Wesley R. Elsberry
Posts: 4838 Joined: May 2002

This is a reply to a comment by Salvador over on Panda's Thumb.
Sal,
Yes, that is amusing. Wrong again, but amusing.
As to definitions, I have repeatedly made the point that what CSI is depends upon how it is recognized, which is a property (allegedly) of the math Dembski has given. The “physical/conceptual” text is a descriptive interpretation of what the math defines. It is not, itself, the definition. We addressed the math. We didn’t address every handwaving description Dembski wrote.
As to “omega”, Sal is utterly confused. There are two different uses of “omega” in Dembski’s stuff. In The Design Inference, “omega” refers to “probabilistic resources”, a mapping function that yields “saturated” probabilities and events. TSPGRID doesn’t change “omega”_TDI, contrary to Sal’s claim. In No Free Lunch, “omega” is the “reference class of possible events”. TSPGRID is incapable of “increasing omega” by its operation.
Dembski discusses calculation of “omega” on p.52 of NFL. There, he gives the example of a sixsided die rolled 6,000,000 times. His “omega” for this “event” is “all 6tuples of nonnegative integers that sum to 6,000,000”. In other words, “omega” includes every possible way that one could roll a die 6,000,000 times. In other equations, if one rolls an nsided die k time, “omega” is k*n. (This is for the case in which only the distribution of rolls matters, which is the context of Dembski’s example, and not the sequence of rolls. For a sequence of die rolls, “omega” becomes n^k.)
As for the Sal’s claim that TSPGRID “increases omega as it outputs data”, that’s just silly. One does have to take into account the number of runs of TSPGRID, just as Sal takes into account the number of coins in his idee fixe. Sal’s objection to TSPGRID is exactly the same as objecting to coinstacking on the grounds that he “increases omega as he adds coins”.
Sal says that we didn’t give “omega” for TSPGRID. This is literally true, but we do expect some minimal competence from our readers. The “omega”_NFL for TSPGRID with 4n^2 nodes run k times stated in the same way as Dembski’s dice example is “all (4n^2)!tuples of nonnegative integers that sum to k”, or, more simply, k*(4n^2)! as anyone with a clue should be able to work out from the information that we gave. If you change n or k, you get a different “omega”, just as you get a different “omega” if you stack dice instead of coins, or stack a different number of dice or coins. Once n and k are fixed, as in some specific instance of one or more runs of TSPGRID to be analyzed as an “event” in Dembski’s parlance, “omega” is fixed as well.
So Sal’s random charge of “error” here is just as amusingly inept as his previous outings. It seems that Sal is not well acquainted with Dembski’s work, as “omega” is not all that mysterious. I suspect that Sal “knows” that the TSPGRID example just “has” to be wrong, therefore, any scattershot objection made will do. But if TSPGRID were actually wrong, and Sal were actually capable of analyzing it, he would have come up with a valid objection in the first place, and not have had to resort to flinging any odd objection at hand and hoping something sticks. So far there has been the “a deterministic version of TSPGRID doesn’t output CSI!” objection (which is why TSPGRID is nondeterministic), the “TSPGRID doesn’t provide PHYSICAL information!” objection (though several of Dembski’s own examples share this “error” and a run of TSPGRID or any other algorithm certainly is physical), and now the “you didn’t say what Omega was!” objection (where “omega” is easily calculated given the information we provided).
But I guess I will have to make do with amusement at further instances of random objections.
 "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks."  Dorothy Parker
