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

From: George Cooper <>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 10:02:25 EST

Thanks Randy,


I appreciate and agree with your answer. The scientific theory analogy was a
explicitly selected to test the related implications. J





From: [] On
Behalf Of Randy Isaac
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:32 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] EIC (Evolutionar[il]y Informed Christian)


Almost, George. Except I can't really go along with extending the analogy to
scientific theory. Specified complexity is not like a specific prediction
from a theory. There may be a few similarities but I don't think it is
really justified. Specified complexity operates in systems where there are
large numbers of possible states and a particular state is singled out in
advance in some way. This isn't true for theories where predictions are made
as logical consequences of certain observations.



----- Original Message -----

From: George Cooper <>


Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 4:42 PM

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


Randy: In the vernacular we say the meteorite contains information about
its age or that we "extract information from the meteorite." Yes and no.
That's ok informally speaking but, technically speaking, information is
human knowledge based on the complexity. It isn't the case that
"information" is stored in the meteorite and we pull it out or read it.
Rather, we quantify the complexity and interpret it to generate information
about its age.


Coope: So information requires an intelligent agent that uses or adds
complexity in order to store that information. A computer hard drive, or
any memory unit, would be an obvious example of this. Also, an intelligent
agent may be able to derive new information from complexity, as would be the
case in the aging of our example meteorite.



Randy: As for specified complexity, note that the specification is done by
an intelligent agent in an a priori fashion. For example, we might say that
meteorites of a given age could have their grains oriented in a million
different ways. Suppose we say, we'd like to find a meteorite of that age
with the grains oriented in one particular way out of those million. Then if
the first one we look at has that orientation, it matched our specified
complexity and we would be justified in looking more closely at what factors
might have influenced this remarkable one-in-a-million orientation. If we
had to look at a million meteorites to find it, there's no surprise at
finding the specified complexity.


Coope: Ok. So, scientific theory would, hopefully, make specific
predictions (explicit) about certain things of some degree of complexity.
Certain radioisotopes, for example, should be found in meteorites to match a
given Solar system formation model.


Randy: By implicit specified complexity, I really mean significance that has
been generated by intelligent agents in another context and is common
knowledge. Back to the example of the deck of cards. Long ago a significance
was attached to the numerals 1, 2, 3, etc. and to the values of the various
face cards. That is now common knowledge and is implicit in any discussion
of cards. An explicit specification would be to define a new particular
configuration of significance. Let's say I want a 3, 5, 6, 9, J, Q. There
was no other value to that sequence other than I just established it. But
other sequences like, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or A,A,A,A have implicit specification
because in the past the values of those cards have been given significance
that we all understand and take for granted.


Coope: The difference seems to be in recognized significance, though both
are a priori. Explicit is specifying new significance and implicit is
simply recognizing established significance. In the theory analogy, a new
theory might introduce new predictions that are explicit, where established
theories would embody more of the implicit specifications.








Hi Randy,


Very interesting topic.


I am curious how you might classify something like the information we get
from a meteorite that reveals its age? Would this be implicit specified



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Received on Thu Dec 18 10:03:18 2008

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