Self-Plagiarism for Me, but Not for Thee: Wesley Elsberry Replies

Evolution activist and marine biologist Wesley Elsberry hypocritically charges mathematician and ID advocate Granville Sewell with “self-plagiarism” and “deliberate gaming of the [academic publication] system.” What’s hypocritical about the charge? Well, recently in the journal Synthese, Elsberry himself self-plagiarized his own prior work. I don’t care if Wesley Elsberry “plagiarizes” himself, if that’s even the right the word for reworking or repurposing your own writing for different audiences. But as I argued earlier here, it is hypocritical for Elsberry to attack Sewell for doing exactly the same thing that Elsberry himself has done. Now, in his own defense, Elsberry has replied to me. In the context of the Darwin debate, when someone closes a rebuttal by calling your arguments “an Read More ›

Can Neo-Darwinian Processes Account for Complexity in Nature?

In their critique of William Dembski, Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit write, “there is abundant circumstantial evidence that Darwinian processes can account for complexity in nature, but Dembski excludes this evidence because it does not pass his video-camera certainty test.” This badly misrepresents Dembski’s argument. Looking at all the theoretical work Dembski is doing to test the ability of Darwinian processes to generate specified complexity (see his papers at it should be clear that Dembski is NOT demanding “video-camera certainty” but rather is willing to test the ability of present-day causes to generate high CSI empirically, and theoretically, and then apply his findings to make inferences from the historical record. That’s exactly how historical scientists ought to study these Read More ›

Intelligent Design Proponents Toil More than the Critics: A Response to Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit

A few years back Dr. Wesley Elsberry and Dr. Jeffrey Shallit co-wrote an article, “Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski’s ‘Complex Specified Information’,” in response to William Dembski’s 2001 book No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. No Free Lunch was something of a sequel to Dembski’s first major book, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge University Press, 1998), but Dembski’s work has come a long way since that time. In this regard–and it’s not Elsberry or Shallit’s fault per se, this is just how things go–their critique is now somewhat out-dated. The computational research of Dembski and Robert Marks at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab (as well as the Biologic Institute) has preempted Read More ›