Friday, February 12, 2016

Deconstructing Dembski (2005)


In his 2005 paper Specification: the pattern that signifies intelligence, William Dembski tries to give a rigorous definition to his concept of Complex Specified Information (CSI). This paper has numerous problems, the most painful of which is repeated equivocation of terms, making it very difficult to read. Once I got past the equivocation, I discovered basic errors in how probabilities are calculated and interpreted. One error in particular is very hard to swallow, and anyone with a basic understanding of probability should know better. Dembski has a master’s degree in statistics and a PhD in mathematics, therefore it is reasonable to think he knows better. How could he be so wrong?

Here's the spoiler, in case you don't care to read the whole post:

  • The concept of CSI in Dembski (2005) is based on a meaningless number, which is interpreted as probability even though it is not. As a consequence, CSI cannot have the meaning and interpretation stated. Dembski's math is wrong.
More after the fold ...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tomatoes, More Dangerous Than Ever!


image source
“We have suffered a Code 9 containment breach,” said head biotechnologist Stewart Klein, explaining that he had used a dedicated emergency line to contact Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis, which immediately sent back a directive ordering all laboratory personnel to shelter in place until further notice. “As of now, we’ve sealed off all stairwells below subbasement 12, but this hardy, disease-resistant tomato appears to have overridden all of our fail-safe backup protocols. We have an asset on the loose, and nobody will be allowed in or out until this thing is stopped.”
Full details on this breaking story available at The Onion, America's Finest News Source.

Also, Bonus Points it you caught the Andromeda Strain reference.  :-)