Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is Dr. Dembski's Work "Written in Jell-o?"

From here.

CA: interviewer

WD: Dr. Dembski

CA: Your critics (such as Wein, Perakh, Shallit, Elsberry, Wolpert and others) seem unsatisfied with your work. They charge your work as being somewhat esoteric and lacking intellectual rigor. What do you say to that charge?

WD: Most of these critics are responding to my book No Free Lunch. As I explained in the preface of that book, its aim was to provide enough technical details so that experts could fill in details, but enough exposition so that the general reader could grasp the essence of my project. The book seems to have succeeded with the general reader and with some experts, though mainly with those who were already well-disposed toward ID. In any case, it became clear after that publication of that book that I would need to fill in the mathematical details myself, something I have been doing right along (see my articles described under “mathematical foundations of intelligent design” at www.designinference.com) and which has now been taken up in earnest in a collaboration with my friend and Baylor colleague Robert Marks at his Evolutionary Informatics Lab (www.EvoInfo.org).

CA: Are you evading the tough questions?

WD: Of course not. But tough questions take time to answer, and I have been patiently answering them. I find it interesting now that I have started answering the critics’ questions with full mathematical rigor (see the publications page at www.EvoInfo.org) that they are largely silent. Jeff Shallit, for instance, when I informed him of some work of mine on the conservation of information told me that he refuse to address it because I had not adequately addressed his previous objections to my work, though the work on conservation of information about which I was informing him was precisely in response to his concerns. Likewise, I’ve interacted with Wolpert. Once I started filling in the mathematical details of my work, however, he fell silent.


N said...

So, how come you no longer update this blog? The world can always use another ID perspective, and it certainly doesn't seem as if you've lost interest in the topic (considering your UD posts.)

CJYman said...

Hello N,

I'd love to update this blog, but as you've seen I expend most of my blogging energy and time at UD. Unfortunately, with school and all, I don't have much time left to post here on my own blog.

But, hopefully, I will get to updating this blog some day ... I've got some good material to add, but it'll pretty much be a summary of many of my discussions on UD.

N said...

Nullasalus here, actually.

Anyway, I'll keep checking in now and then to see if you update. I wanted to get some conversation in with you to get a better idea of what your perspective on ID is.

CJYman said...

Ah, nullasalus ... now I know who I'm talking to. You know, if I actually regularly updated this blog and if TT hadn't scooped you up, I would have invited you to post here with me. But then again, as you pointed out, I don't even post here much anymore.

Let's just say that my perspective on ID is terribly close to a combination of Mike Gene, Behe, and Denton, with some Theistic Evolution mixed in ... except that I think that intelligence is definitely detectable and is now scientific, thanks first and foremost to Behe and Dembski.

... and yes, because of how ID proponents have been labelled and their arguments mis-characterized, and the foundation of ID misunderstood, it takes a rather long exchange between myself and an ID critic before they finally understand my views and the foundation of the ID inference. So, actually getting this blog updated should be on my list of things to do so that I can send the critics here to read my exchanges with others so that I don't have to go over the same things over and over and over again. Presently, I link to my previous exchanges with others on UD, when questions are asked or assertions are made that I've already answered and responded to.

IMO, although Stephen Meyers wrote an excellent book, someone needs to step up and write a book on ID Theory which does not attack evolution or abiogenesis at all, but rather clearly shows that evolution and abiogenesis are indeed the best evidences of previous intelligence.

Looking forward to continued discussion with you.

N said...

Well, I certainly agree that ID is entirely compatible with evolution, even abiogenesis. Of course, even Dembski (certainly Behe) and others agree with the former, possibly the latter. That's part of the reason I like to see other ID sites pop up - the distinctions are made clear at UD, but ID is also compatible with people who reject evolution, and that view seems to get a lot of airtime on UD. On the flipside, I also suspect that an ID that doesn't have to reject evolution or abiogenesis is a particular nightmare for ID opponents - and a lot of time is spent pretend that this view not exist.

I agree that a book of the sort you describe needs to come out. The Design Matrix out and out relies on evolution and (I believe) RNA-world scenarios, and of course there's Denton - but there can be, and should be, more. Especially since I'm more and more convinced that ID will eventually become the only game in town, with "atheistic" ID eventually coming to replace what we have at the moment.

Do you have any posts on this blog which most clearly explain what you see in abiogenesis or evolution that particularly explains what you see in abiogenesis or evolution that leads you to think intelligence is the best explanation? I keep up with your posts on UD at times, but that's usually you responding to someone on a specific argument. I'd like to see your basic views uninterrupted, if you've got that written down anywhere.