Do Heat Seeking Missiles Have Teleology?


I agree with you about life – its teleology is intrinsic. I am glad that you are willing to allow the word “teleological” regarding the missile; from your way of wording things at the beginning, you could easily have been understood as denying any kind of teleology to the missile’s motion at all. I’m not sure that T. aquaticus would disagree with you about the missile, now that you have clarified this.

I will neither affirm nor deny this, as I have not studied information theory enough to have a well-formed notion. However, note that the emphasis on “CSI”, while now common enough among ID folks, wasn’t intrinsic to the earliest formulations of ID. I won’t swear to it, but I think Dembski may have been the one to introduce the term into ID theory. I don’t recall Behe using the term in Darwin’s Black Box, and it isn’t found in Denton’s Nature’s Destiny (which argues that design runs all the way from the cosmic down to the biological level). I don’t mean that the term should be unwelcome within ID theory, but only that ID arguments have been made without reference to it, and that it isn’t clear that ID in the generic sense is committed to arguments based on CSI.

I agree. CSI is important, though, because it proves intelligent design cannot be produced through randomness + determinism. Some third kind of thing is necessary to create CSI. That’s the core argument of the ID movement, and it’s nice to have a precise mathematical proof of the claim to show it is non-controversial.

Except it is controversial because that proof is in error and misapplied.

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Also, mathematical proofs can only establish mathematical truths. It is not possible to mathematically prove anything about the physical world, only about models of the world.


If you can show a fundamental proof by Leonid Levin is in error, you can certainly get that published!

How is it misapplied? Algorithmic mutual information deals with finite symbol strings, which is exactly what DNA is. In general, all finite, discrete realms can be represented by finite symbol strings. Since to the best of our knowledge the physical world is finite and discrete, then AMI applies to the physical world.

Correct, and this proof shows the randomness + determinism = mutual information model of the world is false.
That is all ID claims.

This would seem to be more about effecient causes than teology, if I am understanding the concepts you discussed before. If the ID argument boils down to a lack of natural causes due to the improbability of these systems occuring spontaneously as part of an evolved pathway then it seems they are arguing about cause.

Even in biomedical research it isn’t uncommon to frame arguments in terms of teleology, especially when describing the actions of the immune system or other physiological processes. Humans seemed biased towards anthropomorphizing the processes that go on around and in them. Sometimes this bias helps us wrap our heads around certain concepts, and at other times it may hamper our understanding of the underlying mechanisms. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Not so fast there, buckaroo.

I say that the energy is mass times 1/2 the speed of light.


Have I just disproven Einstein’s work by writing that equation?

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No! What is your point?

Writing an equation does not disprove anything.

For consideration:

In this case, they replaced part of a protein with an arbitrary sequence, and the immediate change they saw was a decrease in infectivity compared to the wild type strain. However, after several rounds of selection the random sequence added to the protein acquired function and resulted in a virus with 37-fold higher infectivity than the wild type virus.

If your math says that this is impossible, then it is your math that is wrong.

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I don’t think this is necessarily true.Some mathematical proofs are deductive in nature… and intrinsically true… for example proofs in geometry, trigonometry etc.
In cases where there are assumptions involved, the proof can be wrong if the assumptions are wrong.
Perhaps @nwrickert can confirm.

You don’t seem to be disagreeing with what I said. Proofs in geometry, trigonometry, etc prove mathematical statements in those fields. They don’t prove things about the physical world.


I’m going to wait until someone provides a summary so I have some idea of what you are claiming here.

@EricMH this is transparently false. This is not all ID claims. They claim much more. Why say silly things?

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Oh, what the heck, I’ll go ahead and ask. Take two correlated random variables, say amount of cloud cover and daytime temperature. Are you saying that this proof shows that the existence of mutual information between those two variables is impossible under a model of randomness + determinism?

ETA: Oh, algorithmic mutual information. That would have been helpful to know. Well, the claim looks absurd on the face of it, but I’d best leave it to others to sort out.

Yeah… however when these situations arise in real life. Real life will comply to the math as a rule…
The area of a rectangle will not be different in math and the real world.
So there are some truths that math can arrive at that is necessarily true.
It’s just a clarification. You are probably right about this particular equation.

Actually, the area of a rectangle in the real world will generally be different, because the real world generally only has approximate rectangles. How well your mathematical model matches the real world is a separate issue from the mathematical proof of statements within the model.

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The issue is with CSI not Levin’s proof. The consistent mistake you make is equivocation. I’ve explained this to you before. More than once I’ve shown how the math does not map to reality the way you assume. Even the same terms can mean very different things in information theory, but you are not sensitive to these distinctions. I don’t think you are equivocating dishonestly, but merely because you lack training and experience inappling information to real world problems.

For you, IT seems to be pushing symbols around and philosophizing. You seem to promoting a pre-copernicant view of science at times. Can you give me some evidence I’m misreading this please? Can you show us a paper or a project where you used IT to solve a real world problem? I can produce several published papers where I have done just this. If the answer is no, we should just start with the working assumption that you don’t practically know how to apply IT to the real world, until proven otherwise. Right?

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I agree with this. But it does not contradict what @glipsnort wrote.

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