Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At Mind Matters News: Can wholly random processes produce information?

Marks: We showed that in all cases, that yes, [design] was required, and that there’s mathematics behind it. The mathematics is based on the No Free Lunch Theorem, which was popularized in the IEEE transactions on evolutionary computing in 1997. There, David Wolpert and W. G. Macready showed something which astonished the area of genetic programming and evolutionary programming. Read More ›

Eric Holloway: Why is randomness a good model, but not a good explanation?

After all, he argues, random processes are used all the time to model things in science: When we test a sequence of numbers for randomness, we are essentially testing how easy it is to predict the sequence of numbers. One of the simplest tests is to measure how frequently heads and tails occur during a series of coin flips. If the distribution is heavily skewed one way or the other after a large number of flips, then we can be pretty certain the coin is not fair. We cannot be absolutely certain, since there is always a small probability for a really long run of heads, but as the run lengthens, the probability of achieving the run with a fair Read More ›

Rob Sheldon offers some comments on Karsten Pultz’s “Bicycle” ID thesis

Sheldon: "... in computer science, it is very difficult to make a random number generator. Successive runs of the code should not produce the same numbers. But most generators do." Read More ›

Karsten Pultz on why randomness depends on order

Pultz: Comparing to evolution, the randomness produced by the orderly dice, would be the same randomness having produced the dice itself, because that’s how evolution works, slowly building order by random events from the bottom up. Applying the same hypothetical process to bicycles the random event that I get a puncture when riding my bike would be the same type of event which initially created the bike. Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Randomness is not a scientific explanation

Eric Holloway: ... randomness is unprovable, which was proven by three different computer scientists: Ray Solomonoff, Andrey Kolmogorov and Gregory Chaitin. The only thing we can know is that something is not random. Hence, we can never know that something originated from randomness. Read More ›

Gregory Chaitin on true randomness

Chaitin: You see, with the normal coin tosses, actually every possible finite sequence of heads and tails in a sense is equally random, because they were all generated by tossing a fair coin. But some of them, all heads has a lot of structure, all tails have a lot of structure, alternating heads and tails have a lot of structure. I was looking at something that ignored how the sequence is generated and just looked at it and said, is there structure here or isn’t there? Read More ›

Chance vs. Randomness: Another theological dance in Darwin’s defense?

Pardon the suspicion but some of us remember sneery “science-splains” at theistic evolution sites as to how there is a huge difference between chance and randomness—which sounded exactly like some scuzz claiming that there is a huge difference between taking money to keep quiet about wrongdoing and a bribe. Read More ›

Responding to Moran – Is “Unguided” Part of Modern Evolutionary Theory?

I am always aghast that in the 21st century people still make the claim that mutations are unguided. This is a hold-over idea from before the discovery of DNA, simply because some mutations were found to occur independently of selection. However, modern evidence has showed that mutations are actually in large part due to mechanisms geared for adaptive purposes, just like the rest of biology. And, just like hearts have heart attacks, mutation systems can break down, too, and lead to disease. Just like bacteria, we discovered mutations first by noting the ones that were causing disease, but with every closer look we see that these are the exception rather than the rule. To point to a simple example (and Read More ›