Stranger Fruit

Dembski pimps an interview with his new bestest buddy, the electrical and computer engineer, Robert Marks "director of the Baylor Evolutionary Informatics Lab" (which is comprised of Dembski, Marks and two students). The Isaac Newton of Information Theory says:

I hope you catch from the interview the ambitiousness of the lab and how it promises to put people like Christoph Adami and Rob Pennock out of business (compare with

Let’s do that shall we? Let’s compare the two labs. Number of journal papers by the Baylor Evolutionary Informatics Lab? Zero. By the Devolab at MSU? Eleven; in journals such as Nature, Science, PNAS, Evolution and J. Theor. Biol. No contest really.

The Baylor unit is the "new ID friendly research center at a major university" that Dembski "predicted" earlier this year. I guessed it would be at Baylor. Boy, I’m good.

Dembski’s other "predictions" were that Behe’s Edge of Evolution and his own The Design of Life (with Wells) would appear. Looks like he’s batting two for three at the moment. It has obviously been a triumphant year for ID.

So let’s ignore the faux "research center," the trade press book that has appeared not with a bang but with a whimper, and the bastard offspring of Pandas and People. What has ID achieved this year so far? Nothing. Let’s cast our minds back to what I suggested ID should give us in 2007:

  • A single peer-reviewed article offering positive evidence for design in a biological system.
  • A theory of how the Designer-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named did the designing.
  • From Dembski: a peer-reviewed paper in the mathematical literature that presents a method to unambiguously (and positively) detect design by differentiating design from non-design.
  • From Nelson: [1] An exposition of the theory of "ontogenetic depth"; [2] A promised peer-reviewed paper on problems with common descent (April 2005 seems so long ago. To speed things up, have Dembski put it online … that’s where he puts everything these days); [3] The promised monograph on common descent that is currently MIA since the late 90’s.
  • From Wells: Any writing that actually fairly represents science (we’re not asking for much here).

Still waiting.


  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    July 21, 2007

    Apparently Dembski thinks all you need to do to make absurd claims plausible is to drop the name of some CSEE professor who has apparently never done any work in evolutionary biology. The guy is only slightly less annoying than Sal Cordova in this regard.

  2. #2 sparc
    July 21, 2007

    Don’t miss Marks’ Powerpoint presentations on Apologetics at
    My favorite presentation is Science & the Bible: The Emerging Harmony
    Therein you will find the following statement:

    Evidence of Design

    -Existence & Creation of Time
    -Creation via the Big Bang
    -Creation via Cantorian Transfinite Numbers
    -Evidence in Biochemical Design
    -The Fine Tuning of the Universe
    ALL Things

    On the next slide you will find the following:

    John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

  3. #3 secondclass
    July 21, 2007

    Copied from After the Bar Closes

    Here is the work of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab in 300 words or less:

    Dembski and Marks came up with a concept they call “active information”, which is a property of searches. By definition, a search has active info if it performs better than a baseline random search.

    D & M show several ways that a search can be better than random, and they conclude the following:

    If any search algorithm is to perform better than random search, active information must be resident in it.

    Plugging their definition of active info into this quote, what they’re saying is:

    If any search algorithm is to perform better than random search, it must perform better than random search.

    Not terribly insightful. But that is seriously the upshot of their whole project. As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up.

  4. #4 John Lynch
    July 21, 2007

    And they say natural selection is a tautology? Wow.

  5. #5 Alan Kellogg
    July 21, 2007

    How did the designer do it?

    He assigned it to his 8th grade science class as a class project. This is how you got such things as a shark with a radar dome. 🙂

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