Now, I would like to address some critical remarks pertaining to CSI. Some people have suggested that the calculation doesn’t really work for the following reasons:

Let’s say that you have a door that opens and closes with random gusts of wind. The open door is marked “state 1" and the closed door is marked “state 0.” After a very long while of marking these states down, you realize that you have a highly complex (in the sense of being highly improbable) and very compressible (specified) pattern of “101010101010101010 ...". This would obviously generate a very high specification, and according to the critic would mean that since we have CSI here, then there must be an intelligent ghost opening and closing the door. Thus, since we know that natural, random gusts of wind can cause a door to open and close, the measurement for specification actually doesn’t work. The critic insists that we have a counter example and thus using a specification as an indication of intelligence is flawed.

Now, before I start, I must remind you that an understanding of the pattern is necessary to calculate its probability, which is essential to calculating a specification. For example, if I see written somewhere the letters “GATTACA,” I could be looking at a short snippet of an actual amino acid sequence or I could merely be looking at the title of a movie. The shannon information content would be either 14 bits or approx. 32.9 bit respectively. In the initial possibility I would be looking at states from a set of 4 potential states and in the latter possibility I would be looking at states from a set of 26 potential states. Thus, based on what the written pattern actually represents, we can have many different probabilities associated to that representational pattern.

So, if we are measuring a representation of a pattern, such as how ACTG can represent adenine, cytosine, thymine, and guanine, on a string of DNA we need to understand the original pattern that we are representing in order to calculate any probabilities.

Now, let’s look at the swinging door example. We have a pattern of 101010101010101010 which represents a swinging door, “1" being open and “0" being closed. Well, what is the probability that we will have a pattern that represents “open door” “closed door” open door” closed door” etc? Well, is there any other possibility? Can we go from “open door” to “open door”? Not unless we have a timer which captures a state every “x” seconds, and in the above scenario that was not included. So no matter how the door is made to swing open and closed we really have a pattern which has a 100% probability, since one state must as a necessity be followed by the other state.

Now, we can measure for specificity and then for a specification. With a probability of 1, we will get a greater than 1 specificity and thus a negative amount of CSI – no specification.

Thus, a proper understanding of the probability of the pattern in question is essential when calculating for a specification.

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## 15 comments:

Dembski: "Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?"Today, William got an incredible deal on an old Victorian house. Highly satisfied with his business acumen, William settled in for a blissful night of sleep in his new home.

SLAM!William woke with a start. He listened intently. But he didn't hear anything, so he settled back to sleep.

Cree..eakWilliam listened even more closely this time until, after a bit, the creaking noise died away. For some reason, he recalled the seller's maniacal laughter just after William signed the papers to buy the house.

SLAM!William was trembling and his teeth were rattling. He thought about getting out of bed to investigate. Instead, he pulled the covers over his head.

Cree..eakHmm, William thought. Being a design theoretician, I can use the patented (not really) Dembski Inference to determine if the pattern is being caused by a ghost, er some unspecified intelligent cause.

SLAM!

Cree..eak

SLAM!

Cree..eak

SLAM!

Cree..eak

SLAM!

Cree..eak

...

For our first calculation. Let's assume the pattern is regular. 01010101010101 ...

Using Dembski's Inference, what can we infer about the pattern without risking a venture about the house? Assume the pattern is regular for now. Be sure to show your math (e.g. Chance Hypothesis). And remember! No peeking from underneath the covers!

Hey Zachriel,

I'm not gonna do all your homework for you. In that case, you won't learn anything for yourself. I've given you all the information you need in order to calculate for a specification in the post "Specifications (Part 1)."

In fact, in this instance, you only need to know that the pattern has a probability of 1.

Now, you may continue with the calculation. Please don't make me repeat from my post.

I'll be glad to attempt to explain any part that you don't understand.

Here's another hint ... the probabilistic resources are "1" since you arrived at the pattern in the first trial.

As to the specificity, the best case scenario is if we have a specificity of 1, and even then, in this case ... well ... I'll let you do the math since I've already done the math at "Specifications (Part 1)"

Oh, and just so you know, in a scientific pursuit, you will know a lot about the pattern ... ie, you can only find out the specificity by knowing the probability. But, please don't let me interrupt your calculation.

CJYman:In fact, in this instance, you only need to know that the pattern has a probability of 1.And you know this how?

How do I know the probabilities?

By investigating the pattern in question.

If you keep your head under the blankets, you can't collect probabilities and perform a scientific investigation. No ID investigation is done without the ability to calculate probabilities, probabilistic resources, and specificity.

Your original constraints are absurd and bear no reflection on reality of investigation.

Furthermore, I already explained in this very blog post that you need to understand the probability of the event in question in order to continue the investigation. And then you come up with an irrelevant obfuscation in which the investigator must have his head under the covers.

Seriously now!

But, even then ... if he hears and understands (based on context) that it is merely a door that is opening and closing, then he will be able to calculate the probability of 1 as I have already explained above in the blog post.

Here's your homework:

-Find out where I explain, in the above blog post, why a pattern of 10101010 etc. corresponding with a door opening and closing has a probability of 1.

EDIT:

I made a slight mistake in calculating probabilistic resources. Since probabilistic resources = size of trial * number of trials, then a pattern of 10101010101010 arrived at by opening and closing a door would have the probabilistic resources of 14 (size of trial) * 1 (number of trials) = 14

Dembski:

Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?CJYman:If you keep your head under the blankets, you can't collect probabilities and perform a scientific investigation.So the answer to Dembski's question is "No." I agree.

Dembski:

Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?

CJYman: If you keep your head under the blankets, you can't collect probabilities and perform a scientific investigation.

Zachriel:"So the answer to Dembski's question is "No." I agree."

Incorrect.

Stonehenge is an excellent example. It was determined to be designed far before anyone knew how it was designed. I have already dealt with this here.

Not investigating the object in question and not knowing how it arose are two separate things.

You can investigate a sequence that is not caused by physical or chemical laws and who's units within the pattern in question have full variability (probability not equal to 1), thus determining that it has a high information content without knowing how it arose. Then, you can perform experiments to detect specificity and finally calculate for a specification without knowing how it arose. Then, you can attempt to piece together how the pattern arose.

IE: I have already dealt with stonehenge and another good example is DNA and proteins. With DNA and proteins, you can actually investigate the sequences and calculate for CSI without knowing exactly how they arose. So far no one can even simulate CSI arriving by a random set of laws and variables (absent intelligence) and chance. Thus, my two practical examples refute your assertion as quoted above and backs up both Dembski's and my quote and in no way refutes any part of my case for a naturalistic hypothesis of ID.

Remember that I have already discussed the difference between investigating a pattern itself and investigating the written representation of that pattern (unless we are dealing with written language of course, since both would be one and the same). That is exactly the problem with your scenario and that is why we don't have enough information to calculate CSI if we keep our heads under the blankets.

However, as I have just shown, proper ID investigation is possible under the right circumstances (when scary ghosts aren't keeping our head under the blankets).

CJYman:Stonehenge is an excellent example. It was determined to be designed far before anyone knew how it was designed.When and how was this determined?

CJYman:However, as I have just shown, proper ID investigation is possible under the right circumstances (when scary ghosts aren't keeping our head under the blankets).Reading Dembski's paper, Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, he is saying that the pattern itself is sufficient to detect design. For instance, if the slamming noise tapped out the Gettysburg Address in Morse Code, we would be able to conclude it was designed. We wouldn't have to leave the safety of our bed.

We do this formally by comparing the observed pattern to known patterns, the Semiotic Cost, and compare it to a Chance Hypothesis, then Presto! We have our Design Inference.

CJYman:

"Stonehenge is an excellent example. It was determined to be designed far before anyone knew how it was designed."

Zachriel:"When and how was this determined?"

Excellent question. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do the research for you. But here are two websites for starters.

The simple answer is that it was determined to be designed once it was noticed that it had a specific (potentially functional -- most probably astronomical calender) and highly improbable organization. This is determined by studying the pattern in question.

Furthermore, it would be either an exercise in futility or insanely pointless for the archaeological community to attempt to discover *how* it was *designed* (as they have done time and again) if they didn't have good reason (based on specificity and improbability) to believe that it actually *was* designed.

Another example is the arrowhead (of course). It is determined to be designed when the archaeologist can match it to a specific function and notices that the pattern of markings on it (I can't remember what they are called -- I took that first year archeology class quite some time ago) are highly improbable.

CJYman:

"However, as I have just shown, proper ID investigation is possible under the right circumstances (when scary ghosts aren't keeping our head under the blankets)."

Zachriel:

"Reading Dembski's paper, Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, he is saying that the pattern itself is sufficient to detect design. For instance, if the slamming noise tapped out the Gettysburg Address in Morse Code, we would be able to conclude it was designed. We wouldn't have to leave the safety of our bed.

We do this formally by comparing the observed pattern to known patterns, the Semiotic Cost, and compare it to a Chance Hypothesis, then Presto! We have our Design Inference."

Then you must have partly misunderstood, since the calculations involve probability and in order to calculate the probability of an algorithmically compressible pattern, you need an understanding of the relation between the units in the pattern as I have already explained above.

It is true that there is a slight difference between algorithmic specificity and functional specificity. With functional specificity (when it is algorithmically complex) all you need is to determine that there exists function and then calculate the probability of that function. Since the pattern contains function and is already algorithmically complex, you know that the probability is not determined by any characteristics of the units. So far every example of algorithmically complex, functional patterns have high information/low probability content. IOW algorithmically complex and functional patterns do not have probability 1 (0 bits information).

The reason why you must examine the pattern in question when dealing with algorithmically complex patterns is because an algorithmically complex pattern may be the result of laws of attraction between units or some other relation between states which causes information content to plummet to 0 bits. ie: chain of carbon atoms or the slamming door example respectively.

The reason why the Gettysburg Address could be determined to be the result of intelligence is because the pattern is algorithmically complex and functional (semantically specified) thus ruling out the possibility of low information content(probability 1) based on the units in question.

In the second last para., where it says "algorithmically complex" it should read "algorithmically compressible."

CJYman:Stonehenge is an excellent example. It was determined to be designed far before anyone knew how it was designed.Zachriel:When and how was this determined?CJYman:Excellent question. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do the research for you.In other words, you made a claim without any knowledge of the specifics required to support it .

CJYman:The simple answer is that it was determined to be designed once it was noticed that it had a specific (potentially functional -- most probably astronomical calender) and highly improbable organization.Your first cite suggests that people used to think Stonehenge was built by magic for magic purposes. (Astronomical theories came much later.)

CJYman:If you keep your head under the blankets, you can't collect probabilities and perform a scientific investigation.CJYman:The reason why the Gettysburg Address could be determined to be the result of intelligence is because ...You just contradicted yourself again. The question is whether we can determine a pattern is 'designed' by only examining the pattern in question. Your first answer was no. Your second answer is yes.

And whether Dembski's Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence has any utility in making this determination.

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