fallacious. In the venue of a university class, you really have the time and a disciplined audience to explore those issues in some depth. So they should present the evidence and arguments for evolutions as well as the ID arguments and their critiques to show the students that scientists really do have good reasons for believing in evolution and rejecting ID that are independent of the metaphysical presumptions of individual scientists.

ID arguments have been thoroughly debunked in books and in scientific and philosophical writings, but the critiques have not gotten the same degree of exposure among non-scientific educated lay persons as the ID arguments themselves because they have been presented in popular books that, I strongly suspect, sell better than anti-ID popular books and that are read are by people who, for the most part, do not have the scientific, mathematical or philosophical background to see what’s wrong with them. I would hope that this course at Kansas might be the begining of an effort within academia to redress this imballance.

Comment #59563

Posted by Mythos on November 23, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

Are intelligent design and string theory birds of a feather?

Comment #59567

Posted by Greg on November 23, 2005 12:46 PM (e)

Mike talks about taking a “critical perspective” in view of “academic freedo”…bahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

“Freedom” for YOUR side, you mean.

Comment #59568

Posted by Keith Douglas on November 23, 2005 12:46 PM (e)

outeast: There’s an old joke that theology professors believe and religious studies professors don’t.

Unfortunately, most of the students who should learn the lessons here are not likely to take such a course …

Comment #59573

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 1:21 PM (e)

As far as I am understanding it, ID begins with observations concerning the type of information produced when intelligent agents act, and then seeks to define some criteria for this (specified complexity, SC), arguing that natural mechanisms cannot produce SC, and then further seeks to identify SC in living systems or the natural world. This seems to me to be a far more reasonable project than opponents often let on. Calling ID a mythology seems a bit silly.

First of all ID DOES NOT begin with OBSERVATIONS, not does it include them in any way. It begins with the pre-concieved conclusion that God Created life and tries to twist the facts into conforming to that position. I’ve just read this article by a mathematician, Jeffrey Shallit, and a biologist, Wesley Elsberry. It is fairly long (about 50 pages) and in some parts pretty technical but it pretty much demolishes the mathematical foundations of Dembski’s concepts of SC.
Basically Dembski is very inconsistent in how he determines if an object or event is “complex” - by which he seems to mean “unlikely to occur/form”. Using Dembski’s system one would find that the formation of ice crystals is SC - which implies that ice crystals are designed, which we know is not true (unless there’s some magical, invisible, spirit that goes around creating ice crystals). So Dembski’s SC can’t actually tell you whether something is designed or not - it’s useless and faulty.

http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/e…

This article, by the way is fairly old but Dembski, as to my knowledge, has yet to respond properly.

Comment #59587

Posted by CJ O'Brien on November 23, 2005 2:24 PM (e)

We are also stuck with the Kansas Citizens for Science, run by Jack Krebs. This site, purporting to be about science education, has been taken over by a band of about eight atheists who viciously attack and try to drive from the board anyone trying to suggest anything in disagreement

What they do is to use their view of science to consistently post anti-religion diatribes, making pronouncements about ethics and politics along the way, that go beyond anything science can discuss.

Hi, Blair! Where ya been?
This portrayal of the KCFS forum is, charitably now, inaccurate, speaking as a frequent poster there.
First, most of the (rather more than eight) people in the “band” you speak of A) are not atheists, and B) are actual scientists and science educators, who are responding to an attack, not initiating one.
Religion, politics and ethics are indeed among the topics discussed frequently, and quite appropriately, too, as those subjects are central to the ID debate.
The real situation is that there is a band of about three fundies (attrition is a b*, ennit Blair?) who engage in garden variety trolling, trying to get a rise out of the regulars. They are routinely put in their place, usually with well-reasoned refutations of feeble screeds that barely qualify as “disagreement.”
Oh, and we get near-daily drive-bys from Sal Cordova, so come on over for the fun!

Comment #59588

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 01:21 PM (e) (s)

Using Dembski’s system one would find that the formation of ice crystals is SC - which implies that ice crystals are designed, which we know is not true (unless there’s some magical, invisible, spirit that goes around creating ice crystals).

Oh yea of little faith!
There is such a person; his name is Jack Frost.

Check out the evidence here…
http://elt.britcoun.org.pl/m_azcreat.htm

Comment #59597

Posted by Pastor Al E Pistle on November 23, 2005 2:52 PM (e)

Praise! Evilution has been a “theory on the ropes” for some time now, and is clearly down for the count. I agree that it is time to give our attention to some of science’s other demonic doctrines.

* Gravity - This one is already on the ropes, soon to be replaced by the Intelligent Falling Theory, where objects are guided back down to the ground by guardian angels.
* Relativity - Relativity leads to relative morality, and is therefore both evil and false. God is absolute and unchanging. Relativity is a lie, and I wouldn’t trust anything that whoever the author of so-called “relativity” has to say.
* Inertia - Inertia says that objects at rest stay at rest, and objects in motion stay in motion. If inertia is true, then how am I able to leave my house to go to church, and how am I able to stop once I get there?
* Global Warming - The Earth is climate controlled by God Himself. If He wants to fiddle with the temperature controls, who are we to ask a bunch of stupid questions? To be replaced by Divine Thermostat Theory.
* Continental Drift - The continents are in exactly the same spot where they have been since The Flood. To be replaced by the Sin Theory of Earthquakes.
* Probability - “God does not play dice with the universe.” – Albert Einstein.

However, I want to hold off debunking String Theory for a while, because there are some things that I like about it.

String theory postulates 11 dimensions (seven more than sinful man can perceive), and that all of the individual particles that make up the world are actually strings that have been plucked to vibrate at a particular frequency.

Well, I think we all know Who is plucking those strings, amen. If we could peer into those extra dimensions, we would see the LORD, and he would be playing the largest stringed instrument you have ever seen! HALLELUJAH!

Pastor Billy-Reuben
landoverbaptist.net

Comment #59599

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

It’s like the only statistical technique Dembski knows about is the Binomial theorem. All his examples of trying to use probability to disprove that something is randomly formed are based on “coin-flipping”.

Comment #59602

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

All his examples of trying to use probability to disprove that something is randomly formed are based on “coin-flipping”.

Okay realistically I don’t know this for a fact I haven’t seen all his examples of trying to use probability to disprove that something is randomly formed.

Comment #59610

Posted by R.O. on November 23, 2005 4:03 PM (e)

shiva wrote:

Didn’t find you on the list here (at the bottom of the page). http://www.phys.cwru.edu/events/cosmol03.php
It would have been fun to watch you ask your questions there! Looks like the those folks had better things to do.

That signifies precisely nothing.

Comment #59642

Posted by shiva on November 23, 2005 7:05 PM (e)

R.O.

That signifies precisely nothing.

Check out those pages. There’s hours of streaming video of the discussions.

Comment #59643

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 23, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

CBB Claims:

First of all ID DOES NOT begin with OBSERVATIONS, not does it include them in any way. It begins with the pre-concieved conclusion that God Created life and tries to twist the facts into conforming to that position. I’ve just read this article by a mathematician, Jeffrey Shallit, and a biologist, Wesley Elsberry. It is fairly long (about 50 pages) and in some parts pretty technical but it pretty much demolishes the mathematical foundations of Dembski’s concepts of SC.

Not at all, it distorts and mischaractersizes, and even fails by equivocating the concept of bits in TSPGRID.

That critique with it’s mathematical theatrics would be persuasive to gullible PandaThumbites (of which there are many here at PT), but not to serious students of those topics such as found in the electrical engineering and camputer science disciplines….

A basic outline of the flaws in that critique is here:
Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003

and I point out some of the miscalculation through equivocation that the critique flaunts as a refutation at:

TSPGRID Miscounts

I look forward to the opportunity for Dembski’s work and Shallit/Elsberry to be compared by knowledgeble students in math, computer science, and electrical engineering, even physics…..

I’m not even insisting in my comments that Dembski is right (though I believe he is), I only merely had to point out that his work was not appropriately characterized by the Elsberry and Shallit critique, and the supposed counter example of TSGRID was fatally flawed.

Salvador

Comment #59649

Posted by steve s on November 23, 2005 7:24 PM (e)

We’ll see what the Information Theory community thinks of ID soon enough. I recently emailed someone on the board at the IEEE ITSOC about the matter.

My guess? They’ll think of ID what the Biologists, Physicists, etc think of ID.

Comment #59654

Posted by steve s on November 23, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

Are ID and String Theory birds of a feather, someone asks?

No. Many scientists do not find the research program (not theory) known as string theory qualifies as science yet, despite the following advantages it has on ID: The support of major scientific groups and universities, that the investigation of the hypotheses has produced real discoveries in mathematics, that the research is being done by some highly-qualified, respected scientists, that it has produced thousands of papers, that it is fundamentally a scientific enterprise, not a Public Relations one, and that none of its advocates is known to be a serial liar.

Comment #59662

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 23, 2005 8:13 PM (e)

I look forward to the opportunity for Dembski’s work and Shallit/Elsberry to be compared by knowledgeble students

Um, weren’t you and your buddy Bill also looking forward to seeing Darwinism’s Waterloo in court?

Didn’t turn out quite like you hoped, did it.

But hey, Sal, now that you’re back, I have some questions for you that, for some odd reason, you keep running away from.

*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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Comment #59664

Posted by steve s on November 23, 2005 8:31 PM (e)

which btw, speaking of string theory, if Krauss thinks it is “a colossal failure”, and yet it’s so much better than ID for the reasons I mentioned, what’s that mean he thinks about ID? Wonder what he’d say about Dave Heddle’s reruns?

Comment #59668

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

I look forward to the opportunity for Dembski’s work and Shallit/Elsberry to be compared by knowledgeble students in math, computer science, and electrical engineering, even physics…..

I believe that the Elsberry/Shallit Paper passed peer-review. Dembski has not published any peer-review papers about ID or about anything else for that matter.

I also do not see you addressing the criticism that Dembski’s calculation of “complexity” (Which is REALLY improbability, Dembski uses the term “complexity” most likely as a means to make his work look more technically impressive and mathematical) is inheriently flawed as Dembski uses two different methods to measure improbability making it so that he can declare whether something is designed or not whenever he feels like it. What about the criticism that CSI cannot tell the difference between something that is really designed and something that is not designed but only appears to be? Your articles

I have also found some questions from Shallit that are not addressed by either you or Dembski, as far as I know:

#1 When estimating the probability of events, why do you use two different and incompatible methods, depending on whether the event was human-caused or not?

#2 Why have you never acknowledged that a crucial calculation on page 249 of No Free Lunch is off by about 65 orders of magnitude, even though you were informed of this in 2002? (I have seen Dembski address this by the way but he lies and states that if his calculation were correct than it would actually IMPROVE his arguement - which is FALSE. Why did Dembski lie about this?)

#3 Why have you not acknowledged that your mathematical “proof” on pages 152-154 of No Free Lunch that “natural causes cannot generate CSI” is flawed, since (among other errors) it claims it applies to all functions f, but actually it assumes that the function f is known to the intelligent agent in question?

#4 Why have you never seriously addressed the work of artificial life researchers, who routinely find in their simulations the kinds of novelties you claim are impossible?

Your article relies heavily on quotes from other people, especially Dembski, and is very annoying to read. You do not address these major issues in a straightforward way.

I myself am a Math/CS Student at the University of Waterloo where Shallit teaches so your assertion that serious students of computer science, math, etc. would appreciate Dembski’s work is unfounded in my opinion, although I am only a second year undergraduate. Never-the-less even I can grasp many of Shallit’s criticisms of ID.

As for you, you are not an honourable person from what I have seen. You presented the same challenge to Shallit and Elsberry on another thread and then promptly vanished without further defending your position or responding to the criticisms of other posters. In effect, you pulled a Dembski by ignoring criticisms.

Further more, while I have only been visiting Panda’s Thumb for a short time I have seen the poster “Rev. Dr. Lenny Flake” has on Many, Many opportunities asked you to respond to some basic, fundemental questions about ID and you have on every occassion I have seen, evaded these simple questions about the scientific legitimacy and foundations of ID.

Comment #59669

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 8:37 PM (e)

Ah, The poster’s name is Rev. Dr. Lenny Flank, not Flake - sorry about that!

Comment #59672

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on November 23, 2005 8:46 PM (e)

…although I can assure you that Flank does at least like his pizza crust flaky, so you weren’t entirely wrong.

And then there are those who would contend that there are a few other flaky things about the Rev. Dr. as well.

but since my livelihood depends, in part, on his already-inadequate tips, there I will not go.

Comment #59673

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 23, 2005 8:48 PM (e)

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 08:36 PM (e) (s)

I look forward to the opportunity for Dembski’s work and Shallit/Elsberry to be compared by knowledgeble students in math, computer science, and electrical engineering, even physics…..

I believe that the Elsberry/Shallit Paper passed peer-review. Dembski has not published any peer-review papers about ID or about anything else for that matter…

I have also found some questions from Shallit that are not addressed by either you or Dembski, as far as I know:…

Your article relies heavily on quotes from other people, especially Dembski, and is very annoying to read. You do not address these major issues in a straightforward way…

Further more, while I have only been visiting Panda’s Thumb for a short time I have seen the poster “Rev. Dr. Lenny Flake” has on Many, Many opportunities asked you to respond to some basic, fundemental questions about ID and you have on every occassion I have seen, evaded these simple questions about the scientific legitimacy and foundations of ID.

You are about as likely to find an honest ID proponent as you are, a golden egg laying goose.

A typical tactic is to post something that sounds technical and then bugger off without answering any basic questions.

Comment #59675

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

Sal, Your strong reliance on quotes in your so-called “critique” makes it highly dubious. Far from being the work of an expert in Computer Science this seems more like the work of a failing english major. While I am a 2nd year Undergrad student who is not a mathematical genius and thus do not have the specific knowledge to debunk the claims of your or Dembski I would like to point out that the Shallit/Elsberry paper was very well organized and STRAIGHTFORWARD in its review of Dembski’s thesis. It presented a clear point-by-point rebuttle of Dembski’s position. On the other hand your “rebuttle” of the rebuttle is FAR from clear and straightforward, to me this makes it suspect along with the fact that it’s rebuttle seems to rely heavily on quotes and it does not refute many of the major problems presented by Shallit/Elsberry.

In ADDITION it should be noted that your review of the Elsberry/Shallit paper presents the paper as being “helpful” to ID and that it’s criticisms are “constructive” and will be taken into account in order to make the ID theory stronger. This stands in stark contrast to the reality that in the TWO years since the Elsberry/Shallit paper was published Dembski has NOT recanted or retracted any of his major arguements, nor has Dembski attempted to incorporate or implement any of the paper’s suggestions into ID.

Comment #59676

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on November 23, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

OK, Stephen, that was good enough that I’m gonna have a little mercy on ya tonight:

One piping hot extra-large flaky-crusted pizza coming right up! On the house!

Oh, and don’t worry about the tip. The flaky herpetologist in the corner sucking down the pitcher of lager already took care of it for ya…

Comment #59678

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 9:01 PM (e)

I do not expect Sal to respond to my simple concerns because he has proven himself to be dishonest. But I hope anyone who is just passing through this website realises that if Sal had a legitimate point he would stay to defend it instead of constantly restorting to this tactic of vanishing after each post. This is the SECOND time he has done this today. His original post was almost identical to his most recent one and he ignored all my comments on the previous thread.

Comment #59679

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 23, 2005 9:03 PM (e)

CBBB wrote:

Sal, Your strong reliance on quotes in your so-called “critique” makes it highly dubious. Far from being the work of an expert in Computer Science this seems more like the work of a failing english major.

I provided quotes to show that Dembski was not represented accurately, not primarly to establish it’s correctness (although I personally believe it’s correct).

CBBB wrote:

I myself am a Math/CS Student at the University of Waterloo where Shallit teaches so your assertion that serious students of computer science, math, etc. would appreciate Dembski’s work is unfounded in my opinion, although I am only a second year undergraduate. Never-the-less even I can grasp many of Shallit’s criticisms of ID.

You don’t have to appreciate or believe Dembski’s work, I am merely pointing out the Shallit and Elsberry do not even represent Dembski’s work accurately or faithfully, but do their best to distort it’s meaning. That is suspect scholarship.

Furthermore, we can walk through the example of TSPGRID, and you can see Shallit equivocated the meaning of bits in the example. His inferences and calculations are flawed not because of the arithmetic or algebra, but because of his equivocations.

Do you have access to both of Dembski’s books, No Free Lunch and Design Inference? Have you read them?

I would encourage you not to be too quick to render judgement on whether Shallit accurately portrays Dembski’s work without you having read Dembski’s work. The first issue is whether Shallit’s critique even charitably represents what Dembski wrote. I’m not even yet suggesting you accept Dembski’s work as true but simply compare what Dembski actually says to how Shallit and Elsberry miscaracterize what he says.

You are in a vulnerable position to be debating with me unless you even have the works in question to discuss. If you have them handy, then we can compare notes. Do you have them?

I won’t criticize you in this debate if you’re not familiar with something (including terminology), but I will criticize you if you are jumping to conclusions when you would be better advised to ponder the issue more thoroughly.

Salvador
PS
by the way, it was helpful knowing your educational background and year in college

Comment #59681

Posted by bill on November 23, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

Sal, I’d love to debate you, but, alas, you don’t have the credentials.

So, here’s the deal. I want you to publish a paper in the AAAS journal, Science, and we’ll have a debate there. May I suggest a title: “The Theory of Intelligent Design.”

Publish the paper and we’ll be in a debate.

Now, failing publication, simply submit your manuscript along with the rejection letter from the AAAS to the Pandas Thumb and we’ll debate its content here. In ten years I haven’t seen a single case of an “intelligent design” paper being rejected from Science or Nature. Of course, one has to submit a paper first.

The ball’s in your court, Sal. What’s it going to be?

Comment #59683

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

Sal, it is true I have not read Dembski’s material. Perhapes that is a mistake but I don’t feel I have to read up on Astrology to know that it is a crock of crap. Creationism/ID, like Astrology seems like bunk to me on the face of it. The fact that there is no testible, falsifiable hypothesis for it has caused me to believe this.
In that regard I suggest you take a crack at Lenny Flank’s questions. Although I am surprised you actually responded this time instead of jumping to another thread.

Comment #59685

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 9:21 PM (e)

I suggest you send in your critique to people who are knowledgable enough to review it. Yes, I mean Peer-Review, just like the Shallit/Elsberry paper was sent to peer review, if you are so confident that your rebuttle sound than why not send it in?

Comment #59686

Posted by RMB on November 23, 2005 9:21 PM (e)

My 2 cents: I don’t think it will work. Like asking an atheist to teach a class on theism, an adesignist can’t effectively teach designism. To be taken seriously, the U of K should get a designist to teach the class, at least the portion on ID.

Just a thought. Just passing through. May be back, may not. No replies necessary.

Comment #59687

Posted by Steviepinhead on November 23, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

Hey, RMB (Runs Mouth Badly?), since you seem to take ID so seriously, why don’t you take a whack at answering Lenny’s simple questions?

Nah, didn’t think so…

Comment #59688

Posted by roger Tang on November 23, 2005 9:35 PM (e)

My 2 cents: I don’t think it will work. Like asking an atheist to teach a class on theism, an adesignist can’t effectively teach designism.

I think you’re arguing from an invalid assumption.

For starters, if design >IS science, then its major concepts HAS to be comprehensible and teachable by non-design advocates. If it is NOT science, but is religion, then it has to be clear enough to be taught by outsiders, or you’re just talking about a cult here.

You do know that non Muslims can teach Islamic classes and Jewish teachers can teach classes on Christianity, right?

Comment #59692

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on November 23, 2005 10:14 PM (e)

KU official responds to course critics

Comment #59693

Posted by shiva on November 23, 2005 10:18 PM (e)

Sal,

I’m not even insisting in my comments that Dembski is right

You are getting there Sal. Keep going…

Comment #59697

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

Another word for “low specificational complexity” is SIMPLICITY!

This is a major issue I have with Dembski, why define things in such a confusing matter?

I would say your criticism was off. Most of your article is devoted to showing that Dembski’s ‘Evaluation Filter’ can detect design. This is very nice, and I can build a smoke detector that always detects smoke if it is set to ring all the time.
Unless I misread the Shallit/Elsberry paper their main criticism was, not that the method fails to detect design sometimes, but that Dembski’s method Detects Design EVEN WHEN IT ISN’T THERE!!!

Consider the example of the Oklo Reactor in the Shallit/Elsberry paper. Consider the list of naturally occuring objects/events that would apparently be deemed “designed” by Dembski’s method given by Shallit/Elsberry.

According to Shallit/Elsberry Dembski uses two different processes to determine “complexity” so that he may arbitrarily label something “designed”, “not-designed” at will. Is this claim true? Where has this claim been refuted? To me this is one of the most damning claims in the article. The arguement here is NOT that Dembski will fail to detect design but that he may detect design where their is none or intentionally avoid detecting design where he knows there is none.

So basically, your article does NOT address the Shallit/Elsberry article. It doesn’t refute the claim that Dembski’s method will detect design even when there may not be any design.
I will admit that the last part of your article may have merit, although I am suspect of quotations by Creationists for obvious reasons. In addition Dembski himself causes undue confusion by using non-conventional, and needlessly complicated terms for simple statements like “improbable” and “simple”. Clearly this is merely an attempt to make his work look more sophisticated and scholarly. Also note that your second last page deals with something from the appendix which was not part of the real criticism of CSI.

So I must say I don’t see how your article addresses any of the main points of Shallit/Elsberry. Shallit/Elsberry is two years old - this is the best your side can muster? How about addressing the questions by Shallit I posted earlier? MORE IMPORTANTLY how about addressing the questions of Lenny who has asked them time and time again to you? If you cannot answer these questions ID is dead in the water no matter how much mathematical masterbation Dembski does or how many times you insist CSI can infer design.

Comment #59698

Posted by CBBB on November 23, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

CSI may very well be able to infer design. That is irrelevent, can it distinguish between artifacts which are design and not designed reliably? According to Shallit/Elsberry it cannot and that is the criticism you failed to address.

Comment #59707

Posted by Brian Spitzer on November 24, 2005 12:00 AM (e)

Maybe it’s because I’m an empirical biologist, but I get terribly impatient about all this discussion of CSI and TSPGRID and the rest of the alphabet soup. Sometimes it seems as though we’re actually helping to generate a smokescreen of confusion by discussing all of the philosophy-of-science and statistical issues.

My own beef with Dembski’s work is much simpler. I read The Design Inference and No Free Lunch, among others, and I can’t find any point where all of this highfalutin’ math can be connected to actual biology.

The argument’s simple, at its core, and predates ID by many decades. Dembski says “It’s very unlikely that X could have evolved, therefore it must have been designed.”

The rebuttal’s also simple: Exactly how unlikely is it that X evolved? Show me the math. Show me the detailed calculations, taking into account what we know about population genetics, evolutionary history, natural selection, drift, population sizes, mutation rates, etc. Show me how you know that the evolution of X, or something equivalent, is so improbable.

Without such calculations, filled in with the appropriate details about mechanisms and reasonably accurate estimates of the variables involved, all of this mathematico-philosophical superstructure doesn’t demonstrate a thing.

Comment #59715

Posted by g bruno on November 24, 2005 1:45 AM (e)

Proposed name change:
Intelligent design (ID) becomes Miraculous Intervention(MI) - thats what that Behe & crew are proposing. Its still “God of the Gaps” but by now the gaps are very small. a few nanos wide.
If the ‘design’ is implicit in the structure of the natural world, then we have Natural Science.
If the ‘design’ is only at a few difficult points (Centrioles?) then we have “Miraculous Intervention”
The thing about miracles is, they spoil Natural Science, because anywhere,anytime, big Nobodaddy might flip in a miracle, so research becomes impossible.

Behe does seem to be saying that the IrredComplex points are few, so I assume he accepts, or pretends to accept, that natural selection copes with 99% of what we see, and Nobodaddy handles the other 1%, from time to time, ‘leaning in’ and Miraculously ‘appearing’ a new string of DNA in some organism, which then happens to code for a bunch of proteins all at once. Can someone tell me if this is actually the ID/MI position? Or do they want the other 99% later so that *every* mutation is the work of Nobodaddy/FlyingSpaghettiMonster? Or just the beneficial mutations? But Behe isnt just going for the mutations, that would be merely simply feel-good SituationalistHumanism. He is stating that some sets of proteins (Complement?) *must* appear simultaneously, so if one had a microscope focused at that time, one would see a largish chunk of DNA instantaneously appear and insert itself in the genome. Reminds me a bit of Hoyles continuous creation, except that Nobodaddy is Intelligent. At least smart enough to get mentioned in Kansas.
Personally I dont care if no biology is taught to high school students , they can pick it up later.

Comment #59722

Posted by Corkscrew on November 24, 2005 2:24 AM (e)

CBBB wrote:

#2 Why have you never acknowledged that a crucial calculation on page 249 of No Free Lunch is off by about 65 orders of magnitude, even though you were informed of this in 2002? (I have seen Dembski address this by the way but he lies and states that if his calculation were correct than it would actually IMPROVE his arguement - which is FALSE. Why did Dembski lie about this?)

IIRC, it does improve his argument. It came up in Shallit’s deposition. The point Shallit and Elsberry were making was more along the lines of “what kind of muppet makes mistakes like this and then has the nerve to call himself a mathematician?”

Salvador: I may have trouble reading your entire critique (I’m only an undergrad), but I wanted to say thanks for the links at the start relating to target recognition. Very interesting, and relevant to a couple of my future career opportunities :)

Comment #59728

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 3:26 AM (e)

Corksrew wrote:

IIRC, it does improve his argument. It came up in Shallit’s deposition. The point Shallit and Elsberry were making was more along the lines of “what kind of muppet makes mistakes like this and then has the nerve to call himself a mathematician?”

Salvador: I may have trouble reading your entire critique (I’m only an undergrad), but I wanted to say thanks for the links at the start relating to target recognition. Very interesting, and relevant to a couple of my future career opportunities :)

You are more than welcome. Regarding the 65 orders of magnitude, Bill Dembski acknowledges that page in his book is in need of correction. He pointed it out here:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archive…

But of course, Shallit and Elsberry in their TSPGRID critique are off by an infinite order of magnitude because of their equivocations. So 65 ain’t so bad. :-)

Feel free to visit www.arn.org and join the discussion board if you have questions. Best of luck to you in your studies.

Salvador

Comment #59734

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:20 AM (e)

CBBB:

Sal, it is true I have not read Dembski’s material. Perhapes that is a mistake but I don’t feel I have to read up on Astrology to know that it is a crock of crap.

Ahh yes, yet another Darwhinist bloviating arrogantly about material they haven’t even read, much less understood. I wasn’t even suggesting you accept Dembski’s literature as correct, but simply compare the way Shallit and Elsberry represent Dembski’s work versus what Dembski actually wrote.

You come to the discussion demanding I convince you? Not my intent to waste time on people acting like experts on literature they haven’t even read. How are you in a position to evaluate the accuracy of Shallit’s claims over Dembski’s literature when you haven’t even read Dembski’s literature?

So why do I show up here? Some IDists lurk and read what goes on. They might worry that the PandaThumbites here might actually have a point. I’m here to reassure them that for the most part the PandaThumbites are gullible Darwinbots swallowing wholesale what their leaders tell them about ID.

You are an excellent case study of someone blindly believing what Shallit and Elsberry wrote about Dembski’s work, yet you haven’t even read Dembski’s work. You demand I spoon feed you on the concepts in the books which you’ve not read? Ok, say ahhh……

Hey, I really appreciate your demonstration of blind acceptance of your Darwinist leaders. Your faithful blind loyalty is touching (sniff)….Care to defend the TSPGRID programs claims?

Your fearless leader did me a favor by tipping his hand and actually trying to define the space Omega of possibilties in his TSPGRID program. It only clarified the flaws in his analysis.

You’re insinuating I can’t defend my. Care to go over the calculations? Hehehe! This should be fun, yet another PandaThumbite thinks he can critique literature he hasn’t even read. hahaha!

It would be instersting to see if Mirecki tries to bring Shallit, Elsberry, and Perakh’s critiques to class. I can reassure future students that they have the means to demonstrate that those critiques are little more than lengthy mischaracterizations, not refutations, and fumbled self-contradicted assertions….

And speaking of Perakh, has he retracted that conflation of Channel Entropy with thermodynamic entropy? He tried to model a communication channel like a closed themodynamic system. That was a howler. I do seem to recall he writes comedy books…..

Serious KU science students will have a field day in Mirecki’s class if Mirecki tries to appeal to the Darwinist “experts”.

Mirecki:
“Perakh demonstrates the flaw in Dembski…..”

Students:
“Professor Mirecki…..can you go over the calculations of Shannon entropy and then explain why Perakh is not conflating channel entropy with thermodynamic entropy?”

Mirecki:
“Uhh….perakh is right, because ID is religious myth”

Student: “Isn’t perakh making the error which Yockey alluded to regarding the Maxwell-Boltzman-Gibbs entropy of statistical mechanics, wherease Dembski is only pointing out the mathematical similarity versus conflating the two….”

Mirecki:
“Uhh….perakh is right, because ID is religious myth”

Student: “Can you address Problems with Characterizing the Protostome-Deuterostome Ancestor….”

Mirecki:
“Uhh….perakh is right, because ID is religious myth. Repeat after me like a good Darwinbot.”

CBBB:

Further more, while I have only been visiting Panda’s Thumb for a short time I have seen the poster “Rev. Dr. Lenny Flake” has on Many, Many opportunities asked you to respond to some basic, fundemental questions about ID and you have on every occassion I have seen, evaded these simple questions about the scientific legitimacy and foundations of ID.

That’s true I don’t answer Reverend Flake’s questions. It must seem I consider attending to him as a low priority. By the way, I like the name you gave Reverend Lenny Flake. :-)

Comment #59738

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 5:45 AM (e)

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 04:20 AM (e) (s)


You come to the discussion demanding I convince you? Not my intent to waste time on people acting like experts on literature they haven’t even read. How are you in a position to evaluate the accuracy of Shallit’s claims over Dembski’s literature when you haven’t even read Dembski’s literature?

So why do I show up here? Some IDists lurk and read what goes on. They might worry that the PandaThumbites here might actually have a point. I’m here to reassure them that for the most part the PandaThumbites are gullible Darwinbots swallowing wholesale what their leaders tell them about ID

Well you spectacularly failed in my case Sal.

I first came to this site as a ID supporter after having read Lee Strobel’s book The Case for a Creator.

Your silly antics (and those of people like you) eventually persuaded me that evolutionary biology was far more scientific than ID. I find it hard to believe that people feel justified to lie in the name of God. Or maybe you don’t actually believe but foresee a lucrative future.

Your dodging of Lenny’s basic questions is totally obvious after witnessing it a few times. So don’t talk crap, stop dodging and give answers.

Oh; I know what your reply will be (if there is one). It will be a dodge.

Think Sal, every time you are seen to slime away from Lenny’s questions you are losing supporters for ID. To be fair, you don’t really have an option do you?

Comment #59740

Posted by SteveF on November 24, 2005 5:57 AM (e)

Darwinbots eh? Sounds quite cool - do they sell them in any major retail establishments; I’d quite like to get one for a young relative this Christmas.

Comment #59741

Posted by Corkscrew on November 24, 2005 6:08 AM (e)

Salvador: I’m having a little trouble with some of your article, specifically post 4 (the one with the pill box). I’m fine on the information theory (yes your numbers are correct), but I’m having trouble figuring out how conceptual and physical complexity are being derived from this. Is there a formal (i.e. lots of greek letters :P) definition floating around?

Comment #59743

Posted by jason spaceman on November 24, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

More on the KU ID course:

Religion professor’s e-mail outrages critics

By Sophia Maines (Contact)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Topeka — Critics of a Kansas University course on intelligent design say an e-mail written by the professor proves the course is meant to mock religious fundamentalists.

KU Provost David Shulenburger said Wednesday he regretted the words used in the e-mail, but he backed the professor and the course, maintaining it would be taught in a professional manner like all other courses.

In a recent message on a Yahoo listserv — a venue where groups of people post questions and comments on a particular topic — Paul Mirecki, chairman of KU’s department of religious studies, described his upcoming course “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies.”

“The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology,’” Mirecki wrote.

He signed the note “Doing my part (to upset) the religious right, Evil Dr. P.”

Comment #59751

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 24, 2005 8:15 AM (e)

Bertand Russell’s take on myths seems rather appropriate:
“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”

Comment #59754

Posted by Corkscrew on November 24, 2005 8:40 AM (e)

Read on for criticism of post 2 of Salvador’s critique, this being the only bit that I both understand (it’s the non-technical bit) and contest. Also, a little explanation for the laymen amongst us of what the Communication Theory formulation of ‘information’ is all about. Alert: being an undergrad, it’s quite likely that I’m wrong on some of this. Take with biiig pinch of salt. I’ll comment on more when I feel I understand it well enough.

Post 2:

You claim that it’s easy to distinguish between a designed system and a system arising from chance. Two counterarguments: firstly, it’s not always easy, and secondly these are not the only two options. A selective environment results in systems that can’t really be described as random, despite their not being designed. This is what makes genetic algorithms such a powerful tool - you don’t need to design the system, you just need to set up the environment and let it gradually improve itself.

You describe a chemist being able to distinguish synthesised molecules from natural ones as an example of spotting design. But surely this ability is based on what might be termed historical precedent (no organisms as of today are able to manufacture D-amino acids, hence it must be synthetic) rather than any intrinsic ‘designedness’ of the molecule? If biologists suddenly discovered a species of bacteria that could produce D-amino acids, the chemist would reassess his opinion. Such historical context doesn’t apply when attempting to determine if life itself was designed as, without begging the question, we can’t determine which features might occur naturally and which must be the work of a designer.

An aside: the science of encryption is not, on the whole, concerned with stealthiness - referring to the science of steganography might be more appropriate.

Post 4:

Yes your figures are correct. For the laymen here, I’ll quickly recap what’s meant by the mathematical formulation of information. It’s broadly speaking a measure of the amount of inference you can draw from a given event, based on its probability. So, for example, if your wife says “Does my bum look big in this?” and you respond with “Mmmm” half the time, the information capacity of that is only -log_2[1/2] = 1 - a comparatively small value. Your wife really can’t tell a lot from “Mmmm”. This may or may not be a good thing.

However, if you look up from the gadgets you’re browsing and instantly run screaming from the room, that’s a less probable event by far. If it occurs, for example, one time in 1024 (of course, every man knows that this would never happen more than once…) then the information content is -log_2[1/1024] = 10, a much higher value. Your wife now knows that the clothes she was trying on are very very bad, and also that you’re sleeping on the couch tonight.

The reason we use a rather odd-looking formulation like minus log to the base 2 of the probability is because this allows us to “add” information - the information conveyed by you looking up, saying “Mmmm” and then running screaming from the room would be -log_2[1/2*1/1024] = 11 = 1 + 10 = -log_2[1/2] + -log_2[1/1024]

As I said, I’m having trouble with some of the lingo in the second half of this paragraph, specifically the terms “conceptual complexity”, “physical complexity” and, more mundanely, “specification” (you’re just using this to mean “event” right?). I also haven’t come across the term “K-complex” before (well, not outside Algebraic Topology, where it evidently means something quite different) - are there any resources you’d recommend?

Comment #59757

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

Ah, The poster’s name is Rev. Dr. Lenny Flank, not Flake - sorry about that!

Some people no doubt thought you were correct the first time. (giggle)

Comment #59759

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 8:47 AM (e)

That’s true I don’t answer Reverend Flake’s questions. It must seem I consider attending to him as a low priority.

No, it seems that you are a dishonest evasive coward who doesn’t HAVE any answers to give.

Which, of course, is why I keep asking.

Comment #59761

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 8:49 AM (e)

ID is religious myth

That’s right.

Hey Sal, why don’t you tell everyone why only Chrisitans are allowed to be officers in IDEA clubs. Why not Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists? Is there a legitmate SCIENTIFIC reason for that? Or are we just seeing plain old fashioned fundamentalist religious bigotry in action?

Comment #59763

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 08:49 AM (e) (s)


Hey Sal, why don’t you tell everyone why only Chrisitans are allowed to be officers in IDEA clubs. Why not Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists? Is there a legitmate SCIENTIFIC reason for that? Or are we just seeing plain old fashioned fundamentalist religious bigotry in action?

Thanks for the reminder.
How “Scientific” is that?

ROFL…”ID is so science driven that you are required to be a Christian and religion has no part in ID whatsoever”!

If this was written as fiction, no-one would publish it…too difficult for the reader to suspend belief.

Comment #59765

Posted by Tim Hague on November 24, 2005 9:03 AM (e)

Salvador T. Cordoba wrote:

Care to go over the calculations?

There’s no point in going over any of the calculations, because they are built on sand.

Dembski writes a whole book using other people’s No Free Lunch (NFL) theorums as the basis for ‘proving’ design. Unfortunately for him, these theorums are not applicable to natural structures arising by evolution. Oops. Maybe he should have checked first.

There’s also the logical fallacy of “one natural explanation doesn’t cover this, therefore it must be designed” - which ignores a whole suite of other natural explanations.

If you are going to write lots of clever looking calculations they should at least start with firm foundations…

Comment #59766

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 9:05 AM (e)

My own beef with Dembski’s work is much simpler. I read The Design Inference and No Free Lunch, among others, and I can’t find any point where all of this highfalutin’ math can be connected to actual biology.

The argument’s simple, at its core, and predates ID by many decades. Dembski says “It’s very unlikely that X could have evolved, therefore it must have been designed.”

Right. Like every other ID argument, it’s nothing but decades-old ICR boilerplate, dressed up in scientific-sounding garb.

My beef with Dembski’s work is also very simple; it has to do with the order of his steps. Stripped of all its mathematical BS, Dembski’s filter says, “if not law, if not chance, then design”. This, of course, is nothing but “God of the Gaps” —- “If we can’t explain it, then Godiddit”. I have asked a simple series of questions of lots of IDers regarding this:

(1) does Dembski’s filter demand that we rule out all CURRENT explanations invoking law or chance? If so, how does it differ from plain old ordinary “god of the gaps”?

(2) does Dembski’s filter instead demand that we rule out EVERY POSSIBLE explanation invoking either law or chance? IF so, how exactly does Dembski propose that we rule out, not only every explanation that currently exists, but also every possible one that MIGHT EXIST IN THE FUTURE?

(3) Suppose we have a phenomenon X that we can’t explain using either law or chance, and thus, in accordance with Dembski’s filter, we invoke “intelligent design” and declare “the Designer dunnit”. Suppose then, that ten years from now, we DO find an explanation based on either law or chance. Does this mean (a) the Designer was producing X before, but stopped producing it as soon as we found law or chance that explained it, or (b) the Designer was using this law or chance all along, or © there never was any Designer there in the first place.

Oddly, no IDer has ever given any intelligible answer to these simple questions.

Finally, we can demonstrate the vacuity and dishonesty of Dembski’s filter simply by changing the order of its steps. Instead of “if not law, if not chance, then design”, let’s change it to “if not design, if not law, then chance”. How does Dembski propose that we test for the presence of design and potentially rule it out? Well, he CAN’T. He has no idea, none at all, how to tell if something was or wasn’t designed. Hence, he has structured his much-vaunted filter to insure that HE DOESN’T HAVE TO. Of all the possible sequences that he could use to apply his “filter”, he has, oddly, chosen the very one that allows him to avoid either explaining what his design is, or how it works, or how to detect it, or how to test for it. Since in his formulation, design is simply the default that is assumed to apply if nothing else seems to, then he doesn’t have to say a single word about it. It’s up to everyone ELSE, in this view, to show that X was NOT designed; Dembski doesn’t have to lift a finger to show that it WAS.

I suspect that this is not coincidental.

Comment #59769

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 9:16 AM (e)

That’s true I don’t answer Reverend Flake’s questions. It must seem I consider attending to him as a low priority. By the way, I like the name you gave Reverend Lenny Flake. :-)

Or more realistically you CAN’T answer them in which case I don’t care how many times you go on about CSI, ID is meaningless if it cannot propose a testiable hypothesis. So how whole “research” programme is garbage on the face of it.

Comment #59770

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 9:16 AM (e)

That’s true I don’t answer Reverend Flake’s questions. It must seem I consider attending to him as a low priority. By the way, I like the name you gave Reverend Lenny Flake. :-)

Or more realistically you CAN’T answer them in which case I don’t care how many times you go on about CSI, ID is meaningless if it cannot propose a testiable hypothesis. So your whole “research” programme is garbage on the face of it.

Comment #59775

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 9:31 AM (e)

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 09:16 AM (e) (s)

That’s true I don’t answer Reverend Flake’s questions. It must seem I consider attending to him as a low priority. By the way, I like the name you gave Reverend Lenny Flake. :-)

Or more realistically you CAN’T answer them in which case I don’t care how many times you go on about CSI, ID is meaningless if it cannot propose a testiable hypothesis. So your whole “research” programme is garbage on the face of it.

Fair play to you CBBB,
You caught on much quicker than me.

I fell for it hook line and sinker for a while.
Grrrr! Makes me angry to think about the lying gits!

Surely educated ID’ists could be taken to court for fraud/deception!
I am pretty sure they know exactly what they are up to.

Comment #59776

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 9:37 AM (e)

You come to the discussion demanding I convince you? Not my intent to waste time on people acting like experts on literature they haven’t even read. How are you in a position to evaluate the accuracy of Shallit’s claims over Dembski’s literature when you haven’t even read Dembski’s literature?

But you haven’t shown that Shallit’s claims were inaccurate. Your first post had almost nothing to do with Shallit’s article, it is simple some more Demsbikean BS wailing on about Complexity and defending Demsbki’s idiot terminology. The only part of your piece that has anything to do with Shallit/Eslberry are the last two pages, the first of which is critical of something in the appendix of the Shallit/Elsberry paper which was offering constructive suggestions to Dembski. It has been TWO YEARS SAL!!!! I’m not acting like an expert, I was very up front with the fact that I am only a second year undergraduate and certainly not an expert. However I can detect BULLSHIT when I see it Sal and the smell is pretty strong over at Uncommon Descent and in your article.

You demand I spoon feed you on the concepts in the books which you’ve not read? Ok, say ahhh……

No I have a pretty good idea of Dembski’s general arguement. “If something was improbable, and looks like something that was designed, it IS designed”. That’s bogus. Now I know you IDiots come down here and say “No NO NO” that’s not it, Dembski says “Something has to have Specified Complexitiy and Blah blah blah..conceptual infomation…blah blah” you basically dress up his arguement in overly technical, nonsense jargon. There is NO substance to the Dembski claims.

Perhapes I will read Dembski’s book, BUT if I find that it’s just that same old OBVIOUSLY Bullshit arguement dressed up in fancy terms - I will be VERY upset that I wasted my time with Dembski.
Plus you don’t even have a testiable hypothesis yet, why should I take you seriously?

Comment #59778

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

Sal, you can fool every dumbass Math Undergrad who thinks Math is the Be-All-End-All of Science, but some of us know that there is much more to the story than that.

Comment #59785

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

Frankly Sal, I suspect that if Shallit/Elsberry really did Misrepresent Dembski’s work to the extreme that you make it sound like, there would have been a substantial rebuttle by Dembski, or you or some other IDiot. But there isn’t, and it’s been two years since Shallit/Elsberry was published (by PEER REVIEW which is more than we can say for anything Dembski has written on ID).
Your use of rhetoric to paint me and the people of Panda’s Thumb as mindless jerks is unconvincing as you have yet to even answer some simple questions on ID, instead you resort to inflammatory rhetoric and the dodging of real questions.

As I said, I’m having trouble with some of the lingo in the second half of this paragraph, specifically the terms “conceptual complexity”, “physical complexity” and, more mundanely, “specification” (you’re just using this to mean “event” right?).

The reason WHY you’re having trouble with the lingo Corkscrew is because it’s BS made up by Dembski. Contrary to Sal’s assertion it is DEMBSKI not Shallit who is engaging in mathematical/technical theatrics.
Dembski merely wants to make his work look more technically impressive and seem more scholarly and sophisticated than it really is. This is a hallmark of Pseudoscience.

Comment #59789

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 10:23 AM (e)

Reading CBBB’s latest post, and having read Sokal’s book, I just got an idea. Perhaps we should start submitting fake ID papers to the ID “journals”, full of jargon-laced nonsense, and see how many are accepted.

Comment #59791

Posted by Corkscrew on November 24, 2005 10:36 AM (e)

CBBB wrote:

Sal, you can fool every dumbass Math Undergrad who thinks Math is the Be-All-End-All of Science, but some of us know that there is much more to the story than that.

Hey! That’s a complete mistruth! So far he hasn’t convinced me, despite my being overqualified on all counts (third year maths undergrad, obsessed with number theory, thick as a post).

Comment #59793

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 10:40 AM (e)

Well it seems to me that ID is just a bunch of buzzwords. Sal’s article actually reinforced this perception.

Comment #59795

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

Hey! That’s a complete mistruth!

Alright, never-the-less, that’s the sort of people who get sucked in by this sort of thing. Those who think that everything comes down to math. That kind of thinking is how crackpots are born.

Note as well the Dembski’s math is bad, or at least misapplied. Sal hasn’t addressed the Shallit/Elsberry paper like he claims to have. One of the most damaging criticisms presenting by Shallit/Elsberry, in my opinion, is how Dembski has no coherent way of determining design and cannot reliably seperate undesigned objects from designed ones. This is very serious and has not been addressed by any IDer as far as I know.

I wasn’t refering to all Math Undergrads by the way, I’m one myself. However Dembski’s tricks seem designed to appeal to people who are easily impressed with technical terms.
The truth is ID doesn’t have any integrity. They have no testiable hypothesis, no predictions, no way for it to be falsified. Sal refuses to answer simple questions about these topics because he is dishonest.

Comment #59796

Posted by k.e. on November 24, 2005 11:07 AM (e)

Perhaps we should start submitting fake ID papers to the ID “journals”, full of jargon-laced nonsense, and see how many are accepted.

Too easy just look up
free energy
anti gravity
rain dance (…can that, I don’t want to upset the rain god’s)
Change a few words - A Free Lunch actually
Same tactics

Tom Bearden’s MEG

http://www.cheniere.org/
(winner of not 1 BUT 2 Nobels!)

He is surrounded by a loyal band of cheering sycophants who go out of their way to threaten and silence their critics. This is rather ironic given their constant complaints that a vast conspiracy has successfully suppressed (and continues to suppress) all information about “free energy” because what it would do to established energy interests.

Above note from Phil Karn at Qualcomm who debunked another Shannonite

http://www.ka9q.net/vmsk/

Comment #59801

Posted by Ron Zeno on November 24, 2005 11:49 AM (e)

steve s wrote:

Perhaps we should start submitting fake ID papers to the ID “journals”, full of jargon-laced nonsense, and see how many are accepted.

Since all ID papers are jargon-laced nonsense, it’s impossible to submit fake ones. It’s the big problem with pseudoscience - there’s no way to differentiate the serious attempts from satire, fraud, etc.

Comment #59803

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 12:06 PM (e)

The purpose would be to later reveal that ID “papers” x, y, and z are just gibberish.

Comment #59805

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

Hi Corkscrew,

Happy Thanks giving. I will address your most recent post first, and then subsequently address your earlier post.

Corkscrew wrote:

You claim that it’s easy to distinguish between a designed system and a system arising from chance.

If it seems that I stated that, or if it seems that is what I meant, I need to clarify because that does not reflect my position. It can be extremely difficult to discern designed from non-designed systems. The Explanatory Filter and Dembski’s technique are oriented to detecting designs that the designer is willing, if not eager to be detected as designed.

Two counterarguments: firstly, it’s not always easy, and secondly these are not the only two options.

I hope my clarification takes care of your concern. In the diagrams dembski provides, it may seem that there are only 2 options, but a more thorough reading will show that there are actually 3.

1. Not Designed, and Rejected as not designed
2. Designed, but rejected as not designed
3. Designed, and accepted as designed

#2 happens frequently. For example,if one is trying to camouflage a target, it is a designed object, but the designers wish to conceal it’s design and make it appear indistinguishable from a natural object.

Corkscrew wrote:

A selective environment results in systems that can’t really be described as random, despite their not being designed.

First of all, the word random carries a lot of connotations and is subject to conflation and equivocation. One can design a random number generator which will have many of the statistical properties of random undirected phenomenon. A random number generator is and example of a deterministic system which has the appearance of non-design. I try to use the word directed and non-directed, or purposeful and non-purposeful, guided or unguided. In the case of random number generators, one does not quickly detect it’s design from analyzing it statistical properties alone, but for most practical purposes, a random generator will have the statistical characteristics of a “random process”, yet is still a designed system. A random number generator, in the formal sense is anything but undirected “random” process.

It is worth discussing more, but I point that out as an FYI to ponder further….

Corkscrew:

This is what makes genetic algorithms such a powerful tool - you don’t need to design the system, you just need to set up the environment and let it gradually improve itself.

The number of bits generated by a genetic algorithm may be significantly larger than the output number of bits. The TSPGRID program by Shallit and Elsberry essentially did that. However the bits of CSI should not be equated with the number of bits in the output nor with the number of bits used to implement the genetic algorithm. That is a mathematical subtlety that escapes most. To see the distinctions I’ll have to walk through some detailed examples. (Such is the case when I teach an extra-curricular ID class. I’m doubtful Mirecki will be willing to discuss ID in this way…)

I should note, what may seem trivial for you as an intelligent designer is challenging for a blind purposeless non-deterministic process. For example, it does not take much effort to make 500 coins heads from some general starting configuration. A blind purposeless non-deterministic process would be quite inadequate to do the same. When you program the environment in a GA, you are using the computer as a tool, but what is trivial to you (as in the act of programming) is difficult for a non-deterministic, unprogrammed, unguided process.

Corkscrew wrote:

So far he hasn’t convinced me, despite my being overqualified on all counts (third year maths undergrad, obsessed with number theory, thick as a post).

There is no problem if one does not accept mine or Dembski’s claims. My more modest goal is that our claims are understood such that a clearer and fairer judgment of our claims soundness or value can be made. Much of the critiques of Dembski’s work are not accurate characterizations of his claims or definitions. I was naive enough at first to believe Dembski’s critics (including his former teacher) would accurately portray his work. I’m finding that to not be the case.

Let me know if what I have written in this post clarifies my position. I think it will address some of your other concerns, and then I can more effectively respond to your other points.

regards,
Salvador

Comment #59809

Posted by Louis on November 24, 2005 12:49 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

If it seems that I stated that, or if it seems that is what I meant, I need to clarify because that does not reflect my position. It can be extremely difficult to discern designed from non-designed systems. The Explanatory Filter and Dembski’s technique are oriented to detecting designs that the designer is willing, if not eager to be detected as designed.

You appear to be saying that the success of Dembski’s technique and Explanatory Filter in detecting design is dependant on the designer complying in some fashion by allowing Dembski (or whoever) to detect that design. So therefore:

1.There are objects that are designed that we can detect as being designed because the designer is complicit.

2.There are objects that are designed that we cannot detect as being designed because the designer is not complicit.

3.There are objects that are not designed that we cannot detect as being designed.

Isn’t this an extremely dishonest get out clause? If you get some objects and apply the techniques and EF of Dembski, if you detect design you claim a success, or if you detect no design you claim success on the basis that the designer was not complicit because the object IS designed by your assertion, or if you detect no design and the object is so simple you assert the object is not designed you dismiss the object as irrelevant.

Forgive me but this is just more dishonest bullshit from you! If it works you claim it works, if it fails you claim it should have worked but the designer is not playing ball, if it fails on things you think are simple then you claim they are irrelevant.

Thanks for showing your case to be vacuous, again.

Comment #59814

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:04 PM (e)

It can be extremely difficult to discern designed from non-designed systems

That is precisely why Dembski’s system is pointless. Actually that’s only one of several reasons why it is pointless.

That is a mathematical subtlety that escapes most.

That’s because it’s a piece of mathematical bullshit which Dembski made up and almost no real mathematician or computer scientist uses.

My more modest goal is that our claims are understood such that a clearer and fairer judgment of our claims soundness or value can be made

You do a poor job of this. You will not answer simple questions about the scientific value of ID. I can only conlude that your constant dodging of basic questions and failure to address any of the major criticisms of ID means that you are engaged in nothing more than fancy looking pseudoscience.

How does ANY of Dembski’s math relate to evolution or biology? It simply does not.

Comment #59815

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 24, 2005 1:07 PM (e)

Mr. Cordova, why have you nor any other ID advocate set up a methodical program to test for designed things? Why has no one written up the explanatory filter for peer review in any journal, math, biology, chemistry, physics, English, rhetoric, French, home economics, physical education, design, fashion, etc.?

In short, what evidence have you that anything you propose works?

Comment #59817

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

Louis suggests I’m implying:

3.There are objects that are not designed that we cannot detect as being designed.

I didn’t say that. Yet another muddled misrepresentations by a PandaThumbite. I certainly would use such conflicted phraseology unless I were making typos….

Here is what Bill and us IDists actually say:

Intelligent causes can do things that unintelligent causes cannot and can make their actions evident. When for whatever reason an intelligent cause fails to make its actions evident, we may miss it. But when an intelligent cause succeeds in making its actions evident, we take notice. This is why false negatives do not invalidate the explanatory filter. The explanatory filter is fully capable of detecting intelligent causes intent on making their presence evident. Masters of stealth intent on concealing their actions may successfully evade the explanatory filter. But masters of self-promotion intent on making sure their intellectual property gets properly attributed find in the explanatory filter a ready friend…….
The explanatory filter is a net. Things that are desgned will occasionally slip past the net…..This problem cannot be fixed. Nevertheless we want to be very sure that whatever the net does catch includes only what we intend it to catch, to wit, things that are designed. Only things that are designed had better end up in the net. If this is the case, we can have confidence that whatever the filter attributes to design is indeed designed.

from Mere Creation pages 106-107, Dembski’s essay on “Redesigning Science”.

You can read more by making a donation to ARN for $25.00. You can make the donation and get the book by clicking here: Mere Creation.

cheers,
Salvador

By the Way, Mirecki is pretty biased,some mole on his list server ratted him out.

Can KU get Away with This

Paul Mirecki, chairman of KU’s Religious Studies Department, wrote in an e-mail that the course was his response to religious fundamentalists promoting the study of intelligent design and creationism in the state’s public schools.

“The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology,’ “ the message said.

The message was sent Saturday to a list-serve group for the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, a student organization for which Mirecki serves as faculty adviser. Mirecki addressed the message to “my fellow damned” and signed off with: “Doing my part to (tick) of(f) the religious right, Evil Dr. P.”

Comment #59818

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

And, more importantly Louis, as brought up by Shallit/Elsberry if we have a non-designed object/event that is NOT simple and seems to be improbable will Dembski’s filter correctly, and reliably identify it as not designed?

Sal has not addressed this point. He claims his first post is a refutation of the Shallit/Elsberry paper, however the vast majority of that post shows how Dembski’s filter can detect design WHICH WAS NOT THE CRITICISM OF SHALLIT/ELSBERRY. The Criticism was the Dembski’s method for detecting design was incoherent and that his method could not reliably distingish between designed/not-designed.

Sal’s rebuttle concerns itself only with the weakest arguements of the Shallit/Elsberry paper and completely ignores many of the very strong arguements. Sal then claims that the paper is refuted or that it is unreliable even though, after 2 years, the VAST majority of the paper’s arguements still stand solid.
I once again ask Sal to comment on Shallit/Elsberry’s claim that Dembski uses an incoherent method to detect “complexity” (improbability). For example the Caputo (Democrat/Republican) example calls Dembski’s methodology into serious question.

Comment #59819

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

Sal,

Are you suggesting that ID is NOT a Religious Programme?
How absurd.

Comment #59821

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

I can more effectively respond to your other points.

But you can’t respond to mine.

I’ll repeat them for you once more, Sal. I want every lurker who drops in here, for however whort a period of time, to see that you are nothing but a cowardly blowhard who has no real answers to offer.

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Comment #59825

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

Sal, no matter how much rhetoric you employe or how many fancy math symbols or made up technical words you write. Until you can provide a satisfactory answer to AT LEAST Question #1 from Lenny you are simply engaged in Pseudoscience. Don’t you realise that talking about Complex Systems or Information Theory doesn’t change a damn thing? You’re blowing hot air! You can’t even answer a few BASIC questions.

Comment #59826

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

Cordova (I will take the grenade for Uncle Bill), and friend of evolutionary theory, ‘argues’

Ahh yes, yet another Darwhinist bloviating arrogantly about material they haven’t even read, much less understood. I wasn’t even suggesting you accept Dembski’s literature as correct, but simply compare the way Shallit and Elsberry represent Dembski’s work versus what Dembski actually wrote.

THat’s so ironic but Shallit and Elsberry’s work accurately represent Dembski’s work. Salvador, unable to address the excellent rebuttals by Shallit and Elsberry, is doomed to create an ad hominem approach to the article by arguing without much merrit that Shallit and Elsberry must have misrepresented uncle Bill. (After all, the thought or realization that Uncle Bill was so obviously wrong may be too hard to swallow for the committed ID proponent).

You come to the discussion demanding I convince you? Not my intent to waste time on people acting like experts on literature they haven’t even read. How are you in a position to evaluate the accuracy of Shallit’s claims over Dembski’s literature when you haven’t even read Dembski’s literature?

And yet we see many ID proponents do exactly this. Critique evolutionary claims without even having read much of the relevant literature. Thus we see ID proponents argue their ignorance about the Cambrian as an example. But even many ID proponents have not read the ID relevant literature to the same depth and extend as the ID critics.

So why do I show up here? Some IDists lurk and read what goes on. They might worry that the PandaThumbites here might actually have a point. I’m here to reassure them that for the most part the PandaThumbites are gullible Darwinbots swallowing wholesale what their leaders tell them about ID.

That’s too ironic. Sal “I am ready to take the grenade for uncle Bill so that he can avoid dealing with criticisms”, is calling PTers ‘gullible’. Just check out the UncommonDescent groupies… No dissent is allowed on most of the pro-ID blogs.

Thanks Salvador for your excellent defense of Evolution by showing how ID creationists ‘argue’. CBBB is right on the mark

Sal’s rebuttle concerns itself only with the weakest arguements of the Shallit/Elsberry paper and completely ignores many of the very strong arguements. Sal then claims that the paper is refuted or that it is unreliable even though, after 2 years, the VAST majority of the paper’s arguements still stand solid.
I once again ask Sal to comment on Shallit/Elsberry’s claim that Dembski uses an incoherent method to detect “complexity” (improbability). For example the Caputo (Democrat/Republican) example calls Dembski’s methodology into serious question.

They are on to you Sal.. But then again, anything for Uncle Bill eh…

Deep down Sal realizes that ID is as scientifically vacuous as YECism. I still believe that Sal is a ‘closet evolutionist’. After all, why else would someone undermine ID so craftly by exposing its scientific vacuity for all to see?

Let me also point out an often overlooked concession by Dembski. Ryan Nichols observed in “The Vacuity of Intelligent Design Theory”

“Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption noted above. When the EF implies that certain systems are intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, “even though in practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an intelligent agent, taken by itself _design does not require that such an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design inference must not be confused with intelligent agency_” (TDI, 227, my emphasis). (We’ll revisit this concession below.) “

More and more people are realizing the scientific vacuity and theological problems with ID

Not only is ID poor science, it is poor theology. It reduces God to a magic word to use whenever we are stymied by a lack of information. It renders God as being everything we cannot explain. If we do not understand a natural process, it must be God’s work.

Link

Comment #59827

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

Sal, you and Dembski are frauds.

Comment #59828

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

Sal shows his unfamiliarity with ID theory when making the following vacuous claims

The Explanatory Filter and Dembski’s technique are oriented to detecting designs that the designer is willing, if not eager to be detected as designed.

What mathematical part of the EF addresses the willingness or eagerness to be detected? Why does Dembski argues that the design inference is actually used in criminology to detected ‘design’?

I hope my clarification takes care of your concern. In the diagrams dembski provides, it may seem that there are only 2 options, but a more thorough reading will show that there are actually 3.

1. Not Designed, and Rejected as not designed
2. Designed, but rejected as not designed
3. Designed, and accepted as designed

#2 happens frequently. For example,if one is trying to camouflage a target, it is a designed object, but the designers wish to conceal it’s design and make it appear indistinguishable from a natural object.

There is actually a fourth option which Dembski ignored in his original works with a specious claim namely the falese positive “not designed and detected as designed”. This is the real problem of the design inference approach and is thus routinely ignored. While Dembski argued that the EF has no false positives (without providing ANY supporting evidence), Dembski, in later comments relaxes his claims but fails to reconcile his new position with his claim that if the EF exhibits false positives it would render the approach useless.

There is no problem if one does not accept mine or Dembski’s claims. My more modest goal is that our claims are understood such that a clearer and fairer judgment of our claims soundness or value can be made. Much of the critiques of Dembski’s work are not accurate characterizations of his claims or definitions. I was naive enough at first to believe Dembski’s critics (including his former teacher) would accurately portray his work. I’m finding that to not be the case.

I’d say that ID critics do accurately portray ID arguments. Salvador’s task is to deflect these grenades, allowing people like Dembski to continue to ignore the real criticisms to ID. The complaint of the pseudoscientist often is that people have not understood his claims. However, when reading both the original claims AND the arguments against it, it becomes quickly self evident that the claims are as vacuous as the explanatory filter.
Sal can be often observed trying to distract from real criticsisms which expose the vacuity of his arguments by retreating to Omega space or Quantum Mechanics. Anything to deflect the argument from the vacuity of ID it seems.

Let’s see if Salvador is able to address the false positives claims, and the reality that such false positives exist, how it affects Dembski’s arguments.

We should be thankful this day for Sal’s ‘contributions’

Comment #59831

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:46 PM (e)

Once Again Sal Consider the “Natural” examples outlined in the Elsberry/Shallit paper. Consider the example of the Oklo Nuclear Reactor given in that paper. Are these “misrepresentations”? If so then demonstrate how Dembski was misrepresented. If they are not they stand as a disasterious critique of ID. Stop telling lies for God!

Comment #59832

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

The problem of false positives and false negatives combined with an eliminative argument is that there is no way to determine if a design inference is actually false positive, false negative or real. In other words, the design inference, which for all practical purposes is merely the null hypothesis cannot even compete with our ignorance.

In other words Design inference or ‘we don’t know’ are on equal footings which is why the design inference is correctly described as an argument from ignorance.

Sal has explained quite succinctly why the explanatory filter does little to explain.

When Dembski is asked to provide some details which would make his EF less vacuous, he argued

“As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.”

A better description of the scientific vacuity is hard to imagine…

Comment #59834

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:48 PM (e)

I’d say that ID critics do accurately portray ID arguments.

In Sal’s opinion if we don’t embelish the ID claims with the same ridiculous level of pointless technical jargon that Dembski does we are misrepresenting their arguements.

Comment #59836

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 1:51 PM (e)

Hi CBBB,
Isn’t Sal just amazing? When was the last time you heard such hypocrisy?

Sal and his ilk remind me of game show hosts…
Plenty of catch phrases, good makeup and cosmetics…but totally hollow ( then ask a difficult question and it is time for a commercial break).

You may as well try to knot fog or herd cats as engage them in meaningful conversation.

Comment #59838

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 1:52 PM (e)

Let’s explore Behe’s testimony in Dover

Q: It does not identify who the designer is, correct?
A That s correct. Let me just clarify that. I m talking about the scientific argument for intelligent design based on physical data and logic, yes.
Q You believe it s God, but it s not part of your scientific argument?
A That s correct.
Q It does not describe how the design occurred.
A I m sorry?
Q Intelligent design does not describe how the design occurred.
A That s correct, just like the Big Bang theory does not describe what caused the Big Bang.
Q Does not identify when the design occurred.
A That is correct.
Q In fact, intelligent design takes no position on the age of the earth or when biological life began.
A That s correct.
Q But think it was — the earth as billions of years old or 10,000 years old.
A That s correct.
Q It says nothing about what the designer’s abilities are.
A Other than saying that the designer had the ability to make the design that is under consideration, that’s correct.
Q It sounds pretty tautological, Professor Behe.

and

A Well, as I think I said in response to the question, we know the designer had the ability to make the design. So, but beyond that, we would be extrapolating beyond the evidence, so we can t say more than that.
Q And we know nothing about the designer s limitations.
A Well, we have to infer what we have from the data, and the data tell us that a designer can make a certain object. It does not say what the designer might not do. our everyday world somebody who makes some simple object might be able to make a more complex one or so on.
Q Intelligent design says nothing about the intelligent designer s motivations?
A The only statement it makes about that is that the designer had the motivation to make the structure that is designed.
Q How can intelligent design possibly make that statement, Professor Behe?
A I don t understand your question.
Q How can it possibly say anything about the intelligent designer s motives without knowing anything about who the intelligent designer is?

And so on. The designer designed because he was motivated to design it, he had the ability to design it because he designed it, but we don’t really know much of anything….

Comment #59839

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 1:55 PM (e)

In Sal’s opinion if we don’t embelish the ID claims with the same ridiculous level of pointless technical jargon that Dembski does we are misrepresenting their arguements.

Yes, the conflation and equivocation by some ID proponents is easily detected

For instance, the claim that science does not allow for intelligent design is often used in the same breath when making the statement that science successfully uses intelligent design detection is such areas as criminology, SETI, archaeology, cryptography etc.
Which exposes the real meaning of the term Intelligent Design. Namely the supernatural…

Comment #59840

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 1:57 PM (e)

Sal seems happy enough to respond when he thinks he can attract a convert or when someone wants to talk about Omega Spaces but actually ask pointed questions about the fundementals of ID or the Strong Arguements of Shallit/Elsberry’s critique on Dembski’s methods and he’s out of here.

Comment #59842

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:00 PM (e)

Sal, Provide us with real world applications of Dembski’s notions of CSI and the EF. And I do mean DEMBSKI’S notions and not trying to claim that Shannon Information is the same as Dembskism or something.

Comment #59843

Posted by Corkscrew on November 24, 2005 2:02 PM (e)

Happy thanksgiving to you too, Salvador.

Salvador wrote:

If it seems that I stated [it’s easy to distinguish between a designed system and a system arising from chance], or if it seems that is what I meant, I need to clarify because that does not reflect my position. It can be extremely difficult to discern designed from non-designed systems. The Explanatory Filter and Dembski’s technique are oriented to detecting designs that the designer is willing, if not eager to be detected as designed.

Fair point and a good distinction - apart from anything else, a universe with a designer who pretends not to exist is going to be functionally equivalent to one arising naturally, so such a designer would render the argument academic.

Unfortunately this doesn’t quite address my point. I maintain that there are situations even outside of the life sciences where disagreement can arise over whether an object appears to be “designed” or not (my cooking tends to fall into this category…) the classic example being artifacts like the “face on mars”, which look just designed enough to really freak people out. My point here is that the intuitive concept of “this looks designed” doesn’t necessarily translate in any useful way into a more rigorous framework. This isn’t something you need to counter (unless you really think I’m wrong), just something that needs to be kept in mind lest we stray from the path of mathematical rigour.

Salvador wrote:

First of all, the word random carries a lot of connotations and is subject to conflation and equivocation…. I try to use the word directed and non-directed, or purposeful and non-purposeful, guided or unguided.

I was trying to avoid using words like that as, for example, saying something is “guided” automatically implies a guide. However, you make a good point so I suggest we use “directed” and “undirected” for the purpose of this discussion, with the caveat that the direction need not come from an entity external to the system in question. I’ll use these words both intransitively and transitively - “that looks directed” and “this entity is directed towards purpose X” respectively.

Salvador wrote:

The number of bits generated by a genetic algorithm may be significantly larger than the output number of bits. The TSPGRID program by Shallit and Elsberry essentially did that. However the bits of CSI should not be equated with the number of bits in the output nor with the number of bits used to implement the genetic algorithm. That is a mathematical subtlety that escapes most. To see the distinctions I’ll have to walk through some detailed examples.

I’m not sure what you mean by “bits” here - the usages of the term that I’m familiar with are those of standard information theory (a bit as one unit of information) and computer science (a bit as a single pulse of electricity through a wire). Neither seems relevant here - what I was talking about was the ability of a system, if set up in a way that promotes “fitness”, to achieve a surprisingly high level of directedness from undirectedness. That this occurs is made clear by the many places where genetic algorithms are used. The detailed composition of such systems is possibly best left to a later phase of the discussion.

I currently have no clue what the TSPGRID algorithm involved - I’ve downloaded the relevant document and will read it when I have a moment. Having said that, I’m comfortable with as many mathematical subtleties as you can throw at me (after an afternoon of Number Fields, nothing can faze me here). Bonus points for using greek letters and other formal notation.

Salvador wrote:

I should note, what may seem trivial for you as an intelligent designer is challenging for a blind purposeless non-deterministic process. For example, it does not take much effort to make 500 coins heads from some general starting configuration. A blind purposeless non-deterministic process would be quite inadequate to do the same.

On the other hand, as the genetic algorithms example shows, directedness does not necessarily equate to a director. If, to choose a silly example, dice were to “breed”, and dice that averaged lower values when rolled a lot were “killed” off by distraught gamblers, it would be no surprise to see that the population of dice ended up horribly biased towards the higher scores. Eventually you’d get a population of dice that rolled sixes every time. Then, if you rolled 500 of them, it would not be outside the bounds of probability for them to all come up sixes. This is an example in which a blind, non-deterministic algorithm (I can’t speak for its purposelessness) would be quite adequate to produce a result that appears “designed”.

Salvador wrote:

When you program the environment in a GA, you are using the computer as a tool, but what is trivial to you (as in the act of programming) is difficult for a non-deterministic, unprogrammed, unguided process.

That may or may not be true, but it’s a little outside the scope of this discussion, which is, if I’m correct, aimed at whether life could have evolved rather than whether the environment it evolved in was natural or contrived.

Salvador wrote:

Let me know if what I have written in this post clarifies my position. I think it will address some of your other concerns, and then I can more effectively respond to your other points.

Thanks for the clarifications. I still need help understanding exactly (preferably in proper mathematical symbols) what you mean by physical and conceptual complexity if I’m to proceed further through your critique. Any links to resources on K-complexity would also be gratefully received.

Comment #59844

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Oh no Sal, You’ve Been Foiled Again! Confound it!

Comment #59845

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

I still need help understanding exactly (preferably in proper mathematical symbols) what you mean by physical and conceptual complexity if I’m to proceed further through your critique

Unfortunately Dembski just makes stuff like this up out of thin air. And, you should be aware that it isn’t actually a critique (at least the first post) because he isn’t attacking any of the issues raised by Shallit/Elsberry. He’s taken some questions and given answers largely unrelated to those questions.

Comment #59846

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 24, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

Mr. Cordova said:

You are in a vulnerable position to be debating with me unless you even have the works in question to discuss. If you have them handy, then we can compare notes. Do you have them?

But we have all of creation. You are in a vulnerable postion to be suggesting all of creation is in error if you steadfastly refuse to go look.

Compare notes? No, that’s not the game: You’re supposed to tell us how ID explains nature, without making a bizarre claim that life is like an electrical signal in a wire. Heck, make the claim: You can’t explain any part of nature either way, with your ID claims.

Comment #59848

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:37 PM (e)

You are in a vulnerable position to be debating with me unless you even have the works in question to discuss.

I forgot about this little piece of rhetoric. How am I in a vulnerable position, you won’t even answer simple questions about the scientific integrity of ID. How can it be tested? What experiements can we do? How is any of this CSI garbage applicable to biological evolution? Why does Dembski not respond to legitiment criticisms even after significant time has passed? How about addressing the core issues of the Shallit/Elsberry paper? Why does Dembski use overly technical terms like “Complexity” when he really means “improbability” and then accuse anyone who doesn’t use his terminology of misrepresentation?
I may not have read Dembski’s book but like I said I don’t need to read about Astrology to know that the idea that stars and planets affect our future is basless. Furthermore I do not need to read NFL to know that trying to disprove a field founded on and grounded in observation and experimentation using math is similarly an exercise in futility.

Comment #59849

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:40 PM (e)

You are a paper tiger Sal.

Comment #59850

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 24, 2005 2:52 PM (e)

Salvador typed:

In the diagrams dembski provides, it may seem that there are only 2 options, but a more thorough reading will show that there are actually 3.

1. Not Designed, and Rejected as not designed
2. Designed, but rejected as not designed
3. Designed, and accepted as designed

#2 happens frequently. For example,if one is trying to camouflage a target, it is a designed object, but the designers wish to conceal it’s design and make it appear indistinguishable from a natural object.

PvM responded:

There is actually a fourth option which Dembski ignored in his original works with a specious claim namely the falese positive “not designed and detected as designed”. This is the real problem of the design inference approach and is thus routinely ignored.

Oh, for crying out loud. The distinction between type I error (Cordova’s “#2”) and type II error (which Cordova ignores) is taught in the first week or two in every undergraduate statistics course. Is Cordova really that ignorant? Is he really that mendacious? How shall we decide?

Comment #59851

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

Any links to resources on K-complexity would also be gratefully received.

I think he’s talking about Kolmogorov Complexity. Actually the Appendix to the Shallit/Elsberry paper has a brief explanation. Jeff Shallit is actually willing to take the time and explain things in a straightforward manner, unlike other people….

Comment #59853

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 02:40 PM (e) (s)

You are a paper tiger Sal.

Would you like to borrow a match?

Comment #59855

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

The distinction between type I error (Cordova’s “#2”) and type II error (which Cordova ignores) is taught in the first week or two in every undergraduate statistics course.

RIGHT. I forgot what that was called. This is what I’ve been denouncing Sal for - he does not address the possibility (and there is a VERY large possibility) of a type II Error - and the probability of a Type II Error in using Dembskism to test whether an item is designed or not is very large. This was the main criticism of Shallit/Elsberry and in Sal’s so-called “rebuttle” he doesn’t even address this criticism. So what, Sal, Exactly are you refuting in your piece? Lots of smoke and mirrors is all I see.

Comment #59858

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Corkscrew asked:

what I was talking about was the ability of a system, if set up in a way that promotes “fitness”, to achieve a surprisingly high level of directedness from undirectedness. That this occurs is made clear by the many places where genetic algorithms are used.

GA algorithms are very powerful. What I was trying to point out was that its ability to solve problems ultimately is attributable to the implementor or designer of the genetic algorithm. An essential ingrediant to a genetic algorithm’s success is the intelligence that implemented and programmed the algorithm. The machinery to implement GA’s requires intelligence, this is borne out through the analysis of the required elements for a successful GA.

Intelligence may act through a surrogate such as a computer, robot, or GA. The issue of “bits” is useful for accounting for the amount of information the intelligent designer is infusing into the system. We can revisit that issue as needed.

Salvador

Comment #59859

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

Sal,
answer Lenny’s questions or bugger off plse.
You are spouting none-sense.

Comment #59861

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

Unfortunately this doesn’t quite address my point. I maintain that there are situations even outside of the life sciences where disagreement can arise over whether an object appears to be “designed” or not (my cooking tends to fall into this category…) the classic example being artifacts like the “face on mars”, which look just designed enough to really freak people out. My point here is that the intuitive concept of “this looks designed” doesn’t necessarily translate in any useful way into a more rigorous framework. This isn’t something you need to counter (unless you really think I’m wrong), just something that needs to be kept in mind lest we stray from the path of mathematical rigour.

The EF and varios techniques Dembski offers are not meant to detect all design. Things amenable to digital analysis are candidates for a more rigorous approach. Hence the issue of the number bits in a specification gives a measure of the strength of a particular inference. A specification with 1000 bits gives a stronger inference toward desgin than one with only 40 bits. Dembski believes 500 bits is sufficient, he derives the justification for that number in his books.

The rigor he offers is meant to help address your concern. Again, I’m not saying one must accept his thesis, but I don’t think you are coming closer to unerstanding his claims.

There is some relation to other sciences of how much rigor is enough. How many experiments, for example, are needed to be run before we have confidence we have justified a law of nature? Some extrapolation of a small sample space is in evidence in other scientific fields as well.

The formalism by Dembski help identify objects amenable to analysis and a high level of confidence if design is signalled.

The formations such as those on Mars I don’t think qualify for rigorous analysis. They are out of the domain of formal methods as far as I know.

There are some structures I think are very amenable to analysis such as the Biological Turing Machines which we find in living cells…

Salvador

Comment #59863

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:23 PM (e)

Hey Sal, Back again eh?

GA algorithms are very powerful. What I was trying to point out was that its ability to solve problems ultimately is attributable to the implementor or designer of the genetic algorithm. An essential ingrediant to a genetic algorithm’s success is the intelligence that implemented and programmed the algorithm. The machinery to implement GA’s requires intelligence, this is borne out through the analysis of the required elements for a successful GA.

True enough. Genetic Algorithms used in solving problems have a pre-defined fitness function and some sort of goal. How does this apply to biological evolution? Will you baselessly assert that a designer is needed or will you reduce your God to the status of a Deist God who is merely needed to begin the universe and nothing more?

Comment #59865

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:25 PM (e)

The EF and varios techniques Dembski offers are not meant to detect all design.

But will the EF mistakenly detect design when there is none present? You have not addressed this real and dangerous possibility.

Comment #59866

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

There are some structures I think are very amenable to analysis such as the Biological Turing Machines which we find in living cells…

Is this another example of one of Dembski’s greatest logical sins: proof from extended/false analogy?
I think it could be. Sounds an awful lot like “Flagellum are outboard motors”.

Comment #59867

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:29 PM (e)

I don’t think you are coming closer to unerstanding his claims.

His claims are bogus, you reinforce this view by dodging even simple questions just as Dembski does.

Comment #59868

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

How many experiments, for example, are needed to be run before we have confidence we have justified a law of nature?

AT LEAST ONE Sal, which you guys have yet to do. You don’t even have one.

Comment #59869

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:33 PM (e)

Regarding K-complexity, or Kolmogorov-Chaitin complexity or algorithmic entropy, you can get an informal sense of by way of illustration in ZIP files.

If I have an original ASCII 1 Megabyte file containing all zeros, it has low Kolmogorov Complexity compared to a JPEG file of the same size. One can try to compress a JPEG file and find it just doesn’t compress any further. That’s because it is K-complex. The file with all zeros can be compressed because it is not K-complex and thus can be compressed.

A more formal description here is at wikipedia:
K-Complexity.

K-complexity is a measure of how much a set of symbols resist being described by an algorithm with fewer bits than the set of symbols. A highly K-complex set of symbols are essentially resistant to data compression algorithms.

Dembski refers to k-complexity for certain classes of conceptual information. That should not be confused with his usage of “probabilistic complexity” which simply means improbability.

We have at least two complexities of interest:

1. K-complexity
2. Probabilistic complexity

Both are in Dembski’s writings.

Salvador

Comment #59870

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

Again, I’m not saying one must accept his thesis, but I don’t think you are coming closer to unerstanding his claims.

Corkscrew,

I meant to say, I DO think you are coming closer to understanding his claims. My apologies for my typos.

Salvador

Comment #59871

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

That should not be confused with his usage of “probabilistic complexity” which simply means improbability.

You know an easier way to avoid confusion would be IF DEMBSKI USED STANDARD TERMINOLOGY INSTEAD OF INVENTING HIS OWN TO MAKE HIS WORK APPEAR MORE SOPHISTICATED AND IMPRESSIVE THAN IT REALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment #59872

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 24, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

lol Sal,
Give it up.
You are sounding ridiculous.

Answer 1 or 2 of Lenny’s questions or go away.

Comment #59873

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

cbbb wrote:

His claims are bogus, you reinforce this view by dodging even simple questions just as Dembski does.

well observed… soon we will see Sal start rambling about turing macines, schroedinger while avoiding answering relevant questions.
You see, there is a big difference between quoting some random musings and actually presenting a scientific argument. ID remains scientifically vacuous by relying on flawed and debunked concepts.

Comment #59875

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

Lenny’s Question #1 is VERY sensible (actually all of his questions are) and pertinent to your whole field of endevour. If you can’t answer it than no amount of making up terminology or slapping around useless symbols will help.

Remember the fundemental rule of mathematics:

If you start from a false premise you will reach a false conclusion.

Comment #59877

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Sal NEVER addresses the reality that the Premise of Dembski’s work is False. Everything beyond that is irrelevent.

Comment #59878

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

Corkscrew commented:

That may or may not be true [GA’s requiring a designer], but it’s a little outside the scope of this discussion, which is, if I’m correct, aimed at whether life could have evolved rather than whether the environment it evolved in was natural or contrived.

Actually, in Dembski’s conception the mechanism by which a designer acts to fabricate design may be through a contrived environment. His analysis gives an idea of the level of design (information in bits) that the designer would have to infuse into the GA. If the designer chose to use natural selection to infuse an organism with Complex Specified Information, he shows that the selective forces require a certain level of design which he measures (in terms of bits) through his Displacement Theorem

Salvador

Comment #59880

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Right, I forgot to Mention. ID is basically compatiable with anything - it doesn’t take any REAL positions or make any testiable predictions. It doesn’t take risks, it stays very vague so you can’t disprove it.

Comment #59881

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

Also see Shallit/Elsberry’s criticism of the Displacement Theorem in their paper. This Criticism (as with almost all of the others) has yet to be addressed by Dembski, Sal, or any other IDer.

Comment #59882

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

Corkscrew:

Salvador: I’m having a little trouble with some of your article, specifically post 4 (the one with the pill box). I’m fine on the information theory (yes your numbers are correct), but I’m having trouble figuring out how conceptual and physical complexity are being derived from this. Is there a formal (i.e. lots of greek letters :P) definition floating around?

The bits are a measure of the “probabilistic complexity” (or improbability) of hitting Target T.

When asked for the number of bits of CSI, we are talking the number of bits derived from the the improbability.

The K-complexity does not figure in to the calculaiton of bits of CSI.

A. In the pill box example we have a case of :

1. High Probabilistic Comlexity
2. Medium K-Complexity

B. With 500 coins heads we have

1. High Probabilistic Comlexity
2. Lowest K-Complexity Possible

However both situations, A and B, the physical artifacts would be considered to be evidencing CSI.

Salvador

Comment #59884

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 5:06 PM (e)

Sal wrote:

Actually, in Dembski’s conception the mechanism by which a designer acts to fabricate design may be through a contrived environment. His analysis gives an idea of the level of design (information in bits) that the designer would have to infuse into the GA. If the designer chose to use natural selection to infuse an organism with Complex Specified Information, he shows that the selective forces require a certain level of design which he measures (in terms of bits) through his Displacement Theorem

Dembski however does not explain how intelligence can deal with his displacement theorem. In fact, he seems to (finally) accept that natural selection can infuse information just like an intelligence but now argues that this merely means that the origin of information has to be displaced further back in time.

In other words, let’s move all the way back to the low entropy Big Bang… But wait a minute now all the complex specified information can in principle be explained by natural processes and chance so what does ID have to offer? That the origin of the information/entropy remains ‘unexplained’? Fine… But that hardly makes ID scientifically relevant.

Dembski’s displacement ‘theorem’ only serves to make ID even less scientifically relevant. In the mean time we see how the concept of evolvability helps us explain why evolution has been so succesful. No need for ‘poof’….

The displacement theorem, much like the ‘no free lunch theorem’ which was ‘written in Jello’ mostly seems to contribute little to the problems with Dembski’s explanatory filter. As Elsberry and others had already predicted, Dembski seems to be moving more and more to frontloading. After all, Dembski’s
‘scientific explanation’ as to how a deity may inject information into our universe via a zero bandwith communication (infinite wavelength) shows how little scientific relevance can be found in Dembski’s musings.
Or does Sal agree with Dembski’s infinite wavelength concept?

Comment #59885

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 5:16 PM (e)

CBBB wrote:

Also see Shallit/Elsberry’s criticism of the Displacement Theorem in their paper. This Criticism (as with almost all of the others) has yet to be addressed by Dembski, Sal, or any other IDer.

Dembski’s displacement theory comes after Shallit and Elsberry’s paper. Until Dembksi presents his arguments in a more scientific setting, there is little reason to expose the flaws in his current ideas. After all, Dembski is on record how he ‘uses critics’…

I think the important realization is that evolvability itself is a selectable trait.

Comment #59886

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:17 PM (e)

GAME OVER SAL.

Comment #59887

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 5:18 PM (e)

“In fact, he seems to (finally) accept that natural selection can infuse information just like an intelligence” where does he do this? I don’t challenge your statement, I just haven’t come across it, because I don’t consider Dembski’s output worth reading.

Comment #59888

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:20 PM (e)

Dembski’s displacement theory comes after Shallit and Elsberry’s paper.

I must be thinking of something else then. I was refering to that criticism you just brought up when I said this:

..or will you reduce your God to the status of a Deist God…

Comment #59890

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 5:26 PM (e)

Corkscrew observed:

On the other hand, as the genetic algorithms example shows, directedness does not necessarily equate to a director. If, to choose a silly example, dice were to “breed”, and dice that averaged lower values when rolled a lot were “killed” off by distraught gamblers, it would be no surprise to see that the population of dice ended up horribly biased towards the higher scores. Eventually you’d get a population of dice that rolled sixes every time. Then, if you rolled 500 of them, it would not be outside the bounds of probability for them to all come up sixes. This is an example in which a blind, non-deterministic algorithm (I can’t speak for its purposelessness) would be quite adequate to produce a result that appears “designed”.

Let’s take an even more basic example. Anti-biotic resistance. When a population of bacteria forms resistance because a single nucleotide of DNA conveys resistance, the entire population goes from being diverse to being uniform with respect to that nucleotide “trait”. That is analogous to your illustration.

In such cases, it is a high probability event based on natural causes. The uniformity of the trait is not something that would signal design becuase it was a high probability event given the circumstances.

The question becomes then, what are the probabilities of the circumstances. For example, how likely is it that your evolving dice example can really happen. In theory yes, but in actuality, probably not. Thus one would highly suspect deliberate design of the population of dice you suggested (or perhaps some manufacturing error)….

The challenge then is to be able to reduce the number of non-directed pathways. In such cases it is fair to say,

Given what we know, in the absence of any further evidence to the contrary, such and such artifact is hypothesized to be designed. It is not an insistence that it is designed, but a hypothesis. It is a tentative hypotesis subject to Popperian falsification.

However, at some point, such as in the case of 500 coins heads, it is not really a matter of lack of knowledge that would make us reluctant to infer design. We make the confident inference because of the abundance of knowledge.

I would posit, we are coming close to that stage regarding the biological Turing Machine. Systems, such as the Turing Machine and self-replicating automata can not be attributable to any law of physics or chemistry or combination of chance and necessity. Albert Voie, a Cellular biologist and researcher with artificial intelligence outlines the issue well in his recent peer-reviewed paper:
Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent

It basically says Turing Machines can’t be made from self organizing materials. Combine this fact with Dembski’s displacement theorem, we see that random chance has a better chance of assembling Turing Machines than for a set of selective forces to exist which can construct a Turing Machine.

The displacement theorem in plain English simply says a factory and raw materials requires more design to manufacture products than the the design in the products themselves. A pencil factory is more complex than a pencil, a car factory more complex than a car, etc….

For natural selection to design a Turing Machine, the selective forces themselves would require a higher level of design than the Turing Machine itself.

Salvador

Comment #59891

Posted by RBH on November 24, 2005 5:27 PM (e)

Brian Spitzer wrote

The rebuttal’s also simple: Exactly how unlikely is it that X evolved? Show me the math. Show me the detailed calculations, taking into account what we know about population genetics, evolutionary history, natural selection, drift, population sizes, mutation rates, etc. Show me how you know that the evolution of X, or something equivalent, is so improbable.

Without such calculations, filled in with the appropriate details about mechanisms and reasonably accurate estimates of the variables involved, all of this mathematico-philosophical superstructure doesn’t demonstrate a thing.

Subsequently Corkscrew wrote

This is what makes genetic algorithms such a powerful tool - you don’t need to design the system, you just need to set up the environment and let it gradually improve itself.

In response, Salvador claimed

The number of bits generated by a genetic algorithm may be significantly larger than the output number of bits. The TSPGRID program by Shallit and Elsberry essentially did that. However the bits of CSI should not be equated with the number of bits in the output nor with the number of bits used to implement the genetic algorithm. That is a mathematical subtlety that escapes most. To see the distinctions I’ll have to walk through some detailed examples.

First, a note: I’ve read The Design Inference (twice) and No Free Lunch (some sections multiple times). My doctoral minor was stats. I’ve worked with evolutionary algorithms in an applied context for 15 years. So under Salvador’s conditions I’m qualified to speak to this issue.

On ARN some months ago I posed a challenge to IDists: Calculate the “complex specified information” associated with the outputs of the Avida evolutionary system reported by Lenski, et al., in their 1993 Nature paper. In that research, programs able to perform a number of logic functions evolved under a regime employing only random mutations and selection. All of the information necessary to calculate CSI is readily available. The starting point (the Ancestor program) and the ending programs of 23 runs are available. All the latter are “specified” in proper Dembskian terms: their functions (functional specifications are permitted) were specified prior to the runs. The complete evolutionary history of the case study run is available.

Salvador claimed he didn’t find that very interesting. I can only conclude that he has no genuine interest in validating the probabilistic apparatus in a situation where the provenance of the objects to be classified as “designed” or not is actually known. It’s much easier to make fuzzy claims about unknowns than to actually validate Dembski’s probabilistic methodology on objects whose history is known. Salvador offers endless examples of coin tossing and dice rolling and zip files, but he never ever touches anything remotely analogous to actual biological systems. With Brian Spitzer, I cannot see any connection with biology to be made from Dembski’s (and Salvador’s) blathering.

RBH

Comment #59893

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

Let’s look at Dembski’s displacement argument

Intelligence acts by changing probabilities. Equivalently, intelligence acts by generating information.

So in other words, generating information and changing probabilities are equivalent.

By intelligence, here, I mean something quite definite, namely, the causal factors that change one probability distribution into another and thus, in the present discussion, transform a blind search into an assisted search.

Again, intelligence seems to include ANY process which changes probability distributions.

In general, to justify the reduction of intelligence to stochastic mechanisms, these mechanisms need to supply a complete, self-consistent account of how changes in probability or net increases in information arise. As we shall see, the mathematics of blind and assisted searches precludes such an account, whether for neo-Darwinian assisted searches or for assisted searches in general.

The latter claim is one which needs to be clarified. Until Dembski however publishes his work, it seems unwise to give him the opportunity to ‘use his critics’.
Dembski may begin to explain how ‘intelligence’ escapes his theorem.

Comment #59894

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 5:31 PM (e)

Remember the fundemental rule of mathematics:

If you start from a false premise you will reach a false conclusion.

Rather, “If you start from a false premise you Can reach a false conclusion.”

Comment #59895

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

I would posit, we are coming close to that stage regarding the biological Turing Machine.

Here we go again, proof based on extended analogy.

Comment #59896

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

“In fact, he seems to (finally) accept that natural selection can infuse information just like an intelligence” where does he do this? I don’t challenge your statement, I just haven’t come across it, because I don’t consider Dembski’s output worth reading.

Natural Selection can infuse information. Dembski and others have said it is possible that Natural Selection was used to infuse CSI into biotic reality, but it does not mean it’s probable, and in the unlikely event Natural Selection was used to infuse CSI, the Selective forces would have to be under intelligent guidance, such as an intelligent selective breeder….

For the sake of argument, I admit it as logical possibility, but not a high probability.

Salvador

Comment #59897

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

PvM, was that a reply to me? If so I don’t understand it.

Comment #59898

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:36 PM (e)

iI would posit, we are coming close to that stage regarding the biological Turing Machine.

Translation: I’m full of crap.

Comment #59899

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:40 PM (e)

Before we go any further Sal I would like you to comment on the criticisms from Shallit/Elsberry concerning Dembski’s methods of calculating improbability/complexity. These criticisms cast a dark shadow over Dembski’s entire “hypothesis”.

Comment #59900

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 5:42 PM (e)

Salvador refers to a paper by Albert Voie, to argue that “I would posit, we are coming close to that stage regarding the biological Turing Machine. Systems, such as the Turing Machine and self-replicating automata can not be attributable to any law of physics or chemistry or combination of chance and necessity.”

I’d encourage Sal, to propose a more in depth and logical evaluation of his claim elsewhere. In fact I’d argue that science may have solved this ‘paradox’ already.

More later. Turkey is waiting

Comment #59901

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2005 5:43 PM (e)

One more time, Sal:

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Any time you are ready, Sal …. . After all, we don;t want all the lurkers to think that you CAN’T answer these simple questions, and are just a dishonest evasive blowhard. Right, Sal?

Comment #59902

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 5:45 PM (e)

1900’s Creationist: “Evolution is a lie.”
1980’s Creationist: “A little evolution is fine. But a lot of evolution is wrong.”
2005 Creationst: “All of evolution could be fine, but probably not.”

Looks like you guys are coming around, Sal, you’re just really slow.

Comment #59903

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 5:45 PM (e)

Natural Selection can infuse information. Dembski and others have said it is possible that Natural Selection was used to infuse CSI into biotic reality, but it does not mean it’s probable, and in the unlikely event Natural Selection was used to infuse CSI, the Selective forces would have to be under intelligent guidance, such as an intelligent selective breeder….

For the sake of argument, I admit it as logical possibility, but not a high probability.

In other words, false positives are a possibility after all which renders the EF useless in Dembski’s own words.

Intelligent guidance merely means a process that changes probability distributions. Ever heard of evolvability Sal?

Seems that Sal is adding to the demise of EF as a reliable indicator of design….

Comment #59904

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:48 PM (e)

Sal, you talk alot about calculating probabilities but I would like you to comment on the Shallit/Elsberry paper which provides evidence showing that Dembski’s probability calculations are highly dubious and often have nothing to do with real world events.

Comment #59906

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Also why did you claim that the Shallit/Elsberry paper did not successfully refute Dembski but then provided no real evidence to back up your claims? Why do you insist that you have addressed the criticisms present in the Shallit/Elsberry paper but then in your so-called “rebuttle” you fail to take on any of the major arguements of the Shallit/Elsberry paper and instead largely address unrelated issues? Why do you continue to avoid answering even basic questions that have been asked by Lenny Flank time and time again on this Blog? Why do you believe that mathematics can be used to refute a science grounded in observation and experimentation?

Comment #59907

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

In that research, programs able to perform a number of logic functions evolved under a regime employing only random mutations and selection. All of the information necessary to calculate CSI is readily available. The starting point (the Ancestor program) and the ending programs of 23 runs are available. All the latter are “specified” in proper Dembskian terms: their functions (functional specifications are permitted) were specified prior to the runs. The complete evolutionary history of the case study run is available.

And I do hope they bring the issue up in Mirecki’s class and someone will call him on it.

Regarding Avida, no provision for the probability of selective forces existing in physical reality is made. Well acatully, it’s given a 100% chance of existence once one puts it in the parameter file. In physical reality, such selective forces might well have closer to probability 0%, not 100%.

Various video games allow the user to wander through make believe worlds, and simulate all sorts of scenarios that have no basis in physical reality. I rate the selective forces in Avida’s world as in that category.

The problem of equivocation that surfaces in Avida are exactly the same class of equivocatons that appear in TSPGRID (also a GA). The outputs (however many number of bits) are the result of the choice of the programmers. So however many bits of CSI are output are correlated to the bits of CSI the programmer programmed by his choice. I point out again, the number of bits in the source code or executable are not directly relevant to calculating the number of bits in the output channel. The “bits” in this case of CSI refer to bits defined by the Target space (the space of outputs where a living creature of certain features is defined).

Thus, RBH, I have now esentially answered your question. I can even be generous and grant that the bits of CSI output is on the order of bits output. It does not negate the the requirement that an intelligence was needed or involved…..

I explored the calculations here:
CSI and Evolutionary Algorithms

Salvador

Comment #59908

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

And finally, why do you feel it neccesary to defend God with lies and dishonesty?

Comment #59910

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

In physical reality, such selective forces might well have closer to probability 0%, not 100%.

What is this based on? I would say that an organism that is ill prepared to survive in a certain environment would have a high probability of death without reproduction.

Various video games allow the user to wander through make believe worlds, and simulate all sorts of scenarios that have no basis in physical reality.

Much like the ramblings of you and Dembski?

Comment #59912

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 6:06 PM (e)


A physical artifact or event exhibits CSI if it conforms to some sort of blueprint (mental or otherwise) and the object is improbable.

You’re dead in the water Sal. How is this Probability calculated?!?!?! According to Shallit/Elsberry Dembski’s calculations of probability are dubious. I refer you to the “Election Ballot Example” give in the Shallit/Elsberry Paper.

Comment #59913

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Shallit/Elsberry still stands as a great impediment to Dembskist Ideology. TWO years has passed since publication and it still stands virtually unchallenged.

Comment #59914

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 6:21 PM (e)

Pleading Pleading Pleading,
Cordova’s Special Pleading,
ID’s Corpse Was Bleeding,
And Diiiiiied!

Comment #59915

Posted by Louis on November 24, 2005 6:28 PM (e)

Nice try Sal, but later on in this very thread (as well as many others) you dismiss “simple” objects with a wave of your hand as being outside the remit of the filter and methodology you claim to have.

So my understanding of your “reply” was pretty accurate. Complicity of the designer indeed! I mean honestly Sally, you can bloviate all you like about biological Turing machines and Kolmogorov complexity (terms and concepts you CLEARLY know less about than even someone so removed from that field as I am) but your twittering all boils down to your designer. After all you claim your filter and emthods are dependant on the whimsy of this designer. I can see it now “Oh I the desinger wish this design to be detectable, but I shall make this piece of design look undesigned”. It’s just the argument from mystery that we have been subjected to by the more cretinous godsters for centuries (the smart theists don’t bother with this total rot). Get a new record Sally!

It’s so obvious you’re trying to hide your Designer behind cloaks of mystery and loquacious garbage. And we all know who you think that designer is {wink}. If I were similarly religious to you, which thankfully I am not, I’d have to be pretty damned unsure of my faith to lie like you do in order to “support” it. Frankly you’re just a bit pathetic.

Comment #59916

Posted by steve s on November 24, 2005 6:29 PM (e)

I love the part about how it doesn’t matter that you can get more bits out of the running algorithm than the programmer put in, because there are these landscape bits, that just exist somewhere, which don’t have to be put in, but still count on the input side, so the Law of Conservation of Information still obtains. It’s kind of like an idiotic Information Theory version of Helmholtz free energy. You don’t have to put in all the bits, because some will just naturally flow in from the environment.

Einstein said it best: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and
I’m not sure about the universe.”

Comment #59920

Posted by RBH on November 24, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

Salvador wrote

Regarding Avida, no provision for the probability of selective forces existing in physical reality is made. Well acatully, it’s given a 100% chance of existence once one puts it in the parameter file. In physical reality, such selective forces might well have closer to probability 0%, not 100%.

I see. So now Salvador is denying that differential reproductive success occurs in varying environments, or at least it has a near zero probability of occurring. Guess that means he’s still eating teosinte on the cob. And there’s no such thing as “selective forces”. There is differential reproductive success of lineages with heritable variation as a function of their adaptations to population-limiting environments. And those are ubiquitous with probability = 1.0.

Salvador also said

I explored the calculations here:
CSI and Evolutionary Algorithms

I read that thread as it developed. More coin tossing.

I’m still waiting to see an actual calculation of “CSI” on a range of complicated objects of known provenance. How Salvador can claim that an index measures something about biological systems without ever once having calculated that index in the domain of interest boggles my mind.

RBH

Comment #59922

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

I’m telling you the only measure of probability that the IDers know is the uniform Binomial Theorem.

Also I don’t understand this factory analogy - if there’s conservation of information and the factory “infuses” the it’s outputs with CSI than to conserve the information in the universe wouldn’t the factory decline in CSI? That makes no sense but I guess because it’s Beheist-Dembskism.

Comment #59923

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

I’ve come to the conclusion, reading that Sal post that CSI is like Auras. It’s some mystical concept that we are just supposed to accept as being there and it can’t be reliably quantified or verified but it supposedly permiates the Universe.

Comment #59928

Posted by g bruno on November 24, 2005 9:12 PM (e)

I’m curious to see how long my comment/questions remain on teh UncommonDesc site
Comment by Hamilton — November 24, 2005 @ 8:12 pm
- apologies to the shade of Bill Hamilton for using his name
- hint to would be Hamiltonians: password on www.bugmenot.com

Comment #59929

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 9:25 PM (e)

Sal has shown how his familiarity with evolutionary theory is quite minimal.

Well done Sal. Hard to defend ID in real life, isn’t it.
Or is that not your intent?

Comment #59931

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 9:31 PM (e)

Sal’s objections show that he accepts that selective forces can create CSI but now the argument somehow has moved to ‘the probability of such selective forces’ is small…

ID seems to be becoming more and more scientifically vacuous every time Sal posts. Well done Sal, you have undermined yet another aspect of ID

Comment #59932

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 24, 2005 9:50 PM (e)

Until Sal answers Lenny’s questions:

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Any time you are ready, Sal … . . After all, we don;t want all the lurkers to think that you CAN’T answer these simple questions, and are just a dishonest evasive blowhard. Right, Sal?

can we all just assume that any other posts of his are just trolling? and can I remind you all ‘do not feed the troll’?

Sal: I know this might be irksome to you, but as you seem to have time to get involved in other discussions surely you can simply answer these questions and we can move on?

Comment #59933

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 10:00 PM (e)

Sal the Crackpot: 0
Panda’s Thumb: 10^150

Sal knows he can’t provide real answers to those questions, he knows he’s a crackpot but he has to keep telling his lies for Jesus.
I’m sure you’ll be well rewarded in the afterlife for your defense of Christ through dishonesty and cowerdice.

Comment #59937

Posted by k.e. on November 24, 2005 11:02 PM (e)

Sal how true is your “The Truth”
Does it not say that lying is against GOD ?

Comment #59938

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

I said it once and I’ll say it again:

GAME OVER, Sal.

Jeff Shallit will continue to cast a shadow over the ID movement.

Comment #59939

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 11:20 PM (e)

RBH claims:

So now Salvador is denying that differential reproductive success occurs in varying environments, or at least it has a near zero probability of occurring.

No, it’s the kind of selective forces, the kind that can make large scale biological innovation. No question there are selective forces, but do such forces exist to make large scale biological innovation.

Salvador

Comment #59940

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:26 PM (e)

No, it’s the kind of selective forces, the kind that can make large scale biological innovation. No question there are selective forces, but do such forces exist to make large scale biological innovation.

You mean the dying out of organisms not equipt for their environment and the survival of ones that are? What’s to question in that?

Comment #59942

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:30 PM (e)

No, it’s the kind of selective forces, the kind that can make large scale biological innovation. No question there are selective forces, but do such forces exist to make large scale biological innovation.

Here we are back to the old Creationist Micro/Macro evolution game.

Comment #59944

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

Old Crackpot Sal.

Comment #59945

Posted by RBH on November 24, 2005 11:43 PM (e)

Salvador asked

No, it’s the kind of selective forces, the kind that can make large scale biological innovation. No question there are selective forces, but do such forces exist to make large scale biological innovation.

That’s one of the nice things about the Avida platform: one can do actual research on questions like that. And it turns out that not a whole lot of “selective force” is necessary. Seems to me there’s a whole literature in popgen on that topic, with some spiffy math to go with it.

Further, it doesn’t take a whole lot of “selective force” to generate substantial morphological innovation: read some evo-devo, Sal.

Finally, as I mentioned above, “selective force” is a misnomer – there ain’t no such “force”. There is differential reproductive advantage. Don’t let your undergraduate physics contaminate your biology.

RBH

Comment #59946

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 24, 2005 11:46 PM (e)

RBH claims:

I’m still waiting to see an actual calculation of “CSI” on a range of complicated objects of known provenance.

I thought I had provided adequate examples, but rather than argue that, let’s go back to Avida.

Can you provide the ratio of the number of functional genomes versus the space of all possible genomes given a genome length, or at least an approximation?

If not, then I’ll give you an example, but since you are enamored with Avida we can try that first.

Salvador

Comment #59947

Posted by PvM on November 24, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

RBH wrote:

I’m still waiting to see an actual calculation of “CSI” on a range of complicated objects of known provenance.

Sal wrote:

I thought I had provided adequate examples, but rather than argue that, let’s go back to Avida.

Can you provide the ratio of the number of functional genomes versus the space of all possible genomes given a genome length, or at least an approximation?

If not, then I’ll give you an example, but since you are enamored with Avida we can try that first.

Since you were asked a question and you are merely ‘responding’ with ‘I thought I had provided adequate examples’ (hint: you have not) or ‘why don’t you do the calculations’, we once again see how Sal, has little of scientific relevance to contribute.

Avida is a real problem to those arguing that chance and necessity cannot create complex specified information since they have to now argue that while it of course can, it is somehow (insert handwaving) unlikely.
Of course in the mean time these ‘arguments’ further undermine the EF which supposedly has NO false positives. Sal seems to suggest that plenty may exist, just that they are, without much evidence, considered to be improbable.

If ID proponents cannot even calculate CSI in nature, how can one take their claims seriously…

Comment #59948

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:55 PM (e)

Are we Attempting another one of ID’s Famous Probability calculations to disprove evolution?
May I refer you to the 2003 paper by Shallit/Elsberry? http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/e…

Comment #59949

Posted by CBBB on November 24, 2005 11:58 PM (e)

Sal Have the IDists ever calculated the CSI in the input of a genetic Algorithm or Artifical Life program and then calculated the CSI in the output?

Comment #59950

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 12:04 AM (e)

And why do you think an arguement from probability is a solid way to disprove evolution? How do you know your probability calculations are based on the correct assumptions?

As showing in the 2003 paper by Shallit/Elsberry, http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/e… , many of Dembski’s probability calculations are based on ridiculous assumptions that have no grounding in the real world. Dembski also uses two different ways to calculate probability depending on the circumstance. How do you respond to these charges which, if true, demolish the entire basis of Dembski’s work.

Comment #59951

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 12:13 AM (e)

Sal seems to suggest that plenty may exist, just that they are, without much evidence, considered to be improbable.

The assertion that the EF will have a very low probability of producing false positives is based on the assumption that almost everything that exhibits SCI is designed. So as we can see the belief that the EF has a very low chance of producing false positives is reached via circular reasoning.
The probability of a false positive being produced by the EF is low because most objects that exhibit SCI are designed, this is conclusion is based on the underlying assumption of the EF.

As it stands SCI is a term that has no relevence to biology or Computer science outside Dembskiworld. No one uses it Sal and no one cares about it out side of Dembskiworld. You guys better get some tests going to show WHY anyone should give a damn about Beheist-Dembskism.

Comment #59955

Posted by PvM on November 25, 2005 12:29 AM (e)

Indeed, some of the testimony in the Dover trial suggested this circularity in the arguments of ID proponents. Interesting but so far ID still has nothing much contributed scientifically

Comment #59957

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 12:39 AM (e)

I find it funny that Sal comes around here being the big-man who has all the answers but he hasn’t even addressed any of the concerns I’ve raised. Nor has he ever addressed the questions of Lenny.

Comment #59958

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 12:40 AM (e)

He is a very professional Propagandist however. Maybe before he was an actual scientists but now he is nothing more than a crank-pseudoscientist who spews Dembski Cult Propaganda.

Comment #59959

Posted by BNimble on November 25, 2005 1:01 AM (e)

I took a look through Dembski’s “Searching Large Spaces” paper. Much ado about assisted versus blind searches. Interesting in and of itself, when you talk about large spaces of possibility and you need to target a specific spot inside them.

Dembski wrote:

Is it even reasonable, whether in biology or elsewhere, to think that the assisted searches that
successfully locate small targets in large spaces should be conceived as purely the result
of stochastic mechanisms?

Where I think it falls down is in equating evolution by naturalistic means as “finding a small target in a large space”. This smacks of ascribing purpose to evolution, to imply that because an organism is the way it is, that the particular genetic code is the target. Whatever “search” is going on in evolution (and it’s a “search” without an ultimate destination) is small steps, and very much in parallel, unlike the implication of a singular target-driven assisted search.

Dembski wrote:

The No Free Lunch Regress,
by demonstrating the incompleteness of stochastic mechanisms to explain assisted
searches, fundamentally challenges the materialist dogma that reduces all
intelligence to chance and necessity.

Yay, watch him beat the stuffing out of the man of straw once again!

(The hay goes flying…)

– Ritchie

Comment #59961

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 25, 2005 1:58 AM (e)

I am starting to think that Sal is a parody.
Surely it is someone posting as a joke.

Comment #59963

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 25, 2005 2:33 AM (e)

Cordova typed:

In physical reality, such selective forces might well have closer to probability 0%, not 100%.

CBBB asked:

What is this based on? I would say that an organism that is ill prepared to survive in a certain environment would have a high probability of death without reproduction.

Simple: Cordova vomited this “fact” up. It was created in his GI tract, ab initio, from partially digested turkey and cranberry sauce. It certainly has no basis in fact, theory, or measurement.

Comment #59964

Posted by speck on November 25, 2005 2:46 AM (e)

Sal,

On behalf of the many lurkers here, may you please address at least the first question the “Rev. Dr.” asks you?

As long as ID claims to be scientifically based, question #1 is completely fair….Your avoidance of this particular question is starting to make my hair hurt.

Comment #59966

Posted by Salvador's House Elf on November 25, 2005 4:56 AM (e)

I will attempt an honest answer at Dr. Rev. Sir Lenny Flank’s first question. Actually first two questions…

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

The scientific theory of intelligent design says that everything in the universe is designed by a Curiously Unspecified Presumed Intelligent Designer (Cupid for short). I know this is the case because I believe it to be true. It’s true because I believe it, I believe it because it’s true. It’s a scientific theory because I say it is.

How do we test it using the scientific method? Well, we look at something and we can plainly see that it’s obviously been designed. Because I believe that Cupid exists, and everything in the universe was designed by Cupid, then it’s obvious, OK? I don’t need to test stuff that’s obvious (sheesh!).

Comment #59968

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 25, 2005 6:47 AM (e)

Posted by Salvador’s House Elf on November 25, 2005 04:56 AM (e) (s)

That is pretty funny.
H’mmmmm, I think I can smell pizza.

Comment #59969

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 25, 2005 6:49 AM (e)

.. so Salvadors house has an elf? - and at least one troll of course - it’s beginning to develop a mythology of it’s own. Salavador himself of course seems to fear answering Lenny’s questions in the same way that Rumplestiltskin fears revealing his name…
Perhaps we could open a thread for Salvador where those who wish to feed the troll can do so; but until then can I suggest we keep him focused on Lenny’s questions?
Here they are Sal - in case you need a reminder:

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Any time you are ready, Sal … . . After all, we don;t want all the lurkers to think that you CAN’T answer these simple questions, and are just a dishonest evasive blowhard. Right, Sal?

.. we’re waiting Sal.. (10^150:1 that Sal either wanders off to another thread or comes in with another tangential post)

Comment #59973

Posted by Salvador's House Elf on November 25, 2005 7:44 AM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

That is pretty funny.
H’mmmmm, I think I can smell pizza.

My name is Leecher. I help my Master Salvador answer questions that he doesn’t like very much. I just try to help my Master, who is an important Design Bleater (the uncommon followers of He Who WILL Not Be Named) and is often too busy to answer questions from nasty darwuggles.

My Master likes pizza. It gets delivered by someone else though…

Comment #59975

Posted by Godsword on November 25, 2005 8:59 AM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova,

Perhaps you can illustrate CSI with the the Biblical Equations? Douglas J. Bender is still waiting for your appraisal.

In Christ.

Comment #59977

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 25, 2005 9:10 AM (e)

Where I think it falls down is in equating evolution by naturalistic means as “finding a small target in a large space”.

All Dembski is doing is “drawing the bullseye around the bulelt hole”. This is sometimes referred to as the “Texas Marksman”, who walks over to a barn door, blasts away, then draws a bullseye around every hole and brags about how wonderful it is that he hit all the targets. Of course, if his bullets had hit anywhere else, he’d be bragging how wonderful it is that he hit THOSE targets, instead.

Dembski’s “target space” is the same thing.

ANY result, in ANY thing, is extremely improbable beforehand (what are the odds that THIS snowflake landed exactly on THAT windowsill?????).

Alas for Dembski, calculating the “probability” of something AFTER IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED is an exercise in uselessness. If Dembski really wanted to impress me with his mathematical gibberish, he’d use ID to predict something BEFORE it happens.

But I forgot — “ID isn’t that kind of science”. (snicker) (giggle)

Comment #59979

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 9:18 AM (e)

GAME OVER Sal. Go back to your “Complexity Calculators” and try to prove evolution is wrong because it would need to generate too much “complexity”.

Man you and your groupies are quite the pseudoscientists.

Comment #60005

Posted by RBH on November 25, 2005 1:34 PM (e)

Salvador wrote

I thought I had provided adequate examples, but rather than argue that, let’s go back to Avida.

Can you provide the ratio of the number of functional genomes versus the space of all possible genomes given a genome length, or at least an approximation?

If not, then I’ll give you an example, but since you are enamored with Avida we can try that first.

In fact, Sal, you have provided not one example that can be mapped into biological processes. Coins and dice are poor representations of cumulative selection.

Very well, go ahead with Avida. But drop the “we” – it’s your conception, so you calculate it. Your probability calculations require knowing the number of functional genomes and the size of the space of all genomes, and it’s your claim that the ratio is too small, so you calculate them. And do it with the Avida critters, since we have full information on their provenance. I’ll watch: this is a spectator sport for me now, and it’s becoming boring. Try something a little closer to what evolutionary theory suggests happens. Coin tossing is sooo yesterday’s Henry Morris, y’know.

===================

BNimble wrote

Where I think it falls down is in equating evolution by naturalistic means as “finding a small target in a large space”. This smacks of ascribing purpose to evolution, to imply that because an organism is the way it is, that the particular genetic code is the target. Whatever “search” is going on in evolution (and it’s a “search” without an ultimate destination) is small steps, and very much in parallel, unlike the implication of a singular target-driven assisted search.

There’s a worse problem with Dembski’s “Searching Large Spaces”. It is this. An evolving population is already on a target T – if it’s replicating, it is on a high enough fitness peak to … erm … replicate. It doesn’t have to find some distant ‘target’ to persist through time. Furthermore, an evolving population does not randomly draw samples from the whole space, but rather preferentially samples the part of the space near itself. Most mutations have relatively little phenotypic effect, and thus most of the “searching” is in the close vicinity of the already successful population. Since a population preferentially samples the portion of the whole space that is near a known fitness peak, the assumption of a uniform PDF over the whole space, employed in Dembski’s model, is invalid, rendering his model useless for characterizing evolutionary ‘search’. (I’ll also note that I find the description of biological evolution as a search process more than a little deceiving, and all but useless on that account. GAs, which I use in an applied context, clearly are search processes, but biological evolution is not generally usefully described that way, IMO.)

RBH

Comment #60007

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

Sorry Sal you base all your ID “theory” on the assumption that “a biological system can be accurately model by coin flipping and dice rolling or any other discrete uniform probability model” well that’s exactly where you’re entire grand theory falls to pieces Sal.

Not only are Dembski’s words Written in Jello but the entire edifice of ID is built on it.

Comment #60010

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

Sal has absolutely failed to stand up to a single criticism here. Can there be no doubt that he is merely a psuedoscientist?

It seems like Sal is some sort of professor. Well I think we should tell his students that we have a sure-fire way to get him to dismiss class early:

Stand up in class and ask him “What is the scientific theory of ID and how is it testiable using the scientific method?”

Sal will promptly get up and run from the room screaming about “Omega Spaces” and “cellular Turing Machines”.

Comment #60011

Posted by PvM on November 25, 2005 1:50 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

I am starting to think that Sal is a parody. Surely it is someone posting as a joke.

That’s a reasonable position to take and I have often wondered myself if Sal is presenting a clever parody of ID. But since ID is mostly a parody by itself, it does not necessarily need a Sal.
Sal, as best as I can understand him, is a searching soul who holds to YECism, despite the evidence. This may explain his position towards ID which not only is not supported by a theoretical foundation but also scientifically vacuous.

Sal’s role seems to be a self appointed ‘shield’ to protect ID and ID ‘researchers’ like Dembski from criticisms.
Little does Sal know that his ‘shield’ helps blow up the ID argument.

For example, Sal has accepted false positives, although he argues without any scientific foundation that they are improbable. However, as Dembski clearly stated, the possibility of false positives would render the explanatory filter useless.

The conclusion thus seems self evident.

Comment #60012

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 25, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 01:45 PM (e) (s)

Sal has absolutely failed to stand up to a single criticism here. Can there be no doubt that he is merely a psuedoscientist?

Actually Sal has a job In a circus.
He is a catcher of Designated grenades.

Part-time he works in Mordor; with all the other Trolls.

Comment #60014

Posted by RBH on November 25, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

CBBB speculated

It seems like Sal is some sort of professor. Well I think we should tell his students that we have a sure-fire way to get him to dismiss class early:

No, AFAIK Sal has bachelor’s degrees in CS and EE. There may be one more BS lurking in there somewhere, too, maybe math. But he’s far from a “professor”.

RBH

Comment #60015

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

Oh…From his posts he gave the impression that he holds some sort of professorship or higher level research position at a University (I suspected George Mason because his name links to the GMU IDEA Club Webpage).

I mean his so-called “Rebuttle” of the Shallit/Elsberry paper mentions research he worked on and what not with respect to molecular machines and quantum computing.

I was operating under the idea that Sal really knew what he was talking about but he was just basing his stuff on Dembskis’ baseless assertions and false assumptions.
So, basically he’s nowhere near qualified to take on a mathematician of the caliber of Jeff Shallit.

Comment #60018

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 2:25 PM (e)

Not to be elitist here but he makes it sound like Shallit/Elsberry made “boneheaded”, sophomoric mistakes in their paper and I assumed he had the background knowledge comparable to Shallit.

Comment #60021

Posted by Bob O'H on November 25, 2005 2:41 PM (e)

Alexey Merz wrote:

PvM responded:

There is actually a fourth option which Dembski ignored in his original works with a specious claim namely the falese positive “not designed and detected as designed”. This is the real problem of the design inference approach and is thus routinely ignored.

Oh, for crying out loud. The distinction between type I error (Cordova’s “#2”) and type II error (which Cordova ignores) is taught in the first week or two in every undergraduate statistics course. Is Cordova really that ignorant? Is he really that mendacious? How shall we decide?

As a member of the Great Statisticans’ Conspiracy, I know of the secret Type III error: using the wrong test. We don’t publicise it much, because we’d be out of jobs if anyone actually used the right test.

This is sort-of relevant to this article: it shows that Prof. Mirecki shouldn’t be educating his students about how bad ID is: he’s putting himself out of a job.

Bob

Comment #60024

Posted by RBH on November 25, 2005 2:50 PM (e)

CBBB wrote

Oh…From his posts he gave the impression that he holds some sort of professorship or higher level research position at a University (I suspected George Mason because his name links to the GMU IDEA Club Webpage).

I mean his so-called “Rebuttle” of the Shallit/Elsberry paper mentions research he worked on and what not with respect to molecular machines and quantum computing.

AFAIK, Sal was (and perhaps still is) a junior engineer working on a couple of defense-related projects somewhere. On ARN he styles himself as an Engineer, Scientist.

RBH

Comment #60026

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

I see. Well as I’ve mentioned before since his “Rebuttle” doesn’t actually seem to address any of the questions raised by the Shallit/Elsberry paper it isn’t even really a Rebuttle to begin with.
Like I said his writing seems to paint Shallit as some sort of half-assed mathematician when in reality he’s way above both Sal and Dembski’s levels.
the Shallit/Elsberry arguements stand on their own, of course, regardless of the academic status of it’s authors but this now shows that Sal’s arrogant tone (all those snotty smiley and surprised faces) in his articles was completely unwarrented.

Comment #60030

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

History always repeates itself

Sal Plays Sancho to the self proclaimed “Don”

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

each basking in the light shining from the open doors of their private hells.

Comment #60031

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Dembski Quixote!

Comment #60032

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

Actually that SHOULD be

Dembski-Xote

Comment #60033

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 25, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

Salavador been back yet? – didn’t think so - and after all the lovely troll food you left out for him? - perhaps he’s just lurking…
ARE YOU LURKING SAL? - WANT TO ANSWER LENNY’S QUESTIONS YET!.
no.. thought not,
he’ll probably pop up on another thread soon enough….

Comment #60036

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Well I plan to join Lenny in his crusade, I’m going to wave the Shallit/Elsberry stick whenever I see him post here.

Comment #60037

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 4:03 PM (e)

Because Sal seems to be big into the Math/CS arguements to help support ID, but it seems like those arguements were completely demolished in Shallit/Elsberry.

Comment #60040

Posted by PvM on November 25, 2005 4:05 PM (e)

Sal is known for playing hide and seek when the heat gets turned up. Watch him come back and argue as if nothing has happened, raising the same objections and arguments.
Sal’s ‘arguments’ are well known for its ‘stasis’.

Comment #60045

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

Sal is a good propagandist though. When he first showed up on this thread he really gave me the impression that he knew what he was talking about and could defend his position. But like I said he’s shown himself to be a paper tiger.

Comment #60049

Posted by BNimble on November 25, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

RBH wrote:

There’s a worse problem with Dembski’s “Searching Large Spaces”. It is this. An evolving population is already on a target T

Right on target. It’s not as though nature starts from a random spot in every single generation, as Dembski seems to be implying.

I’m trying to have children, but oh no! I’m unable to because of the time it’s taking to make an blind search through the space of all possible beings! Oh, thank goodness there’s a Designer after all, now I can make a much faster assisted search! Perhaps overreaching, but is that not what he’s implying here?

RBH wrote:

Most mutations have relatively little phenotypic effect, and thus most of the “searching” is in the close vicinity of the already successful population

The phenotypic effects would end up being relatively small. If they are too large, it’s be hard to gain fitness for an environment. There would be “overshoots” that reduce their fitness for an environment, even if it was in the right “direction” in the first place, and population statistics takes care of the rest :)

RBH wrote:

Since a population preferentially samples the portion of the whole space that is near a known fitness peak, the assumption of a uniform PDF over the whole space, employed in Dembski’s model, is invalid…

Dembski has been well aware of Climbing Mount Improbable’s analogy and landscape for a long time now. It seems patently dishonest for him to totally flatten out the landscape (since his search space and Mount Improbable’s search space, IMO, are trying to represent the same thing) and then mischaracterize evolution as playing in the flat, featureless, undirected plains.

– Ritchie

Comment #60052

Posted by steve s on November 25, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Do you notice that Sal comes here and argues for Dembski, but Dembski (reads but) almost never comes here himself? There’s a good reason for this. Sal is naive enough to be a true believer. He really thinks there’s scientific merit here, and one day he’ll convince the scientists. Dembski knows there isn’t. He’s not wasting his time on us. His actions are geared toward converting the religious and scientifically ignorant folk. Dembski and Cordova behave in different ways because they have different motives.

Comment #60053

Posted by ben on November 25, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

But like I said he’s shown himself to be a paper tiger.

The primary prey of which is the straw man. Oh, the carnage.

Comment #60055

Posted by CJ O'Brien on November 25, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

As regards the EF and the asserted but unjustified “low probability” of false-positives, hasn’t it crossed Dembski’s addled mind that such an algorithm would, overnight, revolutionize archaeology?

There is no better refutation of these probabilistic arguments, in my opinion, than the IDers’ stubborn refusal to apply them to anything in the real world.

Vacuous is as vacuous does, in other words.

Comment #60056

Posted by guthrie on November 25, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

Danger! Fire Hazard! No naked flames!

(apropos of paper tigers and straw men)

Anyway, it has amused me for a year or two to think of all us variety of individuals in society as variations awaiting the filtering of events. Think of people who seem to rise to the outlandish occaision they find themselves in, and how some peopel dont seem to to fit in any time at all.
(note- this is not a scientific claim, just an idea. Feel free to critiscise)

Comment #60062

Posted by steve s on November 25, 2005 6:04 PM (e)

Comment #60055

Posted by CJ O’Brien on November 25, 2005 05:23 PM (e) (s)

As regards the EF and the asserted but unjustified “low probability” of false-positives, hasn’t it crossed Dembski’s addled mind that such an algorithm would, overnight, revolutionize archaeology?

See my After the Bar Closes post about scenarios we’d see if Dembski was right.

Comment #60064

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

You know what Steve S, I was thinking about that myself.

If you read Cordova’s first post which was supposedly trying to refute Shallit/Elsberry - he praises Shallit and Elsberry for their suggestions to ID, especially their Appendix Suggestion for a new version of SCI based on K-Complexity. He mentions how the Shellit/Elsberry suggestions will help to solve many problems in ID and lead to new research paths (like they had any to begin with any way). But on the other hand Sal seems like an educated person, you’d think after coming here over and over and being unable to answer basic questions his confidence in ID would have been shot down by now. I mean as far as I can see his arguements have never been able to widthstand basic questioning.

Comment #60066

Posted by CBBB on November 25, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

Testing the EF would be pretty straightforward. Theoretically it IS falsifiable (although ID theory as a whole is not), you could pick an object which is known to have been created naturally and see if the EF delivers the right prediction. Or you could pick an object for which the history was unknown and use the EF and then try to find the real cause via an independant method.

Comment #60068

Posted by RBH on November 25, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

steve s wrote

Do you notice that Sal comes here and argues for Dembski, but Dembski (reads but) almost never comes here himself? There’s a good reason for this. Sal is naive enough to be a true believer. He really thinks there’s scientific merit here, and one day he’ll convince the scientists. Dembski knows there isn’t. He’s not wasting his time on us. His actions are geared toward converting the religious and scientifically ignorant folk. Dembski and Cordova behave in different ways because they have different motives.

There’s another reason. Dembski doesn’t control this venue, and can’t delete inconvenient comments. Moreover, he doesn’t dare be caught peddling the same B.S. that Sal does, since it’s so easily shown to be full of holes. Dembski has to try to stay above the fray, pretending that his work is too esoteric to be understood by mere mortals. It’s been his consistent pattern on ISCID (his own site), ARN, and Uncommon Descent, his so-called blog. Notice also that he’s a very sparse presence on the ID group blog, IDtheFuture. I count only half a dozen or so posts from the Fig Newton of Info Theory. Perhaps his new duties at the Baptist seminary in Kentucky are occupying his time.

RBH

Comment #60070

Posted by CJ O'Brien on November 25, 2005 6:16 PM (e)

CBBB,
Sal’s “confidence in ID” stems from his confidence in an inerrant scripture.

Furthermore, he is a narcissist and a XXXXXX XXXXXX [PvM: See my following comment]. Arguments and evidence are never going to make him rethink anything, however reasonable he may occasionally pretend to be.

Comment #60086

Posted by speck on November 25, 2005 7:46 PM (e)

Sal works on defense related projects!?

Comment #60088

Posted by PvM on November 25, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

If you read Cordova’s first post which was supposedly trying to refute Shallit/Elsberry - he praises Shallit and Elsberry for their suggestions to ID, especially their Appendix Suggestion for a new version of SCI based on K-Complexity.

Sal likes to taunt people with ID… He’s not very good at it but it’s still funny to observe him trying to inflate the importance of ID or trying to suggest that ID critics have added to ID’s credibility. When pressed for details, reality soon overshadows the wishful thinking.

PS I do not tolerate accusations of lying and will delete any postings which accuse people of being liars. You can call people being misguided, or misunderstanding the relevant concepts but the accusation of lying requires too much evidence that is mostly unavailable to us.
Please no discussions on this topic either.

Comment #60092

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 25, 2005 8:10 PM (e)

In fact, Sal, you have provided not one example that can be mapped into biological processes.

Say what RBH, Turing Machine bits are relevant. I’ve tried to use them as examples. Tom English pointed out that a minimum for 200 bits was needed, and I pointed out that in addition to those 200 bits were all the supporting cast of parts which Voie has enumerated….I pointed out Roger Penrose places the number at over 5000 and von Neumann (for a self replicating automata) at somewhere near 150,000. The point being, even a measly 200 bits is a tough target to hit…..

I seem to recall I fed someone some humble pie:

Natural Selection Goes the Wrong Way

RBH:
While the assembly language of the avida platform is itself Turing complete, meaning that one could write a Universal Turing machine in it, the Ancestor critter with which a run starts is emphatically not a Turing machine.

Sal:
Sorry RBH, I take no pleasure in rebuking your quotes, but the bolded part is patently ridiculous. How in the world is a Turing Complete language implemented if there is not a Turing Machine infrastructure underlying the system.

RBH:
Salvador is correct: It is a Turing machine.

We were talking biologically relevant? Turing Machines are biologically relevant.

:-)

RBH wrote:

Very well, go ahead with Avida. But drop the “we” — it’s your conception, so you calculate it. Your probability calculations require knowing the number of functional genomes and the size of the space of all genomes, and it’s your claim that the ratio is too small, so you calculate them. And do it with the Avida critters, since we have full information on their provenance. I’ll watch: this is a spectator sport for me now, and it’s becoming boring. Try something a little closer to what evolutionary theory suggests happens. Coin tossing is sooo yesterday’s Henry Morris, y’know.

Well, I thought I’d ask about the functional space of Avida genomes, it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t have an answer as I believe even the Avida authors were at a loss themselves in their attempts to measure complexity. But it’s ultimately a moot point, I said, if one’s intent were to somehow show that novel CSI was created by AVIDA, we could be generous (only for the sake of argument) and even grant that all the sum total of all the bits, output was CSI, but as I pointed out, the constraints of the designer’s choices are expressed through the design of Avida (and the parameter files), and therefore the CSI output, whatever number you affix is evidence and an accounting of the designer’s infusion of CSI to the output channel….

A lot of this still boils down to measuring the CSI involved in forming the first Turing Machine.

Further, the analysis of CSI does not fall to every obviously designed object. There is the issue that the specification must be tractably analyzable, that means we can put a number on the ratio of specified outcomes to all possible outcomes. Since you did not have a number for that ratio, until one does so, AVIDA’s output will remain outside the domain of affixing exact numbers. Even the Avida authors are finding it problematic to affix complexity numbers to their own system. But, I point out it’s a moot point, Avida only restates a tautology: if selective pressures exist to make large scale biological innovation, then large scale biological innovation will happen….

The question is of course whether, such a set of selective pressures can even exist in biotic reality. Awfully hard to selectively breed a fish into a horse, what makes you all think a blind watchmaker can do any better….

Salvador

Comment #60093

Posted by Registered User on November 25, 2005 8:17 PM (e)

You can call people being misguided, or misunderstanding the relevant concepts but the accusation of lying requires too much evidence that is mostly unavailable to us.

What about Bill Buckingham?

Seriously, PvM, the evidence required to show that someone is truly “misguided” is really no different in kind from the evidence required to show that someone is truly “dishonest.” For example, in order to show that someone willfully intends to deceive others, all that is needed is evidence of some motive to deceive and evidence that facts contrary to those asserted by the alleged deceiver are known by the alleged deceiver.

With all due respect to Mr. Cordova (by which I mean “very little respect, indeed”), Mr. Cordova has been busted flat-out lying on this blog and I do not recall him every recanting or apologizing for his fabrications which were incontrovertibly willful.

Do you need me to provide you with a link to the comment in question where Mr. Cordova was caught lying to us all, willfully and undeniably????

Let me know and I will spend the time needed to dig it up so you can refresh your memory, Pim.

I understand that this is “your thread” and you can “do whatever you want.”

By why would you choose to revise history in favor of Salvadore Cordova????????

That seems like an odd thing to do, from my perspective.

Comment #60094

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 25, 2005 8:18 PM (e)

PvM:

He’s not very good at it but it’s still funny to observe him trying to inflate the importance of ID

Well, thank you for you hospitality on this thread, Pim. I’ll respect your requests of me in this thread.

I do believe the original topic was the KU class, but Corkscrew seemed sincere in soliciting information, and out of respect for RBH, I thought it appropo to respond to
him.

These and other matters, such as shallit and elsberry’s paper, Avida, CSI can be persued elsewhere if you indicate that’s what you want, so that the original topic can be resumed (ID course in KU)….

regards,
Sal

Comment #60096

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 25, 2005 8:27 PM (e)

This makes my skin crawl.

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 25, 2005 08:18 PM (e) (s)

Well, thank you for you hospitality on this thread, Pim. I’ll respect your requests of me in this thread.

I do believe the original topic was the KU class, but Corkscrew seemed sincere in soliciting information, and out of respect for RBH, I thought it appropo to respond to
him….

Why will you not answer Lenny’s basic questions Sal?

Comment #60097

Posted by PvM on November 25, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

Stephen Elliot, you are right, this may all seem to be a bit creepy… But I have argued with Sal before and his actions can be quite predictable when he has been forced to ‘eat crow’. In no particular order

1. Excessive politeness
2. Appeal to irrelevant concepts such as Turing machines, Schroeding equations, quantum mechanics
3. Taunting people with comments such as ‘Shallit, Dembski’s former teacher’
4. Unsupported claims and assertions

Sal however is invited to continue addressing the questions raised on this thread. I myself would love to see him for once address the issues without being evasive.

So far Sal has addressed some issues raised by RBH while still avoiding doing the hard work and support his claims. Whenever an algorithm has been shown to generate CSI, his predictable retreat to ‘well who designed the algorithm’ somehow keeps missing the point that Dembski claimed that CSI cannot be generated by such processes. Now the new approach has been to argue that there is a ‘displacement problem’ but Sal fails to explain how intelligent designers can circumvent the displacement problem. In fact, intelligence is defined as follows by Dembski

By intelligence, here, I mean something quite definite, namely, the causal factors that change one probability distribution into another and thus, in the present discussion, transform a blind search into an assisted search.

In general, to justify the reduction of intelligence to stochastic mechanisms, these mechanisms need to supply a complete, self-consistent account of how changes in probability or net increases in information arise. As we shall see, the mathematics of blind and assisted searches precludes such an account, whether for neo-Darwinian assisted searches or for assisted searches in general.

If blind and assisted searches preclude such an account then intelligence either cannot be as defined by Dembski or his argument is wrong since causal factors in evolution do exist that change one probability distribution into another. If this transforms a blind search into an assisted search then the failure of an assisted search to explain net increases in information show that intelligence itself is unable to increase information as well.
Now there are far more troubling problems with Dembski’s formulation but the displacement problem seems to have some basic problems that need to be addressed.
In fact, I’d argue that we can have fully natural processes explaining life and the universe originating from the Big Bang, and hide our ‘designer’ behind the Planck Time.
Of course this makes ID clearly scientifically vacuous.
One could claim that the designer interfered with ‘creation’ in other times but there is no scientific way to differentiate this form of CSI from apparant CSI created by regularity and chance processes.
Elsberry already addressed this major deficiency in Dembski’s claims in his algorithm room example. So far, Dembski has yet to respond.

I encourage Sal to help us explain how to resolve these major issues facing ID.

Sal wrote:

Well, I thought I’d ask about the functional space of Avida genomes, it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t have an answer as I believe even the Avida authors were at a loss themselves in their attempts to measure complexity. But it’s ultimately a moot point, I said, if one’s intent were to somehow show that novel CSI was created by AVIDA, we could be generous (only for the sake of argument) and even grant that all the sum total of all the bits, output was CSI, but as I pointed out, the constraints of the designer’s choices are expressed through the design of Avida (and the parameter files), and therefore the CSI output, whatever number you affix is evidence and an accounting of the designer’s infusion of CSI to the output channel….

But scientists who have used Avida have managed to define and measure complexity. As such I am somewhat puzzled by your statement that the Avida authors were at a loss themselves to measure complexity.

So now replace the selection variation ‘algorithm’ with the genotype/phenotype and the environment and explain who is making the design choices here?…

Hmmmmm

Comment #60098

Posted by Henry J on November 25, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Re “claim that an index measures something about biological systems without ever once having calculated that index in the domain of interest boggles my mind.”

Having a boggled mind sounds uncomfortable.

Re “and it can’t be reliably quantified or verified but it supposedly permiates the Universe.”

Use the force, Luke! (or whoever.)

Re “and can I remind you all ‘do not feed the troll’?”

Those reminders don’t seem to work reliably. ;)

Henry

Comment #60104

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 25, 2005 9:55 PM (e)

Hey Sal, any time you are ready, you just let me know, OK?

One more time:

*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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Comment #60108

Posted by RBH on November 25, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

Salvador wrote

Well, I thought I’d ask about the functional space of Avida genomes, it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t have an answer as I believe even the Avida authors were at a loss themselves in their attempts to measure complexity.

Misdirection: the authors did not even mention CSI, say nothing of attempt to measure it. CSI is your measure, Sal, and Dembski’s. So calculate it.

Sal further wrote

But it’s ultimately a moot point, I said, if one’s intent were to somehow show that novel CSI was created by AVIDA, we could be generous (only for the sake of argument) and even grant that all the sum total of all the bits, output was CSI, but as I pointed out, the constraints of the designer’s choices are expressed through the design of Avida (and the parameter files), and therefore the CSI output, whatever number you affix is evidence and an accounting of the designer’s infusion of CSI to the output channel….

That’s an amazing sentence which turns out to say nothing. I don’t “affix” CSI numbers: CSI is Dembski’s notion, and Sal’s. Let them do a calculation.

Sal further wrote

Further, the analysis of CSI does not fall to every obviously designed object. There is the issue that the specification must be tractably analyzable, that means we can put a number on the ratio of specified outcomes to all possible outcomes. Since you did not have a number for that ratio, until one does so, AVIDA’s output will remain outside the domain of affixing exact numbers. Even the Avida authors are finding it problematic to affix complexity numbers to their own system. But, I point out it’s a moot point, Avida only restates a tautology: if selective pressures exist to make large scale biological innovation, then large scale biological innovation will happen….

More bobbing and weaving. The specification of the Avida critters is perfectly obvious, a functional specification phrased in terms of performing a logic operation. And since it’s Sal’s measure, let him do the calculations. It’s a known system fully documented. Should be a piece of cake, Sal – surely a coin tosser can do that, no?

But consider that “outside the domain” phrase a bit further. In Avida we have a constrained system with a known set of instructions, and we know exactly the selective environment in which the critters evolve and we know exactly the course of evolution of those critters. But Sal tells us it is “outside the domain of affixing exact numbers”. If given full and complete information about an Avidian critter Sal can’t calculate its CSI, why on earth should we believe that CSI can be calculated for a biological object?

Finally, Sal descends into creationist idiocy:

The question is of course whether, such a set of selective pressures can even exist in biotic reality. Awfully hard to selectively breed a fish into a horse, what makes you all think a blind watchmaker can do any better….

That’s a line worthy of (and probably stolen from) Kent Hovind. Sal is reaching his natural level, methinks.

RBH

Comment #60109

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 10:54 PM (e)

Earlier

But like I said he’s shown himself to be a paper tiger.

The primary prey of which is the straw man. Oh, the carnage.

Has no one thought of WHO is behind the curtain here

Its got everything the shoe fetish (Lenny’s Behe stalker Tong)
The Frigging tornado

Someone must have pointed this out before ?

Comment #60114

Posted by Corkscrew on November 25, 2005 11:55 PM (e)

Salvador: I’ve partially lost track of what we were talking about* so I’ll stick to the core issues. Am I right in summarising that ID posits design as the natural conclusion to be drawn from a system that can be consistently represented as a comparatively small set of data (your “blueprint” - representative of low Kolmogorov complexity) but, if allowed to arise in an “undirected” fashion, has a very large set of high-complexity outcomes?

Depending on your definition of “undirected”, this would exclude snowflakes as a counterexample - the entire reason snowflakes form pretty patterns is that there are only a limited number of ways that water molecules can easily stick to each other if allowed to solidify from a vapour. However, one quite strong counterexample is the Earth’s magnetic field. There are many many ways that all the magnetic domains in the iron and nickel of the Earth’s mantle could line up, but, due to a number of factors”, these domains have developed a strong tendency to line up.

I admit I had some trouble choosing a non-alive counterexample, because the question of whether something posesses high “physical complexity” depends quite tightly on whether you’re talking some kind of “absolute” physical complexity, in which the conditions of formation are not taken into account, or “relative” physical complexity, in which the complexity is considered “given the circumstances”. In the first case, snowflakes of several classes are most definitely counterexamples - they have incredibly low Kolmogorov complexity compared to, say, a block of ice. This definition only serves to highlight some sort of (possibly very mundane) directedness in the system’s formation.

In the second case, there aren’t many counterexamples, but only because the definition is then dependent on the limits of human knowledge. If we come across something (such as a snowflake) with low Kolmogorov complexity, and we lack knowledge of how it formed, we would, from this subjective definition of physical complexity, conclude that they were “designed” objects. If we then spent a few years studying physical chemistry and discovered how crystallisation produces such complex patterns, we would have to revise our conclusion. Equivalently, something like bacterial flagella can only be considered to be designed until a sufficiently plausible mechanism is found for it.

I’ve just located one of your posts addressing this issue, specifically regards my example of breeding dice. You said:

Salvador wrote:

The question becomes then, what are the probabilities of the circumstances. For example, how likely is it that your evolving dice example can really happen. In theory yes, but in actuality, probably not. Thus one would highly suspect deliberate design of the population of dice you suggested (or perhaps some manufacturing error)….

I’d point out that the only reason this can’t happen is because dice do not in fact breed. If they did breed (now there’s a project for all the budding genetic engineers out there…) and the selection criteria on them were as I specified, it would no longer be appropriate to sue the original manufacturers for producing biased dice if, after a few generations, they were all coming up sixes. I can’t see any way in which, given these assumptions (which don’t apply to dice but do approximate those applying to living organisms), the resulting “evolution” is implausible.

To conclude: the high physical complexity / low K-complexity criterion appears to indicate design OR lack of sufficient understanding of the system’s history, rather than implying design outright.

* I’d note that wading through over 100 posts, a high proportion of which consist of “Salvador sucks”, is an absolute pain in the arse and makes it very hard to keep track of any serious points arising. If Salvador does indeed suck, please credit me with the intelligence to figure that out for myself, and refrain from making childish comments**.

** This in no way applies to all posters here, just those with inferiority complexes to feed. Who have apparently been posting over 2/3 of the past 100+ posts, going by a sample size of the last 30 posts. Counting upwards from post #60096, I count 2 posts by Salvador, 6 relevant posts, 17 completely irrelevant posts and 6 posts that don’t fit into either category (I include sufficiently factual ad hominem attacks and one-line pleas to Salvador in this category)

Comment #60115

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 25, 2005 11:55 PM (e)

Why won’t you answer Flank’s questions, Cordova?

Comment #60118

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 1:19 AM (e)

For more on “teaching” ID as a way of increasing openness to evolution at the university level see this news item in Science:

http://www.michaelbalter.com/HominidHighlights/1…|Teaching_the_intelligent_design_controversy.php

Comment #60122

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 2:53 AM (e)

I see that this link may be too long for the page. If so, please go to

http://www.michaelbalter.com

then to News and then to Hominid Highlights to find the item.

Comment #60123

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 3:29 AM (e)

Have just noticed I completely missed a couple of points in your responses, including the second half of the post I was reading (I have no idea how I managed that, please blame my sleepiness).

Thanks for the more thorough definition of probabilistic complexity and K-complexity, and your examples. I still think we need a formal definition of probabilistic complexity - as the snowflake-related comments in my last post show, it obviously can’t just be equated with the information content. It sounds you’re loosely defining it as “the probability of a given low K-complexity state arising from an unspecified high K-complexity state”. Does this sound right, or is there another formal definition I should be looking at here?

Responding to your next response to me (to avoid losing the thread any further I’m not trying to keep track of your responses to others):

Salvador wrote:

Albert Voie, a Cellular biologist and researcher with artificial intelligence outlines the issue well in his recent peer-reviewed paper:
Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent

It looks like the paper only discusses the origin of life, which isn’t really the topic under discussion here. Having said that, it outraged me sufficiently to warrant a complete dissection. Read on, or skip to the bottom if it starts to get irritating.

I don’t make comments like this a great deal, but I can’t believe that paper is peer reviewed, and in fact think it’s a pile of crap. Firstly, the author abuses the English language to the point that I’m actually having to guess what he means at times. For example: “Life is autonomous with something we could call ‘closure of operations’” should probably read “Life is synonymous with something we could call ‘closure of operations’”. If this had been peer-reviewed by a respectable journal I’d have expected them to either correct the errors themselves or send it back for review. This is quite besides the truly atrocious number of non-critical SPaG mistakes.

Second, the paper reads as an explanation to the layperson, which isn’t (on the whole) what peer-reviewed papers do. I draw this conclusion from the excessive discussion of Godel’s theorem (no-one goes into detail on Godel’s theorem in a scientific paper without using a great deal of mathematical notation) and similar situations all over.

Third, the paper attempts to define it’s own terminology, for example the aforementioned “closure of operations”. It is extremely rare for a scientific paper to define its own terminology, and it generally only happens in the most cutting-edge, technically-detailed papers. This is not one of those.

Fourth (moving onto the actual content of the paper), a high proportion of his statements are extremely dodgy. To whit:

  1. “The factor of human creativity in mathematical theories seems to have been overlooked in the history of science” (in the context of Godel’s demonstration of incompleteness of formal systems). Firstly, this statement is completely meaningless - apart from anything else, there are entire volumes of philosophy relating to human creativity. Secondly, there’s nothing particularly surprising about the human ability to avoid “Godelisation” - the human mind has time to change in, whereas formal systems of logic are considered to exist independent of time. A sufficiently well-programmed computer would be perfectly capable of behaving in the same way.
  2. In reference to fixed-point systems: “This self-reproducing function cannot copy itself directly (because it cannot read itself), but needs to be given a passive copy of it” Modulo bad grammar, it appears that what he’s saying is directly contradicted by the existence of quines
  3. “They are both subsystems of the human mind and not subsystems of the formalized system like theorems flowing from rules of inference.” This usage of “the human mind” is completely bizarre - I have no idea what he’s talking about but it sounds new-agey.
  4. By the end of section two, he’s shown, if I understand correctly, that there is no “straightforward” approach to constructing a machine. He seems to think he’s shown that machines can only be constructed by intelligence.
  5. “Only an abstract sign based language can store the abstract information necessary to build functional biomolecules.” This is not proven in any way and in fact is probably disproven by the existence of gliders in Conway’s Game Of Life (which every turn “build” a copy of themselves), unless he’s defining “sign” in a fashion so abstract as to be useless.
  6. The rest of section 3 appears to be devoted to “proving” that it’s practically impossible for molecules to reproduce themselves. He then jumps from that to the conclusion that it’s impossible for such molecules to form naturally. The one does not imply the other. Incidentally, his method for demonstrating the difficulty of said reproduction is completely irrelevant if, for example, you have two molecules reproducing each other, as occurs with DNA.
  7. “Life is fundamentally dependent upon symbolic representation in order to realize biological function. A system based on autocatalysis, like the hypothesized RNA-world, can’t really express biological function since it is a pure dynamical process.” [cue bad Fezzik impression] He keeps using that word “dynamical. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.[end bad impression]

    I’m having real trouble commenting properly on this paragraph - I can see that it’s wrong but, like with a Picasso portrait, I’m having trouble putting my finger on exactly what is most wrong. He says “Further, in order to define a sign (which can be a symbol, an index, or an icon) a whole cluster of self-referring concepts seems to be presupposed, that is, the definition cannot be given on a priori grounds, without implicitly referring to this cluster of conceptual agents”, but completely fails to explain what the heck these “self-referring concepts” are. In any case, this statement (which seems to comprise the bulk of his argument) is irrelevant as it only references formal systems of logic, which (as we’ve previously shown - remember, the brain is fundamentally a physical system) have about as much relevance to physical systems as mineralogy does to proper seasoning of food.

    Also, am I right that when he’s talking about autocatalysis he’s referring (in, of course, a completely unreferenced fashion) to a hypothesis that’s been put forward for abiogenesis?

  8. “This recursive dependency really seals off the system from a deterministic bottom up causation. The top down causation constitutes an irreducible structure.” No, because he hasn’t shown that an extremely basic self-reproducing system isn’t possible. He hasn’t even really shown it’s particularly unlikely. In fact, if chemistry is even remotely as complex as computer programming, it is probably quite likely - see earlier quine reference, and note the shortness of some of the examples. And, if we allow for the possibility that “purely” self-reproducing systems can arise from things like prion reproduction (where the molecule just “converts” molecules that are similar), it seems fairly plausible for this to happen at some point.

End of rant, since I’m short of time and the rest of the document is no improvement.

Salvador wrote:

The displacement theorem in plain English simply says a factory and raw materials requires more design to manufacture products than the the design in the products themselves.

I’m reading the Dembski paper on the Design Theorem that you referenced, and will get back on this once I’ve finished it,or at least read a goodly chunk of it. It’s much better written than the other paper you referenced.

Incidentally, does anyone else think it’s really stupid to have a “quick” xml markup in which making a hyperlink to something takes more keystrokes than just using <a>”?

Comment #60124

Posted by speck on November 26, 2005 4:01 AM (e)

Mr Balter,

Instead of ID, why not include lessons comparing creationism and evolution in the classroom. Why is ID so special? And if you were to include such an agenda-driven ideology as ID into the classroom, what makes you think it wouldn’t morph into something else, further obfuscating the divide between religion and science to those still learning?

Why is there not enough time in church or in religious classes to discuss ID?

Comment #60129

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 26, 2005 5:30 AM (e)

we’re waiting Sal.. (10^150:1 that Sal either wanders off to another thread or comes in with another tangential post)

- he came in with another tangential post.
- so my prediction was vindicated - it seems the likelihood of of Sal ever answering Lenny’s questions is vanishingly small.
I did a ‘Barbara Forest’ type word count for ‘Sal’ on this thread yesterday and gave up after two hundred instances. What happened to the tread topic? Time to give Sal his own thread where those who wish to feed the troll can do so - if he pops up elsewhere I suggest we restrict ourselves to baiting him with Lenny’s questions.
Unless you want to answer them here and now Sal?
.. no thought not .. we await your next Lenny-dodging post

Comment #60138

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 7:46 AM (e)

For more on “teaching” ID as a way of increasing openness to evolution at the university level see this news item in Science:

(sigh) So now we have TWO self-promoting preachers in the same thread.

Comment #60140

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 7:51 AM (e)

RDLF wrote:

So now we have TWO self-promoting preachers in the same thread.

Actually, if you look you’ll see that, while it’s his website, it’s not his research and he’s not making any cash off of ads or anything. The only benefit he gets is tangential publicity for his books. And the topic of the research is relevant to the thread.

Comment #60141

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 8:03 AM (e)

In fact the paper, which is based on a study by Verhey is very relevant to the discussion. Lenny, this is one of your many knee jerk reactions which make reading your comments often so painful.

Verhey, S.D. (2005) The effect of engaging prior learning on student attitudes toward creationism and evolution. BioScience. In press.

ABSTRACT

American adults and K–12 students frequently report nonrationalist views about creationism and evolution. Efforts to force educators to include material on “intelligent design” theory are causing widespread concern in the science education community. I report here the effects of a modified approach to a majors-oriented college introductory biology course. The course was modified to connect with the experiences, knowledge, and beliefs that most students bring to college, with the intent of engaging prior learning about creationism and evolution and of emphasizing the nature of science. The effects of this approach on student creationist or evolutionist attitudes were compared with the effects of two other sections of the same course that were taught by different instructors during the same academic quarter. The modified approach produced more attitude change than the other approaches. It included some material whose use has been discouraged by science educators, including discussion of creation myths and use of an intelligent design–oriented book as a foil to a mainstream book on evolution in seminar discussions.

Keywords: undergraduate, evolution, creationism, prior learning, critical thinking.

Also announced by the NCSE

Comment #60146

Posted by Lurker on November 26, 2005 8:51 AM (e)

Here is a simple exercise to show the vacuity of Dembski’s displacement theorem. What Dembski is arguing is that every event/natural phenomena can be embedded in a larger set that includes the natural phenomena as well as all possible causal factors and conditions that contribute to the phenomena. In Cordovian terms, every machine has a more complicated factory. Thus, explaining the machine by the factory is not good enough for the IDist. But, think about the implications of such glib dismissal. In effect, whether initially low probability or high probability, any event in the final Dembskian analysis is zero probability. Drop a brick. Is the brick’s falling a highly probable event? But what caused the brick to fall in such a highly probable fashion. Well, one has to then consider in Dembskian fashion the various constants and physical laws that could apply to a falling brick. If you say to yourself, why, there are infinitely many of them, you are on the right track. Set up a uniform probability and notice that the probability of choosing laws and constants that produce what we see in the falling brick (within experimental error) may actually be quite small. We then repeat the analysis. What set of metaphysics can produce this narrow, “finely-tuned” range of physical constants and laws? And we take a trip around the merry-go-round again. In the final analysis, even a highly probable event becomes improbable under analysis via the Displacement Theorem. So what? In Cordovian terms, the brick-falling factory is more complicated than the brick falling. But the factory of brick-falling factories is even more complicated. Therefore, this analysis triggers a design inference. Something “intelligent” is causing the brick to fall. In what sense is that conclusion cogent?

Nothing escapes the “displacment theorem.” Ironically, the “displacement theorem” rejects final causation, and justifies requiring an explanation for the Designer. In particular, any putative Designer proffered to explain ID can also be be embedded in a larger class of Designer-causing agents (RBH’s MDT comes to mind). On the one hand, to reject this existence of this larger set would be special-pleading. On the other hand, because WAD rejects the selection of any one Designer-causing agent by chance (indeed, the probability using Dembskian analysis with uniform distribution would be zero), it is therefore natural to ask via Dembski’s Displacement Theorem, who is this Designer-Designer?

Everything else in Dembski’s paper is just math jargon. Mathematical results are tautologous with respect to its premise. If no one accepts the premise or conclusion, then there is no point in taking up Dembski’s offer to review all the intermediate steps.

Comment #60151

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 26, 2005 10:53 AM (e)

Michael Balter,

It is an honor to see you here. I enjoyed the article you wrote a few months back which caused quite a stir.

Let me affirm Mirecki’s academic freedom, and I’m applaud that he his moving the discussion forward.

Salvador

Comment #60152

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 10:53 AM (e)

In fact the paper, which is based on a study by Verhey is very relevant to the discussion. Lenny, this is one of your many knee jerk reactions which make reading your comments often so painful.

I would go further and say that Lenny sees his role as a thought policeman whose job it is to tell us how stupid ID’ers are and to discourage any serious discussion of how best to counter ID. This is a losing strategy. I would welcome discussion of the Verhey paper here.

Mr Balter,

Instead of ID, why not include lessons comparing creationism and evolution in the classroom. Why is ID so special? And if you were to include such an agenda-driven ideology as ID into the classroom, what makes you think it wouldn’t morph into something else, further obfuscating the divide between religion and science to those still learning?

Why is there not enough time in church or in religious classes to discuss ID?

For the simple reason that it is ID, and not biblical literalism creationism, which has become a national issue. It is not going away, and that is why approaches like Verhey’s are so relevant and interesting to this discussion. As I have said to Lenny many times, the goal is to foster scientific thinking in the face of polls that show 87% of Americans believe either ID or straight out creationism.

As for promotion: I use my Web site to post articles and other items, in this case an article from Science. No one is obligated to look at other sections of the site.

Comment #60156

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 11:16 AM (e)

In fact the paper, which is based on a study by Verhey is very relevant to the discussion.

I didn’t say it wasn’t. But Verhey himself has already said that Balter is wrong about it.

I’m not sure why Balter would think anyone here would be any more receptive to his “gee whiz look at this!!!!!” idea than anyone was the LAST time he was here peddling it.

Comment #60157

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 11:19 AM (e)

I would go further and say that Lenny sees his role as a thought policeman whose job it is to tell us how stupid ID’ers are

I see my role as getting dishonest people to answer questions, opr to show all the lurkers that they CAN’T.

I am wondering, though, why YOU are here. Why aren’t you out there debating IDers, to show all of us poor dumb dimwits who don’t appreciate your genius how it’s done?

and to discourage any serious discussion of how best to counter ID. This is a losing strategy.

Dover is about to make any anti-ID strategy irrelevant.

I would welcome discussion of the Verhey paper here.

Including the part where he thinks you’re wrong about teaching it to high school kids.

Comment #60158

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Michael Balter,

It is an honor to see you here.

Think you’ve found a friend, Sal? I wouldn’t count on it.

Now answer my questions.

Comment #60160

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 26, 2005 11:36 AM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 11:21 AM (e) (s)…

Think you’ve found a friend, Sal? I wouldn’t count on it.

Now answer my questions.

Fat chance,
It is never going to happen.

Comment #60161

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 11:44 AM (e)

The primary relevance of the Verhey paper is that it shows the value of engaging with and respecting the beliefs of creationists/Id’ers as a strategy for making them more open to evolutionary thinking. What situations it is relevant to is a matter for discussion. The 87% of Americans who think that way are not all members of the Discovery Institute nor do they all carry copies of the Wedge document in their pockets. The issue here is whether we are going to settle for calling people stupid and ignorant–Lenny’s stock in trade, getting very tiresome–or whether we are really serious about winning this fight or at least making progress. The poll numbers on American attitudes towards evolution have not changed in 20 years.

Comment #60162

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 26, 2005 11:56 AM (e)

Corkscrew:

Have just noticed I completely missed a couple of points in your responses, including the second half of the post I was reading (I have no idea how I managed that, please blame my sleepiness).

Thanks for the more thorough definition of probabilistic complexity and K-complexity, and your examples.

You are welcome:

I still think we need a formal definition of probabilistic complexity - as the snowflake-related comments in my last post show, it obviously can’t just be equated with the information content. It sounds you’re loosely defining it as “the probability of a given low K-complexity state arising from an unspecified high K-complexity state”. Does this sound right, or is there another formal definition I should be looking at here?

I think you getting close but not quite there. Perhaps this may help clarify:

I think you have now a good intuitive idea of K-complexity:

A. one meg file of all zeroes is NOT k-complex

B. one meg JPEG file is k-complex (as far as we know)

C. All coins head is NOT k-complex

D. “Randomly” tossed coins are k-complex

That informal sense of k-complexity will suffice for now.

Probabilistic complexity is independent of k-complexity, it simply means “improbable”. Dembski even suggests the phrase “specified improbability” instead of “specified complexity” to help clarify understanding. Let highlight some extreme cases.

JPEG File: the file is both improbable (probabilistically complex) and k-complex

All coins heads: is both improbable (probabilistically complex) and NOT k-complex

Yet both are examples which exhibit CSI.

One must be careful however. If one looks at the bits stream in a JPEG file, it will be almost indistinguishable from noise unless one has the appropriate CoDec to decode it.

And also one note of caution, the number stream from a “random” number generator in a computer is generally not k-complex because it is afterall generated by an algorithm (therefore by definition it is not k-complex), it only has the appearance of being k-complex.

This article brings forward the very subtle issues involved:
Randomness by Design

Corkscrew commented:

Responding to your next response to me (to avoid losing the thread any further I’m not trying to keep track of your responses to others) [regarding voie’s paper]:

I think I can understand your outraged feelings, but let me point out it was published in an obscure paper in the Netherlands. English is not Voie’s or the editor’s native language…I view the paper as an outline, and early first steps to later peer review, his references and concepts are familiar to those working with self reproducing robots. His presentation might be revised stylistically, but gives a good bibliography of papers I was not aware of. Not enough literature is focused on the problem of biological Turing machines: it predicts the $50,000,000 Harvard origin of life project will fail…..

The other thing is it shows that the salient feature of informatic systems (such as life) are decoupled from chemsitry and physics. When I arrange 500 coins to be heads, I do not violate any law of physics. In fact the profile of forces and motion which I use to configure the coins can be described by physical law. Yet why is it that such a configuration seems to have a property transcending the sum total of the purely naturalistic forces configuring the objects.

One can hopefully see, that even on the assumption that Darwinian evolution is correct (I don’t believe it is, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is), in like manner, there is the problem of why the sum total of naturalistic forces created things that look designed.

Corkscrew:

It looks like the paper only discusses the origin of life, which isn’t really the topic under discussion here.

Actually, this highlights a significant disconnect. IDist wish to bring the discussion to the origin of life and hammer on it hard. Dembski and Behe and other IDists accept common descent, they are not creationists like me or Paul Nelson. Dembski will even offer that there is remote chance Darwinian Selection accounts for complexity, and his displacement theorem attempts to quantify that probability. But the origin of life is of much interest to all IDists, and there is broad consensus in the ID community of the problems it poses….

Part of the reason is the origin of life is a little more amenable to analysis (much like analyzing coin flips). The probability distributions from chemical experiments and principles of physics are better defined. There are substantial bodies of literature on Turing Machines and a growing body of literature in nano-molecular engineering.

In contrast, when Darwinian evolution is attacked head on, there is too much room for uncertainty and highly general statements. Some areas can be addressed in a mathematical fashion, but many are still at this time up in the air as far as data.

Where ID has a chance of substantial operational success is if Dembski’s vision of detecting steganography (hidden codes) in biology is achieved which will help facilitate reverse engineering. For example, a large amount of knowlegde exists about Turing Machines since we make them (computers). We are able to take this knowledge and use our blueprints for computers to help us understand the physical architecture of biological systems. More and more biological systems are getting elucidated this way: take a known engineering architecture (blue print) and use it to elucidate the structure of a biological system.

That said, I’ll try (emphasize try) to limit discussion of the Turing Machine and OOL till you bring it up again.

Salvador

Comment #60163

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 12:04 PM (e)

Just to elaborate on the above: It seems to me that there are two overlapping but not identical concerns expressed on Panda and other blogs about this issue. One is the intrusion of religion into the schools represented by the ID campaign. The other is the lack of scientific thinking on the part of much or most of the public. The majority of Americans think that “alternatives” to evolution should be taught in the schools. You can fight one court battle after another, and perhaps win most of them, but the basic problem does not go away: Most people look to religion rather than science for the explanation of how humans got here. Unless you deal with that, you will be fighting this battle forever. And you don’t influence religious people by telling them they are stupid and ignorant. Again: What is the goal here? What do we want in the end?

Comment #60164

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 26, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Corkscrew,

There is something at ISCID that I wrote that I should clarify.

A JPEG is K-complex, but there is an aspect to it which is not, that is, the bit stream obeys a formal grammar.

Much like you can diagram English sentences, and especially computer languages to be “compressed” into a small body of rules, the grammar of JPEG files can be reduced to a finite number of grammar rules. From this perspective, a JPEG file is “specificationally simple”.

The JPEG file is:

1. K-complex in the entire bit stream (that’s why a ZIP program will not succeed in compressing it further)

2. Probabilisically Complex

3. Specificationally simple (the grammar rules it abides by are NOT K-complex)

I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. Please ask questions.

Salvador

Comment #60165

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 12:24 PM (e)

Please ask questions.

Glad to.

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Comment #60168

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

RDLF wrote:

Glad to

***Splutter*** OK, that man owes me a keyboard :P

Comment #60169

Posted by guthrie_stewart on November 26, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

From reading the study that Michael Balter mentions, I would suggest that what it shows is that putting the evidence in front of people to show how erroneous the ID position is seems to produce more people who agree with evolution rather than disagree. Which is a good thing.
But I am still somewhat wary about ideas of including it in classrooms, in part because of the difficulties of communicating the evidence sufficiently well. Which could probably be overcome some way anyway.

Anyway, it does at least suggest that the best way of dealing with it all is to show the evidence, something taht Pandas thumb denizens do most of the time anyway. Then of course they get a little hacked off when people ignore it anyway, which is perfectly normal human behaviour.

Comment #60171

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 26, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

… another Lenny dodging post Sal .. just as I predicted..

Salvador wrote:

I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. Please ask questions.

I have some for you:

1. Why don’t you answer Lenny’s questions?

er … that’s it

(confidently awaits next Lenny-dodging post….)

Comment #60173

Posted by The Rev. Schmitt. on November 26, 2005 1:57 PM (e)

‘Reverend Doctor’ Flank:

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?

Dembski seems to believe that we did not, although as usual when he’s quoting something supporting the Young Earth element of the big tent he remains remarkably reticent about his own opinions and caveats to the ludicrousness. It is almost as if he didn’t wish to alienate his more overtly religious supporters while at the same time attempting to attack science through intentionally ambiguous arguments. Which I think we all agree would be dishonest and wrong.

Michael Balter:

‘Thought policing’ involves observing someone constantly through various means, particularly while they are unaware, for any subtle signs of disobedience. In contrast ‘The Reverend Doctor’ Flank is an individual on the Internet demanding a minimum standard of empirical evidence from proponents of pseudoscience. Moreoever the vast majority of us do not care much about what people personally believe, though we definitely do care about the scientific education of state schoolchildren and the public in general. This is a blog dedicated to the discussion of evolution, biology, science, education, and their political opponents. It is not unfair or outside the remit of this blog to question Intelligent Design proponents about how exactly their ideas are scientific, nor is it an example of ‘thought policing’.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

Comment #60174

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 2:08 PM (e)

Michael Balter wrote:

I would go further and say that Lenny sees his role as a thought policeman whose job it is to tell us how stupid ID’ers are and to discourage any serious discussion of how best to counter ID. This is a losing strategy.

You are right, discouraging a serious discussion of ID is not going to help. You have to realize though that Lenny is also exposing the weaknesses in people’s arguments by insisting they answer relevant questions. But Lenny does seem to be overeager at times to ‘expose’ when listening is better than responding.

I would welcome discussion of the Verhey paper here.

As would I

Lenny wrote:

I didn’t say it wasn’t. But Verhey himself has already said that Balter is wrong about it.

I am not sure what you mean by ‘Verhey said that Balter is wrong’?

Lenny wrote:

I see my role as getting dishonest people to answer questions, opr to show all the lurkers that they CAN’T.

And a useful role it is Lenny but sometimes you may be too hasty in your role.

Lenny wrote:

I am wondering, though, why YOU are here. Why aren’t you out there debating IDers, to show all of us poor dumb dimwits who don’t appreciate your genius how it’s done?

Does Lenny understand the concept of discussion to share information and ideas? Verhey’s work could be quite relevant here.

Lenny wrote:

Dover is about to make any anti-ID strategy irrelevant.

As did previous legal rulings all the way up to the Supreme Court?
ID strategy seems to have been to incorporate new legal landscapes.

Balter’s suggestions IF properly implemented at the K12 level could be very effective. The problem so far is that the average teacher is ill-equipped to discuss these issues and give due credit to them.

And I presume that Salvador is still looking for a response to the many criticisms of ID?

Comment #60175

Posted by guthrie on November 26, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

Further to talk about debating creationists and even ID people, if I recall correctly, that has been done several times before, on radio, national TV, at special debate evenings at universities etc etc. The problem always seems to be that the ID and creationists dont play by scientific rules, and it is quite hard to make the point about the science when you only have five minutes and your opponent has just made a bunch of arguments that are mostly incorrect or simply lies.
Nevertheless, it does seem that some debates have gone the scientists way, but I dont know of any actual surveys or evidence to show what effect they have had on the listening populace.
So I would be interested if anyone can suggest how scientists are supposed to effectively debate ID/ creationists given the obvious restraints of time and argument.

Comment #60178

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

I am not sure what you mean by ‘Verhey said that Balter is wrong’?

Lenny is referring to Verhey’s comment on another thread that he did not think his approach is appropriate to high schools. I have discussed this with Verhey since and while I do not want to speak for him I believe that he has modified his views on this. Gary Hurd said that he would start a separate thread on the Verhey paper once Verhey is ready to discuss it. My post was limited to bringing Science’s news item on this to the attention of this thread and to give my own views on it briefly.

Comment #60179

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 2:30 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

I think you getting close but not quite there.

Right, I think I’m there on K-complexity - I could probably write out a moderately good formal definition if pressed. However, I am getting increasingly worried by the lack of formal-looking definition of probabilistic complexity. My situation is that I think I can demonstrate it to be either tautological (i.e. not really indicative of anything) or possessing clear counterexamples, but I can’t tell which is the case.

The PC that you’re talking about cannot be “objective” (i.e. requiring no prior knowledge of the system’s formation) because that would result in the conclusion that snowflakes were designed. However, if the PC is “subjective” (reliant on knowledge about the system’s formation) then it’s completely tautological to say “these things have low probabilistic complexity therefore they must have been designed”, because we can only draw the conclusion of low PC if we know they didn’t arise naturally.

I’m not sure the bit about exact definitions of randomness is relevant here so I’ll leave off it for the moment.

Salvador wrote:

I think I can understand your outraged feelings, but let me point out it was published in an obscure paper in the Netherlands. English is not Voie’s or the editor’s native language…

OK, I’ll attempt to rein in the horror :P I still think the guy is wrong on the factual issues though. His attempt to apply formal logic to organic chemistry fails for exactly the same reasons that an equivalent attempt to apply formal logic to the human brain would fail. These systems evolve in time, are analogue in nature and don’t even (necessarily) have a fixed symbology - respectively, gene mutations and learning see to that.

Salvador wrote:

One can hopefully see, that even on the assumption that Darwinian evolution is correct (I don’t believe it is, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is), in like manner, there is the problem of why the sum total of naturalistic forces created things that look designed.

Not really a problem. That’s not an appearance of design you’re looking at, it’s an appearance of directedness by a force that “strives” for certain things: ease of manufacture, efficiency, low manufacturing costs, reliability and the like. The only major difference between the goals of human design and the “goals” of evolutionary direction is that humans tend to think one step ahead and design systems to be as modular and comprehensible as possible, whereas evolutionary forces by their very nature are always engaging in premature optimisation (what Donald Knuth calls the root of all evil).

One thing that’s extremely interesting to note is that there’s a style of programming that in many ways actually duplicates quite closely the results of evolutionary progress. This is the famous “hacker” approach, whereby the programmer relies on superhuman knowledge of the programming environment (in the same way that the evolutionary process can very easily “gain knowledge” of the results of a given modification) and a complete lack of interest in making the code reusable later. The hacker then locks him or herself into a darkened room for two weeks, opening the door only to the pizza delivery man, and then emerges with a program that no-one can understand… and yet it works! We’re talking a genetic-code-type level of sheer obscurity mixed with animal cunning here. For more information, read the story of Mel - it’s very funny.

Now the reason it’s interesting to note this similarity is because no sane programmer uses this technique any more. The hacker approach entails a fundamental shortsightedness about the project - yes, it works perfectly, but change one magic number and cancer appears. I can quite believe that a hacker could produce such oddities as the mistake in the human eye that had been previously done properly in octopi, but I really can’t believe that any Designer, be it alien, god or something else entirely, who had sufficient power to design life as we know it would not have realised the value of good coding practices. More information about programming screwups available on the wikipedia antipatterns page - note that we see a lot of them in nature too.

Anyway, enough with the semihumorous sidenotes and on with the show…

Salvador wrote:

Actually, this highlights a significant disconnect. IDist wish to bring the discussion to the origin of life and hammer on it hard. Dembski and Behe and other IDists accept common descent, they are not creationists like me or Paul Nelson. Dembski will even offer that there is remote chance Darwinian Selection accounts for complexity, and his displacement theorem attempts to quantify that probability. But the origin of life is of much interest to all IDists, and there is broad consensus in the ID community of the problems it poses….

Part of the reason is the origin of life is a little more amenable to analysis (much like analyzing coin flips). The probability distributions from chemical experiments and principles of physics are better defined. There are substantial bodies of literature on Turing Machines and a growing body of literature in nano-molecular engineering.

In contrast, when Darwinian evolution is attacked head on, there is too much room for uncertainty and highly general statements. Some areas can be addressed in a mathematical fashion, but many are still at this time up in the air as far as data.

My understanding is that, while Dembski et al accept common descent, they believe that there was an intelligent designer doing some tinkering en route. Is that right? I’ll go into more detail with this when I finish Dembski’s paper (may take a while, I have Galois theory worksheet to do for tomorrow and then a week of hell. Coincidentally, one of the topics I need to do work for is Coding and Cryptography, where we’ve been studying, among other things, pseudorandom numbers and computational complexity). Anyway, the reason that evolutionary biologists attempt to keep the disconnect in place is that they are, on the whole, not qualified to speak about abiogenesis in their professional role. It’s a completely different branch of science. As a philosophical naturalist, I’m happy to discuss it, but we should probably leave that til another time.

To summarise: I need a more formal definition of probabilistic complexity, I suggest we let the abiogenesis/creation thing go for the moment, and I contest that what we see in life is evidence of directedness not of design, on the basis that any designer worth his salt would do stuff in a far more sensible fashion rather than using outmoded design models that inevitably cause problems further down the road.

Comment #60181

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 2:37 PM (e)

Michael Balter wrote:

Lenny is referring to Verhey’s comment on another thread that he did not think his approach is appropriate to high schools. I have discussed this with Verhey since and while I do not want to speak for him I believe that he has modified his views on this. Gary Hurd said that he would start a separate thread on the Verhey paper once Verhey is ready to discuss it. My post was limited to bringing Science’s news item on this to the attention of this thread and to give my own views on it briefly.

I see. Thanks. The editorial by Craig E. Nelson mentioned why using Verhey’s approach in K12 may be difficult. Verhey’s paper also addresses these issues. Expecting K12 teachers to have the ability and background and interest in presenting accurately these issues may be pushing it a bit.

I agree that a real ‘teach the controversy’ could be very effective but that’s not what ID proponents have in mind with the term. Nevertheless, it’s good to hear how real examples of teaching the controversy are helpful in making people accept good science.

Comment #60182

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

I just realised I completely missed out the entire point of my hacker diversion - that the sort of code produced by someone like this is incredibly similar in appearance to the sort of code that is produced by a genetic algorithm - incredibly efficient due to being optimised to a fault, but almost completely illegible to any even remotely normal person.

The specific example that springs to mind was the attempt to use a genetic algorithm approach on a field-programmable gate array to produce a system capable of distinguishing between high- and low-frequency sounds. Now, most sane programmers would do this by implementing a timer system and playing off of that. Problem is, the FPGA only had 100 gates, which isn’t nearly enough. So the approach should have been doomed to failure. After about 40,000 generations (iirc), they had a winner - which only used 33 of the gates. And no-one could figure out how the hell it worked. It used every dirty trick in the book and then some, apparently using some kind of time-delayed looping of signals as a clock. Even more puzzlingly, three of the gates weren’t actually connected to anything - no input, no output - yet when they tried to remove them the system stopped working.

Mel would have understood what those gates did.

Comment #60183

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

sal wrote:

One can hopefully see, that even on the assumption that Darwinian evolution is correct (I don’t believe it is, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is), in like manner, there is the problem of why the sum total of naturalistic forces created things that look designed.

Teleology in evolution is hardly unexpected as it selects for function. The problem is that ID has conflated function and purpose. See talkorigins for a better overview

Comment #60184

Posted by Registered User on November 26, 2005 2:48 PM (e)

Balter and Cordova commenting in tandem?

Hahahahaah!

Too much fun.

Here’s Balter:

And you don’t influence religious people by telling them they are stupid and ignorant.

So, tell us, Oh Wise Journalisming One, how do we “influence” self-identifying “religious people” like Salvador Cordova?

And how do we show rubes who fall for Salvador Cordova’s dissembling and misrepresentations that Salvador Cordova is, uh, not an honest human being?

Please educate us all, Oh Wise Journalisming One.

Here’s my suggestion: write an article about Salvadore Cordova and his strange relationship with Bill Dembski and show how these two self-identifying “religious people” twist, distort and (yes) make up facts in their efforts to persuade rubes that scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to keep their “theories” from being given a “fair hearing”.

Write that article, Oh Wise Journalisming One, in such a way that even simple folks who lack a deep scientific education will understand how pathetic and dishonest Mr. Cordova and Mr. Dembksi are.

Do you think you are capable of doing that, Oh Wise Journalisming One?

I am not sure, but theoretically you should be able to write such an article and get it published without a great deal of effort. After all, you are “credentialed” as a journalist and have a “reputation” as such and you are “on our side.”

Am I right, Mr. Balter?

Comment #60186

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 3:10 PM (e)

Registered User wrote:

So, tell us, Oh Wise Journalisming One, how do we “influence” self-identifying “religious people” like Salvador Cordova?

Sal, despite his many faults, does have a weakness which is that he will (eventually) listen to scientific data. As a former YEC-er myself, I understand part of the mindset of those holding on, against all data, to an untenable position such as YECism or in this case ID.

Exposing the flaws, holding Sal to addressing issues, may eventually achieve what the study by Verhey found, namely a shift to a more scientific position.

Comment #60187

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

Registered User wrote:

Here’s my suggestion: write an article about Salvadore Cordova and his strange relationship with Bill Dembski and show how these two self-identifying “religious people” twist, distort and (yes) make up facts in their efforts to persuade rubes that scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to keep their “theories” from being given a “fair hearing”.

Unnecessary. We don’t have to rip the shit out of the other side, we just have to show that we’re right. IMO the talk.origins archive, with its encyclopedic and completely layman-accessible content, does more good for the cause of rationality than any number of ad hominem attacks. Anyone can do ad hominem - the Scientologists in particular are famed for it. However, given sufficient well-informed debate the truth can’t really help but come out.

Of course, the occasional venganza.org doesn’t hurt either :)

Comment #60191

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

But Lenny does seem to be overeager at times to ‘expose’ when listening is better than responding.

Seen it before. It’s still crap, no matter how many times Balter wants to repeat it. (shrug)

Balter’s suggestions IF properly implemented at the K12 level could be very effective. The problem so far is that the average teacher is ill-equipped to discuss these issues and give due credit to them.

A bigger problem is that so are students. Most kids get little to no education on evolution. Indeed, science education as a whole (or heck, ANY education as a whole) in the US is abysmal. Many US adults can’t even find the US on a world map.

Our education problems go far far beyond “teach kids why ID is crap”. It’s impossible to teach them about any “controversy” when they don’t even possess the most basic understandings of the topic at hand. If Balter wants to make a difference in education, then I suggest he push for basic, thorough science/biology education in grades K-12. They aren’t getting it now.

Advocating that we teach about evolution by “debating” it with ID, is like advocating that we teach kids about nutrition by “debating” a balanced diet vs a diet of cookies and ice cream, and encouraging kids to “make up their own mind”. Before there can be any useful or informative “debate”, kids MUST understand all the basics first. They must know what a “biomolecule” is. They must know what “natural selection” is and how it works. Right now, they do NOT know – and blizzarding them with a bunch of BS from the IDers is not going to help teach them. They simply have no ability to analyze or evaluate ID disortions. Since they know nothing about nutrition, a steady diet of cookies and ice cream sounds just fine to them. The way to change that is to TEACH THEM ACCURATELY FROM THE START. Whether it’s balanced nutrition, or basic evolutionary biology.

But we’re NOT doing that. Too many Americans (and American politicians) view the education system solely and only as a means of churning out people who can fill all the low-wage low-level jobs created by our economy. As long as someone can flip cheeseburgers and (most of the time) give correct change, there’s simply no need, in this view, for any further “education”.

Which is, of course, why the American public is so crushingly abysmally horrfyingly pig-ignorant, about virtually everything.

Which is why charlatans like ID (and flying saucer nuts, and ESP people, and Iraq-has-WMD liars, and alternative medicine frauds) are able to thrive and prosper so well in the US.

Balter wants to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. It won’t help.

Comment #60192

Posted by guthrie on November 26, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

I would like to suggest that there are various different classes of peopel we are trying to address here. There are people who will listen to reaoned argument. There are those who accept reasons and evidence that much better when wrapped up with some humour and with evidence showing how one side (you know which one I mean) has distorted and lied and so on. The first group might be put off listening to such an argument. Then theres those who are not interested and have closed minds. And there are probably more. The question is which kinds of people are you trying to reach? Online, one to one, you can tailor your arguments to fit. In a mass audience its a lot harder.

Comment #60193

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

So I would be interested if anyone can suggest how scientists are supposed to effectively debate ID/ creationists given the obvious restraints of time and argument.

Don’t.

Such “debates” are a waste of time. They convince no one. They simply give the nutters an air of respectability that they don’t deserve, give them a chance to raise money from the gullible/ignorant, and give the impression that there is a legitimate “controversy” with “two sides” when in fact there isn’t.

If IDers have something scientific to say, elt them say it in peer-reviewed science journals like everyone else has to.

But they won’t. They can’t. They don’t have anything to present.

Comment #60194

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 3:45 PM (e)

Balter and Cordova commenting in tandem?

Hahahahaah!

Too much fun.

It is surreal, isn’t it?

I thought it quite funny how Sal immediately jumped at the proffered straw.

Comment #60195

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

Moreoever the vast majority of us do not care much about what people personally believe

That’s right. Mr Balter seems to have the implied goal of stamping out religious thought. I have no interest in such a goal. I don’t even have any interest in stamping out fundamentalist anti-science religious thought. In a democracy, people are free to hold any religious beliefs they like, no matter HOW silly or stupid those religious beliefs might be to everyone else.

My goal is to (1) stop the fundies from imposing a fundie theocracy onto the rest of us, and (2) stop the fundies from using state-sponsored science classrooms as a vehicle for furthering their theocratic goal.

If the fundies would stop attempting to use political power to push their religious opinions onto everyone else, I would lose interest in them very quickly. They can preach anti-evolution in churches every Sunday from now until Jesus comes back, and I couldn’t care less. But if they attempt to erase the line between church and state, I will find them using any methods that I find to be necessary.

Comment #60196

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 3:55 PM (e)

Unnecessary. We don’t have to rip the shit out of the other side, we just have to show that we’re right.

In a SCIENTIFIC fight, that might be true. But this is not a scientific fight – it is a political fight. And the only way to win a political fight is, indeed, to rip the shit out of the other side. This is a knife fight, not a scientific symposium. One side will walk away from it, and one side won’t. And under those circumstances, all the gentlemanly rules fall by the wayside. Punches will be thrown, teeth will fly, and blood will hit the floor.

People who find that unsettling, or who don’t want to get their hands dirty with such a thing, should look for another hobby.

Comment #60197

Posted by RBH on November 26, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

Even I, who have been involved in this issue since I first published on it in 1987, am starting to get a little tired of Registered User and Lenny filling the thread (and the blog) with strident shrieking.

RBH

Comment #60198

Posted by Registered User on November 26, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Corkscrew

Anyone can do ad hominem

For the record, I wasn’t advocating ad hominem attacks. I was advocating compiling the evidence that Dembski and Cordova are self-contradicting hypocrites with a tendency to fabricate, exagerate and distort, and presenting that evidence in a straightforward way that is accessible to lay readers who are not scientifically literate.

Americans do tend to come around to the side of accuracy when the liars are exposed and called out. It just takes a while and it takes a lot of people willing to stand up and speak the truth without fear of being called a traitor or … an atheist or a Satan-worshipper.

We don’t have to rip the shit out of the other side, we just have to show that we’re right…

Um, yeah, the question is how to go about showing people who are scientifically illiterate that you are “right” about a scientific fact.

I recommend the approach of exposing charlatans for who they are. It works quite well. Religious charlatans hide behind their religion and cry “persecution” when their bogus “scientific” claims are debunked. That behavior is the type of behavior that we can not afford to permit any longer.

You’ll note that the Psychic Friends aren’t pushing to have psychic phenomenon taught in public schools. Did you ever wonder why that it is?

Consider one possible answer: if they pushed really hard, they would be exposed as charlatans for all the public to see. As it stands, psychics and ghostbusters are treated quite favorably by the television networks. The psychics like it this way. It’s a good balance for them. If the psychics tried to get their garbage in public schools through legal maneuvers, the backlash against their diseased industry would be severe and quick. Note the key distinction between psychics and ID peddlers: the psychics don’t have the same access to the sword and shield of Christian fanaticism.

To sum up: ID peddling and creationism is a movement. The movement has leaders who are not terribly difficult to identify. Those leaders are hypocritical sleaze artists of the lowest order – a fact which is readily established.

Why run away from the opportunity?

Finally, Corkscrew, let me remind you that swearing isn’t allowed here.

Comment #60200

Posted by Registered User on November 26, 2005 4:02 PM (e)

RBH

Even I, who have been involved in this issue since I first published on it in 1987, am starting to get a little tired of Registered User and Lenny filling the thread (and the blog) with strident shrieking.

Huh.

On my computer you can simply skip past comments written by individuals whose viewpoints bore you.

Comment #60202

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

Even I, who have been involved in this issue since I first published on it in 1987, am starting to get a little tired of Registered User and Lenny filling the thread (and the blog) with strident shrieking.

Then do a Dembski and kick us out. (shrug)

Comment #60203

Posted by Steve Verhey on November 26, 2005 4:18 PM (e)

You know, I was teaching ID in college biology classes as early as 2002. Why doesn’t Fox TV report about me?

I have sent a few comments to Gary Hurd, if he’d like to use them to open a new thread to discuss my BioScience paper. I’ve also put a PDF of the paper on my web site, at http://www.cwu.edu/~verheys .

As has been said before, the woeful state of the US public’s understanding of science in general and evolution in particular is strong evidence that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. A generation of scientists has been taught that if we ignore creationists, they’ll go away, but that isn’t working this time. This is not surprising, because the creationists actually learn from each iteration of their efforts, and modify their strategy.

It seems to me that ID is a very effective strategy to exploit the weaknesses of US science education, and education in general. When the “Contrarian, or just lame” thread started, I generally felt that fixing higher education (and not just science education) was my highest priority, but a few events have caused my position to evolve. I have to – we all have to – believe that it’s possible to improve education in high school as well as college. We also have to focus on things we can change, like our own actions, and not too much on things we can’t change, like federal funding for education.

That what’s being done now isn’t working is a given. I do think there are aspects of my approach that could be adapted to high school, and I even think it’s possible they could be adapted without teaching ID and while presenting a (more) realistic view of how science works.

Comment #60204

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

Nobody is going to ‘toss you out’ but you may want to consider the impact of this ‘shrieking’. People get ‘turned off’ by Sal for very similar reasons.

Comment #60205

Posted by Registered User on November 26, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

Balter

As I have said to Lenny many times, the goal is to foster scientific thinking in the face of polls that show 87% of Americans believe either ID or straight out creationism.

Here’s a straightforward question for Mr. Balter to answer (though his track record for answering such questions is pathetically low):

Do the polls which show that, over the past three years, an increasing number of Americans find George Bush dishonest and incompetent reflect a public that is increasingly sophisticated in its understanding and appreciation for political science?

Or has something else happened?

Comment #60207

Posted by Michael Balter on November 26, 2005 4:40 PM (e)

Do the polls which show that, over the past three years, an increasing number of Americans find George Bush dishonest and incompetent reflect a public that is increasingly sophisticated in its understanding and appreciation for political science?

Or has something else happened?

If there is an implied parallel with the ID debate, I would not agree that the issues are equivalent. But I am happy to give my answer to the question: Americans have been forced to abandon some of their illustions by the stark evidence that the war in Iraq is going down the toilet, that 2.000+ Americans have been killed (Iraqi civilian deaths don’t do it for most Americans), and that there were no weapons of mass destruction–and that’s just for starters. This may or may not lead to greater sophistication; in some people it probably will, especially the young.

In the ID situation, it is more a matter of seeing that the objections to evolution raised by the ID’ers do not stand up to scrutiny. Verhey’s paper shows that this works.

Re Lenny’s comment, stamping out religion is not my goal. What I want to see is more openness to scientific explanations, which does not necessarily conflict with religious convictions as Ken Miller has argued. But to say that what you believe in your private home or church is not relevant to the ID debate is just naive, since the debate as usually framed by both sides is science vs religion.

Comment #60209

Posted by Registered User on November 26, 2005 4:54 PM (e)

Americans have been forced to abandon some of their illustions by the stark evidence that the war in Iraq is going down the toilet, that 2.000+ Americans have been killed (Iraqi civilian deaths don’t do it for most Americans), and that there were no weapons of mass destruction—and that’s just for starters.

Wow, thanks for responding Mr. Balter! You’re on your way.

You appear to believe that Americans have not become more educated in political science and how politics work, generally, in the past three years.

I agree with you.

My understanding is that most Americans live in the United States and so have no way of knowing how many US soldiers were killed there or whether any weapons of mass destruction were found. I also am aware that there are groups of individuals who deeply believe that weapons of mass destruction were found, or are still hiding there, or were simply moved by Saddam Hussein prior to our invasion of the country.

So how do you suppose the American public came to be aware of this “stark evidence”?

Also, how did Americans come to relate this evidence to George Bush’s honesty and competence?

Finally, how it possible that some Americans (like yours truly) realized that most of what has taken place since we invaded Iraq was inevitable because we were being lied to, but a majority of Americans was convinced that Saddam Hussein was getting ready to drop a nuclear bomb somewhere?

How can you explain that?

it is more a matter of seeing that the objections to evolution raised by the ID’ers do not stand up to scrutiny

Is that like how Americans “see” that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Or how Americans “see” that 2000+ soliders have been killed?

Americans live in the United States.

How do they “see” what happens all the over in Iraq?

If there is an implied parallel with the ID debate, I would not agree that the issues are equivalent.

Why are they not equivalent?

Do you think that there is an actual “controversy” in science about whether life on earth evolved versus whether it was created by some mysterious aliens?

If not, then how did it come to pass that Americans believe there is a “controversy,” Mr. Balter?

THen ask yourself: how did it come to pass that a great many Americans believed (and continue to believe) that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers?

I know how it came to pass, Mr. Balter. Do you?

You should know. It’s 2005, after all.

Comment #60211

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

As has been said before, the woeful state of the US public’s understanding of science in general and evolution in particular is strong evidence that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. A generation of scientists has been taught that if we ignore creationists, they’ll go away, but that isn’t working this time.

The state of science education (and education as a whole) in the US is not the result of “ignoring creationists”.

Comment #60212

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 5:06 PM (e)

But to say that what you believe in your private home or church is not relevant to the ID debate is just naive

Um, that’s not what I said, Mr Balter.

I’ll repeat: In a democracy, people are free to hold any religious beliefs they like, no matter HOW silly or stupid those religious beliefs might be to everyone else.

My goal is to (1) stop the fundies from imposing a fundie theocracy onto the rest of us, and (2) stop the fundies from using state-sponsored science classrooms as a vehicle for furthering their theocratic goal.

If the fundies would stop attempting to use political power to push their religious opinions onto everyone else, I would lose interest in them very quickly. They can preach anti-evolution in churches every Sunday from now until Jesus comes back, and I couldn’t care less. But if they attempt to erase the line between church and state, I will fight them using any methods that I find to be necessary.

since the debate as usually framed by both sides is science vs religion.

And both sides are wrong. It’s NOT science vs religion. After all, the vast majority of religious people have no gripe — nobne at all — with science. This fight is between “a small lunatic fringe of ayatollah-wanna-be’s” and “everyone else”.

Comment #60213

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

In the ID situation, it is more a matter of seeing that the objections to evolution raised by the ID’ers do not stand up to scrutiny. Verhey’s paper shows that this works.

Correction —– Verhy’s paper shows that it works among educated college-level people who already have a basic grasp of science and how science works.

But, 20 years of “debates” between scientists and ID/creationists, show that this approach does NOT work among uneducated Americans who do NOT already have a basic grasp of science and how science works.

So, step one should be pretty obvious, huh.

Alas, the US has consistently shown, time and time again, that it simply isn’t interested in educating its citizens.

Which is why we are in the mess we are in.

Comment #60214

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

Nobody is going to ‘toss you out’ but you may want to consider the impact of this ‘shrieking’. People get ‘turned off’ by Sal for very similar reasons.

Well, I don’t hold a gun to anyone’s head and demand that they read any of my posts. I learned long ago that no matter WHAT one does, there is ALWAYS gonna be somebody somewhere who won’t like it. (shrug)

Comment #60215

Posted by Corkscrew on November 26, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

Registered User wrote:

For the record, I wasn’t advocating ad hominem attacks. I was advocating compiling the evidence that Dembski and Cordova are self-contradicting hypocrites with a tendency to fabricate, exagerate and distort, and presenting that evidence in a straightforward way that is accessible to lay readers who are not scientifically literate.

Ah, that’s a completely different matter. Good luck with that, and apologies for the misinterpretation.

And many more apologies for the swearing. I don’t normally do that :-/

Comment #60219

Posted by Henry J on November 26, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

Re “Even more puzzlingly, three of the gates weren’t actually connected to anything - no input, no output - yet when they tried to remove them the system stopped working.”

ROFL

Wonder if that has something to do with quantum effects… ?
Or might the “removing” of some gates affect the spacing between the remaining ones? (and thereby affect the timing of signals between them.)

Henry

Comment #60234

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 26, 2005 7:10 PM (e)

Even I, who have been involved in this issue since I first published on it in 1987, am starting to get a little tired of Registered User and Lenny filling the thread (and the blog) with strident shrieking.

RBH

For what it’s worth, I believe, Verhey, Balter, RBH, corkscrew’s, Shallit, Elsberry, Reuland, talkorigins, etc. approach to dealing with ID to be more of a threat to ID’s advance than Lenny Flank & friends approach…

Since this thread was about Mirecki, I would actually not be surprised to see it be an ID public relations success in the end. The kind of courses that would be most effective at impeding ID’s are the appoaches that Verhey adopts…

Although it is my view in the end, that ID will win out if indeed life is intelligently designed.

The issues Shallit, Elsberry, RBH, corkscrew, and PvM bring to the table are deeper challenges to the ID hypothesis than what Flank has to offer…..hence from the viewpoint of ID, they are the ones I would rather deal with for the sake of ID friendly and creationist lurkers watching this thread.

I would encourage my ID comrades to study the objections they put forward as they are the most substantive. If you are in college, that’s the level of discussion you’ll be faced with….

Professor Verhey wrote:

A generation of scientists has been taught that if we ignore creationists, they’ll go away, but that isn’t working this time. This is not surprising, because the creationists actually learn from each iteration of their efforts, and modify their strategy.

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony. :-)

Salvador

Comment #60239

Posted by steve s on November 26, 2005 7:32 PM (e)

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony. :-)

Salvador

That’s not ironic, it’s expected. Shows you don’t understand evolution. Evolutionists are not under any real selection pressure. They’re well adapted to their natural habitat of the laboratory, and have no natural predators except for the North American Fangless Dummy, which is no real threat.

Comment #60240

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 26, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

Hi Sal glad to see you popped back - perhaps you missed my last post:

Me wrote:

… another Lenny dodging post Sal .. just as I predicted..

Salvador wrote:

I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. Please ask questions.

I have some for you:

1. Why don’t you answer Lenny’s questions?

er … that’s it

(confidently awaits next Lenny-dodging post….)

and guess what? yup! another Lenny-dodging post -
Come on Sal - you can answer Lenny’s questions can’t you? after all they should be easy for you:

Salvador wrote:

The issues Shallit, Elsberry, RBH, corkscrew, and PvM bring to the table are deeper challenges to the ID hypothesis than what Flank has to offer…..hence from the viewpoint of ID, they are the ones I would rather deal with for the sake of ID friendly and creationist lurkers watching this thread.

-since Lenny’s questions don’t pose a deep challenge, and you did ask for questions after all?

… (waits for yet another Lenny-dodging post)…

Comment #60241

Posted by steve s on November 26, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

w/r/t Lenny Flank, he could do with a little less troll feeding. It’s good that he asks the same basic questions to creationists, who can’t answer them, but that would have more power if he made the questions short and simple. Anyway, filling the comment sections with arguments with trolls and dishonest creationists doesn’t accomplish anything.

Comment #60242

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 26, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

Oh yes.. and for any ID friendly and creationist lurkers out there - here are the questions Sal is afraid of:

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.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Any time you are ready, Sal … . . After all, we don;t want all the lurkers to think that you CAN’T answer these simple questions, and are just a dishonest evasive blowhard. Right, Sal?

Comment #60246

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on November 26, 2005 8:05 PM (e)

Corkscrew wrote:

To summarize: I need a more formal definition of probabilistic complexity, I suggest we let the abiogenesis/creation thing go for the moment, and

I will do my best. First of all, the notion of improbability in the way Dembski uses it is not at variance with the notion of anything I see in the mathematical literature, and where he may be unconventional, I think he does point that out. Again, the basic notion:
“probabilistic complexity” means “improbable”. The word “complexity” can be misleading, and I have stated it is understandable Shallit, Perakh, Elsberry have criticized Dembski’s usage of the word “complexity”, a position I sympathize with but do not view in any way as fatal. It is a convention I’m willing to live with:
“probabilistic complexity” means “improbable”.

This leads however to a substantive criticism of ID, “how do we know something is indeed improbable?” Recall, unlike traditional creationism (which dealt with absolutes), ID is more modest in its approach in that it offers ideas as a falsifiable hypotheses, not some creed of faith.

It will hypothesize a particular distribution, but in principle the distribution may be later falsified in the Popperian sense. Furthermore, the focus is far more narrow, IDists will want to focus on possible designs where the probability distribution is amenable to falsification and some degree of measurability. It is desirable to frame the ID argument as “proof by contradiction” versus an argument from ignorance. To the degree the probability distributions are convincing,is the degree the “proof by contradiction” is convincing.

For example with the 500 coins, the improbability of a particular configuration is 1 out of 2^500. Similarly with a string of dice, a configuration of 500 dice would have a probability of 1 out of 6^500. If the dice were say loaded (such that it favored 1), the probability would have to appropriately adjusted, however, say we had 500 loaded dice on a table all showing indicate 5? Even on the generous assumption the dice were loaded, the loaded dice fail as probabilistic explanation for the CSI evidence by the dice. I point that out, because, in cases where a precise description of the probability distribution may not be available, there may exist a pattern which will resist an large ensemble of possible probability distributions.

In sum: The “probabilistic complexity”, or “improbability” is customarily calculated according to accepted conventions. Further, the probabilistic complexity (improbability) of an event is not always tractable, hence even if the artifact is designed, it may not be subject to such analysis. Let me know if that clarifies “probabilistic complexity” sufficiently.

Corkscrew wrote:

I contest that what we see in life is evidence of directedness not of design, on the basis that any designer worth his salt would do stuff in a far more sensible fashion rather than using outmoded design models that inevitably cause problems further down the road.

Unless one has the teleological goals to measure what a “good” design is, it is premature to suggest it is a bad design. For example, the read/write heads on audio CD’s have a high error rate which must be compensated for by error correction. One could easily say this is “bad design”, that it would be better to make the read/writes perfect in the first place. But in fact, that architecture (of Reed-Solomon error correction coupled “flawed” read/write heads) is the about the most optimal when the teleological goal is compactness and speed.

From a philosophical viewpoint, we engineers build disposable products. Story writers design stories that have tragedy, happiness, and ultimate triumph, in fact the best stories have such elements, imho. It’s my view the universe and life on Earth are a disposable design, a design which is guaranteed to self-destruct by the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but a design that is part of a larger Divine drama. That however, is creationist theology, and not part of ID theory proper. But the issue you raise is significant enough that I felt I should at least give couple paragraphs in response as the “bad design” argument I consider the most powerful, not because of it’s scientific merit, but because of it’s philosophical appeal….

Salvador

Comment #60248

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 8:16 PM (e)

Sal, there **is no** ID hypotghesis. None. At all.

THAT is the biggest threat to ID. It simply has nothing to offer.

If you disagree, please please please pretty please with sugar on it, do go ahead and tell us (1) what this scientific theory of ID is, and (2) how we can test it using the scientific method.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Comment #60252

Posted by Cricket on November 26, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

Chirp.

Comment #60253

Posted by steve s on November 26, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

Comment #60219

Posted by Henry J on November 26, 2005 05:50 PM (e) (s)

Re “Even more puzzlingly, three of the gates weren’t actually connected to anything - no input, no output - yet when they tried to remove them the system stopped working.”

ROFL

Wonder if that has something to do with quantum effects… ?
Or might the “removing” of some gates affect the spacing between the remaining ones? (and thereby affect the timing of signals between them.)

Henry

Does ROFL mean you found it ridiculous? It’s very weird, true, but it’s not unreasonable. nearby elements could certainly change the inductive and capacitive properties of a circuit.

Comment #60254

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2005 9:26 PM (e)

Sal wrote:

This leads however to a substantive criticism of ID, “how do we know something is indeed improbable?” Recall, unlike traditional creationism (which dealt with absolutes), ID is more modest in its approach in that it offers ideas as a falsifiable hypotheses, not some creed of faith.

That’s one of the many problems facing ID. For instance, why, just because known chance and regularity processes may have small probabilities, should this give ANY credibility to a ‘design inference’? What if the probability of the design inference is even smaller?

Another real problem with ID is that other than for some trivial cases, the concept of CSI has never been applied to any relevant problems. Flagellum? Cambrian? etc are all Icons of ID which fail to be supported by much of any application of the claimed ID ‘approach’.

Which is why I conclude that ID is scientifically vacuous. But things get better, ID cannot even compete with our ignorance. “We don’t know” is, lacking any understanding of the probability of the ID inference as good and in many ways a much better position to take.

sal wrote:

In sum: The “probabilistic complexity”, or “improbability” is customarily calculated according to accepted conventions. Further, the probabilistic complexity (improbability) of an event is not always tractable, hence even if the artifact is designed, it may not be subject to such analysis. Let me know if that clarifies “probabilistic complexity” sufficiently.

Accepted conventions is a very vague concept and as ID critics have shown this ambiguity has a significant impact on ID.
All the way back to Wein, people have argued that the lack of much of any guidance by ID proponents in this area makes ID somewhat of a vague concept.

Dembski’s latest attempt to rescue the No Free Lunch arguments uses a concept of displacement but this concept raises more problems than it solves.

Comment #60255

Posted by pVm on November 26, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

Sal wrote:

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

The problem is that the ‘evolution’ is mostly in rethoric and less in scientific accuracy or relevance as the few papers relevant to ID have demonstrated.

I cannot believe that ID still relies on the creationist view of the Cambrian for instance. ID proponents quote Valentine as if he we an ID supporter but fail to mention Valentine’s recent papers which clearly demonstrate that ID’s portrayal of the Cambrian is largely vacuous

Comment #60257

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 26, 2005 10:12 PM (e)

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

When ID proponents manage to camouflage what they are doing (attempting to substitute cryptotheological know-nothingism for science education), they win. There is a rather Red Queenish flavor to the entire enterprise, since the entire edifice is built on ignorance, and people (and case law) learn over time. As the niche space changes (e.g., a new predator emerges, such as the dreaded Edwardssversus aguillard), the creationists have gotta run (change their story) to stay in place. Of course, the mechanism of creationist change is more Lamarckian than Darwinian.

And that’s not ironic. It’s just sad.

Comment #60263

Posted by steve s on November 26, 2005 11:07 PM (e)

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

What’s this have to do with ID? I thought ID wasn’t creationism. That’s what the IDers always tell me….

Comment #60264

Posted by Henry J on November 26, 2005 11:14 PM (e)

steve s,

Re “Does ROFL mean you found it ridiculous?”

Funny, not ridiculous. I figured the “unused” elements would have some affect on the elements that are connected to something, perhaps from quantum and/or electromagnetic properties.

Henry

Comment #60268

Posted by steve s on November 26, 2005 11:48 PM (e)

This discussion of the relationship between Avida and evolution suggests to me what all that junk DNA is–what we’re dealing with here is well commented code!

When we get the genome deciphered it’ll read like

void MakeHemoglobin(*alpha, *beta, *gamma)
{
chain += new alpha;
chain += new beta;
chain = chain-gamma;
if (malaria ==true)
betachain[17]=T;
}
// basically I had to break the hemoglobin a bit
// in order to make up for that crappy Plasmodium
// disaster Frank came up with. Don’t know what
// he was thinking. Glad they fired his ass.
// known bugs: Thalessemia, Methemoglobin, etc etc.
// need to totally rewrite this whole kludge someday

Comment #60273

Posted by Registered User on November 27, 2005 12:06 AM (e)

Cordova

For what it’s worth, I believe, Verhey, Balter, RBH, corkscrew’s, Shallit, Elsberry, Reuland, talkorigins, etc. approach to dealing with ID to be more of a threat to ID’s advance than Lenny Flank & friends approach…

And why should anyone believe you about this subject when you have demonstrated habitual evasiveness and dishonesty when it comes to every other aspect of your hobby?

But let’s think about this for a second.

In which sort of world are folks like Sal more likely to thrive?

A world in which lengthy pages of scientific arguments are laid out side by side with lengthy creationist lies?

Or a world in which folks who attack scientists for doing their job are openly ridiculed and treated with scorn and contempt, much like we treat the once-tolerated racists and woman haters?

In which world are folks like Sal and their “theories” more likely to thrive?

I’m sorry, Sal, but more and more folks are on to your sad little ignorance-peddling scheme.

The trial in Dover sure made you look like a stooge, Sal. Yes: you. And you’re not the only one.

Get ready to reap the whirlwind of your deceit, Sal.

Comment #60288

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 27, 2005 6:17 AM (e)

Salvador wrote:

actually Salavador wrote exactly nothing to respond to Lenny’s questions… yet another Lenny-dodging post.
I have another question for you Sal - if Lenny’s are too hard.how about one from me:
Why exactly don’t you address Lenny’s questions?
Lenny is not the only one who would like an answer…..(awaits next Lenny dodging post with supreme confidence)…

Comment #60295

Posted by Corkscrew on November 27, 2005 9:30 AM (e)

Henry J wrote:

Wonder if that has something to do with quantum effects… ?
Or might the “removing” of some gates affect the spacing between the remaining ones? (and thereby affect the timing of signals between them.)

I think the folks who did the experiment just figured it was some kind of induction thing affecting the timing. You could call that a quantum effect.

Salvador wrote:

In sum: The “probabilistic complexity”, or “improbability” is customarily calculated according to accepted conventions. Further, the probabilistic complexity (improbability) of an event is not always tractable, hence even if the artifact is designed, it may not be subject to such analysis. Let me know if that clarifies “probabilistic complexity” sufficiently.

That does clarify it somewhat. However, it still leaves the issue of: if probabilistic complexity is partially dependent on how we think the system might have arisen, doesn’t a negative result (“design!”) possibly just indicate that we don’t know enough about that process?

And if PC is not partially dependent on how we think the system might have arisen, there are trivial counterexamples to the implication that high PC implies design.

I guess my basic question here is: why should the probabilistic complexity of a bacterial flagellum work out as being higher than the probabilistic complexity of a snowflake?

Salvador wrote:

Unless one has the teleological goals to measure what a “good” design is, it is premature to suggest it is a bad design.

I’m not sure teleological is the word I’d use here (because I’m not sure what it means :P). I wouldn’t say it’s completely premature to suggest it’s a bad design though. The common-or-garden octopus has one design of eye (‘verted’ - in which the optic nerves lie under the retina); the common-or-garden human has another (‘inverted’ - in which the optic nerves lie on the surface of the retina). The latter results in the famous “blind spot”, among other problems. Now, one of these approaches is going to be broadly more efficient. So why would there exist two different approaches? One of them must be bad design.

The standard counterargument is that humans and octopi live in very different environments. But fish also have inverted eyes, and they live in exactly the same habitat as octopi. There’s no good reason there.

I agree that this is not a scientific issue as such, but it sure is fun to debate :P

steve s wrote:

This discussion of the relationship between Avida and evolution suggests to me what all that junk DNA is—what we’re dealing with here is well commented code!

Ha! I have to remember that one. Hmm, maybe we can get Dr John Dee* in to decipher it…

* For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, Dr Dee claimed that he was visited by angels who imparted knowledge of, among a number of other things, the angelic (aka Enochian) script.**

** Yes I do have too much time on my hands. I’m a student dammit!

Comment #60305

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 27, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Round two:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/nov/27/2nd_ku_class_denies_status_science_design_theory/?city_local

2nd KU class denies status of science to design theory

By Sophia Maines (Contact)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Intelligent design — already the planned subject of a controversial Kansas University seminar this spring — will make its way into a second KU classroom in the fall, this time labeled as a “pseudoscience.”

In addition to intelligent design, the class Archaeological Myths and Realities will cover such topics as UFOs, crop circles, extrasensory perception and the ancient pyramids.

John Hoopes, associate professor of anthropology, said the course focused on critical thinking and taught how to differentiate science and “pseudoscience.” Intelligent design belongs in the second category, he said, because it cannot be tested and proven false.

“I think this is very important for students to be articulate about — they need to be able to define and recognize pseudoscience,” Hoopes said.

News of the new class provided fresh fuel to conservatives already angered that KU planned to offer a religious studies class this spring on intelligent design as “mythology.”

“The two areas that KU is trying to box this issue into are completely inappropriate,” said Brian Sandefur, a mechanical engineer in Lawrence who has been a vocal proponent of intelligent design.

Intelligent design is the idea that life is too complex to have evolved without a “designer,” presumably a god or other supernatural being. That concept is at the heart of Kansas’ new public school science standards — greatly ridiculed by the mainstream science community but lauded by religious conservatives — that critique the theory of evolution.

More controversy

Hoopes said his class would be a version of another course, titled Fantastic Archaeology, which he helped develop as a graduate student at Harvard University.

The course will look at the myths people have created to explain mysterious occurrences, such as crop circles, which some speculate were caused by extraterrestrials.

The course will explore how myth can be created to negative effects, as in the case of the “myth of the moundbuilders.” In early American history, some people believed the earthen mounds found primarily in the area of the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys were the works of an ancient civilization destroyed by American Indians. The myth contributed to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which relocated American Indians east of the Mississippi to lands in the west, Hoopes said.

“It was that popular explanation that then became a cause for genocide,” Hoopes said.

That example shows the need to identify pseudoscience, he said.

“What I’m trying to do is deal with pseudoscience regardless of where it’s coming from,” he said.

But Sandefur said intelligent design was rooted in chemistry and molecular biology, not religion, and it should be discussed in science courses.

“The way KU is addressing it I think is completely inadequate,” he said.

Hoopes said he hoped his class stirs controversy. He said students liked to discuss topics that are current and relevant to their lives.

“Controversy makes people think,” he said. “The more controversy, the stronger the course is.”

Comment #60308

Posted by Corkscrew on November 27, 2005 11:39 AM (e)

Hmm, I think that that probably deserves its own thread here, otherwise most people are going to be put off by the 339 posts preceding it and aren’t going to get the benefit. I can feel the indignation steaming off of this Sandefur guy.

But Sandefur said intelligent design was rooted in chemistry and molecular biology, not religion, and it should be discussed in science courses.

From what I’ve seen on this site, ID appears to be rooted (on the assumption that it has roots) in mathematics. I think I’m getting to the point where I need to roll up my sleeves and get digging in Dembski’s papers. If I manage to, and find that (as I currently suspect) it’s incorrect, would anyone be interested in my attempting to write a refutation?

Comment #60309

Posted by k.e. on November 27, 2005 11:49 AM (e)

Bwhaaaahahahahah
I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop
“Politic’s and Propoganda” the rise of the 4th Riech

Comment #60317

Posted by k.e. on November 27, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

Corkscrew

Good luck.

do a search on Shallit on PT
There are a few
http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000112.ht…

Dembski uses extremely tortured language.
I have to pull it apart and put them back together changing the order, removing double negatives. One of his favorite tricks is to splurge out a whole sentence that when deconstructed is completely meaningless, just metaphysical mumbling.

He refuses to allow his “Special magic Words TM” to be redefined in plain language that communicates a common understanding or if he does he will change it whenever you try and give it a meaning in true crackpot science style.

Sal will waste weeks of your time setting up the proverbial SM allowing you flail away.

So to save time pin the meaning of the “Special magic Words TM” first by short simple understandable words that don’t look Magic and don’t allow him to move an inch which he will I promise. I suggest You set the terms - plain language only. Like CSI = “cute”.= zero meaning= neutral= Because I say it looks made by god.

Remove code words like designer designed > manufacturer product

In fact the whole thing blows up when you just say CSI=cute and designed = product of god=any life anywhere, everywhere.

The argument is totally worthless in my view because it is god in a box and fails basic logic.

On top of all that they won’t put it to Lenny’s test

Your suspicions will be rewarded

Sooo…

Hope that helps

Comment #60321

Posted by PvM on November 27, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

I am closing this thread due to its size. I will be reporting on a new development at the University of Kansas soon, and hope to use that thread to continue our ‘discussion’ with Salvador on the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design.