Re: [asa] EIC (Evolutionar[il]y Informed Christian)

From: David Campbell <pleuronaia@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Dec 15 2008 - 19:03:39 EST

> I have a question for Randy. Given the described difference between
> complexity and information, would information then be roughly the same as
> Dembski's "specified complexity"? I mean, it always seemed to me that
> specification, not complexity, was what Dembski was getting at.

Information seems more closely related to complexity than to
specified. The more complex something is, the more information it can
have.

Intelligence can be used to decide if the information is useful for a
particular purpose.

The information behind evolution comes from the environment and they
physical laws of the universe. If the information in the genome of an
organism corresponds adequately with the information of the
environment, the organism can survive and reproduce. It's somewhat
analagous to a computer with a program to randomly generate a maze and
another program to solve the maze using a trial-error-modify and try
again approach. There's lots of information there, generated by
random processes.

> Information surely happens in nature. But it is only meaningful to
> intelligent beings. OK, I am thinking about the arrangement of that hedge at
> the waterfront in Victoria. The plants might have just blown in with the
> wind to form letters in the English language. That is complexity. It could
> be all natural. But the fact that they say "Welcome To Victoria"....that
> is information. It is the context sensitive aspect that makes it true
> information. No amount of arranging of the letters could ever make the
> sentence correlate with the knowledge that the city surrounding the hedge is
> Victoria. Indeed, due to political upheaval, perhaps next week the city
> will be New Mumbai. The point is, we can tell the hedge isnt natural.
>
> The key to detecting an artifact of intelligence, then, is being able to
> tell when some arrangement is natural and when it isnt. We might stare
> right at it, and if we dont know the city is Victoria, we might think its a
> natural arrangement.

Yes. But specified complexity isn't how we tell whether something is
natural or not. We tell whether something is natural based on whether
it a) corresponds to something that we know that "non-natural" agents
do (usually humans, or in the case of SETI, aliens presumed to have
human-like interests and abilities) and b) does not correspond to
things that are produced "naturally". In fact, natural things are
often more complex than non-natural-randomness is more complex than
regularity.

-- 
Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Dec 15 19:04:02 2008

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