Monday, December 17, 2007

Show Me The Money

Gil Dodgen:

Why Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, and Engineers Tend to be More Skeptical of Darwinian Claims

Larry Moran’s presentation in a comment in Granville Sewell’s UD post, I found not particularly persuasive, for the following reasons. I’m not interested in definitions of science; I’m interested in how stuff actually works. I’m perfectly amenable to being convinced that the complexity, information content, and machinery of living systems can be explained by stochastic processes filtered by natural selection, and I would not even demand hard evidence, just some rigorous argumentation based on the following:

1) A particular aspect of any living system that displays a machine-like function (such as a ribosome).

2) Some specifics about what random genetic changes (of any type) would be required to engineer intermediate forms.

3) A reasonable estimate about the likelihood of these random changes occurring.

4) Another reasonable estimate about the likelihood of the hypothetical intermediate forms providing a statistically significant survival value.

5) Some kind of evidence or even reasonable conjecture that the number of individuals and reproductive events could provide the requisite probabilistic resources. Appeals to “deep time” are irrelevant.

These are the kinds of challenges that those of us involved in mathematics, computer science, and engineering tend to present, and the kinds of questions we tend to ask, because we must demonstrate that our stuff can actually work in the real world, or at least that it has a reasonable prospect of working in the real world. That’s why many of us tend to be skeptics.

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