“This is the story of a battle between faith and knowledge…”

The first in a series from the BBC

Next in the series

Comments

  1. #1 Ed Darrell
    January 26, 2008

    Does BBC have video of this available? The Horizon programme’s site has links:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizom/war.shtml

    (See Bill Dembski, ready to shoot dice . . .)

  2. #2 Tyler DiPietro
    January 26, 2008

    I watched the whole series. It’s pretty good, but I have my gripes with it. Number one being the fact that their attempt to deal with Dembskian “probability” nonsense misses the mark big time. It’s true that probabilities calculated after the fact are usually useless, but they did nothing in the way of explaining the difference between “random” and “stochastic” processes, which is the much more damning flaw in the argument. They also give way too much airtime to the IDers, and often give way too favorable an impression of them. One of the boats they missed was the fact that none of their arguments are really original, but are just the same recycled creationist nonsense. “Irreducible complexity” is a repackaged watchmaker argument, etc.

  3. #3 efrique
    January 26, 2008

    Tyler said:
    “… did nothing in the way of explaining the difference between “random” and “stochastic” processes”

    I find this a hard comment to follow. You seem to be using the term “random” in some particular way I’m unaware of.

    I doubt you are asserting that stochastic processes are in some sense nonrandom, but every time I reread it, I find it hard to figure out what else you might mean by that.

  4. #4 Tyler DiPietro
    January 26, 2008

    efrique,

    I mean the difference between something that can be characterized as “non-deterministic” versus something that can be characterized as purely random. Evolution has a strong selection compenent, making it nonrandom, but it’s not purely deterministic.

  5. #5 Tyler DiPietro
    January 26, 2008

    Or in other words, I mean “random” as in what most people intuitively associate with the term, which in probability lingo would roughly equate to “uniform-distributed outcomes”.

  6. #6 efrique
    January 27, 2008

    I originally considered the possibility that you might have been using “random” to be uniformly distributed, but I couldn’t figure out how that could possibly apply in the context.

    If random means uniform, what are we suggesting is uniformly distributed in evolution (and over what values)?

    Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I find myself no more enlightened.

  7. #7 efrique
    January 27, 2008

    I originally considered the possibility that you might have been using “random” to be uniformly distributed, but I couldn’t figure out how that could possibly apply in the context.

    If random is taken to mean uniform, what exactly is it that would be supposedly uniformly distributed in evolution (and over what values)?

    Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I find myself no more enlightened.

  8. #8 Tyler DiPietro
    January 27, 2008

    “Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I find myself no more enlightened.”

    Well, are you familiar with Dembski’s “CSI” arguments?