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#41 Wallace

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:50 AM

Bruce V, first of all Stephen Meyer is not 'credible'; he is trained in philosophy, not science.

I did listen to that debate and don't think Meyer did very well at all. He throws around a whole series of bogus claims and uses phrases that sound impressive but which ultimately have no meaning. He spends virtually all of his time talking about 'information' and 'complexity' but doesn't appear to understand those terms at all.
If you want to see what actual information theorists make of his claims, read these;
http://recursed.blog...ion-theory.html
http://recursed.blog...ins-debate.html

If you want critiques of his work by Christian scientists, try these;
http://arrowthrought...re-in-cell.html
http://biologos.org/...to-our-readers/
http://biologos.org/...re-in-the-cell/
http://biologos.org/...ells-signature/
http://biologos.org/...way-of-knowing/

#42 Bruce V.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:24 AM

Bruce V, first of all Stephen Meyer is not 'credible'; he is trained in philosophy, not science.

I did listen to that debate and don't think Meyer did very well at all. He throws around a whole series of bogus claims and uses phrases that sound impressive but which ultimately have no meaning. He spends virtually all of his time talking about 'information' and 'complexity' but doesn't appear to understand those terms at all.
If you want to see what actual information theorists make of his claims, read these;
http://recursed.blog...ion-theory.html
http://recursed.blog...ins-debate.html

If you want critiques of his work by Christian scientists, try these;
http://arrowthrought...re-in-cell.html
http://biologos.org/...to-our-readers/
http://biologos.org/...re-in-the-cell/
http://biologos.org/...ells-signature/
http://biologos.org/...way-of-knowing/

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I answered this here

#43 Wallace

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:05 PM

There's more from the biologos foundation here - http://biologos.org/...ll-a-follow-up/ . I have to say that I didn't think Ayala did a good job in his response, he did rather go off topic.
Also Stephen Matheson, who teaches biology at Calvin and whose blog I linked to elsewhere, seems to be in the middle of a series on the book, though he doesn't seem to have got very far;
http://sfmatheson.bl...ing-review.html
http://sfmatheson.bl...er-reviews.html
http://sfmatheson.bl...reliminary.html
http://sfmatheson.bl...about-hero.html

#44 Yorzhik

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 04:50 PM

Yorzhik,

How is the answer evident within the story?  I'm asking because the question, if to be taken seriously, needs much more information and here's why; I understand that this is off topic.

1.  What kind of turtle?

The type of turtle in the story would give clues to the geographical location of said turtle, which would then be compared to extreme climates to answer question.

2.  Is this turtle real?

If the turtle is fake then one could deduce that is an ornamental turtle put on the fence post for some sort of asthetic value.  If it is real then the other questions will help solve the problem.

3.  How high is the fencepost?

Is the fence post almost completely broken to where it is only a few inches off the ground?  If this is the case you could assume that the turtle crawled onto it as turtles are known to climb small rocks for sunning.  If it is not then the other questions will help answer the problem.

4.  Is this fencepost isolated from other near by objects?

Like is it near a group of over hanging rocks?  If it was then the turtle could easily have crawled onto the fence post.  If not then the other answers will help solve the problem.

5.  How big is the turtle?

If the turtle is small it could have been picked up by a bird and taken to a fence post to be eaten.  If the bird gave up due to the tough shell then the bird would leave the turtle behind.  If not then the other answers will help solve the problem.

6.  Is this fencepost in an area known for extreme climates?

If this fencepost is near the coast storm surge could submerge it.  It is also known that sea life is brought in with storm surges.  The type of turtle would especially help solve this problem.

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Again, all these questions are answered. Simply, if you have to ask about an unusual case, the detail would have been provided in the story.

And thus the point is made. It isn't the story itself, but the lengths an evolutionist will go to make the waters muddy, to misunderstand, or to give as uncharitable reading as possible. Thus, the OP asserted a number of strawmen that should have been avoided if that poster, and likewise yourself, were honestly pursuing the truth.

#45 TheJarJam

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:13 PM

Jeffrey Shallit has repeatedly proven he's both dishonest and ignorant, thus his thoughts on I.D. aren't worthy of respect.

Shallit’s Chronic Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Perhaps Shallit has not read Meyer or is just being willfully obtuse, but Meyer stresses over and over again in his book the difference between specified and unspecified information. Shallit here confuses the two.


Here's Stephen C. Meyer explaining specified information (thanks to U.D.'s vjtorley):

Pages 106-107:
Complex sequences exhibit an irregular, non-repeating arrangement that  defies expression by a general law or computer algorithm… Information  theorists say that repetitive sequences are compressible, whereas  complex sequences are not. To be compressible means a sequence can be  expressed in a shorter form or generated by a shorter number of  characters… Information scientists typically equate “complexity” with  “improbability,” whereas they regard repetitive or redundant sequences  as highly probable…

In our parable, … Smith’s sequence [the ten digits comprising Jones's  telephone number] was specifically arranged to perform a function,  whereas Jones’s [a random sequence of ten digits] was not. For this  reason, Smith’s sequence exhibits what has been called specified  complexity, while Jones’s exhibits mere complexity. The  term specified complexity is, therefore, a synonym for specified  information or information content.

Page 352:
Dembski notes that we invariably attribute events, systems, or  sequences that have the joint properties of “complexity” (or small  probability) and “specification” to intelligent causes – to design –  not to chance or physical-chemical necessity. Complex events or  sequences of events are extremely improbable and exhibit an irregular  arrangement that defies description by a simple rule, law or algorithm.  A specification is a match or correspondence between an  observed event and a pattern or set of functional requirements that we  know independently of the event in question. Events or objects are “specified”  if they exhibit a pattern that matches another pattern that we know  independently.

Pages 352-353 (referring to students at a lecture who inferred  intelligent design – i.e. a set-up – when they saw a “randomly”  selected student open a combination lock on the first try):
When John (my plant) turned the dial in three ways to pop the lock  open, the other students realized that the event matched a set of independent  functional requirements – the requirements for opening the lock  that were set when its tumblers were configured… My students perceived an  improbable event that matched an independent pattern and met a set of  independent functional requirements. Thus for two reasons, the  event manifested a specification as defined above.

Pages 359-360:
Since specifications come in two closely related forms, we detect  design in two closely related ways. First, we can detect design when we  recognize that a complex pattern of events matches or conforms to a  pattern that we know from something else we have witnessed… Second, we  can detect design when we recognize that a complex pattern of events has  a functional significance because of some operational knowledge that we  possess about, for example, the functional requirements or conventions  of a system. If I observe someone opening a combination lock on the  first try, I correctly infer an intelligence cause rather than a chance  event. Why? I know that the odds of guessing the combination are  extremely low, relative to the probabilistic resources, the single trial  available.

Pages 364-365, 367:
Do the sequence of bases in DNA match a pattern that we know  independently from some other realm of experience? If so, where does  that pattern reside? …

While certainly we do not see any pattern in DNA molecule that we  recognize from having seen such a pattern elsewhere, we – or at  least molecular biologists – do recognize a functional significance  in the sequences of bases in DNA based upon something else we know.  As discussed in chapter 4, since Francis Crick articulated the sequence  hypothesis in 1957, molecular biologists have recognized that the  sequence of bases in DNA produce a functionally significant outcome –  the synthesis of proteins. Yet as noted above, events that  produce such outcomes are specified, provided they actualize or  exemplify independent functional requirements (or “hit” independent  functional targets). Because the base sequences in the coding region  of DNA do exemplify such independent functional requirements (and  produce outcomes that hit independent functional targets in  combinatorial space), they are specified in the sense required by  Dembski’s theory…

The nucleotide base sequences in the coding regions of DNA are highly  specific relative to the independent requirements of protein  function, protein synthesis, and cellular life. To maintain  viability, the cell must regulate its metabolism, pass materials back  and forth across its membranes, destroy waste materials, and do many  other specific tasks. Each of these functional requirements, in turn,  necessitates specific molecular constituents, machines, or systems  (usually made of proteins) to accomplish these tasks. As discussed  in chapters 4 and 5, building these proteins with their specific  three-dimensional shapes depends upon the existence of specific  arrangements of nucleotide bases in the DNA molecule.

For this reason, any nucleotide base sequence that directs the  production of proteins hits a functional target within an abstract space  of possibilities…. The chemical properties of DNA allow a vast  ensemble of possible arrangements of nucleotide bases. Yet within that  set of combinatorial possibilities relatively few will – given  the way the molecular machinery of the gene-expression system works – actually  produce functional proteins. This smaller set of functional  sequences, therefore, delimits a domain (or target or pattern) within  a larger set of possibilities.  Moreover, this smaller domain constitutes  an independent pattern or target, since it distinguishes  functional from non-functional sequences, and the functionality of  nucleotide base sequences depends on the independent requirements of  protein function.

Therefore, any actual nucleotide sequence that falls within this  domain or matches one of the possible functional sequences  corresponding to it “hits a functional target” and exhibits a  specification. Accordingly, the nucleotide sequences in the coding  regions of DNA are not only complex, but also specified. Therefore, according to Dembski, the specific arrangements of bases  in DNA point to prior intelligent activity…


Specified information is something even small toddlers understand, so for Jeff Shallit to show such a gross misunderstanding of it would suggest that he's either dangerously stupid or fibbing for Charlie.

#46 AFJ

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:25 PM

Sorry, these people can have all the PhDs going but they aren't scientists. The second they sign that 'statement of faith' at AIG or ICR they have renounced all right to be referred to as scientists.

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But when they were evolutionists they were scientists, right Wallace? Andrew Snelling and Steven Austin probably know evolution better than anyone on this site.

The fact is, whether you consider them to be scientists is irrelevant. You are not qualified to make that judgement. Was Issac Newton not a scientist because he was vocal about his faith? But Darwin was a scientist because he was agnostic? Did Darwin look at the facts, but Newton didn't? This makes no sense at all--you are falling for a stereo type propagated by people like Richard Dawkins.


Flatland said...
Creationists also like to bring up chemical evolution. Hate to break it to you but there's no such thing as chemical evolution; only Chemistry. Lighter elements do not evolve into heavier ones, they fuse. Again this has absolutely nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution.

Sorry, I have to take issue with that statement on the grounds of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Everything that happens in our body is a result of chemical reactions--including mutations. Nucleotides have a phosphate group, a sugar (deoxyribose), and a base. Each base pair is held together by hydrogen bonds. This is chemistry--so when there is a mutation it also bonds chemically.

So even though there's technically no science of "chemical evolution," there is biochemistry--and evolutionists claim it all evolved without guidance--that leaves chemistry in control.

This also implies that the enzymes which catalyze the DNA strand reactions during replication were coded for by the DNA chemically without guidance!! Since no one has answered my question before, I will ask it again: How did the enzymes DNA gyrase and the helicase, which split the DNA, evolve? Since, without replication of DNA, there would be no evolution.

#47 Bruce V.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:36 PM

Jeffrey Shallit has repeatedly proven he's both dishonest and ignorant, thus his thoughts on I.D. aren't worthy of respect.

Shallit’s Chronic Foot-in-Mouth Disease
The undereducated Shallit is simply out of his league when discussing Meyer's work, as most Darwinists seem to be. That Darwinists must resort to such nonsense, and then have the audacity to claim it's I.D. proponents who aren't 'credible',  reeks of desperation and thus bodes well for the future of Intelligent Design.

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The book is an easy read except for the RNA section which is a very difficult.

One point about information that the quote missed is that it communicates to a third party by a common convention and something usable is accomplished. Example:

Book + English convention + English literate person = information

Book + Japanese convention - no Japanese literacy <> information

Blue Print + trained engineer + equipment/materials = information + house

Computer with C++ program + Software Engineer with C++ skills = information + usable program

DNA + translation/transcription (RNA) + ribosomes + specified materials = information + usable protein

Also, science is about what explanation fits best. For example, we haven't proved relativity but it fits the data better than any other theory to date.

Also, if we find lava rock our experience show that lava rock came from a volcano. It is the best explanation about its existence. Likewise the best explanation for specified information is intelligence.

#48 Guest_Tommy_*

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:40 PM

Further to the reference to Stephen Meyer, does anyone know what his religious affiliation is or his "worldview"? I have heard, for instance, that both Behe and Dembski believe in an Old Earth but the former accepts common ancestry whilst the other does not. But I know very little about Meyer.

#49 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:12 AM

TheJarJam, whether you like it or not Jeffrey Shallit is actually involved in the area of information theory, neither Dembski nor Meyer is. Neither of them has published a single peer-reviewed paper in this area. As he further explains;
"Intelligent design creationists love to call it "specified information" or "specified complexity" and imply that it is widely accepted by the scientific community, but this is not the case. There is no paper in the scientific literature that gives a rigorous and coherent definition of creationist information; nor is it used in scientific or mathematical investigations."

These are just meaningless combination of words, 'complex specified information' etc. These words are not used by mathematicians in any area. They have no practical meaning or purpose. They are only used by ID advocates, who themselves made them up, in trying to make their ideas sound like they have credibility.

#50 deadlock

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 05:23 AM

TheJarJam, whether you like it or not Jeffrey Shallit is actually involved in the area of information theory, neither Dembski nor Meyer is. Neither of them has published a single peer-reviewed paper in this area. As he further explains;
"Intelligent design creationists love to call it "specified information" or "specified complexity" and imply that it is widely accepted by the scientific community, but this is not the case. There is no paper in the scientific literature that gives a rigorous and coherent definition of creationist information; nor is it used in scientific or mathematical investigations."

These are just meaningless combination of words, 'complex specified information' etc. These words are not used by mathematicians in any area. They have no practical meaning or purpose. They are only used by ID advocates, who themselves made them up, in trying to make their ideas sound like they have credibility.

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Appeal of Authority is a fallacy

#51 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 08:27 AM

We all have to rely on experts for our information on various subjects; nobody can be an expert in every field, so we have to listen to those who are. I am sure when you are ill you make sure that the person you see is a qualified doctor with expertise and experience, you don't ask your local baker for his random views on what he thinks might help you. It's the same with regard to science; people who have made no contribution to a specific area have no credibility and have not earned the right to be listened to. Demsbki and Meyer are prime examples; their contribution to any area of science is as close to zero as makes no difference. If they want to gain crediblity they should attend scientific meetings where their work can be critiqued by people who work in those areas. You don't gain scientific credibility by writing books for the public.

#52 deadlock

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:48 AM

We all have to rely on experts for our information on various subjects; nobody can be an expert in every field, so we have to listen to those who are. I am sure when you are ill you make sure that the person you see is a qualified doctor with expertise and experience, you don't ask your local baker for his random views on what he thinks might help you.


But doctors make mistakes anyway.

It's the same with regard to science; people who have made no contribution to a specific area have no credibility and have not earned the right to be listened to. Demsbki and Meyer are prime examples; their contribution to any area of science is as close to zero as makes no difference. If they want to gain crediblity they should attend scientific meetings where their work can be critiqued by people who work in those areas. You don't gain scientific credibility by writing books for the public.


They are not any person. They all have PhD in their areas.I´d like to know what contribution Dawkins made to any area of science.

#53 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:57 AM

Having a PhD is in many ways a minimum requirement to really be considered a scientist, but not everyone with a PhD is a scientist. If a person is not doing research, publishing it, and contributing to peer-review then that person is not a scientist. Anybody who is not doing this can quite quickly become unfamiliar with current research.

Deadlock, you are quite right. I don't consider Dawkins a scientist. He certainly used to be, but he hasn't been for a long time now. I would describe how now as more of a popularizer of science. He retains quite close contact with lots of people who are scientists and may even influence them with his writing but I wouldn't say he is a scientist himself. I should say, however, that much of his work when he was a scientist was quite influential so he has certainly made a contribution.

#54 deadlock

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:39 AM

Having a PhD is in many ways a minimum requirement to really be considered a scientist, but not everyone with a PhD is a scientist. If a person is not doing research, publishing it, and contributing to peer-review then that person is not a scientist. Anybody who is not doing this can quite quickly become unfamiliar with current research.


But they are doing research. You only dont like their results

Deadlock, you are quite right. I don't consider Dawkins a scientist. He certainly used to be, but he hasn't been for a long time now. I would describe how now as more of a popularizer of science. He retains quite close contact with lots of people who are scientists and may even influence them with his writing but I wouldn't say he is a scientist himself. I should say, however, that much of his work when he was a scientist was quite influential so he has certainly made a contribution.

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Choose any contribution evolution gave to science.

#55 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:50 AM

Dembski and Meyer are not doing research, they are writing books, so they don't have any 'results' for me to like or dislike. What they have presented in articles for example has been rejected by people who work in the relevant areas and has not been deemed important by others who actually are doing research.

What good is evolution?
rt5CfQvaYSM
ksYsZxSInIk
Nxv_c9dQY0U

#56 Ron

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:59 AM

What good is evolution?

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Other than providing some pretty good propaganda (like we just saw)? Not much... Although I did enjoy the attempt to tie the model of evolution into real sciences.

#57 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 12:19 PM

Appeal of Authority is  a fallacy

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Great point.

#58 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 12:25 PM

Dembski and Meyer are not doing research, they are writing books, so they don't have any 'results' for me to like or dislike. What they have presented in articles for example has been rejected by people who work in the relevant areas and has not been deemed important by others who actually are doing research.

What good is evolution?
rt5CfQvaYSM
ksYsZxSInIk
Nxv_c9dQY0U

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That was a waste of time. All those things could be studied without evolution. Evolution has almost zero predictive power. It almost always comes in after to fact and takes credit. It many ways it leads in false directions and wastes valuable research time and effort. For example, TOL is not what we expected based on evolutionary predictions.

#59 TheJarJam

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 02:37 PM

TheJarJam, whether you like it or not Jeffrey Shallit is actually involved in the area of information theory,

Which makes his idiotic statements all the more alarming. He either slept through most of his classes as a student or, like I said before, he's lying.

neither Dembski nor Meyer is. Neither of them has published a single peer-reviewed paper in this area.


Incorrect (strike 1). Regarding Meyer:

Peer Review Controversy

In August of 2004, Meyer's article "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories”, appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. Shortly thereafter, the journal's publisher retracted the article, alleging it had not met the journal's scientific standards and had not been properly peer reviewed. This statement was met with much skepticism, with the real reasoning for the paper's retraction being extreme hostility towards intelligent design. This was confirmed when Dr. Roy McDiarmid, the President of the Biological Society of Washington and a scientist at the Smithsonian, later admitted that there was no wrong doing regarding the peer-review process of Meyer's paper:

I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis [sic] the review process.

The journal's editor, Richard Sternberg, was harassed and demoted for his publishing of Meyer's article.


You can read about Dembski's peer-reviewed work here (strike 2).


As he further explains;
"Intelligent design creationists love to call it "specified information" or "specified complexity" and imply that it is widely accepted by the scientific community, but this is not the case. There is no paper in the scientific literature that gives a rigorous and coherent definition of creationist information; nor is it used in scientific or mathematical investigations."


U.D. FAQ: Dembski’s idea of “complex specified information” is nonsense!

First of all, the concept of complex specified information (CSI) was not originated by Dembski. For, as origin of life researchers tried to understand the molecular structures of life in the 1970’s, Orgel summed up their findings thusly:

Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [ L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189. Emphases added.]

In short, the concept of complex specified information helped these investigators understand the difference between (a) the highly informational, highly contingent functional macromolecules of life and (B) crystals formed through forces of mechanical necessity, or © random polymer strings. In so doing, they identified a very familiar concept — at least to those of us with hardware or software engineering design and development or troubleshooting experience and knowledge.

Namely, complex, specified information, shown in the mutually adapted organization, interfacing and integration of components in systems that depend on properly interacting parts to fulfill objectively observable functions. For that matter, this is exactly the same concept that we see in textual information as expressed in words, sentences and paragraphs in a real-world language.

Furthermore, on massive experience, such CSI reliably points to intelligent design when we see it in cases where we independently know the origin story.

What Dembski did with the CSI concept in the following two decades was to:

(i) recognize CSI’s significance as a reliable, empirically observable sign of intelligence,

(ii) point out the general applicability of the concept, and

(iii) provide a probability and information theory based explicitly formal model for quantifying CSI.


You can also go here and read a series of posts by the user vjtorley which gives one of the most detailed explanations of specified information I've ever seen. He sites the work of 12 different scientists, all agreeing on the concept of specified information, with only very minor differences between their definitions.

That's strike 3 my friend...


These are just meaningless combination of words, 'complex specified information' etc. These words are not used by mathematicians in any area. They have no practical meaning or purpose. They are only used by ID advocates, who themselves made them up, in trying to make their ideas sound like they have credibility.

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All of this has already been refuted, however let me add that if you don't understand the concept of specified information, then you couldn't understand the very message you're currently reading nor could to differentiate a house from a heap of bricks, a slab of marble from Michelangelo's David, etc. The depths Darwinists must sink to... shameful.

Both yourself and Mr. Shallit need to step out of the ignorance of the 19th century and into the enlightenment of the 21st century. Only then will you be taken serious and not looked at as circus clowns.

#60 Wallace

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:02 PM

I'm not going to get into exactly what happened at the Smithsonian, as different places give different reports of the details. I am not going to accept whatever conservapedia or the Discovery Institute says, as they do not have a good record of reliability.

Regarding the content of Meyer's paper, it was very poorly received and rejected by the governining council as it "does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings."

As for Dembski, I admit I shouldn't have said he hasn't published anything at all, but the little that he has published doesn't seem to be exactly ground-breaking. I can only find a few people who have even looked at that new paper he is talking about in your link, but they don't seem impressed.
http://boundedtheore...arks-paper.html
"The recently published conference paper of Dembski and Marks, Bernoulli’s Principle of Insufficient Reason and Conservation of Information in Computer Search contains an enormous, undebatable, and embarrassing error in the argument regarding the so-called "search for a search.""

http://msampler.word...representation/
"The fundamental lesson here is that the Dembski-Marks approach to evaluating model assumptions is both arbitrary and a poor reflection of scientific reasoning. Model assumptions are not accepted or rejected based on a numerical measure of how many logical possibilities that are ruled out or how far probability distributions deviate from uniform measures. Rather, model assumptions are accepted or rejected based on predictive and descriptive accuracy, domain of applicability, ability to unify existing models and empirical knowledge, and so on."

Reading what mathematicians in general have made of Demsbki's work doesn't lead me to conclude that he is onto anything interesting.
http://scienceblogs...._lower_lega.php
http://scienceblogs....ack_of_comp.php
http://scienceblogs....dembski_the.php
http://rationalwiki....er_Level_Search
http://www.talkreaso...andsdembski.pdf

There are a vast number of mathematicians making significant contributions to the field, but Demski as far as I can tell is making no impact at all. Were it not for the fact that he is so publically trying to make ID look like science, we would have never heard of him.

As for 'vjtorley' he's welcome to his opinions, but until he can show me his credentials or tell me who the information theorist was that he was talking to I can't really comment. For all I know he could be making it all up.




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