Re: Dawkins and increase in information

Bill Hamilton (
Tue, 29 Sep 1998 09:26:19 -0400

After reading all the recent posts in this thread I have to agree with
Glenn: looks like a definite case of "he said, she said". After reading
the article from Skeptic I sent Dawkins a note in which I reminded him that
the alleged behavior of the Australian film crew should not be considered
typical of Christians, and I told him I'd keep the article around to
correct incorrect impressions of the incident. I got a gracious thank-you
from Dawkins. I'm going to keep the Skeptic article, Allen Roy's post of
Gillian Brown's reply and Glenn's account around to demonstrate how muddled
thingts can become when people concentrate on making points and
rationalizing their behavior.

I stand by what I said yesterday. There seems to be some validity to the
inference that Brown was trying to stump Dawkins, and it's pretty clear
that she and her crew conducted the interview under false pretences. That
doesn't strike me as God-honoring behavior. That doesn't make Dawkins
lily-white, of course. He's capable of rationalizing and selective recall
just like anyone else.

If I were teaching a course, say, on optimization using genetic algorithms
and a student asked me how information could increase in the genomes
describing the objects being optimized, I might wonder why the individual
was taking the course. I would wonder why it had escaped the questioner
that what we are seeking in genetic algorithms is not so much an increase
in information, but an increase in information relevant to the environment
the objects are to function in. I might wonder whether I should ask the
individual if he/she was truly interested in learning how to employ the
appraches being taught. And all this could have taken some time -- maybe
11 seconds :-). Like Glenn, though, I'm sure I'd remember the incident.

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems MC 480-106-390
GM R&D Center
30500 Mound Road
Warren, MI / (home)