The Intelligent Design Challenge – Dénouement

| 37 Comments

Well, the Intelligent design Challenge is over, and we have a winner(s). It was interesting looking at the various methods people used, and I’ll discuss this below the fold. One thing stood out though.

No one used the explanatory filter, or any of the various methods proposed by Intelligent Design proponents. Not one person.

I’m slightly surprise by that. Here was a golden opportunity to test out the paraphernalia of the Design Inference. As Wesley Elsberry has pointed out, so far Dr. Dembski has not tested his Design Inference under realistic circumstances.

Here was a group of real sequences, not some made up artificial sequence, but a real world example of design (along with some sequences that were not designed by humans). A perfect test bed for the Design Inference, you would think.

But in the end, all except one person used ordinary design. That is, people took what they knew of human design and applied it to the problem at hand. The favourite method was to run the nucleotide sequence though a translation filter and search for English language sentences by hand. After all, there has been much discussion over the years about leaving coded messages in the genome, and Craig Venter and his team had just published on their synthetic Mycoplasma genome, pointing out that they had “watermarked” the genome, so it was an obvious first port of call. Another favourite method was to use BLAST to compare the sequence to known genomes, find the ones that looked like they have some human intervention (say an insertion sequence as shown in the image below. This is what you get when you BLAST sequence 1 against the nucleotide database), and then send that sequence through the translation program and again find an English sentence.

Blast_image.jpg The result of blasting sequence 1 against the whole genome database, and obvious insertion is a clue that this may be a designed sequence, as humans use insertions to place new sequences into organisms.

And indeed they were correct; sequences 1, 4 and 5 are the nucleotide sequences that contain the Vetner watermarks from the synthetic Mycoplasma genome. 2,3 and 6 and just straight Mycoplasma genetalium sequences.

This may sound awfully trivial, but the procedure above is how we find design in the real world, contra Dembski (despite Dembski’s claims, archaeologists, forensic scientists etc. do not use the mechanism of the filter). We know a fair bit about designers (be they humans, chimps or pacific island crows). When we find a flaked stone, or a pile of nut smashing rocks, or a palm leaf spear, we don’t have to invoke convoluted statistical measures, we know which designers made these things from experience.

Dembski claims to be able to identify design without knowing the identity or purpose of the designer, or the methods used to implement the design. In all the examples used to find the watermarks, the explicit knowledge of the designer was used straight up to find the design. Even over at Uncommon Descent they looked up Wired to find the sequences, and did not use any ID inspired explanatory filter or even information theory.

In the original challenge, I introduced it in the context of trying to find signatures that would allow us to determine if an organism was from the wild of a designed biowarfare Of course, In a real biowarfare incident, bioterrorists are unlikely to be watermarking their organisms (never underestimate human stupidity though). However, ID proponents have been proclaiming the utility of the Explanatory Filter for some time now. Indeed it has been 10 years since the Design Inference and the explanatory filter were introduced to the world, and you would hope by now that it had advanced enough to handle such simple cases as the Vetner Code.

The fact that even the Uncommon Descent folks did not apply the explanatory filter speaks volumes about ID as a research program. It’s moribund.

So congratulations Teleological and Tony Ashton (Teleological was the first correct Web answer, but Tony emailed first), you have successfully shown that ordinary design methodology works, and the explanatory filter is irrelevant.

I’ll be contacting you two shortly about sending you your prizes.

(PS I believe the amoxillin is winning against the bacteria in my Eustachian tubes, at least I can sit up and type again)

37 Comments

Ok, yeah, but you didn’t address my detection of DESIGN in a genome, sir!

http://genomicron.blogspot.com/2008[…]-genome.html

Ha! I raise you your DESIGN with VENTER (use TBLAST through the entire nucleotide database, you have to turn off complexity filtering, set word size to 2, expect threshold to 30000 and use the PFAM 30 database though]). Is it coincidence that almost everywhere you see DESIGN you also see VENTER. It is obvious that it was Craig Venter who designed the Chimp, and the dog and the mouse (and he is also to blame for some very nasty parasites too). Ordinary Design wins again (as to how Venter did it, possibly the Tralfamadorians took him back in time with a gene splice kit).

I thought that Dembski’s filter determined that ALL life is designed. The watermark only shows that some sequences are doubly designed. This foregone conclusion is derived from the literal interpretation of a source Dembski need not identify, since it doesn’t matter.

Well now, all we have to do is find a sequence that translates “GODDIDIT” in every organism and that will confirm the most deeply held religious beliefs of one religion. Which one? I guess they can fight a war over that to decide who wins.

Casy “don’t show my face” Luskin comes out from his bunker to weighed in on UD http://www.uncommondescent.com/inte[…]n-challenge/

Dembski’s methods of design detection can discriminate between informational patterns that are produced by chance/law, or alternatively were produced by intelligence. When there is real design to be detected, Dembski’s methods of design detection can work regardless of whether the designer was human or non-human.

But Dr. Musgrave’s challenge seems to only allow intelligent design when it is human design. If we assume that Dr. Musgrave’s challenge was issued in good faith, then it seems the challenge has an inappropriate assumption: namely, that naturally occuring gene sequences were not designed.

Dr. Musgrave may think that the correct “answer” is that only certain sequences were designed, because he knows they were designed by humans. But someone applying rigorous methods of design detection might find that other sequences were designed as well.

Dr. Musgrave might then proclaim that the ID proponent is wrong, when in fact he is the one who is wrong because he assumed from the beginning that no naturally occurring gene sequence was designed. This is something to keep in mind if anyone submits analyses here.

Interesting to note Dembski never said a word.

And for the record, I think this challenge was a fantastic idea. After hearing PZ take down Geoffrey Simmons I think someone from our side should challenge the IDists to explain whale evolution, or rather the lack of whale evolution.

We could also challenge Dembski personally to show ID’s Predictive Prowess by identifying all the ID predictions that have been validated by researchers…Dembski has a list of those, remember?

Another good debate would be “Evidence for ID vs Evidence for Evolution”. See if Simmons could participate in that debate. Or even Behe.

In short, we should go on the offensive more often and stop sitting there waiting to be ambushed by the creationists.

Anyhow, Ian’s challenge was fantastic!

I actually felt Ian’s challenge was weaker than it could be, since ID doesn’t claim to be able to tell two designers apart (that’s what Multiple Designer Theory is for :) ), but once again… how totally unexpected that no ID person even attempted the challenge. It makes me laugh every time to watch them run and hide, and then it makes me sick that they get away with calling us the censors.

I call shenanigans. ID doesn’t have any science and they have to stop claiming that it does.

By the way I have solutions to global pollution and world hunger. I can’t show you them because environmentalists have expelled me, but they really exist, honest. Why is my name not in encylopaedias already? I should get the Nobel prize at least.

Mr. Christopher,

While I agree that taking down these IDiots would be akin to shooting fish in a barrel, I don’t think going on the offensive is the smart strategy. I think that with the advent of a strong internet, the easy ability to document these events wherein ID /Creationisnm just doesn’t have a clue, stands for itself. The fact that they have done nothing positive speaks volumes. Attacking a defenseless opponent has no point. Furthermore, the strength of science is that it is NOT decided by debate, but rather the outcome of facts and the explanatory and predictive power of the theories they support.

Yep, just as I expected. The ID position is that all life is designed, so naturally Luskin will bitch that Ian has assumed his conclusion - that SOME life was not designed. Luskin’s conclusion that all life was designed is NOT an assumption, it’s an axiom because it’s stated in a source not identified.

After reading the Luskin quote on Mr_Christopher’s post, I find it odd that the ‘methods of design detection’ cannot distinguish between human design and non human design… (I am assuming he means supernatural design, I can tell birds nest and bee hives are non human designs, or supernatural designs for that matter)

Does the fact that the explanatory filter cannot tell human design from supernatural design mean that (some) humans are equal or greater in intelligence than the (mythical) designer?

Flint:

Yep, just as I expected. The ID position is that all life is designed, so naturally Luskin will bitch that Ian has assumed his conclusion - that SOME life was not designed. Luskin’s conclusion that all life was designed is NOT an assumption, it’s an axiom because it’s stated in a source not identified.

Ah, but that would make it a tautology, and a tautology aren’t science! So there!!111!!

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 22, column 16, byte 2708 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

I’ll try again…

hooligan wrote Mr. Christopher,

While I agree that taking down these IDiots would be akin to shooting fish in a barrel, I don’t think going on the offensive is the smart strategy. I think that with the advent of a strong internet, the easy ability to document these events wherein ID /Creationisnm just doesn’t have a clue, stands for itself. The fact that they have done nothing positive speaks volumes. Attacking a defenseless opponent has no point. Furthermore, the strength of science is that it is NOT decided by debate, but rather the outcome of facts and the explanatory and predictive power of the theories they support.

Hooligan, not wanting to argue but I think this worth responding to. We agree that science is not decided by debate, but public opinion often time is and that is where science continues to lose. In fact if not for the Constitution our public science classes would be overwhelmed with “creationism science” and “intelligent design” because the public doesn’t get it.

The creationists publicly lie and distort the truth to win public support and they’re pretty good at it.

John Q Public does not read scientific peer-reviewed literature. They harldy read Scientific American or National geographic for that matter. Everything they know tends to come from news agencies be in paper, radio/tv or the internet. The creationist POV tends to dominate all those venues. And John Q Public does not read PT.

So, my take on it is we can continue to allow the creationists to lie and distort (and naively think people come to PT to sort the rubbish from the truth) or we can go on the offensive. This could also be a perfect venue to actually try and educate John Q Public.

For instance John Q Public does not even know what “predictive power” means in the first place (and I wish PZ would have defined that in his “debate” with Simmons).

Anyhow, not looking to argue, my children will never step foot in a public school room so I’m not personally losing much sleep over any of it. I just see a real opportunity for science to educate John Q Public while refuting the nonsense pushed by the creationists.

Or science can sit by and continue to face these creationist frontal assaults (darwinism breeds nazi children, there are no transitional fossils, IDists are victims of a darwinian conspiracy, etc). I know that’s a crock of shit but John Q Public does not and unless an effort is made to unmask the nonsense and educate John Q Public we cant continue to look forward to more nonsense like we’re seeing in Florida.

True, science is formulated in peer-review journals, predictive theories, and labs, etc, but public opinion is not.

Just sayin’…

Casey wrote:

“Dembski’s methods of design detection can discriminate between informational patterns that are produced by chance/law, or alternatively were produced by intelligence. When there is real design to be detected, Dembski’s methods of design detection can work regardless of whether the designer was human or non-human.”

Great. So here is the perfect opportunity for the ID crowd to demonstrate once and for all the importance of the explanatory filter and complex specified complexity. All they have to do is perform the calculation on the sequence they say that God designed and the one that Craig Venter designed and subtract to find the difference. That will show us exactly how much smarter Craig is than God. What proportion of the complexity did God design and what proportion did Craig design? Inquiring minds want to know. Of course, they will also have to explain why they have never done any calculations like this before.

No, seriously. If the filter cannot discriminate between different sources of complexity then what good is it? Even if it reliably detects design, that design could come from aliens or humans or time travelers or time traveling aliens or whatever. None of which does any good at all unless the source can be identified. None of which does anythiing at all to determine whether God did it or not. It’s the same old problem that has always plagued ID - we know somebody did somethin somehow, but we don’t know who, why, what or where.

we know somebody did somethin somehow, but we don’t know who, why, what or where.

That’s sort of like “the who whatting how with huh”.

Could the “but all life is designed” excuse be finessed by throwing a few randomly generated sequences into the mix? There’s nothing in the wording of the challenge that requires all the sequences to have come from actual organisms.

I wonder if the possibilities (natural sequence / human-designed sequence) weren’t too limited.

Maybe next time you could also include:

- Completely random string of nucleotides, generated by computer - A stretch of junk DNA from existing organism

Would the ID proponents be able, say, to find a single real, natural sequence among nine random ones?

Post Hoc Super Bowl comfy chair analysis

Ignoring the confusion associated with the change introduced by Musgrave, the attendant cries of foul by Luskin and the underlying question they raise of whether sequences that are not human designed are in fact themselves designed (1). The question evolves into one which asks; is Dembski’s explanatory filter (EF) capable of distinguishing human designed sequences from other unknown designed sequences (as viewed from ID) or human designed sequences from sequences that are the result of natural processes (as viewed from an evolutionary biologists position)? At least 1 ID supporter claims this is not required of ID (2). Musgrave observes that no one attempted to apply the EF to the problem citing Wilkins and Elsberry critique of the EF as a possible reason for the lack of entries based on the EF (3). The most common reason given for not applying the EF to the problem is that not enough additional information is provided with the sequences or that the sequences were too short to be of any utility (4). Only 1 ID advocate attempted any analysis, solving the problem using standard techniques, but in addition quickly produces a number of alternative scenarios with no methodology to distinguish between his competing hypotheses (5). Curiously most of the suggested ID approaches rely on comparative techniques which have their underpinnings in evolutionary theory and this is the precise approach taken by the winners (6).

Since the usual comments appear of “let them show us how to do it”, it might be fruitful to try to apply the EF to the problem (7, 8). But the EF relies on a purely mathematical approach to design detection, it is an a priori probabilistic calculation and I succumb to a fatal flaw, I’m not a mathematician. But to be a useful tool for biologists the EF must be understood and applicable by non-mathematicians. In other words those slogging around in the mud playing with slimy squiggly things and who may be spending too much time in the noon day sun should be able to come back to the lab and plug in data and get reliable answers. So I’m left with hand waving like those at UD. I do observe that the sequences provided by Musgrave are of 2 classes those from Mycoplasma genetalium and those modified and watermarked by the Venter group. From the Luskin ID perspective these represent: Designed versus double designed. From and evolutionary biologist perspective: Naturally occurring versus modified. By including the Venter watermark Musgrave increased the probability that the EF would catch the sequence, contrary to any assertion that the designers’ watermark might be unrecognizable to humanity, since from the ID perspective 2 layers of design are included in the sequence and one of the agents of design is known. It is unclear why the EF has not been adapted to differentiate between sequences of at least these 2 types. This would seem one of the tests any developer of a new genomics tool would want to include in their validation stage before any claims of utility would be made.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

URL Tiny Bubbles

(1) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/ian-musgraves-intelligent-design-challenge/#comment-167730

(2) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/musgrave-addendum-to-intelligent-design-challenge/#comment-168574

(3) www.talkdesign.org/faqs/theftovertoil/theftovertoil.html

(4) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/intelligent-design-challenge-challenge/

(5) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/ian-musgraves-intelligent-design-challenge/#comment-167650, www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/musgrave-addendum-to-intelligent-design-challenge/#comment-168681

(6) pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/01/take-the-intell.html#comment-141757

(7) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/intelligent-design-challenge-challenge/#comment-167779

(8) www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/intelligent-design-challenge-challenge/#comment-167797

Is the analogy for self-googling self-blasting?

I found “chris” a few times but I was further thwarted by an “o” in my surname. Venter’s ancestors must have seen this coming.

Completely random string of nucleotides, generated by computer

You don’t want completely random nucleotides. 3 out of 64 codons would then be stop codons. You would want to build up frequency tables from the nucleotide database and generate random sequences with the same frequency rates.

Something like DadaDodo

You don’t want completely random nucleotides. 3 out of 64 codons would then be stop codons. You would want to build up frequency tables from the nucleotide database and generate random sequences with the same frequency rates.

But if you do that, then the sequence was designed to look random. ;)

Henry

Isn’t watermarking form of steganography which is included in list of ID’s empirical research: http://www.researchintelligentdesig[…]teganography, isn’t this something that they are set out to do?

Irony?

You don’t want completely random nucleotides. 3 out of 64 codons would then be stop codons. You would want to build up frequency tables from the nucleotide database and generate random sequences with the same frequency rates.

How about reverse engineering a string of random proteins?

string of random proteins

Feh. String of random amino acids, sez I. Ignore the impostor posting above using my fingertips without permission.

The absence of the explanatory filter from responses to this problem is part of a larger picture. DI associates wax over its virtues. On the other hand searches of scientific literature suggest that in practice the filter is useless:

http://www.geocities.com/lclane2/filter.html

How about reverse engineering a string of random proteins?

Again, the 20 amino acids do not appear with equal frequency in proteins.

Occurrence in proteins

You’d have to generate a nonsense string of amino acids that still had the “natural” frequency of amino acids. You might have to also look at the frequency of sequential amino acids.

I think the problem would be, as Henry suggested, that the IDers would then claim that these sequences were designed.

The absence of the explanatory filter from responses to this problem is part of a larger picture. DI associates wax over its virtues. On the other hand searches of scientific literature suggest that in practice the filter is useless:

But using the explanatory filter, the lack of papers in the literature (low probability!) implies design. The IDers are being censored.

And you said the explanatory filter was useless!

Witness the explanatory filter in action.

Search for the number of scientific publications in mainstream journals studying or accepting HIV as the cause of AIDS. Then do the same thing for scientific publications in mainstream journals not studying or accepting HIV as the cause of AIDS. Then report the results in BMJ, one of the rare journals that permits free and open discourse and debate on AIDS. Let’s see if there is numerical support for Flegg’s faith in free and open access to the scientific journals to those who do not accept HIV dogma.

The vast majority of papers in the literature provide overwhelming evidence that HIV causes AIDS. The explanatory filter can be used to demonstrate that HIV Denialists are being censored!

The irony regarding the “explanatory filter” is that it doesn’t offer any explanation; it’s merely an excuse for *rejecting* established explanations in order to replace them with that special brand of ignorance that goes under the name “goddidit”.

Luskin Wrote:

But Dr. Musgrave’s challenge seems to only allow intelligent design when it is human design. If we assume that Dr. Musgrave’s challenge was issued in good faith, then it seems the challenge has an inappropriate assumption: namely, that naturally occuring gene sequences were not designed.

No, I specifically re-edited my challenge to make it clear to the hard of thinking. Regardless of the design status of the background sequences, can we find genuine human design when it has been applied to an existing sequence?

Casey’s statement is equivalent of saying that if someone made an Acheulean hand axe from a chimpanzee hammer stone, we would not be able to detect the fact that humans had modified the hammer stone (alternately, if someone had spray painted “Floyd was here” on the Monolith from 2001, Casey is saying that we couldn’t tell that human design was involved).

A design detection system that can’t tell if a designer has modified a previously designed object is pretty useless, if you ask me.

Oh, and while we are here, check out this great paper by Nick Matzke and Eugenie Scott on the Intelligent Design movement, especially the bits on detecting design.

I think much of this discussion is missing the point. The Explanatory Filter (EF) doesn’t claim to be a start-to-finish algorithm where you just put the sequence into one end, and a result comes out of the other end. The EF claims to be able to make a design inference on the basis of a pattern found in a sequence, but first you have to find the pattern, and there you’re on your own.

For example, Dembski’s analysis of his Contact/SETI example starts with the observation that the signal contains a sequence of prime numbers. In the same way, anyone who wants to solve the challenge needs to start by finding the Venter watermark, whether they’re then going to use the EF or not. And the methods (if any) used by ID advocates to find the watermark say nothing about the EF.

Once you’ve found the pattern, the EF just tells you to (1) calculate the probablility of getting that pattern (or anything like it) under each non-design hypothesis you can think of; (2) reject any hypothesis if the resulting probability is too small; and (3) if you’ve rejected all the available hypotheses, infer “design”. I haven’t attempted to read the relevant Uncommon Descent thread(s), but I doubt whether anyone has bothered to do this. In any case, as has been pointed out many times before, this is just a God-of-the-Gaps method. If you can’t think of any hypothesis that confers a sufficiently large probability on the observed sequence, or if you can’t calculate a probability (as in the case of the evolutionary explanation for the bacterial flagellum), Dembski tells you to infer design.

Ian’s discussion of how the challenge winners identified the designed sequences stops at the point where they spotted the Venter watermark. It doesn’t address the question of how they inferred design from the presence of the watermark. It may have been an obvious inference, but that begs the question of what the underlying logic of that obvious inference was. Despite Ian’s implication that they didn’t use “convoluted statistical measures”, there may well have been some sort of probabilistic reasoning going on at a subconscious level. For example, they may have been intuitively reasoning on the basis that the probability of getting the watermarks given human design was far higher than the probability of getting those same sequences by any natural process they could imagine. Dembski claims that the logic of the EF underlies our ordinary intuitive inferences of design, so it doesn’t necessarily require the conscious use of statistical measures. Perhaps the winners were using the EF without knowing it. I don’t actually believe that–I’m just playing devil’s advocate. My point is that Ian’s post doesn’t address the question.

Incidentally, it hardly needs saying but Casey Luskin’s objection is absurd. If the objection were valid, then the EF wouldn’t be able to distinguish between a blank page and one printed with a Shakespeare sonnet, since the paper was made by a human designer in both cases. Moreover, in his Caputo example Dembski tells us the EF can distinguish between a fair draw and Caputo cheating, despite the fact that the ballot devices were designed by humans regardless of whether there was cheating involved.

Incidentally, it hardly needs saying but Casey Luskin’s objection is absurd. If the objection were valid, then the EF wouldn’t be able to distinguish between a blank page and one printed with a Shakespeare sonnet, since the paper was made by a human designer in both cases.

No his objection isn’t absurd at all. I think he’s got it exactly right. His objection is indeed valid. :P

By the way, proponentsistsers think everything in the whole darned universe is designed. So I don’t know why they would even think of proposing a design filter unless maybe they wanted to get people to agree that, yes, some things are designed, and then after that they can drive that wedge all the way home baby.

Richard Wein:

I think much of this discussion is missing the point. The Explanatory Filter (EF) doesn’t claim to be a start-to-finish algorithm where you just put the sequence into one end, and a result comes out of the other end. The EF claims to be able to make a design inference on the basis of a pattern found in a sequence, but first you have to find the pattern, and there you’re on your own.

Good point. The trouble is that at other times the term Explanatory Filter is often used as if it were a systematic, deterministic algorithm - something like the fast fourier transform. And I never see IDers dispel that illusion because for most of them the term simply exists to restore faith in the notion that it is possible to distinguish ‘scientifically’ between ‘design’ and the blunderings of nature, .

For those outside the bubble it seems ridiculous to argue that by giving some common sensical examples of purely human agency one is allowed to make a flying leap and infer analogously about supernatural effects that have never been observed. ID propaganda tries to turn that weakness into strength by claiming we are ‘excluding’ such magic by wearing materialistic blinkers. Of course we are. Otherwise, prior to 1956 when the problem of superconductivity had resisted the efforts of Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg and many others, it would have been reasonable to surmise that the ghost in the metal was pairing electrons and sending them whizzing without resistance.

“That is, people took what they knew of human design and applied it to the problem at hand.”

Isn’t that exactly what Dembski et al do - thereby proving that things which are designed must have been designed by humans? LoL!

Ah, but that would make it a tautology, and a tautology aren’t science!

Tautologies are common in deductive logic and wouldn’t be a problem for a tested scientific theory when considered together with its test data. [Though I suspect the technical definition of “a propositional formula that is true under any possible valuation” is inappropriately used in the later article, as the valuation data is considered to be confined to the test data.]

It would be interesting to know if every theory and its data could be stated in tautological form. I think the idea of a unique TOE (Theory Of Everything) could imply that nature is a tautology, it must be that it is and it is. The anthropic principles is a way out from such a dubious description, as so many other dubious philosophical precepts.

Not so dubious is the paper From Information Geometry to Newtonian Dynamics, by Ariel Caticha & Carlo Cafaro, in 27th Intern. Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering, AIP Conf. Proc. 954, 2007.

No ‘physical’ postulates are required; Newtonian mechanics and the conservation of energy follow from the Maximum Entropy Principle, a variant of Bayesian reasoning.

(However, it seems most unlikely that quantum mechanics can be similarly derived.)

Newtonian mechanics and the conservation of energy follow from the Maximum Entropy Principle, a variant of Bayesian reasoning.

That is interesting, but more because it exemplifies the type of model I implicitly critique:

Perhaps the laws of physics are deeply geometrical because they are practical rules to process information about the world and geometry is the uniquely natural tool to do just that. This notion, that the laws of physics are not laws of nature but rules of inference, seems outrageous but deserves serious attention.

But I don’t see why the paper would be interesting as such.

They suggest an action based on an assumption of an “information metric”, and use an extremal principle based on an assumption from bayesian reasoning. From this they derive equations analogous to Newton’s equations, which can be directly derived by the same procedure in classical mechanics.

Apart from reinventing the wheel, where is the testability?

the laws of physics are not laws of nature but rules of inference,

Oh, perhaps they are trying to derive Hamilton’s extremal principle.

Well, AFAIK energy is the conserved current when integrating a closed system over time, and Hamilton’s principle is an expression of that energy conservation. So it is a simple consequence of symmetry, not information.

Btw, I can immediately see why information can’t be responsible for energy conservation - entropy can increase in closed systems.

the conserved current

I can’t believe I wrote that! I certainly don’t know enough about local and global conditions for conserved quantities to characterize them. Anyway, it is enough that it is a conserved quantity.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on February 4, 2008 6:19 AM.

Orlando Sentinel: Is Ben Stein the new face of Creationism? was the previous entry in this blog.

Dembski: Expelled, the true reason is the next entry in this blog.

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