… with Mung. In a recent comment Mung asserted that
If Darwinists had to put up their hard earned money they would soon go broke and Darwinism would be long dead. I have a standing $10,000 challenge here at TSZ that no one has ever taken me up on.
Now, I don’t have $10,000 to bet on anything, but it is worth exploring what bet Mung was making. Perhaps a bet of a lower amount could be negotiated, so it is worth trying to figure out what the issue was.
Mung’s original challenge will be found here. It was in a thread in which I had proposed a bet of $100 that a Weasel program would do much better than random sampling. When people there started talking about whether enough money could be found to take Mung up on the bet, they assumed that it was a simple raising of the stake for my bet. But Mung said here:
You want to wager over something that was never in dispute?
Why not offer a meaningful wager?
So apparently Mung was offering a bet on something else.
I think I have a little insight on what was the “meaningful wager”, or at least on what issue. It would lead us to a rather extraordinary bet. Let me explain below the fold …
Mung accepted that Weasel programs reach their goal far faster than random sampling. However Mung also said (here) that
Weasel programs perform better than blind search because they are guided. I didn’t think the performance was in dispute, nor why the performance was better.
and elsewhere characterized Weasels as succeeding because of “intelligence” as opposed to ignorance.
So let’s imagine what might happen if we took Mung up on the $10,000 bet. We would bet that the Weasel would succeed, because of cumulative selection. Mung would bet that (because of “intelligence” or being “guided”) the Weasel would succeed. The stake would be held by a house of some sort, which would not take a commission.
The Weasel would be run. It would succeed. So the house would declare that we had all won. The stake would be given to the bettors, in proportion to their bets. But alas, no one actually bet against the Weasel. So the winnings would be zero. Everyone, Mung and the rest of us, would get their stake back, and that’s all.
To bet against Mung, we have to come up with some event that distinguishes cumulative selection from “intelligence” (or being “guided”). That seems to be the issue on which Mung was offering a $10,000 bet, and declaring (here) us all to be “pretender[s]” because we would not put up or shut up.
So there it is. We’re all betting on the same side, and no one will win or lose a penny. Unless Mung can come up with some test that distinguished “intelligence” or being “guided” from cumulative selection.
Now I am possibly misunderstanding what the bet actually would be. I hope that Mung will straighten us out on that, so that we can understand what test is proposed, and place our bets.