Thursday, March 19, 2009

Re - Van Sun article "Religion in Disguise"

The Vancouver Sun last year published a set of articles about ID, Creationism and science. After publication of "Religion in Disguise" comments were enabled and myself and many others commented (pro and con ID). Alas our comments have all been removed and only the article now remains. I have decided I might as well re-post my largest deleted comment here for the benefit of anyone interested. Unfortunately I do not have copies of any of the other (shorter) comments -- they are probably gone forever.

I would just like to say that I am indeed grateful to the Vancouver Sun for
publishing my last comment regarding my philosophy of the value(sacredness) of

"Metamorphic Geologist" however, has asked regarding ID's "top
secret research program." I can only speak for myself and my own work. I am
studying a possible relationship between classical "information" and certain
fundamental laws of physics, specifically the second law of thermodynamics and
the second law of black hole dynamics. I am attempting to facilitate an
"info-dynamic" unification of these laws of physics leading ultimately to a
unification of Relativity and Quantum mechanics. This requires the study of all
related fields -- the information theories of Shannon and Kolmogorov
(Algorithmic Information Theory {AIT}), statistical mechanics and general
relativity and QM. In order to clarify these relationships I have proposed the
addition of a new element to both Shannon's and Kolmogorov's theories of
information -- a correlational improbability figure (or K-coupling in K-theory
{AIT}). This figure is intended to mathematically quantify the amount of order
in any given piece of information. If there is no *correlation* between the
email that you sent your friend and the email that your friend receives, then
the "information" that you sent him/her has been lost. It is this essential
"correlated-ness" that my figure is intended to quantify.

I also recently proposed the existence of two types of Kolmogorov complexity (informational and non-informational). Informational (i)K-complexity (such as is found in say, DNA coding) is always originated by intelligent design, whereas non-informational (m)K-complexity, being wholly parasitic upon the pre-existing complexity of its medium, does not represent "complexity origination" at all. Jeff Shallit of the University of Waterloo and a leading critic of ID recently made the following statement in response to Tom Bethell’s concerns about the origin of DNA *coding* (and subsequent *correlations*):

"Bethell shows a profound misunderstanding of information theory when he claims, 'Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA was asked how the all-important coding information found its way into the DNA in the first place. It's so complex that a reliance on random events will never get us there.' Bethell apparently doesn't understand that in the Kolmogorov theory of information, complexity is the same as randomness. It's easy to get complexity; all you need is a source of random events." -- Jeff Shallit from "Bethell the Buffoon" 09,2007

If you were to smash a window using "a source of random events" (using the proverbial "monkey with shotgun"?) you would produce a random (m)K-complex mess of broken glass, but this raw, molecular-positional-complexity is not structural complexity. "Information" such as DNA coding is a "built up" form of coordinated, correlated structural complexity. Random (uncoordinated, unspecified, and uncorrelated) events cannot produce this type of (informational/structural) K-complexity. Randomization in fact destroys this "built up" (i)K-complexity. The breaking of windows is not going to produce the *specified* structural/informational complexity of a "built up" glass house nor a house nor DNA. Jeff Shallit is here confusing non-informational (m)K-complexity with structural/informational (i)K-complexity. The path of a "random walk" through a pre-existing complex medium reveals only the *pre-existing* K-complexity of that medium.

"Randomness," is a uniform probability distribution over a set of possible outcomes. Being *uniform* it is subsequently non-complex -- by definition. If the jackpot of a slot machine appears too frequently or too infrequently relative to the other outcomes, then the probability distribution is non-uniform, non-random and therefore, "unfair."

I have also pointed out at ISCID that there exists a longstanding problem for the Second Law of Thermodynamics known as "Poincare Recurrence" (first pointed out by mathematician Henri Poincare in 1890). This problem can be resolved by reformulating the second law of thermodynamics as a law of information dynamics. This is because system *finiteness* is an imposition of a residual orderly constraint (information/correlation) upon the contents of any otherwise internally free system.

My notion of correlational improbability while being an extension of Shannon and Kolmogorov’s theories does not underminethese theories nor their past successes – just as my theory of spacetime erosion does not undermine Einstein’s theory of spacetime curvature. The idea is to provide reformulations and clarifications of existing theories that are more amenable to scientific progress and unification. Einstein’s concept of "curvature" is presently blocking a quantum description of relativity IMO. A solution here would have to unify, not only quantum mechanics and general relativity, but also thermodynamics and black hole dynamics (general relativity).

As an ID theorist I am addressing a number of such issues and
proposing a number of possible solutions to these problems. From my point of
view, my work is obviously work in science and not religion --- just as
thermodynamics is obviously science and not religion. However, the question has been raised and clarification is needed in order for the public to determine
whether or not my science really is just "religion in disguise." To this end, I
once again encourage the Vancouver Sun to question me further regarding my
science (and also my philosophy if you wish) – and to do so in a public forum
such as this. It is time for this matter to be settled once and for all.

Submitted to VANCOUVER SUN Wed November 12 2008


Anonymous said...

Where can we find the formal definition of "structural/informational (i)K-complexity"?

Tomo said...

I think what gets lost in the ID debate is that the investigative process is scientific, many credible scientists are investigating claims properly, and that this all says nothing about whether these investigations will bear any fruit whatsoever.

I am not a scientist myself, I'm just a writer who loves science, and I am fascinated by the debate and how it has been used for political positioning amongst those with a religious agenda. In my opinion, this unfairly sours the real research (like the one you describe in your post) that is being done in this field.

These are high-level academic issues that need to be hashed out and investigated by the experts in their field, not discussed amongst celebrities and housewives. It certainly isn't ready to be presented to children, because their is nothing definitive that can be claimed based off of the theory. Yet.

The biggest issues I personally have with ID is the differences between "random" information and "non-random" information. The underlying assumption is that human and animal behavior is non-random, which is a fact we have not yet established, its an assumption, and not a very good one.

While I and other people operate as if we have "free will", we don't have reason to believe that anything we do is based off of more than the complex pattern of chemical interactions that mark our lives.

Of course, that is ALSO why I find studies that delve into the nature of information so valuable. If it can be determined whether "intelligence" is an actual functional rather than phenomenological concept, that is likely where those ideas will begin.