More Evidence for Specified Complexity

Calculating Specified Complexity

Calculating Specified Complexity

One of the core concepts in the Discovery Institute’s “theory” of intelligent design is what they call specified complexity. We astonished the world a few years ago when we published Curmudgeon Computes Specified Complexity. The mathematical expression displayed above is copied from that now-famous post.

To our delight, the Discoveroids are posting again about that fascinating concept. Their headline is Specified Complexity Is All Around Us. It was written by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” This is her bio page at the Discoveroids’ website. Here are some excerpts from her post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s something a CPA told me the other night. [Wowie — a CPA!] Achievement is not random. It requires intelligent design. A key idea in the theory of ID is specification, or matching a pattern. Specified, complex information is a hallmark of intelligent activity. Humans can envision an end goal.

We can see where Savvy Sarah is going. Humans have to plan their achievements, and that’s the way it is with the intelligent designer — blessed be he! She says:

Chance and determinism fail to produce specified complexity, but mind can create it. ID theorists including William Dembski have given mathematical rigor to this idea. [Not like the Curmudgeon!] But it’s all around us in everyday life.

Ooooooooooooh! Specified complexity is all around us. Then she gives a few examples. We’re not going to give you any big excerpts, but here’s a summary: First — financial planning. She says:

Randomness and determinism are the enemies when it comes to financial success — planning and information are one’s greatest assets.

After that she tells us about exercising to stay healthy. That requires planning. So does learning languages and music. Savvy Sarah explains:

Again — musicians and language learners eschew chance in favor of discipline and specific goals.

Phooey on chance! It’ll never accomplish anything. Only idiots believe in the unplanned blundering of evolution. She wraps it all up in her final paragraph:

Planning and follow-through bring excitement and hope. Some part of us knows that mind must triumph over matter and circumstance if complex order is to prevail. Neo-Darwinian evolution, which depends on chance and determinism, does not fit with this perspective, nor with our experiences.

That was very persuasive! Planning is the way to get things done. Only a fool would rely on random mutations and the chance of survival to make any progress. Darwin must have been an idiot!

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “More Evidence for Specified Complexity

  1. Theodore Lawry

    Get this from the Discovery Institute’s Mission Statement
    Can you say turgid, pompous, obscurantist codswallop?

    Mind, not matter, is the source and crown of creation, the wellspring of human achievement. Conceived by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Christians, and elaborated in the American Founding, Western culture has encouraged creativity, enabled discovery and upheld the uniqueness and dignity of human beings.

    Linking religious, political, and economic liberty, the Judeo-Christian culture has established the rule of law, codified respect for human rights and conceived constitutional democracy. It has engendered development of science and technology, as well as economic creativity and innovation.

    In contrast, the contemporary materialistic worldview denies the intrinsic dignity and freedom of human beings and enfeebles scientific creativity and technological innovation. Its vision of a closing circle of human possibilities on a planet of limited horizons summons instead the deadening ideologies of scarcity, conflict, mutual suspicion and despair.

  2. Design is a response to a problem.
    What presents itself to God as a problem? Doesn’t omnipotence and omniscience mean that nothing is a problem?
    Necessity is the mother of invention But nothing in the created world is necessary for God. The created world is the domain of contingency.
    It simply doesn’t make any sense to say that God designs.
    If God wants us to have vision, he just does it. He doesn’t have to take account of the laws of nature. Planners are those who have to take account of laws.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Sarah, as someone with zero science training is perfect for discussing CSI; CSI has zero scientific use.

    Also when it comes to the Judeo-Christian god, isn’t its motto “do as I say not as I do”? How else could one correlate Christianity and “pro-life”?

  4. There are schools of design in colleges and university. Have any of the experts of design, the faculty of these institutions, ever discussed “intelliget design”?

  5. Seriously, have these people never heard of AI or quantum mechanics? AI models the human brain so it gives are really good understanding of how nature works. There is a huge amount of randomness in the way data is collected and the system is trained. It really isn’t designed, but instead an existing model is trained by random data and an intelligent behavior emerges which isn’t really understood and is not part of an explicit design.

    Likewise quantum mechanics teaches us that on the microscopic level, EVERYTHING is random and unpredictable.

    Sorry, that’s just the way the universe is, and no amount of creationist wishful thinking changes this.

  6. @Faruk
    The creationists like to characterize evolution as random, as “everything goes. Yes, there an element of probability involved, and there is also probability in quantum mechanics, but that doesn’t mean random, everything goes. There are laws that are followed.
    Ironically, “anything goes” is the characterzation of “acts of God”. Mere human understanding cannot limit what God does, how or why, when or where.

  7. Sarah is savvy indeed! Consider this:

    “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
    As evolution fails to plan by definition we get exactly what we expect: most species have died out since the origin of life. They have failed.
    Had the Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) done some planning that imperfect crown of creation/evolution would have appeared on the timeline of Planet Earth million years ago.

    “when it comes to financial success — planning and information are one’s greatest assets.”
    Swedish newspaper gave five stock market experts and chimp Ola 10 000 krones to invest in the stockmarket. Ola won by throwing darts at a list of exchange rates. Ah well, perhaps that’s how the Grand Old Designer did it too.
    Of course Savvy Sarah loves her false dilemma. Information and planning is all about shifting probabilities to your advantage.

  8. Savvy Sarah didn’t plan on failing when she signed up as a Discoveroid, but the best laid plans of mice and creationists et cetera…I guess she just failed to plan properly.

    Creationists keep trying to compare how evolution works with something they’re already familiar with, either from life or their own piddling experience, and they can’t get a handle on it. It’s their lame-ass comparisons that keep failing. “Dear God” — they must be wondering — “why won’t evolution just DIE already!”

    I like to imagine the sturdy resistance of evolution to their heartfelt cries — and the continuing silence from their god on the subject — must bug the hell out of them (it’s one of my choicest fantasies!) But schadenfreude — like Vegemite — is best enjoyed spread lightly on dry biscuits (with cheese, say), or on toast. Do not attempt to eat by the spoonful, straight from the jar. You’ll only make yourself ill.

  9. Mark Germano

    Sarah: “Planning and follow-through bring excitement and hope. Some part of us knows that mind must triumph over matter and circumstance if complex order is to prevail. Neo-Darwinian evolution, which depends on chance and determinism, does not fit with this perspective, nor with our experiences.”

    So what, exactly, is the designer’s plan, Sarah?

    Sarah: [pointing] “Aw, look. A baby wolf.” [rides off on stolen motorcycle.]

  10. What is the plan?
    Is it the plan for vertebrate eyes?
    Is it the plan for taxonomy, so that it has the appearance of being generated by universal descent with modification over billions of years? As realized in comparative anatomy and in DNA.
    Is it the plan for biogeography?
    Is it the plan for paleontology?
    What plans should we expect from Unknown designers, working in unknown ways, according to unknown laws, for unknown purposes?

  11. You say “Chance and determinism fail to produce specified complexity, but mind can create it. ” Sarah. You go now. You here 4 hour.

  12. Michael Fugate

    ChrisS can’t you picture the individual DIers kneeling before bed praying “please God make evolution fail” each and every night and waking up eager to see the fruits of their prayers, only to be disappointed again and again.

    Meanwhile God is thinking “they want to make me a glorified financial planner? Really, that’s who they think I am?”

  13. Gawd’s Plan is apparently to make the entire universe and everything in it look completely unplanned.

  14. “This proof can at most, therefore, demonstrate the existence of an architect of the world, whose efforts are limited by the capabilities of the material with which he works, but not of a creator of the world, to whom all things are subject.”
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason(Physico-Theological Proof Impossible) A 627, B 655

  15. Michael Fugate

    Conversation between the DI and God:

  16. Close, but no cigar for Savvy Sarah. She used the word “eschew” but didn’t use the word “plethora” thus failing the “pompous high school essay” test. I’m sure that Sarah will have a plethora of future opportunities to get it right.

    Speaking of right, Ms Savvy received her BA in Gov’ment from the unaccredited Bible college, Patrick Henry “University,” pronounced “pheww” as in, “Pheww! Was that the dog?” It’s got everything: YEC, Statement of Faith, Biblical World View – everything except knowledge and learning.

    A quibbler might say, “Hang on, there, Pheww is accredited by the Transnational Grand Moot of Bible Thumpers”, and that’s true. It’s an accreditation bureau created by our friends at the ICR, (yes, THAT ICR) after they lost a real accreditation in California. If you’re a Bible school that teaches people to be stupid, then ICR’s your go-to!

  17. “Chance and determinism fail to produce specified complexity, but mind can create it. ”
    Oh, really?

    Give us an example where mind can create something other than a thought. Something material, like an eye. Or a watch. Or an ecosystem.

    Use your mind to create a system whch violates the Conservation of Specified Complexity.

    We have been told, very often, that all of the smartest people in the world have not been able to create life from scratch. What leads you to believe that mind can do that?

  18. @TomS is bold today: “mind can create ….. thought.”.
    In case of creacrappers I’d rather replace “create” by “copy” or “repeat”.

  19. docbill1351

    Some years ago at Dembski’s Swamp, er, Blog there was a lively discussion about “complex specified information” (CSI) also known as “Dewey, Cheatham and Howe” conducted by a sock puppet called “Mathgrrl.” Mathgrrl guy explains the story here and I’ll leave it at that.

    It’s worth noting that after all of the braying, chest-beating, threats, insults, snarky remarks and head-exploding, the actual proponents and advocates of “intelligent design” creationism were not able to agree on a definition of CSI much less calculate it for a simple biological system. In fact, one of the less knuckley of the knuckleheads actually concluded that natural biological systems were, indeed, capable of creating CSI all by themselves. Oopsie!

    So much for Savvy Sarah’s brilliant pronouncement about how CSI is abundantly evident. That reminded me of the old run-on skit where the guy runs on stage shouting, “It’s all around me! It’s all around me!” and the other guy says “What’s all around you?” The first guy answers, “My belt.”

    I’m here all week. Tip your waiters.

  20. @Michael F
    I’d forgotten that Python sketch. IDiots as chartered accountants, with red hats: Make Lion Taming Great Again.

    Back in 1906, Henri Matisse thought of a really neat idea for a painting. He waited awhile, but the painting strangely failed to materialize. Sighing heavily, giving a Gallic shrug, he finally picked up his brushes and faced the white void of the canvass…

    Many decades later, ageing Finnish composer Jean Sibelius hears a really nifty theme in his mind that might make the basis for his long-awaited Eighth symphony. He tells his conductor-friend Paarvi Triaassic all about it: “Sounds wonderful!” says Paarvi. “When can I have the sheet music so we can premiere this thing?”
    “No, no” protests Jean. “It’s all in my head. If anyone wants to hear it, I can always whistle it for them (purses lips): “Fooh-fuh/ fuh-fuh-foooh/ FAH-FAH!/ Fuuuuuuhhhhh………FAH! What a beauty, eh!” he says, proudly. “Like the sound of icy winds blowing through fir trees. Let the entire musical world marvel at the wonders of my Eighth Symphony!”

    Paarvi Triaassic smiles sadly, claps a hand on his old friend’s shoulder, and makes his exit.

    Meanwhile, In 2019, on a distant continent at the a**- end of the earth, the influence of TomS bears strange fruit in an unlikely Antipodean internet user.