Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dembski's Book- The Design Inference.


Was it supposed to be serious mathematics/science or just a scheme to make money for the CUP?

Did the editors of the series simply include the Dembski volume as a cynical ploy to make money out of brain dead fundamentalists... or was there serious content that serious mathematicians, logicians and scientists thought was worth serious consideration by academics...

I genuinely want to know the answer to this question.

Maybe I should just sit down and send this question to them by email and ask.

Am I supposed to look at the list of advisory editors and say "bunch of total jokers"?

Here they are:

Brian Skyrms
Ernest W Adams
Ken Binmore
Jeremy Butterfield
Persi Diaconis
William Harper
John Harsanyi
Richard Jeffrey
Wolfgang Spohn
Patrick Suppes
Amos Tversky
Sandy Zabell

If you do a google search on each you do not immediately think.... erm... this is a wind up!

5 Comments:

Blogger Jeffahn said...

“this is a wind up!”

Damn right about that!

Mathematicians, philosophers, economists, statisticians, dry-cleaners, probability-theorists...but no BIOLOGISTS?!? (dunno about William Harper -name's a bit too common) In a book supposedly debunking evolution? Next thing you'll be telling me that all those evolutionary books, jam-packed with empirical evidence, disprove modern mathematics!

Dembski's book basically boils down to:

1+1=2, some vague conjecture about probability, 'random' & 'chance' are evil words, therefore the sky is green.

His maths may be perfect (it's not, btw) but mincing it with all that conjecture neither challenges evolution, nor does it make a positive case for ID.

12:51 am  
Blogger jazzraptor said...

The book also received the annual award for the best dissertation from the University of Illinois (Chicago) in 1997.

I'm not sure what your problem is with the book. What better reference do you have for the topic of design detection?

The field of Demski's dissertation was Philosophy of Science. There are no biologists on the peer review panel, because there is no biology in the book; it's not about biology.

The book is about mathematical methodlogy of detecting design, the history of design detection, design detection in Science (forensics, cryptography, SETI, data falsification . . .), probability as in relates to design detection, information theory and complexity theory as it relates to design detection . . .

5:03 pm  
Blogger jazzraptor said...

Sorry. DemBski.

5:04 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Jeff,

Are you saying that mathematicians and statisticians can say nothing helpful about evolution because they are not biologists?

Is the production of new information in a living organism essentially a probability issue?

I think your description of the book is unfair. Have you read it or have you read any reviews of it?

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This book lays out the theoretical foundation for design inferences, and does not treat biology specifically, except to mention that the techniques can be used there as well.

If this book were really a ploy to make money off fundamentalists, then it would be a bad idea, since most fundamentalists would find it hard going for lack of the relevant training.

7:33 pm  

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