Saturday, September 19, 2009

More Trouble For Dembski/Marks Article

P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula takes on the new article by William Dembski and Robert Marks. He pretty much takes off where we last left off:
Unbelievable. Dembski is bragging about getting a peer-reviewed paper published — in IEEE Transactions, so not a biology journal, and it's a paper about search algorithms — and he misrepresents Dawkins again. He just had to toss in his garbled version of the "Methinks it is a weasel" program in which Dembski has consistently gotten the algorithm stupidly wrong, and he does it again. The man really doesn't understand selection at all.
No, he doesn't. He has pretty much demonstrated that time and time again. Probably the most telling aspect of the whole affair, and one that shows again that Dembski does not behave like a real scientist is how he reacts. Here is what Myers says:

To make it even more amusing and even more like a standard creationist on the web, people pointed out to him in the comments that he was still getting it wrong, and what does he say?

I'm growing weary of these quibblings and thus shutting the comments off.

Of course, Bill, of course. We expect you to stick your fingers in your ears and shout "LALALALALA" all the time. Why not just get rid of the troublesome comments at your site altogether?

This is not the first time that Dembski has done this. For the Dover-Kitzmiller trial, Jeffrey Shallit offered expert testimony on why William Dembski is not a credible witness. This is what he writes about Dembski's unwillingness to respond to critics:
One of the characteristics of pseudoscientists is their unwillingness to forthrightly address critics of their work. In this characteristic (and others), Dembski places himsel firmly in the camp of pseudoscientists. David Wolpert, for example, the co-discoverer of the "No Free Lunch" theorems that are the major theme of Dembski's 2002 book, criticized Dembski's work in a review in Mathematical Reviews. Wolpert wrote that Dembski's arguments are fatally informal and imprecise". Dembski has not responded to Wolpert.

Mark Perkah addressed many of Dembski's arguments in his work, Unintelligent Design, but Dembski has never responded. I have criticized many of Dembski's argument in my review in BioSystems, pointing out, among other things, that the centerpiece calculation of No Free Lunch is off by about 65 orders of magnitude. An error this large in a legitimate scientific or mathematical publication would normally merit an immediate public correction, but Dembski has never acknowledged this error or my other criticisms.
This is not so different from the folks at the Discovery Institute not publishing their email addresses. A paper like this should draw all kinds of responses. Invariably, some of them will not be positive. If Dembski were a real scientist, he would welcome these comments and learn from them, instead of shutting them off and putting forth the same, old arguments that have been rebutted time and time again and that the scientific world quit taking seriously years ago. As one of the readers commented on Secular Cafe,
"This coming so shortly after his assigning his students the task of defending ID at hostile websites, I found it funny that he couldn't defend his own paper on his own website."

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