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 ...