Thursday, July 12, 2007

An example of the Explanatory Filter

Salvador Cordova has graced us with a demo of the EF. The EF claims to separate deigned from not designed. Can he do it?

The Original Poster asks

Why aren't the IDists jumpign on this thread to defend the EF?

So what does Sal have to say?
Maybe we have more fun things to do with our time..... I'm willing to respond to questions, but since we are talking about the EF, it would be good to know how many of you have Bill Dembski's book, Design Inference. If any of you are arguing agaist a book you haven't read, or have current access to, I find it difficult to justify spending time debating book reviews by people completely unfamiliar with the literature. Given some of the anti-ID comments I've read so far, it appears: 1. the book hasn't been read by those criticizing it 2. if it has been read, it seems there has been a mis-comprehension Independent of whether the EF is legitimate, it can't be discussed fairly until it is represented accurately. So far, I've seen little evidence that it's being accurately represented, much less legitimately criticized. Salvador Cordova

OK. Most of the time i'll just post what Sal has to say, after all he later claims there is a example of the application of the EF in there. In Sal's posts, not anybody else's.

Sal hits back at his critics who've been complaining that "wtf?" basically. To come along and say ID is more like some sort of new wave therapy that only works if you give it a chance is pathetic. The claims for the EF are quite simple. And they should be demonstrable.

The fact some like 2nd classs demands things like this indicates that he is unwilling to give Bill's work a charitable reading and that he ignores facts which I have repeatedly explained some things to him and which he doesn't accept.
Not looking good for Sal's post number 2. He then posts a quote from his Lord and Master Debmski
The Explanatory Filter faithfully represents our ordinary practice of sorting through things we alternately attribute to law, chance, or design. In particular, the filter describes how copyright and patent offices identify theft of intellectual property …. Entire industries would be dead in the water without the Explanatory Filter. Much is riding on it. Using the filter, our courts have sent people to the electric chair. Bill Dembski
The Design Inference

It's his get out of jail free card. The first line is key. We'll see why later. Sal then posts
The point of this passage is to show Bill Dembski is arguing in the ordinary course of human affairs an Explanatory Filter is applied.

Now, the typical Darwinist will argue there is not one court case that references Dembski's work. Such an argument is a deliberate misrepresentation by Darwinists of Dembski's writings. The sense of what Dembski is saying is that there are ordinary practices in detecting design every day. The label he applies is the Explanatory Filter, he is not claiming his work was used by the courts.

The math and the book are simply a formalization of this ordinary practice. It does not automatically imply an object is intelligently designed if it passes the EF. Passing the EF means that by ordinary practice we would label a thing as having the property of being designed. We say biological forms are designed in such and such a way. Even in the common language of Darwinists, the word "design" is hard to avoid. This is natural because they implicitly use the EF. Darwinists will then argue that such "designed" objects can be shown to be the product of mindlessly arranged physical processes.

When mindless Darwinists try to solve the OOL problem, they are trying to find a way an object, namely life, which has features that pass the EF (like it's computer architecture), via mindless means. They are trying to solve the problem of how mindless physical forces can create computers, and computers pass the EF.

What the formalized EF shows is that Darwinism is a square circle type theory. The EF is used to show the inherent self-contradictions Darwinisms claims. No Free Lunch elaborated on this.

Thus, given these considerations, it is evident 2nd class is unwilling to give Dembski's work a charitable reading. The others, given their attitude, I have about the same regard for. I invite such individuals to continue believing Darwinism and all its falsehoods. Men love darkness, that is quite evident by the commitment I seen in many Darwinists. So, I have little intention of trying to persuade those who would rather think they are the product of mindless purposeless forces.

With respect however to David Heddle, that is another story. I have never insisted anyone accept ID as science. What I do object to is the labeling of self-contradictory Darwinian metaphysics as science. Dembski's math makes a devastating case against Darwinian pseudo science. One need not accept ID to see the veracity of his arguments against mindless Darwinism. That's the power of the EF!

It appears brother Heddle has some negative views about Bill personally. I have seem brother Heddle liken Dembski to Dawkins. I would hope that would not impede David from seeing the fact the Bill has made a devastating critique of Dawkins Blindwatchmaker. I have said many times, one may view ID proponents as absolute scoundrels, and even if true, that does not change the facts at the end of the day. Mindless Darwinism was not the mechanism by which the Intelligent Designer created life.
Predictably this is met by they crowds with "boo, cheat, we wuz conned". After all, an example was plainly requested.

Next up from Sal:

[Apoligies to Dave for mis-stating his situation with Dembski. Though I don't agree that Dave is being as charitable as he could be to Bill, I will defer to Dave to articulate his position on Dembski versus me trying to articulate it for Dave.]

First the EF in ordinary human practice. Then we can explore it in the context of biological evolution.

We often infer design because we have seen humans building certain artifacts. The design inference is believable for practically everyone when dealing with artifacts we believe humans are capable of making. The design inference for biology is rejected by many because they have not seen:

1. God or space aliens
2. God or space aliens in the act of making a new life form

That is respectable reservation, and if one will be hindered from accepting ID until direct observation of the designer is first made, then I respect that, such a one is under no obligation to accept ID, and perhaps nothing I or any ID proponent says will be convincing until they see with their own eyes the Intelligent Designer face-to-face. That position I have sympathy for, but it is a position I have no hope of changing. A mircale will have to be the cure for such sitations.....

[However, I will say from a math standpoint, ID's criticism of minldess abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are mathematically sound. The ulitimate claim of ID is a separate issue, but it's criticism of minldess abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are quite sound. So if for nothing else, the study of ID will bear this out, even if the ultimate inference to intelligent design is rejected (i.e. Hubert Yockey, Jack Trevors, etc.).]

That said, let us first look at the ordinary practice of using the EF with man-made objects since the EF applies to these cases. Applying the EF to man-made cases helps understand applying the EF in biology.

Consider a copyright infringement case (which Bill includes as valid instances of the EF).

Let's say a particular work of literature is plagiarized without giving proper attribution to the original author. Let's say it's particularly egregious where entire pages are copied verbatim. Let's say the plagiarism happens in a journal article. In such case the journal article is illegal. [note: Francis Beckwith told me he was involved in uncovering a major case of this, and it was this incident that I'm thinking of.]

Yes, the illegal article is of human design simply because it is the product of humans, but can we detect design above and beyond the fact that journal articles are already designed? Yes. The EF helps us determine if the article has a plagiarized design.

The detection of plagiarism is the detection of a design. There are of course mathematical details as to how strong the inference of detecting a plagiarized design is, but at some point the weight of evidence will convince law enforcement that a plagiarized design has been detected. The detection of a plagiarized design is an application of an Explanatory Filter.

In brief, there is a very large space of possible English paragraphs, even larger of pages written in English. Even allowing that two writers are writing on the same topic, the space of possible ways to write on the topic are enormous. The chances that two people would write several verbatim identical pages are astronomical. We don't have exact numbers, but estimates are sufficient for a court of law. The fact that a PHYSICAL ARTIFACT, namely, the illegal article conforms to an independent pattern (some one else's writings), allows us to infer a plagiarized design. Detecting a plagiarized design is detection of an intelligent design in the act of plagiarism.

We know that neither chance nor regularity are adequate causes, we thus infer design. Of course the inference is far more believeable because the intelligent agencies are directly observable, but we can say, on the presumption that such agencies exist, design is detectable.

If one can accept that detection of plagiarized designs in literature is a valid instance of the EF, then I can start discussion detecting ID in biology.

So if we can accept plagiarized designs do what with the what now?
And the we're going to start a discussion about detecting ID in biology? I thought we were going to have an example of the EF, not a discussion about the EF. Sal, as ever never quite delivers.

I said referring to the Explanatory Filter:

The detection of plagiarism (sic) is the detection of a design.

Steve H says it isn't. Oh well, Steve H, believe what you want then. The example I gave is an instance of detection according to ID literature. If you wish to close your eyes fine. Assume there was no intelligent design in the act of plagiarism. Roll Eyes I can see what a waste it is to talk to you.

Sal is full of comments like "it's a waste of time to talk to you". If it's such a waste of time, why bother even responding to the comment at all? You could be running the EF!

Somebody complains that Sal is all talk, no numbers, as predicted before he appeared.

Oh well, it seems I'm not going to convince you. I tried to open the discussion to help educated those who really want to learn. In your case, you're invited to keep you mind closed. I have no reason to cater to questions from the closed-of-mind. Believe in Darwinism all you want. Nothing is stopping you. Nothing I say will convince you.

That's fine. I'm here to encourage the readers sympathetic to ID. Your attitude, bottom feeder, helps persuade them that the naysaying by people on your side is just rooted in snide taunting, that you'll find any excuse to believe Darwinism. Fine. Do you best to persuade the ID sympathetic readers with you taunts. Such taunts don't legitimize Darwinism.
Sal is doing a fine job persuading ID sympathetic readers don't ya think? If taunts don't legitimize Darwinism, does not demonstrating the EF legitimize it instead?

And now, what appears (having read the rest of the thread so far, reader, I know whats coming!) to be the actual example of the workings of the Mystery of the Explanatory filter.

First he links to Deniable Darwin

Then a Quote:
Linguists in the 1950's, most notably Noam Chomsky and George Miller, asked dramatically how many grammatical English sentences could be constructed with 100 letters. Approximately 10 to the 25th power, they answered. This is a very large number. But a sentence is one thing; a sequence, another. A sentence obeys the laws of English grammar; a sequence is lawless and comprises any concatenation of those 100 letters. If there are roughly (10^25) sentences at hand, the number of sequences 100 letters in length is, by way of contrast, 26 to the 100th power. This is an inconceivably greater number. The space of possibilities has blown up, the explosive process being one of combinatorial inflation.

Say we have 100 sentences to compare in a passage, and the sentences were 100 characters on average in length. What would be the rough probabliy that two authors could independently arrive at the same 100-sentence passage based on the parameters suggested by Chomsky? 10^25^100?

basic CSI with respect to the plagerism design is roughly

log2(10^25^100) bits

One does not have to accept UPB of 500 bits, but Dembski gives good reason why this is a decent benchmark. Many PKI encryption schemes in the 1990s were protected with a mere 64 bits.

If we saw evidence of this level of copying we would not attribute the plagiarism to :

1. chance
2. law

Whether we decide the plagiarism was an act of ID is separate issue, but the circumstantial evidence would be compelling enough in most courts of law.

Ahh, there, didn't that feel good Sal? Finally after all these years, a demo of the EF!
Well, not quite. But Sal, having already got us to agree (well, it's the internet!) that plagiarism detectin == Explanatory filter in action it seems he's on a winner. Not everybody thinks so

In response to
I didn't just say it isn't, I gave reasons why it isn't, which you have not addressed.
and similar items Sal responds with
It's true I don't address things that I think are a waste of time or are no fun. However, if any ID sympathizers out there want a response I'll give it for their sake, not yours.

In the mean time, you're thus invited to wallow in your resolve to believe in the non-design of life. Enjoy your pointless and purposeless existence, as that's what Darwinism says of your life.
Sure, like the purpose of Sal's life (knowingly lying to people IMHO) is so great. I will enjoy it. Thanks Sal. Wallow away in not demonstrating the EF why don't cha.

He then quotes Dawkins. In his mind he's doing some sort of that their words may be used against them kinda thing i'm sure. Sal thinks Sal is real funny.

the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pointless indifference

Richard Dawkins
So far Sal has not demonstrated otherwise. Somebody says

that of pure random chance. Your calculation says nothing about law, or a combination of law and chance
and Sal quotes him, because I suspect Sal's been here before.
To clarify, the fact that there are numerous possibilies in what can be printed with grammatically correct English language sentences precludes the opportunity for law alone being the cause. Physical artifacts with the capacity of bearing information are not reducible to law. Shannon alluded to this in his famous paper.

The Explanatory Filter does not deal with the possible combinations of law and chance, thus your concern is valid, but it has been pondered as I shall describe.

No Free Lunch attempts to show why these combinations of "law and chance" must themselves be information rich.

The paper: Information as a Measure of Variation attempt to quantify what happens when you go from simple distributions to ones that are more specific. Each distribution has an associated bit value with what it infuses into an artifact.

If it can be shown that these more complex distributions are information rich, and that the a priori existence of such a distribution is more unlikely than random chance, then it is sufficient on average to only look at simple distributions. It doesn't negate the possibility of some combination of law and chance, but it puts a figure on the a priori likelihood of such a paths existing.

For example, it is improbable that 500 coins in a room on the floor will be heads. It is theoretically possible that there exists a robot governed by deterministic laws which can take the coins in a room and ensure any initial condition of coins in the room will eventually result in 500 coins being heads by the operation of the robot. However, the a priori probability of such a machine existing in the first place (via a stochastic process) is on average more remote than the chance of 500 coins being heads. A bit value can then be assigned to the a priori probability of the robot being the source of a new probability distribution.

Surely there are philosophical issues with Dembski's proof in this matter, however, Behe's Edge of Evolution goes the empirical route to argue the effectiveness of Natural Selection (a supposed combination of law and chance) in the wild. Behe has many closet sympathizers, not the least of which are neutralists of various colors.
There is some reaction now, and now people are saying that Sal will not only not demonstrate the EF but that he will claim it has already been demonstrated.

Sal selects another morsel to respond to, ignoring an almost solid consensus against him
How can a scientific theory be devastated by an argument that hinges on philosophy?
The theory can be devastated if it shown (indpendent any philosopy) to be self-defeating. If the kind of selection (fitness landscape) to create complexity is itself highly specific, then that shows Darwinism fails to justify the very claim it pretends to make. There is No Free Lunch.

The difficulty can be readily apparent in taking a typical fish and trying to evolve it via selective breeding into something like a bird. Even granting millions of years, this seems like quite a stretch, not to mention the intermediates might have to be awfully strange....

You could of course argue the amazingness of a bird is simply a post-dictive surprisal. In that case, you don't need any scientific explanation at all except to say it happened. But such an answer would not seem very scientific.

Then follows about 14 minutes later with a bit of Q+A with the message board, it seems. Good sort of Q+A where you get to pick the Q and A.

When you talk about numerous possibilities, are you talking about what's possible given the antecedent conditions of this particular event, or what's possible under any conditions?

I'm talking about the space of all possible outcomes that are grammatically correct.
I wrote:

Physical artifacts with the capacity of bearing information are not reducible to law. Shannon alluded to this in his famous paper.

You asked:Can you point me to the allusion? According to my understanding of classical info theory, messages can bear information even if they're generated deterministically. Shannon's probabilities reflect the prior ignorance of the receiver rather than actual indeterminacy at the sending end.

Let me clarify. I was referring to physical artifcats with the capacity for conveying information. In whatever way that information bearing capacity is derived, it cannot be derived from a law like property which preculdes the possibility of uncertain outcomes.

See: A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Refer to Figure 7. As p approaches 0 or 1 (and thus has less uncertainty), the capacity for information decreases. When it is 0 or 1 (no uncertainty), there is no capacity for bearing information. It was Firgure 7 I was referring to when I said Shannon allude to this in his famous paper.

Then, as if we were not dead on the floor and reeling already follows up with the, er, devastating comeback to himself of quoting somebody...
2nd class wrote:
I'm surprised that you're still claiming that it's sufficient to look at only simple distributions.

You may be surprised, but you did represent my position correctly. Consider the implication though if the distribution is complex (for whatever reason). To give a concrete exmple say we have a pair of dice that on Tuesday have distribution that favors the number 7 through many rolls, and Wednesday the number 12. We find this to be the case every week. The complex distribution begins to raise questions in and of itself, especially when there is no a priori reason to expect it's existence. That is the question raised for Darwinism, why did it favor certain complex designs in the past, many make no sense in terms of the products of a blind watchmaker.

Furthermore, Darwinism and abiogensis are trying to prove that UN-remarkable distributions (or physical phenomena) will inevitably lead to the complexity of life as we know it. If the distributions seem fine tuned toward a goal, then this would tend to refute the Darwinian view.
The logical implications of such a position are pretty extreme. According to your a priori regress, anything that isn't characterized by a simple (I assume you mean near-uniform) distribution is unlikely.

No. Near uniform is not the same a simple. A loaded die will have a simple distribution, it is not near-uniform. Information as a measure of variation will tell you how many bits result from deviations from uniformity will create, and it's not much. Look at the difference in bits in distribution from Seatle rains to Sahar rains, and it's only a piddly 6 or 7 bits.

Your implicit assumption is that the natural state of existence is pure randomness, so we shouldn't expect anything to behave in a law-like fashion. And yet we observe many law-like phenomena, and we generally ascribe them to nature rather than design. How do you explain that?
The existence of natural law is design argument. Maybe not the best one, but it is a design argument. If there is law in the universe, there is a Lawgiver, and the Laws seem fine tuned for scientific discovery. That was the heart of Davies Mind of God book for which he was awarded the 1 million dollar Templeton Prize. Davies by the way is Darwinist.

What is in question in biology is that even irrespective of whether the laws of physics are intelligently designed or not, is there another layer of design (recall the example of the OSI model of communication with it's 7 layers of design).

The argument that biology is the product of natural law seems pretty indefinsible in light of Shannon's paper.

The argument that it's the product of chance, almost no one will defend (not even most Darwinists).

The argument that it's the product of "natural" selection was refuted by the No Free Lunch Theorems.

Yeah, gotta love that the fact that laws exists is proof for ID. Nice'n'easy that. Sal thinks he's all done now. Just a few more quotes to pick off and "answer".
2ndclass wrote:

I don't see how the NFL Theorems can do any such thing without making completely unjustified assumptions

Then you may go on believing:

1. Natural Selection is a coherent scientific idea despite very serious definitional complications as described by Lewontin in his 2003 santa Fe paper: Four Complications in Understanding the Evolutionary Process. The notion itself is suspect since being lucky can arguably be a selective "trait".

2. Selection can generate large scale biological novelty from random mutations (whatever "random mutations" really means), despite the fact of no direct experimental evidence to the affirmative.

The ones who are making unjustified assumptions appear to be the Darwinists, not the ID proponents. You don't have to accept ID to see their critique of Darwinism is quite sound. Further, even independent of No Free Lunch, there are serious population genetic issues such as:

1. Speed of Limits of evolution as limited by Haldane's dilemma.

2. Speed limits of evolution as limited by Nachman's U-Paradox

There are numerous other problems even with the generous assumption Free Lunch happens.

But to go back to the plagerism and copy example, why do biological systems look like imitations of computers. Is that a post-dictive projection on our part, or do you think biological systems are actually instances of molecular computers?

Two peer-reviewed papers have been accepted that dispute the possibilty of Free Lunches in the origin of life (OOL). One paper by Trevors and Abel, and another by Albert Voie. Darwinian evolution will fail as a solution to OOL. Solving the OOL problem means solving the appearance of "plagiarism" with the computers of life, or dare I say our computers appear to have plagiarized a design someone else had in mind since the beginning of time.... Wink

Did I blink, or was there a demo of the EF on this thread we're looking at or not? It's kinda hazy. So much verbiage. So little Math. Hang on, still got a few non believers in the house?
Hang on Sal, you've gone off track there. We wanted a numeric example of he EF in action.
I gave one for the plagerized text.

There is a comparable argument for the biological computer, and that is why I began with the notion of plagerized text. There is the strong appearance of imitated design in human and biological computers.

Numbers? Well, 2ndclass is a computer scientist, perhaps he can give a specificaiton for the minimum number of bits or parts required to implement a self-replicating Turing Machine. Every number I've seen so far yields astronomically remote probabilities. How about von Neumann's suggested number of 150,000 parts? If we look at just the connections alone we are talking on the order of 150,000 bits. This is not a mere computer, but one that is self-replicating.

By the way, intelligently genetic algorithms are designed and purposeful in industry practice. Citing the existence of intelligently designed genetic algorithms whose salient features would not exist without intelligence would not seem to support the idea that blind mindless forces can create and implement genetic algorithms from scratch.

But even granting that mindlessly originated genetic algorithms operate in nature, they've not been empirically shown to generate the kind of complexity in question.

I gave one for the plagerized text?

Has the world gone mad?
Sal is, in general, a bit incoherent, so bear with me

Where and how does it show
The argument that biology is the product of natural law seems pretty indefinsible in light of Shannon's paper.
if not in light of figure 7, the only mention of Shannon so far.

See Trevors and Abel's Peer reviewed paper in Cell biology were they refer exactly to this:
No natural mechanism of nature reducible to law can explain the high information content of genomes. This is a mathematical truism, not a matter subject to overturning by future empirical data. The cause-and-effect necessity described by natural law manifests a probability approaching 1.0. Shannon uncertainty is a probability function (−log2 p). When the probability of natural law events approaches 1.0, the Shannon uncertainty content becomes miniscule (−log2 p = −log2 1.0 = 0 uncertainty). There is simply not enough Shannon uncertainty in cause-and-effect determinism and its reductionistic laws to retain instructions for life. Prescriptive information (instruction) can only be explained by algorithmic programming. Such DNA programming requires extraordinary bit measurements often extending into megabytes and even gigabytes. That kind of uncertainty reflects freedom from law-like constraints.

Trevors and Abel
Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life
Cell Biology 2004
This also answers the question of the relevance to the Explantory Filter. Life cannot be the sole result of law like properties of nature, it must transcend it. The EF requires the object not be the result of :

1. Law
2. Chance

The issue of Shannon information shows that life is not the product of #1.
I like the way Sal declares things. I've answered your question, now buzz off.

Steve H wrote:
Natural laws are descriptions of regularities in nature. They don't need to be fine-tuned to allow discovery - we can discover them simply because they are regularities. Also, you can't choose to break natural laws.
Although you supposition is on the surface reasonable, it is mistaken. If the Big Bang parameters were not finely tuned, the approximately classical behavior of the universe would not be in evidence. It would be very difficult to make any inferences or detect regularities whatsovever.
Sal then brings in the big guns, another quote.Sal likes quoting people. People don't necessarily like Sal quoting them however.
Most scientists have tacitly assumed that an approximately non-quantum (or "classical" to use the jargon) world would have emerged automatically from the big bang, even from a big bang in which quantum effects dominated. Recently, however, Hartle and Gell-Mannn have challenged this assumption. They argue that the existence of an approximately classical world, in which well-defined material objects exist at distinct loacations in space, and in which there is a well-defined concept of time, requires special cosmic initial conditions. Their calculations indicate that, for the majority of initial states, a generally classical world would not emerge. In that case the separability of the world into distinct objects occupying definite positions in a well-defined background space-time would not be possible. There would be no locality. It seems likely that in such a smeared-out world, one could know nothing without knowing everything .

Paul Davies
Mind of God
Odd post now, Sal is losing it.
And its a biologocal computer because... it looks like a biological computer? You seem to be straying down the "it looks designed to me" path.


Doesn't make a difference. "It looks like a computer" is sufficient for it to be classified as a desiged object according to ID literature. Whether you believe intelligence is required to create such correspondences between the appearance of design and actual design is your choice, but it can be shown that Darwinian processes will not even generate the appearance of design of such objects, ergo Darwinism cannot generate real designs, ergo, Darwinism is false.
Not sure what's going on here. Check the post
Now, onto more cherry picked objections
2nd class wrote:

don't know what you mean when you say that there are philosophical issues with his proof.
The philosopical issue is that Dembski's math shows on a priori grounds the unlikelihood of a particular set of distributions. If we were to hypothesize the infinite space of all possible distributions, then yes his math shows that only a few of them would exist to create specified complexity with respect to the simpler set of distiributions.

IF, and a bit IF, that distribution existed in nature, would we still infer design? This is exactly the issue with the fine tuning arguments. We can only compare fine tuning with hypothetical math entities, not other observable universes where fine tuning doesn't exist.

However the solution to the impasse exists in biology, thus making the philosophical issue moot. In biology, we can go the route Behe did in Edge of Evolution and empirically determine if we can observe such "magical" distributions existing in the wild. The empirical evidence strongly suggests such magical distributions do not exist in the wild, nor do we have sound theoretical or empirical reasons to believe they ever did.

The solution to the impasse in cosmology is a bit more subtle and maybe not going into here. Suffice to say, if Tipler or Setterfied are right, I would consider the case for cosmological ID a moot point, and there would not be need to try to see of NFL applies to the universe. Besides NFL works most appropriately on "smaller" problems, like biology rather than cosmology.
It's all so simple when Sal explains it. I'm clear now. Few questions left thou.

RichardHughes said:

So the EF is right because ID literature says it is right?

Come on Sal, the only book that can do that is the Bible!
No, that is not my argument. But I can usderstand the confusion.

What I have stated is what the EF would classify as designed. It classifies computers (be they man-made or self-replicating biological computers) as designed objects.

Whether intelligence is required is separate but related issue. The EF has simply classified the object as having the property of what even colloquially a Darwinist would be inclined to call designed. Biologist study the "design" of systems. Even in that colloquial sense the EF identifies designs.

Notice the this comment on the definition of design:
The principal advantage of characterizing design as the complement of regularity and chance is that it avoids
committing itself to a doctrine of intelligent agency. In practice, when we eliminate regularity and chance, we
typically do end up with an intelligent agent. Thus, in practice, to infer design is typically to end up with a
"designer" in the classical sense. Nevertheless, it is useful to separate design from theories of intelligence and
intelligent agency

Bill Dembski
Notice, Dembski uses the phrase "when we eliminate regularity and chance, we
typically do end up with an intelligent agent", he didn't insist a priori you always end up identifying the action of an intelligent agency. One can offer that hypothesis as a falsifiable claim in the Popperian sense, and it thus is in the form of scientific hypothesis. Both Bill and myself suggest it is a reasonable and falsifiable hypothesis, enough to, for practical purposes cause people like myself to accept it as fact. I don't recall either of us ever said otherwise.

If you want to believe mindless forces can still create such objects, nothing is stopping you, however, Dembski showed that such mindless forces cannot be mathematically characterized by equations that :

1. describe lawlike regularity
2. describe chance type distributions

Either #1 or #2 would be needed to argue that naturalism will succeed as an explanation. But as Trevors and Abel suggest in their peer-reviewed paper, such a quest would be ill-fated as it is doomed from the start. It will search to overturn a mathematical turism not subject to being overturned by any possible future empirical discovery.
And that's where we are today!
The thead begins here

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

how evilution works - a picture of Darwinism drawn by an Intelligent (Graphic) Designer

TRoutMac seyz:

Again, I'll use the Autocad file for the storage shed as an example… but Darwinists claim is the equivalent, roughly, of the following: You take that Autocad .dxf file containing plans for a storage shed and copy it a zillion times and then you open the file up in Autocad and viola, you've got plans for a four-bedroom house. That's a picture of Darwinism, basically.
Hmm. I suspect there's a few bits missing there. So, here we have an admitted non-scientist (a "artist" no less) sounding off on why evilution is wrong. Get a life, mo-ran.
The question he keeps ducking is simple really
The specific quantity of CSI isn't nearly as important as the fact that CSI is present in virtually any quantity.
No, I don't personally feel the need to do the calculations. I have little doubt that qualified ID scientists are pursuing such things as we speak.

So, he admits to a "little doubt" eh? Let's keep working on that......
He does not "personally" feel the need to do the maths, but is perfectly happy to spout his bullshit to what he thinks is a audience of "kidz" who are there to see the "crazy but cool and true ID revolution happen". I'd be dialling 91 and holding my finger over the 1 if this middle aged mo-ran turned up at any school to infect kids brains with his garbage.
Perhaps he could list the "qualified ID scientists" that are working away on this problem? It's amazing how such an ignorant turd can talk about the fall of darwinism and yet "be sure" that "ID Scientists" exist. In fact, they do not, the ones he's thinking of either a) are scientists at religious universities (Dumbski) or piss-poor "real" scientists (behe et al) who's work is torn to shreds by real scientists almost as soon as the ink is dry.

Hey, but at least we have another new math rule for ID!

"the fact that CSI is present in virtually any quantity"

so, we can now assume that the value for CSI for any object at all is "virtually any quantity" at all. So that's good and usefull. I wonder when, if the math is so simple, somebody will work out the CSI in a everyday object such as a chair. A simple task, but nobody has risen to it yet (see my very 1st post for the challenge).

And, to finish off, let's quotemine troutyboy.
"ID theorists recognize that this is a lousy way to approach the question of origins"

At least we can agree on something! Trouty, it's obvious you are preaching to the idiotic, so just give up and fuck off. We all hate your bullshit, but when you aim it at what you think are Kids, you can just ficking drop dead. Luckily for everybody, there are no KIDS at OE - they got bored in 10 seconds (hey, you used the word Zany on the front page - so 30 years ago!) and went off to try and wash their minds out.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The official spokesperson for ID speaks: More ID math!

Over at the stinking abcess known as
TRoutMac was asked to show his working for a particular instance of claimed CSI. The Intelligent (Graphic) Designer said

"Quantifying the CSI of one is pointless when the other has none"

So it looks like we have another math rule for ID. To recap:

CSI must be a non-zero number
It's several orders of magnitude greater then 1 or 0 or some other number we've not determined yet

And now we have

Quantifying the CSI of object A is pointless if Object B has obviously no CSI at all.

Huzzah. Soon we'll have enougth for a whole math lesson. Perhaps that's what they mean when they talk about getting iD into the classrooms?

But it does not stop there. There's more.

We only reject Darwinian evolution which has two major components: A) life developed as a result of purely undirected, unintelligent natural processes and B) that a one celled animal can, if given enough time, eventually become something as complex as a human being. Or even a turnip, for that matter. (the idea of universal common ancestry) We don't reject the idea that changes take place over time within species. We don't even reject the idea of common ancestry, necessarily. We only reject the idea that this 'micro-evolution' can be extrapolated to support macro-evolution. Therefore, I have no problem with the idea of God having designed a system for transmitting genetic information which allows a certain amount of adaptability over time… that's evolution. I do have a problem with the idea that God designed a system which would allow a one-celled animal to become, through random mutation and natural selection, a more complex organism.

I suspect a turnip would be more interesting then his drivel.
It really just stands on it's own. But i'll comment anyway :). So gawd is allowed to do almost everything, apart from make the gradual change from micro to macro evo. Presuming that's the case, why on earth not? Who's writing this rulebook for gawd that only TroutPrat can see? At the moment he's basically the offical spokesperson for ID over at OW. Nobody else is posting anything at all, it's a one man band. Unlike Myspace et al, people get something out of those sites. ALl there is over at OW is vultures like me waiting..... The corpse aint quite a corpse yet, but considering the 100's of new ID'ers graduating university now i suppose somebody will know enougth CPR to keep ID going another generation. After all, it's not that long since lead paint was phased out, and I know that there's little other reason for some of the moronic spouting on pritty much any site thats pushing ID or whatever they want to call it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

bFast "smells" the way forwards for ID

the IDiots over at UD are attempting to co-op somebody else's work, as usual. After quoting somebody else's hard work. The UD spin on it is to highlight words in the text that they have or would like to co-opt.

are somehow encoded within minute fractions of our genetic
code. Nobody yet knows precisely where they are or how they work, but
somewhere in the nuclei of our cells are handfuls of amino acids, arranged in a specific order, that

Their highlightin. How exciting - bold font's must be true (something AFdave suffers from also).

So, as this article is appearing on the front page of UD and I guess OW (their new front, fer the kids) then they are claiming this as a victory for ID. And that's the best they can do, so no wonder the towering edifice of darwinism is about to fall.

And in the comments section the zinger in the article was quoted

And indeed, humans with a defective FOXP2 gene have trouble articulating words
and understanding grammar

then bFast sees the light

Pretty darn good ‘eh. I smell front-loading here. The only possible way this
could be is if the two changes reference significant code somewhere else in the
DNA — call a subroutine, so to speak.
It is clear that a mutation which disables this mutation creates speach problems in humans. The bigger question would be, what happens if we enable these mutations in a chimp. Would the chimp suddenly have significant abilities for speach? If so, I think a case for front-loading would have been very much established!

hurrah. My highlighting. Here's an experiment you could carry out, you could enable bFast's FOXP2 gene and see if he gains the ability to think straight. After that, he could write up his research proposal and sent it in for the big $$$, there's nobody else claiming the money on offer to any ID research project. A step too far for the ID'ers? The prefer to smell their way forwards.

And his comment about a mutation disabling a mutation, does that mean that a mutation can disable a mutation that disables another mutation? So does that mean that everythings a mutation? Hmm, so perhaps chance had some role to play in there after all? Lol, bFast you are one funny guy! Get that lab coat on and get yer hands dirty! Be sure to post your results, perhaps you'll make it into Time as well!

Monday, September 25, 2006


1. russ // Permalink to this comment">Sep 25th 2006 at 12:30 pm

If I may I would like to plug Wells’ book. It’s easy for a non-technical person like myself, but I’ve been able to glean even more from a second reading (and underlining). It would make a great gift book as well, since it’s a pretty comprehensive overview of the entire debate.

Comment by russ — September 25, 2006 @ 12:30 pm

Apparently they do not use google over at uncommondescent. Otherwise they might have found the chapter by chapter dismissial of the very same book. It's been the 1st or second result on a google search for a while now. Or perhaps they think that because they've been blocked from google that they can't search it? Would not surprise me at all.

Now, most books dont get big groups of people dividing it up and directing a bright light on it, chapter by chapter. So, no matter what you think about the issues, it's gotta make you stop and think a bit right? Not russ! He loves it! Perhaps he's been underlining the words he does not understand? Or perhaps, like in the bibble, there's a secret code that contains the answers to all of russ's question's (and i'd pay money to see those!).
Bet people just love getting presents from russ! Ordered 25 you say? Hmm. Oh Dear. Bet christmas is great over at russ's! And somehow, i just know he celebrates it :)

Sure russ, go ahead, plug the book. Nobody else will!

Monday, September 18, 2006

ID Exam Question: design can be objectively detected, and that it’s not all that difficult

Apparently so. This is from GilDodgen over at UncommonDescent (where else!)

He says

My bottom-line thesis is that design can be objectively detected, and that it’s not all that difficult.

Well, Mr GilDodgen, would you care to illustrate how exactly it can be detected?
This illustration should be sufficient to allow a 3rd party to come to the same conclusion (objectively done, remember!) as yourself.
Which strikes me as odd, as nowhere does GilDodgen explain if he detected design in his own writings (I did not!) and how he would go about it anyway if he were to try.
So not only does he indicate that design is easy to detect he then fails to detect design in his own writings! So, if he fails at that point what hope is there for detecting design elsewhere also?

He then says

If a few alliterative M’s can spark a conclusive design inference, what about nature and living systems? I propose that the only reason for denying design in nature is that it would make some people philosophically uncomfortable. They should just feel uncomfortable and get used to it.

Oh, of course, that's why all those biologists reject ID - because their feel philosophically uncomfortable with it? Doh, it's so clear now! I mean, it's not as if 5 odd years of higher learning and then perhaps another 5 on top of that make much of a difference, it's because they are not open minded enougth to accept de truth. Thanks for pointing this out, however this would seem to fall under the "opinion" section, if you want these actual scientists to come round to your point of view you'd better try harder then this! This is real schoolkid stuff, right here!

And what crap about alliterative M's anyway, if this is conclusive proof of design then please show your working! If there was 1 less M would it have been almost conclusive proof? Not quite but 99% proof?

It would appear he's been drinking 99% proof to believe this drivel.

Part of the headline of the article is

When does design become obvious?

Now, excuse me but I thought that design detection was at the forefront if ID "science"? If you are still asking the most basic inane questions about the bedrock of your "science" then is it really apt to say "I propose that the only reason for denying design in nature is that it would make some people philosophically uncomfortable. They should just feel uncomfortable and get used to it."? Perhaps the reason they reject your "science" is that you cannot even answer the most basic questions about it, such as when does design become obvious?

And the full headline is:

ID exam question: When does design become obvious? And a challenge: Write a meaningful English sentence with the greatest number of alliterative M’s.

ID exam question indeed - this is the ultimate wet dream of these morons, but it will
never happen that there is such a thing as a ID exam paper. What, exactly, will be on it?

Here is a picture of the "face on mars"

a) determine if this is a natural object, or has been designed
b) put a value on the complex specified information in this object

When it's put like that, it seems almost reasonable but the thing to remember is that you'd never get a mark back on this exam because THERE IS NO ANSWER BOOK. Even the "experts" on ID cannot put a figure on any object's CSI ("it has alot of it" or "it's obviously designed" will not do) or if any given object is designed or not. And even if they could, no two of them would agree on the answer anyway (if they did, then that's a bit more like science eh?)

So before throwing out such shit as

“A microbe did not mysteriously mutate into Mozart and his music, and most people, thankfully, are smart enough to figure out that this is a silly idea.”
why dont you get back to answering the most basic questions about your "science" instead? What's so mysterious about mutation anyway? The fact that it seems mysterious to you because you are ignorant about mutation does not count, is this where you do your science? On a blog? Get out there into the real world and start to put some action behind your words, or are you just here to play to the crowds and get you 10 minutes of "fame". Mind you, if my audience was the dribbling morons that frequent the comment section at UD (with the odd exception) then i'd hardly consider that "fame" or even a sucess. Get a life GilDodgen, go out and do something worthwhile with it instead of defending religion dressed up as science.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Gem From DaveScot - why ID has failed so far

If you want ID to succeed, you’d better hope that it can produce something better than what it has so far.

If you want to ID to remain censored you’d better hope you can continue to find sympathetic judges who will agree it is a violation of the establishment clause to even criticize chance worship dogma in public schools. Absent that, NDE is a dead duck.

Comment by DaveScot — September 15, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

This little Gem of an exchange has been in my drafts folder for a few days, but i just cannot let it go without comment.

So, according to DaveGeniusScot (IQ of a million!) the reason (the ONLY reason) that ID has not taken over is that it's censored in public schools. There are a few problems with this, that i can see:

a) There are alot of private schools already "teaching" creationism (lets call a spade a spade, ID == Creationism)
b) What would be the point of critically examining something before you've even learnt what it is?

What i mean by b) is that evilution is a big, vast subject, with over 40 books written on the evolution of the immune system for starters. Any problem you might find with a specific topic is specific only to that topic - you can hardly say "no way could the eye have evoloved, therefore all of evolution is bunk". Except that is in fact exactly what they are saying "no way could the flagellium have evolved, therefore nothing did".

So, yes, lets critically examine Evilution. However, lets do it outside of school, in the lab where you can do "experiments" (remember those DaveTard? People DOING things, not just writing about them and pointing out mistakes that are not really mistakes but seem like it due to your lack of education in the subject) and come to conclusions that are not driven by people with an agenda (and whatever you say, the ID's agenda is not to find the TRUTH, or even look for it, but to give a place for god in science).

And, is ID really censored? Hardly. As noted, plenty of places teach creationism, and as this
post at UD explains

Around the US, and around the world, intelligent design is in the college classroom. 100+ universities and colleges listed as including intelligent design in their class plans. Universities are investigating intelligent design analytically and synthetically. Biology, physics, philosophy of science, philosophy, politics, and religion classes are evaluating the research and publications of ID theorists and scientists. Below is our confirmed list of classes, some of which are reoffered, some not. Classes listed here are not necessarily strictly about intelligent design, but they do have discussion, assignments, and/or a unit on intelligent design.

Make your mind up (such as it is) DaveTard, it's either being censored or it's not? And according to scordova (a font of wisdom!) there's over 100+ universities already discussing ID.

So, DS, I say to you you are a LIAR! If ID is being censored, explain the 100+ uni's discussing it RIGHT NOW?
Looking for that Dead Duck still? Look in the Mirror!

DaveScot says "I can’t blame Nazi eugenics entirely on Darwin." Mixing up a science batter.

Well, that's a relief. Cant blame it entirely on the Nazis. Blames it almost completely then? Or what?

DaveScot opens it and this gem flows out:
"I can’t blame Nazi eugenics entirely on Darwin. The observation that superior parents tend to produce superior offspring is ancient and that is the principle behind the science of eugenics. The problem comes about when we apply scientific principles unleavened by compassion".
Comment by DaveScot — September 15, 2006 @ 10:28 am

So, when we apply scientific priciples "unleavened" by compassion we get Nazi eugenics?
Wikipedia says this about unleavened
A leavening agent (sometimes called just leavening or leaven) is a substance used in doughs and batters that causes them to rise. In the presence of moisture, heat, acidity, or other triggers the leavening agent reacts to produce gas (often carbon dioxide) that becomes trapped as bubbles within the dough. When a dough or batter is baked, it "sets" and the holes left by the gas bubbles remain. This is what gives breads, cakes, and other baked goods their soft, sponge-like textures.

Ok, so now we're getting somewhere. Bubbles eh? Not the Chimp, i must add!
So If we distribute bubbles of
compassion through our science batter (mmm, batter), we will avoid Nazi Eugenics? Sounds great.
Phew. I knew i could see Nazi's in the bottom of my batter bowl. Nobody believed me, but i'd forgotten to add the compassion and they were in straight away. Nuthin worse then lill nazis all covered in science cake mix.
I just was not getting the soft, sponge-like textures the ID'ers have been getting all along in their mixes! Damm them, what are they doing different?

So if I were to have mixed up a pudding according to ID principles, I may have done the following:
  1. Hire empty room
  2. Make no effort whatsoever to create conditions suitable for batter creation
  3. Watch as no batter is created.
  4. ??
  5. Proclaim Victory - no batter was created!
or, to put it another way:
A predictionmade by this hypothesis is that no method of abiogenesis absent intelligent intervention can ever be demonstrated in a laboratory
Filed under: Intelligent DesignDaveScot @11:41am
Ironic really, as far as i know Intelligent Design scientists have demonstrated absolutely nothing in the laboratory themselves. I guess that's their area of expertise, talking about things that will not and cannot possibly happen in a laboratory - until they perhaps do happen, and then, well, honestly it was all about something else completely really, honestly....

You know, there's more actual science in the art of cake mixing then there is in Intelligent Design. Read the stuff at that link, it's great!
A better understanding of mixing would benefit many industries, Muzzio says. "Without good powder mixing," he says, "you can't build a road, you can't make a cake, and you can't even kill crabgrass, let alone make high potency
pharmaceuticals." From Science News, Volume 164, No. 4, July 26, 2003, p. 56.

So, people in actual science labs making cakes are doing it with more rigour then the ID'ers. Wow. And contributing along the way to other aspects of science too. Neat.

They are making science and cakes and whats going to beat that?

Well, perhaps living in a delusional world where invisible spacemen poke sticks into atoms to re-jig them on a whim beats that, but i think i'd rather have the cake. mmm, least you can eat the goddam cake, instead of talk about it endlessly.
"not possible for that cake to exist naturally, nobody could have make that cake, it's more then the sum of it's parts" -
"it's not possible for a hot cake from the oven to contain ice cream without the ice cream melting - a creator must be intervening". (talking about Baked Alaska).
"nobody saw the cake come into being, therefore we cannot say that an intelligent agency was not invloved".
"the CSI of this cake is 1.92344823121212...212. If we cut it in half, i get to choose if you get to cut"

Perhaps we should add that last one to the earlier post looking for a value of the Complex Specified Information in any object at all. It's the best answer that's we got so far. And we've now found out that you can alter the CSI of an object by cutting it in half! What does the CSI then become i wonder...
I feel another thread coming on!

Testable ID?

Of course not.
Expirements require scientists. Scientists add CSI to the mix. Therefore anything that we ever find out proves ID.
These people sicken me. They want it both ways - scientists cannot create life? That's because life is to complex to have arisen on it's own (as the expirements are trying to prove.
Scientists create life - ah, this proves life needs intelligent design.

In that case, dog shit on the street requires an intelligent designer. However, there's more then one poster/commenter over at uncommonidiocy that i doubt could even manage that! Tread on it and track it back to the "lab".
Hey, you've got proof of a ghostly designer on the sole of you shoe!

Amazing how they are always predicting the demise of Evilution, but cant come up with any predictions of when it'll happen, or a test that will disprove it.

but it's ok - there's only trivial evidence in any case for it, so it's not surprising that it's due to fail.
What is not so widely understood is that there is no scientific evidence to support this theory in other than trivial biological ways. Not that these trivial biological events don’t have major repercussions such as Social Darwinism and eugenics have shown. But these ideas are based on the most simple and straightforward biological processes. Comment by jerry — September 14, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

So, just so i'm clear, the towering edifice of darwinisn is about to fall, but they are still trivially supported? How come? It's falling but stable at the same time.
No scientific evidence on uncommondescent perhaps, but THERE'S A FRIKKIN TON OUT THERE IN BIOLOGY LABS, BOOKS, PEOPLES HEADS.


Thursday, September 14, 2006


but it's from Davescot, so it's a little hard to understand!

ID predicts that intelligent agents are capable of bringing about abiogenesis so we expect these research programs to succeed while at the same time we predict that abiogenesis attempts absent intelligent agency will fail
Comment by DaveScot — September 14, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

So that's just great then. All we have to do is sit around and wait for nothing to happen, thus proving ID. wow. Nice one, where do i sign up? At the idiot farm where they are giving out free turnips?
They seem (ID'ists) to have responded to the charge of never doing any actual research by leeching onto other peoples work. Now, if some band of scientists manage to create artifical life, it'll be a victory for Idiots like DaveScot? hmm
The links there are as fragile as their whole "not about Jesus at all but we talk about him alot anyway" ID delusion over at UD

then more
Means to abiogenesis that are restricted to only what was available to nature absent any intelligent agency (no machines, no laboratory environments that don’t mimic those found in nature), are predicted to fail. Comment by DaveScot — September 14, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

Amazingly, in the thread this is all in, over at UncommonDescent somebody calls him on that and he responds.

his is not a very practical prediction. It may take million or even more years for scientists to demonstrate ID-free abiogenesis in a laboratory.
  1. It may be done next year too. Discovery is like that. No one knows how long it will take. If we knew how long things will take to discover we could prioritize our efforts rather nicely. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. How long will it take to discover a cure for aids? How long will it take to develop practical fusion reactors to generate electricity? Nobody can answer these questions. Welcome to science and engineering.

    Comment by DaveScot — September 14, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

Wow, welcome to a new world of engineering - just find a room and wait for things to happen, he's quite right - sooner or later (likely to be towards the long side of infinity) pratical fusion reactors will assemble themselves before your eyes, a cure for aids will generate from nothing.
Welcome to the world of ID science! Need an artificial limb? I predict that somebody somewhere will make one at some point in time.
Yay! I'm an ID scientists mom! I can enter the field of science and engineering from my armchair, and make them scientists jump with my little finger.

What's that? I've got it all wrong? Well, that's just too bad.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

While we are waiting for the CSI blockbuster

We'll need something to keep us going....

Here's a neverending story about a Chap called AFDave and his UPDATED Creator God Hypothesis. So far it's 180+ pages of utter inanity (supplied by Dave) and interesting sciency tidbits from the rest of the folks there. It's like AIG meets talkorigins drunk in an alley. AIG gets their butt kicked, sure, but in the meanwhile all sorts of funny happenings occur.

Comments like this from afdave:

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 09 2006,06:16

"Also, we covered the supposed "upward evolution" of bacteria in a separate thread a LONG time ago. Not planning on repeating this. Here's a link to help you get started understanding this issue."

are followed by links to AIG and that appears to cover it, no further comments required, not even a permalink to where it had already been covered earlier on in the thread. That's what they are for AFDave! So you dont have to cover it all over again. And as to the links, well If it baint bin found by a bible bashing website, it cant possibly be true!?! Does you version of google only index "saved" sites? Open you eyes man! Over 800 posts and counting, and still not a jot of sense in any of them!

And it just keeps getting better, another AFdave classic knockout blow.

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 08 2006,18:43

"I suppose you mean macro-evo? I think you are confused. Noah did not have to carry millions of animals on the ark because micro-evolution does indeed occur and many varieties of animals would have developed after the Flood from just a single pair. The reason he had to carry 35,000 (Morris/Whitcomb's guess) is because macro-evo has never happened and never will happen. If macro-evo was possible, there would be no need for an ark to preserve distinct kinds."

Now, if we were to quote mine this as his YEC friends are wont to do, we could get "there would be no need for an ark" and ba-boom! The bible is disproved. End of story.

So thanks for that Dave! Saved us all some trouble!

The most fasinating thing about the whole ID debate for me is CSI, or the lack of it.

And that's what this blog is about.
Let's make a special place, and in it will go the best attempt i've found so far to give a value for the CSI of a given thing. Any thing. At all.

The best description i've read so far of CSI likens it to a definition of porn - You know it when you see it! Or something more subtle, like obcentity.

But the way they talk about it, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's an equation that can be solved or a number that can be assigned. Presumably 2 people (crack CSI calculators) would come up with the same value if asked to determine the CSI in any given thing. Or is that too much like science?

For example, in response to this comment over at UD from Tom English

“Even we earthlings, familiar as we are with natural processes on earth, do not know how to come up with a reasonable estimate of the probability.”

DaveScot says "Yes, we earthlings have. In the case of Mt. Rushmore forming by natural processes we do indeed know how to come up with a reasonable estimate of the probability. The reasonable estimate is zero and it’s arrived at by way of elimination. If you think of a reasonable reason it should be non-zero to a significant degree please give those reasons otherwise through the process of elimination you must agree that a reasonable estimate is zero. What we earthlings don’t know how to do is arrive at a precise probability. There is some exceedingly small chance Mt. Rushmore could be a natural phenomenon but it’s so small there’s no way to give a precise number. Duh."
  1. Comment by DaveScot — August 31, 2006 @ 3:00 am

Duh indeed. So the CSI of Rusmore must be a non-zero number then? Perhaps 1? 1.111? Or something else? I'm confused! Is it even expressed as a number?

Earlier in the same thread BarryA was trying to explain,

"why is it fair for you to make the same accusation against ID proponents when they are attempting to account for specified complexity several orders of magnitude greater than that seen at Mount Rushmore?"
Comment by BarryA — August 30, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

I'm still confused, but at least now we are getting somewhere - it's several orders of magnitude greater then 1 or 0 or some other number we've not determined yet. Where are these attempts to account for CSI much larger then in carvings of people happening? Is there a workshop i can go to? Perhaps peer through one-way glass windows at them hard at work?

The chair challenge:
So perhaps what is needed is a smaller target, perhaps a everyday object such as a chair
Please send in your guesstimates for the CSI of a chair, and bonus points are available for showing your working!

No doubt there will be an upper and lower
range on the values you'll give.
Or is there an
archetypal chair out there that can be assessed?

I look forwards to reading the best estimates you can manage of the CSI in anything at all!