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specified complexity

Functionally Specified Complex Information and Organization

Answering DiEb: Just what is “search” in a sense relevant to ID?

For some time now, objector DiEb has been raising the question, what do we mean by speaking of “search” in the context of evolutionary search. At 311 in the parody thread, she [IIRC] remarks: >>Search is a central term in the work of Dr. Dr. William Dembski jr, Dr. Winston Ewert, and Dr. Robert Marks II (DEM): it appears in the title of a couple of papers written by at least two of the authors, and it is mentioned hundreds of times in their textbook “Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics“. Strangely – and in difference from the other central term information, it is not defined in this textbook, and neither is search problem or search algorithm. Luckily, dozens of examples of Read More ›

Re, Seversky: “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

Sometimes, an issue comes to a head, and there is then need to deal with it. The headline inadvertently shows that we are at such a juncture and the post yesterday on time to take the lead is therefore timely. For, the underlying problem at work on ID is that there is an often implicit but sometimes quite explicit ideologically loaded redefinition of science at work. Accordingly, I think it appropriate to headline my response to Seversky, including the onward accusation of religious bias: KF, 28 (in reply to 21): >>Strawman soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the issues: a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations Read More ›

A Maxwell Demon engine in action beyond the Carnot/ “standard” Second law limit

Maxwell’s Demon (sometimes, “Max”) has long been a fictional device for discussing how if we have access to information we can manipulate molecular scale particles to extract work. Now, physics dot org is discussing a case: >>Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine’s efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound . . . . [R]ecent experimental demonstrations of information engines have raised the question of whether there is an upper bound on the efficiency with which an information engine can convert information into work. Read More ›

The Meltdown microprocessor architecture flaw vs control systems in industry

Let’s follow up our earlier Sci-Tech Newswatch on the Meltdown-Spectre MPU architecture flaw issue. (We see here just how hard it is to create a robust, complex design that can readily be adapted to changes in the environment. Besides, a heads up on a big but under-reported story is helpful.) In a new Jan 15, 2018 report on Meltdown in The UK’s The Register, we may read: >>Patches for the Meltdown vulnerability are causing stability issues in industrial control systems. SCADA vendor Wonderware admitted that Redmond’s Meltdown patch made its Historian product wobble. “Microsoft update KB4056896 (or parallel patches for other Operating System) causes instability for Wonderware Historian and the inability to access DA/OI Servers through the SMC,” an advisory Read More ›

“Alien Megastructure Is Not The Cause Of The Dimming Of Tabby’s Star ” (Design Inference filter in action; Sci Fi Fans disappointed)

According to SciTech Daily in a January 3, 2018 article, Tabby’s star, aka KIC 8462852, has had a mysterious brightening and dimming cycle.  (Such a cycle, of course raises the interesting thought of the erection of a Dyson Sphere or a similar megastructure.) As the article reports: >>A team of more than 200 researchers, including Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Assistant Professor Jason Wright and led by Louisiana State University’s Tabetha Boyajian, is one step closer to solving the mystery behind the “most mysterious star in the universe.” KIC 8462852, or “Tabby’s Star,” nicknamed after Boyajian, is otherwise an ordinary star, about 50 percent bigger and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun, and about than 1,000 light years Read More ›

Correcting Wikipedia on ID

Over the past couple of days, I headlined a discussion in a previous thread on how tainting accusations spread destructive untruths far and wide, using Wikipedia’s article on ID as an example. During the course of that discussion, I took time to do a point by point response to the lead. In turn, I think it worth the while to headline it: _____________ KF, 33:>>Let’s go a little deeper in that opening remark at Wiki, to see how framing with disregard for truth or fairness can mislead: >>Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God,>> 1 –> If the design inference on the world of life were a natural theology argument, it would have long since Read More ›

Guest Post — Template-Assisted Ligation: A New OOL Model

Dr E. Selensky occasionally requests that UD posts an article on his behalf. What follows is his latest: ______________ Arguably, the RNA world model is excessively complex: it operates too complex structures and involves too complex interactions. The origin of life, some researchers believe, must have been simpler.In an attempt to close the gap between chemistry and life by naturalistic means a new model has been proposed recently, yet another one of many, that seeks to explain the rise of RNAs. This model is called template-assisted ligation. It has been proposed by Alexey Tkachenko and Sergei Maslov at American Institute of Physics. They hope it can help shed light on what could have preceded the RNA world.The crux of the Read More ›

What is “information”?

Information, of course, is notoriously a concept that has many senses of meaning. As it is central to the design inference, let us look (again) at defining it. We can dispose of one sense right off, Shannon was not directly interested in information but in information-carrying capacity; that is why his metric will peak for a truly random signal, which has as a result minimal redundancy. And, we can also see that the bit measure commonly seen in ICT circles or in our PC memories etc, is actually this measure, 1 k bit is 1,024 = 2^10 binary digits of storage or transmission capacity. One binary digit or bit being a unit of information storing one choice between a pair Read More ›

Upright Biped’s summary on information systems in cell based life

UD participant Upright Biped (of Complexity Cafe U/D: Biosemiosis) has commented recently in the what is knowledge thread, replying to frequent objector CR by summarising key aspects of the role of information systems in observed cell based life. His remarks are well worth headlining: __________________ UB, 195: >>We can start by summarizing the core physical requirements of the system we are trying to explain: an autonomous self-replicator with open-ended potential (i.e. it can describe itself or any variation of itself). The system requires: 1) a sequence of representations in a medium of information. 2) a set of physical constraints to establish what is being represented. 3) a system of discontinuous association between representations and referents, based on spatial orientation (i.e. Read More ›

Evolutionary Predictions of Protein Structure Is “Iffy”

Here’s the abstract of a new PNAS article: There’s a new article in PNAS that illustrates the fact that thermodynamics determines the effects of future changes made to a protein molecule. Any one mutation changes the thermodynamic/statistical mechanics of the protein molecule. And these changes in the thermodynamic properties swims around in a giant ocean of statistical possibilities, and consequent improbabilities; so much so, that future mutations following upon any given mutation cannot be ascertained. So, the next time you hear about how they were able to “reconstruct” an ancient protein, allowing the determination of possible pathways, don’t pay any attention to it. Evolutionary prediction is of deep practical and philosophical importance. Here we show, using a simple computational protein Read More ›

How can we measure specified complexity?

A friend asked about this common intelligent design concept. Specified complexity, also called complex specified information (CSI): Life shows evidence of complex, aperiodic, and specified information in its key functional macromolecules, and the only other example we know of such function-specifying complex information are artifacts designed by intelligent agents. A chance origin of life would exceed the universal probability bound (UPB) set by the scope of the universe; hence design is a factor in the origin and development of life. Contrary to a commonly encountered (and usually dismissive) opinion, this concept is neither original to Dr Dembski nor to the design theory movement. Its first recognized use was by noted Origin of Life researcher, Leslie Orgel, in 1973: Living organisms are Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Design & the Problem of Intelligibility

Many critics of intelligent design argue that not only is ID false (or at least unscientific), but that it is basically meaningless. Such lines of criticism come from philosophers such as Sahotra Sarkar and Elliott Sober. They argue that the general concepts that are assumed in ID discussions like ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ are too primitive and vague to be of any use in a coherent scientific theory. Sarkar in particular claims that ID’s concepts can only be propped up by using analogies inherited by the natural theological tradition, and so cannot be formulated in a non-theological/scientific manner. In this article I have attempted to take a good stab at this objection. Though this article is quite in-depth, it is actually a Read More ›

Confusing Probability: The “Every-Sequence-Is-Equally-Improbable” Argument

Note to Readers: The past few days on this thread there has been tremendous activity and much discussion about the concept of probability.  I had intended to post this OP months ago, but found it still in my drafts folder yesterday mostly, but not quite fully, complete.  In the interest of highlighting a couple of the issues hinted at in the recent thread, I decided to quickly dust off this post and publish it right away.  This is not intended to be a response to everything in the other thread.  In addition, I have dusted this off rather hastily (hopefully not too hastily), so please let me know if you find any errors in the math or otherwise, and I will be happy Read More ›

FFT: Antikythera, Paley, Crick, Axe, the “first computer” claim and the design inference on sign

The Antikythera mechanism is a fascinating object (thanks, EA . . . ), one that is often called the “first” [Analogue] Computer. It was recovered from a Roman shipwreck (likely c. 50 – 80 BC) near the island of that name, and the origin of the mechanism has been a challenge ever since a key observation described thusly by Wiki inadvertently speaking against interest: The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in 45 metres (148 ft) of water in the Antikythera shipwreck off Point Glyphadia on the Greek island of Antikythera. The wreck was found in April 1900 by a group of Greek sponge divers, who retrieved numerous large artefacts, including bronze and marble statues, pottery, unique glassware, jewellery, coins, and the mechanism. All Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Peter S. Williams on Intelligent Design

In the latest post at Design Disquisitions I focus on the excellent work on ID by British philosopher Peter S. Williams. He has published several papers, and has many high quality articles and media presentations on the subject. His work was instrumental in initiating my change of mind from theistic neo-Darwinism to design. Highly recommended stuff! Peter S. Williams on Intelligent Design