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What is Intelligence?

In a previous UD discussion I started about incompleteness I made the following affirmation: intelligence and life are not computable. A commenter kindly asked me to provide justifications for my claim. Since at UD usually I try to separate different topics in different discussions, to be more focused and reader-friendly as possible, so here is my answer in a dedicated thread. My answer unavoidably implies to investigate first what intelligence is then what life is (given the latter is an effect and the former is its cause).

A premise: intelligent design theory (IDT) per se doesn’t deal with the deep nature of intelligence or the designer. For what matters in IDT intelligence and designer can be considered as source of information. All basic results of this theory hold true when in its statements we substitute “intelligence” or “designer” or “intelligent cause” with “source of information”. This makes sense because the job of IDT is limited to investigate the signs or outputs (CSI, IC …) evidencing the inputs provided by information sources. In a sense IDT focuses on effects rather than the ultimate meaning of their cause. Despite that here I will try briefly to address something of the nature of intelligence, to satisfy the commenter’s request of explanations.

Countless definitions of intelligence were provided by philosophers and scientists according to different points of view. This very fact is sign that intelligence is complex, multi-faced and controversial topic. It’s likely any of those definitions contains some truth. However among them the pragmatic definitions cover its lower aspects only. In fact to consider intelligence as a mere tool to solve practical problems means to limit the power of intelligence to the material world and lower its ontological status to modest dimensions. We will see below that quite different appears the rank of intelligence when the problem of knowledge in its highest sense is considered. On the ground of narrow pragmatism even there may be no particular controversy between an IDer and a Darwinist. An IDer can well agree with the definitions provided by evolutionists, for example, this one by Stephen Jay Gould (“The Mismeasure of Man”): “Intelligence is the ability to face [and solve] problems in an unprogrammed creative manner”. Gould also rightly added that intelligence cannot be adequately measured (causing the ire of many psychologists). Gould’s remarks about intelligence’s unprogrammability and unmeasurability might also be in relation to the previous UD post I referenced at the beginning and in a sense agree with the thesis I am going to defend here, given the relations between the concepts of measure and computation.

Before to examine a couple of definitions of intelligence I will discuss here I must clarify what I mean for computation in this context: a deterministic finite series of instructions or operations sequentially applied to a finite set of objects. Given this definition, a computation is a mechanistic process that a machine can work out. In computability theory the archetype of such machine is the so-called Turing machine (TM).

Intelligence as generator of what is incomputable

IDT shows that CSI cannot be generated by chance and necessity (randomness and laws). An algorithm (which is a generalization of law) can output only what is computable and CSI is not. The concept of intelligence as “generator of CSI” can be generalized as “generator of what is incomputable”. Obviously, needless to say, intelligence eventually can generate also what is computable (in fact what can do more can do less). Intelligence can work as a machine but a machine cannot work as intelligence. Between the two there is a non invertible relation. This is the reason why intelligence designs machines and the inverse is impossible. To consider intelligence as “generator of what is incomputable” makes sense because we know that intelligence is able for instance to develop math. Metamathematics (Gödel theorems) states that math is in general incomputable. It establishes limits to the mechanistic deducibility but doesn’t establish limits to the intelligence and creativity of mathematicians.

Now it’s straightforward to see that the generator of what is incomputable is incomputable. Let’s hypothesize that it is computable, i.e. can be generated by a TM. If this TM can generate it and in turn it can generate what is incomputable then, given that an output of an output is an output, this TM could compute what is incomputable and this is a contradiction. Since we get a contradiction the premise is untrue, then intelligence is not computable.

The Infinite Information Source (IIS)

Now let’s pass to another more demanding but more deep perspective on our topic: intelligence as interface or link between any intelligent being and what we could call the “Infinite Information Source”. IIS is an aspect of the Metaphysical Infinity (or Total Possibility) that contains all and then contains all information too. Outside IIS there is no information because there is nothing at all. The existence of the IIS is a logical inference. In fact it is common evidence that intelligent beings (humans) routinely produce new information. This production is not creation from nothingness because from nothingness nothing comes, then this information must come from a higher source than the intelligent beings themselves. In a sense never there is new information. Besides we know from our repeated experience that intelligent beings share common information (in two senses: as information they contain inside themselves and as information they know). This proves that intelligent beings share the same higher source of information.

It remains to show that this higher source (say it S) is the IIS. The demonstration is for absurdum:

(1) Let’s hypothesize that S is finite. With “finite” I mean non Infinite (i.e. “non containing all information”). As such S is different from IIS.
(2) Since S is finite let’s consider its complement set ~S containing all information not belonging to S. Obviously ~S is included into IIS.
(3) S and ~S are disjoint sets for definition.
(4) Now consider an information ‘a’ of S and an information ‘b’ of ~S.
(5) If a and b are information, also c = (a AND b) is information.
(6) The question is: c belongs to S or ~S? It cannot belong to both because they are disjoint sets.
(7) Let’s hypothesize c belongs to S. Then S contains ‘b’, contrary to #4. Then this hypothesis is untrue.
(8) From #7 we have that c must belong to ~S. Then ~S contains ‘a’, contrary to #4. Also this hypothesis is untrue.
(9) Since we have obtained a contradiction the premise #1 is false. S is IIS.

At this point we have three basic elements in the scenario: the IIS, the being and what connects them (the channel through which information passes from the former to the latter, like a stream from a source to a sink). A classic symbolism that can help to understand their relation is the Sun that creates an image on the surface of water. The Sun is the IIS, the image is the intelligent living being and the beam connecting the Sun to its image is the channel (over-individual intellect). As the Sun is the cause of its image on water (which wouldn’t exist without it) the IIS is the cause of the intelligent living being. In particular, the intersection of the beam with the plane of our layer of existence, causes at the center of the human state the arise of human soul or psyche (with all its faculties: mind, reason, consciousness, thought, free will, emotions, sentiments …). The intersections of the beam with the center of other layers of existence cause different faculties of knowledge to other non human beings. The vertical hierarchical stack of all parallel planes represents symbolically all multiple states of being. The physical body is only the last by-product, the final unproductive production in the causality chain from IIS to matter. Warning: here the Sun is only a symbol for the knowledge’s source (traditionally light was always symbol of knowledge); obviously intelligence doesn’t really come from the physical Sun and soul is not a reverberation upon physical water. I say this because in a previous discussion about thermodynamics I defended the obvious position that the Sun does not send us information, rather energy only.

IIS is eminently incomputable because it is even un-derivable from any system (and all what comes from the development of its potentialities). In fact any system F leaves outside all what is “non F”. IIS leaves outside nothing then IIS is in principle absolutely unachievable by any systematization. Continuing the Sun’s symbolism, as the beam’s light is not really different from the source’s light, so also intelligence participates of the incomputability of IIS.

The above proof evidences also another only-seemingly odd thing: the IIS is not properly composed of parts because when we, for hypothesis, divide it into parts we obtain contradictions. It is our analytic reason that divides IIS in parts, which really don’t exist distinctively in IIS because it is eminently synthetic. IIS is essentially indivisible, and this necessarily excludes any composition and entails the absolute impossibility to be conceived as composed of parts. IIS is an aspect of the Absolute and the Absolute cannot have relations whatsoever with the relative. Since IIS really has no parts, also the link and the linked being are only apparently its “parts” and at the very end are the IIS itself. As such they directly participate of the incomputability of IIS. Again we have got the same deduction.

The same conclusion is got from yet another point of view. Let’s suppose that we find a finite process outputting intelligence. At this point nobody can a priori avoid or exclude that, through its link to IIS, intelligence receives some data that the finite process is unable to output. One can express this situation by saying that intelligence is “open” to Infinity, while, to be computable, a thing must be “closed”. Its “opening” makes intelligence virtually infinite. This is only another way to state the fundamental principle of “universal intelligibility” that sounds: there is nothing of really unknowable, all things are in principle knowable. Of course there may be countless things actually unknown to an intelligent being. But this is only a de facto temporary situation not an in principio definitive destiny. Thus we see that, as I noted above, intelligence is something far more powerful and higher than a simple tool for solving practical problems, because virtually can know all. Since intelligence is virtually the knower of all what is incomputable, in turn it cannot be computable because the knower cannot be lower in rank than the known.

Given we are dealing with universal intelligibility it is necessary to clear a possible misunderstanding. To avoid it we must carefully distinguish reason and intellect. This distinction, which was well clear to most ancient philosophers, was lost at the arise of rationalism and humanism in the modern era. As someone said: “it was reason to betray intellect”. The first product of rationalism in the scientific field was Cartesian mechanicism, which is in relation with computability I deny here when applied to intelligence and life. Reason is merely an individual human faculty. It is a discursive indirect form of analytical knowledge that takes as support logic and argumentative tools. Reason cannot be universalized as is. Quite differently intellect is a higher universal faculty of direct synthetic knowledge pertaining to all states of being. This explains because with the arise of rationalism and humanism the knowledge of universal principles (as the Metaphysical Infinity) was lost: what is universal can be known only by a universal faculty. Reason is only the lower individual part of intelligence (the horizontal image), while intellect is its higher over-individual part (the vertical beam). Intellect is over-rational. Warning: over-rational is not at all irrational as some believe! The universal intelligibility makes sense only when addressed by intellect. If we remain on the plane of human reason, there is no universal intelligibility. In other words it is not reason to be omniscient and there is no such thing as universal reasonability.

The key point to focus is that all the above definitions of intelligence agree and support each other. They are consistent because represent different viewpoints of the same reality. Hence also the respective demonstrations of incomputability show the same impossibility seen from different perspectives. The above argument has corollaries. The incomputability of intelligence and its non mechanistic nature debunks once and for all any illusion of the so-called Artificial Intelligence to create real intelligence. The IIS can be considered an aspect (expressed in term of information) of the Universal Intelligence or Divine Intellect and since it is also the Source of the universe, which is a design, the symbolism of the Great Designer can be applied to it.

Life as carrier of intelligence

Now let’s consider life (specifically life of conscious living beings) and give of it the following definition: the physical carrier or support of intelligence, what allows intelligence to manifest and operate on the physical plane. If the carrier (living soul and body) were mechanistic only they could not adequately express intelligence, which is not mechanistic. It is a claim of IDT that physical signs manifest the non physical nature of intelligence. These signs (CSI, IC, etc.) are non mechanistic and what displays such signs cannot be mechanistic too. Living soul and body display such signs and then we can conclude that life is non mechanistic.

To illustrate with an example the concept, let’s consider a clear manifestation of intelligence in a living being: language. Also Noam Chomsky admits that language is structural and hardwired in its physical carrier, the brain. Language is not mechanistic: the high expressions of literature cannot be created by a machine. The classic objection of materialists to this claim is: also machines can output literature works. Machines can output texts (strings of characters), but their outputs fully lack meaning and indeed this proves that they are not true manifestation of intelligence (which is the only source of meanings). For instance, when a writer writes the four-chars word “love” he has in mind all the meanings of the idea, instead when a machine writes “love” it has nothing in mind for the simple fact that it has no mind. And here what stays in the “background” (the semantic) is more important and essential of what stays in the “foreground” (the syntax), so to speak. Moreover if a machine writes “love” it is because was programmed to do so, not because it wanted that (as a human writer does). Just a curiosity: an ancient Hebrew legend speaks of the Golem, a sort of automaton that they say Cabalists were able to vitalize by mean of esoteric rituals. The Golem was able to simulate a living being (a robot ante litteram) but it wasn’t able to speak because language is an advanced ability that only real intelligent living beings have.

Of course all that I have written here is light-years from the materialist and reductionist Darwin’s idea of “thought, being a secretion of the brain”. Modern evolutionists believe to be more sophisticated saying that “thought is emergent property of the brain”. But if we examine it their claim is not more explicative. In fact emergent properties involving information (and mind eminently implies information) don’t spontaneously “emerge” from the bottom like a secretion (as they think) but come from the top, from an intelligent source. About this topic see my previous post on emergence.

To sum up about intelligence (like many other things) we are before two diametrically opposite worldviews: the ID non materialist and the materialist (with all its consequence, evolutionism included). The former is a top-down worldview while the latter is a bottom-up approach. Non materialism states that matter itself comes from information. Materialism, at the very end, denying any higher principle than matter, believes that information arose from matter. These two opposite worldviews cannot be both true. I hope these brief notes may help some to know which of them is on the side of truth.

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97 Responses to What is Intelligence?

  1. So do humans have intelligence? If so you are implying that it must be part of the IIS because the IIS is indivisible. Therefore if humans have intelligence and the IIS is God, then humans and God are all literally one.

    I have been sort of using the following definition of intelligence on my own:

    Intelligence is that which can arrive at correct computations without requiring the computational resources necessary for a random search to succeed.

    This means that programs like search algorithms can be intelligent. This also means that intelligence is computable if you can compute the probabilistic resources required for a random search to succeed, and also have an intelligent entity that has arrived at the correct result without those probabilistic resources.

    However, I agree with you that intelligence and reason are not necessarily the same thing. Reason requires true premises to reach a true conclusion. Intelligence is what helps you determine whether your premises and conclusions are true or not.

    For instance I could use valid reasoning with true/false premises to reach a respectively true/false conclusion. But how would I know whether the premises/conclusions are true or not? Most atheists believe in free will and morality, yet their belief system does not logically entail such beliefs. Yet they still have those beliefs. This, IMO, is evidence that they have intelligence that causes them to deny the conclusions of reason.

  2. This also means that intelligence is computable if you can compute the probabilistic resources required for a random search to succeed, and also have an intelligent entity that has arrived at the correct result without those probabilistic resources.

    This is not necessarily a contradiction of your claim that intelligence is not computable. The only conclusion one could draw from a computation like this is that intelligence is at least as powerful as the calculated value.

  3. I say this because in a previous discussion about thermodynamics I defended the obvious position that the Sun does not send us information, rather energy only.

    That is correct. The output of te sun is relatively constant. It is the rotation of the Earth and its axial tilt that creates the information! ;)

  4. Nakasima,

    The sun does give information notwithstanding it being constant. It is merely unspecified (I think).

  5. Information in what sense?

    The way it is discussed here it begins to sound like some all-pervasive ether. It is found in genes, in the Sun’s radiation, the environment, in snowflakes, in fact you begin to wonder if there is anywhere we don’t find this mysterious stuff called information.

    Are we going the John Wheeler route and claiming everything is information? In that case, what use is it as an explanatory concept?

    A dendrochronologist can extract a great deal of information from tree rings. Some one who knows nothing about trees will see the rings but they will learn nothing more.

    Is the information in the rings or is it created in the mind of the trained observer when the sensory data is impressed on his neural circuitry?

  6. In being very new to the world of studying life and such, i am curious what the difference is between creationism and naturalism? can some one shed some light for me.

    thanks

  7. Creationism has many different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used.

    Broadly speaking, it could be conceived of as the view that there exists a Being who cannot not exist (a necessary being) and that this Being is the ultimate cause of all that does exist, including our universe and everything in it.

    Narrowly conceived, creationism is the view that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob brought into being the present heavens and earth and all it’s living organisms roughly 6000 years ago.

    I find naturalism incoherent, so I would have a hard time explaining it. I guess you could say it’s a denial of creationism, however creationism is conceived.

  8. “Information in what sense?”

    The way the entire biology community discusses it. Oh, I am sure you will find an occasional person in biology questioning it but it pervades biology. So I would ask some biology Ph.D.’s how they use it and it will be the same way that ID uses it.

  9. If anyone really wants to pursue the different uses of information, and there are many, then they should listen to a Berkeley course on the history of Information. You can access this course through Itunes or through the Berkeley website.

    The course is given by the “I” Department or Information Department at Berkeley which once had its origins in Library Science but now includes members from several disciplines such as engineering, computers, history, law, etc.

    One of the claims is that the average daily edition of the New York Times contains more information then what a person who lived in the 17th century would be exposed to in their entire life time. Now how would you measure that?

  10. I find naturalism incoherent, so I would have a hard time explaining it. I guess you could say it’s a denial of creationism, however creationism is conceived.

    What’s incoherent about “Methodological naturalism can mean simply that science is to be done without reference to supernatural causes.”? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism)

  11. Isn’t information just another of man’s inventions; a concept enabling reference to subjective subjects?

    Isn’t information processing what is going on in our intestine? Structures detecting other structures and acting accordingly, i.e. digestion? A fox detecting a rabbit? No information there, just a concept made by a combination of physical and chemical activities: Rabbit movement, fox chemistry.

  12. Intelligence is that which can create counteflow.

    Cabal,

    ID does not require the supernatural.

    The issue is can all we observe be reduced to matter, energy, chance and necessity?

    And is saying that the laws that govern this physical, observable universe “just are the way they are” (Hawking), really a sound scientific explanation?

    Or is there a goal/ purpose?

  13. 13

    Cabal,

    What is, and is not, “reference to a supernatural causation”?

  14. niwrad, I believe that your misunderstanding of the concepts you employ is so fundamental that your arguments never get out of the starting gate. I won’t keep trying to convince you of that, but I’m curious about something:

    An algorithm (which is a generalization of law) can output only what is computable and CSI is not.

    Do you know of any other ID proponent who makes the very significant claim that CSI is non-computable?

  15. 15

    CSI above 500-1000 bits is claimed to be “non-computable” in the sense that it cannot be “computed” from the known resources of the universe acting according to know physical laws, chance, and the predilections of material (chemical) bonding and interaction.

    If the known resources of the entire universe are incapable of computing the CSI of my post here, then CSI can be stated as being “non-computable”; it must come from some apparently infinite source of information far beyond what is computable by any mechanistic means.

  16. R0b #14

    Do you know of any other ID proponent who makes the very significant claim that CSI is non-computable?

    William J. Murray in #15 has just explained very well why CSI is non-computable. The universe can be considered as a giant computer. The physical-chemical laws are the instructions this computer runs. ID theory states that these computations are unable to output the CSI found in nature. An additional information source was necessary to produce it. Any ID proponent agrees on that.

    I believe that your misunderstanding of the concepts you employ is so fundamental that your arguments never get out of the starting gate. I won’t keep trying to convince you of that.

    May be you don’t convince me but eventually you might convince other more skilled persons. Fundamental misunderstanding of concepts is serious thing and who knows better should help to understand. Why don’t you try?

  17. William, lest we think that niwrad is using a custom definition of computation, he told us that he’s using the standard definition:

    Before to examine a couple of definitions of intelligence I will discuss here I must clarify what I mean for computation in this context: a deterministic finite series of instructions or operations sequentially applied to a finite set of objects. Given this definition, a computation is a mechanistic process that a machine can work out. In computability theory the archetype of such machine is the so-called Turing machine (TM).

    The resources relevant to CSI are probabilistic. How are probabilistic resources relevant to deterministic computation?

  18. 18

    niwrad at 16,

    ID theory states that these computations are unable to output the CSI found in nature.

    Please excuse me for asking a somewhat tangential question, but it sounds like you can answer it for me. I’ve read as much material as I can find regarding CSI, but I haven’t yet seen an actual calculation of the CSI in a real biological system. Can you point me to an example of such?

  19. niwrad:

    The universe can be considered as a giant computer. The physical-chemical laws are the instructions this computer runs.

    You seem to be conflating the limitations of Turing machines with the limitations of nature in our universe. The definition of computation that you gave says nothing about physical nature.

    May be you don’t convince me but eventually you might convince other more skilled persons. Fundamental misunderstanding of concepts is serious thing and who knows better should help to understand. Why don’t you try?

    We’ve both spilled a lot of pixels trying to convince each other. If anyone, skilled or not, disagrees with anything I’ve said in my discussions with you, I’ll gladly try to defend my position to them.

  20. First of all I personally submit that computability is actually a “synthetic action” or system of synthetic judgment to begin with- hence “no thing” is actually computable – we can however compute “about” things which he know enough about to have mathematical intuitions and formal methematical representations of.

    “Life” is a mysterious thing to begin with- as scientists and philosopher have trouble even agreeing on a definition of what life is. So it is a non sequitter to begin with discussions of whether life is or is not computable.

    What Gödel showed with his incompleteness theorems in his own words was that either there exist mathematical questions that cannot be answered or contained in formal systems- Or that the mind is more than a machine.

    Well this automatically ties the question of the computability of life and of consciousness or mind together- vis-vie – face to face.

    If mind itself is not a machine- then so much for computability- and if the mind is not computable than it is possible that we know and think of things pertaining to “life” and life forms which too are beyond computability.

    This is to say that life is computable only so far as it is quantitative or quantifiable (and possibly not even that far but conceded)- but as far as life is qualitative it is not necessarily computable at all.

    the best example is of universe regress and progress – that is dealing with the infinite nature of mathematics- which leads to the question of ultimate cause and ultimate ends-

    As Cantor riddled many into insanity (himself included) with his continuum hypothesis he also confined mathematics and mathematical theory (set theory) as a whole into the institution of mere practicality.

    The point is life and mind cannot be confined to mathematics- and hence not to computability- because mathematics itself is only a synthetic system as Kant showed- used for practical hypothesis and reasoning – and synthetic judgments are never as sound as analytical judgments and intuitions – like the existence of the color blue we see in the sky- which is manifestly more true than any mathematical speculative theorem- inherently incomplete.

    Asking “what is intelligence” is like asking “what is the color blue?” Outside of speculative mathematical boundaries, generalizations and ranges and theories- nothing can suffice for the phenomenological experience we have when we just intuitively “know” a priori- what intelligence just is- just like what the color blue “just is”- from our sensuous experiences- which are the combination of parts and actions but the manifest result of them.

    A sensuous experience just is what it is as Leibniz shews in his Monodology and the example of the mill. He says if you were to walk inside a mill which represents the inner workings of the conscious mind- you would see all of the parts moving and you would see how they relate- but you would not see consciousness or experience. They are of a separate domain.

    We start off with the old- “It just is what it is”- and finish with synthetic definitions which just add more detail.

  21. Mustela Nivalis #18

    You can read for instance these docs by Kirk Durston who researches in the field of proteins from an ID viewpoint:

    http://www.newscholars.com/pap.....ations.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2217542/

  22. R0b #19

    You seem to be conflating the limitations of Turing machines with the limitations of nature in our universe. The definition of computation that you gave says nothing about physical nature.

    However at the very beginning I referenced the thread “The cause of incompleteness” where I relate incomputability and limitations of the universe. That article and this one are correlated and consistent.

  23. The intersections of the beam with the center of other layers of existence cause different faculties of knowledge to other non human beings.

    Is anybody taking any of this seriously ?

  24. 24

    niwrad at 21,

    Thank you for the links, but neither of them mention Complex Specified Information, nor do they show how to calculate it for a real world biological organism or component. Do you have such a worked example?

  25. Graham1 #23

    Do you really believe that in the universal existence humans are the only beings able to know?

    Wouldn’t you find strange that the Total Possibility generated only humans? After all a poor production from Infinity!

    Philosophers call this kind of illusion “anthropomorphism” (to see whole reality with human “glasses” and reduce it to human limits).

  26. 26

    Mustela,

    Did you read the faq located near the top and to the right of the main body of the blog?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/#csiqty

  27. Mustela Nivalis #24

    Some IDers use also the terms “functional information” or “active information” to mean CSI. In those papers the former term is used to indicate the CSI content of proteins and genes.

    Similar calculations about entire biological organisms, for their complexity, would need the coordinated work of large groups of specialized biologists with an ID mindset.

    Given the evolutionary establishment strongly opposes ID what the few ID biologists can do is to investigate some basic elements of life only. This is by the way as I, as simple ID supporter, see the actual situation of CSI research, others may have different and sure more authoritative feelings.

  28. niwrad said:

    Similar calculations about entire biological organisms, for their complexity, would need the coordinated work of large groups of specialized biologists with an ID mindset.

    Why? If it’s a valid approach, the “mindset” of the investigator shouldn’t matter. If ID wants to be the basis for future advancements in biology, then it has to get the rest of the scientific world on board.

  29. 29

    William J. Murray at 26,

    Did you read the faq located near the top and to the right of the main body of the blog?

    I did indeed. Unfortunately, it does not provide an example of calculating CSI for an actual biological construct of any sort. It certainly doesn’t follow the description of CSI in No Free Lunch.

    Confusingly, parts of that FAQ and the material it references talk about random walks and generation of entire genetic sequences at once. That is not at all how evolutionary mechanisms operate, which makes using CSI as an argument against modern evolutionary theory questionable, at best.

    My goal in finding a worked example of a CSI calculation for a real biological component is to ultimately write a software simulation of some known evolutionary mechanisms to see if they can or can’t generate CSI. Without a rigorous definition and an objective means of calculating it, such a simulation is impossible.

  30. 30

    niwrad at 27,

    Some IDers use also the terms “functional information” or “active information” to mean CSI. In those papers the former term is used to indicate the CSI content of proteins and genes.

    The papers you reference do not use the definition from No Free Lunch. In fact, their measurements are little more than computing 2 to the power of the length of the genome under consideration. That’s nothing like how CSI is described.

    Given the evolutionary establishment strongly opposes ID what the few ID biologists can do is to investigate some basic elements of life only.

    Could you please point me to any published research done by these biologists where they calculate CSI, as described in No Free Lunch for an actual biological object of some sort?

  31. 31

    niwrad have I totally misunderstood where you are going with this? If not then please at least comment on my primary question:

    So do humans have intelligence? If so you are implying that it must be part of the IIS because the IIS is indivisible. Therefore if humans have intelligence and the IIS is God, then humans and God are all literally one.

  32. mikev6,

    Why? If it’s a valid approach, the “mindset” of the investigator shouldn’t matter. If ID wants to be the basis for future advancements in biology, then it has to get the rest of the scientific world on board.

    No it wouldn’t. It’s perfectly capable of continuing it’s program without regard to sheer numbers. The whole scientific world is not in any consensus on anything that is revolutionary, that’s what it means to be revolutionary.

  33. Mustela Nivalis #29-30

    My goal in finding a worked example of a CSI calculation for a real biological component is to ultimately write a software simulation of some known evolutionary mechanisms to see if they can or can’t generate CSI.

    I think what you have in mind has a lot to do with the works of Dembski and Marks at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab:

    http://www.evoinfo.org/

    The papers you reference do not use the definition from No Free Lunch. In fact, their measurements are little more than computing 2 to the power of the length of the genome under consideration. That’s nothing like how CSI is described.

    Sorry but I don’t understand why you say that 2 to the power of the length n of the genomic string is nothing like CSI. It represents the complexity of the sequence (in fact the value p=1/2^n is the probability to occur). The specification is represented by its functionality. The information in bit is I = log(1/p).

  34. Clive:

    No it wouldn’t. It’s perfectly capable of continuing it’s program without regard to sheer numbers. The whole scientific world is not in any consensus on anything that is revolutionary, that’s what it means to be revolutionary.

    I don’t doubt your first statement – I’m sure ID is perfectly capable of continuing without large numbers in support.

    However, would you be satisfied if 50 years from now ID is still only accepted by a small minority of the scientific community? niwrad’s comment was based on the need for more resources to continue research – how do you expect to gather those resources without greater consensus and participation?

    The general thrust of science is that which is first revolutionary eventually becomes mainstream and forms the basis for the next stages of research. Are you saying that ID has no interest in eventually shedding its revolutionary status and supplanting Darwin? It has no interest in becoming a foundation for biological research?

  35. tragic mishap #31

    So do humans have intelligence? If so you are implying that it must be part of the IIS because the IIS is indivisible. Therefore if humans have intelligence and the IIS is God, then humans and God are all literally one.

    Excuse me tragic mishap, very sorry for having bypassed your question (I thought it were a note only).

    Human intelligence is a participation of the Universal Intelligence. We are intelligent only because God is pure Intelligence.

    Humans and all beings, beyond countless veils of ignorance and illusion, behind innumerable illusory appearances and forms, are the Supreme Being himself. The first and more serious sin of a being is existence, i.e. to believe to exist outside such Being.

    All beings are synthetically and indivisibly contained in this Metaphysical Unity, which is our first source, our actual host and our final destination.

    Without such Supreme One (where as you say “humans and God are all literally one”) no universe, no beings, no intelligence, no single bit of information could exist.

    No doubt about that.

  36. To Niwrad:

    Could you explain what the sentence means ?

    The intersections of the beam with the center of other layers of existence cause different faculties of knowledge to other non human beings.

  37. niwrad @ 22:

    However at the very beginning I referenced the thread “The cause of incompleteness” where I relate incomputability and limitations of the universe. That article and this one are correlated and consistent.

    The two articles are consistently inconsistent with regards to computability. You know the correct definition of computability, and yet you appeal to criteria that are not part of that definition when you claim that CSI, life, and intelligence are non-computable.

    I’m harping on the computability issue because it’s so uncontroversial. Your claims are as mathematically false as 1+1=3. If we can’t agreed on something as crystal clear as this, then there’s no hope of progress in regards to our many other points of disagreement.

    Some IDers use also the terms “functional information” or “active information” to mean CSI.

    CSI is a function of an event, a specifying agent, and a chance hypothesis. Functional information is defined in terms of a configuration space, and some function manifested by at least one member of that space. Active information is a function of a targeted search and a baseline search over the same search space. One could argue that the concepts are all related, but they’re certainly not synonymous.

    I think what you have in mind has a lot to do with the works of Dembski and Marks at the The Evolutionary Informatics Lab:

    The EIL framework has never been applied to anything in biology. To do so would require some major question-begging assumptions, so I doubt it will ever happen.

    The specification is represented by its functionality. The information in bit is I = log(1/p).

    CSI’s complexity is the probability of the pattern T occurring under a given natural hypothesis, and that natural hypothesis is supposed to take into account “Darwinian and other material mechanisms”. To equate this with a calculation based simply on genome length would require some serious justification.

  38. niwrad, a few more points:

    My original question was whether other ID proponents claim that CSI is non-computable. Why has Dembski not mentioned this significant point?

    The fact is that CSI is necessarily computable, by definition. Non-computability entails infinite descriptive complexity, which, according to Dembski’s definition, means zero specified complexity.

  39. 39

    niwrad at 33,

    I think what you have in mind has a lot to do with the works of Dembski and Marks at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab:

    http://www.evoinfo.org/

    Unfortunately, there is no rigorous definition of CSI implemented in software there that I’ve found.

    “The papers you reference do not use the definition from No Free Lunch. In fact, their measurements are little more than computing 2 to the power of the length of the genome under consideration. That’s nothing like how CSI is described.”

    Sorry but I don’t understand why you say that 2 to the power of the length n of the genomic string is nothing like CSI. It represents the complexity of the sequence (in fact the value p=1/2^n is the probability to occur). The specification is represented by its functionality. The information in bit is I = log(1/p).

    There are two problems with using 2 to the power of the length of the genome in this case. The first is that it doesn’t correspond to the description of CSI in No Free Lunch which requires an explicit specification. The second is that the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory do not create things like genomes de novo — they do so incrementally and therefore cannot be modeled so naively.

    Given its importance in discussions of ID, surely someone here must have an example of calculating CSI, as described in No Free Lunch for an actual biological object of some sort?

  40. Mustela Nivalis:
    “Given its importance in discussions of ID, surely someone here must have an example of calculating CSI, as described in No Free Lunch for an actual biological object of some sort?”

    First, according to Dr. Dembski, a specified event is an even which can be formulated as an independent pattern. Thus, a specified pattern/event relationship can take the form of a function where f(pattern)=event.

    So, if we have an event such as a folding and biologically useful protein, and an independent pattern such as a stretch of DNA, then we can calculate for specificity, and then calculate the probability of the event given a uniform probability distribution.

    Then we can multiply the two together and compare the probability of arriving at any folding and biologically useful specified protein of same length to the probabilistic resources available. Probabilistic resources are measured as the max number of bit operations available within the observable universe at the time of the generation of that event. These probabilistic resources are relevant because only bit operations within the event’s light cone can potentially have an effect on that specified event in question — if the state of those bit operations can indeed not travel faster than the speed of light.

    - So, let’s look at Titin (34,350 amino acids [aa]). I am going to give as much of the benefit of the doubt to the critics when calculating probabilites.

    - Assume prebiotic soup, rich in all amino acids.

    - Probabilistic resources have been calculate by Dembski as 10^150, and I do believe Seth Lloyd has arrived at a similar figure.

    - Probability of forming all peptide bonds = 1/2 ^34,350

    - Probability of attaining all one-handedness = 1/2 ^34,350

    - Assume only hydrophilic or hydrophobic nature of amino acids is important for protein function (as opposed to actual ACTG state) in order to make things even easier for chance, then probability of aligning all amino acids in correct configuration = 1/2 ^34,350

    -Assuming extremely high ratio of functional to non-functional polymers @ 1 in 10^10 (taken from a critic of ID citing ratio of functional space when dealing with 100 amino acid polymers, and also admitting that according to the method used there could be a greater amount of non-biologically relevant polymers in the space. Doug Axe has estimated the ratio to be between 1 in 10^60 and 10^80 from what I can remember). At 1 in 10^10, number of functional 34,350 aa long proteins would be 2.4 e10,330.

    CSI = -log2[M*N*s(T)*P(T|H)]>1

    CSI = -log2[probabilistic resources * number of specified events of same probability utilizing the same states * probability of arriving at specified event given a uniform probability distribution (chance hypothesis)]>1

    -Skipping over a bit of the basic math:

    CSI = -log2[10^150 * 2.4e10,330 * 1/2 ^103,050] >1

    -Skipping more basic math:

    CSI = -log2[1.7e-20,541]>1

    -Conclusion: Because we end up taking the -log2 of a very small fraction, we know that the answer will be a large positive number; we have a very large amount of CSI.

    Of course some critics have stated that this method is flawed since it is based on our present ever changing knowledge of different quantities being measured in the formula. But, of course that is what makes CSI a part of science since it is able to be updated when more information comes in. It merely presents us with a measurement based on the present state of the evidence/data. Furthermore, that “problem” is also the problem of any measurement. Think about measuring the age and size of the universe and how it is open for updating to provide greater accuracy or even complete revision upon new evidence/data.

    Mustela Nivalis:
    “the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory do not create things like genomes de novo — they do so incrementally and therefore cannot be modeled so naively.”

    The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question. IOW, it is just as improbable that a human brain would randomly generate itself from a pool of its constituent material, as it is that an evolutionary pathway for the human brain would result from a “by chance” fine tuning of laws and initial conditions.

    Furthermore, if you wish to throw multiple universes at the problem, then you’ll first have to come up with some non-arbitrary rules for when multiple universes can be invoked to solve a problem. For if there is no non-arbitrary rule for such “chance of the gaps” problem solving, then the multiple universes could be invoked to explain away anything and everything including lawlike behaviour and science comes to an end. IOW, what would be a *better explanation* for the instructions sent in the movies “Contact” … an infinite chance based search through the radio wave probability space or some type of previous intelligence (a system utilizing foresight to generate a target in the future that does not yet exist and then manipulate matter and energy in the present to achieve that goal)?

  41. … and that’s only the CSI of one protein (mind you, the largest biologically relevant one, but still one protein). Now, the next question is … “would the CSI skyrocket once we start considering multiple protein interactions, systems of multiple proteins, organs, organisms, and ultimately intelligent organisms?”

  42. CJYman: – Probability of attaining all one-handedness = 1/2 ^34,350

    Except that if we find a simple physical explanation for homochirality, then it suddenly becomes 1/1. Then you’re only off by a factor a gazillion or two.

    Bailey et al., Circular Polarization in Star- Formation Regions: Implications for Biomolecular Homochirality, Science 1998.

    Breslow and Cheng, On the origin of terrestrial homochirality for nucleosides and amino acids, PNAS 2009.

    CJYman: Of course some critics have stated that this method is flawed since it is based on our present ever changing knowledge of different quantities being measured in the formula.

    It’s not flawed because it is based on the current state of human knowledge, it’s flawed because it is directly dependent on human ignorance. The more ignorant you are, the higher the CSI determined.

  43. … and that’s not even considering conscious system. If probabilistic resources of 10^150 are not enough to generate one protein by a chance assemblage of laws, then riddle me this … how do you expect to get to the seeming complexities required for intelligence and then consciousness by a chance assemblage of laws with probabilistic resources of only 10^150?

    … Oh, and one thing I didn’t mention is that utilizing all 10^150 probabilistic resources assumes that there are that many attempts to produce the event in question. IOW, I assumed that every point on our universe has been working on attempting to generate the protein Titin for 15 billion years. And remember, there are “only” 10^80 atoms in our observable universe.

  44. CJYman: At 1 in 10^10, number of functional 34,350 aa long proteins would be 2.4 e10,330.

    Most proteins are much shorter. And once you have short, functional proteins, longer ones can evolve.

  45. Zachriel:
    “It’s not flawed because it is based on the current state of human knowledge, it’s flawed because it is directly dependent on human ignorance. The more ignorant you are, the higher the CSI determined.”

    Any measurement and indeed all of science and the results we obtain are influenced by our ignorance.

    I have already provided an answer. as usual, you refuse to read through the whole of what someone states.

    “Of course some critics have stated that this method is flawed since it is based on our present ever changing knowledge of different quantities being measured in the formula. But, of course that is what makes CSI a part of science since it is able to be updated when more information comes in. It merely presents us with a measurement based on the present state of the evidence/data. Furthermore, that “problem” is also the problem of any measurement. Think about measuring the age and size of the universe and how it is open for updating to provide greater accuracy or even complete revision upon new evidence/data.

    So, go ahead and re-calculate. How far up the heirarchy of complexity that I discussed in #41 and #43 can you take the measurement without finding CSI? Yes, that is a challenge.

  46. …. Oh look at that, Zachriel you get the opportunity to engage in ID research.

  47. CJYman: Any measurement and indeed all of science and the results we obtain are influenced by our ignorance.

    But it’s not based on human ignorance. I’ve already shown where changing your state of knowledge changes the result by a factor of 2 ^34,350. Nothing about the object of study has changed, only that you have possibly learned something new.

  48. Zachriel:
    “Most proteins are much shorter. And once you have short, functional proteins, longer ones can evolve.”

    For the second time in one “conversation” you refuse to read what I write. I’m beginning to think that you haven’t changed at all. It’s all about the abfuscation isn’t it Zachriel?

    I already stated that:
    “The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question. IOW, it is just as improbable that a human brain would randomly generate itself from a pool of its constituent material, as it is that an evolutionary pathway for the human brain would result from a “by chance” fine tuning of laws and initial conditions.”

    P.S. I hate having to repeat myself — it wastes my time — which is why I haven’t engaged in conversation with you in a while, Zachriel.

  49. Zachriel:
    “I’ve already shown where changing your state of knowledge changes the result by a factor of 2 ^34,350. Nothing about the object of study has changed, only that you have possibly learned something new.”

    Which could easily apply to many things such as the age and size of the universe, or whether it even had a beginning or not.

    So go ahead and re-calculate and see if you arrive at a non-CSI value. This is great, isn’t it Zachriel … we get to do ID related research together. So how has your re-calculation helped to make the value more accurate?

  50. And one more thing, Zachriel, it would make things worse for the critic if it actually was the ACTG and not just the hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature of amino acids that affects folding. Furthermore, in actuality, the probabilistic resources are vastly worse off than I allowed for, since not every atom in the universe has been constantly searching through protein space for 15 billion years.

    So, yes, calculations can be updated and revised in either direction at any time. But again, that happens all the time in science (ie: the age and size of the universe which I am constantly referring to), and that is what separates science from dogma.

  51. 51

    CJYman at 40,

    Thank you for the detailed reply. I’m going to have to start with just a couple of your steps where I have some confusion.

    Mustela Nivalis:
    “Given its importance in discussions of ID, surely someone here must have an example of calculating CSI, as described in No Free Lunch for an actual biological object of some sort?”

    First, according to Dr. Dembski, a specified event is an event which can be formulated as an independent pattern.

    I’ve read that, but it seems very difficult to apply. What does it mean for a pattern to be independent? What is an example of a dependent pattern? Can’t anything be described by a pattern separate from itself?

    Thus, a specified pattern/event relationship can take the form of a function where f(pattern)=event.

    Are you using this mathematical notation formally or informally? If formally, could you explain the nature of the function f?

    So, if we have an event such as a folding and biologically useful protein,

    A protein is an event? I apologize if this is a simple question, but I have read a fair bit of ID material and I find this terminology confusing. Can you rephrase it in more standard biological terms?

    and an independent pattern such as a stretch of DNA,

    Again, I apologize if I appear pedantic, but why would we consider the DNA that encodes for a protein to be an “independent pattern”? What is the precise definition you’re using?

    then we can calculate for specificity, and then calculate the probability of the event given a uniform probability distribution.

    Why a uniform probability distribution? We know from observation that many mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory are not random in their behavior (mutation is assumed to be, but selection, for example, is not). The uniform probability distribution assumption is equivalent to the assumption that the DNA arose in its present form de novo. That does not correspond to either modern evolutionary theory nor to observed evolutionary mechanisms.

    I’ll stop here to give you a chance to clarify my understanding. I do appreciate your willingness to discuss this.

  52. 52

    CJYman at 40,

    On a slightly separate topic you raised…

    Mustela Nivalis:
    “the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory do not create things like genomes de novo — they do so incrementally and therefore cannot be modeled so naively.”

    The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question.

    But we don’t need to find a set of laws. Physics, and therefore chemistry, is a given. Modern evolutionary theory attempts to explain what we observe, with the physical laws that exists.

    You might be able to construct an argument for cosmological ID based on “search for a search”, but if you want to apply CSI to real biological systems, you have to take known evolutionary mechanisms into account.

  53. CJYman: Which could easily apply to many things such as the age and size of the universe, or whether it even had a beginning or not.

    Sure, we measure the height of a tree and it’s off by a factor of 2^34,350 because we learn something new. If CSI is to have any scientific value as a metric, it has to have a reasonably consistent result without regard to the background knowledge of the observer.

  54. Zachriel:

    If CSI is to have any scientific value as a metric, it has to have a reasonably consistent result without regard to the background knowledge of the observer.

    Scientific inferences rely heavily on the background knowledge of the observer.

  55. CJYman, thank you for your very responsive comments. I started to write a response, got pulled away, and came back to find my thunder stolen by Mustela and Zachriel. I’ll throw my now-redundant comments into the mix anyway.

    In Dembski’s flagellum example in his latest account of CSI, he says that H is “the relevant chance hypothesis that takes into account Darwinian and other material mechanisms”. You instead chose a uniform distribution for H. To your credit, you state this assumption explicitly, and you explain your justification for it, which I applaud.

    But this raises a few issues. CSI is technically a property of events, not physical objects. When we talk about the CSI of an object, we’re actually referring to the CSI of the origination of that object. What, then, constitutes the origination event of a stretch of DNA? Presumably it includes the evolution process over many generations, but does it also include the formation of the constituent atoms, the formation of the stars that formed those atoms, the advent of gravity that formed those stars, etc.? The choice is arbitrary, so it seems that the CSI of any given object is ill-defined.

    And I don’t think that Marks and Dembski’s work provides sufficient justification for assuming uniformity. You say:

    The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question.

    Actually they say that the latter is more improbable, which is what I think you meant to say. But you have to consider the assumptions on which their math is based, which have no connection to empirical science. In essence, they concoct an imaginary reality in which everything is ultimately uniformly random. It’s obvious that biological organisms cannot emerge from such a state of affairs — we don’t need Marks and Dembski’s math in order to understand that.

    As Mustela has noted, science has to be grounded in the reality that we observe around us, not in Marks and Dembski’s promotion of the Principle of Indifference from a methodological principle to a metaphysical claim.

  56. Graham #36

    To explain in few words what intelligence is I had necessarily to resort to elements from the traditional doctrine (in particular the metaphysical theory of the multiple states of the being and some related symbolisms) that are topics requiring entire books. The statement you quoted has meaning only in the framework of that doctrine, which I cannot even imagine to pretend to elaborate here.

    However here are some additional ultra-simplified notes.

    According to the traditional theory of the multiple states of the being the universal existence is considered divided in states or levels (symbolically represented as horizontal planes). Each of them is defined by its own conditions, modalities and limits. The stack of all states is hierarchized according to the defining conditions of the states (less limits imply higher rank because less limits mean more possibilities and power). One of the main distinctions among states is between individual (lower) states and over-individual (higher) states. Human beings occupy one of the individual states of existence.

    Since all states come from the First Cause or Source one can consider in each plane a center representing where the Cause acts. As a consequence we can imagine all these centers as crossed by a unique vertical straight line starting from the Source. Symbolically this Source was often represented as the physical Sun and the straight line as a light beam generating an image at each center. Since the Cause operates and causes by mean of intelligence the vertical beam represents the Universal Intellect, which all states share and which all their faculties of knowledge come from.

    Anyway to delve seriously into these topics I recommend reading at least the following books by René Guénon: “The Multiple States of the Being”, “The Symbolism of the Cross” and “Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta”.

  57. CJYman, I’ll also reiterate one of Mustela’s crucial questions: How is a given stretch of DNA an independent pattern?

    The question highlights the problem with claiming that T is specified by virtue of T being functional. The only specifying agents I know of are humans, which have a biased interest in functionality. Natural selection, by definition, is also biased toward functionality. So there’s no guarantee that the probability of a given function being in our “side information” is conditionally independent of the probability of that function evolving.

    For example, can we honestly say that the evolution of propellers for bacteria is probabilistically independent of humans being familiar with the concept of a propeller? Of course not. The probabilities of the two events are biased by a common factor — namely the benefits of motility.

  58. R0b #38

    The fact is that CSI is necessarily computable, by definition.

    Perhaps you fail to see the consistency of my arguments for the following misunderstanding.

    When I say “intelligence and life are non-computable” I have in mind that their production, content and nature are not computable, i.e. non mechanistically generable.

    Analogously when I say “CSI is non-computable” I mean: the system, which CSI measure of complexity is x, has production, content and nature not computable, i.e. non mechanistically generable.

    CSI is a specific measure of complexity of a system (among many others). As any measure it is computable for definition (I agree on this). But the measure of a thing is not the thing itself! A thing can be non-computable, nevertheless we can compute many measures of it.

    To measure means to reduce to quantity. Since intelligence and life are essentially qualitative they cannot be reduced to quantity. Their measures are necessarily defective in principle. This doesn’t mean we cannot get approximate measures of them but they will necessarily be … computations of what is non-computable (so to speak).

    So while I have in mind the production, content and nature of systems (and argue these production, content and nature are non-computable) you have in mind their CSI measures (and argue these measures are computable for definition).

    If this is the situation we are both true, simply we are arguing from different points of view.

  59. niwrad:

    It remains to show that this higher source (say it S) is the IIS. The demonstration is for absurdum:
    (1) Let’s hypothesize that S is finite. With “finite” I mean non Infinite (i.e. “non containing all information”). As such S is different from IIS.
    (2) Since S is finite let’s consider its complement set ~S containing all information not belonging to S. Obviously ~S is included into IIS.
    (3) S and ~S are disjoint sets for definition.
    (4) Now consider an information ‘a’ of S and an information ‘b’ of ~S.
    (5) If a and b are information, also c = (a AND b) is information.
    (6) The question is: c belongs to S or ~S? It cannot belong to both because they are disjoint sets.
    (7) Let’s hypothesize c belongs to S. Then S contains ‘b’, contrary to #4. Then this hypothesis is untrue.
    (8) From #7 we have that c must belong to ~S. Then ~S contains ‘a’, contrary to #4. Also this hypothesis is untrue.
    (9) Since we have obtained a contradiction the premise #1 is false. S is IIS.

    You seem to assume (in 7,8) that if a set contains the member ‘a AND b’ then it must of necessity contain the two additional members a, b.

    Say its bitwise AND. if a = 1100 and B = 1010 then (a AND b) = 1000. if S contains 1000 does that mean it has to contain 1100 as well?

    If you have some process that can detect the presence of salt, does the set of things it can detect necessarily include elemental sodium and chlorine.

    If you can detect the color green does that mean you can detect the color blue and yellow as well.

    If you know a set of facts through experience does that mean you know all facts logically derivable from that set (say through any combination of AND, OR and NOT).

  60. niwrad:

    CSI is a specific measure of complexity of a system (among many others). As any measure it is computable for definition (I agree on this). But the measure of a thing is not the thing itself!

    But I’m not arguing for the calculability of CSI measures. I’m saying that the systems themselves, insofar as they can be represented formally, are computable.

  61. JT #59

    With c = (a AND b) I mean logical conjunction of predicates. If c is true in a set, in that set a AND b are true.

    Your examples (bitwise AND, chemical compounds, colors fusion) fail to meet this criterion and as a consequence are not counter-examples of my proof.

  62. I’m trying to figure out if that proof was an unnecessary elaboration of a kind of vacuous point or not.

    Are you saying that any information expressed by an intellgent being has to be a member of the set of all information.

    Or rather that the immediate source for any information expressed by an intelligent being of necessity has to be the set of all information.

  63. OK I think I have the answer now:

    if S is some set of axiomatic statements plus all statements logically derivable from those statements, then ~S is just every other possible statement. This means that if S contains ‘a’ but does not contain ‘b’, then ~S will contain b as well as ‘a AND b’, but does not contain ‘a’, because ~S is not required to contain all statements logically derivable from those it contains. ~S by defnition is just everything that S does not contain.

    Thus your premise 7 is wrong, and your proof as well.

  64. excuse me, its your premise 8 that is wrong.

  65. JT, you’ve explained niwrad’s fallacy perfectly. His reductio ad absurdum is invalid because it contains hidden premises, namely that S and ~S are each closed under logical derivation. Eliminate the premise that ~S is closed under logical derivation, and no absurdum follows from the remaining premises, as you show.

    But if the proof were valid, we could come up with all kinds of fun corollaries. If S=IIS for all finite sets S, then it would follow that IIS is simultaneously equal to every finite set, including the empty set. So it follows that information doesn’t exist, and therefore this thread doesn’t exist.

  66. JT #63-64

    If S is some set of axiomatic statements plus all statements logically derivable from those statements, then ~S is just every other possible statement. This means that if S contains ‘a’ but does not contain ‘b’, then ~S will contain b as well as ‘a AND b’, but does not contain ‘a’, because ~S is not required to contain all statements logically derivable from those it contains. ~S by defnition is just everything that S does not contain. Thus your premise 7 is wrong, and your proof as well. excuse me, its your premise 8 that is wrong.

    (A) “S is some set of axiomatic statements plus all statements logically derivable” – this is not my definition of S.

    (B) “If S contains ‘a’ but does not contain ‘b’, then ~S will contain b as well as ‘a AND b’” – the question if ~S contains c or does not contain c is exactly what is at issue in my step #6, then you state something yet undefined.

    Given A and B your “your premise 8 that is wrong” is a non sequitur then my proof is ok.

  67. In biology CSI refers to biological function.

    IOW not any DNA sequence will do.

  68. And if science is grounded in reality then what does that do to the theory of evolution which is grounded in personal biases?

  69. R0b #65

    JT, you’ve explained niwrad’s fallacy perfectly.

    Not true, see my comment #66.

    His reductio ad absurdum is invalid because it contains hidden premises, namely that S and ~S are each closed under logical derivation. Eliminate the premise that ~S is closed under logical derivation, and no absurdum follows from the remaining premises, as you show.

    I stated that S and ~S are disjoint in step #3, then no hidden premises.

    But if the proof were valid, we could come up with all kinds of fun corollaries. If S=IIS for all finite sets S, then it would follow that IIS is simultaneously equal to every finite set, including the empty set. So it follows that information doesn’t exist, and therefore this thread doesn’t exist.

    The truth is exactly the opposite. My proof, far from showing that IIS defaults “to every finite set, including the empty set”, evidences the indivisible nature of information and the infiniteness of IIS. Not that my proof were necessary because IIS is a priori truth and rather it would be its non existence to be nonsense.

  70. Mr Joseph,

    And if science is grounded in reality then what does that do to the theory of evolution which is grounded in personal biases?

    Oh, don’t worry about that problem any more. The FSM told me that Charles Darwin was actually copying the text of his books from golden plates of pasta (alphabet, of course though some splitters think noodles forming script words – they are going to Hull to sort laundry forever, believe me!) shown to him by the Lady of the Lake, errr, Warm Little Pond. So have no fear, the theory of evolution is on extremely solid footing of direct revelation, we now know.

  71. 71

    niwrad,

    In your response to Rob about the computability of CSI, I think you and he missed a more fundamental point; the CSI of such systems are not computable by the physical universe because it lacks the computing resources; such CSI is only computable by intelligence such as ours.

    IOW, 10^200 as an expression is computable only by intelligence, not by the physical universe. You can’t even write the number out because there aren’t enough quanta in the known universe to do so.

    Let’s remember, no one is disputing that life exists, or that DNA exists; the question is whether or not the physical universe has the capacity to compute it without intelligence.

  72. William:

    IOW, 10^200 as an expression is computable only by intelligence, not by the physical universe. You can’t even write the number out because there aren’t enough quanta in the known universe to do so.

    100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.

    (There are 200 zeros there, even if your browser doesn’t show them all.)
    I just pwned the universe and violated the SLoT at the same time. All before breakfast.

  73. 73

    Rob,

    You’re correct. I was thnking of a diffferent issue I was currently reading about, about where a sufficiently large factoring problem gets computed, such as 10^200^200 (or something like that) which is computable in shorthand, but which would take more quanta than the universe has availabe to write out.

    However, that doesn’t change the computability problem. It’s not being argued that the CSI can be respresented (i.e., exists), but rather that it cannot be computed without intelligence. Your long notation and my shorthand one were computed by intelligence, not by unintelligent chance and law.

    Thanks for the correction though.

  74. #73

    It’s not being argued that the CSI can be respresented (i.e., exists), but rather that it cannot be computed without intelligence.

    As far as I know the only things that ever computed anything were people – unless you include man-made equipment designed to compute things.

  75. 75

    Interesting paper here on the computational capacity of the universe.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/1566.....SCIENCECOM

    And another one on the finite information processing bounds of the universe:

    http://cosmos.asu.edu/publicat.....iverse.pdf

    The latter paper argues that some emergent sorting process is required to explain functional biological features, because it is otherwise beyond the brute computational capacity of the universe.

  76. niwrad:

    “S is some set of axiomatic statements plus all statements logically derivable” – this is not my definition of S.

    If S is not implicitly defined as JT says, then (7) contains a non sequitur. It does not follow from “(a AND b) ∈ S” that “a ∈ S”.

    Pick your poison. Your proof ostensibly shows that there is no such thing as a finite set of information. Do you really believe that this conclusion can be reached through valid logic?

  77. niwrad:

    Your proof is that the statement ‘a AND b’ cannot be in either S or ~S because it results in a contradiction, and therefore ~S does not exist.

    I show that ‘a AND b’ can be in ~S without any such contradiction. And if S is not defined as I state (an interpretation of your response to me in 61 actually) then as R0b says ‘a AND b’ can be in S (and thus not in ~S by the definition of ~).

    I think you’re still assuming that just putting the statement ‘a AND b’ in a set automatically gives set membership to a and b individually as well.

  78. (i.e. without a,b actually being in the set – correct me if I’m wrong.)

  79. William, thanks for the references. It appears to me that three separate concepts are being conflated here.

    #1 Computability, as defined in computability theory.

    #2 Complexity, as defined in complexity theory.

    #3 Probability, as defined in probability theory.

    Computability theory and complexity theory are branches of computing theory, which deals with deterministic computation. Probability theory obviously deals with non-deterministic events.

    niwrad’s stated definition of computability is the computability theoretic definition, so we would expect him to be referring to concept #1. The two papers you referenced deal with computational complexity, concept #2. CSI deals with probability, concept #3.

    We seem to be jumping around among three different questions, each of which is addressed by a different concept:

    #1 — Can any conceivable TM generate X as an output?

    #2 — Can problem P be solved in time t with memory m?

    #3 — Is event E likely to occur at least once given n probabilistic events?

    I think we need to untangle this conflation before we can have a coherent discussion regarding niwrad’s post.

  80. niwrad:

    You may have misinterpreted the following

    if S is some set of axiomatic statements plus all statements logically derivable from those statements, then ~S is just every other possible statement.

    ~S is every other possible statement by virtue of the definition of ~S, not as a result of how I have defined S (and my definition was an interpretation of your remarks in 61.)

    Also, I notice you say that ~S is all information not in S (thus implying you may be employing a custom defintion of ~). However you also said ‘a AND b’ was information, so if its not in S (which it can’t be by the above definition) then it has to be in ~S (without contradiction).

  81. R0b #76, JT #77

    I answer both because your replays are conceptually the same.

    If S is not implicitly defined as JT says, then (7) contains a non sequitur. It does not follow from “(a AND b) ? S” that “a ? S”.

    If c is true in S (then a is true in S and b is true in S) I don’t understand why you say that a is not true in S. Hence #7 is not a non sequitur as you say.

    Pick your poison. Your proof ostensibly shows that there is no such thing as a finite set of information. Do you really believe that this conclusion can be reached through valid logic?

    My proof (and my article as a whole) was aimed to show that information and logic necessarily point to IIS, that an infinite information source is metaphysically and logically necessary. There is nothing more logically valid than IIS.

    If you admit and recognize IIS it is not important that you like or dislike my proof. My proof is only the finger pointing to the Sun. If one sees directly the Sun the finger is no longer necessary.

    If you do not admit and recognize the Sun all what I can do is to provide a finger pointing to it, I cannot see the Sun for you.

  82. If c is true in S (then a is true in S and b is true in S) I don’t understand why you say that a is not true in S. Hence #7 is not a non sequitur as you say.

    could be restated as:

    If c is in S (then a is logically derivable from the statements in S and b is logically derivable from the statements in S) I don’t understand why you say that a is not logically derivable from the statements in S.

    No one said that.

    You previously denied my defintion of S as containing all statements logically derivable from those it contains. We know its an incomplete set anyway, because that’s how you defined it to begin with. If S does not necesarily contain all statements logically derivable from those it contains then it need not contain a or b merely by virtue of containing a.

    The fact is, the reason I was able to refute this is I believe I’ve seen it somewhere before. So you might credit wherever it is you got it from if you know.

  83. correction:
    If S does not necessarily contain all statements logically derivable from those it contains then it need not contain a or b merely by virtue of containing c.

  84. But that bit about a computer not being able to understand the word “Love” I believe was in an old Twilight Zone episode.

  85. niwrad, part of the problem is the phrase “a is true in S”, which seems to combine the propositions “a is true” and “a is in S”. If you avoid the combined phrase and keep the propositions distinct, I think there will be a lot less confusion.

  86. JT #82-84

    If S does not necessarily contain all statements logically derivable from those it contains then it need not contain a or b merely by virtue of containing c.

    Also if S contained “all statements logically derivable from those it contains” (as you added to refute my argument) my proof would remain valid. What matters for its validity is that S contains a but doesn’t contain b and that ~S contains b but doesn’t contain a.

    The fact is, the reason I was able to refute this is I believe I’ve seen it somewhere before.

    Your refutation is flawed due to what I wrote above.

    But that bit about a computer not being able to understand the word “Love” I believe was in an old Twilight Zone episode.

    Interesting, what is Twilight Zone?

  87. Also if S contained “all statements logically derivable from those it contains” (as you added to refute my argument) my proof would remain valid. What matters for its validity is that S contains a but doesn’t contain b and that ~S contains b but doesn’t contain a.

    No, no you’re completely confused.

    My argument wasn’t dependent at all on how I characterized S. AS R0b pointed out to you, if S is not as I described, then c can be in S, because c in S in that case does not mean b is in S.

    The quote Bill Dembski provided earlier today bears repeating:

    “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” Leo Tolstoy

    A question that comes to my mind is, what does etiquette dictate a person do in a forum such as this when he has clearly been proven wrong.

    Interesting, what is Twilight Zone?

    Wow – you really are young aren’t you (or not from the U.S.) There were two T.V. series over twenty years apart (one in the mid 80′s) with that name.

  88. w/ apologies for the personal tone.

  89. Now I’m getting confused – I’m not sure if I characterized your argument at the top of 87 correctly. Oh well, if my orginal point in 63 still isn’t clear, so be it.

  90. Also if S contained “all statements logically derivable from those it contains” (as you added to refute my argument) my proof would remain valid. What matters for its validity is that S contains a but doesn’t contain b and that ~S contains b but doesn’t contain a.

    And (once again) if S contains ‘a AND b’ that is not the same as containing ‘b’, as ‘b’ and ‘a AND b’ are not equivalent.

    (And it was not my original intention to belabor this obvious point to such an extent.)

  91. JT #87-90

    Unfortunately it seems we never will converge to an agreement. No problem. What is important is that anyone feels comfortable with his own ideas.

    Anyway I agree with you that the best thing is to stop here our diatribe to not bother the readers (also if I would like to continue the discussion with you (and R0b too)).

    You are a fair and acute debater and I thank you for your contribute to the discussion.

    Good weekend.

    P.S. I am not from the U.S. and, last but not least, today I am in vacation.

  92. niwrad, I hope you had an enjoyable vacation.

    Also if S contained “all statements logically derivable from those it contains” (as you added to refute my argument) my proof would remain valid.

    Reductio ad absurdum proves that the premises cannot all be true simultaneously. It doesn’t show that any given premise is false, so your conclusion is a non sequitur, and adding more premises only exacerbates the problem.

    The real root of your absurdum is the following: A set of logical statements cannot be partitioned into subsets each of which are closed under logical derivation. So in your case, the premises that S and ~S are closed under logical derivation result in a contradiction. This is proven easily by noting that “a OR not a” follows from any set of axioms, but it cannot reside in multiple disjoint sets.

  93. R0b #92

    Sorry for the delayed response (I just returned from a 5-day extended weekend).

    What was my aim in writing my paradox? It was to indicate that the total information can be fractioned only apparently and illusorily. Even I stated it explicitly in the article as follows:

    The above proof evidences also another only-seemingly odd thing: the IIS is not properly composed of parts because when we, for hypothesis, divide it into parts we obtain contradictions.

    Therefore when you write:

    The real root of your absurdum is the following: A set of logical statements cannot be partitioned into subsets each of which are closed under logical derivation. So in your case, the premises that S and ~S are closed under logical derivation result in a contradiction.

    you say almost the same thing from the point of view of logic and I agree with your statement for the simple fact that this contradiction was indeed what I wanted to obtain and emphasize. Just before writing step #1 I knew in advance that it was a flawed premise and a mere impossibility. What are for absurdum arguments but arguments where one states an untrue (or alleged untrue) premise to see the consequences?

    After all, my premises were a unique premise (although expressed in some steps): A and ~A are disjoint. As a consequence when we obtain the contradiction it is this premise to fall, what else. This premise outputs a contradiction because such sets cannot be disjoint, in that a simple logical AND upon any two elements of them immediately shows us that they cannot be close (this is the job of steps #5-9). Hence, why do you write “your conclusion is a non sequitur” when my conclusion is to refute the premise of impossible closure contained in step #1 exactly as you do? It seems to me there is agreement between us on this ground.

    In one of its interpretations, my article wanted to underline that finite information sources cannot be considered really separated from a limitless information source (this is another aspect related to the above conclusion). I could have written it very synthetically as “Total Truth is indivisible” or “Total Possibility has no parts” (both axiomatic in metaphysics) or something like that but I was afraid the thing passed almost unobserved and somehow abstract. So I thought that a 9-step analytic paradox expressed in terms of set theory and showing the unity of logic (which represents sort of “image” or “symbol” of that metaphysical Unity) might generate more interest and debate. Indeed the many technical comments of you and JT show the idea was good.

    I admit that my paradox can be misunderstood depending on the interpretations one can assume about. Different interpretations are due to the fact that it is far from being rigorously formalized according to mathematical logic. I never pretended to have provided such exactness of formalization and of course I thank whoever helps to deepen and improve it somehow (as you and JT cleverly did). My goal was only to offer material to the reader for meditating about what, expressed in few words, is the infiniteness and indivisibility of information.

  94. Hello Zach, Mustela, and ROb.

    Sorry I’m late to rejoin the discussion. I was following this thread on another computer and then couldn’t remember in which thread I was having this discussion.

    I would love to continue, but am getting too busy again. We will definitely have to continue our discussion of CSI in the future. I now have the relevant threads bookmarked.

    …later…

  95. … all I have time to say right now, is that the data for any equation is affected by human ignorance and gaps in our knowledge. Garbage in, garbage out. This is what I have been trying to explain to Zachriel in “The Odds That End: ….” thread. Yet this doesn’t effect bringing the age and size of the universe into scientific territory, so for that reason, a measurement of CSI is definitely in scientific territory.

    CSI, like any equation (such as those used to calculate the age and size of the universe) relies on estimations of presently available data. And, as already explained, I gave the extreme benefit of the doubt to the skeptic in my assumptions … so yes, the measurement of CSI could easily be updated in either direction in the future. The question is: “what direction will be the overall trend” or will we see the measurement(s) over time and given the error values of each variable stabilizing around an average value? With everything that we know can we even attempt to get a non-CSI value for the protein Titin? If someone can go back to my measurement and find the -log 2 of the end measurement, that would be great so that we can see the size of the value for CSI that we are presently dealing with. And then, how far up the hierarchy of protein multiple protein complexes can we go until there is no reasonable way to even fudge data to get a non-CSI value? Excellent questions for further ID research. In fact, I offer the invitation to the ID critics to help out with this research. I have provided an explanation of how to calculate for CSI above.

    Mustela and ROb, I am enjoying reading through your questions and comments and I hope that I have time soon to get back to you guys.

  96. CJYman:
    “First, according to Dr. Dembski, a specified event is an event which can be formulated as an independent pattern.”

    Mustala:
    “I’ve read that, but it seems very difficult to apply. What does it mean for a pattern to be independent? What is an example of a dependent pattern? Can’t anything be described by a pattern separate from itself?”

    I’ve explained “specified patterns” in more detail in
    this thread
    on my blog and in the thread “Polanyi and Ontogonetic Emergence” comment #8 here on UD. Sorry ’bout the lack of link. I couldn’t get it to work for some reason.

    Now, I’ll let you answer your own question of “can’t anything [be specified].”

    Here are two events:

    1. You look on your computer and you see a string of symbols “Hello Mustela, how are you today?” The meaningful event that has appeared on your screen is specified since it conforms to a pre-set pattern of rules for the english language and the english dictionary (including slang). So f(english language+dictionary)= meaningful sentences — when operated by a semiotic agent whether that be a computer program or human. That is why a semiotic agent is important — the agent is the one that specifies the pattern to the event.

    2. You wake up early in the morning and you go to the mailbox to get your mail. You notice that the weather is getting colder and leaves are beginning to fall. You see an event of leaves scattered on your front lawn. Is this event specified?

    Mustela:
    “Are you using this mathematical notation formally or informally? If formally, could you explain the nature of the function f?”

    I am using this mathematical notation because in f(x)=y, x is independent of y. Therefore, f(pattern)=event, I believe is a formal way to show the specified event/pattern relationship. The given event is literally a function of a pattern. Therefore, the event is specified.

    CJYman:
    “So, if we have an event such as a folding and biologically useful protein,”

    Mustella:
    “A protein is an event? I apologize if this is a simple question, but I have read a fair bit of ID material and I find this terminology confusing. Can you rephrase it in more standard biological terms?”

    I don’t think there is a need to get overly technical with the word “event” other than to use it as “something that happens” — basic dictionary definition. Yes, a pattern of amino acids and ultimately a pattern of DNA can produce a folding and biologically useful event — a protein.

    CJYman:
    “and an independent pattern such as a stretch of DNA,”

    Mustela:
    “Again, I apologize if I appear pedantic, but why would we consider the DNA that encodes for a protein to be an “independent pattern”? What is the precise definition you’re using?”

    No problem, I appreciate when people ask for clarification unless the clarification descends into continual nitpicking. Independent here is used as independent is used in ‘”x” is independent of “y” in f(x)=y.’ Again, that is why I believe that if you follow a function where f(patter)=event, you can’t go wrong.

    CJYman:
    “then we can calculate for specificity, and then calculate the probability of the event given a uniform probability distribution.”

    Mustela:
    “Why a uniform probability distribution?”

    Because chance (randomness) is characterized statistically as a uniform probability distribution and all that CSI is doing is removing the chance hypothesis.

    Mustela:
    “We know from observation that many mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory are not random in their behavior (mutation is assumed to be, but selection, for example, is not).”

    Of course evolutionary algorithms aren’t random. Once CSI is determined to be “present,” then we know that we aren’t dealing with a uniform probability distribution. However, merely having a non-uniform probability is still no help. According to the NFLT, we need a matching between the non-uniform distribution and the correct search algorithm which can make use of that distribution. That’s how we get an evolutionary algorithm.

    Mustala:
    “The uniform probability distribution assumption is equivalent to the assumption that the DNA arose in its present form de novo. That does not correspond to either modern evolutionary theory nor to observed evolutionary mechanisms.”

    Exactly, since CSI really only tells us that chance is not a viable option. Therefore the only two options left on the table are intervention by an intelligence or an evolutionary algorithm. Now, the reason CSI is used to signify previous intelligence is because ID proponents claim that the fortuitous matching between search algorithm and non-uniform distribution is just as difficult to arrive at by chance as is the original pattern in which CSI was measured. So if chance can’t get us to the original pattern, it won’t get us to the evolutionary algorithm. In fact, I see evolutionary programming as a hallmark of intelligence.

    Mustela Nivalis:
    “the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory do not create things like genomes de novo — they do so incrementally and therefore cannot be modeled so naively.”

    CJYman:
    “The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question.”

    Mustela:
    “But we don’t need to find a set of laws. Physics, and therefore chemistry, is a given. Modern evolutionary theory attempts to explain what we observe, with the physical laws that exists.”

    Physicists are also interested in fine tuning of laws to produce life and the ratios of variables of those laws which would allow life to exist and evolve vs. which variables would not even allow life enough time or material or non-uniformity to form. BTW, I am in no way an “interventionist.”

    Mustela:
    “You might be able to construct an argument for cosmological ID based on “search for a search”, but if you want to apply CSI to real biological systems, you have to take known evolutionary mechanisms into account.”

    If what I have explained above is true, then any measure of CSI will show that chance is not capable of producing said pattern/event, evolutionary algorithm or not.

    Oh, and referencing any questions about semiotic agents, a semiotic agent is merely an agent that utilizes sign systems, therefore does not have to be either human or conscious. The cell itself is a semiotic agent and thus we use the language of the cell (the language of life) to specify and measure for the CSI of a biological object. In fact, we don’t even have to specify anything, the cell has already done that by objectively converting patterns into events.

  97. 97

    CJYman at 96,

    Thanks for the detailed response. I still have some significant issues with “specification”, but I’ll hold those for now and focus on what I believe are two key problems with your formulation of CSI.

    CJYman:
    “then we can calculate for specificity, and then calculate the probability of the event given a uniform probability distribution.”

    Mustela:
    “Why a uniform probability distribution?”

    Because chance (randomness) is characterized statistically as a uniform probability distribution and all that CSI is doing is removing the chance hypothesis.

    Mustela:
    “We know from observation that many mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory are not random in their behavior (mutation is assumed to be, but selection, for example, is not).”

    Of course evolutionary algorithms aren’t random.

    That demonstrates that a uniform probability distribution is not biologically relevant. If you are using this calculation to demonstrate that biological evolution by known natural processes cannot account for the diversity of life that we observe then you must take into account those known natural processes.

    Once CSI is determined to be “present,” then we know that we aren’t dealing with a uniform probability distribution.

    I’m sorry, I don’t follow that. I thought we were calculating CSI here. To do so, we need to take into account everything we know about the biological artifact under consideration.

    However, merely having a non-uniform probability is still no help. According to the NFLT, we need a matching between the non-uniform distribution and the correct search algorithm which can make use of that distribution. That’s how we get an evolutionary algorithm.

    The No Free Lunch theorems merely state that any particular search strategy is only as good as random search over the space of all possible fitness landscapes. We’re not dealing with a space of fitness landscapes, we’re dealing with the physical reality we all know. That’s one fitness landscape and the NFL theorems say nothing about the ability of evolutionary mechanisms to perform better than random search.

    Mustala:
    “The uniform probability distribution assumption is equivalent to the assumption that the DNA arose in its present form de novo. That does not correspond to either modern evolutionary theory nor to observed evolutionary mechanisms.”

    Exactly, since CSI really only tells us that chance is not a viable option. Therefore the only two options left on the table are intervention by an intelligence or an evolutionary algorithm. Now, the reason CSI is used to signify previous intelligence is because ID proponents claim that the fortuitous matching between search algorithm and non-uniform distribution is just as difficult to arrive at by chance as is the original pattern in which CSI was measured. So if chance can’t get us to the original pattern, it won’t get us to the evolutionary algorithm. In fact, I see evolutionary programming as a hallmark of intelligence.

    There are a lot of assumptions in this one paragraph. First, we haven’t seen an actual calculation of CSI, so claiming that CSI shows anything is premature. Second, there are more choices than an intelligent agent or an evolutionary algorithm. Known physical and chemical processes can’t be ruled out. Third, there is no reason to consider the search algorithm to be “matched” to anything. We live in a universe with a particular set of physical laws (for lack of a better term). Those are a given. There is no “search for a search” taking place.

    Mustela Nivalis:
    “the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory do not create things like genomes de novo — they do so incrementally and therefore cannot be modeled so naively.”

    CJYman:
    “The point is that according to Marks and Dembski’s recent work on active information, it is just as improbable to find something such as CSI as it is to generate a set of laws that would create an evolutionary algorithm to produce an incremental pathway to that CSI in question.”

    Mustela:
    “But we don’t need to find a set of laws. Physics, and therefore chemistry, is a given. Modern evolutionary theory attempts to explain what we observe, with the physical laws that exists.”

    Physicists are also interested in fine tuning of laws to produce life and the ratios of variables of those laws which would allow life to exist and evolve vs. which variables would not even allow life enough time or material or non-uniformity to form. BTW, I am in no way an “interventionist.”

    I’m afraid that doesn’t address the problem with your calculation. There is no “search for a search”. The NFL theorems don’t apply. Known evolutionary mechanisms work far better than random search in this universe.

    Mustela:
    “You might be able to construct an argument for cosmological ID based on “search for a search”, but if you want to apply CSI to real biological systems, you have to take known evolutionary mechanisms into account.”

    If what I have explained above is true, then any measure of CSI will show that chance is not capable of producing said pattern/event, evolutionary algorithm or not.

    Because you fail to take into consideration the physics of this universe and the known mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory, your calculation has no biological relevance.

    Can you modify your calculation to address these issues? I’m still very interested in implementing a CSI calculator in software.

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