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scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

So here goes, and I want you to correct me if I don't represent your position correctly.

I will go into the examples of Monsanto and other genetically engineered products as examples of human CSI and then show how they are extensible to other kinds of CSI.  Your SAI concept is critical to helping create detachable CSI.

The following example should be quite derivable from his book, No Free Lunch, page 139-141.

 Quote We have a "pill-box" of 1000 bins with a coin in each bin.  Clearly the existence of the coins is one layer of design and the fact they are in a bins is an indication of another layer of design.  Thus we have two layers of design in evidence, however we wish to determine if the Heads/Tails configuration evidences yet another layer of design.The space of possibilities, Omega, is defined by all possible configurations of the 1000 coins.Let the detachable specification, T,  be defined as the set of confgurations where the pattern of the first 500 coins are replicated by the last 500 coins.P(T) =  (2^500/ 2^1000)thus I(T) = - log2 ( 2^500 / 2^1000 )  = 500 bitsif the first 500 coins exhibit a K-complex configuration, then seeing any arrangement E of such coins evidences CSI with respect to Head and Tails in this example.

If however, you dispute the ordered pair (T,E) exhibits CSI, I would argue the E's exhibit at least SAI.

Does E exhibit SAI?

These coin examples are a start and extensible to DNA's an proteins, but we must start somewhere.

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

 Quote Sal, this may be "piling on", but I have a recommendation for you.

You didn't want to engage me on the CSI topic I created at ARN CSI for Dummies.  So you come here where you feel you can pile on. OK.

 Quote You need to review Dembski's "parable" about the archer and the bulleyes.

As usual you try to present me as not understanding.

 Quote Most, if not all, of the things you are arguing (here and on other boards) as possessing CSI are actually items that, using this parable, are rightly called fabrications.

Fabrications are designs.  Coin examples are designs.  But we see analogs of these very fabrications in biological systems.

We see several molecular and morphological convergences not attributable to horizontal gene transfers.  That is exactly the CSI (not Sternberg's term) which bothered Sternberg regarding what he called the "Darwinian epicycle of convergent evolution".  Two independent pathways arriving at the same molecular configuration in to unrelated lineages is a nasty problem for Darwinian evolution and Sternberg knows it.  This is an especially nasty for non-functional (essentially invisible to selection) in "spacer" sequences (whatever is the right term) appearing in unrelated lineages arrived at through different expression pathways.

But beyond molecular convergences, even within a single organism like the Nematode we have to separate developmental pathways creating the symmetric halves of the Nematode.  Such a peculiar fact makes no sense in the light of Darwinian Evolution, but does in terms of CSI.

 Quote page 335, Nature's Destiny by Denton:A curious aspect of the development of the namatode and one that would never have been predicted is that although the organism is bilaterally symmetrical--that is, its left and right halves are mirror images of each other--the equivalent organs and cells on the right- and lefthand sides of the body of the larva are not derived from equivalent cells in the embryo In other words, identical components on the right and left sides of the body are generated in different ways from different and nonsymemetrically placed progenitor cells in the early embryo and have therefore lineage patterns which are in some cases completely dissimilar. This is like making the right and left headlight on an automobile in completely different ways and utilizing completely different process.Even individual cells of the same cell type in any one organ, such as, say, the muscle cells, gland cells, or nerve cells of the pharynx, are also derived from different lineages. For example, one particular cell progenitor of the pharynx gives rise to muscle cells, interneurons, gland cells, and epithelial cells. Another progenitor gives rise to to muscle and gland cells.

The nematode halves combined are at least, conceptually speaking, algorithmically compressible being that they are symmetric.  However, two independent pathways arrive at each half.  Evidence of CSI.

Do you now have an inckling why I'm exploring the above symmetric coin patterns?

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

 Quote To reiterate a comment made on the ARN board, an object does not have CSI merely because it was made by man.  Dembski's definition of CSI requires that one show that a non-intelligent nature could not create the object, i.e., that it could not be an object resulting from regular and chance events.

I ignored your comment Ivar because it was didn't even reflect what I was saying.

 Quote page 141 of No Free LunchComplex Specified Information :The coincidence of conceptual and physical information where the conceptual information is both identifiable independently of the physical information and also complex.

Dembki's definition here doesn't look like the definition described by Ivar.

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

Let me point something out about CSI that is counter intuitive.  I will, for the sake of clarity use a smaller than 500 element string, but the example is extensible.

Say we have a space of possibilities Omega defined by 8 coins

There are 256 possibile configurations.
Each possible T can have one or more elements.  For example, here are two T's, T1 and T2:

T1 =
{
0111 1111
}

or
T2 =
{
0000 0100,  1000 0000, 0100 1000, 1111 0010
}

T1 can be represented by one 8-bit string and T1 occupies 8 bits in Omega space.  T1 occupies only 1 of the 256 possibilities in Omega Space.  Using Dembski's calculations

I(T1) = - log2 ( P(T1) )  =  - log2 ( 1 /256) = 8 bits

NOW HERE IS THE CATCH:

T2 can be represented by 4 8-bits strings and T2 occupies 4 of the 256 possibilities in Omega Space.

I(T2) = - log2 ( P(T2) )  = - log2 ( 4/256 ) = 6 bits

The specification of T1 requires 8 bits and it represents 8 bits in Omega Space

HOWEVER, the specification of T2 requires 32 bits (4 * 8) but it only represents 6 bits in Omega.        :eek:

What this means is that for the 1000 coin example above, had I not used symmetric patterns, but rather listed each every 1000-bit specification explicitly until I reached the 500-bit threshhold within Omega Space, there would not be resources in the universe sufficient to do such a task.

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

I will recommend the following for you and IDists.

When identifing CSI.

Describe

1.  The space defined by Omega

2.  The space defined by T

3.  Give conceptual examples E which would evidence CSI within T

4.  defend the reasons why one believes T is detachable and not post-dictive

5.  Provide sample calculations

6.  Not insist on absolute K-complexity for E, since K-complexity is not fully tractable.   Rather something like a maximal huffman compression (or whatever) test for operational utility.

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

 Quote In order to demonstrate that Elsberry and Shallit 2003 is incorrect on point (2), all one has to do is produce a citation in the published literature (dated prior to our paper) showing a complete and correct application of Dembski’s GCEA to a biological system such that “CSI” is concluded. Thus far, I’m unaware of any such instance. The only thing that makes any moves in that direction at all is Dembski’s section 5.10 of “NFL”, and we were careful to make clear why that one was both incomplete and incorrect.

That would be a sufficient but not necessary condition to refute your point.  Thus meeting the challenge the way you specify is not a necessary condition for proving CSI in biology, it is only a sufficient condition as far as you are concerned.  Again, you're pulling the "if I don't see it in peer review, I don't believe it" gimmick.  Absense of meeting that challenge does not refute CSI.

Michael S. Y. Lee, “Molecular phylogenies become functional,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 14 (1999): 177-178.

where he said:
 Quote ...the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene implied...an absurd phylogeny of mammals, regardless of the method of tree construction. Cats and whales fell within primates, grouping with simians (monkeys and apes) and strepsirhines (lemurs, bush-babies and lorises) to the exclusion of tarsiers. Cytochrome b is probably the most commonly sequenced gene in vertebrates, making this surprising result even more disconcerting.

My argument here is not against phylogenic reconstruction.  It is against the fact that the "Darwinian Epicycle" of "evolutionary convergence" needs to be applead to in order to solve the problem of identical features in unrelated creatures..  Any one is welcome to outline a generic method for searching for CSI in evolutionary convergences and it's calculation.  I will offer my attempt in this thread.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

 Quote The NCSE website links to that thread. I believe Wesley couldn't tolerate the very embarassing data I provided about Sternberg and the flaws in Elsberry's paper.I have long suspected the guys over there can't deal with direct scientific debate but rather rely on misrepresentation, strawmen, and ad hominem.

(Source: http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=12;t=001289 , "Darwinist Censorship at PandasThumb.org" )

The fact is that every post to Panda's Thumb that Salvador has ever made is still on Panda's Thumb. Several of the off-topic ones now grace "The Bathroom Wall", but they are still there. There is no censorship of Salvador, and in fact I've taken the time to respond to some of Salvador's persistent claims in this very thread, as well as in threads on Panda's Thumb.

I've asked Salvador to provide the basis for his claim that my citation of E&S 2003 on two points of critique on Meyer 2004 is a bad move. I've been asking for that since August 31st. (See the page before this one in the thread here.) Salvador has studiously avoided that discussion. In this case, I am the one who has consistently pursued "direct scientific debate" and Salvador the one who has taken to "misrepresentation, strawmen, and ad hominem".

As far as I am concerned, there is no "conversation" possible at this point with Salvador. At least, until Salvador takes responsibility for his false and malicious claim concerning "censorship" by me and addresses the specific points I raised in criticism of Meyer 2004 where I cited E&S 2003, I don't expect to engage Salvador on much of anything.

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

Ivar

Posts: 4
Joined: Dec. 2003

Ivar originally wrote:
 Quote To reiterate a comment made on the ARN board, an object does not have CSI merely because it was made by man.  Dembski's definition of CSI requires that one show that a non-intelligent nature could not create the object, i.e., that it could not be an object resulting from regular and chance events.

 Quote I ignored your comment Ivar because it was didn't even reflect what I was saying.page 141 of No Free LunchComplex Specified Information:  The coincidence of conceptual and physical information where the conceptual information is both identifiable independently of the physical information and also complex.Dembski's definition here doesn't look like the definition described by Ivar.

From the text on pages 140 and 141 of No Free Lunch:
 Quote This information-theoretic account of complexity is entirely consistent with the account of complexity given in sections 1.3 and 1.5.... It follows that information can be complex, specified, or both. Information that is both complex and specified will be called complex specified information, or CSI for short (see figure 3.2).

From pages 18, 19, and 22 of No Free Lunch:
 Quote Since complexity and probability are correlative notions (i.e., higher complexity corresponds to smaller probability), this question can be reformulated probabilistically: How small does a probability have to be so that in the presence of a specification it reliably implicates design? ....A probability of 1 in 10^150 is therefore a universal probability bound. [Reference section 6.5 of The Design Inference] A universal probability bound is impervious to all available probabilistic resources that may be brought against it. Indeed, all the probabilistic resources in the known physical world cannot conspire to render remotely probable an event whose probability is less than this universal probability bound.

Complexity is calculated assuming that the "known physical world" generated the event, object, or information in question.  If information (or whatever) is too complex, i.e., too improbable, to be generated by the physical world (and is also specified), only then is design inferred.  Dembski is still relying on his Explanatory Filter (page 13 of No Free Lunch).  In Dembski's world, complexity is undefined when one assumes that a designer did it.

Ivar

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

 Quote 2. Meyer relies on Dembski’s “specified complexity,” but even if he used it correctly (by rigorously applying Dembski’s filter, criteria, and probability calculations), Dembski’s filter has never been demonstrated to be able to distinguish anything in the biological realm — it has never been successfully applied by anyone to any biological phenomena (Elsberry and Shallit, 2003).3. Meyer claims, “The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or ‘complex specified information’ (CSI) of the biological world.” Yet to substantiate this, Meyer would have to yield up the details of the application of Dembski’s “generic chance elimination argument” to this event, which he does not do. There’s small wonder in that, for the total number of attempted uses of Dembski’s CSI in any even partially rigorous way number a meager four (Elsberry and Shallit, 2003).

Point 2.  Sussessfully applying it in biological phenomenon would be a sufficient condition.  If we achieve detection of CSI bio-engineered agents then does the CSI concept begin to make headway for you?  If I cited papers in bio-defense and genetic engineering that use CSI (but not exactly by that name, "CSI"), would that suffice that CSI can be detected in biology.

My posts above are there to show that in your paper you don't even represent CSI correctly.  You know CSI exists in bio-engineering (it can not possibly be otherwise).  By way of extension, particularly in the area of evolutionary convergence we have plausible candidates for CSI.  I sketched some examples, would you really care for me to elaborate???

Point 3.  Well that number can increase.  Why?  Sternberg knows about all these "Darwinian Epicycles" posed by both morphological and molecular convergence, that is an area ripe for research.  He was right to let Meyer make a "review article" that can be the basis of further research.  Sternberg rightly said:

 Quote Sternberg on InformationHis [Meyer's] paper—by addressing the problem of novel organismal morphologies from an information standpoint—provided insight into why this fundamental problem has not yet been solved.While Meyer presented a controversial alternative hypothesis, he did so in a scientific manner and in a way that advances understanding of why his view has reemerged as an option for some scientists. Overall, his discussion is certainly relevant to current fundamental issues in systematics and paleontology.

Sternberg uses the word "information", there are ways we can formalize it in terms of CSI.  Do you want to stick around for the sample calculations???  Formulating the arguments in terms of convergence I believe is one of the best ways to avoid complaints of post diction.

Your paper does not even represent CSI correctly Wesley, so how can it be used as a refutation of Meyer's or anyone's work.  I've gone through the trouble of outling some of the sample calculations in this thread, and it seem just as I was getting close to highlighting the most important points in the calculations you disengage in dialogue.

For your information, the above example with the 1000 coins qualifies as examples of SAI (you are invited to demonstrate otherwise).  Now what sort of "naturally arising simple computational processes" would generate such physical examples?  That's an indefensible assertion on your part that "simple computational processes" generate all such SAI phenomenon.

I've given ideas of how to correct your paper.  You can choose to keep the paper as is.

Also, where is your definition of Omega, T, and E in all of your supposed counter examples like TSPGRID?

My feeling is Shallit did a good job being Dembski's teacher 16 years ago, and I'm surprised a mathematician of his stature would write such a paper on his former student's fine work.

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

CSI Detection Application

The above link does not use the term CSI, but it demonstrates intelligent intervention can be detected in biological agents through essentially eliminative approaches.

What Elsberry's paper fails to grasp is the basic defintion and applications of CSI.

His comment :
 Quote I have no need to believe that anything evidences CSI by Dembski's definition. The reason that I need not believe any such thing is that there has never been a successful application of Dembski's EF/DI via the GCEA meeting or exceeding the "universal small probability" of any event whatsoever. If you had a citation of such a published successful, fully worked-out calculation, I'm sure that you would share that with us. Until then, it's all just blowin' smoke.

Is therefore indefensible.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

With respect to Salvador's responses to the points made against Meyer 2004, there's loads of hand-waving but absolutely no citations of work that would support setting aside our critique. It doesn't matter what may be done in the future; what matters is that Meyer's reliance upon CSI at the time he wrote his paper (and at the time we wrote ours) was based on ... nothing. No successful calculations showing CSI for any event whatsoever. It's still true today, AFAICT, but the challenge to Salvador is to show that we were wrong in 2003, not we might be wrong in 2753. And ... Salvador's still blowin' smoke.

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

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

Well,

Ok, Wesley.  I think we've exhausted most of what we'll say on this thread.

I actually provisionally agreed with your critique of the protein CSI, and I will concede that Meyer did not provide detailed calculations in that review for the kinds of CSI that I look for.  If it turn out however, that we find proteins that have higher improbability, I will happily recant my one major complaint with Meyer's paper.

I'll even concede CSI has not reached it's full maturity and use within the ID community and that the calculations thus far have not appeared EXPLICITY in peer-review.

Do I conclude that lack of peer-reviewed articles at this stage of the game is sufficient evidence against CSI's viability as a concept.  Absolutely not.

I have worked in relevant fields where the ability to detect of ID artifacts is a given (Target Recognition).  There was no need to appeal to a peer-reviewed article because it was so obvious that ID detection is possible.

With the bio-reporting engineering, I doubt they will really even bother with doing probability calculations each time they make a detection, because the design inference in the bio-reporters is so obvious : novel traits like bio-reporter bio-luminesence would not arise via Darwinian evolution.  They can count on the fact that if such a critter is seen, it came from our labs and not purely Darwinian processes.

An analogous inference is very reasonable for the Cambrian explosion, that the creatures did not arise via Darwinian evolution.

I maintain that you are a gentleman (much more so than I), and you are far better mannered than most that I have dealt with.  Sorry we're on other sides of the issues.

If you have any further questions for me, you can post them at ARN and send me a private message there.

I advise you that your paper is badly flawed.  It does not represent what CSI is.  I gave the definitions from page 141  No Free Lunch and how to calculate it.  If you apply such techniques with care, you'll see you'll have to reject TSPGRID as a counter example to LCI.  Further, your SAI has merit, but if you suggest all SAI is createable through "simple computational processes", I just provided a counter example to that claim with the coins above.  There would be no such thing possible through "simple computation processes", because:

1.  If a human made such a coin string, it would be and act of intelligence

2.  If a robot (or some machine like it) created the coin strings, such a robot is anything but simple.

You are free to keep insisting your paper is correct, but by doing so you will invite persistent citations of those errors in your paper.  I leave the decision to change or not change the paper in your hands.

Well, thank you for your time.

Jkrebs

Posts: 382
Joined: Sep. 2004

 Quote With the bio-reporting engineering, I doubt they will really even bother with doing probability calculations each time they make a detection, because the design inference in the bio-reporters is so obvious : novel traits like bio-reporter bio-luminesence would not arise via Darwinian evolution.  They can count on the fact that if such a critter is seen, it came from our labs and not purely Darwinian processes.

This is a total punt.  It's not a matter of them not "doing probability calculations each time they make a detection, because the design inference in the bio-reporters is so obvious," it's a matter of them never having done them at all!  That is a very simple fact that you consistently ignore.

Your example of 500 coins is irrelevant.  The issue is detecting design in biological organisms.  No one, ever, has even offered a methodology for showing that CSI exists in biology, must less attempted to implement a methodology, much less shown CSI that exists according to Dembski's definition.

Without going off on a tangent, Salvador, do you agree with these statements, and if not can you show evidence (not just arguements, but actual evidence) that they are not true?

scordova

Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 2003

Hi Jack Krebs,

Well, I think your objections have merit.  I for one have sided with the critics on a few points, and I try to give them credit when credit is due.   For example, I've been very positive on Shallit's concept of SAI (that must be Shallit's idea, since he was Debmski's algorithmic information mentor).

I think responding to the challenges in Wesley's paper as well as the points you just rased are a good thing.

I direct readers to Response to Elsberry Shallit 2003.

Anything of extreme relevance, I might bring back here to this website, escpecially since I know ISCID is finicky about who posts there these days.

Thanks to you for pointing out perceived deficiencies in my line of reasoning, and I will do my best to make ammendments.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

 Quote The co-author, Wesley Elsberry, having seen my writings at ARN personally requested I discuss his paper at his website antievolution.org

To help others understand how these things come about, herewith are my emails to Salvador of 2003/12/07 and 08:

 Quote Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 14:23:13 -0600 (CST)From: "Wesley R. Elsberry" Message-Id: <200312072023.hB7KNDCO018697@vangogh.fdisk.net>To: [EMAIL=_@hotmail.com[/EMAIL]Subject: TSPGRIDCc: welsberr@vangogh.fdisk.netReply-To: welsberr@onlinezoologists.comThanks for your recent comments on the TSPGRID algorithm. I think, though, that you did not read our description of the TSPGRID algorithm carefully. Please see my response athttp://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....=2;t=78Wesley

 Quote Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 14:23:13 -0600 (CST)From: "Wesley R. Elsberry" Message-Id: <200312072023.hB7KNDCO018697@vangogh.fdisk.net>To: _@hotmail.comSubject: Re: TSPGRIDCc: welsberr@vangogh.fdisk.netReply-To: welsberr@onlinezoologists.comThanks for the response. I've responded as well in the AE thread.I expect criticisms to come with pointy ends. We stated our own criticisms without much in the way of sugar-coating. I think Mayr said it once that he wrote his stuff in the mode of dialectic: thesis, expected antithesis, and to be hoped for synthesis. It seems a reasonable way to get to where we can be sure of arguments.Wesley

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 06 2005,21:04

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

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

The "Forbidden URL"?

Salvador Cordova has been saying some unkind things about me over on ARN. Part of what he's saying is that I can't stand for people to know about a thread on the ISCID bulletin board that he has concerning comments on Elsberry and Shallit 2003. Salvador has taken to calling it "the Forbidden URL".

I'm not sure why, precisely, Salvador wants to do this. In some places, Salvador boasts that I "personally requested" his commentary on our paper. (See above for a response as to how "personal" my communication was.) Elsewhere, Salvador wishes to assert that I instead must somehow "censor" his commentary. Given that we've covered pretty much all of the ground that Salvador has on ISCID here in this thread and I have neither posting privileges nor "censoring" privileges there, I don't see much point in belaboring my points. If people can't see through the rather sophomoric posturing Salvador engages in ("To write a paper to refute CSI and not include the most central definition of CSI is inexecusable", when we extensively critiqued the mathematics that instantiate CSI according to Dembski, for instance), I don't know that further discussion on my part will do much to correct the situation.

As for "censorship" on the Panda's Thumb weblog, I don't believe that I've ever deleted a comment by Salvador. I did move several off-topic comments entered by Salvador to "the Bathroom Wall" thread, which is PT's place for miscellany. I've moved some of my own posts there, so I certainly do not concur with Salvador that this constitutes "censorship".

In any case, "the Forbidden URL" isn't so much "forbidden" as it is irrelevant to the various threads that Salvador posted to on PT, redundant to the present thread here, and inaccessible to me for responses in any case. (Not that I have any great desire to post on ISCID. This BB is perfectly fine, and I have the added benefit of knowing that my posts won't just happen to disappear here.) Which makes the claim of "censorship" on my part ring somewhat hollow, I think.

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

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

Here's something from the comments at PT that I'd like to remind Salvador of. If his claims were correct, he should have been able to demonstrate that convincingly a long time ago. His silence has been eloquent.

=== http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000484.html#c7763 ===

 Quote Sternberg’s professional qualifications in relevant fields, it seems, exceed even those of Gishlick, Elsberry, Matzke combined.  So I hope that will be taken into consideration in view of charges the article is substandard science.

The credentials of Sternberg don't change the content of Meyer 2004. That's pure argument by authority, and it just doesn't work in science.

The similar situation with regard to antievolutionist fascination with (mis)quotation is something I've commented upon before:

 Quote The antievolution fascination with quotations seems to stem from the anti-science mindset of "revelation": testimonial evidence reigns supreme in theology, thus many antievolutionists may mistake that condition as being the same in science. However, science has pretty much eschewed assigning any intrinsic worth to testimonial evidence. Quotations from some source are taken as being an indication that some condition as stated holds according to the reliability of the speaker, as seen by reviewing the evidence. Antievolutionists "get" the first part, but have real difficulty coming to terms with the second part. If some Expert A says X, then the antievolutionist expects that no lesser known mortal will dare gainsay Expert A's opinion on X. However, such a situation is routine in science. Anyone presenting Evidence Q that is inconsistent with X then has shown Expert A to be incorrect on X. If the person holding forth shows repeatedly that they can't be trusted to tell us correct information on, say, trilobites, then that just means that we likely don't hold any further talk on trilobites from that source in high regard.

http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/quotes/

We pointed out problems with Meyer 2004. The issue is whether our criticism stands up to scrutiny. Salvador has avoided dealing with the content of our criticism, and is apparently forced to adopt fallacious modes of argumentation to defend Meyer 2004.

I've pointed out to Salvador exactly what he needs to do to show that his boasting about the Elsberry and Shallit 2003 paper being the wrong citation to critique Meyer 2004 by was on track. These items are things that if I were wrong about, Salvador should quickly be able to show that I was wrong on. This is the FOURTH TIME I've entered this in response to Salvador's comments here since August 31st. I'll email them to him, too, just to eliminate any weak apologetic that he had somehow overlooked the previous presentations.

===================

(From http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000430.html#c7223 )

 Quote In the meantime, I hope Stephen Meyers will read these reviews and learn.  I can confidently say he can ignore any challenges offered by the “Elsberry and Shallit 2003” paper.  I don’t mind you guys building your case on it though. It’ll just be that more of an embarassment to see it all collapse when that paper is refuted.

It doesn’t matter if “the paper” is “refuted”; what matters is whether the particular claims made are supported and true. Here are the claims again:

 Quote 2. Meyer relies on Dembski’s “specified complexity,” but even if he used it correctly (by rigorously applying Dembski’s filter, criteria, and probability calculations), Dembski’s filter has never been demonstrated to be able to distinguish anything in the biological realm — it has never been successfully applied by anyone to any biological phenomena (Elsberry and Shallit, 2003).3. Meyer claims, “The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or ‘complex specified information’ (CSI) of the biological world.” Yet to substantiate this, Meyer would have to yield up the details of the application of Dembski’s “generic chance elimination argument” to this event, which he does not do. There’s small wonder in that, for the total number of attempted uses of Dembski’s CSI in any even partially rigorous way number a meager four (Elsberry and Shallit, 2003).

In order to demonstrate that Elsberry and Shallit 2003 is incorrect on point (2), all one has to do is produce a citation in the published literature (dated prior to our paper) showing a complete and correct application of Dembski’s GCEA to a biological system such that “CSI” is concluded. Thus far, I’m unaware of any such instance. The only thing that makes any moves in that direction at all is Dembski’s section 5.10 of “NFL”, and we were careful to make clear why that one was both incomplete and incorrect.

In order to demonstrate that Elsberry and Shallit 2003 is incorrect on point (3), all one has to do is produce citations in the published literature (dated prior to our paper) showing the attempted application of Dembski’s GCEA to more than four cases. I’m unaware of any further examples that have been published, but I’m perfectly open to revising our number to account for all the instances.

Until and unless those citations are forthcoming, the braggadacio about how the Elsberry and Shallit 2003 paper can be safely ignored seems somewhat out of place.

=====

I posted that on August 31st. As far as I can tell, neither Salvador nor any other ID advocate has made the slightest headway in showing that I was inaccurate in either claim made above. Salvador has taken up an aggressive grandstanding technique, though I think that it is obvious to all that there is little to no substance as yet to back it up. If I were wrong on the two points above, it seems to me that it would be simplicity itself for some ID advocate to show that I was wrong, and I would have expected that to happen already. I predict that what I've written here will again disappear into the ID memory hole of inconveniently true criticisms.

If I'm wrong here, though, I'm willing both to take my lumps and acknowledge whoever it is that shows me to be wrong. I'm still waiting for the documentation. I suspect I will wait a long, long time.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 06 2005,22:05

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

charlie d

Posts: 56
Joined: Oct. 2002

I think it's worth noting that Dembski himself is now on the record as stating that existing EF-related probability calculations such as those he made for the flagellum in NFL are "incomplete and sloppy ".  In his "Reply to Henry Morris", Dembski says:
 Quote Nonetheless, I found the probabilistic reasoning in the creationist literature incomplete and sloppy. For instance, authors often referred to the probability of the chance formation of a particular protein, but failed to note that the relevant probability was that of any protein that performed the same function (this is a much more difficult probability to calculate, and one with which recent ID research has been having some success).
I have no idea what recent "success" Dembski is alluding to, but most definitely his flagellum calculations did not consider the possibility of alternative forms of flagellar proteins capable of performing the same functions.  Instead, he took a straightforward, chance-alone, classical creationist "tornado in a junkyard" approach.

Thus, the claim that the EF "has never been successfully applied by anyone to any biological phenomena" is now supported by the EF author himself.  I think Sal would have a really hard time contradicting Dembski on that one.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

Actually, I don't think that Dembski means that his calculations are sloppy. He will say that he doesn't include his works in "the creationist literature". We still have to point out that his "calculation" for the E. coli flagellum is incomplete (according to Dembski's own statements of what components make up the use of the GCEA) and incorrect. But I'm quite comfy in stating that.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 07 2005,11:31

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

PaulK

Posts: 37
Joined: June 2004

I beleive that there is an problem with Dembski's view of specification that is not adequately accounted for in the paper.

Dembski allows a specification that is read off from the result provided it meets the requirements he has established.  However this is not equivalent to providing a specification in advance.

Consider a sequence of 500 bits.  If we specify the full sequence in advance then the probability of hitting it by pure chance is 2^-500.

If on the other hand we read the specification off from the result, the probability we should consider is the probability of producing one of the sequences of 500 bits fully defined by a specification that Dembski would consider valid.  Thus to know the probability of achieving such a result by chance we should not consider the probability of producing that particular sequence - we must consider the probability of producing ANY ONE of those sequences.  But how many are there ?  This is where your point that "specification" is quite loosely defined hits hardest - the more sequences that have specifications meeting Dembski's criteria the greater the probability of hitting one by pure chance.  One is reminded of the mathematical "proof" that there are no uninteresting numbers*.

This represents a very serious problem with Dembski's method, and dealing with it will add very greatly to the (already huge) amount of work that must be done to apply Dembski's criterion.

*The proof relies on the idea that being the first uninteresting number is itself an interesting property.  Thus there can be no "first uninteresting number".

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

I posted a comment to the Bathroom Wall on PT that included a link to Salvador's supposedly "Forbidden URL". Salvador made this comment on ARN:

 Quote Thanks Wes for linking to my thread from the bathroom wall of PT where no else will read.

It is a certainty that Salvador made this comment in ignorance. He has no information about the relative popularity of pages at PT. And that leads to an amusing circumstance.

Salvador noted a particular post of his that had been moved to the Bathroom Wall from a thread.

 Quote Well why wouldn't one think so. PvM opens a thread, posts my name on it, I respond, and he deletes the thread to the bathroom wall to where few will even read and where the post is out of place.http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000525.html#c10599 That was in response to :http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000602.html My response was perfectly relevent. He deleted it. His pre-rogative, and my pre-rogative to complain.

In fact, the opening post by Pim does not mention Salvador by name. Salvador is mentioned in the comments that followed that post. I'm afraid I'm not seeing how the comment Salvador lists is relevant to Pim's opening post. In fact, Salvador's comment was not deleted; it was moved to a thread where it was not off-topic. It should be noted that despite Salvador's claims that any mention of "the Forbidden URL" was moved to the Bathroom Wall, we have this comment of Salvador's within the thread he was complaining about being shut out of.

So I looked at the logs, and here is what I found. The Icons of ID: Argument from Ignorance and other logical fallacies article has been accessed 1,385 times. The Bathroom Wall where Salvador's comment was moved to has been accessed 4,443 times. Salvador is complaining about having his comment moved to a page that was accessed more than three times as often. It seems to me that 4,443 accesses is rather a lot of "no one else" having a read.

It's reassuring to have an antievolutionist shoot himself in the foot so convincingly. Perhaps the wages of ignorance are, sometimes, a public faux pas of this grand scale.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 08 2005,13:34

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

Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
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 six-sided die rolled 6,000,000 times. His “omega” for this “event” is “all 6-tuples of nonnegative integers that sum to 6,000,000”. In other words, “omega” includes every possible way that one could roll a die 6,000,000 times. In other equations, if one rolls an n-sided die k time, “omega” is k*n. (This is for the case in which only the distribution of rolls matters, which is the context of Dembski’s example, and not the sequence of rolls. For a sequence of die rolls, “omega” becomes n^k.)

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

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

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

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

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

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