In February 2018, I wrote a comment at amazon for Dr. Robert J. Marks II’s, Dr. Dr. William A. Dembski’s, and Dr. Winston Ewert’s book Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics (1st Edition):
We are all waiting for the ultimate book on Intelligent Design, written by R. Marks and W. Dembski. Instead we get a “textbook”, another attempt to explain the concepts to laymen. I got the impression that the authors used this setting to avoid the necessary rigour: they just do not define terms like “search” which they use hundreds of times. This allows for a lot of hand-waving, like the following sentence on p. 174:
“We note, however, the choice of an algorithm along with its parameters and initialization imposes a probability distribution over the search space”
That unsubstantiated claim is essential for their following proofs on “The Search for a Search”!
And then there are details like this one:
p. 130: “For the Cracker Barrel puzzle [we got] an endogenous information of I = 7.15 bits”
p. 138: “We return now to the Cracker Barrel puzzle. We showed that the endogenous information […] is I = 7.4 bits”
I tried to solve this conundrum, but I came up with I = 7.8 bits. I contacted the authors, but got no reply.
I gave it a generous two stars. By chance, I looked up my link to my comment today, but I could not find my review – though it was up there for at least a couple of months. Does anyone know what has happened? Surely, The Three Doctores would not steep so low to eliminate unwanted critique!
The original mission of TSZ, as intended by the U.K.’s Dr. Elizabeth Liddle, who promoted the site to apostate peers & ‘skeptics,’ often at anti-religious online forums, lists & discussion boards, has passed its due date. She & they (many of the early people who joined) shared the experience in common of being ‘expelled’ (banned) from the IDist blog Uncommon Descent (UD) & to have their own sandbox to critique UD was the main mission of TSZ. There was no ‘inspirational’ core that Liddle offered upon departure from her own site, but returning to it in November to talk mainly about UD again could only be a fool’s errand.
My argument here is that UD is by now pretty much outdated. UD is generally seen as oddball &/or gutter-level IDist discussion, far adrift from serious conversation on the topic. It is shrinking in relevance now year on year. It thus isn’t really worth ‘reporting’ on or ‘opposing’ UD at TSZ anymore, though that IDist site was the early focus of TSZ & what brought many (most) of the early participants together. Is UD really worth time for ‘skeptics’ nowadays?
More importantly, the new blog Peaceful Science (PS) has recently surpassed BioLogos in terms of daily & hourly regular traffic & far outreaches the topics that UD used to breach. It has actual scientists, elderly or retired ‘science & religion/worldview’ people who contribute often a LOT, woolly protestants & ‘unitarian’ (or maybe just one who posts as much as 5 people), pedantic ‘natural theologians’, & S. Joshua Swamidass actually just called one person a ‘prophet’ as a welcome greeting. PS even ‘welcomes’ atheists (Swamidass has made it a point to defend Freedom From Religion Foundation proponent who is a self-described ‘militant atheist’ against multiple Christians) & agnostics & patiently fields all legitimate ‘scientific’ questions. Are you skeptical of ‘Peaceful Science’ and a ‘Science of Adam’ as proclaimed by quasi-creationists, ideology-starved geneticists & fence-sitting ‘reformers’?
For those interested in discussions of evolutionism, creationism, Intelligent Design as they impact science, philosophy and theology/worldview in society and education today, please find below a small piece of news.
In short, IDism isn’t really all that hard to counter. Most of you have done it here already countless times against IDists. As for me, I’m batting 100% against IDists in person and 99.5% against IDists online. Only Cameron Wybrow in Canada is the lone holdout. I have questions for every IDist that CSC’s John West would (not) ‘expel’ me for!
The DI is afraid of me because I saw it on the inside. But who could ever see the inside of quality, rigorous, ‘good science’ that is done ‘peacefully’, when there is no institutional centre currently available to hold such an abstract utopia, even better than IDism?
No, what is really difficult is to counter IDists who are actually TEists & ECists also at the same time. This combination is much more difficult than just arguing here with lowbrow IDists or mainly heterodox theists. And this, folks, is where you will find them: https://discourse.peacefulscience.org
Vincent J. Torley is already there and he has an offer to co-author his first scientific publication since his PhD with the site host. So it can’t be too hard to handle for TSZers since Vincent is now officially (yet?) a moderator at TSZ. So that’s a perfect introduction for you to show Peaceful Science what you think about their “Science of Adam.”
When the California-born & accented Dr. Swamidass gets the money, as he is already asking for at Peaceful Science, then let me assure the vast majority atheists here they had better be ready to buckle their belts in the North American “creation war” as Swamidass repeatedly calls it. Why? A recycled neologism known as “Genealogical Adam” is coming to a theatre near you & guess what: if your worldview doesn’t like it, then Swamidass cares. http://peacefulscience.org
Swamidass openly welcomes atheists at Peaceful Science. He even prefers them over thoughtful religious critics that don’t play ball his way, displaying why he was not long ago banned by Deborah Haarsma at BioLogos for refusing to bow to former BioLogos biology-lead and Haarsma’s current darling, Dennis Venema, who has blindly followed his Canadian counterpart Denis Lamoureux into becoming what Swamidass calls “no Adam Christians.” Let’s just say the evangelicals at BioLogos and Peaceful Science aren’t getting along right now and with the ASA meeting about to come up with “The Science of Adam” on the agenda, fireworks could result.
It’s almost as if ‘ideologically self-contradictory’ is something evangelical Protestants of the Swamidass, Venema, Lamoureux, BioLogos-variety deny they ever could be accused of themselves.
BioLogos banned Swamidass for claiming what IDist Ann Gauger did: “We could have come from two … A bottleneck of two [A&E] that is older than 500,000 years ago is possible … based on analysis of the genetic data”. What do the biological scientists here say about that?
So, Swamidass is busy preparing either a noble or an ignoble (depending on who you are) place in history by intentionally relativising Adam and Eve with Genealogical Adam. Will anyone ask him what his qualifications for becoming, finally in these previous @18 months, a ‘scientific genealogist’ as he is now claiming to be?
Go to this site, but ask him nicely. Atheists can be nice, good people about Adam and Eve most times too.
Search is a central term in the work of Dr. Dr. William Dembski jr, Dr. Winston Ewert, and Dr. Robert Marks II (DEM): it appears in the title of a couple of papers written by at least two of the authors, and it is mentioned hundreds of times in their textbook “Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics“. Strangely – and in difference from the other central term information, it is not defined in this textbook, and neither is search problem or search algorithm. Luckily, dozens of examples of searches are given. I took a closer look to find out what DEM see as the search problem in the “Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics” and how their model differs from those used by other mathematicians and scientists.
Yesterday, I looked again through “Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics”, when I spotted the Cracker Barrel puzzle in section 184.108.40.206 Endogenous information of the Cracker Barrel puzzle (p. 128). The rules of this variant of a triangular peg-solitaire are described in the text (or can be found at wikipedia’s article on the subject).
Yes, Tom English was right to warn us not to buy the book until the authors establish that their mathematical analysis of search applies to models of evolution.
But some of us have bought (or borrowed) the book nevertheless. As Denyse O’Leary said: It is surprisingly easy to read. I suppose she is right, as long as you do not try to follow their conclusions, but accept it as Gospel truth.
In the thread Who thinks Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics should be on your summer reading list? at Uncommon Descent, there is a list of endorsements – and I have to wonder if everyone who endorsed the book actually read it. “Rigorous and humorous”? Really?
Dembski, Marks, and Ewert will never explain how their work applies to models of evolution. But why not create at list of things which are problematic (or at least strange) with the book itself? Here is a start (partly copied from UD):