We Are Mystified by Eric Holloway

Yes, it does disprove my overly broad statement that only intelligence can create any MI. That statement is also inconsistent with the LoING, so not surprising it is wrong.

However, it does not disprove my updated statement that intelligence is required if the target is independent.

In general, think of this like a programming project where we encounter a bug. The question is, who is to blame: the programmer or the compiler? If the compiler is formally verified, then it is always the programmer at fault. The same applies to the LoING. The LoING is never wrong. When it appears to be wrong, it is in fact one of us (most likely me) who is wrong.


Yes, this seems to be a correct statement.


Thank you. Please make that known in the ID world. It would be great if we could bring everyone else along with us here.

Notice, that this was my point from the beginning. That ID arguments neglect that common descent produces MI. I was informed that this violates the law of information non-growth. So literally from the beginning I’ve making this case. I’m glad we now agree, but my goodness, I still can’t grasp why it took so long to get here.


MI increasing in part of a system IS consistent with LoING, because LoING does not apply to anything but the whole detailed system. Every empirical context only measures part of a system, so LoING does not apply in any empirical context.

Yes, LoING has not been falsified. Notably, you have produced a proof of LoING. I have. That is how I know what its assumptions are. It seems you take as God’s Truth (no pun intended), but are not even clear what it is or where it applies.


From the beginning I’ve been telling you that you are wrong. Never once I have challenged LoING. I’ve only asserted that you are incorrectly applying it.

Great. However nothing in biology (or nature really) requires an independent target. So therefore ID arguments do not apply to biology.

Do you agree?


Err, since the beginning you kept claiming you could falsify it. After awhile you changed your position to be that it was not empirically applicable. But, that’s water under the bridge.

Anyways, you seem to not be understanding my concession. Insofar as I admitted I was wrong, I was actually being inconsistent with ID theory. So, nothing to “make known to the ID world” except that I’m not so great at applying ID theory, which I think we all know at this point.

You also seem to be thinking of a different conservation law, as you listed inapplicable conditions. If you want me to produce a proof of Levin’s law, I can do so. I think that would be instructive to anyone who is following along.

This seems a very strong assertion. Prima facie it seems false. Organisms’ DNA and their environment are pretty independent. All the order we see is independent of the physical laws of matter.
The order in matter is independent of random coin flips. Our minds are independent of physical reality. In general, our world just seems full of these independent specifications. This plethora of independence is what motivated Polanyi to write IDish sort of stuff.

Also, I’m not going to make any character statements here, but it at least seems you are more eager to turn people against ID than you are to make a honest effort to understand ID. I see this in how you jumped on my concession in this thread. But, this may just be my perception.

I’ve also pointed out many flaws in your arguments and your approach to arguing, but you never seem to make any public concessions. Yet you are very keen on me making public concessions. This will be my third one and you have made zero. Strikes me as odd.

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No. You misunderstood me. Please show me any quotes that show I was arguing against the law of non information growth. I would like to see them. That is one of the great things about having this exchange on a forum. We can go back and look at what was said. Please show many any quotes that you think show I contested the law of no-information growth.

I never did.

In fact, I explained it and proved it several times. I repeated over and over again the problem was your application of it to the empirical domain. You frequently forgot this, and I had to repeat it again. Not what I wrote on August 10th, at the very beginning of our many exchanges:

Remember why we went down the path of simulation?

And here, I mean in the empirical domain. As is clear from the context I just quoted.

Prima facia it seems true to me, as a person who works with biological data all the time. You often note that you do not know much about biology. Why should we trust your instincts over mine?

It is your perception. I’m trying to help you.

@pnelson is a good friend of mine. He has said many times that one role I can play for ID is to help you root out your bad arguments. If you want ID to be taken seriously, you need to ruthlessly slaughter every bad argument in the ID camp. It will be a blood bath, and I’ve been one of the few scholars willing to help you with this.

Remember, I do not reject design. God created us. He designed us all. At the same time, fallacious arguments do great damage to our understanding of truth. I do not believe God wants fallacious arguments from us. The information arguments for ID are a lot like:

We know God designed us, because 1 + 1 = 3.

I see no value in protecting these arguments. Remember, also, from the beginning the claim has been that only intelligence can produce MI in DNA. It turns out that common descent can too, precisely as I have been saying from the beginning. This was blindingly obvious to me. It was obvious to @dga471, and others here too, as they were immediately able to follow the logic of information theory as I laid it out.

In contrast, It has taken an immense amount of effort to bring you along. It seems it has required unlearning many things. The only reason I’m doing that is with people like @pnelson in mind. I am doing this to help you in a way that only a friend could do for you.

Be ruthless in shedding the bad arguments. Maybe thing you’ll sift through it all and find a good argument. So I am here to help you. Not to hurt you.


Even if it’s a strong assertion, it’s not a ridiculous one. At most, one is agnostic about the matter. This is not just about whether we should trust your instincts or Josh’s. Rather, the situation has now flipped: to make any ID argument, you have to prove that an organism or system is independent from the environment. I’m not a biologist, but even in physics, where we think we know all of our variables in play, it is really hard to isolate a system 100% from the environment. This is also why it’s really hard to perform an experiment to disprove the 2nd law of thermodynamics, such as a working Maxwell’s Demon, for example. (Incidentally, I remember that as an example of an experiment an ID research program would want to do, according to you.) If it’s hard even in physics, I imagine it’s much harder in biology.

The implications are stark: even if we can’t explain where an instance of FI comes from, now we can’t just say “it must come from intelligence.” At most we can say: it can come from intelligence, or it can come from unknown interactions with other systems. And because intelligence is often difficult to define or measure in clear scientific terms, most scientists will prefer the second option, instead of the ID hypothesis.

Are they really? It is far from obvious to me. Especially when many physical variables seem to be able to affect our decision-making, emotions, and other conscious phenomena. Many people believe that our “minds” are just an amalgamation of physical neurons. Of course, I don’t believe that as a non-materialist, but if your scientific ID argument depends on certain philosophical theory of the mind (all of which are controversial), it’s not a good scientific theory.


No, they’re not. Natural selection (among other processes) introduces correlations between the environment and DNA. Not only does this process happen, it’s the core of adaptive evolution. If your argument for design in biology is valid only to the extent that you ignore natural selection, then your argument completely misses the point.


I noticed that statement from EricMH, too. For his assertion to be true there would have to be little mutual information shared between an organism’s DNA and its environment. But then that would seem to undercut many of the design informatics arguments about explaining where all that information came from as it would suggest there’s actually little to explain


And perhaps when that is done we can move on to the bad arguments made by evolutionists. :slight_smile:


I think many of us have alluded to plenty. For example, I think “bad design” arguments are philosophically questionable. A lot of these, however, are a result of trying to rebut ID on its own terms.

Joshua once made a comment over at UD about the bad science writing about common descent. I’m hoping one day we can revisit that comment.

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This particular thread, in my opinion, is more serious than just discarding a bad argument for ID though. I think Eric now has to seriously rethink his framework for defending ID. It now depends on defending the claim that organisms are independent from their environment, which according to @glipsnort is considered obviously wrong in biology. This is not just a matter of debating details of the correct implementation or calculation of complexity.

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Yeah, that claim isn’t going to fly. But I have no idea how we calculate the mutual information between organism and environment so I am not going to lose sleep over it.

What is the entropy of the environment? What is the probability distribution of the environment?

Budding IDists want to know. :wink:

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“DNA”. But given there are causal relationships between an organism’s DNA and how it performs in an environment in which the organism thrives, ‘organisms’ works too. And it was ‘mostly independent’, but that’s a stretch too. While 70+% of the DNA in humans might be ‘junk’, that leaves rather many base pairs that aren’t.


More like 90% junk – but it’s the non-junk parts that do all the interesting things, the things that ID theories would propose a designer for.


Here you go:

You think you can empirically disprove mathematical proofs. The proof in question is the LoING. You don’t know what you are talking about if you think you can empirically disprove mathematical proofs, which calls your expertise into question.

And here you move the goalposts.

So, the real problem is not that ID vacillates between calculable and algorithmic information theory, but that you do.

Great, then do it with good careful argumentation, and admit it when you are wrong, as I have. Currently, my respect for your argumentation is near zero.

You appear to misunderstand exactly what I conceded. I did not concede your cancer argument is correct, nor do I concede that intelligence is unnecessary to create MI (in the independent sense) in DNA. I eventually came up with a way where MI can be created through determinism and randomness that does not violate the LoING, but this is not applicable to a real world biological scenario, since it requires that all key elements are generated from fair coin flips.

At any rate, you seem to fundamentally misunderstand the ID literature. There is nothing wrong with the core CSI argument. I recommend you study it carefully, and only then start “ruthlessly demolishing arguments.” Otherwise, all you are doing is annoying people who know better, wasting our time, and misdirecting those who don’t. The latter is quite bad indeed.

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You you seem to fundamentally misunderstand real world evolutionary biology. There is nothing wrong with the core evolutionary arguments. I recommend you study them carefully, and only then start “ruthlessly demolishing arguments.” Otherwise, all you are doing is annoying people who know better, wasting our time, and misdirecting those who don’t. The latter is quite bad indeed.

Where do you see me addressing real world evolutionary biology? I stay away from that topic, because, like you say, I don’t know much about it. But, what I do know is the LoING applies to all real world processes, of which evolution is a subset.

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Then you admit when you make silly claims like “real world evolutionary processes can’t add information to a genome” you are talking out of your nether regions. You haven’t quite grasped yet that evolution includes interaction and information exchange with the environment despite having it explained to you multiple times.

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