Easy way to test one of ID's chief claims

Get some of the frozen E. coli from Richard Lenski’s LTEE.

Calculate the Complex Specified Information in the genomes of each generation.

Plot this over time and see whether CSI increases as a result of unguided evolutionary processes.

Seems so simple, but I’m pretty sure no ID Researcher has done this. Why not?



Well for starters, no one knows how to actually calculate CSI.

Even if you could, the the math is wrong (Dembski 2005). And if you somehow get past that, a litany of problems with validity and meaning.

There are two long and detailed dissections for the interested reader:

Devine, S. (2014). An algorithmic information theory challenge to intelligent design. Zygon® , 49 (1), 42-65. ’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zygo.12059/abstract

Elsberry, W., & Shallit, J. (2011). Information theory, evolutionary computation, and Dembski’s “complex specified information”. Synthese , 178 (2), 237-270.


Those are pretty good reasons for their failure to support the claim.

Doesn’t explain why ID Creationists continue to make the claim despite the fact it cannot be supported, though. That remains a mystery.

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And a tough one at that. I’d say it has something to do with a person’s understanding of authority, which is why we see association with certain branches of religion, and self-reinforcing behaviors. But then I’m ranging beyond my expertise. :wink:

As long as one understands that ID is a traveling medicine show, it makes perfect sense. Nobody asks why the patent-medicine dealer didn’t, if his claims were true, have them validated by testing for safety and efficacy. Nor does anyone ask why he didn’t issue a disclaimer indicating that these claims had not been validated by testing.

I think the core thing here is that not only is ID dishonest, but ID is driven entirely by non-biological interests. With rare exceptions, ID supporters are not the slightest bit interested in biology, so their curiosity about how to work out the details, or substantiate the claims, is very limited. They’re interested in the culture-war implications: how to get creationism back in the schools. For them, if it sounds vaguely science-y and kicks Darwin in the pants, that’s all they need. And it is fair to say that they are already well accustomed to believing things on inadequate, or even entirely absent, evidence, so this requires no special change of mental habits.


They dare not ask that question, because then the show would be over. This comes out in ID as a refusal to ask questions about the Designer. From a current thread on FB …

Intelligent design is not based on religion. Never is “religion” a factor in the theory. It is design detection in nature through such processes as irreducible complexity etc.

As I have said before, it goes something like this:

Creationism is the idea that a god created everything.

Intelligent Design is the idea that everything was created by some unknown and unknowable force, which could only be a god.

You can tell that Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion, because the word “god” does not occur until the very end of the definition.