William Dembski, Robert Marks, and the Evolutionary Informatics Lab Take on Dawkins’ “WEASEL” Simulation in New Peer-Reviewed Paper

A new peer-reviewed paper continues the work published by William Dembski, Robert Marks, and others affiliated with the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. (Check out their new revamped website at EvoInfo.org.) The authors argue that Richard Dawkins’ “METHINKSITISLIKEAWEASEL” evolutionary algorithm starts off with large amounts of active information–information intelligently inserted by the programmer to aid the search. This paper covers all of the known claims of operation of the WEASEL algorithm and shows that in all cases, active information is used. Dawkins’ algorithm can best be understood as using a “Hamming Oracle” as follows: “When a sequence of letters is presented to a Hamming oracle, the oracle responds with the Hamming distance equal to the number of letter mismatches in the sequence.” Read More ›

Ontogenetic Depth 2.0: The Prequel

Okay. First admit the obvious. Ontogenetic Depth (OD) 1.0 was — well, it would be beyond charitable to say utterly inadequate. I realized this not long after reading PZ Myers’ first wave of criticisms. As I’ll explain, however, my realization stemmed not from Myers’ specific points (most of which were either minor quibbles, or missed the mark completely), but rather from trying to apply OD 1.0 myself to the well-studied models systems of developmental biology. The OD 1.0 “metric” was no metric — measuring stick — at all. Thus, PZ’s general judgment in 2004, if not his specific criticisms, was dead accurate: “This is a poorly expressed and unusable idea.”

“Stephen C. Meyer changes the game in the intelligent design fight with Signature in the Cell

A new review of Signature in the Cell is just out in The Journal of the International Society of Philosophical Enquiry. It brings to the forefront of the overall debate the perspective of a software engineer and logician. Specifically, Harry Kanigel, former executive director, Information Technology at UBS Investment Bank, whose expertise is in computer algorithms. So he knows a thing or two about digital information. His reviews starts strong: Stephen C. Meyer changes the game in the intelligent design fight with Signature in the Cell, a big book that methodically, but agreeably, constructs an argument that intelligence in some unspecified form, is responsidble for the bio-molecular machinery in the cell and, therefore, for first life. Meyer’s argument is, at Read More ›

At University of Arizona, a “Face Off”on Intelligent Design?

We were delighted to discover that students at the University of Arizona are getting a well-rounded education. “Evolution, Intelligent Design Face Off at Humanities Panel,” reports the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Hey great, finally a serious academic institution is taking the time to make sure kids hear both sides of the evolution debate! Reading down the article we noticed only a couple of things they might have been done differently and better. The panel at UA included an evolutionary biologist and two religious studies profs, but no one actually representing the ID side. Only ID critics were allowed to participate. Well, that is disappointing. It’s like staging a “debate” between the Democratic and Republican contenders for a particular public office but Read More ›