Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Computer Simulations and Darwinism

Okay dudes, no more talk about my abandonment of atheism. Here’s some science and engineering talk. I know something about computer simulations. In fact, I know a lot about them, and their limitations. Search algorithms (and especially AI-related search algorithms) are a specialty of mine, as is combinatorial mathematics. The branching factor (the average number of moves per side) in chess yields approximately 10^120 possible outcomes, but the number of legally achievable positions is approximately 10^80 — the estimated number of elementary particles (protons and neutrons) in the entire known universe. Compare this to the branching factor of nucleotide sequences in the DNA molecule. Do the math. Finite element analysis (FEA) of nonlinear, transient, dynamic systems, with the use of Read More ›

What Gives?

In my essay here, paragwinn asks, “You’ve been quite prolific lately with these testimonials. What gives?” Note the 136 comments at this writing, which eclipses most all recent posts by an order of magnitude. This is not an atypical consequence of my posts at UD. So, what gives? What gives is a sea change in the history of science. For centuries it was thought by the “scientific” elite that materialism (i.e., chance and necessity) would eventually explain everything, and there was (what turned out to be ephemeral) evidence that this might be the case, as a result of the advancements of science and technology in the 19th and 20th centuries. But something happened in the latter half of the 20th Read More ›

Science and Freethinking

Everyone has a religion, a raison d’être, and mine was once Dawkins’. I had the same disdain for people of faith that he does, only I could have put him to shame with the power and passion of my argumentation. But something happened. As a result of my equally passionate love of science, logic, and reason, I realized that I had been conned. The creation story of my atheistic, materialistic religion suddenly made no sense. This sent a shock wave through both my mind and my soul. Could it be that I’m not just the result of random errors filtered by natural selection? Am I just the product of the mindless, materialistic processes that “only legitimate scientists” all agree produced Read More ›

Dumbed-Down Science Standards

My company has been very generous in providing me with all kinds of training in highly sophisticated computational technologies. I’ve attended numerous training seminars, primarily in the areas of finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. These three- to five-day courses are universally incredibly intensive, and it is assumed that the attendee has a thorough background in mathematics (integral and differential calculus, and differential equations), a complete understanding of basic physics (e.g., F=ma, so that the mathematical engine of the FEA or CFD solver can process the input), and experience with command-line Unix or Linux operating systems. In my experience attending these training courses I am struck by the fact that I am almost always among the very few who Read More ›

Two or More Replaced with More Than Three

Those who don’t get the two-or-more reference should look it up. For those interested in the more-than-three reference, check out the following from CBS news about the Capistrano home Bible-study dustup. MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering. Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what one city official called “a regular gathering of more than three people” that requires a conditional use permit, according to Pacific Justice Institute, the couple’s legal representation. The Fromms also reportedly face Read More ›

A Time-Travel Thought Experiment

It’s 1859 and Charles Darwin has just discovered a modern computer, transported back in time to his era. He turns it on. With a microscope he discovers a Core i7 920 CPU. Upon more investigation he discovers that it has approximately 781 million transistors. The computer has a terabyte drive, with an operating system that was compiled from more than 50 million lines of intelligently designed computer code. In my time-travel thought experiment, Darwin is transported into our contemporary era. Much to his amazement, he discovers that modern science has revealed that the simplest living cell is far more complex and sophisticated than the computer he discovered in 1859. What would Darwin do?

The Elegance of Computational Brute Force, and its Limitations

Although for many years I was a classical concert pianist, I was raised by a wonderful father, who is the most brilliant scientist I have ever known, and he imparted to me a love of science. My love of mathematics and science never left me, and my superb education in these disciplines has benefited me well, since I now earn my living as a software engineer in aerospace R&D. The first experience I had with computational search algorithms involved AI games theory, which you can read about here. Brute (but intelligently designed) computational force can do some interesting things (and even elegant things, as you can discover from my perfect-play endgame databases), but only in domains with restricted search horizons, Read More ›

Darwinists are Atheists in Expensive Tuxedos

The claim has been made that ID proponents are just “creationists in cheap tuxedos.” Of course, the term “creationist” is used as a pejorative, meant to imply that all ID theorists are young-earth Biblical literalists who have lost their minds and want to destroy science. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Therefore, I’ll make the claim that Darwinists are atheists in expensive tuxedos. By Darwinism I specifically refer to the hypothesis that random errors filtered by differential mortality can explain everything in biological reality. This means that accidents presumably transformed a “primitive” microbe (which was already an astronomically complex information-processing system) into Mozart and his piano concerti. This is a transparently preposterous proposition, considering what is Read More ›

Closed Versus Open Minds

It is interesting that devout/militant atheists, like I once was, seem to have no doubts about their philosophical commitment and worldview. Just ask the Illuminati of the “new atheist” movement (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, et al) — or our good UD friend Nick Matzke — and they will tell you that there is absolutely no question that materialistic processes can explain everything. Most of the Christians I know express doubts, and struggle with difficult questions, as I do, always have, and always will. I therefore put myself in the camp of legitimate skeptics, as a former mindless Dawkins clone with a bunch of Hitchens, Harris and Matzke thrown in for good measure. It was in no small measure that ID theory Read More ›

The Atomic Bomb and Nature’s Secrets

At age 90 as of 2011, my father is one of the few living scientists who developed the atomic bomb during WWII. He named me after the great physical chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis, under whom my dad earned his Ph.D. in his early 20s while working on the Manhattan Project. When I was a child in the 1950s rumors spread that the communist Chinese were developing an atomic bomb. I asked my dad, “Why don’t we just keep it a secret from them?” My dad replied, and I’ll never forget it, “Gilbert, the secret is in nature, and it’s there to be found by anyone who looks hard enough.” Of course, my dad was talking about the nature of the Read More ›

Engineering, Darwinism, IDiots, and Credentials

In this essay Denyse comments: Intelligent design will prevail when engineers rule. A woman after my own heart. Engineers know design when they see it. Darwinists can’t see design when it flashes a strobe light in their eyes at increasingly close range (only because they desire not to see it — they hate the light — certain people on this forum will know where that phrase comes from). Since I am a software/aerodynamics/mechanical/artificial-intelligence/information-processing/integrating-all-of-these-engineering-disciplines engineer, I realize that I have a prejudice. But I also have impeccable credentials concerning discerning design in software, aerodynamics, functionally integrated mechanical systems, AI information-processing systems… Hey, guess what? All that stuff describes living systems. But what do I know? I’m just an IDiot. Darwinists are Read More ›

Wasted Lives

It is now clear that the two essential foundations of Darwinian speculation are in a state of complete evidential and combinatorial mathematical collapse. The first foundation of Darwinian speculation is gradualism, which is nowhere to be found in the fossil record, unless one has an incredibly creative imagination and a propensity for making up unsubstantiated stories. The second foundation of Darwinian speculation is that random errors can produce highly sophisticated computer code. This is transparently absurd and illogical. It is really pathetic, when one thinks about it, that so many intellectual and investigative resources have been squandered on what is now known to be complete nonsense. Many brilliant people, who could have done something productive and creative with their lives, Read More ›

Darwinian Theory in a Nutshell: Random Events Can Produce the Antithesis of Randomness

Darwinian “theory” has been artificially and unjustifiably elevated into the domain of legitimate, rigorous science. It is nothing of the sort. It is increasingly nonsensical speculation based on a conclusion reached in advance. Yes, living things have evolved. They share many characteristics. Natural selection is a fact. Random mutations can do some things. Beyond that, Darwinian theory is utterly vacuous, and explains nothing of any ultimate significance. Boiled down to its essentials, Darwinian theory is a bizarre cult-like belief that random events can produce the antithesis of randomness. In no other area of science would such obvious nonsense be accepted without scrutiny or dissent. One can learn the essentials of Darwinian theory and its claims in a few hours. It’s Read More ›

ID and Prager University

As many UD readers know, I was once a Richard Dawkins-style atheist. I was not just an ordinary, garden-variety atheist, but a really obnoxious, nasty, self-aggrandizing, pathetically prideful atheist like Dawkins. I prided myself in using my intellectual capacities in an attempt to destroy any belief that materialism cannot explain everything. What a fool I was. The story of my conversion is available, but the most salient point concerning ID is that my interest and expertise in basic science, engineering, and especially highly sophisticated computational algorithms, led me to recognize the inherent design in living systems and the transparent desperation of ID opponents to explain away the obvious. A major influence in my journey over the years has been Dennis Read More ›