Dr. Liddle recently used my name specifically in a question here:

Chance and 500 coins: a challenge

Barry? Sal? William?

I would always like to stay on good terms with Dr. Liddle. She has shown great hospitality. The reason I don’t visit her website is the acrimony many of the participants have toward me. My absence there has nothing to do with her treatment of me, and in fact, one reason I was ever there in the first place was she was one of the few critics of ID that actually focused on what I said versus assailing me personally.

So, apologies in advance Dr. Liddle if I don’t respond to every question you field. It has nothing to do with you but lots to do with hatred obviously direct toward me by some of the people at your website.

I’ve enjoyed discussion about music and musical instruments.

Dr. Liddle asked I respond to this:

My problem with the IDists’ 500 coins question (if you saw 500 coins lying heads up, would you reject the hypothesis that they were fair coins, and had been fairly tossed?) is not that there is anything wrong with concluding that they were not. Indeed, faced with just 50 coins lying heads up, I’d reject that hypothesis with a great deal of confidence.

It’s the inference from that answer of mine is that if, as a “Darwinist” I am prepared to accept that a pattern can be indicative of something other than “chance” (exemplified by a fairly tossed fair coin) then I must logically also sign on to the idea that an Intelligent Agent (as the alternative to “Chance”) must inferrable from such a pattern.

This, I suggest, is profoundly fallacious.

First of all, it assumes that “Chance” is the “null hypothesis” here

No, I’m afraid it’s not. That is your representation of the ID procedure. That is not the way I’ve ever stated it, nor has any other ID proponent to my knowledge. There is no null (default) hypothesis in the Explantory Filter (EF).

You can reject a hypothesis after examination without ever making it the null hypothesis at the beginning of your inquiry. Just as I have done in my analysis of a system of 500 fair coins heads. In the 10 years I’ve defended ID, I’ve never assumed “chance” is the null hypothesis. The general assumption starting out is the system could be the result of:

1. chance

2. law

3. something not-chance and not-law

That is the EF. If anything, the null hypothesis is “anything is possible” which would be kind of useless null hypothesis. I’ve suggested “not chance” as a null, but that’s not exactly right either.

Further, the EF is not purely a statistical test, but a PHYSICAL test. That is, if we see the coins are two-headed, then we can reject #1 and #3 as causes. Most null hypothesis tests I see in literature are purely statistical as far as I know.

You are trying to frame the EF as purely statistical null hypothesis test, it’s not. It is not, or shall I say, it’s not the way I infer design.

Also, “it is useful to separate design from theories of intelligence and intelligent agency”. That means we can talk about design this in minimal terms of statistics without invoking ID. We can simply talk about systems of objects in terms of whether the configuration is the result of expected physical behaviors due to chance and law. The reasons I’ve adopted using the Law of Large numbers is it is a natural way of expressing physical behaviors in terms of expected or predicted outcomes. The original versions of CSI only implicitly capture this, and in order to appeal to intuitions I’ve framed elementary examples in terms of the Law of Large Numbers and expectation.

Finally, if something passes the EF, given Bill’s advice, it doesn’t necessarily logically imply that a conscious intelligence did it. That is a separate argument (obviously ID proponents will argue for intelligence on circumstantial grounds).

An intelligently designed machine may have created the system (like a coin sorting machine). ID proponents have defined design as “negation of chance and law”.

The principal advantage of characterizing design as the complement of regularity and chance is that it avoids committing itself to a doctrine of intelligent agency…Nevertheless, it is useful to separate design from theories of intelligence and intelligent agency.

Why would Bill do this? This simple definition of design is good enough to form a critique of OOL and evolutionary theories. I did not have to commit to a doctrine of intelligent agency, for example, to critique OOL using coin analogies:

Relevance of coin analogies to homochirality and symbolic organization

I hope you’ll forgive me for not responding to your questions more frequently, and I hope you’ll understand if I miss some of your future querries.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas Dr. Liddle and I hope you’ll spend some time with good music. I think when I visit my Mom for Christmas, I should perform lots of piano.