ID Inquiry + Infinite Money

@EricMH your posts triggered me a bit and I didn’t get to acknowledge this. I agree with you here.

I think a plan that would be helpful would be for them to do a systematic to inventory to shed and disavow all their arguments that have failed. Cleaning house like this would do much to rehabilitate ID’s credibility. It would be painful, but I it seems really important. Honestly, if it could be done, it might actually be worth a JTF grant. I would respect it.

For example, there is no reason for any organization to be touting this article as a good thing:

Do you think an agenda like that could arise in your camp? To ruthlessly get rid of your bad arguments?


To me, that’s telling. People don’t need to be too worried if some private religious foundation is trying to fund ID. As seen in this case, if something is not a good research program then no amount of artificial funding will rescue that.


This could be a good idea but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with ID. How would you approach this rigorously?

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A person who thinks all biological life on Earth was designed and created.

That would include Joshua Swamidass, wouldn’t it? I certainly believe that God is the Creator of biological life and I think Joshua does a well. And it’s self-evident that biological life is designed, it’s just a dispute over who are what did the designing. Pretty sure that Joshua allows for God’s role in that as well.

No. That is not what the dispute is over.

The dispute is if any of the specific arguments put forward by ID are (1) valid (factually correct and reasonably warranted) and (2) are fully within science in the language of science by the rules of science. The vast majority of ID arguments appear to be invalid, though I have identified at least 1 exception (Common Ground on Bad Design). I cannot find a single ID argument however that satisfies 2. That is what the disagreement is, because ID advocates dispute that assessment, and it matters deeply to them.

On this you are correct though. The fact you aren’t gonna be able to instigate a fight between the atheists an me on this point demonstrates the real problem is what I just laid out. No one cares what you personally believe about God if you don’t make bad arguments to that effect and fight to put them in science.

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Yes, that is certainly one way you could take my statement, as @swamidass did. But, I don’t see ID in the same class as astrology, alchemy and the like. Ironically, those theories were the naturalism of their day, assuming that man was driven entirely by natural forces (alchemy’s ultimate goal was to recreate the soul materially).

I see ID theory, my particular understand articulated in terms of information theory, as both being well established in the mathematical realm, and testable. If true, it means the mind is a 3rd kind of causal force, besides determinism and randomness, which can create information, which has many ground breaking implications. Contra @nwrickert, my perception during my 8 years in university is much of academia is in the thrall of naturalism, due to the success of materialistic science, and the subsequent grant funding it has enjoyed, combined with the anti-religious view of the status-quo today.

At the very least, whenever intelligent agency acts, it means there is fundamental disruption to how a physical system (i.e. the brain) is operating. The physical system suddenly moves from a high probability state to a low probability state. That’s why I say this looks like reduction in net entropy. So, for example, based on my amateur physics background, there seem to be close ties between the free energy equation, the CSI equation and the mutual information equation. Which would imply that intelligent agency can increase free energy in a closed system, similar to Maxwell’s demon.

This seems to match my impressions of what IDists like Demski etal are claiming, that intelligence is somehow magical.

You are right that many of your claims are testable. At this point though @EricMH, not one of your simulations has worked the way you predicted. This seems to indicate that you have tested your claims and they are failing. There now two simulation results that have not yielded a positive result for you.

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Sorry but ID is not a scientific theory. As currently presented it is an untested and apparently untestable hypothesis.

So, for example, based on my amateur physics background, there seem to be close ties between the free energy equation, the CSI equation and the mutual information equation. Which would imply that intelligent agency can increase free energy in a closed system, similar to Maxwell’s demon.

Yet you can’t come up with a way to test any of that, correct?


The whole theory is not testable, They do make testable sub-claims that are often falsified. Right? Sometimes, on a subclaim they can also be correct.

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My MSc thesis won an $80k AFRL grant and I’ve gotten a few conference papers published. No journal articles. No grants reviewed. There is general institutional inertia in the direction of the kind of research I’m interested in, so I’m focusing on self publishing empirical and mathematical work with likeminded ID researchers. Everything I research can be done with a computer, so there is no need for the institution in the first place. The goal is to generate useful and lucrative technology from the ID research, in which case there is no need for the institutional credibility either. That’s the good thing, at least, about capitalism.

Researching the nature of intelligence seems to have everything to do with ID, doesn’t it?

The approach I’ve been working on is suggested by Scott Aaronson: if the mind really is non-computational, then it should at least be able to solve problems that require a program that requires storage larger than the physically available resources, whether that is the size of the brain, all of earth’s history, or the entire history of all possible multiverses.

Another approach I am looking at is if the mind is a halting oracle, and you give it a set of executing Turing machines, then using its oracular powers the mind should be able to find more compressible bitstrings more frequently than any algorithmic approach to the halting problem.

A third approach is context free human in the loop machine learning. If the human mind is better at detecting abstract patterns than computers, then they should be able to improve machine learning results without any problem domain knowledge.

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I think the many discussions we IDists have had with @swamidass on this forum demonstrates ID is at least testable. He seems convinced that ID can be empirically falsified, and that is at least one of Popper’s criteria for a scientific theory.

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Please explain how researching the nature of intelligence can provide any positive evidence for the intelligent design of all biological life on Earth. That is ID’s basic premise, isn’t it? That all life and all species in the planet’s 3.5+ billion year history of life were Intelligently Designed?


Yes, I would in fact agree with this characterization, and seems to be a logically necessary conclusion of ID theory, or any theory that wants to make sense of the world. The law of information non increase means all should be a chaotic void if reality were only a product of chance and necessity. The fact it is not means that something outside of chance + necessity, i.e. ‘magic’, exists.

Not precisely true. I believe that ID cannot be falsified. However, many specific arguments can be falsified. Others cannot.

No, ID’s basic premise is intelligent activity can be empirically distinguished from chance and necessity. Most often this is applied to biological history, hence your confusion.

You seem to claim otherwise in our exchanges. ID claims that intelligence can be empirically detected. You state none of the theory is empirically tractable, and that you can prove this. But, if ID cannot be falsified, then you cannot disprove the empirical tractability.

So ID says nothing at all about biological life being designed? Maybe you should let the folks at the DI know that because it’s pretty much the only thing they argue.

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Well, in the broadest sense I agree with ID. I agree God created us, and in this sense designed us. I do not think that is falsifiable except in a counterfactual world. I still affirm MN, and agree science should be silent on questions of God.

However, I disagree that 1+1=3, which is what most ID arguments (especially those in information theory) look like to me. I do think 1+1=3 can be falsified regardless of the larger context.

They are broadening their scope. The Discovery Institute's Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

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