A book titled Unintelligent Design by Mark Perakh is now available from Amazon.com online bookstore and from other book-selling outlets. Here is the editorial review:
From the Inside Flap
Spurred on not only by the quasi-scientific agenda of the so-called intelligent design theorists, who seek to prove the existence of God mathematically, but also by his personal contact with otherwise rational scientists, physicist Mark Perakh sets out to reveal the falsity of the claims of neocreationism with a thorough, carefully detailed series of arguments aimed at the very heart of those who would see evolutionary theory discarded. Perakh strips away the reader-unfriendly "mathematizing" present in the neocreationist theses in order to reveal their flawed logic and their meaninglessness.
His work is divided into three parts: first, an attack on the specifics of intelligent design, a theory spearheaded by the writings of William Dembski (THE DESIGN INFERENCE, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, NO FREE LUNCH), Michael Behe (DARWIN'S BLACK BOX), and Phillip Johnson (DARWIN ON TRIAL, THE WEDGE OF TRUTH, DEFEATING DARWINISM BY OPENING MINDS); second, a critical dismantling of several arguments closely related to the intelligent design movement, such as attempts to "harmonize" the Bible with modern scientific understanding of the universe, the anthropic principle, and nonrandom evolution; and finally, a discussion of proper scientific method and probability theory, as well as an infamous account of science gone bad for the sake of religion--the Bible code theory propagated by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg.
His thoughtful and incisive critique from a veteran scientist genuinely concerned about the integrity of the scientific enterprise wastes no diplomacy on those who would see its purpose twisted to ideological ends. Perakh successfully ties his opponents' arguments together by demonstrating how most of them are based on the same mistaken view of probability theory and the same disregard for impartial objectivity in testing hypotheses. This is a must-read for anyone interested in separating scientific facts from religion masquerading as science.
ENDORSEMENTS (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Endorsements.htm )
Errata (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/errata.htm ).
IT IS IN POLISH
Chapter 2 from my book Unintelligent Design (titled "Irreducible
Contradiction") which contains critique of Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black
Box, has been translated into Polish and published in the online
journal Filozoficzne Aspekty Genezy (Philosophical Aspects of Origin)
and click words POBIERZ PLIK (text is in pdf format). Please go also
Most of the following essays are also available on Talk Reason website ( www.talkreason.org ) and some of them also on The Panda's Thumb blog ( www.pandasthumb.org )
Faith vs SCIENCE
This section contains a number of papers discussing the relationship between religious faith and science.
Part 1. Science vs Faith - a general view
1. Science in the Eyes of a Scientist (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/good_bad_science.htm )
First posted on November 2, 2001.
This item contains a detailed discussion of what constitutes genuine science, what are its essential components and how to distinguish it from pseudo-science. Whereas such questions are usually discussed within the framework of the philosophy of science, this article is from the standpoint of a scientist rather than a philosopher.
2. Improbable Probabilities (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/probabilities.htm ).
First posted on July 22, 1999; updated in September 2001; the section "Probability Estimate Is Often Tricky" updated in October 2006.
This item offers a general explanation of probability and of its proper calculation and interpretation in terms understandable for laymen and discusses the incorrect calculations, misuse, and misinterpretation of probabilities, often encountered both in the books written to prove the biblical story and its compatibility with science and in the writing of some of the proponents of the Intelligent Design theory.
3. Incompatible Magisteria (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/magisteria.htm )
Posted on August 26, 2002.
In this article the principal difference between the attitudes of science and religion to the comprehension of reality is analyzed. It is also argued that the approach typical of crank science is akin to that of religion. As an example, William Dembski's concept of "inflationary fallacy" is discussed and shown to be applicable to the Intelligent Design theory itself. The latter, is argued, lacks both explanatory power and independent evidence. The conclusion is that, unlike science which is based on evidence and reason, religions with their numerous variations and conflicting sets of beliefs, all not based on evidence, provide no reasons to be trusted, and such descendants of religion as the Intelligent Design "theory" do not belong in genuine science.
4. Wave-Particle Duality Demystified? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/slits.htm ).
Posted on March 10, 2003
In this essay a hypothetical alternative interpretation of the wave-particle duality is suggested for material particles. This speculative thesis is based on the distinction between photons on the one hand and material particles possessing rest mass on the other. The main thesis of the essay is that the diffraction of material particles may possibly be caused by the interaction of particles' magnetic moments with the electromagnetic fields in the slits (or in the inter-atomic gaps of the crystalline lattice of solids). If this interpretation were confirmed it would provide a more parsimonious explanation of certain quantum-mechanical effect which are often misused for unsubstantiated extensions of quantum mechanical concepts into crank science, in particular in attempts to prove the compatibility of the Torah story with scientific data.
5. The Assault of IDists on Professor Gross is unsubstantiated (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Gross_andothers.htm ).
Posted on December 4, 2003.
This is a response to a series of letters to the Science Insight journal sent by a group of ID advocates. In their letters the ID promoters assault an essay by Professor Paul R. Gross published in that journal.
6. Sewell's thermodynamic failure (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Sewell.htm ).
Posted on January 6, 2006
Young earth creationists used to fallaciously refer to the 2nd law of thermodynamics as an allegedly insurmountable obstacle to evolution. Since straightforward young earth creationism gradually retreated to such fringe outlets as Answers in Genesis, the Institute of Creation Research, and Hovind's entertainment shops (being replaced by intelligent design movement as the main anti-evolution force), reference to the 2nd law of thermodynamics has rarely been heard as an anti-evolution argument. However, this pseudo-scientific argument has not been completely abandoned by anti-evolution forces, both of YEC and ID varieties. From time to time it recrudesces in the writing of this or that advocate of creationism. One example of such a misuse of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is a recent article by professor of mathematics Granville Sewell, titled Evolution's Thermodynamic Failure.This post discusses Sewell's article, and demonstrates Sewell's misinterpretation of certain thermodynamic concepts which led Sewall to unsubstantiated conclusions, as in fact the 2nd law of thermodynamics in no way prohibits evolution.
7. Ian Stewart: entropy vs. disorder and gravitics vs. thermodynamics (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/stewart.htm )
Posted on November 12, 2004
This essay is the third installment in the review of the collection From Complexity To Life edited by N. H. Gregersen. Two previously posted installments - the reviews of papers by Benneth and Davies in the same collection - are found here and here. This essay relates to the paper by Ian Stewart in the collection in question, wherein the interpretation of entropy as a measure of disorder is discussed. Stewart disputes the logic of such an interpretation while in this essay Stewart's argument is critiqued. Another point is Stewart's suggestion of a "2nd law of gravitics" as a place-holder for a future law complementing the known laws of thermodynamics. While such a putative law is of interest, in this essay it is construed as not yet meeting the requirements for a well defined profound law of science.
In this brief essay, which has a humorous side to it but nevertheless touches on some serious points, the author tells a story of how he had reinvented the wheel and what came out of it.
10. War of reviews (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/war_reviews.htm )
Posted on October 13, 2004
This essay contains a survey of the negative reviews (posted to Amazon.com) of four recently published books critical of intelligent design. This survey shows that most of the negative reviews do not in fact review the contents of the books in question but are posted mainly to push down the books' rating. This survey also documents certain insidious devices used by the proponents of intelligent design in their effort to denigrate the books of their opponents.
11. Davies: Emergentist vs. Reductionist (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/davies.htm )
Posted on September 25, 2004
This essay contains a brief commentary to a paper by Paul Davies titled "Introduction: Toward an Emergentist Worldview" in the collection From Complexity to Life, edited by Niels Henrik Gregersen. It is expected to be part of a review of the entire collection in question (a commentary to the article by Charles H. Bennett in the same collection is found on this site).
12. Defining complexity (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/complexity.pdf )
Posted on August 12, 2004
This essay is a commentary on a paper by Charles H. Bennett titled "How to
Define Complexity in Physics and Why," found in the anthology From Complexity
to Life (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003) edited by H. Gregersen. Originally it was
supposed to be a part of the overall review of the anthology in question. The
author of that review started writing it last year but did not complete the
work. Among the partial reviews that were almost completed was the review of
Bennett's paper. The publication of that review was, however, supposed to wait
until the completion of the reviews of other parts of the anthology. Now the
author of this partial review decided to post it as a stand alone piece for
reason explained in detail in the introductory section of the essay. It was
prompted by the appearance of an article by William Dembski (wherein this writer
has supposedly suggested an innovative approach to measuring information) and
its critique by C. R. Shalizi. Responding to Shalizi, Dembski asserts that
several critics of his work, including Mark Perakh, lack qualifications
necessary to judge his new paper and therefore had to solicit help from Shalizi
(in Dembski's words, "Perakh is out and Shalizi is in"). Perakh, while by no
means claiming to be an expert in the pertinent subfield of mathematics, points
out that in his commentary to Bennett's paper (which in itself has no relation
to Dembski’s paper) he referred to works of Rènyi and others which are relevant
to the subject of Dembski's new paper but with which Dembski was apparently not
familiar. Hence Dembski's self-confident assertions regarding qualifications of
his critics acquires an ironic tenor. Perhaps Dembski should more often look at
a mirror before suggesting disdainful remarks about his critics. [PDF format]
Comment on September 12, 2004. This essay contains a link to Dembski's article. We have found that this link no longer opens Dembski's article in question (there is instead a message that the article will be re-posted when ist author is confident that he has "worked out all kinks"). The amended version of Dembski's article is, however, available online. (PDF format.)
13. A brief look at two comments on one ID-creationist website (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/brieflook.htm )
Posted on September 15, 2005
This is a reply to two comments critical of M. Perakh's essay "The Dream World of William Dembski's Creationism" (which is available on this site -see item 13 in the Unintelligent Design section).
14. Creative ideas of IDists as reviewers ( see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/creativeideas.htm )
Posted on March 25, 2004
This is a brief commentary on certain underhanded tricks used by William Dembski to anonymously advertise his own books while throwing mud on books of his opponents. It is accompanied by comments posted to the Panda's Thumb weblog.
15. Flew, Varghese, Schroeder: What a Company (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/flew.htm )
For the last few years a lot of noise has been filling a number of websites regarding the “conversion” of British author Antony Flew from atheism to deism. Recently a new book, ostensibly authored by Flew, was published by HarperCollins, wherein Flew’s newly adopted deistic worldview is defended. Two Christian propagandists, Roy Varghese and Bob Hostetler, and, indirectly, Jewish religious propagandist Gerald Schroeder seem to have played a substantial role in producing that book.
Some advocates of theism try to present Flew’s “conversion” as a supposedly important event somehow proving their beliefs. Is it indeed an important event deserving numerous posts and articles? This essay tries to answer that question.
16. Dembski's and Wells's shenanigans - just a reminder (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Demb_shenanigans.htm )
As soon as the new book by Dembski and Wells was released, the Discovery Institute’s propaganda machine orchestrated a stream of 5-star review of that book on the Amazon website. In this post readers are reminded of insidious shenanigans used previously by Dembski and Wells in their hysterical fight against their detractors, so that the 5-star reviews in question deserve to be ignored as a shameless propaganda by the fanatical anti-science gang.
17. Flagella -Real and Fictional (and how some reviewers of books by religious authors ignore relevant facts)
Posted on May 9, 2008 (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/flagella__real_and_fictional.htm .
Intelligent Design advocates are fond of using the bacterial flagellum as, using Dembski’s words, a “mascot” of the Intelligent Design movement. In particular, during the recent TV debate between Behe and Perakh, Behe showed pictures of flagella and triumphantly asserted that they looked exactly like man-made machines, and therefore they must be designed. What ID advocates, including Behe, fail to mention is that the images of flagella they endlessly demonstrate are heavily doctored, and that the real observed flagella do not look like “machines” at all. In fact the structure of flagella is more typical of a bacteriophage virus. Seeing the actual cryogenic electron micrographs of flagella, as well as the images derived from X-rays analysis immediately reveals that showing artificial machine-like images of flagella, without explaining the degree of idealization applied, is sometimes perilously close to committing a fraud.
18. Do Flagella Look Like Man-made Machines? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Flagella_myth.htm )
This is an essay submitted to the Skeptic magazine where it is expected to be printed in the Fall of 2008 (in a slightly edited form, under the title "Flagella Myth"). Its contains a slightly different version of the that part of item 17 that deals with the doctored images of bacterial flagella routinely used by ID advocates and other creationists to demonstrate the alleged similarity of flagella to man-made machines.
19. A few more words about a creationist's Review of WIDF Anthology. (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Contra_Menuge.htm )
Posted on March 12, 2009
A review by an ID advocate of the WIDF anthology is an example of how ID proponents pretend that their dreams are reality.
2. Unintelligent Design
1. A consistent inconsistency (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/dembski.htm
First posted on July 10, 2001. Updated in November 2001.
In this article a detailed review of "The Design Theory" suggested by William A. Dembski is offered. Two books and three papers by Dembski are criticized. The conclusion is that Dembski's acclaimed theory is inconsistent and logically deficient. Since Dembski is often referred to as one of the leaders of the "intelligent design movement," and his work is praised as the most rigorous foundation of the design theory, revealing weaknesses and inconsistencies in his discourse touches the very core of the "intelligent design" concept. In that article also Dembski's interpretations of probability theory, complexity theory and information theory are critically discussed.
2. A Free Lunch in a Mousetrap (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Dem_NFL.htm )
First posted on March 22, 2002.Last update - January 4, 2003.
This is a partial critical review of a new book by William Dembski titled No Free Lunch - Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence. According to this review, Dembski's new book suffers from many shortcomings similar to those found in Dembski's earlier publications and in some respects even exaggerates them. Some points in that book are obviously erroneous, for example the calculation of "complexity" of individual English words. The alleged Fourth Law of thermodynamics suggested by Dembski, is an unsubstantiated statement which cannot be taken seriously. Some other selected points in the reviewed book are also subjected to strong critique. The overall conclusion is that Dembski's new book is a largely useless exercise in a quasi-scientific disguise.
3. Irreducible Contradiction (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/behe2.htm )
First posted on September 11, 1999. Updated in May 2002.
In this item, the immensely popular book by a biochemist M. J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box, is critically dissected, revealing, among other things, the irreducible contradiction between Behe's assertions and some mathematical facts, thus depriving Behe's argumentation of evidentiary value.
4. A Militant Dilettante in Judgment of Science (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/johnson.htm )
First posted on August 12, 1999; updated in September 2000.
This article offers a critical review of several books and papers by Phillip E. Johnson, a lawyer who, as he has himself asserted, "assumed the leading role" in the "intelligent design theory." As this review demonstrates, Johnson is a dilettante in many questions he endeavored to discuss, including biology and especially information theory. His literary production does not seem to deserve the attention it has attracted.
5. The Anthropic Principles - Reasonable and Unreasonable and the fallacy of the abduction argument for the big bang's supernatural origin (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/anthropic.htm )
First posted on August 10, 2000. Updated in July 2001.
In this short essay a simple probabilistic approach, based on a particular version of Bayes's theorem, is suggested for comparing the two main brands of the anthropic principle - one attributing to natural causes the fact that the conditions in our universe seem to be fine-tuned for the existence of life, and the other assuming the supernatural design of the conditions in question. An application of some elementary concepts of probability theory shows that the natural explanation of the anthropic principle is logically consistent whereas the supernatural interpretation, while not necessarily wrong, is based on an arbitrary assumption. In the second part of the essay, a similar probabilistic approach shows the weakness of an argument by Dembski and Meyer, who suggested an abduction form of inference to substantiate the hypothesis of a supernatural source of the big bang.
6. Presentation Without Arguments (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Dem_burbank21jun02.htm ).
(Posted on June 22, 2002; updated on June 26, 2002).
This is a brief review of William Dembski's presentation to the 4th World Skeptics Conference in Burbank, CA, on June 21, 2002. This article has also been published in Skeptical Inquirer, Nov-Dec. 2002 issue.
7. Has Darwin Met His Match in Berlinski? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/berlinski.htm ).
Posted on December 14, 2002.
This is a brief review of the paper by David Berlinski published in the December 2002 issue of the Commentary magazine.
8. The No Free Lunch Theorems and Their Application to Evolutionary Algorithms (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/orr_demb_NFL.htm ).
Posted on February 7, 2003.
In this brief essay William Dembski's use of the No Free Lunch theorems by Wolpert and Macready is criticized. The earlier critique offered by H. Allen Orr is clarified. It is shown that the main fault of Demsbki's approach is his use of the NFL theorems in situations wherein search algorithms encounter specific landscapes while the NFL theorems are applicable only to the algorithms performance averaged over all possible fitness landscapes.
9. About Heresy in Science- again (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/againheresy.htm ).
Posted on April 4, 2004.
This a story from the author's personal experience. In1969 the author and his doctoral student discovered the existence of materials with a negative value of Poisson coefficient. At that time the existence of such materials was assumed to be impossible. Nevertheless the authors' experimental data and their suggested explanation were promptly published in a prestigious journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences, thus offering an example of the fallacy of ID advocates often used attacks upon the peer review system allegedly preventing publication of results contradicting the prevailing view of the "orthodox" scientific cabal. As an additional note, it can be pointed that although the author's paper was the first publication of that sort, nowadays there are many papers describing various materials with a negative Poisson ratio.
10. Dembski Goes Mathematical (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/dem_goes_mat.htm ).
Posted on July 11, 2004
In this brief essay, the recent appearance of a paper by William Dembski is
addressed, wherein this author suggested an allegedly novel measure of
information. As Cosma Shalizi and David Wilson, experts in the pertinent field,
have demonstrated, in fact Demsbki's paper contains no novel math (in Dembski's
own words, he has reinvented the wheel) but seems to contain certain
mathematical errors and therefore hardly represents anything of value. Dembski's
paper is supposed to be the first installment in a set of seven papers under the
common title Mathematical Foundation of Intelligent Design. If the entire set
will continue the trend started in its first installment, the planned foundation
will not only fail to support an edifice of a reasonable theory, but more
realistically may be expected to collapse under its own weight.
Comment on September 12, 2004. This essay contains a link to Dembski's article. We have found that this link no longer opens Dembski's article in question (there is instead a message that the article will be re-posted when its author is confident that he has "worked out all kinks"). The amended version of Dembski's article is, however, available online.
11. There is a free lunch after all: Dembski's wrong answers to irrelevant questions (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Dem_NFL_theor.htm ).
Posted January 31, 2003.
This is a tentative text of a chapter under the same title in the collection Why Intelligent Design Failed, edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis, Rutgers Univ. Press, 2004.
12. The Design Revolution? How William Dembski is dodging questions about intelligent design (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/desrevolution.htm ).
Posted on March 21, 2004.
In this brief essay, the author points out the peculiar features of William Dembski's behavior. (William Dembski is one of the leading advocates of intelligent design concepts, affiliated with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, WA; there are several articles on this site discussing Dembski's output.) In his latest book, whose subtitle promises "answering the toughest questions about intelligent design," Dembski in fact evades answering most of the questions posed by his critics (whose names do not even appear in the index of his book). The author of this esssay demonstrates that such behavior is typical of how Dembski conducts disputes. This essay also reveals inconsistencies in Dembski's persistent asseverations about the imminent demise of the evolutionary biology, and concludes that Dembski's prediction of the forthcoming "Design Revolution" is nothing more than falsely attributing to his dreams the status of facts.
13. The Dream World of William Dembski's Creationism (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Demb_Dream_inSkeptic.htm ).
This is the full text of Mark Perakh's article printed in the Skeptic magazine, v.11, No 4, 2005.
Posted on Aug. 19, 2005.
14. How intelligent design advocates turn the sordid lessons from Soviet and Nazi history upside down (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/eandp.htm) .
By Wesley R. Elsberry and Mark Perakh
Posted on April 20, 2004
"Intelligent design" advocates (IDAs) are quick to cry "Foul!" when they find themselves at the short end of a sharp piece of rhetoric. But they are just as quick to use invidious comparisons that are intended to discomfit their critics. This article documents several such cases. For example, the intelligent design advocate William A. Dembski has compared biologists critical of "intelligent design" to the former Soviet regime. Specifically, Dembski has compared his critics to Trofim Denisovich Lysenko and his cronies in the Soviet hierarchy during Stalin's reign. Every reasonable person must take umbrage at this comparison. Elsberry and Perakh present here views aimed at revealing the insidious and underhanded nature of the attack made by Dembski and some of his colleagues.
15. ID's irreducible inconsistency revisited (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/IC_inconsist.htm ).
Posted on February 1, 2005
In this essay an article by William Dembski, titled "Irreducible Complexity Revisited," as well as its discussion on the ARN website are critically discussed. The main thesis of this essay is the revelation of a striking inconsistency of Dembski's discourse which plainly contradicts his earlier thesis. Also a brief discussion is presented of an article by a leading young earth creationist, Henry Morris, where he repudiates Dembski's attempts to hide the religious roots of ID behind a quasi-scientific facade.
16. Beyond Suboptimality: Logical fallacy of the "IC implies ID" notion (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/IC-illog.htm ).
Posted on February 20, 2005
Michael Behe's concept of the irreducible complexity (IC) of molecular assemblies in biological cells has been touted by intelligent design (ID) advocates as allegedly strong evidence for ID. In fact, a concept identical in all but name with Behe's IC has been around for a long time before Behe. Professional biologists have overwhelmingly rejected Behe's notion as contrary to the evidence, showing that irreducibly complex molecular systems could have evolved via "Darwinian" evolutionary path with a high likelihood. In this essay the problem is approached from an angle different from that utilized by biologists. Here the argument is that the notion according to which IC implies ID is contrary to logic. IC systems, by definition, are unreliable, so if they are designed, this points to an inept designer. In this case we deal not just with the problem of suboptimal design but with a case where the putative designer deliberately designed systems in a way making them easily vulnerable to accidental damage. If biological systems are indeed IC this more reasonably can be construed as an argument against intelligent design.
17. Letter to *** (a reply to William Dembski) (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/lettertoarn.htm ).
Posted on March 14, 2004.
This is a letter to a contributor to ARN website who posts there using a webname "Dayton." This letter addressed the dismissive remarks by Dembski regarding the critique of his output in Perakh's book Unintelligent Design. It also explains Perakh's refusal to participate in a public debate with Dembski, organized by an organization of religious students.
18. A brief look at two comments on one ID-creationist site (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/look_at_comms.htm ).
Posted on September 15, 2005.
This is a reply to two comments, posted to one of the ID-promoting websites, whose authors tried to (unsuccessfully) rebut certain points in Mark Perakh's essay published in Skeptic magazine (v.11, No 4, 2005). The text of Perakh's essay is available online.
19. Letter Serial Correlation points to the common descent of natural languages (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/LSC-evol.htm ).
Posted on March 9, 2005
This is a brief summary of the set of articles by Mark Perakh and Brendan McKay which report on a method of Letter Serial Correlation developed for a statistical analysis of texts. The data obtained by this method show an intrinsic unity of the structure of various languages and thus jibe with the notion of evolution of all languages from a single proto-language via descent with modification. The author points to an analogy between the evolution of languages and biological evolution.
20. Dembski "displaces Darwinism" mathematically - of does he? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/newmath.htm )
Posted on March 17, 2005.
This essay contains a brief reviews a recent article by William Dembski and shows that, contrary to Dembski's claims, it cannot serve as part of the mathematical foundation of intelligent design. Among several serious faults of Demsbki's paper is his view of biological evolution as a search for a small target in a large search space. In fact, biological evolution is not searching for a target. Probabilities calculated by Dembski, for example, for "finding" a specific protein in the space of all possible proteins of a given length are irrelevant because evolution is not "searching" for a predetermined specific protein. Likewise, Dembski's "displacement problem" (which in his new article is in fact not identical to the problem of the same name as rendered by Dembski in his earlier publications) is equally irrelevant for evolution, since the latter conducts no target-oriented searches.
21. What else could be expected from Dembski? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Reply_toReply_byDem.htm )
Posted on November 21, 2005
This is Mark Perakh's reply to William Dembski's arrogantly dismissive response to Perakh's essay "Skeptic on Dembski". Simultaneously posted to The Panda's Thumb, where the discussion is conducted.
22. The Skeptic on Dembski (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Skept_onDem1.htm )
Posted on August 16, 2005
In this brief essay Mark Perakh informs the readers about two papers relevant to the critique of intelligent design in vol.11, No 4, 2005 of Skeptic magazine and explains the reasons for his writing one of those papers. Simultaneously posted to Panda's Thumb, where a discussion is also being conducted.
23. Genuine science versus Dembski's "Z-factors" (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Z-factors.htm )
Posted on February 7, 2003.
This essay contains the tentative version of Perakh's part in a chapter (co-authored with Matt Young) in the anthology Why Intelligent Design Fails (Rutgers Univ. Press, 2004)
24. About heresy in science - again (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/againheresy.htm )
Posted on April 18, 2004
This essay is complementary to Andrea Bottaro's post where the routine assertions of ID advocates that they cannot publish their work in professional scientific media because of the alleged censorship maintained by the so-called orthodox Darwinian establishment are shown to be unsubstantiated. The author of this essay, who, unlike biologist Andrea Bottaro, is a physicist, tells a story from his own experience, illustrating a simple fact: the only condition for unorthodox theories and controversial data to be published in scientific media is their being supported by evidence, and the sole reason the concepts and asseverations of intelligent design advocates are not being published in professional journals is that they fail to provide evidence supporting their claims.
25. Reply to Vend (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Reply_to_Vend.htm ).
A reader using a moniker "Vend" submitted to Talk Reason a letter with critical remarks regarding Perakh's essay printed in the Skeptical Inquirer (vol. 23, no 4, 2005). Perakh's essay in question can also be seen at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Suboptimal.cfm and/or on this site (see item 16 above). Vend's letter can be accessed at http://www.talkreason.org/Forum.cfm?MESSAGEID=682 . This post contains a reply to Vend's comments.
26. Whose Head Is Ugly? Jonathan Wells and Lysenkoism (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Wells16.htm )
Posted on Aug. 23, 2006
This is a review of chapter 16 (titled "Lysenkoism in America") in Jonathan Wells's recently released book Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. This review is a part of the set of reviews written by the Panda's Thumb blog's team, covering all chapters of Wells's book, which will all appear on Panda's Thumb shortly. Wells's book is a collection of often incoherent, sometimes fraudulent, and usually misleading, anti-evolution and pro-ID pseudo-arguments.
27. Olle, Tom, and "Active Information "(see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Hagstrom_Marks_Dembski.htm )
This brief essay comments on the essay by Olle Häggström critical of Dembski’s misuse of the No Free Lunch theorems, as well as on the article by William Dembski of a Baptist seminary and Robert Marks of the Baylor University, who denied the validity of Haggstrom’s arguments, and, also on Tom English’s view of the concept of “Active Information” promoted by Dembski and Marks as a possible replacement for Dembski’s failed concept of Complex Specified Information (CSI).
28. Errors not corrected for three years point to incompetence (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/incompetence.htm )
In 2004 William Dembski disseminated an article wherein he introduced an allegedly novel measure of information he dubbed “Variational Information.” This measure was in fact not a novel quantity but rather a well known (for over forty years) “Rényi divergence of the 2nd order.” When his flop was pointed out, Dembski added to his article a reference to Rényi. However, the amended version of Dembski’s article contained statements which showed that Dembski not only was not familiar with the widely known and heavily referenced work of Rényi, but did not grasp its essence even after it was pointed out to him. In the three years after the amended version of Dembski’s article was posted, Dembski has kept that version posted without any signs of having a second thought. This allows one to think that no self-correction from Dembski is forthcoming. These facts seem to support the opinion of Dembski as being, in the words of Professor Shallit, a “pseudo-mathematician”. I similarly suggested that his mathematical exercises are “quasi-mathematics.” Contrary to Dembski’s claims, it in no way can serve as a “mathematical foundation of Intelligent Design.” Although in the opinion of ID advocates it contains innovative and useful stuff, all that is “innovative” there is usually useless, while all that is useful there has usually been known for a long time.
Part 3. The Mental Acrobatics. How the religious writers prove the compatibility of the Bible with science.
1. Verifying the Eternal via Temporal? (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/introduction.htm ).
This item is a brief introductory essay to the following set of reviews of books, discussing some features common for the books in question.
First posted on May 10, 1999.
2. Not a Very Big Bang about Genesis (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/schroeder.htm )
First posted on April 11, 1999. Last update in December 2001.
In this item a critical review is offered of three popular books by G. L. Schroeder, showing that the books in question contain a multitude of wrong statements and direct errors, invalidating their author's claim about the compatibility of the Bible and science.
3. The End of the Beginning (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/aviezer.htm ).
First posted on June 14, 1999. Last update in November 2001.
This item is a critical review of a popular book by N. Aviezer, titled In the Beginning, as well as of his article The Anthropic Principle, revealing weaknesses in their author's discourse.
4. The Crusade of Arrogance (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/ross.htm ).
First posted on December 12, 1999. Last update in November 2001.
In this item, several books by an evangelical pastor and a former astronomer H. Ross are subjected to a critical autopsy, showing the complete lack of substantiation of that writer's contentions.
5. A Lost Chance (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/spetner.htm ).
First posted on January 14, 2000. Last update in January 2002.
In this item, a book by a physicist L. Spetner Not by Chance is analyzed showing serious deficiencies in its author's arguments against the modern version of the Darwinian theory of evolution.
6. The Signature of an Ignoramus (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/ignoramus.htm ).
First posted on August 2, 2000.
In this item, a best-selling book by a Canadian Christian preacher G. Jeffrey The Signature of God is reviewed. This book contains a multitude of errors, exaggerations, distortions and displays of its author's ignorance and arrogance.
7. Not a Very New Look (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/stoner.htm ).
First posted on August 22, 2000.
In this item, a book by Don Stoner titled "A New Look at an Old Earth" which has been reprinted eight times, is reviewed, pointing at the feebleness of Stoner's argument aimed at "leading atheistic scientists to Christ."
8. Prohibition to Think (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/kellemen.htm )
First posted on March 23, 2000.
In this item, two books by L Kelemen, one titled Permission To Believe and the other Permission to Receive are critically reviewed revealing a frequent lack of logic and selective treatment of facts by their author, so the main thesis of that writer remains unsubstantiated.
9.. Challenging the Challenge (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/challenge.htm ).
First posted on April 17, 2000.
In this item a collection of papers edited by Arieh Carmell and Cyril Domb, titled "Challenge. Torah View on Science and Its Problems" is reviewed. This collection published more than twenty years ago offered many of the arguments that have been repeated time and time again since its publication as allegedly proving that there can be in principle no contradiction between the Torah and science. Some of the articles in that collection contradict though that premise by denying some scientific facts because they are contrary to the religious dogma. Despite the impressive credentials of the authors in that collection, their effort failed to be convincing from a skeptic's viewpoint.
10. Show Me Proof (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/heeren.htm ).
First posted on February 20, 2000.
In this item Fred Heeren's book titled "Show Me God" is reviewed. Strangely, while Heeren is a full-blooded old-earth creationist and a believer in "intelligent design," there are almost no references in his lengthy book to other "intelligent design" proponents. He widely quotes prominent scientists many of whom are agnostics or atheists, but always tries to interpret their words as allegedly supporting his belief in the Bible's inerrancy. His book is a hodge-podge of heterogeneous elements, often unrelated to each other, including a fictional short story, conversations with a fictional editor, and explanations of modern cosmological theories. Interesting to note that other representatives of "intelligent design" concept pay back to Heeren with the same coin, usually avoiding references to his thick volume, which anyway utterly fails to prove his point.
11. Dreaming Up... (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/gottlieb.htm ).
First posted on November 24, 1999.
In this item, a book by rabbi D. Gottlieb is reviewed demonstrating the arbitrariness of its author's choice of alleged proofs of the Torah's veracity and the lack of substantiation of his claims.
12. A Broom That Sweeps Litter In (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/broom.htm )
Posted on April 15, 2003.
This is a critical review of a book by Neal Broom where the book's author offers plainly preposterous argument for introducing the supernatural into science.
13. Confronted with critique, Schroeder lost voice (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Rep_to_Schroeder.htm )
Posted on November 21, 2005.
After almost seven years of silence, Gerald Schroeder has finally admitted the existence of the critique of his work by Mark Perakh. He did so in a very brief reply to a letter sent to him by Talk Reason reader Daniel. In this essay Perakh shows the inadequacy of Schroeder's "reply" to the critique.
13. Cooling of the universe (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/yoachim.htm )
Posted on May 13, 2004
Mark Perakh's book Unintelligent Design contains a chapter critically discussing popular publications by Hugh Ross. In particular, Perakh points to Ross's erroneous pseudo-thermodynamic explanation of the universe's cooling in the course of its expansion. Similar critique of Ross's discourse is found in Perakh's paper published in the Skeptic magazine (Australia) as well as in a post on this site. This article, written in response to a letter sent to Perakh by a graduate student in astronomy, contains a simple discussion of the universe's cooling in the course of its expansion as it is construed in cosmology. It may serve as an additional clarification of Perakh's arguments rendered in the three above listed sources, regarding both Ross's errors and the modern view of the universe's history, for those readers who still need such a clarification.
14. Non sequitur in five parts (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/Barr.htm ).
This is a review of a book by Professor of physics Stephen Barr whose main thesis is that the advances of science in 20th century lead to the "fall of materialism." While Barr demonstrates wide knowledge of modern physics, his conclusions regarding the fall of "materialism" and superiority of religious faith over "materialism" are arbitrary as they do not follow from facts of science he discusses.
15. Conclusion (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/conclusion.htm ).
First posted on October 12, 2000.
This article is partially summarizing the above reviews of books.
1. A Masterpiece Chockfull of Inconsistencies (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/bible-science.htm )
First posted on June 15, 1999
In this item, authored by Amiel Rossow, a number of discrepancies between various parts of the Book of Genesis are discussed as well as some of the contradictions between the biblical story and science.
2. B'Tsel Ha'Torah (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/tselhatorah.htm ).
First posted on November 9, 2002.
The title of this article, authored by Amiel Rossow, is a Hebrew phrase translated as "In the Shadow of the Torah." It is a review of issue 13 of the journal B'Ohr Ha'Torah (which in Hebrew means "In the Light of the Torah"). In Rossow's opinion, the authors and editors of this lavishly published journal, most of them possessing advanced scientific degrees and impressive credentials, are benighted by their blind faith in the Torah's inerrancy which compels them to commit acts of mental acrobatics in vain efforts to reconcile the data of science with the Torah's story.
3. Ying and Yang of Kenneth Miller. How Professor Miller Finds Darwin's God. (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/yin_yang.htm ).
First posted on October 23, 2002
This item is authored by Amiel Rossow who reviews a popular book by Professor Kennneth Miller titled Finding Darwin's God. In Rossow's opinion, Miller's book consists of two parts of very different quality. The larger part is a very well substantiated and elegant defense of Darwin's evolution theory and a strong critique of the modern incarnations of creationism exemplified by writings of Behe, Berlinski, Dembski and Johnson. The smaller part is a much less convincing attempt by Miller to support his religious beliefs by scientific data.
4. To Laugh Or To Cry - Make Your Choice (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/choice.htm )
This item is authored by Shmuel-Pairont de la Meyraque who reviews an anti-science essay by an Orthodox Rabbi. The reviewer shows the absurdity of the rabbi's arguments, all borrowed from Christian creationist literature and debunked a long time ago.
5. When quote mining becomes a quote mania (see http://www.talkreason.org/perakm/quotemania.htm )
This is one more contribution by de la Meyraque where a popular book by Rabbi Natan Slifkin is critiqued and shown to be a piece of piffle lacking any original ideas and overloaded instead with quotations carefully filtered to allegedly support Slifkins' religious views.
Back to Mark Perakh's main page: http://www.talkreason.org/marperak