5 Replies to “Leo Kadanoff on Complexity

  1. 1

    Leo Kadanoff’s paper is nice and interesting. He makes a case that common physical proccesses such as fluid flow, that are law abiding can give rise to complex motion and this is “… not at all mysterious”. The examples he presents are I agree, not at all mysterious. He does makes a claim I wonder about. He says ” …it is certainly true that the [Boussinesq] equations contain all the information one needs to describe the flow of fluids.” One reading of this strong statement is “I have examined all possible fluid flows and found these equations capable of describing all such flows.” Could it be there is a kind of fluid flow whose mathematical description requires more restricting law-like equations?

    Professor Kadanoff seems like a kind and friendly person, from reading his notes. He announces he is having a turn at disagreeing with Behe and Dembski. He says nice words about the origins of the design argument and compliments Behe and Dembski on their questioning attitudes. ” Good skeptics make good science. Behe and Dembski’s work will drive furhter studies of complexity.” He thinks their main conclusions are possible but not plausible.

    Why not plausible? Because, as indicated in his examples of complex flows, complexity can arise out of parallel processing caused by law-abiding behaviour. This he establishes and is convincing. There is no dispute about this providing we agree on the sort of complexity he presents as complex.

    In making critical remarks about Behe, Dembski and ID is carry his examples into the domain of biology complexity and simply announce that similar rules and conclusions apply there. This seems to me to be hand waving proofs by extrapolation. The challenge of biological complexity is not grasped by this analogy.

  2. 2
    es says:

    I admit I did not find anything new or interesting in Kadanoff’s paper.

    * * *

    Being a new member of this blog I’d like to ask William a question, I am not sure if this a right way to do it by posting a comment to this recent entry, but let me try. 🙂

    In No Free Lunch I saw a surprising statement – “After all, highly improbable events happen by chance all the time.” (page 56)

    A similar statement can be seen in this article at ARN site – “Yet, exceedingly improbable things happen all the time.” http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_explfilter.htm

    There is a frequency interpretation of probability, and therefore if certain events happen all the time — highly improbable they are not. Or the universal bound of 10^-150 is meaningless. (Or so it would seem to me in that context.)

    William, could you clarify this? Sorry for perhaps violating blog rules.

    [Have a look at my paper “Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence” at http://www.designinference.com. Not just brute improbability by specification is required for a design inference. –WmAD]

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    It’s really difficult to imagine how people as ostensibly intelligent as Kadanoff can propose that fluid flow can somehow morph itself into a digital code that specifies the construction of complex protein based machinery. I don’t get it. What drives people to ludicrous conclusions like that?

  4. 4
    es says:

    Re #2: Thanks for reply, especially in view of my barging in into unrelated topic.

    But your reply did not answer my question. I am not questioning the design inference,
    I am asking what is your thinking when you say “improbable events happen by chance all the time.”

    One can specify an event, for example, 3 heads in a row, (p=~10^-1) and after a few minutes
    of coin tossing one can obtain such event. This event does not seem highly improbable. It
    can happen “all the time” whenever someone wishes to try coin tossing.

    Actually the 10^-150 probability is derived by using frequency interpretation of probability. Engage
    all particles, let them operate at Planck’s speed for the duration of the universe’s timespan and
    you still come up short of occurence. I understand this and agree.

    But what is the reasoning behind the statement that highly improbable events happen all the
    time? I’ve heard evolutionists state such arguments, but why do you say it?

    Is there a quantitative measure to “highly improbable?” Or “exceedingly improbable?”
    Do events with probability 10^-149 happen all the time? 10^-50? 10^-20?

  5. 5
    Douglas says:

    Dr. Dembski,

    Related to Dr. Kadanoff’s paper and claim, a Dr. Carl Helrich of Goshen College (Goshen, IN) is “critiquing” your book, “Intelligent Design”, and claiming that you overlook or neglect at least the effects of systems “far from stability”, or “in extreme non-equilibrium”. Do you have any comments about this, or would you like for me to quote some more detailed portions of his critique, or could you direct me to some essays which address this critique?

    (By the way, Dr. Helrich chairs, or hosts, the annual “Goshen College Conference on Religion and Science”. I’m not sure when the next one is, but there is another, seperate, conference on “Theology and Science” being held at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI on Saturday, October 21.)

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