Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Lydia McGrew on identifying intelligent agents

This looks like an intriguing paper.

Abstract: It is often assumed by friends and foes alike of intelligent design that a likelihood approach to design inferences will require evidence regarding the specific motives and abilities of any hypothetical designer. Elliott Sober, like Venn before him, indicates that this information is unavailable when the designer is not human (or at least finite) and concludes that there is no good argument for design in biology. I argue that a knowledge of motives and abilities is not always necessary for obtaining a likelihood on design. In many cases, including the case of irreducibly complex objects, frequencies from known agents can supply the likelihood. I argue against the claim that data gathered from humans is inapplicable to non-human agents. Finally, I point out that a broadly Bayesian approach to design inferences, such as that advocated by Sober, is actually advantagous to design advocates in that it frees them from the Popperian requirement that they construct an overarching science which makes high-likelihood predictions.

12 comments:

Bilbo said...

I've noticed that the third line of each page of her paper is unreadable, making it challenging to understand the whole. Is there a better copy to be had?

Bilbo said...

I think I got the gist of what McGew was saying and I agree with it. But it would sure help if we could actually read the whole paper.

William said...

It often comes down more or less to whether we can estimate the prior probabilities in our model or not. The paper's author feels we can.

mattghg said...

Bilbo,

The whole paper is completely readable to me. Maybe the problem is at your end?

Bilbo said...

Maybe. I'll have to try a different computer.

Cole said...

I like the argument from design. I think the driving force behind the rejection of intelligent design is the problem of suffering. But no matter what I'm going through I can always rely on God's love. God brings beauty out of ashes. My faith is in Him even though I may not understand what He is doing at the time. God isn't displeased with me just because suffering falls on me. Rather, He is tenderly present in it carrying me through it. By opening myself up to God's love and compassion I can gain a deeper experience of His love in my life. By letting His love flow from me to others I double my joy in Him. It is this joy that carries me through the hard times. I don't believe that God directly causes the suffering in the world. He permits it (for morally justifiable reasons) even if I don't know what those reasons are. He sees all of reality (I do not) and He knows what is best in each circumstance even if I'm in the dark because of my finite and limited understanding of reality and His ways. God's sovereign will is His business alone. My job is to carry His mercy to the hurting. As I am motivated by God's love to trust in Him, I will clean house and help others.

Papalinton said...

Off topic but nevertheless pertinent. the following website is a current affair site outlining all the religious malarkey occurring in India. Most particularly are the international news organizations that are reporting the catholic shamanic shenanigans going on there. There are number of different reports.

http://www.rationalistinternational.net/

Talk about religious woo. This is real woo-woo.

Papalinton said...

Here is an interview with Sanal by the NewScientist journal:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428714.000-miracle-buster-why-i-traced-holy-water-to-leaky-drain.html

Yep. Fact from fantasy, mythical from substantive, natural from supernatural; religion is indiscriminate to the core.

Bilbo said...

Yes, McGrew's paper looks fine on the library computer. I guess I'll print off a copy.

Bilbo said...

BTW, should we wait to see how long it takes Vic to see the typo in the title of his post or has it been long enough?

Victor Reppert said...

Thanks.

Bilbo said...

Don't mention it. BTW, I take The Evolution/Creation Debate very seriously.