A peer-reviewed scientific paper published in 2010 by William Dembski and Robert Marks of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab supports no free lunch theorems. Published in Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics and titled “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search,” the paper’s abstract states that unless one has information about a target, search engines often fail: “Needle-in-the-haystack problems look for small targets in large spaces. In such cases, blind search stands no hope of success.” Their principle of Conservation of Information holds that “any search technique will work, on average, as well as blind search.” However, in such a case “[s]uccess requires an assisted search. But whence the assistance required for a Read More ›
At his blog University of Chicago professor of evolutionary biology Jerry Coyne has commented on my reply to his analysis of my new review in the Quarterly Review of Biology. This time he has involved two other prominent scientists in the conversation. I’ll discuss the comments of one of them in this post and the other in a second post. The first one is University of Texas professor of molecular biology James J. Bull, who works on the laboratory evolution of bacterial viruses (phages). I reviewed a number of Bull’s fascinating papers in the recent QRB publication. Coyne solicited Prof. Bull’s comments and put them up on his blog. Bull says several nice things about my review, but agrees with Read More ›
Jerry Coyne is leading the Darwin Tabernacle Choir in expressions of gratitude and relief for a new article in Science that supposedly knocks down the implications of Michael Behe’s current review essay in Quarterly Review of Biology. The Science article seeks to show with what amazing rapidity scads of new genes may arise and become essential to an organism (“New genes in Drosophila quickly become essential“). The evidence is from fruit flies. Two species, D. willistoni and D. melanogaster, diverged starting about 35 million years ago. By comparing genomes, Coyne summarizes exultantly, researchers Manyuan Long et al. showed how “new genetic information can arise quickly, at least on an evolutionary timescale.” Fruit flies are a cherished subject of such investigations Read More ›
Over the years William Dembski’s critics have accused him of allegedly not doing research. A few years back, Wesley Elsberry and Jeff Shallit published a response to Dembski which charged that “intelligent design advocates have produced many popular books, but essentially no scientific research.” Given how much peer-reviewed research Dembski himself has published in the field of evolutionary computation, these criticisms are not credible and hardly worth mentioning. On the other hand, some of Dembski’s harshest critics, such as Jeffrey Shallit, are smart guys that have published extensively in mathematics journals but have not cracked into the literature relevant to this field of evolutionary computation. Is it appropriate for Shallit to posture himself as a prestigious academic critic of Dembski when he has not published in the relevant scientific literature?