Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Eric Holloway

Irreducible complexity is all around us

I gave a talk at the beginning of this year to a group of students at Biola University [1].  In the talk I described just how revolutionary ID is compared to the current scientific paradigm of chance and necessity.  But, such a talk is likely to go over students heads if there aren’t concrete examples.  How could I show them everyday instances of intelligent agents creating information?  Then it struck me just how pervasive the notion of irreducible complexity is.  Just about everything we make as humans is a form of irreducible complexity.  All the machinery and technology of our modern lives are very evidently irreducibly complex, especially considering how often we have to repair them…But we can see irreducible Read More ›

Follow up to critics agreeing with Dembski re: NFL

Joe Felsenstein (Zoologist) at Panda’s Thumb responded [1] to my previous article [2] showing that a couple critics, Wolpert in particular who created the NFL, actually agree with Dembski.

He refers me to a paper he wrote [3] where he explains that the problem with Dembski’s argument is the relevant fitness landscape for evolution is not under the domain of the NFL.  While he may be right, I’m skeptical since Wolpert explicitly denies this in his paper. Read More ›

Broader Implications of ID

In the popular media, ID is often portrayed as Creationism in new clothes.  And indeed, even among ID proponents, the creation implications tend to be predominantly emphasized.  Yet the theory underpinning Intelligent Design has implications beyond the realm of biological history, perhaps it is a much broader theory than most realize at first.  In fact, it may even describe a comprehensive worldview.  The primary reason that ID has such an impact is because materialism underlies many areas of modern thought, and ID is an alternative hypothesis to materialism. To understand the insights that ID brings, it is important to have a bit of philosophical background to begin with.  There are two basic concepts that are important to know: efficient and Read More ›

Critics agree with Dembski, the No Free Lunch theorem applies to evolution

Biologists in particular and scientists in general are horribly confused defenders of their field. When responding to attacks from non-scientists, rather than attempt the rigor that the geometry of induction and similar bodies of statistics provide, they fall back on Popperian incantations, trying to browbeat their opponents into acceding to the homily that if one follows certain magic rituals---the vaunted "scientific method"---then one is rewarded with The Truth. Read More ›

Infinite Probabilistic Resources Makes ID Detection Easier (Part 2)

Previously [1], I argued that not only may a universe with infinite probabilistic resources undermine ID, it will definitely undermines science. Science operates by fitting models to data using statistical hypothesis testing with an assumption of regularity between the past, present, and future. However, given the possible permutations of physical histories, the majority are mostly random. Thus, a priori, the most rational position is that all detection of order cannot imply anything beyond the bare detection, and most certainly implies nothing about continued order in the future or that order existed in the past.

Furthermore, since such detections of order encompass any observations we may make, we have no other means of determining a posteriori whether science’s assumption of regularity is valid to any degree whatsoever. And, as the probabilistic resources increase the problem only gets worse. This is the mathematical basis for Hume’s problem of induction. Fortunately, ID provides a way out of this conundrum. Read More ›

The Effect of Infinite Probabilistic Resources on ID and Science (Part 1)

If the infinite universe critique holds, then not only does it undermine ID, but every huckster, conman, and scam artist will have a field day. Read More ›

How ID sheds light on the classic free will dilemma

The standard argument against free will is that it is incoherent.  It claims that a free agent must either be determined or non-determined.  If the free agent is determined, then it cannot be responsible for its choices.  On the other hand, if it is non-determined, then its choices are random and uncontrolled.  Neither case preserves the notion of responsibility that proponents of free will wish to maintain.  Thus, since there is no sensible way to define free will, it is incoherent. [1]

Note that this is not really an argument against free will, but merely an argument that we cannot talk about free will.  So, if someone were to produce another way of talking about free will the argument is satisfied.

Does ID help us in this case?  It appears so.  If we relabel “determinism” and “non-determinism” as “necessity” and “chance”, ID shows us that there is a third way we might talk about free will. Read More ›