This is another excerpt from Steve Meyer’s chapter in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021). He is discussing design theorist William Dembski’s Design Inference:
Dembski notes that complex sequences exhibit an irregular and improbable arrangement that defies expression by a simple rule or algorithm, whereas specification involves a match or correspondence between a physical system or sequence and an independently recognizable pattern or set of functional requirements.
By way of illustration, consider the following three sets of symbols: “nehya53nslbyw1`jejns7eopslanm46/J”
“TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO MAN”
The first two sequences are complex because both defy reduction to a simple rule. Each represents a highly irregular, aperiodic, improbable sequence. The third sequence is not complex, but is instead highly ordered and repetitive. Of the two complex sequences, only the second, however, exemplifies a set of independent functional requirements — i.e., it is specified.Steve Meyer, “The Logic of Design Detection” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 25, 2022)
That first string could possibly be a code but if we don’t know what it is a code for, it is not communication.
A great deal has been invested in not understanding something as simple and obvious as the design inference. That’s powerful evidence that it is an important insight.
The whole series here.