Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Oh look, numbers! (Therefore God?)

I thought we had already reached the height of irrelevance in Dembski & Licona's Evidence for God, but I was mistaken. Chapter 17 of this book — that purports (it's in the title) to provide evidence for God — is "Evolutionary Computation — A Perpetual Motion Machine for Design Information?" by Robert J. Marks II. It includes a discussion of the monkeys-and-typewriters idea:
The story, theoretically plausible, says that if enough monkeys pound out random letters long enough, all of the great texts in history will eventually result. If enough monkeys pound out random letters for a long enough time, all of the great texts, such as Moby Dick (1,170,200 characters), Grimms Tales (1,435,800 characters) and the King James Bible (3,556,480 letters not including spaces) will eventually result. The finiteness of the closed universe, however, prohibits this. (p 93.)
Notice the throwaway line in the last sentence — we have not established that the universe is either finite or closed. Be that as it may, we are actually talking about chance events, and there's nothing to prevent these "great texts" being the very first sequences these monkeys hammer out. Unlikely but not impossible. It is, however, irrelevant to the matter of God (evidence for).

This chapter contains a lot of numbers, which may be relevant to "evolutionary computation", but what they have to do with God I've no idea.

Also downloadable as a PDF from the Australian Intelligent Design Network:

Amusing faux pas in Robert Marks' "Biosketch": "He has over 300 publications. Some of them are very good." And some of them aren't?
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