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Ep. 314 WInston Ewert Asks: Is the Human Mind a Computer?

Winston Ewert is a computer scientist and mathematician with numerous publications in the Intelligent Design (ID) field, including co-authored works with William Dembski. He joins Bob to discuss his recently published essay (a chapter in a collection) on the algorithmic model of the human mind.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. klanborg on 03/29/2024 at 9:39 PM

    A fascinating topic but a few minutes I’n, I’m compelled to challenge Ewert.
    Ewert: “You can imagine procedures for more complex things … write a step-by-step procedure to write poetry would probably stump most of us, although noaways you can ask ChatGPT to do that, so someone seems to have figured out how to produce a step procedure that manages to produce poetry.”
    This is false.
    Nobody, not even the smartest mind at OpenAI, has written a step by-step procedure for producing poetry. They have instead created a step-by-step procedure for producing an artificial mind that can create poetry.
    Similarly I can describe a step by step procedure for a man and a woman to copulate, producing a child that produces poetry, but that is not a step by step procedure for creating poetry.
    I think this is an essential distinction that invalidates further arguments he has offered.
    Neural networks do not work by algorithms. The algorithm describe procedures, and neural nets do not follow procedures in a meaningful way.
    He’s conflating, and confusing categories, which have legitimate distinct existence. Mixing these up leads to less clarity.

  2. Dave H on 03/30/2024 at 5:23 AM

    It’s weird how ID people keep saying they have this rigorous quantitative way of measuring “specified complexity” but they never tell us what it is or how to apply it.

    I have challenged several times to offer up several strings of text and have somebody who claims this rigorous quantitative way of measuring it do so and tell me which are designed and which are not, but nobody has ever done so.

    Why would they not jump at the chance to prove their methods?

    I also notice that it never gets discussed that you ALWAYS sneakily refer back to things we KNOW designers do when you bring up examples, such as books and such.

    Let’s be real here. This supposed rigorous quantitative measurement tool simply does not exist. It’s not in any book, not in any paper, not anywhere. It’s a *grift.*

    • hyrcnaus on 03/31/2024 at 12:07 AM

      At least in this interview, I didn’t hear Ewert claim a “quantitative measurement” for complexity but a qualitative “much” or “little”.
      Much complexity, little code.
      That’s why we were ‘seeing the fingerprint of God’ in the Mandelbrot set in the 90s.
      Now, should that be a ‘proof’ of God, to a reductionist atheist? I don’t really see how it would.
      (We’ll see if Bob posts this one…)

      • Dave H on 04/15/2024 at 5:46 AM

        Kolmogorov complexity is NOT specified complexity. If it were, then pure randomness would signal design.

        You *have no* way of detecting design that doesn’t involve referring to your prior knowledge about designers. Nobody does.

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