Assessing dFSCI (2) scarcely compressible

Turning to the second part of the definition of dFSCI :

b) Scarcely compressible

This means that in order to count as dFSCI a string of values must have high kolmogorov complexity.  The reason for this (to quote Gpuccio) is that otherwise the string might be the product of necessity.  So if a protein comprised entirely one amino acid this would be highly compressible and it would also suggest an easy natural way that the protein might have been created. 

 

I don’t have much of a problem with this aspect of dFSCI.  But it is worth pointing out a couple of things.

 

1) dFSCI is meant to be a subset of CSI. Many things that the ID community use as paradigms of high CSI have very high compressibility (low kolmogorov complexity). The Caputo case has been used repeatedly by the ID community since at least 1996 and continues to be quoted. The whole point of this case is that the order of names on the ballot papers is highly compressible when it should be random and therefore scarcely compressible if there had been no design of the order.  In his 2005 paper “Specification: The Pattern that Signifies Intelligence“ William Dembski goes one step further and makes compressibility a defining characteristic of CSI.  If compressibility is a problem for dFSCI then why is it not a problem for CSI?

 

2) According to Chaitin’s incompleteness theorem it is not, in general, possible to prove that a string is scarcely compressible (there are of course many cases where it is possible).  You cannot tell just by looking at a string whether it is compressible or not (although the chances are that it is not compressible). This means that we can never know that a string is actually a case of dFSCI – we can only suspect it.  This is not just nit-picking.  A string of DNA may be the result of many individual point mutations – but it can also be the result of fewer bigger mutations such as insertions, deletions, and transpositions.  These effectively are a kind of compressibility but would be not necessarily be apparent just through inspecting the string.  This greatly reduces the number of steps between two proteins or genes that look vey different.

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