Intelligent Design

Jeffrey Shallit: Design Detector

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Over at his blog Jeffrey Shallit attacks my two strings of text post. Let’s see what he has to say.

“I don’t post [at UD] there because Arrington routinely bans dissent . . .”

Correction, I routinely ban trolls, who then claim they were banned for dissenting. I suspect Shallit does not post here, because when he does he is routinely shown to be not just wrong but laughably so, as when I took him down here and here. Indeed, Eric Anderson smacked him down just today here. Shallit pretends to be above the fray. It is closer to the truth that he is afraid to post here, because every time he comments on this subject he is made to look like a screaming idiot.

Shallit then posts my two strings of text for context:

#1:
OipaFJPSDIOVJN;XDLVMK:DOIFHw;ZD
VZX;Vxsd;ijdgiojadoidfaf;asdfj;asdj[ije888
Sdf;dj;Zsjvo;ai;divn;vkn;dfasdo;gfijSd;fiojsa
dfviojasdgviojao’gijSd’gvijsdsd;ja;dfksdasd
XKLZVsda2398R3495687OipaFJPSDIOVJN
;XDLVMK:DOIFHw;ZDVZX;Vxsd;ijdgiojadoi
Sdf;dj;Zsjvo;ai;divn;vkn;dfasdo;gfijSd;fiojsadfvi
ojasdgviojao’gijSd’gvijssdv.kasd994834234908u
XKLZVsda2398R34956873ACKLVJD;asdkjad
Sd;fjwepuJWEPFIhfasd;asdjf;asdfj;adfjasd;ifj
;asdjaiojaijeriJADOAJSD;FLVJASD;FJASDF;
DOAD;ADFJAdkdkas;489468503-202395ui34

#2:
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,

Needless to say, Arrington — a CPA and lawyer who apparently has no advanced training in the mathematics involved — doesn’t specify what he means by “group of random letters”. I think a reasonable interpretation would be that he is imagining each letter is generated with uniform probability from some finite universe of symbols.

I will leave aside the swipe at my credentials. I do know what “random” means, and I agree that a completely random distribution of text would be, as Shallit suggests, “each letter is generated with uniform probability from some finite universe of symbols.” Here we agree.

Even with just a cursory inspection of the two strings, we see that neither one of them is likely to be “random” in this sense. We immediately see this about the second string because the set of reasonable English texts is quite small among the set of all possible strings

Certainly a cursory inspection immediately reveals that the second group is non-random in this sense. Again we agree.

But we also see the same thing about the first because (for example) the trigram “asd” occurs much more often than one could reasonably expect for a random string. Looking at a keyboard, it’s a reasonable interpretation that somebody, probably Arrington, dragged his hands repeatedly over the keyboard in a fashion he or she thought was “random” — but is evidently not. (It is much harder to generate random strings than most untrained people think.)

I will not quibble about whether it is immediately apparent that the fist string is not completely random. Although this claim is somewhat contradicted by his next statement that the conclusion requires close inspection of the text and deductions about what would be expected. The issue is not important enough to argue about.

Certainly it is the case that the first string of text is not completely random according to the definition we’ve agreed on, and Shallit is correct about how I generated it.

Shallit then spends several paragraphs demonstrating that my first string of text is not truly random. Again, I agree. The first string of text is not truly rigorously random.

To all of which I say, “so what?” As Steve Ward, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT, says, there are “degrees of randomness.” This concept is explained in this article:

You can program a machine to generate what can be called “random” numbers, but the machine is always at the mercy of its programming. “On a completely deterministic machine you can’t generate anything you could really call a random sequence of numbers,” says Ward, “because the machine is following the same algorithm to generate them. Typically, that means it starts with a common ‘seed’ number and then follows a pattern.” The results may be sufficiently complex to make the pattern difficult to identify, but because it is ruled by a carefully defined and consistently repeated algorithm, the numbers it produces are not truly random. “They are what we call ‘pseudo-random’ numbers,” Ward says.

For most applications, a pseudo-random number is sufficient, he adds. “For example, if you want to do a random sampling of a large set of data, you’ll need numbers to feed into the program so that the samples are more or less evenly distributed. Using pseudo-random numbers is perfectly acceptable in this case because there’s no quantitative advantage in the degree of randomness.” Similarly, a CD player in “random” mode is probably really playing in pseudo-random mode, with a pattern that is discernible if you listen carefully enough.

All of Shallit’s hyperventilating to the contrary notwithstanding, the issue is not whether the first string of text is truly and absolutely random. Of course it isn’t. The issue is whether – as with the CD player in Ward’s illustration – it is random enough for the purposes for which it is employed.

For what purposes was it employed? I was illustrating the difference between a more or less random string of text and a carefully designed string of English sentences. So to answer the question, yes it was random enough to illustrate that point.

Of course, this is all just common sense. It is inexplicable why Shallit believes he has achieved some great triumph of argumentation by demonstrating that the first string is not truly, completely and vigorously random, as opposed to random enough for the purposes for which it as used. Of course, as I have observed before, materialists like Shallit specialize in (indeed, they seemingly take pride in) steadfastly resisting the call of common sense.

I can’t resist pointing out one howler in Shallit’s randomness discussion. Shallit uses a computer program to compress the two files and says:

String #2’s compressed version is bigger and therefore more random than string #1: exactly the opposite of what Arrington implied!

So, according to Shallit’s calculations an excerpt from Hamlet’s soliloquy is “more random” than a string of text achieved by randomly banging away on a keyboard. That is a sentence only a highly educated idiot could have written.

Let’s go on:

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.

I have already granted the point that the first string of text is not rigorously random. Again, the issue is whether the first string was sufficiently random to illustrate the point I was making. Any reasonable person would agree that it was.

The larger point – and here Shallit gives the store away – is his admission that he detected the design of the first string using rigorous statistical methods. Wait a minute! Jeffery Shallit has spent years denying the basic formulation of ID: Some patterns are best explained by the act of an intelligent agent. Yet here he is yelling from the rooftops:  “That first string of text only appears to be random; I have demonstrated rigorously that it was in fact designed.” Wow!!! That’s the real story here.

By the way, I should point out that Barry’s “conforms to a specification” is the usual ID creationist nonsense. He doesn’t even understand Dembski’s criterion (not surprising, since Dembski stated it so obscurely). String #2 can be said to “conform” to many, many different specifications: English text, English text written by Shakespeare, messages of length less than 545, and so forth. But the same can be said for string #1. We addressed this in detail in our long paper published inSynthese, but it seems most ID creationists haven’t read it. For one thing, it’s not good enough to assert just “specification”; even by Dembski’s own claims, one must determine that the specification is “independent” and one must compute the size of the space of strings that conforms to the specification. For Dembski, it’s not the probability of the string being generated that is of concern; it’s the relative measures of the universe of strings and the strings matching the specification that matters! Most ID creationists don’t understand this basic point.

No, it is Shallit who has made a Romper Room error and does not appear to have scanned, far less studied, the relevant literature. In ID theory the “specification” of a strnig of text, for instance, is closely related to how compressible the description of the string is. In other words, whether a given string of text is “specified” is determined by whether the description of the string can be compressed. Take the second group of text as an example. It can be compressed to “first 12 lines of Hamlet’s soliloquy.” This is simply not possible for the first string. The shortest full description of the first string is nothing less than the string itself.

It is true that I did not assert that the specification is “independent.” Like everyone else, I often leave the obvious unspoken. It is also true that I did not do the math. Again, it seems obvious. In a comment to the Eggs in Basket post, KF did point to the math:

I again draw to your attention, this from Wiki on random document generation in its Infinite Monkeys Theorem article, cited as testimony against known ideological bias of the dominant faction of that online project:
One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[24]
A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:
RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…
This maxing out so far at about 24 ASCII characters [a config space of about 10^50 possibilities for strings of that length], is a factor of about 10^100 or so short of the scope of config space that is imposed by a 500 bit FSCO/I limit.

So again, Shallit’s surface level criticism completely misses the point.

Elsewhere, Arrington says he thinks string #1 is more complex than string #2 (more precisely he says the “thesis … that the first string is less complex than the second string … is indefensible”).

Here Shallit has me. I confess. Mea culpa. I did not actually calculate the complexity of the two strings. And as KF had previously pointed out, in terms of contingency the 2nd string is ever so slightly more complex than the 1st. In my defense, for the purpose of the point I was illustrating (that design detection does not rely on mere complexity) it did not matter.

ID creationists, as I’ve noted previously, usually turn the notion of Kolmogorov complexity on its head, pretending that random strings are not complex at all.

“Yes, long random strings of text are not complex,” said no ID proponent ever. Here Shallit is just making it up.

Finally, one unrelated point: Barry talks about his disillusion when his parents lied to him about the existence of a supernatural figure — namely, Santa Claus. But he doesn’t have enough introspection to understand that the analogy he tries to draw (with “materialist metaphysics”) is completely backwards. Surely the right analogy is Santa Claus to Jesus Christ. Both are mythical figures, both are celebrated by and indoctrinated in by parents, both supposedly have supernatural powers, both are wise and good, and both are comforting to small children. The list could go on and on. How un-self-aware does one have to be to miss this?

Once again, Shallit is missing the point and does not appear to have comprehended the post. Apparently “reading for comprehension” is not one of Shallit’s strong suits. I did not make any analogies at all. I used my belief in Santa Claus as an illustration. That Shallit does not seem to know the difference between an analogy and an illustration beggars belief. I was illustrating a psychological phenomenon. Any time a person has a strongly held belief, he tends to resist evidence that is contrary to that belief. And to show just how inapposite Shallit’s argument is, I specifically stated that the phenomenon is not confined to materialists when I wrote: “I suppose it is a natural human tendency to resist evidence when it contradicts our strongly held beliefs. This tendency is not confined to materialists or atheists of course.”

Summary:

Shallit made some trivial points. On the substance of the matter – whether design can be detected – he actually undermined his own position. Stunning.

42 Replies to “Jeffrey Shallit: Design Detector

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    Random can be more than “each letter is generated with uniform probability from some finite universe of symbols.” If the string was generated haphazardly, then it is random.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Joe @ 1:

    Shallit makes the trivial point that the first string of text was not “truly” or “rigorously” random. But as I discuss in the OP and as you suggest here, there are degrees of randomness, and the important issue is not, as Shallit insists, whether the string was “truly” or “rigorously” random. The issue is whether it was random enough for the purpose for which it was being used. It was.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Jeffy loves to argue irrelevant minutia. Heck he really thinks that genetic and evolutionary algorithms, which are search heuristics designed to actively search for solutions, simulate natural selection, which isn’t a search heuristic and doesn’t do anything actively.

    And he teaches computer science…

  4. 4
    Eric Anderson says:

    Shallit is missing the forest for the trees.

    The question of whether a string — or anything for that matter — is ever truly random is interesting. Perhaps even worth discussing, but it misses the point.

    This is another example, and an extremely common one, of Darwinist debating tactics. Namely, ignore the substance and instead delve into endless definitional games and red herring semantic hyper-technicalities. All in the name of avoiding having to address the real issues.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA

    So, according to Shallit’s calculations an excerpt from Hamlet’s soliloquy is “more random” than a string of text achieved by randomly banging away on a keyboard. That is a sentence only a highly educated idiot could have written.

    This needs to be captured and filed for future reference.

    Shallit: But we also see the same thing about the first because (for example) the trigram “asd” occurs much more often than one could reasonably expect for a random string. Looking at a keyboard, it’s a reasonable interpretation that somebody, probably Arrington, dragged his hands repeatedly over the keyboard in a fashion he or she thought was “random” — but is evidently not.

    He recognizes a pattern in the string, aligns it with a known source, then offers a reasonable interpretation and proposes an origin.
    Amazing.

  6. 6
    JGuy says:

    It was apparent to me that the first string wasn’t truly random with little analysis. Repeating clustered sequences of upper cases vs lower case letters vs digits. All of which should have equal probability. Besides all that, it’s arguable that nothing is truly random.

    BUT… that being said, I think the point for which it was used was sufficient. It represented random. Quibbling over how random it is may be just a way to try to win a small victory in one’s mind.

  7. 7
    william spearshake says:

    Correction, I routinely ban trolls, who then claim they were banned for dissenting.

    BWAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!!!

    I will leave aside the swipe at my credentials.

    What swipe? I assume that his statement of your credentials was accurate. If not, feel free to correct him.

    Certainly a cursory inspection immediately reveals that the second group is non-random in this sense. Again we agree.

    True. But a cursory examination of the first string is also all that is needed to conclude that the string is not random. The string contained letters (upper case and lower case), numbers and punctuation. Yet we have the following sequential characters found within this string:
    FJPSDIOVJN;XDLVMK:DOIFH (ALL CAPITAL CASE)
    xsd;ijdgiojadoidfaf;asdfj;asdj (all lower case)
    994834234908
    489468503-202395
    Although it is possible to obtain these length of sequences in a random series, it is highly unlikely.

    Shallit: Elsewhere, Arrington says he thinks string #1 is more complex than string #2 (more precisely he says the “thesis … that the first string is less complex than the second string … is indefensible”).

    Here Shallit has me. I confess. Mea culpa.

    Don’t worry. There is no need to apologize to me.

  8. 8
    JGuy says:

    What swipe? I assume that his statement of your credentials was accurate. If not, feel free to correct him.

    I’m pretty sure he was referring to the use of credentials as a way to try to make an argument – rather than make the argument on academic grounds and let the chips fall.

    e.g. The suggestion being: “So-and-so has no heavy math credentials. Therefore, so-and-so’s argument has no merit. So, move along.”

    By the way, referring to the non-random nature of example #1 still misses the point that it was a placeholder for something random. And nit-pricing ways it is not random is like my “e.g.” above. In this case it becomes, “So-and-so’s example that was random – although meaningless – isn’t perfectly random. Therefore, his argument has no merit.”

    Just saying.

    Disclaimer. I haven’t read all these posts. But I do sense when people seem to get side-tracked by minutia… whether it be intentionally derailed or not.

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    So, according to Shallit’s calculations an excerpt from Hamlet’s soliloquy is “more random” than a string of text achieved by randomly banging away on a keyboard. That is a sentence only a highly educated idiot could have written.

    LOL. I love it, although I would change “a highly educated idiot” to “a fiendishly uneducable idiot”. Arrington, I think you are showing undeserved kindness to this barbarian. Who is this pretentious moron, anyway? 😀

  10. 10
    Eric Anderson says:

    william:

    True. But a cursory examination of the first string is also all that is needed to conclude that the string is not random.

    Fair enough. Barry has acknowledged how he made the first string.* But forget Barry’s string for a moment. Please go ahead and produce your own “truly random” string. Then substitute it in place of the first string Barry created. Then you and Shallit can both stop complaining about the red herring issue and start addressing the real issue.

    —–

    * Though irrelevant to Barry’s larger point, I should add here that those who are all hung up on the idea that the first string isn’t really “random” because it has lots of caps in a row or lots of numbers in a row and so on, are trying to prove too much with their hyper-technical assessment. What is non-random about a caps-lock being pressed at some point and depressed at another point? What is non-random about hitting a number as opposed to a letter? Any attempt to define “random” with such stringent parameters would exclude many things generally considered random.

    More importantly, the only thing Shallit, or william, or anyone else can point to is that the pattern of characters looks suspiciously like the current-style computer keyboard most people use in the English-speaking world. That pattern matches an independent specification, and allows a valid inference to be drawn that, in this case, turned out to be valid.

    Silver Asiatic @5 hits the nail squarely on the head. Both Shallit and william have just drawn a valid design inference. Congratulations for helping prove the validity of the design inference! Now, see if your a prior metaphysical assumptions will allow you to apply that same reasoning in other contexts.

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    So, according to Shallit’s calculations an excerpt from Hamlet’s soliloquy is “more random” than a string of text achieved by randomly banging away on a keyboard. That is a sentence only a highly educated idiot could have written.

    Absolutely, BA. I’m still trying to fathom out how a set of characters forming a Hamlet soliloquy could be more random than an ACTUALLY random set of them!!!! Wonderful, knockabout stuff!

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    JGuy @ 8:

    I’m pretty sure he was referring to the use of credentials as a way to try to make an argument – rather than make the argument on academic grounds and let the chips fall.

    Of course he was J. That is glaringly obvious to even the most casual observer, and when in comment 7 william pretended that was not the case, it was just another example of the obscurantism among materialists we’ve been discussing today. Ironic, no?

  13. 13
    gpuccio says:

    william spearshake:

    You seem to ignore the important point: the first string is not designed to mean anything. It was probably generated by Barry typing randomly on his keyboard. That is still a random system with some necessity constraints, but the person who typed did not intentionally choose the letters to confer a semantic meaning. That is the whole point.

    In the same way, some random polipeptide could present regularities which depend from necessity constraints of the environment where it was generated: for example, it could exhibit different percentages of certain aminoacids, depending on their availability in the biochemical medium. That is an example of a random output which does not exhibit an uniform distribution, because the probability of the different events is not the same. But it is a random system just the same.

    What will never happen is that a random polipetide spontaneously correspond to the alpha subunit of ATP synthase, for example. That would be the same as having a Shakespeare sonnet as the output of a random character generator.

    Is it really possible that you guys cannot understand these simple things? Or is your dogmatic attitude so strong that you have to deny the obvious?

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    Eric Anderson @10:

    Silver Asiatic @5 hits the nail squarely on the head. Both Shallit and william have just drawn a valid design inference. Congratulations for helping prove the validity of the design inference! Now, see if your a prior metaphysical assumptions will allow you to apply that same reasoning in other contexts.

    Haha. I think it’s both deeply satisfying and hilarious when the other guy’s carefully crafted argument proves exactly what he/she set out to disprove.

  15. 15
    Box says:

    BA: The larger point – and here Shallit gives the store away – is his admission that he detected the design of the first string using rigorous statistical methods. Wait a minute! Jeffery Shallit has spent years denying the basic formulation of ID: Some patterns are best explained by the act of an intelligent agent. Yet here he is yelling from the rooftops: “That first string of text only appears to be random; I have demonstrated rigorously that it was in fact designed.” Wow!!! That’s the real story here.

    Priceless!

  16. 16
    william spearshake says:

    My only reason of commenting on this OP is because I was jumped on, not civilly, by Barry and others for simply claiming that the first string is not more complex than the second. Something that Barry now admits.

    I knew that my statement was actually an argument for ID, but only a couple comments identified this, and not in a respectful tone. In my mind, this speaks volumes for these commenter’s intention to engage in an honest discussion. Because they know that I don’t think that ID explains anything, any comment I make, whether it is supportive of an ID argument, or simply compliments the author of an OP, all of my comments are automatically suspect.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Double face-palm. I took up Mr Shallit on his dismissal of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ as a myth comparable to North-Pole dwelling Santa Claus here. Incredible! The bankruptcy of today’s oh so confident manner hyperskepticism is on display on yet another front. KF

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    bogart:

    all of my comments are automatically suspect.

    Absolutely. You’re a cat on a hot tin roof. And that’s where you belong. Why? Because your kind has a bad reputation. You are known for being accomplished weavers of lies and deception.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    ‘You are known for being accomplished weavers of lies and deception.’

    Lovely turn of phrase that, maps, if I may say so.

  20. 20
    Mapou says:

    Thanks, Axel @19. But I’m pretty sure I heard it somewhere.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: What does “randomness” in reasonable contexts of use, mean? AmHD:

    ran·dom (rndm)
    adj.
    1. Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective: random movements. See Synonyms at chance.
    2. Mathematics & Statistics Of or relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.
    3. Of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely, as in the testing of a blood sample for the presence of a substance.
    Idiom:
    at random
    Without a governing design, method, or purpose; unsystematically: chose a card at random from the deck.
    [From at random, by chance, at great speed, from Middle English randon, speed, violence, from Old French, from randir, to run, of Germanic origin.]
    random·ly adv.
    random·ness n.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    Notice, that flat-random distributions, sense 3 , are a special case of case 2. So we had a strawman caricature.

    Wiki, testifying against ideological tendency, is also illustrative:

    Randomness means lack of pattern or predictability in events.[1] Randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.

    Applied usage in science, mathematics and statistics recognizes a lack of predictability when referring to randomness, but admits regularities in the occurrences of events whose outcomes are not certain. For example, when throwing two dice and counting the total, we can say that a sum of 7 will randomly occur twice as often as 4. This view, where randomness simply refers to situations where the certainty of the outcome is at issue, applies to concepts of chance, probability, and information entropy. In these situations, randomness implies a measure of uncertainty, and notions of haphazardness are irrelevant.

    The fields of mathematics, probability, and statistics use formal definitions of randomness. In statistics, a random variable is an assignment of a numerical value to each possible outcome of an event space. This association facilitates the identification and the calculation of probabilities of the events. A random process is a sequence of random variables describing a process whose outcomes do not follow a deterministic pattern, but follow an evolution described by probability distributions. These and other constructs are extremely useful in probability theory.

    again, flat distributions are not necessary for a variable to be random.

    And of course all of this grand distraction is to obfuscate the perfectly obvious validity of a design inference on FSCO/I in case 2.

    Hyperskepticism, as ever, turns on itself, self-undermines and collapses of its own weight.

    KF

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    WS:

    But a cursory examination of the first string is also all that is needed to conclude that the string is not random….Although it is possible to obtain these length of sequences in a random series, it is highly unlikely.

    So?

    Perhaps the characters were drawn from a finite alphabet where the probability distribution was not uniform.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    ah, i see kf beat me to it, lol.

  24. 24
    william spearshake says:

    Louis: “Absolutely. You’re a cat on a hot tin roof. And that’s where you belong. Why? Because your kind has a bad reputation. You are known for being accomplished weavers of lies and deception.”

    Which is it? I have been accused of being an accomplished weavers of lies and deception, and incapable of stringing a sentence together in a coherent argument.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    And a revisionist when it comes to history. Don’t forget that one too WS!

    WS:

    Just because the random set has more different characters doesn’t make it more complex. Is a field full of snow more complex than DNA? Every snow flake is different.

    here

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Thanks for pointing that out Mung. I was going to point out that WS was lying about the exchange, but thought that since he turned out to be technically right (even if it was a total accident and he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about), it would sound like sour grapes.

  27. 27
    william spearshake says:

    Barry, it is still sour grapes. But feel free to paint it any way you like.

    UD Editor: WS, it is still a lie; feel free to try to justify it if you like.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    Barry,

    Maybe WS argued somewhere that the first string wasn’t really random, or maybe that’s something he has just now discovered after having it pointed out to him, and after initially thinking it was random.

    And maybe he argued elsewhere that the second string really was more complex than the first, rather than just saying some feature of the first didn’t make it more complex than the second.

    Maybe I missed all that and WS will point us to it. I try to keep an open mind.

    But given that WS obviously attributed “randomness” to the first string, one wonders on what basis he could argue that it was less complex than the second.

    WS:

    My only reason of commenting on this OP is because I was jumped on, not civilly, by Barry and others for simply claiming that the first string is not more complex than the second.

    WS, Where did all this take place, if you don’t mind my asking?

  29. 29
    william spearshake says:

    Mung, I am working from an iPhone so I don’t have the search capability that you have. My first comment simply disagreed that Barry’s first string was more complex than the second. Which he has since admitted. I don’t think that I said that the second string was more complex, but I can’t confirm this right now.

    My comment about the randomness had to do with Barry’s waffling about whether or not the first string was random, which no sane person would try to claim that it was.

    I hope that this answered your question.

  30. 30
    Box says:

    rnjdjtuhvfibyujktlxeiqbejxvsqxmmxeuye
    cyjrtrtnmwstgdypzuwakevbpvoqztejfsiiw
    rhkkrzepuzsnnaroqiujjlyhxzlzorjrsodwg
    pddaavcatbuswkdwjdkvizfmpltlghjhgjfzj
    gcpyaljpelhgirnavmbmljizxwoafrotosdpv
    ysulatqdazodotmvehxqucpaaejacrynqvgxq
    ajxngfereuesvnpxzbxrvkibrisrxkqldbrqn
    vbnyscpfrzuylpnfjnbdvnzpgxiegfzpevzpe

  31. 31
    Mapou says:

    kairosfocus quoting AmHD:

    2. Mathematics & Statistics Of or relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.

    I personally do not like this definition because it is clearly self-referential. Probability already implies randomness.

    I think ‘causal but unpredictable’ is a better definition for our purposes. For example, the next neutron to decay in a given collection of neutrons cannot be predicted. It is a truly random event.

  32. 32
    william spearshake says:

    Probability already implies randomness.”

    No it doesn’t.

  33. 33
    Mapou says:

    bogart:

    No it doesn’t.

    In our case, it does. If something is random, it will have a probability distribution. This is a given. But you knew that, bogart. You’re just being your typical weaver of lies and deception.

  34. 34
    phoodoo says:

    I am just curious, after reading some of this guy Jeffrey Shallits comments, and having a quick look at his blog (his spends a lot of time complaining about others behavior on his blog apparently) does he allow all dissenting views to be posted on his blog without banning them?

    Just wondering. I be would interested to test that idea.

  35. 35
    JGuy says:

    Box @ 30

    That’s not random, they are all lower case 😛

    hehe

    Just playing the red herring game too!

  36. 36
    Andre says:

    So a ID denier proves Design detection, the irony 🙂

  37. 37
    Dionisio says:

    #13 gpuccio

    Is it really possible that you guys cannot understand these simple things? Or is your dogmatic attitude so strong that you have to deny the obvious?

    Perhaps Hamlet would have commented: that is the question 🙂

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    #31 Mapou

    For example, the next neutron to decay in a given collection of neutrons cannot be predicted.

    Interesting example. Thanks.

    BTW, could it be predicted if we knew more about what’s going on at a deeper level than science can get to now?

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    D — a one liner plus. Quantum events like this look to be genuinely random, here e.g. on alpha decay there is a distribution on tunnelling through the potential well marked by the nucleus to decay. But the presence of an identifiable decay constant shows underlying order even in the chance process. And of course there is that pesky uncertainty principle at the heart of QM effects and phenomena. KF

  40. 40
    Dionisio says:

    #39 kairosfocus

    Thank you for the clarifying commentary.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    PS. Have the transition activities slowed down by now?

  41. 41
    Mapou says:

    Dionisio:

    #31 Mapou

    For example, the next neutron to decay in a given collection of neutrons cannot be predicted.

    Interesting example. Thanks.

    BTW, could it be predicted if we knew more about what’s going on at a deeper level than science can get to now?

    I don’t think so. Predictability always generates a non-random pattern by definition. This is not observed in particle decay. The only thing that can be calculated is the probability that a certain percentage of neutrons will decay in a given interval. It turns out that half the neutrons in a collection will decay within about 12 seconds.

  42. 42
    Mung says:

    WS,

    My only reason of commenting on this OP is because I was jumped on, not civilly, by Barry and others for simply claiming that the first string is not more complex than the second.

    In spite of your attempts to revise what really happened, you never actually claimed that the first string was not more complex than the second string.

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