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Monday, December 22, 2008


I think an important point to make is that evolution by natural selection is not a very effective search algorithm. Even in gene space with realistic fitness functions, I would suspect that significant improvements could be made to the algorithm. Sure, it's a pretty robust algorithm, but I think its primary advantage is that it emerges without a creator [smirk].

On Dembski, my understanding was that he didn't merely trace the source of biological complexity to cosmic fine-tuning -- which would be a tacit admission of biological evolution. I thought he was saying that specified complexity could be found there as well as in biological complexity. While it takes a philosophical argument to tackle the question of cosmological fine-tuning, on biological evolution, we can just say he's wrong and be done with it. Am I wrong?

In a related attack on Dumbski, I have long thought that if "Specified Complexity" had any merit, it could be useful in other fields. A way [even if only in principle] to detect design! Plenty of intelligent mathematicians and engineers agree with me about the significance of such a claim, but are unable to get anything meaningful out of Dembski's work. Dembski just declares himself smarter than all of us, and wipes his hands. Does he really care so little about those other fields? If his ideas had any merit, wouldn't a meaningful, positive contribution to some other field enhance his standing and help to spread an understanding of his ideas much better than a full frontal assault on biology? It would certainly convince us skeptics that there was actually some clothing on his emperor.

To me, this behavior is the most damning evidence against him. He has this mathematical theory that claims to detect design, and if you try to make sense of it, he claims you got it wrong, he won't try to explain it because you aren't as sophisticated a mathematician as he is [unless you share his religious views, in which case you don't need to have even a basic understanding of algebra to understand his research] and then he won't even begin to discuss the factual evidence for biological evolution; instead he points back to his mathematical proof that evolution is impossible.

Did I mention that I have a mathematical proof that any and every personal attack you can make against Dembski is factually correct, even [no, especially] those that are not internally consistent. I call it "specified douchebaguery"...

Oh. I'm just getting started on Dumbski.

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