Questions for Eric Holloway…

… in regard to his article “Expected Algorithmic Specified Complexity”

Question 1. Is your definition of algorithmic specified complexity precisely equivalent to the definition given by Ewert, Dembski, and Marks in “Algorithmic Specified Complexity,”

(A)   \[ASC(x, C, p) = -\!\log_2 p(x) - K(x|C), \]

even though you write I(x) in place of -\!\log_2 p(x)?

Question 2. The identity I(x) = ASC(x, C, p) + K(x|C) follows from your definition of algorithmic specified complexity. Is the following extension of your inequality (43) correct?

    \begin{align*} f\!ASC(x, C, p, f) & < I(x) = ASC(x, C, p) + K(x|C) \end{align*}

Question 3. You refer to the upper bound on fASC as “conservation of complexity for ASC,” so you evidently regard fASC as algorithmic specified complexity (ASC). I observe that

    \begin{align*} & f\!ASC(x, C, p, f) & & \\ & \quad = I(f(x)) - K(f(x)|C) & & \text{[definition]}\\ & \quad = -\!\log_2 \Pr[f(\mathcal{X}) = f(x)] - K(f(x)|C) & & \text{[by definition (39)]}\\ & \quad = -\!\log_2 p_f(f(x)) - K(f(x)|C) & & [\text{notation: }f(\mathcal{X}) \sim p_f] \\ & \quad = ASC(f(x), C, p_f), & & \text{[by definition (A)]} \end{align*}

where p_f denotes the probability distribution of the random variable f(\mathcal{X}). Have I correctly expressed fASC as algorithmic specified complexity?

It follows from the foregoing that your “conservation of complexity” is equivalent to

    \begin{align*} ASC(f(x), C, p_f) & < ASC(x, C, p) + K(x|C). \\ \end{align*}

As explained in “The Old Switcheroo,” it is absurd to change from one ASC measure to another, and speak of conservation.

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17 thoughts on “Questions for Eric Holloway…

  1. EricMH on January 29, 2020 at 7:07 pm: I mostly comment here because I like the ego boost of ardent skeptics being unable to refute my ideas, especially in the case of Tom English.

    But when I posted a lengthy refutation, which indeed required great ardor, Eric Holloway declined to comment.

    EricMH on January 30, 2020 at 8:20 pm: I agree with J-Mac, very long, unclear article. Tom, can you provide a tl;dr that points out what my error is so I can respond to that?

    Eric has since commented a number of times on another thread. Here is a gem:

    EricMH on January 31, 2020 at 8:42 pm: At least in my own field of math and comp sci, I can explain what I understand, pretty decently, I think, and I’m not going to fly off the handle if someone misunderstands. I can patiently break things down for them (if they have the patience, too).

    So Eric Holloway has the patience to explain math, presenting himself as an expert, but does not have the patience to read a detailed critique of his own math. Well, let him explain to me now why the answer to one of my three simple questions is “no.”

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  2. Tom English: But when I posted a lengthy refutation, which indeed required great ardor, Eric Holloway declined to comment.

    Eric has since commented a number of times on another thread. Here is a gem:

    So Eric Holloway has the patience to explain math, presenting himself as an expert, but does not have the patience to read a detailed critique of his own math. Well, let him explain to me now why the answer to one of my three simple questions is “no.”

    Eric has asked you on many occasions to submit an official paper to biocomplexity, has he not?

    If you are so certain your math is correct, what are you afraid of?

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  3. J-Mac,

    Eric Holloway has an ethical obligation to submit errata to Bio-Complexity when he is aware of errors in his article. Trying to shift the burden of submission to me is itself unethical.

    You will find here a case in which some ID creationists, including the editor-in-chief of Bio-Complexity, attached an entire page of errata to a paper of theirs, in response to errors that I identified on my personal blog. They replaced five plots in the paper. (In fact, I diagnosed precisely the error they had made in processing the data that they plotted.) Interestingly, Eric Holloway recently referred to this paper. But rather than link to the freely available version containing the statement of errata, at the website of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, he linked to a pay-to-view version without the errata. But surely that was merely an oversight on his part, for Eric is an honorable man.

    I will point out, also, that Eric Holloway has benefitted from research that I have published on this blog. It was I, not any ID creationist, who discovered work by A. Milosavljecvic from 25 years ago that is quite similar to some published applications of algorithmic specified complexity. My discussion of Milosavljecvic comes toward the end of a long post, Evo-Info 4, that contains more math than does “The Old Switcheroo.” Eric Holloway happily benefits from that long post. But now, when a post identifies errors in an article of his, he claims that he does not have time to read it. If you do not see that as scoundrelous, then there is something more wrong with you than I had thought.

    ETA: Nemati and Holloway have violated scholarly norms by drawing from my post “Evo-Info 4: Non-Conservation of Algorithmic Specified Complexity” without citing it.

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  4. Tom English: Eric Holloway has an ethical obligation to submit errata to Bio-Complexity when he is aware of errors in his article. Trying to shift the burden of submission to me is itself unethical.

    That is true. I agree.

    Tom English: You will find here a case in which some ID creationists, including the editor-in-chief of Bio-Complexity, attached an entire page of errata to a paper of theirs, in response to errors that I identified on my personal blog. They replaced five plots in the paper. (In fact, I diagnosed precisely the error they had made in processing the data that they plotted.) Interestingly, Eric Holloway recently referred to this paper. But rather than link to the freely available version containing the statement of errata, at the website of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, he linked to a pay-to-view version without the errata. But surely that was merely an oversight on his part, for Eric is an honorable man.

    This is a serious accusation…
    I hope Eric responds to this particular case.

    Tom English: I will point out, also, that Eric Holloway has benefitted from research that I have published on this blog. It was I, not any ID creationist, who discovered work by A. Milosavljecvic from 25 years ago that is quite similar to some published applications of algorithmic specified complexity. My discussion of Milosavljecvic comes toward the end of a long post, Evo-Info 4, that contains more math than “The Old Switcheroo.” Eric Holloway happily benefits from that long post. But now, when a post identifies errors in an article of his, he claims that he does not have time to read it. If you do not see that as scoundrelous, then there is something more wrong with you than I had thought.

    So, you would like to get credit for someone’s else’s work, Milosavljecvic’s, but you don’t want Eric to do same?
    If I am Milosavljecvic, whom should I go after? You? Eric? Or both?

    Aren’t you being hypocritical here?

    Tom English: ETA: Nemati and Holloway have violated scholarly norms by drawing from my post “Evo-Info 4: Non-Conservation of Algorithmic Specified Complexity” without citing it.

    Is it also Milosavljecvic’s?

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  5. I’m happy to update errata, e.g. I’ll make sure the paper refers to the particular post where you first present your argument. If that’s all you are pointing out, I’ll get to it eventually.

    My impression from all the hoopla is that you believe you’ve identified some fundamental error in the paper that would render it null and void. That, in my opinion, is deserving of a submission to Bio-C. We reserve DOIs specifically for this purpose.

    But, if you are just unhappy with the notation and other minor issues, we can compile and list, and eventually the article will get updated. I also don’t know why you get so uptight and act like the world is ending over merely notational problems.

    I don’t consider the Milosavljecvic paper to be all that significant. I included the reference in a sense out of respect for your work in digging it up, but I am happy to drop it. The really important theoretician in this regard is Leonid Levin, who has much more fundamental work on randomness deficiency, and that is entirely my own research that I draw on.

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  6. J-Mac: This is a serious accusation…
    I hope Eric responds to this particular case.

    Not quite sure which paper this is, but I usually just type a paper title into Google Scholar, and then post the first free to view link I see. Sometimes it’s from IEEE or sometimes Dr. Marks site, but each time I make sure I can access the PDF before I post the link.

    As in most cases, best to assume incompetence and laziness rather than malicious intent. That is most likely what happened here. I am unaware of what papers have been updated with errata, and which version is the latest.

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  7. EricMH: I’m happy to update errata, e.g. I’ll make sure the paper refers to the particular post where you first present your argument. If that’s all you are pointing out, I’ll get to it eventually.

    It seems, Tom’s impression is that you either deliberately, or reluctantly, avoid to update errata… I hope it’s not both.

    EricMH: My impression from all the hoopla is that you believe you’ve identified some fundamental error in the paper that would render it null and void. That, in my opinion, is deserving of a submission to Bio-C. We reserve DOIs specifically for this purpose.

    This is a valid point. To use Tom’s words, it is an ethical obligation, in a sense…

    EricMH: But, if you are just unhappy with the notation and other minor issues, we can compile and list, and eventually the article will get updated. I also don’t know why you get so uptight and act like the world is ending over merely notational problems.

    As mentioned earlier, it seems it is more than you are not just getting around to it…
    Tom’s frustration could be misread by you as hoopla of some sort…

    EricMH: I don’t consider the Milosavljecvic paper to be all that significant. I included the reference in a sense out of respect for your work in digging it up, but I am happy to drop it.

    So, you used Milosavljecvic’s paper but you also credited Tom for it?
    Please clarify.

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  8. EricMH: Not quite sure which paper this is, but I usually just type a paper title into Google Scholar, and then post the first free to view link I see. Sometimes it’s from IEEE or sometimes Dr. Marks site, but each time I make sure I can access the PDF before I post the link.

    Should be clarified to the satisfaction of both, in my view….

    EricMH: As in most cases, best to assume incompetence and laziness rather than malicious intent.

    Sure, but it’s easier said than done, especially when someone else’s piece of hard work is on the line…

    EricMH: That is most likely what happened here.

    Still, you should make sure your work is clear from any legitimate accusations.
    You are a member of the Discovery Institute, so you represent ID.
    Sloppiness is not a trait you’d like to place on your curriculum vitae…

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  9. J-Mac:
    So, you would like to get credit for someone’s else’s work, Milosavljecvic’s, but you don’t want Eric to do same?
    If I am Milosavljecvic, whom should I go after? You? Eric? Or both?

    Aren’t you being hypocritical here?

    Is it also Milosavljecvic’s?

    Maybe I’m not following here, but it sounds like Tom cited and discussed Milosavljecvic’s work. This is generally what happens when someone’s work is cited. If I should quote something you wrote (As I just did), how would I be “taking credit” for your post?

    All Tom claimed here is that he discovered a similarity between two publications, and discussed it. Where, exactly, is he taking credit for anything not his own?

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  10. Flint: Maybe I’m not following here, but it sounds like Tom cited and discussed Milosavljecvic’s work. This is generally what happens when someone’s work is cited. If I should quote something you wrote (As I just did), how would I be “taking credit” for your post?

    I don’t think this is what Tom is claiming…

    Tom English: “I will point out, also, that Eric Holloway has benefitted from research that I have published on this blog. It was I, not any ID creationist, who discovered work by A. Milosavljecvic from 25 years ago that is quite similar to some published applications of algorithmic specified complexity.

    If in fact he does, it would be unreasonable…

    Watson and Crick discovered the double helical structure of DNA. Almost everyone knows Watson and Crick benifited from the work of many scientists into DNA, dating back to 1870.

    Should the Nobel Prize gone Miescher who first identified DNA?

    Flint: All Tom claimed here is that he discovered a similarity between two publications, and discussed it. Where, exactly, is he taking credit for anything not his own?

    I’m just as puzzled as you are…So is Eric, I think…

    Personally, I’d like this issue to be clarified, so that all parties involved can move on.

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  11. Tom: Thanks for these posts which had some interesting ideas. I’ve got a few questions, but I’ve stayed away from posting them to leave room for you and Eric to have a dialog on your posts.

    I will wait a couple of more days before posting to see if that happens.

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  12. Tom English:
    EricMH,

    EricMH,

    I’ve asked you three questions. Will you, or will you not, answer them?

    Why don’t you clarify some of the issues raised by other commentators first?
    Otherwise, it’s going to be cat and mouse game all over again… Eric probably thinks that too…

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  13. EricMH: My impression from all the hoopla is that you believe you’ve identified some fundamental error in the paper that would render it null and void.

    Your impression? Hoopla? You know perfectly well that the opening post of this thread is not hoopla. You know perfectly well that the OP ends with a relation of two different measures of algorithmic specified complexity, along with an observation that characterizing the relation as “conservation of complexity for ASC” is absurd. You know perfectly well that I am addressing Section 4, not the entire article.

    Having learned from Section 4.1 that you are much worse at math than I ever would have supposed, I have made the questions in the OP as simple as possible. I believe that the questions are on a level that you can handle. If you answer yes to all of them, as you should, then you will have reached the conclusion that the inequality at the end of the OP is precisely equivalent to the inequality that you and Nemati refer to as “conservation of complexity for ASC.”

    I surmise that you understand now that Section 4, “Conservation Bounds,” actually has nothing to do with conservation of a quantity of algorithmic specified complexity in a process. That is, when a process is modeled by the function f, you apply a different ASC measure to the “output” f(x) of the process than to the “input” x of the process. It is absurd to say that the quantity of ASC at the outset is conserved in the process, and then measure ASC differently at the end of the process.

    EricMH: I’m happy to update errata, e.g. I’ll make sure the paper refers to the particular post where you first present your argument. If that’s all you are pointing out, I’ll get to it eventually.

    EricMH: But, if you are just unhappy with the notation and other minor issues, we can compile and list, and eventually the article will get updated. I also don’t know why you get so uptight and act like the world is ending over merely notational problems.

    Rather than respond to the opening post, you put in my mouth objections that are the opposite of those I have expressed.

    ETA: As best I can tell, there presently are no errata at Bio-Complexity to be updated. It would be very wrong for you to update the article itself.

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  14. Tom, to Eric:

    I’ve asked you three questions. Will you, or will you not, answer them?

    Eric?

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  15. Eric Holloway:

    There is no trick whatsoever in the questions I’ve posed. I have told you what conclusion follows from answers of yes to all three of them.

    I continue to check on this thread four or five times a day, to see if you have responded.

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