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Darksyde on Bill Dembski

There’s a new post on The Daily Kos, Know Your Creationists: Bill Dembski, that readers may find interesting. It provides some background, and there are some links to some work on the math in the comments.

I appreciate those mathematicians who have deconstructed Dembski’s math. When I first read something by him, it occurred to me that there was a major problem, in that the whole thing really depended on the probability of a process occurring when he really did not know what that process was. What is the probability of the bacterial flagellum being produced by natural processes? Unless we know the processes or we can truly eliminate all possible processes, there’s really no way to know. It could be absolutely impossible, or it could be quite a simple variation. I didn’t bother to plow through the math as I’m certainly not qualified to comment on it. There’s a simple principle however, applicable to any algorithm, that garbage in will produce garbage out. I simply (and perhaps lazily) assumed that if garbage was going out, it didn’t matter how many pages it took to describe the math, garbage was coming out.

An excellent place to start on critiques of Dembski is the work of Howard van Till. His article E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom: Bacterial Flagella and Dembski’s Case for Intelligent Design is excellent. You can read it as a PDF as well, which would be my own preference, and you can follow more of the exchange starting with the following links on the AAAS web site: Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion: Perspectives.

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