Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How Dembski's "The Search for a Search" is related to ID

Dr. Dembski and Dr. Marks published a peer reviewed article in an IEEE journal:

First a bit of background.  The evolutionary process has been characterized by Dembski as a form of search for a target.  The question is, can evolution search for a particular target (such as a functioning eye) effectively?  Effectiveness is defined as finding the target more quickly on average than a random search process.

Intelligent Design Theory (IDT) claims that evolution is not inherently better at finding a target than a random search.  In order for evolution to be effective, IDT claims that information about where to find a target must be placed in the search process by something else.

Dembski's paper mathematically addresses whether this "something else" could be yet another search process.  It turns out the answer is: only if the second search process in turn has received information about the target from yet another source.  If we try to account for such information using only searches we become stuck in an infinite regress.

Dembski's paper shows evolution is not an adequate explanation for the kinds of targets biologists claim it finds.  Neither can biologists resort to another search process because they will need yet another search process, and so on, leading to an infinite regress.

The useful conclusion is that something other than a search process is necessary for evolution to find its target, and therefore evolution is not an adequate explanation for the complex functionality we find in biology.

The core claim of ID is that only intelligence can produce the sort of complex functionality we find in biology.  Dembski's paper attacks half of this problem by showing evolution is a insufficient explanation for complex functionality.  Consequently, it is a useful, peer reviewed paper derived from the core claim of ID.