Thursday, March 22, 2007

Never have understood Ken Miller

It just seems to me that he must have played one to many games of Twister as a child. He can twist the real facts into a pretzel, and come out looking like a "rock star". The problem is that his audience ends up clueless as to was the design inference is really all about.

But, evidently he must be more comfortable with a deck of cards than that game of Twister:
"One of the mathematical tricks employed by intelligent design involves taking the present-day situation and calculating probabilities that at the present would have appeared randomly from events in the past. And the best example I can give is to sit down with 4 friends, shuffle a deck of 52 cards, and deal them out, and keep an exact record of the order in which the cards were dealt. We could then look back and say ‘my goodness, how improbable this is, we could play cards for the rest of our lives and we would never ever deal the cards out in this exact same fashion.’ And you know that’s absolutely correct. Nonetheless, you dealt them out and nonetheless you got the hand that you did."
Casey Luskin counters:
His point is that some unlikely events should NOT be attributed to design, but rather are best explained by chance. Dembski’s fundamental premise is that Miller’s random poker hand is a perfectly good example of an unlikely event which is best explained by chance. But what happens when one is dealt 50 consecutive royal flushes? What happens when the stones spell out “Welcome to Wales by British Railways”? Clearly, not all unlikely events are best explained by chance, especially when they conform to a special type of pattern. Dembski calls this conformation to a pattern "specification."

The design inference therefore requires unlikelihood (related to complexity) coupled with specification. Miller implies that Dembski infers design by the mere unlikelihood of an event, but Miller egregiously ignores the fact that according to Dembski, we must also have specification to infer design. Dembski even uses this very example of dealing a hand of cards when illustrating an unlikely but yet non-designed event.
Be sure to read the whole article and the links, and you'll get a better understanding of the design inference.

Now, I for one don't think that Ken is being deliberately misleading in his presentations on ID, though I'm trying desperately to figure out how he comes to the conclusions that he does. When I attended his lecture at KU, I thought he was twisting a few things myself.

But, let's give the guy the benefit of the doubt. The only other thing I can come up with is that he just doesn't understand ID and the many facets of evolution.

So, I'm thinking that we should educate him by setting up a closed door meeting between him and perhaps Dembski, Behe and Meyer. Miller can bring along Dawkins and PZ Myer. And, let's say Casey Luskin and Nick Matzke get to take notes and report back to the troupes. We'll keep DaveScot out in the hall just in case we need a bouncer.

Wouldn't that be fun? And, nobody can leave the room until they come up with a game plan to end this whole bloody mess. After a few friendly departing hand shakes and hugs, we'll unlock the doors and let them return to their day jobs.

Oh, and I get to be referee!!! But, Eugenie and Barbara aren’t allowed in the building or the guys may end up having to stop me from starting a cat fight. If it comes to that, I'm inviting Ann Coulter for back up.