# Progress!!! Mathgirl Concedes that “Specified Complexity” is a Meaningfull Concept (if her friends are using it)

Newsflash: ID proponent William Dembski did not coin the term “specified complexity.” That term was coined by celebrated evolutionary materialist Leslie Orgel to describe the criteria by which living organisms are distinguished from non-living matter.

In a previous post I challenged mathgirl to show us why “specified complexity” as used by one of the most famous evolutionary materialists in history is a meaningless concept. In her response she concedes that Orgel’s use of the term is valid, but that when Dembski is using the term he is referring to a different concept.

Progress! Mathgirl finally concedes that the term “specified complexity,” at least as used by Orgel, is a meaningful concept.

Sadly, mathgirl has deluded herself into believing that Orgel and Dembski are using the term in different ways. Let’s examine that claim. Again, Orgel’s formulation of specified complexity:

. . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.

Leslie Orgel, The Origins of Life (1973), p. 189.

Dembski describes the concept this way:

A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet is both complex and specified.

William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design (1999), p. 47.

Even the most casual observer must conclude that Orgel and Dembski are describing in different ways precisely the same concept.

Conclusion: Mathgirl is OK with the concept of specified complexity so long as it is being used by evolutionary materialists. She says the exact same concept is utterly meaningless if it is being used by ID proponents. Sad really.

## 61 Replies to “Progress!!! Mathgirl Concedes that “Specified Complexity” is a Meaningfull Concept (if her friends are using it)”

1. 1
Mung says:

Mathgirl (sic) is OK with the concept of specified complexity so long as it is being used by evolutionary materialists. She says the exact same concept is utterly meaningless if it is being used by ID proponents. Sad really.

What’s sad is that anyone here would expect anything different.

I raised this point in MathGrrl’s original blog post here on CSI but in the context of those in the anti-ID camp who shought to demonstrate that evolution and/or evolutionary algorithms could generate CSI.

In her response she concedes that Orgel’s use of the term is valid, but that when Dembski is using the term he is referring to a different concept.

One major difference is that Dembski provided a mathematical formulation of the concept.

Something which MathGrrl is either ignorant of or wishes to ignore.

2. 2
jon specter says:

I thought it was a little unfair for you to state, in a comment on the other post, what you think Mathgrrl’s response would be without actually, you know, giving her the opportunity to respond. But, to promote it to a whole other post goes well beyond fairness.

I am led to understand that you are an attorney. Would you allow opposing counsel to pull such a stunt when cross-examining your witness?

3. 3
QuiteID says:

Did Mathgrrl say the “concept” was meaningless, or the “metric”? There’s a difference.

4. 4
Barry Arrington says:

jon specter, I did not say what her response “would be.” I said what it was. You can deny that if you like, but Darwinist denials of the irrefutable are getting so tedious, don’t you think?

5. 5
Barry Arrington says:

QuiteID, she said the concept is meaningless (unless her friends are using it).

6. 6
QuiteID says:

Mr. Arrington, I only see her saying that the “metric” is meaningless. A concept can me meaningful (like “life” “love” or “God”) even if a metric applied to that concept is meaningless.

7. 7
Joseph says:

So MathGrrl has an issue wth the metric system?

8. 8
tgpeeler says:

Mostly, MathGrrl has a problem with reason, as far as I can tell.

9. 9
Green says:

Sadly, mathgirl has deluded herself into believing…

Mostly, MathGrrl has a problem with reason

Comments like this really put me off this site. MathGrrl, for as much as I’ve followed the debate, has always been civil and stuck to the point. In return, I’ve noticed many IDers (who I’d think would be more respectful) to be vitriolic and full of ad hominems. Why not just state the argument or response to her without any contemptuous jabs.

10. 10
Mung says:

Comments like this really put me off this site.

But then again there are those of us who resisted the urge to “pile on” and instead deleted our intended comments. So perhaps there is yet hope for UD.

And you’re likely to find “comments like this” almost anywhere that’s not very strictly moderated.

Consider that some people have found it difficult to believe that MathGrrl is open minded and truly in search of a shared understanding rather than coming here with pre-conceived notions and biases and merely seeking to re-enforce those.

Think about the ways in which the original OP submitted by MathGrrl could have been different. I’ll freely admit that my “troll meter” immediately went haywire.

Others have suffered through hundreds of posts.

11. 11
Upright BiPed says:

Green, perhaps you fail to understand the issues to the point that your perspective reflects that failing.

Not to worry though. Things is life happen, and there is always the person who steps up to say that Mr So-n-So always seemed like a nice person, or that they always kept a nice yard.

It takes all kinds, and the world needs people like that too.

12. 12
R0bb says:

Barry:

Even the most casual observer must conclude that Orgel and Dembski are describing in different ways precisely the same concept.

Perhaps casual observation isn’t enough to determine that Dembski’s and Orgel’s concepts are precisely the same. Let’s look at a few more examples:

1) The sequence DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDRDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
2) A perfectly rectangular monolith

Would Orgel say that these are complex like living organisms, or non-complex like crystals?

13. 13
Joseph says:

14. 14
Joseph says:

Green:

MathGrrl, for as much as I’ve followed the debate, has always been civil and stuck to the point.

Her “point” is bogus and all she has to do is read “No Free Lunch”. But she won’t because she wants only to muddy the waters.

15. 15
QuiteID says:

Mr. Arrington, in an earlier post you referenced both Orgel and Wicken. But Wicken seems to disagree with Dembski’s view that information in biological systems is quantifiable. In this respect, his position is closer to MathGrrl’s.

16. 16
MathGrrl says:

I spend a day and a half away and come back to find another thread with my name in it. That’s flattering, in a being stalked kind of way.

In any case, I regret to inform you that you have created a thread based on a misconception. Here is my response to your similar claim in the previous thread:

Barry Arrington,

mathgirl writes: “Reading the source material from Orgel will show that he uses the term “specified complexity” in a subjective, descriptive, qualitative sense.”

I take it then that you agree that the concept of CSI as Orgel used it is not meaningless. Good we are making progress.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I meant exactly what I wrote. The concept of “specified complexity” presented by Orgel is not the same as the concept of “specified complexity” discussed by Dembski. I have said nothing about whether or not Orgel’s concept is coherent or meaningful.

17. 17
MathGrrl says:

Barry Arrington,

QuiteID, she said the concept is meaningless (unless her friends are using it).

Please either substantiate this ridiculous and insulting statement or retract it.

18. 18
Barry Arrington says:

Mathgrrl, I will tell you what is ridiculous: Your attempt to convince people that Orgel and Dembski are talking about two different concepts, when that is plainly false. Like the Wizard of Oz you can tell people “don’t look behind that curtain” until you are blue in the face. But I’ve looked behind your curtain, and there is nothing there but a blustering old man. I will not retract an obviously true statement no matter how much you huff. You’ve been found out. Deal with it.

19. 19
MathGrrl says:

Barry Arrington,

I will not retract an obviously true statement no matter how much you huff.

You made the following claim in reference to me:

QuiteID, she said the concept is meaningless (unless her friends are using it).

That claim is untrue. You cannot produce any support for it. Intellectual honesty requires that you retract it.

20. 20
QuiteID says:

Mr. Arrington,

“You’ve been found out. Deal with it.”

Found out? She didn’t say what you said she did. How about dealing with that?

21. 21
Upright BiPed says:

Someone speaks about the requirements of “intellectual honesty” as they willfully evade valid criticisms.

22. 22
Noesis says:

Orgel died three years ago.

23. 23
Joseph says:

Noesis-

Yes or no:

Is it stupid to ask someone what someone else would say or is thinking?

That was my point…

24. 24
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl,

You made the claim that my challenge to you was “not valid”, but just as before, you failed to actually engage the argument in order to substantiate your claim.

Perhaps you view your unsupported dismissal as a small price to pay for the opportunity to lecture others about intellectual honesty.

I maintain that you cannot enage my challenge because the evidence is on my side and you would immediately lose the argument.

I am still waiting.

25. 25
kairosfocus says:

BREAKING: The collapse of MG’s claims on CSI, Dembski, and Durston’s FSC metric

26. 26
MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

You made the claim that my challenge to you was “not valid”, but just as before, you failed to actually engage the argument in order to substantiate your claim.

That is not true. Your argument hinges on mistaking your map for the territory. You loosely model biochemical structures and reactions using the language of semiotics, then equivocate to conclude that a semiotic agent is required. Basically, as I said before, you’re trying to define your terms such that an intelligent agent is required. That’s not particularly compelling or interesting.

If you have a more detailed version of your argument that doesn’t suffer from those flaws, please provide a reference and I’ll be happy to take a look at it.

27. 27
Upright BiPed says:

So Mathgrrl,

Let me understand your point, when Nirenberg concluded that polyuracil was a discrete code mapped to phenylalanine (one discrete object mapped to another) you see this as a flaw in logic by where this relationship is loosly modelled and being described in the language of semiotics?

You must intend on removing from the definition of a code what the definition of a code is. Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.

28. 28
MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

Let me understand your point, when Nirenberg concluded that polyuracil was a discrete code mapped to phenylalanine (one discrete object mapped to another) you see this as a flaw in logic by where this relationship is loosly modelled and being described in the language of semiotics?

Using semiotic language to describe a biochemical process is not, in and of itself, problematic. The issue arises when one equivocates between that language in the limited context it is originally used and the implications of that language in a broader context.

Using the language of semiotics to describe a physical process does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process.

You must intend on removing from the definition of a code what the definition of a code is. Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.

I’m not saying anything about those distinctions, I’m merely pointing out that one can’t define an intelligent agent into existence.

My goal here is, still, to understand CSI in sufficient detail to test the claims being made about it by ID proponents. If your hypothesis entails testable predictions, please let me know what they are. If it doesn’t, I’m going to continue to focus on Dembski’s CSI.

29. 29
Joseph says:

Understanding CSI-

Shnnon Information with meaning/ function of a certain complexity.

In “The Nature of Nature” Stephen C Meyer has his essay on the origin of DNA. In that essay he has specified information (and CSI) as being a (specified) subset of the Shannon Information superset:

Within the set of combinatorially possible sequences [Shannon Information], only a very few will convey meaning [specified information]. This smaller set of meaningful sequences, therefore, delimits a domain or pattern within the larger set of the totality of possibilities- page 301

IOW specified information is Shannon information with meaning/ functionality, just as I have been saying.

30. 30
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl,

It does not go unnoticed that you completely failed (once again) to substantiate your objection. Now, come on. You are an educated adult. You know that to make a valid objection, you are required to substantiate it. It does no good to simply restate your objection in different terms, and pretend that no one will notice what is missing. At some point you are obligated to actually demonstrate that your objection is valid. So, before I finish this post I will (once again) ask you the same question as before.

– – – – – – –

Using semiotic language to describe a biochemical process is not, in and of itself, problematic.

I agree that using semiotic language to describe the biochemical process is not a problem, particularly when that process has already been demonstrated to be semiotic.

The issue arises when one equivocates between that language in the limited context it is originally used and the implications of that language in a broader context.

The core concept of semiosis illuminates nothing more than the existence of a relationship between two discrete things. That relationship has been demonstrated to exist at several levels in biology. Any attempt to derail the conversation regarding the core concept of semiosis, or its historical study, or its historical uses, limitations, or otherwise, is nothing more than a demonstration of contempt for the evidence. Allow me to put on my Popperian hat for a moment and remind you that we may label the phenomena anything we wish. The label does not matter; only the reality does. You cannot define it away.

Besides contempt…it’s truly a pointless exercise. It is an exercise that does not reflect a search for clarity of terms, but of obfuscation of evidence. If you choose to engage in that tactic, I will keep bringing you back to the phenomenon itself, and the motivations of such an exercise will become readily evident.

Using the language of semiotics to describe a physical process does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process.

Well (lol, Mathgrrl) that is what is to be determined. That determination does not come about by edict, it comes from reasoning with the evidence.

I’m not saying anything about those distinctions, I’m merely pointing out that one can’t define an intelligent agent into existence.

I am not defining an agent into existence. If there is an inference to the existence of an agent, that inference is coming from the evidence itself, not from me. You will notice that I am not the one here worried overmuch what our definitions may imply. To the contrary, I am encouraging you to focus on the reality of observation.

– – – – – – –

Now, having said all this I will return to the question from my previous post.

”Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.”

– – – – – – –

If you have grounds for making that distinction then say what they are. If you do not have such grounds, then say that you don’t. If you don’t think such grounds are yet known to science, then say why the inference to an agent is invalidated in light of that lack of knowledge. And if you think that this specific inference can be currently upheld, then say so.

31. 31
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl…?

32. 32
kairosfocus says:

Joseph:

Shannon measured info-carrying capacity, towards one of his goals: metrics of the carrying capacity of comms channels — as in who was he working for, again?

CSI extended this to meaningfulness/function of info.

And in so doing, observed that this — due to the required specificity — naturally constricts the zone of the space of possibilities actually used, to island[s] of function.

I: an explosion of the scope of the config space to accommodate the complexity, to

II: a restriction of the zone of the space used to accommodate the specificity (often to function/be meaningfully structured).

In turn that suggests that we have zones of function that are ever harder for chance based random walks {CBRW’s] to pick up. But intelligence does so much more easily.

Thence, we see that if you have a metric for the information involved that surpasses a threshold beyond which a CBRW is a plausible explanation, then we can configently infer to design as best explanation.

Voila, we need an info beyond the threshold metric.

As in:

Chi = Ip – 500 bits

QED.

GEM of TKI

33. 33
Noesis says:

Upright BiPed,

There are times when people attempt to discuss topics other than the one you find most important. Everyone knows at this point that you regard semiosis as that utmost “miracle of rare device” in biological systems.

In my opinion, Mathgrrl erred in letting you distract her from Dembski’s (2005) notion of complex specified information.

34. 34
StephenB says:

[A] Mathgrrl: Evolutionary processes are perfectly capable of generating CSI.

ID: Only intelligent agents can produce CSI.

Mathggrl: What is CSI?

ID: Whatever you thought it was when you claimed that Darwinism can produce it.

[B] Mathgrrl: I have four questions to ask and here they are:

ID: Your questions are uninformed and cannot be answered without first being made relevant. We can help you fine tune those questions and make them relevant, but it will require some dialogue and cooperation.

Mathgrrl: I have four questions to ask and here they are.

I can’t believe so many ID proponents are playing these two games.

35. 35
kairosfocus says:

N (& SB):

Kindly see here [and/or here over at IOSE], on Dembski’s 2005 expression for the Chi-metric and what it transforms into by simply breaking out the log-product expression.

This builds on VJT’s efforts that culminated in his CSI-lite discussion.

In a nutshell:

Chi = Ip – 500, in bits beyond a reasonable complexity threshold

Then observe the result when this is applied to MG’s four questions here on.

Note also how the Durston FSC metric easily integrates with the transformed Chi expression (by providing empirically grounded Ip values for 35 protein families), here.

MG’s obvious attempt to discredit the CSI concept by projecting the talking point that it was mathematically meaningless and incoherent — notice how Dembski plainly builds on the earlier work and descriptive concepts by Orgel and Wicken — has now collapsed.

GEM of TKI

36. 36
Noesis says:

Notice how Dembski has abandoned CSI, apart from rehashing earlier claims to get some verbiage for a new book, and has turned to active information.

I would very much enjoy seeing someone attempt to reconcile the Law of Conservation of Information (active information) developed by Dembski and Marks in the new Nature of Nature volume with the Law of Conservation of Information (complex specified information) developed by Dembski in No Free Lunch.

I seem to have missed Dembski’s explanation of how the new Law of Conservation of Information relates to the old. It strikes me as odd to reuse the term, and to refrain from commenting on the reuse.

Folks here are such “true believers” that they generated a piteous outcry when Dembski admitted that the explanatory filter was dead. Having posted an embarrassing “best thing since sliced bread” retraction once, you can count on it that he will not make a similar mistake. CSI did not pan out. Dembski has moved on, but there is a strong disincentive for him to admit that he has.

37. 37
Upright BiPed says:

Noesis,

Your attempt to step in for Mathgrrl and have me disqualified on a rules violation in duly noted. However, the reality of fhe observation is more important than Mathgrrls math, and my objection is a direct challenge to the conclusions she has already stated.

She either has answers for the questions above, or she doesn’t.

38. 38
Clive Hayden says:

Noesis,

Folks here are such “true believers” that they generated a piteous outcry when Dembski admitted that the explanatory filter was dead. Having posted an embarrassing “best thing since sliced bread” retraction once, you can count on it that he will not make a similar mistake. CSI did not pan out. Dembski has moved on, but there is a strong disincentive for him to admit that he has.

He hasn’t “moved on” for goodness sakes, the Law of Conservation of Information is another nail in the coffin for evolution, it’s not a replacement of CSI. You seem to think that a guy could only have one point of view or observation, which is ridiculous, and don’t presume to know his mind and psychologize him, this irritates me to the point of moderating you.

39. 39
kairosfocus says:

Onlookers (and Noesis):

The strawman tactic talking points in 36 just above are corrected in more specific details in the CSI News Flash thread, here.

Before constructing such strawmen to knock over, N should have first read and taken to heart UD WAC 30 — one scroll up and two clicks away, for years, on every page of this site — to see a fairer view of the case of the Explanatory Filter, and he should have taken time to look at how Dembski and Marks actually developed and measure Active Information, in light of especially the discussion in ch 4 of NFL [Google book excerpt that has a good slice of the crucial chs 3 – 4] on the subtle fallacies in evolutionary algorithms.

Such a fairer view would acknowledge the fundamental rule of the needle in a haystack search challenge, leading to warranting the inference that if you are found in an unusual and specific zone of interest you are not likely to be there by random chance; as, the odds on such a null hyp would overwhelmingly point to your being elsewhere. (Think of the Caputo elections case on what being in the far tail of a distribution on the null hyp of chance may mean in terms of making the alternative hyp a better explanation, as an illustration in point. One long since used by Dembski, and turned into a major occasion to throw up a cloud of confusing dust. The pattern of selectively hyperskeptical, too often closed minded and supercilious objectionism to the design thought approach is very clear.)

To be in such a zone of interest is much more credibly explained on prior knowledge and intent, i.e. active information that has dramatically narrowed down the scope of search to a zone of interest.

In short, the explanatory filter, CSI and active information are stages in a developing account of how design injects active information to solve the needle in the haystack problem, and in so doing leaves behind the marker trace, CSI. Yes, there are points of adjustment and elaboration, but the fundamentally progressive and coherent pattern is clear from a fair reading of NFL in the back-light of onward developments.

In particular, I draw attention tothe initial post in teh CSI News Flash thread, which draws out the actual significance of CSI on Dembski’s metric thusly:

Chi = – log2 (10^120 * phi_s(T) * p (T|H)

becomes, on transformation and rounding up:

Chi = Ip – 500, in bits beyond a threshold of complexity . . .

Is it mere coincidence that, after a WEEK of such being pointed out in multiple threads, the objectors who for weeks were trumpeting how the Chi metric is mathematically ill defined and meaningless have been conspicuous for evasion and silence, starting with MG herself? (And BTW, on this transformation of the metric, MG’s four challenges were — again — specifically responded to in the thread just linked, from 19 on. The gap between number of looks and numbers of comments [the UD ratio is usually ~ 10:1 from an unscientific look-see], especially objecting comments, in that thread is telling.)

Erecting and knocking over strawmen is often rhetorically effective — unless it backfires, but that is not the way to gain a sound understanding of the situation.

GEM of TKI

40. 40
MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

I’d hoped to get back to this topic on Sunday, but after spending most of Saturday meditating with some friends and getting in touch with our inner goddesses, I needed Sunday to prep for the week. My weekend has left me in a very pleasant mental state, though, so I hope we can have a productive discussion.

Using the language of semiotics to describe a physical process does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process.

Well (lol, Mathgrrl) that is what is to be determined. That determination does not come about by edict, it comes from reasoning with the evidence.

I’m not saying anything about those distinctions, I’m merely pointing out that one can’t define an intelligent agent into existence.

I am not defining an agent into existence. If there is an inference to the existence of an agent, that inference is coming from the evidence itself, not from me.

If you have a scientific hypothesis and supporting evidence that you believe provides positive evidence for ID, I would be very interested in seeing it. Have you written it up in detail anywhere that you can easily reference? If not, would you be willing to do so in this thread?

I have noticed, both while lurking here and in a few interactions directly with you, that you sometimes have a tendency to ask questions rather than simply stating your case. I want to make it clear at the outset that I’m not interested in some pseudo-Socratic dialog. If you really do have a positive argument for ID based on semiotics, please present it as clearly, directly, and succinctly as possible.

41. 41
MathGrrl says:

Noesis,

There are times when people attempt to discuss topics other than the one you find most important. Everyone knows at this point that you regard semiosis as that utmost “miracle of rare device” in biological systems.

In my opinion, Mathgrrl erred in letting you distract her from Dembski’s (2005) notion of complex specified information.

I agree. I’m interested in learning about positive evidence for ID. CSI seemed like the most likely candidate. I’ll continue to focus on maintaining that . . . um, focus.

42. 42
MathGrrl says:

StephenB,

Mathgrrl: Evolutionary processes are perfectly capable of generating CSI.

I never said that. I want to learn enough about CSI to be able to test whether or not evolutionary mechanisms are capable of generating it. Thus far it is not sufficiently well defined for me to do so.

Based on some ID proponents’ personal definitions of CSI, it appears that evolutionary mechanisms can generate it, but those aren’t the same as Dembski’s CSI.

43. 43
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrrl,

LOL, you’ve brought up the “pseudo-Socratic” objection once again. What is this, the third or fourth time you’ve trotted it out? I note that it surfaces with roughly the same frequency in which someone asks you questions which you wish to avoid. Perhaps there is a connection.

Here is a question I know you have an answer for: Did you type the following text?

Your argument hinges on mistaking your map for the territory. You loosely model biochemical structures and reactions using the language of semiotics, then equivocate to conclude that a semiotic agent is required. Basically, as I said before, you’re trying to define your terms such that an intelligent agent is required. That’s not particularly compelling or interesting.

If it is true that you typed those thoughts, then you already know what the issue is because you’ve responded directly to it – and not just once. Did you type these words as well:

Using semiotic language to describe a biochemical process is not, in and of itself, problematic. The issue arises when one equivocates between that language in the limited context it is originally used and the implications of that language in a broader context.

Using the language of semiotics to describe a physical process does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process.

Yes? You did type these words, or did you not? In doing so, did you not explicitly demonstrate that you clearly understood what was at issue? Yes? Then stop it with the obfuscation and stalling.

“Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.”

44. 44
Joseph says:

MathGrrl:

I want to learn enough about CSI to be able to test whether or not evolutionary mechanisms are capable of generating it.

Then why do you keep equivocating?

ID is not anti-evolution so your continued use of “evolutionary mechanisms” is meaningless.

ID claims that blind, udirected processes cannot generate CSI from scratch.

45. 45
kairosfocus says:

MG:

Talking point at 42 to SB: answered here.

GEM of TKI

46. 46
R0bb says:

kairosfocus:

Think of the Caputo elections case on what being in the far tail of a distribution on the null hyp of chance may mean in terms of making the alternative hyp a better explanation, as an illustration in point. One long since used by Dembski, and turned into a major occasion to throw up a cloud of confusing dust.

Yes, the repetitive Caputo sequence is Dembski’s most oft-used example of specified complexity. Yet you claim: “Simple repetitive orderly sequences are NOT complex, not for Orgel, not for Wicken, not fro Thaxton, not for Abel-Trevors, not for Durston, not for Dembski.”

Are you going to inform Dembski that the Caputo sequence is actually not complex?

47. 47
kairosfocus says:

Robb:

You are strawmanning, ansd twisting meanings.

The point of the Caputo case is that the distribution of the outcome over 41 election cycles of the head of the ballot list — held to be on fair coin tossing or the like — was 40 D, 1 R. the complexity, as you know or should know, comes form the number of possibilities in 41 runs of a two-outcome variable [for simplicity]. The simply describable specificity is that he observed outcome was from well into the null hyp rejecting region of the distribution on the assumption of fair coin tosses.

The common sense conclusion — supported by the facts that (a) the coin tosses were not public and (b) the “run” vanished once the bad publicity of the trial had shone a light on the game — is that he outcomes were not by happy accident but by design.

Please, do better than that next time around.

And, BTW, could you please look at the reduction of the Demsbski metric to information past a threshold form over in the Newsflash thread.

GEM of TKI

48. 48
R0bb says:

kairosfocus,

I’ll repeat my point, since you haven’t addressed it:

1) The Caputo example is simple and repetitive.
2) You said that simple, repetitive sequences are not complex according to Dembski.
3) Dembski characterizes the Caputo sequence as complex, as do you.

I didn’t ask you to explain the Caputo case, nor did I challenge the design conclusion. I’m just pointing out that your previous statement about simple, repetitive sequences is wrong.

49. 49
MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

LOL, you’ve brought up the “pseudo-Socratic” objection once again.

When you repeat a pattern of behavior, people will tend to notice.

The problem with this pattern is that, whether deliberately or not, it leads to long discussions that reach no conclusion. This stems from the basic problem that by asking questions you avoid making clear statements.

ID is supposed to be a scientific endeavor. Real scientists state their hypotheses clearly and provide the evidence that supports them.

Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.

And here you go again, attempting to turn the burden of proof around without ever making your position clear.

Please man up and say what you mean. What is your positive evidence for ID? What is your argument from semiotics? If you’ve got it, bring it on!

50. 50
Joseph says:

R0bb:

1) The Caputo example is simple and repetitive

That is like saying flipping a coin 41 times and getting 40 heads is simple and repetitive. 🙄

51. 51
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl,

The pattern of behavior I am repeating is my attempt to get you to justify your already-spoken objection.

You keep asking me to make my point, but my point has already been made, and it is one that you very much already understand, since you’ve already directly responded to it – on more than one occasion.

When you wrote the following text, did you not understand what you were typing on your keyboard? Yes, you did -or- No, you did not?

Your argument hinges on mistaking your map for the territory. You loosely model biochemical structures and reactions using the language of semiotics, then equivocate to conclude that a semiotic agent is required. Basically, as I said before, you’re trying to define your terms such that an intelligent agent is required. That’s not particularly compelling or interesting.

And what about this following passage, were you again not aware of the words you were stringing together to form these coherent sentences?

Using semiotic language to describe a biochemical process is not, in and of itself, problematic. The issue arises when one equivocates between that language in the limited context it is originally used and the implications of that language in a broader context. Using the language of semiotics to describe a physical process does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process.

If one can believe that you were (in fact) writing an objection which you clearly understood (and very much intended to submit) then you already know what the issue is. Repeatedly asking me to make my point is nothing more than an attempt to avoid having to justify the objection which you have already succinctly made.

You made it very clear that you see the inference to a designer as illogical based upon the presence of a semiotic code in DNA. I can ascertain this belief from your own statement, where you clearly write: “does not logically support the inference to a semiotic agent being responsible for that process”. Is this, or is it not what you meant when you typed the phrase “mistaking your map for the territory”. Were you not directly suggesting that my description of the phenomena was quite different than the actual reality of the phenomena itself?

Of course, this was exactly what you were suggesting. You could not have been more clear about it.

All I am asking for is for you to actually substantiate this objection. If the code in DNA only acts as a code then your objection could have merit, but if the code in DNA is a code, then your objection falls flat. Since you have already determined that it is illogical, then presumably you’ve already made a determination that the code only acts as a code, but isn’t really a code at all.

So why not justify your objection? Why the teeth-pulling exercise in order to get you to support what you’ve already stated? Why produce all this unnecessary mish-mash about not knowing what the issue is? Clearly, you already know what the issue is – so why pretend otherwise? Does it not occur to you to simply say “I don’t know”?

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

So, for the fourth time now, I will ask again:

Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.”

If you have grounds for making that distinction then say what they are. If you do not have such grounds, then say that you don’t. If you don’t think such grounds are yet known to science, then say why the inference to an agent is invalidated in light of that. Or, if you think that this specific inference can be currently upheld, then just say so. And be done with it.

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MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

You keep asking me to make my point, but my point has already been made, and it is one that you very much already understand, since you’ve already directly responded to it – on more than one occasion.

I’ve responded to my interpretation of your statements, based on similar arguments from equivocation I’ve seen in the past. The few hints you’ve given to your thought process suggest to me that you are mired in a similar fallacy.

You have not, however, clearly stated your argument nor summarized the evidence you believe supports it. Rather than continuing to speculate on what it is you are trying to say, I have invited you to provide more clarity.

Please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code? Also, please tell me how this proposed distinction has been independently validated.

I have already replied as much as possible based on the limited amount of detail you have provided for your position. You appear to be confusing the map with the territory and equivocating on certain terms in an attempt to define your intelligent designer into existence. Unless and until you provide a detailed argument, I can say little more.

If you do have a positive argument for ID based on semiotics, I would be interested in hearing it.

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Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl,

You stated (leaving no doubt whatsoever of your position) that the inference to design was not supported by the presence of a semiotic code in DNA. You clearly stated that describing the code within DNA as “semiotic” and it actually being semiotic amounted to nothing more than confusing one’s “map with the territory”. These are your comments, and they are available for all to admire.

I have now asked you four times to substantiate your claim… How do you know when one thing is a code and another is not a code. You have repeatedly refused to substantiate this claim which you’ve already made.

The reason for this is now painfully obvious; you can’t substantiate it, and you never could.

What you can do however, is hope that I will start talking and give you something (anything) to attack in order to draw the glaring attention away from the fact that you’ve been called out to deliver (on a comment you’ve already made) and are unable to do so. Quite frankly you’ve begun to look a wee bit desperate on that particular front, but, certainly no one could be so dense as to believe that you are actually waiting for me to clarify my position so that you can substantiate an objection that you’ve already made.

Perhaps you can say something sincere-sounding, coated with sugar and politeness – perhaps that can still serve your purpose even this late in the exchange. Those particular sidelights never had any effect on my position; the questions I asked are still standing as they did before.

(unanswered by the person who created them)

– – – – – – – – – –

In your latest post you make the comment:

“I’ve responded to my interpretation of your statements, based on similar arguments from equivocation I’ve seen in the past”.

(Well since you’ve brought it up yet again, let’s go for five shall we?)

The only way you could interpret the presence of an equivocation would be if you knew of a distinction. So please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code?

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Upright BiPed says:

It now appears that Mathgrrl may have made the economical decision to step away from the thread.

Cheers…

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M. Holcumbrink says:

Mathgrrl: “You loosely model biochemical structures and reactions using the language of semiotics”.

Upright, these people are all the same. They simply don’t understand the implications of there being semiotics in biological life. But in Mathgrrl’s case, she doesn’t seem to even understand that there are, in fact, semiotic conventions being utilized at all; all she sees are “biochemical structures and reactions”. But on top of that, I don’t even think she understands what semiotics even is. Otherwise, why would she say “language of semiotics”? That’s like saying “language of grammar”.

Mathgrrl: “What is your positive evidence for ID? What is your argument from semiotics?”

Yep. All the same. Always conflating evidence with proof. At first they just ask for evidence, and the more powerful the evidence becomes (e.g. semiotics), they switch from evidence to proof.

So for DNA alone we have all the hallmarks of software: semiotics, hierarchical nesting, error correction, multilayered encryption, compression, etc. (i.e. software engineering writ large). But let’s not jump to conclusions! Where’s the POSITIVE evidence for design?!

“But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”

I’d like to see mathgrrl give a rigorous mathematical proof for why she believes moai have an intelligent origin, as opposed to being the result of wind and water erosion.

56. 56
MathGrrl says:

My dear interlocutors,

I apologize for disappearing for the past week; real world responsibilities intervened. I am attempting to continue the discussion in the two most active child threads of my original guest post. I hope you’ll continue as well.

57. 57
MathGrrl says:

Upright BiPed,

You stated (leaving no doubt whatsoever of your position) that the inference to design was not supported by the presence of a semiotic code in DNA.

That’s not quite accurate. Based on the limited hints you’ve provided of the actual argument I am assuming that you have in mind, I noted that you seem to be confusing the map with the territory.

I have now asked you four times to substantiate your claim… How do you know when one thing is a code and another is not a code. You have repeatedly refused to substantiate this claim which you’ve already made.

You are attempting to put words in my mouth. I never made any claims about codes.

As I’ve pointed out a couple of times already, you have not clearly stated your argument nor summarized the evidence you believe supports it. If you choose to do so, I will happily discuss it further with you. If you want to simply continue to accuse me of making claims that I have not, this conversation is at an end.

Do you, in fact, have a positive argument for ID based on semiotics?

58. 58
Upright BiPed says:

Mathgrrl,

You are attempting to put words in my mouth.

The words you need to concern yourself with are those that you typed out. Please address the question I asked regarding the specific objection you made:

The only way you could interpret the presence of an equivocation would be if you knew of a distinction. So please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code?

59. 59
Upright BiPed says:

You see Mathgrrl, the only way your objection can make any sense at all, is if you can substantiate a distinction where one relationship is a code, while another only acts as a code.

Without that distinction, then you cannot say there is an “equivocation”. I do not believe that you can make that distinction, therefore your claim of an equivocation is absolutely meaningless.

Prove me wrong.

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kairosfocus says:

I have responded to MG’s latest in the CSI newsflash thread, here. We now need a little more than constantly repeated hyperskeptical talking points.

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Eugen says:

M. Holcumbrink

“So for DNA alone we have all the hallmarks of software: semiotics, hierarchical nesting, error correction, multi layered encryption, compression, etc. (i.e. software engineering writ large). But let’s not jump to conclusions! Where’s the POSITIVE evidence for design?! ”

I agree. This is possible way non-coding DNA is arranged:

1.Cell needs the whole DNA (98% is “junk”) otherwise it wouldn’t spend tremendous resources to copy-replicate it.

2. Scientists from Harvard found the DNA fills certain volume inside nucleus in shape of Peano curve. That provides for well organized structure instead of chaotic tangle.

3. DNA Skittle visualization tool ( free download) clearly shows repetitive patterns interchanging with randomly distributed nucleotides in non-coding DNA. Also, interference and modulation type patterns are visible.

4. One dimensional string could be periodically marked for bending and assembly of two dimensional matrix (like QR code). Next it is possible to layer (stack) multiple two dimensional data matrices to fill volume.

5. Combining previous three points it is possible to envision form of data storage as a purpose for non-coding DNA. It is possible we are dealing with three dimensional chemical data storage system.

6. Similar to holographic recording I would expect huge storage capacity and inherent information redundancy. Smaller, broken off section of holographic recording will show the whole picture but with lower resolution.

I would also expect powerful dynamic encryption as the basic information should be kept away from irresponsible users.