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  Topic: Unacknowledged Errors in Marks and Dembski essay, Critique of "ev" backfires< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 30 2007,22:57   

This thread is for discussing the train wreck in progress that is the Robert Marks and Bill Dembski essay trying to critique Tom Schneider's "ev" program. The title here is "Unacknowledged Errors"; part of the reason for this thread is to watch for when, if ever, the errors in the Marks and Dembski paper become acknowledged by the authors.

The Marks and Dembski essay, in PDF format:

Quote

Abstract

How do genetic systems gain information by evolutionary processes? Schneider [14] asks this question and then purports to answer it by simulating the evolution of nucleotide binding sites with an algorithm called ev. Upon examination, ev's structure is algorithmically equivalent to the inversion of a perceptron neural network. We show that ev is able to evolve binding site locations only because it is prestructured to do so. The difficulty of the problem is 131 bits. The perceptron search structure adds about 122.2 bits of information, leaving only about 8.8 bits to the search procedure. Although the perceptron structure smuggles in an enormous amount of information, ev squanders it with the evolutionary search. The evolutionary algorithm in ev required over 45,000 fitness queries to achieve success. Based on query count, repeated random queries outperform the evolutionary algorithm by over 10,000%. The simulation of evolutionary processes using ev illustrates a larger problem in interpreting the results of evolutionary simulations. Interpretations of simulation results, if they are to be credible and inspire confidence, should (a) identify the inherent difficulty of solving the problem and, (b) measure the amount of information about the solution provided by the search structure and the search procedure.


Tom Schneider responds to criticism:

Quote

Considering 439 queries as 3 orders of magnitude, Dembski's estimate is off by about 13 orders of magnitude.


Schneider provides several different methods to arrive at the conclusion that Marks and Dembski are off, way, way off. So, how long will the erroneous claims of Marks and Dembski be headlining "Baylor's Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory"?

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

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,11:26   

It looks like the "ev" critique paper no longer graces the website of "evolutionaryinformatics.org", so perhaps the first step has been taken.

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

    
Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,11:40   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 01 2007,11:26)
It looks like the "ev" critique paper no longer graces the website of "evolutionaryinformatics.org", so perhaps the first step has been taken.

Hopefully we still have a copy?

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
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Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,11:49   

More persecution complex whining on this topic appeared today, courtesy of ace whiner Casey Luskin.

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Rob



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,13:35   

Thanks for pointing this out, Wesley,  Here I thought I was the first one to question M&D's results in that paper, but it turns out that Tom scooped me by a long shot.  I wonder when (or if) Marks & Dembski became aware of his responses?

For anyone interested, the error in the results can be traced to an easily discovered bug in one of their MATLAB scripts (now removed from their site).  The error is so big that putting a number on it is dicey.  My method of estimating it is different than Tom's, and I come up with 20 orders of magnitude as opposed to Tom's 13 orders of magnitude.

It should also be noted that the erroneous results are still reported in one of M&D's other papers, and that both Marks and Dembski have repeated their now-falsified conclusion in interviews.  Also, Gil Dodgen included the erroneous results in one of his UD articles.

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-- Rob, the fartist formerly known as 2ndclass

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,15:22   

Given that Dembski's last large-scale flub was 65 orders of magnitude off, one might find IDC cheerleaders rejoicing over him getting about 45 orders of magnitude or more closer to reality when engaged in pulling numbers out of his posterior.

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

    
deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 01 2007,18:08   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 01 2007,11:40)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 01 2007,11:26)
It looks like the "ev" critique paper no longer graces the website of "evolutionaryinformatics.org", so perhaps the first step has been taken.

Hopefully we still have a copy?

I kept a copy of that ev2.pdf ... I'd wager a lot of people did.

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AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 02 2007,09:36   

Wes - you might want to promote this to the Pandas thumb.

From wikipedia:

Quote
A universal probability bound is a probabilistic threshold whose existence is asserted by William A. Dembski and is used by him in his works promoting intelligent design. It is defined as "A degree of improbability below which a specified event of that probability cannot reasonably be attributed to chance regardless of whatever probabilitistic resources from the known universe are factored in."[1] The notion that such a degree of improbability actually exists, and is specifically 1 in 10^50, is known in the informal Creationist literature as Borel's Law.[2]


What does a miss of 65 orders of magnitude tell us about, erm, god?

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
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k.e



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 02 2007,10:00   

Quote
What does a miss of 65 orders of magnitude tell us about, erm, god?


She's really big...er or really small. Or both at the same time. Or she's gay.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 02 2007,11:11   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 01 2007,15:22)
Given that Dembski's last large-scale flub was 65 orders of magnitude off, one might find IDC cheerleaders rejoicing over him getting about 45 orders of magnitude or more closer to reality when engaged in pulling numbers out of his posterior.

Well, at least he's getting to the bottom of things...

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 04 2007,02:47   

World Net Daily gets in on the situation with "Baylor's Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory".

Quote

But in a recent guest column, Mark Ramsey, the founder of Texans for Better Science Education, called the dispute "a giant leap backward" for Baylor.

"This censorship is based not on poor scholarship or bad data but on a disagreement about the research's conclusions. The conclusions were not deemed to be particularly favorable to the notion that Darwin was right and no intelligence was required in the creation of the world and everything in it," he wrote.


This just goes to show how commentators like Mark Ramsey have no clue whether any of this stuff is based on good, bad, or no data at all. The "ev" critique paper was based on bogus data.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Actually, GIGO is a step forward for Dembski, who for years has been stuck in "garbage out" mode. Actually trying to pay some attention to data at all probably must be credited to Robert Marks.

This was the stuff that was supposed to wipe the MSU Devolab off the map?

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

    
Rob



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 04 2007,14:44   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 04 2007,02:47)
Actually, GIGO is a step forward for Dembski, who for years has been stuck in "garbage out" mode. Actually trying to pay some attention to data...

More like datum.  After a decade of philosophizing about ID, Dembski finally came up with a single empirical number.  Goal for next decade:  Come up with an accurate empirical number.

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-- Rob, the fartist formerly known as 2ndclass

  
Reed A. Cartwright



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 04 2007,15:22   

Could someone provide links to the earlier discussion?  I am out of the loop.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,04:46   

Ok, I now have a post up on this topic at PT.

I entered the following comment over at William Brookfield's weblog in the thread where he whines about critics not responding on his schedule to EIL online essays.

Quote

The "Unacknowledged Costs" paper critiquing Schneider's "ev" has unacknowledged errors. The conclusions in another of the essays are tainted by reliance on the bogus numbers in the "ev" critique.

Tom Schneider had responses up back near the beginning of August in his usual place for such responses. It doesn't seem that Brookfield's search could be described as assiduous.

I've been awaiting substantive replies from Dembski on several of my critiques for years. Will Brookfield draw a conclusion about Dembski from that datum?

Wesley R. Elsberry


What do you suppose the odds are that it will make it through moderation?

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

    
Zachriel



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,07:43   

Looks like 2nd Class is Panda-Famous!



Unacknowledged Errors in “Unacknowledged Costs”: In the current case, Marks and Dembski owe a debt [to] Tom Schneider, “After the Bar Closes” regular “2ndclass”, and “Good Math, Bad Math” commenter David vun Kannon.

(Oops! I see Wesley R. Elsberry already xposted. Consider this comment celebratory, then.)

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Proudly banned three four five times by Uncommon Descent.
There is only one Tard. The Tard is One.

   
J-Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,07:59   

Quote (Zachriel @ Oct. 09 2007,07:43)
(Oops! I see Wesley R. Elsberry already xposted. Consider this comment celebratory, then.)

Outstanding post.  Thanks.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,11:15   

Hmmm... synchronicity...

Quote

Of course, looking at another of the papers that is listed on the EIL site, I noticed that it includes a clear error that I informed Dembski of long ago.

In fact, today is the seventh anniversary of the unregarded notification of that error. This is the standard for unacknowledged errors that Dembski has set. Time will tell as to whether Robert Marks will be an apt pupil…


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

    
Tracy P. Hamilton



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,12:09   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 09 2007,04:46)
Ok, I now have a post up on this topic at PT.

I entered the following comment over at William Brookfield's weblog in the thread where he whines about critics not responding on his schedule to EIL online essays.

   
Quote

The "Unacknowledged Costs" paper critiquing Schneider's "ev" has unacknowledged errors. The conclusions in another of the essays are tainted by reliance on the bogus numbers in the "ev" critique.

Tom Schneider had responses up back near the beginning of August in his usual place for such responses. It doesn't seem that Brookfield's search could be described as assiduous.

I've been awaiting substantive replies from Dembski on several of my critiques for years. Will Brookfield draw a conclusion about Dembski from that datum?

Wesley R. Elsberry


What do you suppose the odds are that it will make it through moderation?

The post is up on the Pleasurian site.

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"Following what I just wrote about fitness, you’re taking refuge in what we see in the world."  PaV

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Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,12:21   

Ah, put it in the "pleasant surprise" category, then.

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

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,12:42   

I've entered another comment at the ICON-RIDS site...

 
Quote

Amusingly enough, today turns out to be the seventh anniversary of my notifying William Dembski of errors in his description of Dawkins's "weasel" program. If Dembski had heeded that (much less acknowledged it), he might have restricted the damage to the online text originally containing the error. Instead, it now contaminates at least one of his published books, and can even be seen in one of the two remaining EIL essays online.

If the paper which is claimed to be under review does get published with the error in it, I look forward to publishing a letter noting the error and its long, long history in the same publication. While Dembski's attitude toward plain errors discovered by critics seems to be ramping up the recalcitrance, it could be the case that Dembski's co-author, Robert Marks, may not wish to take that ride. Time (and plenty of it) may tell.

Wesley R. Elsberry


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

    
Hermagoras



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,15:25   

How will this play out?  Will anybody mention it on UD?  I keep refreshing the relevant links (PT, Austringer, UD, Schneider's blog) hoping for something other than crickets.

Honestly, I don't see how Dembski can avoid saying something.  The errors are so widely publicized and so well described that even I -- an English professor -- can understand them.  Further, what remains of Dembski's credibility is entirely hung on the thin nail of his collaboration with Marks.  Is it possible that he'll just keep his fingers in his ears?  Am I being naive?

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oldmanintheskydidntdoit



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,15:32   

Quote (Hermagoras @ Oct. 09 2007,15:25)
How will this play out?  Will anybody mention it on UD?  I keep refreshing the relevant links (PT, Austringer, UD, Schneider's blog) hoping for something other than crickets.

Honestly, I don't see how Dembski can avoid saying something.  The errors are so widely publicized and so well described that even I -- an English professor -- can understand them.  Further, what remains of Dembski's credibility is entirely hung on the thin nail of his collaboration with Marks.  Is it possible that he'll just keep his fingers in his ears?  Am I being naive?

From what i've read, as a occasional programmer it makes me wonder how they wrote it in the first place and thought it implemented their idea correctly. Especially considering the kind of tools available in a decent IDE.
I mean, IntelliSense for instance  :)

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,16:23   

I've emailed Robert Marks to inform him that the EIL paper that relies upon critiquing Dawkins's "weasel" program has a problem. Dembski and Marks say partitioned search contributes a lot of information to "weasel". The problem? "Weasel" does not use partitioned search. This is the upshot of the seven-year-old notification I sent Dembski. I've very clearly said that I plan to submit a corrective letter if they manage to get the paper published as it stands.

Will a second EIL "publication" go away? I'm waiting to see.

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

    
Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,16:34   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 09 2007,16:23)
I've emailed Robert Marks to inform him that the EIL paper that relies upon critiquing Dawkins's "weasel" program has a problem. Dembski and Marks say partitioned search contributes a lot of information to "weasel". The problem? "Weasel" does not use partitioned search. This is the upshot of the seven-year-old notification I sent Dembski. I've very clearly said that I plan to submit a corrective letter if they manage to get the paper published as it stands.

Will a second EIL "publication" go away? I'm waiting to see.

PHHH. YOU ARE MICROWAITING. WE ACCEPT MICROWAITING BUT A RETRACTION WOULD TAKE MACROWAITING, WHICH NO-ONE HAS EVER OBSEREVED.

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Doc Bill



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,16:43   

My sense is that Marks is no Dembski (unlike Wells who is a Dembski).

Marks just pulled in a NSF grant, for example.  Unlike Dembski, Marks has a career.

I just don't see Marks flushing his reputation down the crapper for the likes of Dembski, unless his ambition is to run against Behe for Mayor of Cranksville.

I vote he'll pull the paper and the EIL will quietly become boojumized.

  
Dr.GH



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,16:59   

I think that there has been a tremendous amount of thought exerted by Wes, and the other contributers to the D&M debunking.

Congratualtions and my thanks.

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,17:25   

Thanks, Gary.

But I have to admit that my role has been more reporter than analyst in the "ev" critique case. The heavy lifting was done by Schneider, Secondclass, and vun Kannon.

It's gratifying, though, that something I noted so long ago may be of great relevance to that other paper on the EIL site. I'm still somewhat amazed by the coincidence on dates. I had a draft of the PT post put together last week, got some comments for changes from Rob last Wednesday or so, and got a little time to finish it off today. When vun Kannon's comment sent me off to the EIL website again, that's when I realized that the other paper was passing along that tired old error of Dembski's. Then I looked up my email and discovered the date match.

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

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,22:28   

Pim van Meurs posted a bit from my PT post to the ASA email list, and got a reproof from one of the list members. Pim was upbraided for defending Dawkins, citing PZ Myers, and then, horror of horrors, expecting people to read stuff I've written.

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

    
Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,23:05   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 09 2007,22:28)
Pim van Meurs posted a bit from my PT post to the ASA email list, and got a reproof from one of the list members. Pim was upbraided for defending Dawkins, citing PZ Myers, and then, horror of horrors, expecting people to read stuff I've written.

That email just about sums up my disgust for Fundies. Don't let reality get in the way of your dogma, kids..

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
someotherguy



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2007,23:08   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 09 2007,22:28)
Pim van Meurs posted a bit from my PT post to the ASA email list, and got a reproof from one of the list members. Pim was upbraided for defending Dawkins, citing PZ Myers, and then, horror of horrors, expecting people to read stuff I've written.

That was amusing. . .in a sort of sad clownish way.

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Evolander in training

  
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