Intelligent Design

Thanks for the CSI Debate; Back to Work for Me

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Thank you to all who have participated in the CSI debate over the last few days, especially Winston, vjtorley, keiths, KF, HeKS. It has been an illuminating discussion. Thanks especially to vjt for his effort to synthesize the various positions. I have a real job and I have already spent far too much time away from it on this subject, but I wanted to address one final topic before heading back to work.

Some of our opponents have criticized my “challenge” as being impossible to meet “by definition.” They say that CSI is “defined” as that which is beyond the reach of chance/law processes, and therefore it is literally meaningless to set up a challenge that calls for a demonstration of chance/law processes creating CSI. Of all the responses to this objection (including my own), I think HeKS had the best. He writes:

What needs to be understood is that this does not mean, by definition, that it could not have been produced by any natural process. It is not logically impossible that some natural process could cause the effect in question. Rather, the argument is that we have not actually observed any natural processes ever producing the types of specified effects in question and overcoming the astronomical odds against them doing so, but that we have observed – and do observe – intelligent agency bringing about those kinds of specified effects all the time.

Hence, the reasoning goes that if some effect is calculated to display a high degree of CSI on all chance hypotheses – or, put another away, is found to match an independent specification and also be astronomically improbable with respect to every known natural process that might be proposed to explain it – then design is tentatively considered to be a better explanation of the effect (being the only kind of cause known to be capable of producing it) than an appeal to extreme good fortune that would not be expected to happen even once in the entire history of the universe.

This is the important part:

There are at least two ways this inference could be falsified: [i.e., my challenge could be met]:

1) A natural process could be discovered that shows the effect not to be improbable, thereby falsifying the claim that it demonstrates CSI; or 2) A natural process could be demonstrated to bring about specified effects that are highly improbable with respect to that particular natural process, thereby falsifying the claim that CSI implies design for similar and lesser degrees of complexity (improbability).

This last paragraph articulates the intuition that lead to the challenge. For any specification that we BELIEVE to be beyond the capability of chance/law processes– 500 coins all heads, the first 20 lines of Hamlet, any meaningful English paragraph, etc., etc. – show that belief to be false by showing a chance/law process that has been actually observed creating the specification. The challenge will then have been met.

In other words, if a materialist were to show a chance/law process landing on what we believe to be a highly improbable specification, one of HeKS falsification criteria will have necessarily been met. The materialist will have shown either:

(1) that our belief that that the pattern was improbable given the chance hypothesis with respect to chance/law processes was wrong; or

(2) that even if the belief about low probability was correct, we were wrong to believe that only design can land on specifications with low probability.

Here is the flaw in the “by definition” argument. When we designate a pattern as having CSI one of the things we are saying is that based on our current understanding of all chance/law processes, the probability of those processes landing on the specification in question is astronomically low. The probability is not “defined” to be astronomically low. It is believed to be astronomically low. To meet the challenge, all the materialist has to do is demonstrate that that belief is false. When we make a design inference based on the existence of CSI, we are also saying that our best understanding of the cause of the specification is “design.” Another way to meet the challenge is to show that is not the best understanding, because chance/law forces have been observed creating the improbable specification. Nothing about the definition of CSI precludes that demonstration.

75 Replies to “Thanks for the CSI Debate; Back to Work for Me

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    This last paragraph articulates the intuition that lead to the challenge. For any specification that we BELIEVE to be beyond the capability of chance/law processes– 500 coins all heads, the first 20 lines of Hamlet, any meaningful English paragraph, etc., etc. – show that belief to be false by showing a chance/law process that has been actually observed creating the specification. The challenge will then have been met.

    And how to you get to your BELIEF that a configuration is beyond what chance/law can do?


    Here is the flaw in the “by definition” argument. When we designate a pattern as having CSI one of the things we are saying is that based on our current understanding of all chance/law processes, the probability of those processes landing on the specification in question is astronomically low. The probability is not “defined” to be astronomically low.

    But when a new chance hypothesis explains the configuration well CSI evaporates. Take the 500 coin example, “all showing the same face” is a very unlikely configuration if the chance hypothesis “500 fair coins flipped fairly”. But under another chance hypothesis, a repeated series of sampling with replacement, it’s an inevitable result.

    To take another example. In the earlier thread you were presented with a well-sorted pebble beach. That configuration is extremely unlikely if the chance hypothesis is “pebbles placed randomly with uniform probability” (i.e. the colloquial version of “random” placement). You rejected it as an example of a law-like process creating CSI because sorting process that created the distribution leads tp such configurations with high probability. In other words, prove a chance or law-like can create a configuration and (in your mind at least) it has no CSI.

    With regards biology that leaves us needing to calculate the probability of a configuration (protein/sequence/organ/pathway…) under evolutionary processes before we can assign CSI. But if you can calculate the probability of some feature of an organism arising under evolution is low, then does CSI tell us taht the probability doesn’t?

  2. 2
    Winston Ewert says:

    Well said Barry and HeKS!

  3. 3
    Moose Dr says:

    Hold the phone!

    Question, if it could be demonstrated that natural processes are capable of producing CSI, would it change the definition of CSI?

    I think it would not. Complexity remains to be measured by number of bits of data. Specification remains to be determined by the fact that it specifies some specific thing.

    I contend that CSI cannot reasonably be generated by random means. However, Dawkins is famous for demonstrating his wiesel program which is purported to produce CSI. We recognize that his program was painfully front-loaded. However, that fact does nothing to analyse the CSI of the expression “methinks that it looks like a weasel”.

    If we take “evolvability” off the table when defining CSI, then an agreement can be reached as to what CSI is. Only then can the real question “can RM+NS produce CSI” be properly discussed.

    (This post is repeated from the comment thread below, but I think it got burried there. Please, people, does CSI cease to exist if it can be demonstrated that RM+NS is capable of making it? If so, why?)

  4. 4
    keith s says:

    You’re welcome, Barry.

    Let’s review what you learned about ID from the critics:

    1. Dembski’s CSI is not the same as Orgel’s specified complexity.

    2. Dembski’s CSI requires the consideration of “chance hypotheses”.

    3. The use of CSI to detect design is circular.

    4. Your challenge is empty and cannot be met (the current OP notwithstanding).

    5. In Dembski’s equation, P(T|H) stands for the probability of reaching the target T by means of any of the chance hypotheses represented by H.

    6. H includes “Darwinian and other material mechanisms”, which means that you have to consider all possible evolutionary pathways.

    7. No one can calculate P(T|H) for a naturally occurring biological phenomenon like the flagellum, which means that no one knows whether life exhibits CSI under Dembski’s definition.

    You’ve learned a lot about ID, Barry. You got free tutoring from the ID critics, and you also successfully avoided admitting your mistakes!

  5. 5
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    Question, if it could be demonstrated that natural processes are capable of producing CSI, would it change the definition of CSI?

    Natural processes are incapable of producing CSI by the very definition of CSI.

    I think it would not. Complexity remains to be measured by number of bits of data.

    That is Dembski’s bait-and-switch. He doesn’t actually measure complexity. He measures improbability, but calls it complexity.

    I contend that CSI cannot reasonably be generated by random means.

    By definition.

    Please, people, does CSI cease to exist if it can be demonstrated that RM+NS is capable of making it? If so, why?

    More properly, anything that RM+NS can produce never exhibited CSI to begin with. By definition.

  6. 6
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S, I agree that Dempski (at least as you understand him) has a poor, unworkable, definition of CSI.

    Complexity must equal the number of bits of data that defines the “specification”. The removal of obviously redundant bits, or bits that are unnecessary for the specification is reasonable when calculating complexity. Complexity should be measured in bits.

    Specification must define the fact that the information, when “processed” produces something of significance.

    A definition of CSI that references how it got there is not, well fair. It is a conversation stopper. Once we get to a working definition of CSI, then we can have the discussion of whether RM+NS, as implemented in nature, can realistically explain it. I contend that it can’t, but not by mutilating the definition of CSI.

  7. 7
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    Since we are already having this conversation on the other thread, let’s continue there.

  8. 8
    keith s says:

    I wonder how much Barry paid Dembski for Uncommon Descent. Or to put it another way, how much did Barry pay per pound of crow eaten?

    He must be stuffed.

  9. 9
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S, I’m happy to continue on the other thread. However, I am hoping that my colleagues in the ID camp will join in the discussion. My question is really for them, must the definition of CSI (complex, specified information) be in any way contingent on the source of that information?

    Please follow an actual productive conversation on the above mentioned thread.

  10. 10
    centrestream says:

    Moose Dr., a discussion with you is enjoyable because it is an actual discussion, not a bunch of sarcastic comments and insults as we see with some of the ID proponents.

    This being said, you asked “…must the definition of CSI (complex, specified information) be in any way contingent on the source of that information?”

    I see where you are coming from but we have to keep in mind the reason that ID latched on to CSI. If it cannot provide an objective measure to separate naturally evolved complexity from designed complexity, what would be the purpose? Nobody is arguing that DNA, genes, proteins, etc. are complex. The only question (and I don’t think there really is a question, but that is a different discussion) is whether or not the complexity was the result of natural processes, guided processes, or a combination of the two.

  11. 11
    cantor says:

    10 centrestream November 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Moose Dr., a discussion with you is enjoyable because it is an actual discussion, not a bunch of sarcastic comments and insults as we see with some of the ID proponents.

    Is there any materialist forum where one could have an actual discussion, not a bunch of sarcastic comments and insults?

    forum

  12. 12
    centrestream says:

    Cantor: “Is there any materialist forum where one could have an actual discussion, not a bunch of sarcastic comments and insults?”

    Beats me. I don’t frequent many of them. But the one I have recently frequented (Skeptical Zone) puts UD to shame with respect to allowing open discussion and attempting to ensure that the “opposition” are not abused. Their greatest testament is the fact that they have only banned one person; a foul mouthed ignorant pig of a man.

  13. 13
    Adapa says:

    cantor

    Is there any materialist forum where one could have an actual discussion, not a bunch of sarcastic comments and insults?

    What in the world is a “materialist” forum?

  14. 14
    centrestream says:

    Adapa, I stand corrected.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    Another thread devoted to keiths, and yet keiths remains speechless.

  16. 16

    Moose Dr:

    Please, people, does CSI cease to exist if it can be demonstrated that RM+NS is capable of making it? If so, why?)

    The model that came from discussion in another thread should be able to compare a standard (per Darwinian theory) Evolutionary Algorithm to an Intelligence Algorithm that (per ID Lab model and Theory of Intelligent Design) has “mutation hotspots” to control purposely taken guesses (no left up to “chance” errors). I would expect the EA to show what happens when a genetic model has messed up error correction and a nonfunctional Confidence (central hedonic) system needed to (self-learn) be intelligent (and for any genetic model to properly account for hotspots, etc.).

    Where the EA is kept to the bare minimum required by Darwinian theory (functional hotspots and such are ignored) I would expect it to represent the “chance” variable used for calculating CSI. All in addition to that (only possible by intelligence) should be the CSI. The only CSI from RM+NS should be whatever feeble amount of intelligence the EA programmer managed to generate that way.

    In this case complexity would increase as Address and Data bus bits (required to model a given system) are added. Addressing complexity depends on the amount of sensory input addressing memory, while Data complexity depends on how many bits are needed to specify output actions.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    And how to you get to your BELIEF that a configuration is beyond what chance/law can do?

    *sigh* really? Are you so new to the ID debate, wd400?

    I have to believe you don’t work for a casino.

  18. 18
    cantor says:

    13 Adapa November 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    What in the world is a “materialist” forum?

    Don’t play dumb. You don’t need to.

  19. 19
    cantor says:

    1 wd400 November 18, 2014 at 11:09 am

    And how to [sic] you get to your BELIEF that a configuration is beyond what chance/law can do?

    And how do you get to your BELIEF that a configuration is not beyond what chance/law can do?

    .

  20. 20
    wd400 says:

    Cantor and Mung,

    I was attempting to make Barry about what his statements imply. The point here is that one’s belief persimably comes from some estimate of the probability of a result coming about from the same chance hypothesis CSI is meant (is some folks telling at least) to test the limits of.

    So, I’ll ask again. What’s the point of CSI?

  21. 21
    Adapa says:

    wd400

    So, I’ll ask again. What’s the point of CSI?

    The point of CSI isn’t to detect intelligent design in life.

    The point of CSI is to convince ignorant laymen that intelligent design has been detected in life so they’ll donate more money to conservative religious propaganda mills like the DI.

  22. 22
    Andre says:

    Adapa

    what you have just said is uncalled for……. If evolution is true as you suppose and religious belief is an effect of evolution then you claiming you broke free from the shackles of religion that evolution created, it then means you are an effect that is greater than its cause…….

    In this cause and effect universe it is simply impossible…….

  23. 23
    Andre says:

    In other words Adapa, you are greater than evolution because you beat its beneficial traits that was selected for by Natural selection and random mutation…..

    Well done you are the most powerful entity in the known universe for beating evolutionary pathways!

  24. 24
    Andre says:

    The most powerful unguided evolutionary mechanisms responsible for life, beliefs, intelligence, emotions and all that beaten by Adapa, you beat evolution! You inspire me!

  25. 25
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for your kind words. I think your last paragraph sums up the issue perfectly:

    Here is the flaw in the “by definition” argument. When we designate a pattern as having CSI one of the things we are saying is that based on our current understanding of all chance/law processes, the probability of those processes landing on the specification in question is astronomically low. The probability is not “defined” to be astronomically low. It is believed to be astronomically low. To meet the challenge, all the materialist has to do is demonstrate that that belief is false. When we make a design inference based on the existence of CSI, we are also saying that our best understanding of the cause of the specification is “design.” Another way to meet the challenge is to show that is not the best understanding, because chance/law forces have been observed creating the improbable specification. Nothing about the definition of CSI precludes that demonstration.

  26. 26
    vjtorley says:

    Dr. Moose,

    You ask: “does CSI cease to exist if it can be demonstrated that RM+NS is capable of making it?” My answer is: not necessarily. But you would have to demonstrate that the initial conditions and/or laws in the universe where RM+NS produces this CSI were themselves very unlikely – in other words, that their values were themselves astronomically improbable. In other words, RM+NS can generate astronomically improbable outcomes, but only in a highly rigged cosmos. That would then shift the argument up one level, from biological Intelligent Design to cosmological Intelligent Design (in other words, the fine-tuning argument, except that it would apply to not only the universe’s laws and fundamental constants but also its initial conditions).

  27. 27
    vjtorley says:

    Keith S,

    I’m perplexed by your continuing to insist that the use of CSI to detect design is circular. The calculation of CSI to detect design is not circular, as I have already shown in my latest post.

    You also write that you have to consider all possible evolutionary pathways. Now, I’m willing to grant that this might be impractical for a flagellum, or even for a simple cell, but for a 100-amino-acid protein? Come on. Pull the other leg. There’s absolutely no good reason why biochemists couldn’t calculate the odds of a single molecule emerging.

    I also object to your phrase, “all possible evolutionary pathways.” A more rational criterion would be: “all known evolutionary pathways, after making diligent inquiry.” In real life, we make decisions based on what we know. Of course they’re fallible, but that’s life.

    Finally, you’ve failed to come up with any calculations of your own which refute Dr. Axe’s. I’ve invited you to quote some actual figures from Dr. Andreas Wagner’s latest book which would render the evolution of proteins scientifically plausible, and you haven’t quoted any. I have to say I’m very disappointed.

  28. 28
    ForJah says:

    I find it quite odd that this discussion is happening here, don’t ID peeps know better? OF course the definition of CSI doesn’t change if RM + NS were to be able to produce it. In fact it wouldn’t even discount ID all together. The only thing that wouldn’t be true is that ID no longer provides the only explanation for CSI.

    ID theorists are defining the very facts of what life and DNA are. Evolutionists are the ones trying to explain how those things came to be, while relying on the ambiguous nature of their definitions. ID provides an excellent framework for exactly what RM + NS needs to explain. It’s not like things stop being complex because you can explain how they came to be.

    Also, Dempski does believe random mutation and natural selection CAN create CSI. It’s a matter of how much, that’s why he gives a 500 bit calculation as the limit. Meyers does a great job explaining this by blindly taking out letters from a bag and putting them on a board…it is very possible to create words like “in”, “It”, or “one” which are all examples of CSI. It’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY and has never before been seen that random pickings would for instance, produce the last three paragraphs of this response.

    CSI can meet its match, but it has neither been shown to produce the effect in question NOR provide the best explanation for that effect. Something can’t provide a good explanation for an effect, if it has never been shown to produce that effect. 🙂

  29. 29
    keith s says:

    vjtorley:

    I’m perplexed by your continuing to insist that the use of CSI to detect design is circular. The calculation of CSI to detect design is not circular, as I have already shown in my latest post.

    Vincent,

    I think we’re closer to agreement on this than you realize. What’s circular is an argument that says

    1. X exhibits CSI.
    2. Therefore we can conclude that X is designed.

    It’s circular because the calculation you do to determine that X exhibits CSI already shows that X is designed. To say that X exhibits CSI is an unnecessary afterthought, and it isn’t required in order to conclude that X is designed.

    The circularity is explicit here:

    1. Do the calculation that shows that X is designed.
    2. Conclude that X exhibits CSI.
    3. Since X exhibits CSI, conclude that it is designed.

    If you omit step 3 and use step 1 to infer design, then the argument is not circular. Are we in agreement?

    The problem is that many ID proponents want to use the established presence of CSI to conclude that something is designed. That is the circularity that Winston Ewert and I are complaining about.

    Even Dembski falls into the circularity trap, at least in his earlier writings.

    The circularity problem is easily fixed (though getting ID proponents to understand the problem is a completely different story!). Unfortunately, there are many other flaws in the CSI concept. I’ll be doing an OP at TSZ, hopefully tomorrow, that lists all the flaws of which I am aware.

    You also write that you have to consider all possible evolutionary pathways. Now, I’m willing to grant that this might be impractical for a flagellum, or even for a simple cell, but for a 100-amino-acid protein? Come on. Pull the other leg. There’s absolutely no good reason why biochemists couldn’t calculate the odds of a single molecule emerging.

    I replied to that same point on the other thread:

    You’re forgetting that P(T|H) includes “Darwinian and other material mechanisms”. It’s not enough to calculate the odds of a long protein assembling spontaneously.

    That was the mistake that Dembski made with the flagellum in No Free Lunch — treating it as a “discrete combinatorial object” instead of considering all possible evolutionary pathways to it.

    vjtorley:

    I also object to your phrase, “all possible evolutionary pathways.” A more rational criterion would be: “all known evolutionary pathways, after making diligent inquiry.” In real life, we make decisions based on what we know. Of course they’re fallible, but that’s life.

    That would be fine, except for this: Dembski claims that his method produces no false positives.

    He writes:

    Only things that are designed had better end up in the net. If this is the case, we can have confidence that whatever the complexity-specification criterion attributes to design is indeed designed. On the other hand, if things end up in the net that are not designed, the criterion will be worthless.

    I want then to argue that specified complexity is a reliable criterion for detecting design. Alternatively, I want to argue that the complexity-specification criterion successfully avoids false positives.

    Intelligent Design, pp. 141-142 [Emphasis added]

    Dembski has written a check he can’t cash. If he can’t guarantee that he has accounted for all possible evolutionary pathways, then he can’t guarantee that his method avoids false positives.

    By Dembski’s own criterion, his method is “worthless”.

    Vincent:

    Finally, you’ve failed to come up with any calculations of your own which refute Dr. Axe’s. I’ve invited you to quote some actual figures from Dr. Andreas Wagner’s latest book which would render the evolution of proteins scientifically plausible, and you haven’t quoted any. I have to say I’m very disappointed.

    You’re going to have to be a bit more patient. I am carrying on many conversations with many people here at UD, all while leading a busy off-blog life. Barry and the moderators have silently banned some of the ID critics who were helping to shoulder the burden of responding to ID proponents, so more of the burden is falling on me.

    In the meantime, I hope you’ll read Arrival of the Fittest, as I think it will show you what some of Axe’s errors are.

  30. 30
    keith s says:

    ForJah:

    Also, Dempski does believe random mutation and natural selection CAN create CSI. It’s a matter of how much, that’s why he gives a 500 bit calculation as the limit.

    You’re repeating vjtorley’s mistake from the other thread:

    I’m surprised at you, Vincent.

    You said:

    Keith S,

    You write: “Natural processes are incapable of producing CSI by the very definition of CSI.”

    This, I have to say, is rubbish. As any ID proponent will tell you, natural processes are capable of producing up to 500 bits of CSI.

    I have long considered you the most intelligent ID supporter at Uncommon Descent, but this is extremely sloppy of you.

    CSI never consists of less than 500 bits of specified information.

    Dembski writes:

    Alternatively, since a universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, (T,E) constitutes CSI because T subsumes E, T is detachable from E, and T measures at least 500 bits of information.

    No Free Lunch, p. 144
    [Emphasis added]

    What is going on around here? First I have to educate Barry about CSI, and now you, of all people?

    ID proponents: If you’re depending on the critics to teach ID to you, you’re doing it wrong.

    If you care about ID, then learn about it.

  31. 31
    Bob O'H says:

    For any specification that we BELIEVE to be beyond the capability of chance/law processes– 500 coins all heads, the first 20 lines of Hamlet, any meaningful English paragraph, etc., etc. – show that belief to be false by showing a chance/law process that has been actually observed creating the specification.

    A couple of us tried to tackle this, by raising the Mabinogion sheep as an example of a process that makes 500 heads likely. Although it’s perhaps artificial, it does show how a stochastic process can lead to a specification. I think it’s unfortunate that Barry didn’t want to engage on this – I think looking at processes that might generate patterns with CSI would help move the discussion on.

  32. 32
    ForJah says:

    Okay, fair enough….but this is kinda semantics now. Here is what I said with the new understanding..

    Also, Dempski does believe random mutation and natural selection CAN create [Information]. It’s a matter of how much, that’s why he gives a 500 bit calculation as the [amount of information needed for something to be defined as CSI]. Meyers does a great job explaining this by blindly taking out letters from a bag and putting them on a board…it is very possible to create words like “in”, “It”, or “one” which are all examples of [information]. It’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY and has never before been seen that random pickings would for instance, produce the last three paragraphs of this response.

  33. 33
    Andre says:

    Forjah….

    Nothing can do anything you know that! Don’t be silly!

  34. 34
    Joe says:

    According to both Dembski and ID if someone can demonstrate blind and undirected processes producing CSI then a major argument of ID falls- and most likely ID will fall.

    DEmbski has said that he has proven that blind and undirected processes cannot produce CSI. That means if someone can demonstrate that they can Dembski’s proof is shattered. ID also claims that natural selection and similar stochastic processes cannot produce CSI. And that also means if someone can demonstrate that they can produce CSI, ID falls.

    And if keith s thinks he understands ID arguments, he has yet to demonstrate such an understanding. So far all he has done is misrepresent and mutilate ID arguments.

  35. 35
    Joe says:

    Bob:

    A couple of us tried to tackle this, by raising the Mabinogion sheep as an example of a process that makes 500 heads likely. Although it’s perhaps artificial, it does show how a stochastic process can lead to a specification.

    It’s artificial and directed, not stochastic.

  36. 36
    Joe says:

    keith s:

    Natural processes are incapable of producing CSI by the very definition of CSI.

    That is incorrect and demonstrates willful ignorance on keith’s part. Dembski said he has proven that blind and undirected processes cannot produce CSI. That is very different from what keith s says.

    There isn’t anything in the definition of CSI that prevents blind and undirected processes from producing it. And keith s can never show otherwise.

  37. 37
    Bob O'H says:

    Joe @ 35 – I agree it’s artificial, but then so are all other applications of CSI that have been presented! My reason for suggesting it as something to think about was that it might clarify some ideas, in particular that stochastic processes will generate what would seem to be unlikely outcomes.

    Your comment that it is not stochastic is, I’m afraid, just wrong.

  38. 38
    centrestream says:

    Joe: “Dembski said he has proven that blind and undirected processes cannot produce CSI. That is very different from what keith s says.”

    Really? What peer reviewed scientific journal was this proof presented in? I would love to read it. It will take the world by storm.

  39. 39
    cantor says:

    Adapa is evolving very rapidly!
    .

    From pretending to be an open-minded truth-seeker:

    1 Adapa November 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Have any scientists from the ID community taken a look at this data? I’m trying to understand how it fits in with a Design scenario. Can someone here help?

    To thinly-veiled sarcasm:

    1 Adapa November 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Has anyone calculated the CSI of these mysterious mimivirus genome strings to see if they were designed? Or the dFSCI? Or the FSCO/I? Seems like it could be pretty important.

    To spewing childish nonsense:

    21 Adapa November 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    The point of CSI is to convince ignorant laymen that intelligent design has been detected in life so they’ll donate more money to conservative religious propaganda mills like the DI.

  40. 40
    Joe says:

    Dembski said he has proven that blind and undirected processes cannot produce CSI. That is very different from what keith s says.

    Acartia/ spearshake/ centre sock:

    Really?

    Yes, really. Read “No Free Lunch”.

  41. 41
    Joe says:

    Bob:

    I agree it’s artificial, but then so are all other applications of CSI that have been presented!

    Because our opponents have said that CSI hasn’t been measured/ calculated for anything. Also it is called “proof of concept”.

    Your comment that it is not stochastic is, I’m afraid, just wrong.

    Prove it. No way we are taking your word for it. That is like saying animal husbandry is a stochastic process.

  42. 42
    Bob O'H says:

    Joe – a stochastic process is one with randomness in it. The Mabinogion sheep bleat randomly, thus the process is a stochastic process, and thus is stochastic.

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    Bob, a stochastic process is ruled by randomness. The selection part of the Mabinogion sheep is not random.

  44. 44
    centrestream says:

    Joe: “Yes, really. Read “No Free Lunch”.

    What a out “peer reviewed scientific journal” does your 150 IQ not understand?

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    Why does it have to be in peer-review? Unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution doesn’t have that.

    My point is that Dembski made a claim- in writing. And tat claim proves that you and your ilk are totally wrong about CSI. Deal with it.

  46. 46
    centrestream says:

    Joe: “My point is that Dembski made a claim- in writing. And tat claim proves that you and your ilk are totally wrong about CSI. Deal with it.”

    And I just made a claim in writing that Demski is wrong. Deal with it.

  47. 47
    Joe says:

    And I just made a claim in writing that Demski is wrong.

    And we know that you are deluded and ignorant. Deal with that.

  48. 48
    Bob O'H says:

    Joe – stochastic processes have both random & non-random components. If you’ve ever studied them then you’d know: that’s why we talk about diffusion with drift (for example). The drift term is non.random, but the process is still stochastic.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Moose Dr says:

    My RM+NS system can generate 499 bits of CSI like information, but it is radically incapable of producing the 500th bit — so has declared the great Dembsky. Are you guys kidding!

    DNA uses a base 4 system, equivalent to 2 bits of information per nucleotide. So a gene that is 249 nucleotides long is within the purview of RM+NS, but a gene that is 250 nucleotides long is not realistically possible via RM+NS!?

    How ’bout the C in CSI is a measure of complexity with a unit of bits. How ’bout S in the CSI is a qualitative measure of whether these bits specify something real. How ’bout the available flexibility of the specification, how much bit twiddling allows the specified item to still be the same thing subtracts from the value of C. How ’bout lets take how the CSI came to be, off the table altogether.

    If the CSI rating of the thing is 2 bits, well, coin flip is quite capable of producing it. If the CSI rating is 20, well, pretty darn lucky coin flip — time to look for mechanisms other than random chance. How ’bout a CSI rating of 100 is well beyond what we would expect from an honest coin toss. Shall we say “not in a million years”. How ’bout we recognise that the higher the number the less likely that it is the result of an honest coin toss. How ’bout we recognize that the value of 500 is set to be in the zone of the stratosphere, the “didn’t happen” zone.

    How ’bout we take any discussion of how CSI came to be, and only identify it by its characteristics: Number of bytes of data, fact that it specifies something, amount of precision in the specification reduces the complexity rating.

    Oh yea, can’t do that, the great Dembski has declared it!

    PS: I have a lot of respect for Dr. Dembski’s work. ‘Just seems to me that he is held high like a prophet. I would love it if he engaged in this conversation. I would love it if he explained to me why CSI needed such a convoluted definition. If its because RM+NS is capable of making CSI as I have defined it, then my belief in ID is Badly damaged.

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    Moose Dr.

    My RM+NS system can generate 499 bits of CSI like information, but it is radically incapable of producing the 500th bit — so has declared the great Dembsky. Are you guys kidding!

    In any such analysis, the scientist must draw the line somewhere between what is considered to be possible and what is considered to be virtually impossible. Otherwise, no measurements can take place and no conclusions can be drawn. In this case, it is 500 bits. Surely, you understand that this threshold is reached gradually–and with progressively greater degrees of improbability–and that generating the 499th bit is almost as incredibly unlikely as as generating the 500th bit.

  52. 52

    Does anyone want to help computer model CSI?

  53. 53
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    I think Dembski makes a lot of mistakes, but I will say this in his defense. He has to set some kind of threshold below which design is not recognized. No matter where he sets it, it’s going to seem artificial: N bits counts as ‘designed’, and N-1 bits doesn’t.

    What he’s trying to do is to set the threshold high enough so that no one could reasonably deny design when the threshold is exceeded.

    There’s nothing magic about the exact 500 bit value (though Dembski does try to justify it); it just needs to be so high that no reasonable person would fail to infer design when it is exceeded.

  54. 54

    Keith s:

    I think Dembski makes a lot of mistakes,

    As in Darwinian Theory: a Theory like William’s tentative CSI Theory only has to be close enough, not perfect.

  55. 55
    Moose Dr says:

    StephenB, “Surely, you understand that this threshold is reached gradually–and with progressively greater degrees of improbability–and that generating the 499th bit is almost as incredibly unlikely as as generating the 500th bit.”

    Yes, I do. However, read some of the comments above. This does not appear to be clearly understood.

  56. 56
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S, “it just needs to be so high that no reasonable person would fail to infer design when it is exceeded.”

    Most individual genes within DNA contain more than 500 bits of information. There are about 10,000 genes that each exceed this size. So you conclude then that DNA is designed?

  57. 57
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    Most individual genes within DNA contain more than 500 bits of information. There are about 10,000 genes that each exceed this size. So you conclude then that DNA is designed?

    No. Don’t confuse information with CSI. 500 bits of information is not at all the same as 500 bits of CSI.

    CSI- “complex specified information” — is a misnomer. It should really be called “low specified probability”, or something like that.

    What Dembski does is take a probability and convert it into bits using a negative logarithm (base 2). It has nothing to do with the actual informational content of the sequence or structure in question.

  58. 58
    Me_Think says:

    Moose Dr @ 56

    Most individual genes within DNA contain more than 500 bits of information. There are about 10,000 genes that each exceed this size. So you conclude then that DNA is designed?

    No one outside ID community adopts CSI as a design detector, so whatever the bits, it doesn’t matter.Moreover, as you have seen in various posts, CSI is circular requiring you to eliminate all Darwinian and Natural processes before calculations.

  59. 59
    Me_Think says:

    Moose Dr @ 56
    Sorry I misunderstood the question. My statement @ 58 stands for CSI calculations.

  60. 60

    Me_Think:

    No one outside ID community adopts CSI as a design detector, so whatever the bits, it doesn’t matter.

    Scientifically useful IDeas matter very much, to science.

    More is happening outside the ID community than you are giving due credit for.

  61. 61
    Me_Think says:

    Gary S. Gaulin @ 60

    More is happening outside the ID community than you are giving due credit for.

    Of course more science is happening outside the ID community.

  62. 62
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Gary S. Gaulin

    More is happening outside the ID community than you are giving due credit for.

    That’s an important point. I think by ID community, you mean that which is limited to the Discovery Institute. Intelligent Design proponents can be found outside of that community and there are a variety of ideas that support the same design inference. Some people mistakenly think that ID is limited to what William Dembski proposes. He certainly deserves credit as a founder of modern Intelligent Design thought, but he doesn’t own the concept.

    Michael Behe is equally important in the ID community and from what I’ve read of him, he doesn’t use CSI calculations in his design arguments.
    But there are many scientists, not affiliated with the Discovery Institute who accept the design inference.

  63. 63

    Me_Think:

    Of course more science is happening outside the ID community.

    It figures that all I would get is a brush-off, from another powerless Black Knight.

  64. 64
    Me_Think says:

    Gary S. Gaulin @ 63,
    I apologize if my comment felt like a brush-off.
    You agree that even Behe doesn’t use his fellow IDer measure, so if you agree CSI is largely not useful, what other concept in ID do you think is useful to scientific community ?
    You might have noticed in other threads that ID is no more than design detector. If the basis on which it detects design (CSI) is not useful, how can you say the concept of ID is useful to any one ?

  65. 65
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Me_Think

    You agree that even Behe doesn’t use his fellow IDer measure

    I didn’t see where Gary Gaulin said that. Could you point me to the reference?

  66. 66
    Me_Think says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 65
    Oops. Sorry again Gary S. Gaulin. I didn’t notice it was Silver Asiatic’s response to you.
    Your comment @ 62 Here:

    Michael Behe is equally important in the ID community and from what I’ve read of him, he doesn’t use CSI calculations in his design arguments.

  67. 67
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Me_Think

    You agree that even Behe doesn’t use his fellow IDer measure, so if you agree CSI is largely not useful, what other concept in ID do you think is useful to scientific community ?

    Have you read Behe?

    how can you say the concept of ID is useful to any one ?

    I would hope, for example, that the ID concept is quite useful to you since you seem to spend a lot of time here discussing it. I wouldn’t imagine that you’d waste so much time on something that is totally useless. Right?

  68. 68

    I apologize if my comment felt like a brush-off.

    Ignoring all that is going on in regards to the Theory of Intelligent Design and related models and theory is a sinister way to pretend to be defending science. I’m right now very disgusted by that being normal when religious agendas must come first before science.

    You agree that even Behe doesn’t use his fellow IDer measure, so if you agree CSI is largely not useful, what other concept in ID do you think is useful to scientific community ?

    I just didn’t know how to program a scientific useful model from CSI. Until now I was largely undecided on its scientific merit.

    There are useful concepts already around in the “scientific community”. But at this late point in the controversy you have several years of activity to catch up on. Here’s around half of the info you most need to know:

    http://www.antievolution.org/c.....=14;t=7420
    http://www.kurzweilai.net/foru.....y-s-gaulin
    https://disqus.com/home/user/gary_gaulin
    http://www.kcfs.org/phpBB3/sea.....mit=Search

    You might have noticed in other threads that ID is no more than design detector. If the basis on which it detects design (CSI) is not useful, how can you say the concept of ID is useful to any one ?

    The concept of ID was ALREADY useful to the scientific community, especially in how-to science, AI, and the future of the ID controversy. Ignoring all that only goes to show how out of touch with science reality the anti-ID movement actually is.

  69. 69
    Moose Dr says:

    Me_think (58) “No one outside ID community adopts CSI as a design detector, so whatever the bits, it doesn’t matter.Moreover, as you have seen in various posts, CSI is circular requiring you to eliminate all Darwinian and Natural processes before calculations.”

    First, CSI as I define is does not remove all Darwinian processes before calculating. I think that doing so is a discussion stopper. I seek a term, ‘happen to like CSI, that simply defines the difference between precision DNA and “junk” (random) DNA.

    “No one outside ID community adopts CSI as a design detector, so whatever the bits, it doesn’t matter.” This is a really dumb statement in light of my definition of CSI. CSI as I define it enumerates the difference between precision DNA and junk DNA. Whether anyone uses this term as a design detector or not, having this idea understood is mandatory to have the discussion about design.

    My sense from the ID crowd is that they have made a careful, concocted definition of CSI so that they cannot be debated. My sense of the NDE crowd is that you pretend that there is no real difference between precision DNA and junk DNA. Y’all’s sense of “information” seems so weak it is pitiful!

    Information does not, by the way, begin and end with Shannon. Shannon worked for the phone company. He was trying to detect the difference between signal and noise. Information, my area of expertise as a software developer, is a high precision phenomenon where one small change can totally destroy meaning.

  70. 70
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S (57) “What Dembski does is take a probability and convert it into bits using a negative logarithm (base 2). It has nothing to do with the actual informational content of the sequence or structure in question.”

    Why must the simple be made so darn complicated. I have changed my terminology in all future references to CSI. Unless I am talking about Dr. Dembski’s definition, I am using my definition, and will reference it as CSI(md).

    Maybe at least you and I can then have an actual discussion of whether RM+NS is truly capable of producing the stuff. The second question, of course, is whether the patterns in DNA are consistent with what RM+NS would produce.

  71. 71
    Me_Think says:

    Moose Dr @ 69,

    First, CSI as I define is does not remove all Darwinian processes before calculating
    This is a really dumb statement in light of my definition of CSI. CSI as I define it enumerates the difference between precision DNA and junk DNA.
    I seek a term, ‘happen to like CSI, that simply defines the difference between precision DNA and “junk” (random) DNA.
    Information, my area of expertise as a software developer, is a high precision phenomenon

    Get off yor high horse. CSI is not your term. Who the heck cares how you define it? If you want to discuss your own CSI, start by defining what you mean by ‘Precision DNA’ and ‘Junk(random) DNA’, for all we know you may have some completely different definations, then pick a DNA ( as defined by scientific community – not your own ‘precision DNA’), and show how to calculate your own CSI.

    KF: Take note – we now have CSI, dFSCI, FSCI/O and now a new Mosse Dr CSI.

  72. 72
    Joe says:

    keith s:

    Don’t confuse information with CSI.

    LoL! CSI is information in the standard use of the word-

    CSI is simply defined as information that is specified, ie used in the standard sense of meaning and function, and also complex, ie also pertaining to the standard use:

    “Complexity measures arise whenever we assign numbers to degrees of complication. A reference class of possibilities will often admit varying degrees of complication, ranging from extremely simple to extremely complicated.” Wm. Dembski, “No Free Lunch”, page 141

    “It follows that information can be complex, specified or both. Information that is both complex and specified will be called complex specified information, or CSI for short.” Ibid 141-42

  73. 73
    Joe says:

    Bob OH:

    stochastic processes have both random & non-random components.

    That is your opinion and it is unsupportable.

  74. 74
    cantor says:

    13 Adapa November 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    What in the world is a “materialist” forum?

    .

    It’s where you go to get your head re-filled with mush after your blind materialist faith has been shaken here at UD.

  75. 75
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    No. Don’t confuse information with CSI.

    ok. Don’t confuse Shannon’s Measure of Information with information. Fair deal?

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