Game over for antievolutionary No Free Lunch argument

This has been obvious from the start, but as far as I know it has taken 10 years for the ID guys to finally admit it. Winston Ewert writes at the Discovery Institute blog:

However, Felsenstein and English note that a more realistic model of evolution wouldn’t have a random fitness landscape. Felsenstein, in particular, argues that “the ordinary laws of physics, with their weakness of long-range interactions, lead to fitness surfaces much smoother than white-noise fitness surfaces.” I agree that weak long-range interactions should produce a fitness landscape somewhat smoother than random chance and this fitness landscape would thus be a source of some active information.

GAME OVER, MAN. GAME OVER! The whole point of Dembski et al. invoking “No Free Lunch” theorems was to argue that, if evolutionary searches worked, it meant the fitness function must be designed, because (logical jump herein) the No Free Lunch theorems showed that evolutionary searches worked no better than chance, when averaged over all possible fitness landscapes.

Emergency backup arguments to avoid admitting complete bankruptcy below the fold, just so I’m not accused of leaving out the context.

We disagree in that I do not think that is going to be a sufficient source of active information to account for biology. I do not have a proof of this. But neither does Felsenstein have a demonstration that it will produce sufficient active information. What I do have is the observation of existing models of evolution. The smoothness present in those models does not derive from some notion of weak long-range physics, but rather from telelogy as explored in my various papers on them.

As always, the ID objections to evolution, when stripped of pseudo-technical camouflage, boil down to “I just don’t buy it because (gut feeling).”

See also: recent PT posts and Jason Rosenhouse at EvolutionBlog.