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.