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  Topic: Elsberry & Shallit on Dembski, Discussion of the criticism< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4945
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 04 2004,05:37   

On "specified complexity" and equivocation:

Salvador writes:


Wesley and Jeffrey say "Strongly implies that Davies' use of the term is the same as his own". I don't think that is a charitable reading of page 180.

If Dembski had simply noted Davies' use of the term "specified complexity" and stated how his use differed, that would be one thing. But Dembski criticizes Davies for his willingness to credit natural mechanisms with the production of "specified complexity". Dembski makes no distinction between the use Davies makes of "specified complexity" and the different use Dembski does. It is Dembski who has the deficit in charity here.


For the sake of completeness I ask Wesley to justify that Davies ever gave a precise mathematical defintion of "specified complexity" (not complexity) in terms of Kolmogorov-Complexity?

It's completely irrelevant, which is the only sort of completeness I can make out for the above question. We never claimed that Davies did any such thing.


The issue is not "complexity per se", but for "tightly specified complexity". I invite Wesley explain how Davies distinguishes plain vanilla K-complexity from "tightly specified complexity"?

No, the issue is whether Davies' use of "specified complexity" is open to the criticism that Dembski makes of it. The fact that Davies uses "complexity" to mean something entirely different from Dembski's usage is a clue that the two usages of "specified complexity" differ significantly.


Wesley, you're entitled to your opinion, but I think you do not give page 180 of No Free Lunch a charitable reading whatsoever.

<shrug> I don't think Dembski reads Davies charitably. We seem to be at an impasse on this one.


Bill clarifies his position versus that of Davies and Orgel in Design Revolution page 84.

Dembski notes that Orgel and Davies use the term "loosely". He doesn't say that their usage is significantly different from his own. The implication is that the difference is in the degree of precision of use, with Dembski having greater precision.


Is Granite K-complex in terms of the composition and the positioning of the molecules? If so, then even Orgel does not use complexity the way you argue Davies uses it.

<shrug> We never said that the usage of Orgel was the same as that of Davies.


Bottom line, is Bill has made an effort to distinguish his definitions from others. The complaint that Bill "strongly implies that Davies' use of the term is the same as his own" I think has been settled in a subsequent book, Design Revolution.

I don't agree. Dembski has not retracted the criticism of Davies which is dependent upon Davies' use being the same as Dembski's. Simply saying that Davies' use was "loose" in some sense doesn't get Dembski off the hook for this.

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

  52 replies since Nov. 12 2003,08:26 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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