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MathGrrl

On The Calculation Of CSI

My thanks to Jonathan M. for passing my suggestion for a CSI thread on and a very special thanks to Denyse O’Leary for inviting me to offer a guest post.

[This post has been advanced to enable a continued discussion on a vital issue. Other newer stories are posted below. – O’Leary ]

In the abstract of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, William Demski asks “Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?” Many ID proponents answer this question emphatically in the affirmative, claiming that Complex Specified Information is a metric that clearly indicates intelligent agency.

As someone with a strong interest in computational biology, evolutionary algorithms, and genetic programming, this strikes me as the most readily testable claim made by ID proponents. For some time I’ve been trying to learn enough about CSI to be able to measure it objectively and to determine whether or not known evolutionary mechanisms are capable of generating it. Unfortunately, what I’ve found is quite a bit of confusion about the details of CSI, even among its strongest advocates.

My first detailed discussion was with UD regular gpuccio, in a series of four threads hosted by Mark Frank. While we didn’t come to any resolution, we did cover a number of details that might be of interest to others following the topic.

CSI came up again in a recent thread here on UD. I asked the participants there to assist me in better understanding CSI by providing a rigorous mathematical definition and showing how to calculate it for four scenarios: Read More ›