As much as I have other things I can be blogging about, it's just too much fun to slap Weasel Boy around the room. Consider one of his recent illiterate rants here, which I will dissect sentence by sentence to show WB for the ignorant buffoon that he is. No, no, don't thank me -- the satisfaction I get out of this is reward enough. Let us begin:
Apparently, some people think I've ended up arguing for their own case here. My point obviously went over their heads.
Ah, so WB's analysis was simply too sophisticated for my meagre mathematical background. Yeah, that's going to happen in my lifetime, isn't it? Whatever. Onward.
See, you and I recognize the difference between the Gettysburg Address and random gibberish.
Do we? Do we really? And why would that be?
That's because the Gettysburg Address is obviously designed.
It is? And what leads one to make that claim? Recall from previous posts here that we can measure "complexity". We can also, in a sense, mathematically measure "randomness." But what is this "design" thing, so that it can be measured? More to the point, what is it about the Gettysburg Address (GA) that makes it so "obviously designed"? Amazingly, WB gets it right, for all the wrong reasons:
Plus, we understand the English language.
This appears to be WB's fundamental argument for why the GA is "designed" -- because, since we understand the English language, it looks designed. In short, Weasel Boy can't define "design" -- he just knows it when he sees it. How thoroughly wishy-washy. WB's next statement is utter rubbish and doesn't appear to have any connection with what came before it:
Could a person who does not understand English see the difference between "fourscoreandsevenyearsago" and "klasmcoyqwebnkqwoiblklswq?" Of course not.
If that's the case, then is there anything about that first phrase that is inherently more "designed" than the second phrase? If you don't understand English, not at all -- they'd both be gibberish and equally meaningless. But here's where it gets good, as Weasel Boy decides to quote Shakespeare:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
Now, based on WB's own logic, the above would be an example of "design" (a word that WB bandies about with great abandon without having made any attempt to define it, unlike my use of the word "complexity" which I can, in fact, mathematically calculate. See the difference? Unlike WB, I don't just make shit up.)
Now, if the above is an example of meaningful and obvious design, I challenge Weasel Boy to explain why what follows is somehow less of an example of that very same thing. If I read WB correctly, the fact that the following is not English (or any other existing language) somehow makes it less designed. I want him (or anyone else) to explain why that is.
So ... who wants to explain why this second chunk of prose has less "design" than the first? (Having you first define the word "design" would be just ducky but I'm being charitable here.)
Any takers? The answer may surprise you.
SPOILER: If you want to know what's going on above, keep reading.
Let us now explain why Weasel Boy's rantings are so much gibberish. Recall that, in an alleged explanation of "design," WB wrote the following idiocy:
See, you and I recognize the difference between the Gettysburg Address and random gibberish. That's because the Gettysburg Address is obviously designed. Plus, we understand the English language.
In short, Weasel Boy claims that the GA clearly differs from "random gibberish." And why is that? Why, because it was "designed". And what is about the GA that makes it "designed"? I'm assuming it's because, since we know English, we understand it. And how is it that we understand it? Naturally, because it's designed. (Yes, it's a circular argument and, yes, WB is a moron. But let that not stop us from explaining what happened above.)
So ... if we examine the two passages above, we can ask what is fundamentally different between them and the answer is -- absolutely nothing. In fact, the second passage is simply an encoding of the first one, using a circular mapping with the space character just happening to be mapped to "M". And what exactly does this mean?
First and foremost, it means that those two passages have exactly the same complexity. A simple remapping of a character set cannot possibly change the complexity of a sequence, in the same way that just remapping colours in an image can't change its complexity. Either sequence would require precisely the same minimal amount of information to transmit it to another person so, to that extent, from an information theoretic perspective, the two passages are equivalent.
But how is that possible if, as WB proposes, the first clearly shows "design" while the second does not? Simple. WB is a moron. (Yes, we've established that.) The only reason one ascribes "design" to the first passage is that
we understand English and, therefore, it makes sense to us. Conversely, if an alien race had evolved which had created an alphabet with the same circular transformation I used above, they would think the second passage was designed while the first was random gibberish. Isn't that special?
In short, the concept of "design" as proposed by Weasel Boy is simply a figment of his imagination. Not only can he not even define the term, he can't even recognize similar design when it walks up to him and kicks him in the nuts.
And so endeth today's lesson in information theory.
COMING SOON: The universe, order, chaos and why creationists are imbeciles.