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How to Lose a Wittgensteinian Battle

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Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1953, aphorism 109

My recent exchanges with Jeffrey Shallit illustrate this aphorism. Our disagreement is not over the substance of the matter. Instead, our disagreement hinges on Shallit’s abuse of language to make a trivial point. Shallit and I disagreed over whether an excerpt from Hamlet’s soliloquy could be considered “random” in any meaningful sense of that word. In the course of that exchange Shallit said this:

Barry, and all ID advocates, need to understand one basic point. It’s one that Wesley Elsberry and I have been harping about for years. Here it is: the opposite of ‘random’ is not ‘designed’.

The problem with Shallit’s assertion is that neither he nor Wesley Elsberry get to decide what “random” means. In linguistic theory words acquire meaning in a language by convention among the speakers of that language, not by diktat, and as I will demonstrate below, in the English language “random” does in fact mean the opposite of “design.”

In order to determine whether “random” is the opposite of “design” we must first establish what those two words mean. Wikipedia defines “random” as follows:

Randomness means lack of pattern or predictability in events. Randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.

Thus, a random string of text is one in which there is no intelligible order, coherence, or pattern.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “design” as follows:

1. to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of;
2. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully;
3. to intend for a definite purpose;

Any string of text that results from “design” will definitely have an intelligible order or pattern.

Therefore, Shallit is wrong. “Random” is in fact the opposite of “designed.”

Shallit insists, however, that Hamlet is in fact “random” as that term is used in algorithmic information theory. For what he means by this, Wikipedia again:

Algorithmic information theory studies, among other topics, what constitutes a random sequence. The central idea is that a string of bits is random if and only if it is shorter than any computer program that can produce that string (Kolmogorov randomness)—this means that random strings are those that cannot be compressed.

In his first post Shallit ran both a string of keyboard banging gibberish and Hamlet through a computer program,

If we want to test this [i.e. randomness] in a quantitative sense, we can use a lossless compression scheme such as gzip, an implementation of Lempel-Ziv. A truly random file will not be significantly compressible, with very very high probability. So a good test of randomness is simply to attempt to compress the file and see if it is roughly the same size as the original. The larger the produced file, the more random the original string was.

Here are the results. String #1 is of length 502, using the ‘wc’ program. (This also counts characters like the carriage returns separating the lines.) String #2 is of length 545.

Using gzip on Darwin OS on my Mac, I get the following results: string #1 compresses to a file of size 308 and string #2 compresses to a file of size 367. String #2’s compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than string #1: exactly the opposite of what Arrington implied!

What is going on here? Despite the facetious title of my third post Shallit is not barking mad. Nor is he stupid. Why on earth would an obviously intelligent person write a sentence like “[Hamlet’s] compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than [gibberish]”?

Please see the Wittgenstein quotation above. The simple and obvious fact of the matter is that the string from Hamlet does not conform to the English word “random” to even the slightest degree. The string was carefully designed. Therefore, it has zero randomness. Hence, it cannot be “more random” than any string of text that displays any randomness whatsoever. Certainly it cannot be “more random” than a string of gibberish. But in his eagerness to discredit my analysis, Shallit lost sight of that fact. In short, he lost the battle against the bewitchment of his intelligence by means of language.

Sure, the compressed version of Hamlet is bigger than the compressed version of gibberish. And if one insists on defining relative randomness in terms of relative compressibility Hamlet is “more random.” Here’s the problem with that approach. It is glaringly obvious that Hamlet is not in any degree “random” whatsoever as that word is used by English speakers. Therefore, by its very nature it is not subject to a relative randomness analysis except to the extent one observes that it is totally non-random and any string that is even partially random is therefore more random. So what did Shallit accomplish when he insisted that under his esoteric definition of “random” Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish? He made a trivial mathematical point, and in the process made himself look foolish.

My advice to Shallit. Next time you are fighting Wittgenstein’s battle against the bewitchment of your intelligence by means of language, fight harder.

Comments
In comparison, Shallit’s analysis is impartially applicable to both strings. He tests both strings by an independent quantifiable measure.
Put the elephant through the meat grinder and you've got a way of measuring elephants while ignoring the elephant in the room. Mung
E Seigner:
Since Shallit proved the opposite that Barry intended to instruct...
No, all Shallit did was prove that he is deluded. It is very telling that ES just blindly accepts what Shallit did and then turns around and tells us our methodologies are subjective. Joe
kairosfocus
PS: The design inference process is more than adequately clarified and working, for those who do not have problems recognising that a key Shakespeare text is English.
(First off, funny that the little sentence that's conveying a meaning and is even on topic should be prefixed with "PS" while the main text is utterly unintelligible and off the chart from every angle.) Of course English text is in English and speakers of English have no trouble recognizing that this is tautologically so. But what makes this situation a "design inference process"? What is the inference in question and what is its process? Is there anything intelligent here besides the tautology? More importantly, what is the quantifiable measure in ID theory that reliably demonstrates that there is an inference going on and that it's heading the correct way? What is the bit-value of an English text versus of a non-English text? The two strings can be framed up in any number of ways. In one sense, one is gibberish because it's not English while the other is English. In another sense, both strings draw from the same set of characters and they have been produced in the same manner by the same agency, so they are not too different. Who is to tell which considerations are more relevant to the "design inference process" and why? Let's look at another example. Let's say there are two lamps attached to an electrical circuit. The circuit makes the lamps go on and off with perfect regularity. What does this blinking mean? It's perfectly regular and entirely determined by the circuit. Is there a message? Why? Why not? What's the message? Can you tell? What's the bit-value of the complexity and what's the specification that you base your answers on? How did you arrive at the specification? What other specifications did you try and how did you eliminate them? Now, let's consider that the lamps are yellow and they are installed on the left side of a motor vehicle. The vehicle is being operated by a driver and the vehicle is in traffic. In accordance with the traffic code, the blinking lamps here mean "This vehicle wants to turn left." My conclusion is that the context is doing all the work of "design inference process" while the bit-value - which you mostly even fail to compute - tells exactly nothing. Furthermore, given any thorough metaphysical framework I can think of, the number cannot even in principle tell anything that would not be known otherwise. To put it another way, it tells you whatever you want it to tell. To one person it tells one thing, to another person it tells some other thing, so what makes your opinion better than someone else's opinion? E.Seigner
SteRusJon #124
As I have a headache from trying get through to ES, I have nothing more to say directly to him.
I think everyone who has tried to communicate with her so far has had the same experience. I stayed with it far too long. Silver Asiatic
ES: The English language has long been reduced to dictionary status. Long before that, English speakers knew what was good English -- and in fact the cited passage is one of the all-time greatest writings in English by perhaps the greatest writer in English ever. The text and its specification as English text, Elizabethan style, is nit in doubt; your responsiveness to the easily observable facts is. And so far, we are seeing a plain FAIL. Please, think again, and reassess what post modernism and the sophomoric form Kantian ugly gulch between the inner and outer worlds are leading you into. Please. KF PS: The design inference process is more than adequately clarified and working, for those who do not have problems recognising that a key Shakespeare text is English. kairosfocus
SteRusJon
ES "How did you determine that English dictionary was the right specification? Where was the analysis? All I see is a jumping to a conclusion. How did you test the specification?" How did I determine the English dictionary was the right specification? I went down to the Library of Congress and beginning with the dictionary section of the reference section I checked for an entry in each dictionary for each delimited element in both texts, tabulated the ratio of elements found in the dictionary to the total number of elements. Well, not really. In principle I could have. Barry’s example was intended to be instructional and therefore, obviously English text compared to text with no connection whatsoever to any language. He purposely took the grunt work out as it is a teaching moment. For ES to get hung-up on the point is obvious non-concessional hyperskepticism on his part. I am very confident that 100% vs nearly 0% is sufficient justification for my conclusion. Only a hyperskeptic would call that “jumping to a conclusion.”
Long story short, you did not test the other string at all. You did not even think of any specification which it could fit, much less test them. You saw two strings, and recognized in one of them something you liked, and judged the other by the one you liked, without testing. A basic noob fail. In comparison, Shallit's analysis is impartially applicable to both strings. He tests both strings by an independent quantifiable measure. SteRusJon
Also, note I had challenged ES to give me chance generated text that would be incorrectly classified as designed. Nothing was offered.
As it follows from above, you simply go by hunch to classify "chance generated text". You are not someone who could be trusted to classify anything. And we don't even agree on what "chance generated text" means. There have been at least two analyses, yours and Shallit's. The results are absolutely incompatible. The key is obviously not in the strings per se, but in the method or specification by which they are analyzed. And this is what I have been talking about all along. What is the method? Why precisely this specification and none other? How did you eliminate other specifications? Your response is not getting us closer to the answer, because you didn't even consider any other specifications and you thought nobody would notice. SteRusJon
ES: "Nowhere have you *proved* that Shallit’s measure of randomness is irrelevant, you simply assume and assert it is," I made no attempt to *prove* irrelevancy. I justified my opinion that Shallit’s methodology was the incorrect methodology to uncover reason for the obvious difference in Barry’s instructional example.
As the person to whom Barry's instructional example was directly addressed, I am obliged to tell you that Barry's example was not very instructional due to its embedded presuppositions that were problematic for me and which I had brought out explicitly even before Barry entered the discussion without bothering to read up on it properly. Furthermore, Barry's instructional example went conclusively down under the very moment Shallit made an actual computation on it, precisely as ID theory was supposed to be able to do and which I had been requesting an example of. Nobody else has explicitly attempted to quantify the strings. I don't wonder why. Since Shallit proved the opposite that Barry intended to instruct, it's clear - as it was clear to me from the beginning - that the ID theory rests entirely on the presuppositions and "fine-tuned" definitions, not on the calculations. The strings or data per se are irrelevant. The methodology should be applicable to any and all data. So I ask: What's your methodology? Shallit has one that enables impartial quantification of strings. Where's yours? SteRusJon
I have not seen any challenge to Shallit’s “randomness” calculations. Where does he ask for justification for the “randomness” methodology?
It so happens that your approach, walking into the Library of Congress, picking up an English dictionary, etc. is an alternative to his approach. Comparing the results of his test and yours without any prior judgement, it looks on the face of it that there's no support for any notion of "intelligence detection" or "design inference". The presented results are absolutely inconclusive to infer any causal history to the strings, intelligent or otherwise. This happens to confirm my presupposition that such detection or inference is, as a matter of principle, unquantifiable altogether. You really need an airtight methodology to convince me otherwise. SteRusJon
I do not “assume and assert” my specification is correct. I observe that it works. Barry’s example is a test bed of sorts. It is an example of known design verses known non-design. My method unambiguously indicated the true state and Shallit’s failed to correspond to reality. Whatever it is that Shallit’s method demonstrates, one thing is obvious- it does not demonstrate that Hamlet was designed.
Actually, Shallit demonstrated that the so-called random string turned out the same amount of bits as Hamlet. His results of compressibility were 38,6% for string #1 and 32.7% for string #2, so the difference is small, probably statistically irrelevant. Which happens to perfectly conform to reality: Both were composed by a person. You assume and assert that there should be a difference, but since it's obviously true that both strings were composed by a person, I don't get why you would assume and assert it. On the other hand, if the measured amounts for the strings were widely different whichever way, and then, given another specification, the measured amounts for the strings were again different in the other way, it would again go to prove the complete futility of the ID theory. Please get your methodology straight and clarify - to yourself - what it is you intend to prove, if anything. E.Seigner
F/N: If you want to generate true random numbers, try a zener diode based ckt: http://holdenc.altervista.org/avalanche/ (To flatten off, if desired, use something like a Johnson counter ckt and use the random seed to manipulate it.) More with onwards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_random_number_generator Using a GM counter to directly get flat-random o/p using an interval counter tuned to the expected inter-pulse interval: http://www.ciphergoth.org/crypto/unbiasing/ (Sky noise can also be used) Here's a nice paper: http://wayback.archive.org/web/20110722112209/http://www.letech-rng.jp/SNA+MC2010-Paper.pdf In short, there is a can-do. To get truly random ASCII text, feed the bit pattern into a txt file then simply read it off. But all of this is tangential, I did this because obviously my repeated references to Zener ckts has been ignored through the zero concessions to IDiots policy. (Maybe, I need to point out that I have had occasion to teach electronics, with some modicum of success . . . ) On the main point, the fact that a zener random ckt is not naturally flat, but is in fact random, should suffice to shoot down one of the flying wild geese. Randomness in real world contexts does not demand, flat random. Yes, for statistical sampling, for proper randomness each pop member should have an even chance of being selected. That's for a particular purpose. Next, randomised blind text typing is sufficiently at-random for toy example didactic purposes, showing enough evident lack of intelligently directed purposeful contingency to be illustrative. If one wants in future annotate as a toy example. The red herrings having been addressed, we can now draw attention to what has been ducked and side tracked from for weeks: the two text sequences are patently and instantly recognisably different, i.e. the difference is observable. S2 conforms to English text, S1 does not and shows lack of purposeful control sufficient to justify a chance conclusion. Both are complex 535 ASCII characters per my Libre Office count. One, shows functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, S2. As expected, the design inference filter process, however implemented, indicates design. This conforms to known history. Yet another illustration of its reliability in positive detection of design, its intended purpose. The same, says of S1, not designed. Maybe, that is wrong, there is a code lurking that is disguised as toylike randomness. So what? the design filter is not designed to have a low incidence of negative errors, it is happy to be conservative so that when it does rule design it is extremely reliable. As is again shown. For, the design inference process is not intended to be a universal decoder algorithm, which in any case is not expected on theory of computation. Likewise, it is fairly easy to construct a metric model of the design inference process, here on solar system scale: Chi_500 = I*S - 500, bots beyond the solar system threshold Where I is an index in bits of information carrying capacity per the usual ways we so measure S is a dummy variable defaulting 0 [chance] and set to 1 if there is a good reason to identify functional specificity [in this case English language text] 500 is a threshold in bits If Chi_500 goes positive, design is inferred. Simple, and directly related to other considerations in light of what the solar system can do in 10^17 s with 10^57 atoms, and a rate of action equal to fast chem rxns. But of course there will be endless selectively hyperskeptical objections and side tracks, as there is a zero concession policy in force. The fallacy of the closed hyerskeptical mind, in a nutshell. Time for a fresh start . . . KF PS: Another rain band passed, and there is wind in gusts but not great strength yet kairosfocus
As I have a headache from trying get through to ES, I have nothing more to say directly to him. Lest anyone else think I have no response to his latest comment directed to me, I submit the following. ES wrote:
The specification being English dictionary? Well, you didn’t do the proper analysis. How did you determine that English dictionary was the right specification? Where was the analysis? All I see is a jumping to a conclusion. How did you test the specification?
How did I determine the English dictionary was the right specification? I went down to the Library of Congress and beginning with the dictionary section of the reference section I checked for an entry in each dictionary for each delimited element in both texts, tabulated the ratio of elements found in the dictionary to the total number of elements. Well, not really. In principle I could have. Barry's example was intended to be instructional and therefore, obviously English text compared to text with no connection whatsoever to any language. He purposely took the grunt work out as it is a teaching moment. For ES to get hung-up on the point is obvious non-concessional hyperskepticism on his part. I am very confident that 100% vs nearly 0% is sufficient justification for my conclusion. Only a hyperskeptic would call that "jumping to a conclusion." Also, note I had challenged ES to give me chance generated text that would be incorrectly classified as designed. Nothing was offered. ES queried
How did you ensure there’s no other better more relevant specification?
If the significant portion of the elements had not been found in the dictionary, I could have some sympathy for ES asking this question. Again hyperskepticism on his part. In reality, for design detection where the case will not be as cut and dried as Barry's instructional example, this is a perfectly valid concern. I am not opposed to making sure, to the extent possible, that a positive for design is well founded. In fact, there is additional indication of design in the example such as, conformance to sentence structure conventions. There other reasons beyond the unambiguous 100% verse nearly 0% result. ES charged
Nowhere have you *proved* that Shallit’s measure of randomness is irrelevant, you simply assume and assert it is,
I made no attempt to *prove* irrelevancy. I justified my opinion that Shallit's methodology was the incorrect methodology to uncover reason for the obvious difference in Barry's instructional example. In my opinion, any methodology that leads one to conclude that two differing things are not different when you are seeking to understand how they differ is the wrong methodology to use. ES's hyperskepticism is showing, again. He is unable to hold himself to the same level of skepticism as he holds me. I have not seen any challenge to Shallit's "randomness" calculations. Where does he ask for justification for the "randomness" methodology? I have not seen even a hint of concern that Shallit may be doing it all wrong. Why does Shallit get a pass? ES continued
and you assume and assert your specification is right, but the question was all along: How? Why? By what measure? By what method?
I do not "assume and assert" my specification is correct. I observe that it works. Barry's example is a test bed of sorts. It is an example of known design verses known non-design. My method unambiguously indicated the true state and Shallit's failed to correspond to reality. Whatever it is that Shallit's method demonstrates, one thing is obvious- it does not demonstrate that Hamlet was designed. That was the challenge. Is there room for increased rigor with the tool I employed? My God! Yes! I invite ES to help make design detection a rigorous, reliable endeavor. Design exists. Why not participate in filling a tool box with tools suited for the job? But we can't even get ES to give it half a chance. He is committed to hyperskeptical obstructionist tactics to defend his worldview. I wonder if ES would have pitched the Rosetta Stone onto the rubble pile. He has no interest in detecting design. All rocks are just rocks! To quote Barry from above, *sigh* ES now has the last word, he may do with as he wishes. Stephen SteRusJon
E.Seigner:
A random sample does not come about haphazardly or carelessly. It is meticulously and thoroughly defined in statistics, just like all scientific concepts are.
IOW, by design. Thank you. Mung
SteRuSjon
I made the proper analysis. Detected 100% conformance to a independent specification for one text verses a nearly 0% conformance to the identical specification
The specification being English dictionary? Well, you didn't do the proper analysis. How did you determine that English dictionary was the right specification? Where was the analysis? All I see is a jumping to a conclusion. How did you test the specification? How did you ensure there's no other better more relevant specification? Nowhere have you *proved* that Shallit's measure of randomness is irrelevant, you simply assume and assert it is, and you assume and assert your specification is right, but the question was all along: How? Why? By what measure? By what method? Silver Asiatic
Hilarious. Not one word about how the method ensures randomness or what random means. Let’s forget that I make my living professionally with data sampling and instead watch you copy/pasting things you just discovered yesterday.
You talked about it as if you never had any idea about data sampling, as if you never read anything about it, yesterday or any other day. You talked about it as if you could generate random strings by haphazardly banging your keyboard. But if you know this is not the case, then don't pretend it is. That would not be detrimental to your scientific rigor, not hilarious at all. I don't care what random is by itself. The discussion was how to detect design, how to distinguish it from other things, such as randomness or laws of nature. The question was how randomness and design relate to each other, but now it appears that random has so many disparate definitions that it barely has any relation even to itself. All the worse for design. E.Seigner
ES
sampling process comprises several stages: Defining the population of concern Specifying a sampling frame, a set of items or events possible to measure Specifying a sampling method for selecting items or events from the frame Determining the sample size Implementing the sampling plan Sampling and data collecting Data which can be selected
Hilarious. Not one word about how the method ensures randomness or what random means. Let's forget that I make my living professionally with data sampling and instead watch you copy/pasting things you just discovered yesterday. Silver Asiatic
ES: Way to go! Zero concession policy intact. You wrote "Now, why would someone not grant the distinction of the strings the way Barry posited it?" I say, "It is because Shallit has a zero concession policy, as well." Barry was trying to lead a horse to water for a refreshing drink with an obvious and, he thought, an unambiguous didactic scenario. Shallit dug himself in with all four shoes and found a "gotcha". I made the proper analysis. Detected 100% conformance to a independent specification for one text verses a nearly 0% conformance to the identical specification for the (proxi for) chance generated text. No recognizable conformance to any other specification for the text string (that is a proxi for chance generation) of comparable length of the Hamlet text either. Result: True positive detection of the designed text. Negative (possibly false) detection of design for the (proxi for) chance generated text. Care to venture if I would get a false positive for any truly chance generated text of such length you may care to send my way? Any methodology that fails to reflect the obvious difference between the two text strings must be the wrong methodology for detecting that type of difference. Shallit's method could not differentiate between the two. Mine did. Who should you be patting on the back? Shallit is not stupid. He saw the obvious and knows the real difference between the two texts and chose to ignore it. Neither he, nor you will likely ever concede the point. Stephen SteRusJon
ES:
Shallit picked up the strings and actually calculated the randomness.
Shallit calculated the randomness of a 100% non-random string? *sigh* Barry Arrington
@SteRusJon
If the designed group is less complex than the chance group, there must be something other than complexity that allows you to detect design. What do you think that something is?
The problem of the "challenge" always lied in the premise. It presupposes that one of the strings is designed and the other is random. However, for someone who doesn't grant that the distinction between the two strings is that of design versus random, the end-question does not make sense and it doesn't even begin to be a challenge. Now, why would someone not grant the distinction of the strings the way Barry posited it? Well, for one because the discussion was about defining and measuring the distinction, not merely assuming or asserting it. And voila, Shallit picked up the strings and actually calculated the randomness. The measurements ended up in favour of those who hadn't granted the distinction posited in the challenge. This is a shame because ID theorists are, according to themselves, experts in telling random stuff apart from designed stuff and they can calculate it too. E.Seigner
Silver Asiatic
Again, in statistical research, we generate a random sample. It’s a pretty common understanding and usage in scientific research. Clearly, we don’t hear anything from critics like Shallit when research is done on a random sample of a population.
A random sample does not come about haphazardly or carelessly. It is meticulously and thoroughly defined in statistics, just like all scientific concepts are. Wikipedia introduces it this way: The sampling process comprises several stages: Defining the population of concern Specifying a sampling frame, a set of items or events possible to measure Specifying a sampling method for selecting items or events from the frame Determining the sample size Implementing the sampling plan Sampling and data collecting Data which can be selected Silver Asiatic
"Also, as Dieb points out, it illustrates how difficult it is to create a string which has equal probability of each any character in each position." Another fascinating tangent. It could lead to a very fruitful discussion on how to generate random numbers...
This is not another tangent. It is the same topic of randomness versus design. Despite all attempts at deviation and redefinition, it's the central point of the original context where Barry first produced the two strings. E.Seigner
In response to Steno in #95 above In Barry's "Tale of Two Text" originating post #274 of the thread “On not putting all your theological eggs into one basket” Barry asked a question in reference to the two text examples. I quote the question with context.
Both groups are complex. One group was constructed through random strokes on a keyboard. The other was designed. Can you tell which is which? Certainly you can. And just as certainly it is not the degree of complexity that allows you to tell the difference. If anything, the random group is more complex than the designed group. If the designed group is less complex than the chance group, there must be something other than complexity that allows you to detect design. What do you think that something is?
Where, pray tell, is there a challenge to identify how they share randomness? The challenge is to identify what makes one obviously different than the other. That challenge requires the ID opponent to consider non-physical realities such as ideas, concepts, messages, functionality, meanings, specificity etc. A place that the ID opponent refuses to go. ID opponents- What properties or characteristics are present in Hamlet’s soliloquy that are not present in any random text string that suits your fancy? How can we go about putting those empirical observations onto a firm scientific footing? Are you going to advance science or continue to obstruct? Steno, you assert that the only way one can know that Hamlet is designed is to know it was designed. That is patently false. It is obvious that the passage is composed of individual elements (delimited by spaces) that conform to a specification (a comprehensive English dictionary.) That specifying dictionary lays out, for all to see, the arbitrary linkage between the ASCII text elements of the passage and concepts the elements represent. 100% of the delimited elements of the passage is mapped into the specifying dictionary. Barry's "random", "haphazard", "gibberish" or whatever else you might wish to call it or your own "whatever suits your fancy random" text will conform to that specifying dictionary with nearly 0% match. Where it does it is almost always trivially so as in matching one, two or, maybe, three letter words without any delimiting of elements. That is the correct way to begin to analyse the challenge Barry originally set forward. There is more than that. I have not broached sentences, syntax, relevance of the individual thoughts to the whole, etc. These are all signs of specificity and not, in anyone's wildest imagination, possible by any set of random events. A scientific mind would want to understand the ins and outs of all that and seek to formalize that understanding for further application to the world around us. If that formalization has anything to say about the questions of origins, a seeker of truth would ascent to its decree. Shallit derailed the discussion, I believe deliberately, from the beginning. MF, ES, Steno and others have gleefully piled on to his folly. As I see things, from the way ID opponents staunchly resist conceding one microscopic point and insist on discussing irrelevancies, such as, how "random" a textual sample is that does not contain a single random character, while ignoring/denying the obvious conformity to an independent specification, ID opponents are not in least interested in the truth value of the IDist's proposal. Stephen PS. Eric Anderson and I exchanged some similar thoughts briefly at the tail end of the now stale portion of this multi-OP "KF Cuts to the Chase (Again)" started on Oct.5 I have seen this flavor of denial in years past and recount it, briefly, there. SteRusJon
Shallit:
“random” in the sense of likely to have been generated randomly and uniformly
Interesting definition - "random" in the sense of likely to have been generated randomly (as strange as that might sound). Again, in statistical research, we generate a random sample. It's a pretty common understanding and usage in scientific research. Clearly, we don't hear anything from critics like Shallit when research is done on a random sample of a population. To be consistent, I'd expect him to reject every analysis that uses that sense of randomness. * What purpose did Shallit have in showing that this particular string was less random than the speech from Hamlet MF:
Mostly to show up your limited expertise I guess.
You're probably right. It's an attempt "show up" on an irrelevant tangent (as mentioned several times). I read that as he couldn't refute BA's main point and therefore ran after a distraction in order to prove victorious. It's very much like finding a spelling error in a thesis and then spending several weeks trumpeting that 'weakness' in the paper. I'm just amazed at how childish this one really is.
Also, as Dieb points out, it illustrates how difficult it is to create a string which has equal probability of each any character in each position.
Another fascinating tangent. It could lead to a very fruitful discussion on how to generate random numbers - and with that, perhaps we can all forget about the point that BA made so conclusively (and which has only gotten stronger with further discussion). :-) Silver Asiatic
Mark Frank:
Also, as Dieb points out, it illustrates how difficult it is to create a string which has equal probability of each any character in each position. /blockquote> And as has been pointed out that is a useless definition of random because you first have to know all of the probabilities before making the calculation.
Joe
MF: First, in the course of discussion, it was clear that Mr Shallit did in fact claim that on a compression test, a Hamlet cite was giving a higher randomness index than gibberish. This raises serious questions regarding the definitions he used and the applicability of resistance to compression per se as an index of randomness. Secondly your attention has been repeatedly drawn to the Trevors and Abel paper of 2005, and to the fig 4 that resolves the matter. This of course you have studiously refused to address cogently and on the merits. That consistent unresponsiveness on the merits speaks again to the zero concessions to IDiots policy of disregard for truth, evidence and disrespect for people, and it shows why you have been subject to direct rebuttals and some plain speaking. Where of course, conveniently, you will predictably ignore what I have said here on the excuse you no speaka da Inglish rite. (Onlookers, someone else will have to draw his attention to the matter for him to deign to respond, usually evasively or dismissively, on years long track record.) Never mind, let's focus the substance. In essence, random sequences are highly incompressible, orderly repetitive ones are highly compressible, and functionally coded ones [whether algorithmic or linguistic makes little difference] are intermediate and often towards the highly resistant end. But for very different reasons. As Orgel and Wicken highlighted across the 70's, functionally specified complex organisation/information is distinct from both randomness and order. It (e.g. the text of the last sentence) is aperiodic, so of much less redundancy than an orderly repetitive sequence like sdsdsdsd . . . but it is not as resistant as a flat random distribution for which effectively the typically shortest way to express it is to simply quote it:t0isau4tpw2l . . . Where, as the just previous sentence shows, FSCO/I may even include orderly and random sub sequences. Note, onlookers, this three fold distinction was put on the record by OOL researchers in the '70's and was highlighted by Thaxton et al in the very first technical ID work, TMLO in 1984. It has been consistently cited since and continues to be highlighted today. Refusal to acknowledge this and setting up and knocking over strawmen such as Mr Shallit indulged, are without any reasonable excuse. But, they aptly illustrate the absurd lengths to which the zero concessions to IDiots policy will go, and how once marching orders are sent forth, the usual online foot-soldiers will predictably dutifully toe the line even if it means marching off a cliff into absurdity. That clinging to absurdity is a diagnostic sign that something has gone drastically wrong, and it is a sign that a sea-change will be a-coming. Absurdities backed by ideologies with power can only be sustained so long. At minimum, people will vote with their feet and walk away. As, is obviously happening. ANYTHING that says or suggests -- makes but little rhetorical difference -- that a clip of Hamlet is per some metric or other of a higher randomness metric than gibberish text, is patently absurd. Instead, let us have the good sense to face the point Trevors and Abel have aptly made nine years ago . . . 9 yrs ago. (See the slight compression?) KF kairosfocus
F/N: Strictly, the log metric (or the comparable chain of yes/no q's) measures information-carrying capacity. Common cases of info, such as file sizes, are about functionally specific complex info measured in that way. Functionally specific complex organisation such as for a car engine etc (as AutoCAD shows) may be reduced to structured descriptive strings based on suitable coding that structures and answers a chain of y/n q's. So, discussion on bit strings is WLOG. All of this has been discussed, summarised, explained, highlighted over and over and should be common backdrop absent the zero concessions to IDiots policy that has obviously long been in force . . . one of the rhetorical tactics. Going beyond, once we get to 500 - 1,000+ strings it becomes practically utterly implausible for a config space, needle in haystack search to find the implied islands of FSCO/I . . . multiple, well-matched, properly arranged and coupled parts to achieve function lead to this pattern . . . in the astronomically large sea of non-functional configs. The only observed, empirically reliable and needle in haystack analysis plausible explanation for FSCO/I is design. This is the heart of the design inference on FSCO/I, which on trillions of directly observed cases has a 100% success record as, say, the Internet shows. But to acknowledge that would be to yield the case, so we see everything and anything but that. KF kairosfocus
I seem to be unable to give up my daily insult from Barry. It is clear from #98 he was not satisfied with my response to his question:
What purpose is served by concluding that Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish?
Like most things Barry writes it can be interpreted many ways but let’s pick out two: * In general what use is there for measuring randomness using KC compression Barry – just Google “uses of kolmogorov complexity”. This set of lecture notes seems particularly relevant, look at slide 22. Did you really think this method of measuring randomness became so established without any applications? One application that is particularly relevant to ID is that allows one to assess whether a string was created through independent and equal probability of any character in each position without having to know anything about how the string was created, what functions it can perform or any meaning it might have. * What purpose did Shallit have in showing that this particular string was less random than the speech from Hamlet  Mostly to show up your limited expertise I guess. Also, as Dieb points out, it illustrates how difficult it is to create a string which has equal probability of each any character in each position. The apparently gibberish string is actually much more determined (although not designed) than it appears. Mark Frank
REC @ 102 (quoting Richard Feynman):
This is actually the most information you can get with this particular choice of symbols.
Mung @ 109:
The most information you can get about what?
I think I see the problem. sergmendes
REC:
This is actually the most information you can get with this particular choice of symbols.
The most information you can get about what? Mung
REC, you are not introducing anything we haven't seen before. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/william-dembski-on-what-information-is/ Mung
REC @ 106, So? Mung
https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/william-dembski-on-what-information-is/ "What concept could be more fundamental to intelligent design theory than “information”? None, but what exactly does the word mean in the context that we use it? William Dembski explains: Information....has many meanings. The way I use it is as a ruling out of possibilities. ~20 seconds. REC
1 bit of what? Oh, I don't know. Let's call it "information." And let's create from this an entire field and call it "Information Theory." It doesn't tell us what information is, not even in theory. And it doesn't tell us whether we are in fact measuring "information." And why not? Whatever. We now have this way to measure "something" given a finite set of symbols and a probability distribution, so let's say that our "uncertainty" is at a maximum given certain conditions or that our "uncertainty" has been reduced by this amount, and since uncertainty is always uncertainty about something, let's call this amount "information." Mung
REC, why complicate things without necessity? Flip a coin for goodness sake. Given a finite set of symbols (2 aka H/T or 0/1) chosen at random (equiprobable aka the probability distribution). We can calculate the maximum entropy and assign a measure. 1 bit. whoop dee doo. What is the coin toss about? Is it about the team that gets to select whether to receive the kickoff in a game of american football? Is the fact that the meaning of the coin toss is not derivable from the mathematics somehow relevant to your argument? How so? Mung
*sigh* Mung
"Instead, it points to the attempted application of KC in an area where the results of the method lead to error" You're striking awfully close to classic critiques of a former owner of this blog. "Perhaps the best way to demonstrate the difference between our definition of information and the everyday term is to consider a random message, that is, an N-bit binary string with random bits. If all possible strings are allowable messages, and all are equally likely (which will happen if each bit is equally likely to be 0 or 1), then the information in such a message will be: I = log2(2N) = N (4.24) This is actually the most information you can get with this particular choice of symbols. No other type of message will reach I=N. Now surely this doesn't make sense - how can a random string contain any information, let alone the maximum amount? Surely we must be using the wrong definition of "information"? But if you think about it, the N-bit strings could each label a message, as we discussed earlier, and receiving a particular string singles out which of the 2N possible messages we could get that we are actually getting. In this sense, the string contains a lot of "information". Receiving the message changes your circumstance from not knowing what it was to now knowing what it is; and the more possible messages you could have received, the more "surprised", or enlightened, you are when you get a specific one. If you like, the difference between your initial uncertainty and final certainty is very great, and this is what matters." http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~angel/tsb/Feynman.htm REC
Steno, Take the scenario outlined @89 above, but let's make a small alteration. Let's suppose the cards are being shuffled and dealt by a black box. 1) How many hands would you play where your opponent is getting dealt a Royal Flush every time before you would start to infer that the system is not random? 2) Can you walk me through how you would make that inference? Phinehas
BA:
What purpose is served by concluding that Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish?
1) AFAIK has no one claimed that Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish, but I subscirbe to J. Shallits observations:
"Ultimately, the answer is that it is completely reasonable to believe that neither of Barry's two strings is "random" in the sense of likely to have been generated randomly and uniformly from a given universe of symbols. "
and
"For mathematicians and computer scientists, complexity of a string can be measured as the size of the optimal compressed version of that string. Again, we don't have a way to determine Kolmogorov complexity, so in practice one can use a lossless compression scheme as we did above. The larger the compressed result, the more complex the original string. And the results are clear: string #1 is, as measured by gzip, somewhat less complex than string #2."
2) One of the purposes served by this exercise is to show how bad humans are as random number generators - something, the guys at Bletchley Park found out in the 1930s/1940s! 3) Let me repeat my question:
B. Arrington, what’s your take: is “4ad9;SdaodDajdjad9;Sdjfijdvsdjf;dHJ;sjvaD5…” gibberish or is it Hamlet – or something else?
DiEb
MF:
He was quite clear and open about his definition.
OK. In my Poker game illustration, the same could be said of Shallit's clarity and transparency. That hardly demonstrates that his answer to your challenge regarding his card dealing was responsive or germane, does it?
To me this was an interesting and counter-intuitive result...
Again, OK? One supposes you would have been similarly interested and surprised by Shallit's revelation about KC in the Poker game context. Personally, I would have accused him of having lost the plot. Or perhaps deliberately misunderstanding what I meant in questioning whether his shuffling and dealing technique was as random as it ought to be. Shallit ought to know that, while any specific hand is just as improbable as any other, the probability of getting five random cards is exceptionally high where no cheating is involved. Thus, pointing out the improbability of your hand after the fact would be to miss the point. Similarly, Shallit ought to know that the compressibility of gibberish isn't really being addressed by running gzip on a specific instance of gibberish after the fact of its generation. As Tim pointed out, gibberish can be compressed to the shortest program that can spit out any gibberish, not the shortest program that can replicate a specific instance of gibberish. Phinehas
For our readers who are not fluent in Darwinese, I will translate Mark Frank's response @ 97. Roughly, in plain English, it means:
I've got nothing.
Barry Arrington
#92 BA
What purpose is served by concluding that Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish?
I am sorry I didn't notice the question earlier. Obviously KC as a measure of randomness has many uses in information theory. It is rather interesting to see that a string that appears as gibberish to us is actually less random than a quote from Hamlet according to this measure. Appearances can be deceptive. It also casts doubts on Dembski's efforts to get away from a need for an external standard when deciding when a string is specified. But please I only wanted to pick up on the abuse of Wittgenstein. I think the randomness thing has been done to death and I should never have got back into it. Mark Frank
Steno @ 95. "maybe it would help" Help what? Would it help to make the statement "Hamlet is more random than gibberish" meaningful instead of meaningless? No, it would not. Barry Arrington
Barry, maybe it would help if you would remind us of the original argument you used when you first presented the two strings of characters. If my memory goes that far back it was that the Hamlet string is obviously designed and the other one isn't; as a metaphor for demonstrating how you can detect design in nature. Am I correct? If so, you failed. The only way that we know that the Hamlet string was designed is because...we know it was designed. But if we don't know that in advance, there is no objective measure that would demonstrate this. The same argument can be used for ID. We can only identify design if we presuppose that there is design. I am pretty sure that there is a term for that. Please help me out. Does anybody know what it is?..,,,,oh yah! A circular argument. stenosemella
No, steno, my problem with the statement “Hamlet is more random than gibberish” is that it is utterly meaningless and has no application to the real world. In the real world Hamlet is not random in even the slightest degree. Therefore, saying that Hamlet is “more random” than gibberish is absurd and has no application to the real world. Therefore, to the extent a particular mathematical approach has lead Shallit to a conclusion that is at odds with the real world, the problem is with the application of the mathematical approach in an area where it fails. I have admitted all along that the use of KC could lead one to conclude that Hamlet is more random than gibberish. That does not make Hamlet more random than gibberish. Instead, it points to the attempted application of KC in an area where the results of the method lead to error. Why is that so difficult to understand? Barry Arrington
"Why do you guys have such a problem with accepting that the word “random” may have multiple meanings?" I think that their problem is with the fact that science only has one definition of random. And it is not the one that Barry (ID is science) is using. Retroactively. stenosemella
Mark, you have never responded to my question: What purpose is served by concluding that Hamlet is "more random" than gibberish? Barry Arrington
#89 Phineas I now have some idea of what you are getting at. The Hamlet sequence is more meaningful to people than the other sequence. This indeed is one meaning that is attached to the word "random" and the Hamlet quote would clearly be less random than string 1 according to this definition. It is not the definition Shallit was using. He was quite clear and open about his definition. He didn't make it up for the occasion. It is widely used and accepted, among other things in information theory (if you don't believe me do a bit of googling on Kolmogorov Complexity), and it is one that William Dembski uses a lot. According to this definition string 1 is almost certainly less random than the Hamlet sequence (as I understand it, the compression utility does not absolutely prove that string1 has a greater KC compression but it is a strong indicator). The reason is that while string 1 may mean less to us, it was generated by a process which makes it far from random e.g the many repeated sequences of characters. To me this was an interesting and counter-intuitive result which follows from this particular important sense of random. To Barry it appears to be something akin to heresy. Why do you guys have such a problem with accepting that the word "random" may have multiple meanings? Mark Frank
Should read: ...the exact cards in your hand are no LESS improbable than his. Phinehas
MF:
[W]hat was the point [Shallit] missed[?]
Suppose you and Shallit sit down for a friendly game of Poker. Shallit shuffles and deals the cards. You are dealt: AH 4H QD 8S 8C You make your bets, then Shallit lays down his hand. He has: AS KS QS JS 10S As Shallit reaches for your money, you begin to raise questions about whether his hand was truly random. Shallit points out that the exact cards in your hand are no more improbable than his. Further, using K's compressibility, both are obviously (nearly?) equal in randomness. So, has Shallit missed the point? Has he made a category error? Or do you find his answer completely satisfactory? Phinehas
Barry. At no point did I insist Wittgenstein would have been OK with that sentence. All I was picking up was the misuse of the famous quote. What his views would have been on this silly dispute I have no idea. Mark Frank
#86 Phinehas You are going to have to expand on that. Please point to the sentences Shallit wrote that were a category mistake. Also what was the point he missed. Mark Frank
MF:
All he was doing was comparing the KC compression of two strings...
That's not all he was doing. He was also entirely missing the point. He was making a category mistake. It's basically the same kind of category mistake that one makes when insisting that a random hand of five cards is highly improbably by using the specification of the already drawn random hand to calculate probability. It's a newbie mistake, and you and he ought to know better by now. Phinehas
Phineas #82   I guess I am more interested in Wittgenstein ... but as it is nearly the weekend …..   I didn’t pick up no Tim’s #7 because I couldn’t see what he was getting at.  He wrote:
When Barry sat down to type out the gibberish, he didn’t really have to land on the gibberish that we all saw in the previous OP, so why did Shallit run that particular string for K’s compressibility?
Shouldn’t he [Shallit] have produced a code for writing gibberish of a similar length as the soliloquy then checked that new code’s (compressed) length against that of the soliloquy?
There is no reason why Shallit should have done  this. All he was doing was comparing the KC compression of two strings and happening to note that, rather surprisingly perhaps, the sequence from Hamlet appeared to be more random (using a widely acknowledged, if technical, definition of random) than the sequence generated by Barry tapping “haphazardly” at the keyboard. It is quite possible that other strings generated by similar methods would be less random than Hamlet. So what?
I asked MF for clarification on what just seems to be such an obvious smuggling of specification, but he didn’t seem to understand my question, what am I missing here?
I still don’t understand the question. What has all this got to do with specification? I thought the OP was about definitions of “random”. Mark Frank
For the last time, “[Hamlet] is more random than [gibberish]” is exactly the kind of meaningless statement Wittgenstein had in mind. Mark is insisting that Wittgenstein would have been OK with that sentence if he understood that Shallit was using an esoteric mathematical definition such that “more random” did not mean “more random” but “more compressible using a computer program.” Nonsense. Barry Arrington
MF:
I intended to stay out of this debate but when I see Wittgenstein quotes abused I have to respond.
How do you lose a Wittgensteinian battle? Quibble over whether it is Wittgensteinian while avoiding the main points. Phinehas
MF @80: While I don't doubt you'd rather quibble over Wittgenstein, since you are here and participating anyway, maybe you could address Tim's substantive issue raised as early as @7 in this thread, and even earlier in the previous thread? But perhaps you are too busy for that kind of thing. Phinehas
ES
Which definition of design detection is it this time? The non-measurable kind?
You might want to read the OP which quotes Shallit.
If we want to test this [i.e. randomness] in a quantitative sense, we can use a lossless compression scheme such as gzip, an implementation of Lempel-Ziv.
If you want to learn about ID, read Dembski and Behe to start - there are dozens more good books on the topic. Silver Asiatic
Tim #74 So far you failed to produce a single sentence from the PI to support your case. Instead you turn to Wikipedia. I cannot find a single sentence there either. The closest is:
he believed that philosophers had obscured this simplicity by misusing language and by asking meaningless questions.
I think that is a rather poor description. It is more that philosophers are mislead by the structure of ordinary language to ask bizarre questions (see for example para 116 of PI). But anyway it does not refer to technical language. The famous quote Barry used came from para 109. I have already quoted from other parts of the paragraph to support my case but I will expand on it. It is hard to summarise W’s work and point to the section of the PI that deals with a topic because of the structure of the book. However, I am not aware of any section that deals with technical language or disputes about definitions. Famously the book is stuffed with comments about ordinary language and how it can bemuse philosophers. Look for example at his discussion of knowledge in paras 148 to 151 (and the continuation of the discussion from para 179) or the discussion of sensations from 244 onwards. Until you can actually produce some quotes from PI to support your case you have nothing but your assertion that you are right. Mark Frank
DiEb at #50: It's strange how very simple concepts are so difficult to understand, when one really does not want to understand. Your coded version of Shakespeare is a coded version of Shakespeare. It is designed. It contains the same functional information as the original Shakespeare passage, only in different form. The only difference is that I, as an observer, need to know the code to understand the English meaning. So, is the string designed? Yes. Can design be inferred for it? Yes. How? It's simple. a) If I look at the string, and I know, or just understand from some formal aspect, that it is coded, and I can derive the code, and derive the correct English meaning, I will easily make the design inference for it. It will be an obvious case of true positive design inference. b) Of course, it is perfectly possible that I don't recognize the string as coded, and that I cannot connect it to its English form. In that case, I will not make any design inference for it. It will be a case of false negative. One of the many. Remember, design detection by functional specification is a procedure with absolute specificity (no false positives) and low sensitivity (a lot of false negatives). So, it's very simple: If you want to falsify the concept of design detection by functional specification, you must show some false positive. Showing false negatives does not help. Can you understand that? gpuccio
Silver Asiatic
Shallit used design detection to recognize the non-random elements in the text and this wss supposedly a victory.
Which definition of design detection is it this time? The non-measurable kind? E.Seigner
Can you tell I was typing on a smart phone? ID again. Silver Asiatic
How do you conclude that there is no “rule-base method of encryption”, which maps this string onto something which is obviously not gibberish? How do you decided which strings are gibberish, and which should may be not? Sorry - to finish. Yes, that's a limitation in design detection. You can't prove that a string is not written in a complex unknown code. SETI research may be ignoring hundreds of coded messages. We can only do pattern matching with what is known and look for correlations.
Silver Asiatic
how do you conclude that Barry’s first string is gibberish? The term “asd” appears 16 times in it, the terms “vioja” three times (ignoring capitalization).
DiEb - Youre chasing afterna point that has been answered already. Shallit used design detection to recognize the non-random elements in the text and this wss supposedly a victory. But he also recognized that "asd" is s common keyboard combination and then drew a design inference (that it was keyboarding". For whatever reason he didnt want to offer truly randomized text instead (and you could do that also). How do you conclude that there is no “rule-base method of encryption”, which maps this string onto something which is obviously not gibberish? How do you decided which strings are gibberish, and which should may be not? Silver Asiatic
DiEb, why oh why do you persist? Please understand this! Nobody cares about your post at 22. Virtually everybody (probably even Shallit by now) understands that the heart of the matter has nothing to do with Barry's "failure" to be "perfectly" random in string #1. Got it? Nobody. So here is my point, yet again. This is from Phinehas@40
Barry’s gibberish was designed to be gibberish. If this is the case, then it should not be surprising that some hallmarks of design can be found in it if one looks hard enough.* But focusing on patterns found in the gibberish is to miss the point that the string is meant to be representative and not literal. Tim spells this out clearly @7 above, but it appears that detractors are more interested in continuing to miss the point.
I smell troll. Yup, I'm done for this thread; I admit it. I got sucked in. Now, I have troll on me. Yuck. Tim
MF@64 (and everybody else who cares and has 20 minutes to burn), please read good ol' Wikipedia's article on Philosophical Investigations where you will find that Mark Frank is wrong and I am right. I do have to say that from my place of work (a highly "distract-able" environment) and the cobwebs of over twenty-five years since last visiting Wittgenstein, I was surprisingly accurate. Mark, after you read it, I expect you to take one more step, thank you. Tim
E.S.:
It’s always the non-IDists doing any actual science here. Noted yet again.
They should go elsewhere to do their science. When they do their science here it makes it seems like they are in fact accepting that ID is science and is capable of a scientific refutation, thus exposing the ignorance of those who claim that ID is not science. Mung
E.Seigner:
Funny how ID is supposed to be science, but as soon as something gets actually measured, ID theorists are horrified. Let them dig their hole deeper. I’ve been laughing for weeks already.
You're projecting again. Mung
BA:
The issue of ciphers vis-a-vis design detection has been addressed dozens of times on these pages. You can go back and read those or one of Dembski’s books where he addresses it.
Many things have been discussed, but only few issues have been settled. So, what's your take: is "4ad9;SdaodDajdjad9;Sdjfijdvsdjf;dHJ;sjvaD5pf;jf;od’jvsd2a98;odvDdjf;d3vDVdjadsJgg;o..." gibberish or is it Hamlet - or something else? DiEb
DiEb @ 50. The issue of ciphers vis-a-vis design detection has been addressed dozens of times on these pages. You can go back and read those or one of Dembski's books where he addresses it. Barry Arrington
Ignore my gibberish above :-) How do you decide which strings are gibberish, and which may be not? DiEb
@Silver Asiatic So, how do you conclude that Barry's first string is gibberish? The term "asd" appears 16 times in it, the terms "vioja" three times (ignoring capitalization). How do you conclude that there is no "rule-base method of encryption", which maps this string onto something which is obviously not gibberish? How do you decided which strings are gibberish, and which should may be not? DiEb
DiEb 50 The term Sdjads appears 4 times in the text. Sure, you can try to obscure the underlying message but if you had a rule-based method for encryption, then with enough work it could be re-mapped to Shakespeare. Silver Asiatic
What is the probability that the sequence of characters "sleep" will appear in a random text of 523 characters? X = length of a search string N = size of the alphabet in symbols Y = length of the random string X = 5 N = 32 (26 letters plus punctuation) Y = 523 =((1/N)^X)^(Y - X + 1) =((1/32)^5)^519 Which is about 1 in 3 million chances. The text "sleep" appeared 5 times in text #2 and zero times in text #1. But apparently, some people think that text #2 is more random than the gibberish. ... and we're looking for repetition of pattern, not a single unique string.
A pattern represents a discernible regularity in the world or in manmade designs. In the prescriptive point of view, a pattern is a template from which instances can be created; while in the descriptive point of view, the elements of a pattern that repeat in a predictable manner can be observed and recognised. Cyberpatterns: Towards a Pattern Oriented Study of Cyberspace http://www.amazon.com/Cyberpatterns-Unifying-Design-Patterns-Security/dp/331904446X
... identifying patterns (design) of network attacks, scientists look for correlation between known patterns and sample data.
Detection technologies have matured over time, and greater depth and breadth of information is available for analysis, typically enriched with metadata and contextual information. Examples of such datasets include: attack events (honeynet logs), network traces, and web crawler logs.
Silver Asiatic
#59 Tim
I accept that your admission that my interpretation of the PI is rather controversial is the closest you will come to admitting it is true.
Unless you produce some evidence to support your case - you bet it is the closest I will come to admitting it is true. Mark Frank
DiEB: Put another way, do you not recognize that your...
4ad9;SdaodDajdjad9;Sdjfijdvsdjf;dHJ;sjvaD5 pf;jf;od’jvsd2a98;odvDdjf;d3vDVdjadsJgg;o 4f;d68vDLsdiDVdkooaZsdagdaJjoiL;aJsdXaojJD;S 7odjadji0;dko3sdiLivDsjdid6;idagdjoaJ98;sS kDVd9OdaFFasvDLSd;DVdjf;3Kd4adVv;Sdjads8;;F5 2ad3ao;IdiDVd9Odids8;;FSdjadsiOdZ;d;DV 4f;d:;iojPiAf;SdiDVdjf;djfaJsiDVd2ijJoi8dsfaA0s 4fijdX8;sfdvsdf;vodjaKdw4vsdidAaDsJ33ijvaD n;eaJj8Odjad9;dZvsf;Vud4adVv;Sdjads8;;FS 4ads8;;FSdF;oAfiDA;djadno;i3IdkO;Sdjf;o;’sdjf;doJ9S XaodvDdjfijds8;;FdagdV;ijfSdZfijdVo;i3sd3iOdAa3;S pf;DdZ;dfie;dsfJgg8;Vdaggdjfvsd3aoji8dAav8S
...has the same specificity as Shakespeare's...
To be, or not to be, that is the question— Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep— No more; and by a sleep, to say we end The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep, To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Both are extremely fragile to change in that random variations will destroy their ability to continue to function as either poetic soliloquy or encoded poetic soliloquy. Even more, neither are likely to have been produced by Tim's or any other TYPE GIBBERISH program over the known history of the universe. Phinehas
DiEB
Looks a lot like your first string – so is it gibberish?
Of course not. Encoded Hamlet is still Hamlet. You've merely layered more design onto it by creating a code that, by design, superficially obscures the original. Phinehas
@Tim, it is easy to enumerate all strings up to length ca. 500 in alphabetical order. Virtually all of them will be less complex than B. Arrington's string #1 (see my comment at #22). So, that would be a very short code which produces "gibberish" with a probability of nearly 1. So, what is your point. @BA, could you answer my questions in my comment #50? Thanks! DiEb
E Seigner:
And all the posts are about the meaning of random,
Well that is the issue. Duh
re-defining it so as to make the strings unmeasurable,
Is that what you think? Really?
whereas in the original context we were precisely talking about measuring them – and Shallit actually did the measuring.
And he proved what can happen when someone on an agenda has at a problem. The Hamlet snippet was definitely planned and as such not random. And any methodology that says it is more random than haphazard typing is obviously being misapplied. And what is sad is that you can't grasp any of that. Joe
MF@47, Thank you. I accept that your admission that my interpretation of the PI is rather controversial is the closest you will come to admitting it is true. I will not be extending this rabbit trail any further. E.Seigner@48, Your attempt to sidetrack the conversation through carefully worded statements will not help your cause.
During my months here, no ID theorist has measured anything here, despite constant claims that FSCO/I can be measured. The only one who measured anything is Shallit.
While the first part of the statement is putatively true (i.e. we don’t measure things here on this site, the second part is demonstrably false. Shallit is not the only person who has measured anything (esp. code related to ID claims and KC.) . . . not to mention the notion (which you refuse to address!) that his measurement was wrongheaded! I don’t know how to write code efficiently, but I know that computer scientists, if they wanted to, could write a code that punched up a string of gibberish equal in length with the soliloquy that compresses far more than that of the code for the soliloquy. Do you deny this? I find it undeniable, but that’s just me. Why do you continue to push this? DiEB@50 Thank you so much for supporting my point about the smuggling of specificity. Now all we have to do is write a sufficiently short code that produces gibberish, and wait for it to produce the soliloquy or its coded form! I'll get the code started if you promise to round up the monkeys and typewriters! Tim
E.Seigner Do you believe that “[Hamlet is . . .] more random than [gibberish]”? If so, there is no point in attempting to reason with you. Barry Arrington
RObb,
that would betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between mathematics and reality.
Like when Shallit did some math and said “[Hamlet is . . .] more random than [gibberish]”? Barry Arrington
Barry:
Hamlet was not created by means of a stochastic process.
Actually, stochastic processes are useful models for natural language production. (See here, for example.) And I trust that you won't reply with "Modeling Shakespeare as a stochastic process doesn't mean that he actually is a stochastic process," as that would betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between mathematics and reality. R0bb
Silver Asiatic
Non-ID scientists are measuring data to detect design. LOL. Let’s hear you claim that what they’re doing is impossible.
They measured randomness. You said they did it wrong. Meanwhile, you measure nothing at all, neither correcting nor refuting them. See Barry. What is this, fifth or so post against Shallit? And all the posts are about the meaning of random, re-defining it so as to make the strings unmeasurable, whereas in the original context we were precisely talking about measuring them - and Shallit actually did the measuring. If he did it wrong, where is the correction? I cannot say if he did it right or wrong and if all his conclusions are justified, but I can surely see who is actually backing up their claims. E.Seigner
E Seigner:
After my few months here I am beginning to get the impression that the claims about FSCO/I measurements could be empty…
Your few months here have proven that you are empty. Strange that functionally specific information has been measured wrt biology and in peer-review. Joe
It’s always the non-IDists doing any actual science here.
Non-ID scientists are measuring data to detect design. LOL. Let's hear you claim that what they're doing is impossible. Silver Asiatic
If Shallit measured wrong,
Talk about laughing … if you haven't embarrassed yourself enough by now, I guess you never will. "If" he measured wrong? He concluded that Hamlet was more random than the other string. I guess you're uncertain about that.
then go ahead and do it better
You might try reading some of the comments on this topic. Mark Frank used historical-science to indicate that the Hamlet text was not the product of one author. Anti-ID commenter DiEb offered this measurement showing the design characteristics of string 1: DiEb #10
I don’t think so – codebreaker love that stuff: it can be valuable knowledge that in a string which is claimed to be random, “;as” is always followed by “d”, that the letters b,q,t,y,z won’t appear, that capital letters and numbers come in groups, or that the most common letter (“d/D”) – 13% of the text! – is preceded in more than 50% of all occurrences by (“s/S”)…
Silver Asiatic
Exactly, Silver Asiatic. It's always the non-IDists doing any actual science here. Noted yet again. E.Seigner
BA: Have a look at this string:
4ad9;SdaodDajdjad9;Sdjfijdvsdjf;dHJ;sjvaD5 pf;jf;od’jvsd2a98;odvDdjf;d3vDVdjadsJgg;o 4f;d68vDLsdiDVdkooaZsdagdaJjoiL;aJsdXaojJD;S 7odjadji0;dko3sdiLivDsjdid6;idagdjoaJ98;sS kDVd9OdaFFasvDLSd;DVdjf;3Kd4adVv;Sdjads8;;F5 2ad3ao;IdiDVd9Odids8;;FSdjadsiOdZ;d;DV 4f;d:;iojPiAf;SdiDVdjf;djfaJsiDVd2ijJoi8dsfaA0s 4fijdX8;sfdvsdf;vodjaKdw4vsdidAaDsJ33ijvaD n;eaJj8Odjad9;dZvsf;Vud4adVv;Sdjads8;;FS 4ads8;;FSdF;oAfiDA;djadno;i3IdkO;Sdjf;o;’sdjf;doJ9S XaodvDdjfijds8;;FdagdV;ijfSdZfijdVo;i3sd3iOdAa3;S pf;DdZ;dfie;dsfJgg8;Vdaggdjfvsd3aoji8dAav8S
Looks a lot like your first string - so is it gibberish? OTOH, it's the quote from Hamlet, only that I encoded it using a substitution cypher (" "->"d", "e"->";","o"->"a"). As I replaced the most common letter of #2 by the most common letter of #1, the second most common of #2 by the second most common of #1 etc., the string appears to be similar to string #1. So, is this string more or less random (or more or less complex) than your string #2? What information does it contain? How does it compare to string #1? DiEb
If Shallit measured wrong,</blockquote. Talk about laughing ... if you haven't embarrassed yourself enough by now, I guess you never will. "If" he measured wrong? He concluded that Hamlet was more random than the other string. I guess you're uncertain about that.
then go ahead and do it better
You might try reading some of the comments on this topic. Mark Frank used historical-science to indicate that the Hamlet text was not the product of one author. Anti-ID commenter DiEb offered this measurement showing the design characteristics of string 1: DiEb #10
I don’t think so – codebreaker love that stuff: it can be valuable knowledge that in a string which is claimed to be random, “;as” is always followed by “d”, that the letters b,q,t,y,z won’t appear, that capital letters and numbers come in groups, or that the most common letter (“d/D”) – 13% of the text! – is preceded in more than 50% of all occurrences by (“s/S”)…
Silver Asiatic
Tim
Now, I am don’t blame E.S for not pointing out that the measurements are wrong; it is not really his job. So I will go ahead and do it. The measurements were wrong. Mere assertion? I don’t think so. First, although E.S characterized BA’s defense as “whining”, it was not. BA merely pointed out that the form of the measurement does not correspond to reality. Second, as I’ve alluded to in a couple of posts, one in a previous OP and once here @7, measurements of strings for randomness is NOT THE SAME as measurements of the (most compressed) codes that could have produced them. Ok, although I do not blame E.S for not describing the problems with the measurements himself, I now ask him to address the issue of compressibility — not of the strings, but of the sources that could have produce them.
Now, I don't blame Tim for not knowing the original context where the strings first came up. Instead, I will helpfully tell him. The strings came up specifically in the context where we were arguing about how to measure the designedness of things. During my months here, no ID theorist has measured anything here, despite constant claims that FSCO/I can be measured. The only one who measured anything is Shallit. If Shallit measured wrong, then go ahead and do it better, but all Barry has done is quibble about the meaning of "random". He has had weeks of time to actually measure the strings. It's been claimed all along ID theory scientifically measures such cases, so why not actually do it in practice for a change? After my few months here I am beginning to get the impression that the claims about FSCO/I measurements could be empty... E.Seigner
#37 Tim I meant every word I wrote. Your interpretation of the PI is rather controversial - perhaps you could provide a few quotes to substantiate it? Mark Frank
MF @ 45. The use of the quotation marks around "the" was intended to make it equivalent to "the only." But if it makes you feel better to score cheap rhetorical points, by all means be my guest. Barry Arrington
Barry from the OP:
as I will demonstrate below, in the English language “random” does in fact mean the opposite of “design.”
Barry from his subsequent comment:
I never said that “designed” is “the” opposite of “random.”
Mark Frank
Tim #7
When Barry sat down to type out the gibberish, he didn’t really have to land on the gibberish that we all saw in the previous OP, so why did Shallit run that particular string for K’s compressibility?
Great point and yet another chance for us to marvel at the incredible stupidity of the anti-ID position in this case.
Shouldn’t he [Shallit] have produced a code for writing gibberish of a similar length as the soliloquy then checked that new code’s (compressed) length against that of the soliloquy?
Exactly. Mr. Shallit's game-playing and obfuscation is made clear with this. It he running in fear, as many have suggested (and as we have seen with others who play the same game)? Shallit's point: "Barry's gibberish is not really random". Wow - there's a powerfully idiotic response that adds nothing. Did he win some points for himself? All Shallit had to do next was create a "truly random" string and match it against Hamlet. Some people call this kind of tactic "lying" and I always hesitated to use that term before since it is loaded with moral connotations ... but we're looking for a minimum of sincerity or honesty in ones work (and hopefully in our own). But hey, if ID-opponents what to expose themselves like this it is certainly amusing and educational. Silver Asiatic
DiEb
It is the right tool for some purposes, e.g., it tells us that one shouldn’t take parts of Hamlet as a password, and neither generate a password the way B. Arrington did create his string.
I think this has been answered already but just to restate ... sure, it's the right tool for some things, but it clearly gave the wrong answer, so it's not the right tool to evaluate the important differences in those two strings. Silver Asiatic
Phinehas@40, Thanks, and yes, I thought I was clear, and while posting @41, didn't see your post. Tim
E.Seigner@31 writes,
Now that somebody actually made the measurements, he keeps whining.
Now, I am don't blame E.S for not pointing out that the measurements are wrong; it is not really his job. So I will go ahead and do it. The measurements were wrong. Mere assertion? I don't think so. First, although E.S characterized BA's defense as "whining", it was not. BA merely pointed out that the form of the measurement does not correspond to reality. Second, as I've alluded to in a couple of posts, one in a previous OP and once here @7, measurements of strings for randomness is NOT THE SAME as measurements of the (most compressed) codes that could have produced them. Ok, although I do not blame E.S for not describing the problems with the measurements himself, I now ask him to address the issue of compressibility -- not of the strings, but of the sources that could have produce them. Tim
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that Barry's gibberish was designed to be gibberish. If this is the case, then it should not be surprising that some hallmarks of design can be found in it if one looks hard enough.* But focusing on patterns found in the gibberish is to miss the point that the string is meant to be representative and not literal. Tim spells this out clearly @7 above, but it appears that detractors are more interested in continuing to miss the point. * Fun fact: Random number generators in computer games often aren't, at least not completely. Why? Because most game players have a concept of random that doesn't quite line up with truly random outcomes. True randomness may mean that players suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune more often than they feel they ought to. In a similar way, most people will miss the mark when they try to compose something that looks random to them. Phinehas
MF has a point about deterministic systems. The motion of the moon relative to the earth is indeed a non-designed/non-random system. MF writes: “The opposite of random in its non-technical everyday use is something like ‘determined’ or ‘predictable’. If it is designed then that is one of the ways it can be predictable but it is not the only way.” Certainly he is correct. I never said that “designed” is “the” opposite of “random.” “Determined" is another opposite of random. When I was writing the OP I considered giving a nod to deterministic systems. Perhaps I should have, because as MF has inadvertently highlighted, doing so leads to the explanatory filter. MF aptly notes there are random strings and there are non-random strings. Among non-random strings there are two possible explanations: (1) determined strings and (2) designed strings. Just so. Voila! The explanatory filter: 1. Is it contingent? Yes, go to next step. No, deterministic system cannot be ruled out. 2. Is it complex? Yes, go to next step. No, random system cannot be ruled out. 3. Is it specified? Yes, it is designed. No, random system cannot be ruled out. Thanks Mark. Barry Arrington
"just admit that you were wrong" ,,, LOL, I wonder when that will be? i.e. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/01/09/article-2535709-1A7D371000000578-703_964x531.jpg bornagain77
MF@33 quotes Wittgenstein then offers this piece of work,
It is a paragraph about how to do philosophy. He is saying we should examine how we use ordinary language (using commonly agreed meanings) and how that can confuse us. It is nothing to do with battles over the correct definitions of words or using words in technical or specialist ways. I don’t know if he ever tackled randomness, but if he did his approach would be to examine the everyday non-technical use of the word random and see how that can mislead or confuse.
(my emphasis, Tim) I include as much context as possible so that MF won't come back to the same old canard (lack of context). Notice the structure of the writing. From it, we are left to assume that in the phrase "It is nothing . . " the "it" refers to the quotation and therefore Wittgenstein's thought. Here, MF, is completely wrong. Wittgenstein would have said that the use of words in technical or specialist ways actually has everything to do with it. I don't care if MF began his post with, "Having just returned from my vigil at Ludwig's grave . . . " His take on Wittgenstein here is just plain wrong. The latter part that references "everyday non-technical use" is exactly the opposite of what Wittgenstein would have said. I direct your attention to his Philosophical Investigations. MF, please, if possible, clarify your statement. Or better yet, just admit that you were wrong. Tim
E Seigner:
For me it was immediately clear that if he wants to make a valid point he needs to measure the strings in some way.
That's right and we can measure them.
Now that somebody actually made the measurements,
And what makes you think the methodology used is correct?
Funny how ID is supposed to be science,
ID is science as it fits the definition and does so better than the materialistic alternatives.
I’ve been laughing for weeks already.
Umm we have been laughing at your ignorance since you showed up here. Joe
Mark FRank:
This incidentally explains why string 1 was not random.
Yet it is random as it was created in a haphazard way.
ID is about detecting design by looking at the patterns in strings.
Not entirely.
ID needs a method of detecting randomness without knowing anything about the origins of the string.
That is incorrect. We have a methodology for detecting design and people use it every day. Joe
I intended to stay out of this debate but when I see Wittgenstein quotes abused I have to respond. The often quoted line is the last sentence of paragraph 109 of the Philosophical Investigations. There is another sentence which expresses better the overall significance of the paragraph: These are not of course empirical problems; they are solved, rather, by looking into the workings of our language, and that in such a way as to make us recognise those workings: in despite of an urge to misunderstand them. It is a paragraph about how to do philosophy. He is saying we should examine how we use ordinary language (using commonly agreed meanings) and how that can confuse us. It is nothing to do with battles over the correct definitions of words or using words in technical or specialist ways. I don't know if he ever tackled randomness, but if he did his approach would be to examine the everyday non-technical use of the word random and see how that can mislead or confuse. Wittgenstein was all for careful and precise use of language. In particular he would object to Barry’s erroneous statement that "random" (in any commonly used sense) is the opposite of "design". It is true that, using "random" in a non-technical sense, if something is designed then it is not random, but that doesn’t mean "designed" is the opposite of "random". If random were the opposite of designed then anything that was not random would be designed.  And of course there are numerous examples of things that no one would describe as random that are not designed e.g. the time between new moons. The opposite of random in its non-technical everyday use is something like “determined” or “predictable”. If it is designed then that is one of the ways it can be predictable but it is not the only way. This incidentally explains why string 1 was not random. The pattern of characters was more predictable than it first appears.  This was because of the process used to generate it – hammering away “haphazardly” at a keyboard. The structure of the keyboard plus the human tendency to repeat certain physical patterns means that there is a lot of repetition of sequences of characters e.g. “asd” “vio” which is what makes it compressible, predictable and non-random. It may not jump out at you as the Hamlet quote does but it is there and that is what the compression algorithm revealed. Look at this from an ID perspective. ID is about detecting design by looking at the patterns in strings. Random is important because if a string is random then chance cannot be ruled out and design is not detected. But if it is about detecting design then ruling out randomness because it is designed it no use. The whole point is we don't know if it is designed or not. ID needs a method of detecting randomness without knowing anything about the origins of the string. Which is why William Dembski puts such emphasis on KC compression which is the method Shallit used! Mark Frank
iudex non calculat DiEb
Johnnyb @ 5 wrote
This idea that doing philosophy somehow that a subject is permanently excluded from science is patently ridiculous . . .
This is so true, johnnyb! Science is founded on philosophy, and was once called natural philosophy before some academic thought the term was demeaning and did not adequately represent the iron-clad determination to appear as the mechanistic high priests of Ultimate Truth by measuring something to many digits and then announcing some philosophical leap. I enjoyed this . . . http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Philosophy/axioms/axioms/node44.html God help us if we ever turn the earth over to scientists who know they're right. -Q Querius
Barry invented those strings when talking to me. For me it was immediately clear that if he wants to make a valid point he needs to measure the strings in some way. Now that somebody actually made the measurements, he keeps whining. Funny how ID is supposed to be science, but as soon as something gets actually measured, ID theorists are horrified. Let them dig their hole deeper. I've been laughing for weeks already. E.Seigner
rhampton7:
Patterns do indeed come from chaos. See Chaos Theory
Sure. Living organisms also came out of dirt and fish evolved into birds all by themselves. It's kind of like saying that singing frogs cause rain. Arguments from authority are about as valid as "the dog ate my homework." Bring out your argument and watch me tear it down. Mapou
Actually, that might be true, Mung. A chemistry prof of mine used to paraphrase H.L. Mencken: "For every problem in Chemistry, there's a solution. Neat. Plausible. And wrong." ;-) -Q Querius
Mapou, Patterns do indeed come from chaos. See Chaos Theory rhampton7
Folks, we’re trying to do science here. Please leave your common sense at the door. I like that. Mung, in its trollish way, says it sarcastically (correct me if I'm wrong). But it works, and has worked in science at least since Galileo! Daniel King
Folks, we're trying to do science here. Please leave your common sense at the door. Mung
DiEB @ 24: If I had to resort to nonsensical distinctions ("special version of gibberish" really?), I am pretty sure I would change sides. No need to respond. This discussion is no longer fruitful. PS: I imagine the moderation queue is annoying. You should have avoided the trollish behavior that got you put there. Barry Arrington
J. Shallit said:
String #2's compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than string #1: exactly the opposite of what Arrington implied!
That's quite different from
“[Hamlet’s] compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than [gibberish].”
1. String #1 is not "Hamlet", just an excerpt of ca. 500 bytes. 2. It's not about gibberish in general, but about your special version of "gibberish", represented by string #2. So, are you changing sides? PS: the moderation queue is quite annoying! DiEb
DiEb @ 22:
The claim is not that “Hamlet is more random than gibberish”, but that your gibberish is quite surprisingly complex.
Now you are just making stuff up. That is precisely the claim. This is what Shallit said: “[Hamlet’s] compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than [gibberish]." DiEb, if I found that I had to make stuff up in order to support my side, I hope that I would change sides. Barry Arrington
The claim is not that "Hamlet is more random than gibberish", but that your gibberish is quite surprisingly complex. Look at it that way: you have created a string of ca. 500 bytes which was compressed to a string of length 308. What is the portion of strings of length 500 can be compressed by gzip to a length of less than 400 bytes? At best, 256^400/256^500 = 2^(-800) = 1.5x10^(-241) Coming up with such a string randomly is very surprising indeed. DiEb
DiEb,
but are not good at mathematics
If being good at mathematics means I have to conclude that Hamlet is more random than gibberish, so much the worse for mathematics. Happily, I don't think it does. Barry Arrington
Barry, I would be asking questions for clarification. I doubt I would get any acceptable answers but I would be open to such a possibility. Joe
Good point, Barry- if Neil, DiEB and Jeffrey are correct it would be best to use long, common words as passwords.
No. DiEb
Don’t use Hamlet as your password. That’s the purpose that is served by concluding that Hamlet is more random than gibberish? OK.
You lost me there: string compression indicated that both strings are very unlikely to be random (in the mathematical sense of "coming from an uniform distribution"). So, (parts of) both strings are not good passwords, whether one is gibberish or not. If the whole exercise of comparing the randomness had a purpose, I'd say it was just to show that you may have a way with words, but are not good at mathematics - which isn't helpful when it comes to discuss mathematical ideas like those proposed in W. Dembski's and R. Marks's papers. J. Shallit succeeded in making this point - with your ample help. DiEb
Joe @ 15. I wonder what you or I would do if a prominent ID proponent said something aggressively stupid on the order of "Hamlet is more random than gibberish." Would we circle the wagons for our boy like DiEb, Mark Frank and Neil Rickert have been doing? I hope not. But maybe we would. Barry Arrington
I may be mistaken, but isn't one of the hallmarks of a "random" sample (string in this case) its unpredictability? In other words, you shouldn't be able to predict the subsequent element of a string of independent characters by evaluating any of the prior elements of that string? I'm fairly certain that the key difference between an intelligible string, and unintelligible gibberish, is our ability to predict the subsequent characters of a string such that we recognize a word, and then a phrase, and then an idea, etc... If this is true, then it holds that BA's String #2 is algorithmically less random than String #1. ciphertext
Good point, Barry- if Neil, DiEB and Jeffrey are correct it would be best to use long, common words as passwords. All I can say is "good luck with that". Joe
Barry, and all ID advocates, need to understand one basic point. It’s one that Wesley Elsberry and I have been harping about for years. Here it is: the opposite of ‘random’ is not ‘designed’.
Not even wrong. Patterns do not come of chaos. Consider that all the zillions of electrons and other particles in the universe were designed. Even the curvature of the earth, ocean waves, sand dunes and alluvial deposits were designed in the sense that they obey non-random laws. Where did those laws come from? Certainly not from chaos. Mapou
Neil Rickert:
If you want to claim that ID is science, you should be using the scientific meaning of “random”.
Not when it says that Hamlet's soliloquy is more random than haphazard tapping on a keyboard. Also it only seems to work when there are well-defined probabilities/ statistical properties.
If you prefer to go by the common usage meaning of “random”, then you are implicitly conceding that ID is philosophy and not science.
Yet with respect to random mutations the common usage is used. With respect to ID it all depends on the context- the context determines the applicable definition. Biology online has this to say about random:
1. Force; violence. For courageously the two kings newly fought with great random and force. (E. Hall) 2. A roving motion; course without definite direction; want of direction, rule, or method; hazard; chance; commonly used in the phrase at random, that is, without a settled point of direction; at hazard. Counsels, when they fly At random, sometimes hit most happily. (Herrick) O, many a shaft, at random sent, finds mark the archer little meant ! (Sir W. Scott) 3. Distance to which a missile is cast; range; reach; as, the random of a rifle ball. 4. (Science: chemical) The direction of a rake-vein. Origin: OE. Randon, OF. Randon force, violence, rapidity, a randon, de randon, violently, suddenly, rapidly, prob. Of German origin; cf. G. Rand edge, border, OHG. Rant shield, edge of a shield, akin to E. Rand, n. See Rand. going at random or by chance; done or made at hazard, or without settled direction, aim, or purpose; hazarded without previous calculation; left to chance; haphazard; as, a random guess. Some random truths he can impart. (Wordsworth) So sharp a spur to the lazy, and so strong a bridle to the random. (H. (Science: medicine) Spencer) Random courses, stonework consisting of stones of unequal sizes fitted together, but not in courses nor always with flat beds.
Joe
DiEb, Don't use Hamlet as your password. That's the purpose that is served by concluding that Hamlet is more random than gibberish? OK. Barry Arrington
@Silver Asiatic #7 Yes. I think Shallit's response offers us an insight into the kinds of problems inherent in the materialistic methodological practices of Evolutionary theory (or perhaps it's just an example of them in microcosm): If your method of investigation leads you to conclude that objects, patterns or events we KNOW to have been designed are actually the product of chance and/or law, there's a serious problem with your method of investigation. If your methodology points to the conclusion that complex, functionally specified systems that have been designed for a purpose are either random accidents, or physically determined outcomes resulting from natural laws, or some combination of the two, why should we trust you when you say the same thing about complex, functionally specified systems in living things? HeKS
If measures of the strings compression tell us that the Hamlet text had a “more random origin” than the gibberish, then we’re obviously using the wrong kind of tool to understand the source.
It is the right tool for some purposes, e.g., it tells us that one shouldn't take parts of Hamlet as a password, and neither generate a password the way B. Arrington did create his string. DiEb
BA
In science “random” always connotes a stochastic process. Hamlet was not created by means of a stochastic process.
True. ID is a scientific proposal about origins - as is evolution. We're looking at the nature of the source of those strings. If measures of the strings compression tell us that the Hamlet text had a "more random origin" than the gibberish, then we're obviously using the wrong kind of tool to understand the source. Silver Asiatic
As to the definition of the word 'random' itself, I, like Talbott, wish that Darwinists would be 'a little more explicit here':
Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011 Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.” This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/evolution-and-the-illusion-of-randomness
In trying to be 'more explicit', from the best I can tell, for a mutation to occur in a truly 'random' fashion in a cell, it must be caused by some cosmic ray, chemical fluctuation, or some such entropy driven event as that. In fact, in a 'Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator' randomness is derived directly, or semi-directly, from entropy.
Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator Excerpt: From an information-theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated, is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available.,,, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptographically_secure_pseudorandom_number_generator By the way, if you need some really good random numbers, go here: http://www.random.org/bytes/ These are truly random (not pseudo-random) and are generated from atmospheric noise. per Gil Dodgen
,,,Also, it is important to learn how pervasive entropy is in its explanatory power for physical events that occur in this universe,,
Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012 Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,, Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,, The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,, http://crev.info/2012/10/shining-light-on-dark-energy/
In linking entropy to the randomness in the universe, it also is interesting to point out 'Boltzmann's blunder' with entropy,,, Ludwig Boltzmann, an atheist, when he linked entropy and probability, did not, as Max Planck, a Christian Theist, points out in the following link, think to look for a constant for entropy:
The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: “This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant.” http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/Boltzmann_equation.html
I hold that the primary reason why Boltzmann, an atheist, never thought to carry out, or even propose, a precise measurement for the constant on entropy is that he, as an atheist, had thought he had arrived at the ultimate ‘random’ explanation for how everything in the universe operates when he had link probability with entropy. i.e. In linking entropy with probability, Boltzmann, again an atheist, thought he had explained everything that happens in the universe to a ‘random’ chance basis. To him, as an atheist, I hold that it would simply be unfathomable for him to conceive that the ‘random chance’ (probabilistic) events of entropy in the universe should ever be constrained by a constant that governed them. Whereas, on the contrary, to a Christian Theist such as Planck it is expected that even these seemingly random entropic events of the universe should be bounded by a constant. In fact modern science was born out of such thinking:
‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true.’ Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.
Verse and Music:
Romans 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Shatter Me Featuring Lzzy Hale – Lindsey Stirling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49tpIMDy9BE
Of related interest: As to quantum mechanics, randomness is ruled out as the driving aspect of quantum mechanics because of what is termed 'contextuality':
Contextuality is 'magic ingredient' for quantum computing - June 11, 2012 Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems. In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation. Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit - a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns. Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory – there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It's because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit. Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment. Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That's part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics. http://phys.org/news/2014-06-weird-magic-ingredient-quantum.html
of supplemental note
“It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.” Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109. Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012 Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) - http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/nobel_prize-win056771.html
bornagain77
I guess I am missing something. When Barry sat down to type out the gibberish, he didn't really have to land on the gibberish that we all saw in the previous OP, so why did Shallit run that particular string for K's compressibility? Shouldn't he [Shallit] have produced a code for writing gibberish of a similar length as the soliloquy then checked that new code's (compressed) length against that of the soliloquy? I asked MF for clarification on what just seems to be such an obvious smuggling of specification, but he didn't seem to understand my question, what am I missing here? Tim
It is just sad to watch Shallit howl in success that he has demonstrated that Hamlet is more random than gibberish. No purposes is served by it.
No, that is not what J. Shallit did, you are just exaggerating. J. Shallit showed that your way of constructing a "random string" isn't very good.
No purposes is served by it.
I don't think so - codebreaker love that stuff: it can be valuable knowledge that in a string which is claimed to be random, ";as" is always followed by "d", that the letters b,q,t,y,z won't appear, that capital letters and numbers come in groups, or that the most common letter ("d/D") - 13% of the text! - is preceded in more than 50% of all occurrences by ("s/S")... DiEb
"If you prefer to go by the common usage meaning of “random”, then you are implicitly conceding that ID is philosophy and not science." Neil - It *is* true that if he uses the philosophical meaning of the word "random" he is doing philosophy. That is not the same thing as ID being philosophy and not science. Barry might not be doing science right now, but that is not the same thing. In fact, much of science is philosophy. In my Calculus class, I teach my students that they have to have the philosophy right as a prerequisite to getting their math right. When we first learn derivatives, how do we do it? By figuring out what a derivative is, and then working out from there. Figuring out what a derivative is is philosophy. This idea that doing philosophy somehow that a subject is permanently excluded from science is patently ridiculous, and I am having trouble reading your quote in any other way than as an attempt to score cheap points. johnnyb
How do you suppose this argument would have played out prior to the development of computer systems? Supposing instead that you wrote both strings out on separate pieces of paper, would this argument still boil down to the answers given? ciphertext
I agree with Neil Rickert: in mathematics, word acquire meaning by definition. David Hilbert even went as far to say:
"One must be able to say at all times--instead of points, straight lines, and planes--tables, chairs, and beer mugs"
You may think that you have won the Wittgensteinian Battle, but you are losing in the mathematical war. That said, I'm quite confident that W. Dembski when asked whether string #1 was less random than string #2 comes to similar conclusions than J. Shallit, though W. Dembski is not only a mathematician, but a philosopher, too. DiEb
Neil, In science “random” always connotes a stochastic process. Hamlet was not created by means of a stochastic process. Thus, Shallit’s assertions do not work scientifically either. Shallit’s assertion works only under the esoteric formulations of algorithmic information theory, a highly-specialized branch of mathematics, not science. It is just sad to watch Shallit howl in success that he has demonstrated that Hamlet is more random than gibberish. No purposes is served by it. Barry Arrington
In linguistic theory words acquire meaning in a language by convention among the speakers of that language, not by diktat, and as I will demonstrate below, in the English language “random” does in fact mean the opposite of “design.”
Agreed. But that's not the way it works in science, where technical terms are carefully defined. If you want to claim that ID is science, you should be using the scientific meaning of "random". If you prefer to go by the common usage meaning of "random", then you are implicitly conceding that ID is philosophy and not science. Neil Rickert

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