Friday, July 13, 2007

"New" Dembski/Marks Papers at New EI Lab

These papers have actually been available for more than a month now. What is missing is the rapid responses from ID critics that usually follow from William Dembski's publications.

Note added: 7/08
The EI lab has been expelled from Baylor but can still be

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reply To Mark Chu Carroll: Part One -- Could our universe be "ordered by pure chance?"

Thanks to a comment and link from William Dembski a few weeks ago I suddenly became famous (well sort of). As a result of my new found fame a blogger and mathematician named Mark Chu Carroll decided to critique a three part article of mine (from 2002), saying among other things..

MCC -...The paper is a mess. It purports to try to address problems with the second law of thermodynamics in a way that shows that the universe must have a creator. The catch, though, is that his argument for why there's something wrong with the second law is pure rubbish. But I'm getting ahead of myself..

WB- Stephen Hawking claims (In Brief History of time {Pg. 103 pb.}) that there is "something wrong" with the Second Law saying that the law "does not hold always." My efforts in parts 2 and 3 from 2002 were directed toward finding a real Second law that does indeed "hold always" even at the molecular/atomic level. The first section (from 1996) seeks to establish the "absolute certainty" of the Second Law at the cosmic level thereby overcoming (at the cosmic level) -- the problem Hawking is alluding to in his book. An added consequence of this first argument however is cosmological incompleteness. "Part One" of the article was written in 1996 and originally published under the name “Hawking’s Error – Consequences of the Correction” in the now defunct ISJ("Internet Science Journal").

MCC-...His major section is what he calls "The Physical Incompleteness Theorem". It's basically just another version of something vaguely Dembski-ish: an argument that order can't arise from randomness, therefore there must be something that created order…

WB- My initial argument/claim was indeed “that order(constraint) can’t arise from randomness(the absence of constraint).” I also claimed that light (photons) cannot arise from darkness (the absence of photons). What is needed instead is a source of order and a source of light respectively.

MCC- .."By 'pure chance' (talking about strings in an alphabet), most people would probabaly mean a uniform distribution - that is, all possible sequences of characters are equally represented."

WB -- Which (as it turns out) is precisely what I mean. If "all possible sequences of characters are equally represented” by system definition then "monkey shakespeare" (being one of the possible sequences) will be "equally represented" (and is therefore bound {ordered by the system parameters} to appear).

MCC-The only way that the restriction to an alphabet makes a difference is if we're trying to measure the quantity of information represented by the string. And then the alphabet matters - but only in a way unimportant for Brookfield's argument: the larger the alphabet, the more information contained in a random string of characters.

WB - There is no information contained in a random string of letters. "Randomness" is by definition the absence of order/information. The word "information" is based on the root word "form" and is synonymous with the word "order" the opposite of "randomness."

MCC - The entire use of "order" is a fabrication - and the entire argument based on it is wretchedly bad. If you look at Hawkings argument, and translate it into Brookfield's terms: suppose you have an infinite number of infinite sequences of numbers. Most of those sequences will be chaotic - there won't be any discernable patterns or structures. But within that infinite set, there are some sequences that are monotonically increasing; there will be some that consist of lists of increasing subsequences. Most won't - but some will. Brookfield is arguing that in randomly generated sequences - truly random ones - you can't get an ordered pattern, ever.

WB - Luckily, I happen to be actually be Brookfield, so I can explain what my real argument is/was. In McC's example Monotonically Increasing Sequences (MIS) are members of the "system set" (see page #4 fig #1). Given "an infinite number of infinite sequences of numbers" monotonically increasing sequences (MIS) will not only occur, but they are certain to occur. Contra Mark Chu, my claim is not that you can't get monotonically increasing sequences "order" but instead that their frequency-of-appearance will fail to diverge from the uniform probability distribution (randomness). Without a divergence from randomness there is no internal order/information here at all. Such rare internal states may appear to be more ordered than other sequences (to Hawking and Mark Chu) but this is an illusion.

MCC - could be inside an enclosing infinite system, or outside of an enclosing infinite system. But either way, it's totally bogus: it's still based on that awful "order can't come from randomness".

WB - Hawking's monkey shakespeare is an attempt to use endogenous system-level order (that utterly fails to diverge from the uniform probability distribution{randomness})as an example of order (probabilistic divergence) from randomness (non-divergence). So once again I must make "that awful claim" that "order cannot come from randomness." In Hawking's (and Mark's) example "order" has not "come from randomness." Order has not been produced "by pure chance." These rare sequences are predetermined (forced/ordered) to appear by the pre-existing probabilistic structure (order) of the systems in question -- just as jackpots in a fair (random) slot machine are predetermined by the pre-existing structure (order) of the machine.

Internal to the system, MS and MIS are not order(not divergences) at all. Internally, they are just randomness. External to the system they are synonymous with the system-level order. Alphabet systems (order) and number systems (order) represent system level divergences (order) that are intelligently designed (by humans). In order to understand cosmological incompleteness, external system-level order must not be confused with internal information (order) being expressed in and through such pre-existing systems. Internally speaking, order has not come by pure chance (randomness) only randomness has come from randomness (R-->R). Externally speaking, system level order (including MS & Mis) and their attendant probabilities have come with the establishment of the system (order) -- thus we have order from order (O-->O). What Hawking and Mark Chu want, but have not provided is an example of R-->O (order being produced by chance/randomness).

Real Shakespeare has real meaning and appears in our world and our libraries at a frequency that defies randomness. The simple law of spelling that requires that "U" must always follow "Q" is a divergence from randomness. "Monkey shakespeare" on the other hand, is utterly devoid of any laws of spelling, grammar and syntax etc. Any cosmological model based upon such lawlessness would undermine not only science but our entire technological civilization. Just as with the laws of grammar that are not illusions, the laws of physics are not illusions.