Intelligent design and the NFL theorems
Another look is taken at the model assumptions involved in William Dembski’s (2002a, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased without Intelligence. Roman & Littlefield, Lanham, MA) use of the NFL theorems from optimization theory to disprove the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, and his argument is shown to be irrelevant to evolutionary biology.
Key words:Optimization NFL theorem Fitness landscape Intelligent design Local search Uniform distribution
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
I am grateful to Mats Rudemo for showing me Wein (2002a), to Timo Seppäläinen for scrutinizing the manuscript, and to an anonymous referee for valuable advice on how to make the paper more suitable for its target audience.
- Aarts E., Lenstra J.K. (eds) (1997) Local Search in Combinatorial Optimization. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
- Behe M. (1996) Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Brockman J. (2006) Intelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement. Vintage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Crews F. 2001. Saving us from Darwin, New York Review of Books, Oct 4 and Oct 18.Google Scholar
- Dembski W.A. 1998. The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Dembski W.A. (2002a) No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Roman & Littlefield, Lanham, MAGoogle Scholar
- Dembski W.A. 2002b. Obsessively criticized but scarcely refuted, http://www.designinference.com/documents/05.02.resp_to_wein.htm
- Dembski W.A. 2002c. The fantasy life of Richard Wein: a response to a response, http://www.designinference.com/documents/2002.06.WeinsFantasy.htm
- Dembski W.A. 2005. Searching large spaces: displacement and the no free lunch regress, http://www.designinference.com/documents/2005.03.Searching_Large_Spaces.pdf
- Dennett D.C. (1995) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Häggström O. 2005. Intelligent design and the NFL theorems: debunking Dembski, http://www.math.chalmers.se/∼olleh/Dembski.pdf.
- Kallenberg O. (2005) Probabilistic Symmetries and Invariance Principles. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
- Kauffman S. 2000. Investigations. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Orr H.A. 2002. Book review: No Free Lunch, Boston Review, summer issue.Google Scholar
- Orr H.A. 2005. Devolution, The New Yorker, May 30.Google Scholar
- Paley W. 1802. Natural Theology: Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature. reprinted by Lincoln-Rembrandt, Charlottesville, VA, 1986.Google Scholar
- Pennock R.T. (2001) Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Wein R. 2002a. Not a free lunch but a box of chocolates, http://www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/
- Wein, R. 2002b. Response? What response? http://www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/replynfl.html
- Wolpert D.H. 2002. William Dembski’s treatment of the no free lunch theorems is written in jello, http://www.talkreason.org/articles/jello.cfm