Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Egnor is trying to do the math, Rosenhouse grades him.

Dr. Michael Egnor continues his joke on us all.

Jason Rosenhouse, at Evolutionblog feels the need to get involved now.

Two weeks ago I joined the chorus of Science Bloggers bashing Michael Egnor for his posts at the Discovery Institute's blog. I pointed out a fairly straightforward error in one of his posts. At that time I mentioned that I hadn't jumped in earlier because Egnor's arguments revolved around medical practice, which is a subject I know little about. I also wrote this:

I figured I would weigh in when he started parroting those insipid probability arguments creationists find so appealing.
At the time I was being facetious. I didn't think he would really go there. I mean, really, no one with a medical degree could possibly be that foolish? Right?


Now, this essay was posted on April 1. Therefore, some caution seems prudent. Nonetheless it certainly sounds serious, and I will treat is as such. Egnor writes:

I think intelligent design is true because of the science. I believe that some biological complexity -- the genetic code, the cellular nanotechnology, the astonishing integration of organs and systems -- is best understood as the consequence of intelligent agency. Those who claim that randomness can generate biological complexity seem to lack an understanding of the vastness of what statisticians call “combinatorial space.” A grammatically correct, meaningful twenty-word English sentence cannot be generated by chance without an intelligently designed target that captures grammar and meaning. Did randomness generate the human beings who write English sentences? I have not seen any scientific evidence that would even suggest that it could or that it did.
Oh, for heaven's sake.

He tried to play the math card. Bad move, now you've ticked of the statisticians and mathematicians, along with the whole of the biological sciences.

I'm reminded of a Games Magazine contest from many years ago asking for examples of Chop Logic. Here's a typical example:

Proof That There is Life After Death.
After a death, there is a mourning.
After the morning comes the night.
Past the knight is the bishop.
Beyond the bishop is the pope.
The pope has serious convictions.
After a serious conviction, you get life. Therefore, there is life after death.

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