2 January 2009

International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID)

I just came across a site with an interesting name: International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID. They describe themselves as follows:

The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism. The society provides a forum for formulating, testing, and disseminating research on complex systems through critique, peer review, and publication. Its aim is to pursue the theoretical development, empirical application, and philosophical implications of information- and design-theoretic concepts for complex systems.

All that sounds good. However, a few clicks on the site reveals that it is authored by a number of religious fellows whose aim is to promote absurd claims through science. Their aim is to show that "complex systems" such as human beings and the universe have been created by a deity. They wish to (mis)use science and mathematics in order to disprove physical laws or rational arguments. These endeavours are now known as "creationism" or "intelligent design", the latter being a pseudo-scientific version of the former. Alas, the list of fellows ISCID contains names which cannot be taken too seriously: E.g., William Dembski is a failed mathematician who decided to devote his career for the promotion of Intelligent Design. John Lennox is a priest who has done work in Algebra (finite groups) at Oxford and writes books in which he uses silly arguments to prove that his version of god (not just any god, but the particular one he revers--he is a north-irish protestant) is responsible for the creation of life and the universe. None of these fellows have ever written anything serious on the concepts they try to deal with (information theory, complex systems, probability theory, algorithms), yet ISCID claims they are experts!

Conclusion: ISCID is a joke and cannot be taken seriously.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant