A few more words about Menuge's review of WIDF


On February 19 Dr. Ian Musgrave posted to the Panda’s Thumb a brief rebuttal ( see here ) to Angus Menuge’s supposed “review” of the anthology Why Intelligent Design Fails (WIDF).

Ian replied only to Menuge’s treatment of Ian’s chapter in the anthology, showing that Menuge’s review of that chapter is a chunk of piffle. I fully agree with Ian’s opinion, and may add that the same can be said about Menuge’s treatment of every other chapter in the anthology. His “review” of chapter 11, of which I was the author, is a good example.(The text of my chapter is available online see here).

I know next to nothing about Menuge (I believe I heard he has a degree in chemistry) but his review of my chapter betrays his ignorance of the subject discussed in my chapter. In that chapter I demonstrated Dembski’s misinterpretation of the No Free Lunch theorems by Wolpert & MacReady. Dembski’s thesis boiled down to the assertion that the NFL theorems prohibit evolution, which, therefore, is impossible. Of course, the NFL theorems do nothing of the sort, and Dembski displayed an impressive, for a mathematician, lack of understanding of the matter.

And what has Menuge found worth rebutting in my chapter? In his review there is not a single word regarding the main points of my chapter. Instead, he found there a single statement worth (in his view) discussing, which is a secondary point, in no way crucial for my argument. Even about that statement he could not say anything of substance.

In that statement I claimed that the question of natural evolutionary algorithms being capable of climbing up the naturally occurring fitness landscapes belongs in the discussion of anthropic coincidences. Menuge referred to my statement using the words that I “admit” (rather than “state”) my notion. By this trick Menuge apparently tried to create the impression that the statement in question negated my thesis about Dembski’s misuse of the NFL theorems.

In fact I had nothing to “admit,” and it must be clear to any reader of an average intelligence that my notion about anthropic coincidences in no way contradicted my critique of Dembski’s fallacious discourse. It is obvious that Menuge just could not come up with any reasonable rebuttal of my chapter, so he resorted to an irrelevant and meaningless comment about a secondary point, while avoiding discussion of the gist of my chapter. Quite likely, he had no choice as he probably just could not comprehend my arguments because of his insufficient understanding of the NFL theorems and all the related stuff, but had the gall to pretend to be capable of judging it.

In view of the above, Menuge’s conclusion that the arguments in the anthology in question are “not so fatal “ for ID as the authors of the anthology claimed is nothing more than the usual for ID advocates attempt to present their dreams as reality.