Paging Dr. Holloway!

TSZ member Eric Holloway is the latest rising star of the “Intelligent Design” movement. Such a meteoric rise is bound to attract attention and it has indeed caught the eye of veteran biologist Professor Joseph Felsentein who noticed a comment young Eric posted here at TSZ and remarks


Eric Holloway just made a dramatic announcement on The Skeptical Zone, in Dieb’s thread on the number of posts at the ID site Uncommon Descent. In this comment he concludes “At least in my personal interactions with people, it seems like ID has won the debate”.

Professor Felsenstein has a few questions for Eric and hopes he may find the time to respond. I’m just helping out in case Eric has missed Joe’s post at the Panda’s Thumb.

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114 thoughts on “Paging Dr. Holloway!

  1. Until this year, no one knew whether there existed integers a, b, and c such that

        \[a^3 + b^3 + c^3 = 33.\]

    Andrew Booker, a mathematician, devised an efficient algorithm to search for values of a, b, and c satisfying the equality. It would be preposterous to say that the solution itself resides in the algorithm. Only by expenditure of computational resources — time and space — in execution of Booker’s algorithm did we learn of a solution. What Booker knew was not a solution, but instead a means of reducing the computational cost of gaining information about possible solutions.

    By any reasonable account, execution of Booker’s algorithm yielded information that no one previously had. The execution required computational resources, not just the algorithm. Intuitively, execution of the algorithm is a conversion of computational resources into information. The conventional measure of Kolmogorov complexity (mangled by Holloway) does not capture this intuition, because it ignores resource utilization. A related measure called Levin complexity accounts for time, and furthermore has a famous application to analysis of universal search.

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  2. Holloway’s December post is incoherent. I hate seeing people worry over it. But I’d rather not discuss it just yet. Let’s give the editors and reviewers at Bio-Complexity a chance to embarrass themselves by approving Holloway’s errors for publication.

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  3. fifthmonarchyman: This is an anti-theist website.

    I am sorry to learn that you feel that way, and that this keeps you from speaking your mind. The thing about TSZ that appealed to me was its pleasant blend of people from various backgrounds, convictions and expertise, but I agree that the balance was never perfect.

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  4. Corneel: The thing about TSZ that appealed to me was its pleasant blend of people from various backgrounds, convictions and expertise,

    I agree,

    Corneel: I agree that the balance was never perfect.

    I agree with this also,

    What has changed is that theists had hope and a there was a vernier of fairness in the moderation. That vernier has been removed.

    I would appreciate any help you could give in this regard. Those in charge might listen to you

    peace

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  5. There is someone in the ID movement who takes due care with his math, and that is George D. Montañez. (I differ with George on interpretation, not the results he derives.)

    It is difficult to convey to the mathematically uninclined how very sloppy the likes of Eric Holloway and Winston Ewert are. Or, perhaps the difficult thing to convey is that the sloppiness is disqualifying. The general reader thinks, “What do the mathematical details matter, as long as he’s got the right idea?” Math is all about getting the details right, and if that’s not what you’re going to do, then you are wrong to put on a show of having mathematical justification for your claims.

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  6. Tom English: Math is all about getting the details right

    It’s too bad that this place is not conducive to that sort of exercise.

    It is a pretty good place to harangue and brush off any idea from a theist that you personally feel might be lacking in a detail here or there.

    peace

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  7. fifthmonarchyman: It’s too bad that this place is not conducive to that sort of exercise.

    Gee, I frequently enter mathematical expressions like I(x:y) = K(x) - K(x|y^*) + O(1) in the comments. The only problem is that the renderings cannot be quoted in other comments. That is annoying, but it’s not too terrible a limitation. I’ve had rigorous discussions of mathematical topics here.

    Why is it that you and Holloway never enter mathematical expressions in \LaTeX? Do you not know how? Are you simply too lazy?

    Confronted with my post “Evo-Info 4: Non-conservation of algorithmic specified complexity,” in which I gave a rigorous proof that algorithmic specified complexity is not conserved in the sense that algorithmic mutual information is conserved, Holloway whined about being expected to check my derivation. The fact of the matter is that he wasn’t able to handle “that sort of exercise.” There was no limitation of the forum standing in his way.

    fifthmonarchyman: It is a pretty good place to harangue and brush off any idea from a theist that you personally feel might be lacking in a detail here or there.

    I said that Holloway’s argument is incoherent, not that it is “lacking in a detail here or there.” Are you claiming now to have checked his argument, and found it to be correct, though missing some details?

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  8. Tom English: I said that Holloway’s argument is incoherent, not that it is “lacking in a detail here or there.”

    Make up your mind you just said that it was sloppy but the mathematically challenged would conclude that the “he’s got the right idea”. Are you saying that your vast math aptitude makes it more difficult to understand his argument?

    Tom English: Gee, I frequently enter mathematical expressions like I(x:y) = K(x) – K(x|y^*) + O(1) in the comments.

    Of course you can do that here as you are not a theist. You can concentrate on using detailed mathematical expressions correctly with out also having to worry about fighting off the mob. The other side does not have that luxury.

    peace

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  9. Tom English: Are you claiming now to have checked his argument, and found it to be correct, though missing some details?

    I’m not as qualified as you are to check someones homework.

    If you are looking for that level of expertise in your theist opponents you need to work on improving the moderation of the site. And perhaps your own approach here

    peace

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  10. fifthmonarchyman:

    It is a pretty good place to harangue and brush off any idea from a theist that you personally feel might be lacking in a detail here or there.

    FWIW, I’ve harangued atheists like Neil: see above in “inform” and also many posts at consciousness thread. I also question Petrushka and Alan F and Allan M (on BB, not biology!).

    The issue is not the worldview of the person putting forward the idea. The issue is the idea and how it is put forward.

    Putting forward an idea and having others reject it for good reason does not mean your idea is not getting a fair hearing.

    If you can defend your idea with clarity on definitions, premises, and assumptions, then do so. If not, don’t complain about posters who ask for these things. ETA: saying their reasons for rejection of your ideas are “personal” seems to me to be an excuse to avoid engaging with those reasons.

    If your idea depends on a theological presupposition, then don’t expect others who don’t accept that presupposition to accept your argument. You could still be right, of course, but you cannot expect others to accept your idea without convincing them to accept your presuppositions first.

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  11. Tom English: Confronted with my post “Evo-Info 4: Non-conservation of algorithmic specified complexity,” in which I gave a rigorous proof that algorithmic specified complexity is not conserved in the sense that algorithmic mutual information is conserved,

    Tom:
    I do not see where Eric uses ASC in his argument posted on his Dec 20 OP
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/mutual-algorithmic-information-information-non-growth-and-allele-frequency/

    I am not saying I agree with that argument or that the math is rigorous, only that it does not seem to directly involve ASC. Have I missed something?

    I do think Eric may have linked his ideas to ASC at PS or perhaps in others posts in TSZ. But not it seems in the Dec 20 thread.

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  12. BruceS: I’ve harangued atheists like Neil………

    The problem is not with you or the several other thoughtful “skeptics” here. It’s with the peanut gallery and their enablers.

    BruceS: Putting forward an idea and having others reject it for good reason does not mean your idea is not getting a fair hearing.

    I totally agree. I just wish this site allowed for more of the sort of give and take necessary for an idea to be explored and rejected for good reason

    BruceS: If you can defend your idea with clarity on definitions, premises, and assumptions, then do so.

    The request has been made for Holloway to do just that with his idea. Good luck getting him to respond here.

    In the mean time I offered a very general observation that should be uncontroversial (ie that algorithms don’t create information” I also offered an illustration to show why this is the case.

    As far as I can tell most folks here agree with my contention though not with the implications I draw.

    The exception would be Tom English who seems to think that just because no known human knew about a particular piece of information means that that information did not exist.

    BruceS: don’t complain about posters who ask for these things

    I’m definitely not complaining about posters who ask for anything. I’m explaining why folks feel it is often not worth the effort to give what is requested at this particular venue .

    peace

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