Thursday, August 27, 2009

What was that again?

I recently received this rather terse e-mail from a James E Grambrell.

The term "quantum physics" should be avoided. The preferred term currently is "quantum mechanics. This will continue until it is recognized that Physics and Quantics are separate but overlapping disciplines. James E Gambrell.

Was it in response to my passing reference to “quantum physics” in my last post? I hadn’t heard of quantics until this e-mail and so I did a little web work. Top of the Google search list for quantics was a consultancy who specialize in pharmaceutical, health and ecotoxicology statistics. It can’t be that. An online dictionary defined a quantic to be a homogeneous polynomial having two or more variables. It can’t be that. However I eventually found a web pages claiming that quantic physics was a new philosophy, and this is what I read:

Quantic physics says that everything that we see isn’t the images that we really see with your eyes. But it’s an image that is being created from our mind.

My best guess is that that is trying to tell us that reality isn’t “out there” but “in here”.

But if it's all "in here" then there is no "out there". But if there is no "out there" then there can be no "in here" because it can only be "in here" by virtue of its relation to "out there".

Monday, August 24, 2009

William Dembski: Curiouser and Curiouser

Characters of the Wild Web: Academic fugitive Billy the DembskID is proving difficult to nail.

William Dembski has given a brief reply (here) in response to reactions to his latest paper. Here is the bulk of Dembski’s reply:

One criticism is that it at best is consistent with theistic evolution but does not support ID. I think this is a mistake. I’ve said for over a decade now that ID is consistent with the most far-flung evolutionary change. The key contention of ID is that design in nature, and in biology in particular, is detectable. Evolutionary informatics, by looking at the information requirements of evolutionary processes, points to information sources beyond evolution and thus, indirectly, to a designer. Theistic evolution, by contrast, accepts the Darwinian view that Darwinian processes generate the information required for biological complexity internally, without any outside source of information. The results by Marks and me are showing that this cannot be the case. The paper just published is only the first installment. It essentially lays out our accounting procedure for measuring the information in evolutionary search. We have two forthcoming papers that flesh out our larger project (available at, showing that attempts to account for the information internally, without an external information source, all founder.

I’m confused to say the least.

As my previous blog post suggests, even atheists like Mark Chu-Carrol and Joe Felsenstein on Panda’s thumb would accept that evolution only works if resourced by the right physical regime. In the sense that this physical regime seems to just one possibility singled out from a huge space of apparent possibilities it thus appears as a precondition of very remote probability. Hence, using Dembski’s measure of information (-log[p]) evolution requires, accordingly, a very high a-priori information content, Without getting into quibbles over Dembski’s use of the term “information” one might wonder just what distinguishes Dembski’s position from these atheists; both accept that (very) special conditions are required to resource evolution. Of course, the real difference is just where the respective parties go from there: The atheists believe that the apparent fortuitousness of the right physics is no argument for God/Intelligence. (I personally don’t think it is right to start accusing atheists of the unforgivable sin if at this point in the argument they want to say “Hold on a minute, this doesn’t necessarily follow”)

However, while the atheists stop and think about that one let me run with William Dembski.

Firstly, another quibble: Is the notion of probability applicable to the “brute” givens of the physical regime? In physical theory such as quantum physics, probability is a quantity defined within the confines of a given system that generates frequency profiles. In contrast the brute givens of the physical regime are meta-features that don’t find context within a system of frequency profiles and so this raises questions about the applicability of probability to the physical regime itself.

But however we settle that quibble, I for one will accept that there is no getting away from it: The apparent logically unwarranted nature of the cosmic set up seems a remarkable brute fact and for theists like myself and William Dembski, this is seen as evidence of providence, so in this sense I can run with William Dembski’s design views. As a tentative evolutionist this makes me, presumably, a theistic evolutionist.

But Dembski pins theistic evolutionists to a straw man: “Theistic evolution, by contrast, accepts the Darwinian view that Darwinian processes generate the information required for biological complexity internally, without any outside source of information.” I just can’t buy that. Even atheists, as we have seen, accept that evolutionary theory doesn’t explain everything, (especially the conditions that resource it) and that it leaves a sort of “informational” loose end, although of course atheists wouldn’t accept that this loose end should be tied up theistically.

Now Prof William, I can’t speak for other Theistic Evolutionists but correct me if I am wrong; I thought that Theistic Evolution was precisely the belief that God creates and sustains the required preconditions that considerably enhance the chances of evolution working. If Christian theistic evolutionists really believe, as you suggest, that evolution is tantamount to an ex-nihilo creative agency and therefore does not require any outside agency why, oh why are they Christian theists rather than Yin Yan or Gnostic dualists?

OK there may be quibbles about your concept of information but my understanding is that Theistic Evolutionists would broadly agree that evolution is providentially supplied with the right resources to work; that is, evolution is no logical necessity and as such needs some far deeper necessity to create and sustain the conditions it requires. If that’s what you mean by Darwinian evolution not creating information I can run with that.

So just where do you stand William? You say “I’ve said for over a decade now that ID is consistent with the most far-flung evolutionary change”. So given that we accept the necessity of “active information” to resource evolution does this mean that you can affirm that evolution is not necessarily inconsistent with ID? Does this mean that one can be an evolutionist AND an ID theorist? Do you have any ID evolutionist friends? And what are your views on YEC theory?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Darwin Bicentenary part 26: ID theorist and Atheists Agree (!)

An agreement shot through with holes.

Another vicious gun fight has broken out between ID theorists and atheist evolutionists. This time the contention is over Dembski’s latest paper on measuring search algorithm information. Anti-evilution references have, according to reviewers, been kept under wraps by Dembski, but needless to say there is an implicit connection with ID theory. Consequently, that the paper has been peered reviewed and published is too easily construed as a vote in favour of ID and this thoroughly annoys the atheists.

In the ensuing fight a lot of time is spent by people saying what they think about one another. (“liars”, “pompous”, “bragging”, “stupid”, that kind of thing) Also, there is much criticism of Dembski for apparently repeatedly misrepresenting Dawkins’ simple “ME THINKS” program. (BTW, I got my view of this program from Dembski). PZ Myers, presumably because this is not his field, links to Mark Chu-Carrol’s blog who comments on Dembski’s latest paper. Uncommon Descent accuses PZ Myers of evading the issue, hinting that it may all be rather over PZ’s head; the subtext here is that PZ is no match for UD’s gallant champion of the ID cause.

Chu-Carrol is a pretty abrasive character and doesn’t mince his words when it comes to expressing what he thinks of people, especially ID theorists. But this is really by the by. Abrasiveness apart Chu-Carrol’s mathematical content is, as far as I can tell, certainly better than passable; but then so is Dembski’s. So, leaving aside personalities and the silly distraction over the trivial “ME THINKS” program what are we left with? I think you will find that Dembski and Chu-Carrol actually agree. In a blog comment about a very similar paper by Dembski, Chu-Carrol comments:

Back at the beginning of the paper, I said that Dembski actually manages to basically refute his own argument - that he shows how evolution can actually work. By now, you should see how that happens: this whole argument comes down to asking what it means to drop the "over all possible landscapes" part of NFL. If you do that, then you end up with a search algorithm that can perform very well on some set of landscapes. Which is exactly what us lousy evolutionists have been saying all along.

What I think Chu-Carrol is telling us here (and I agree) is that evolution is a search algorithm that performs well given the particular fitness landscape of the right physical regime. Translating that to Dembski’s terms it means that for evolution to work a good dollop of active information must be present from day one. Chu-Carrol quibbles about Dembski’s concept of information (quibbles which I actually share), but the underlying lesson agreed by both parties seems clear: Evolution must be hosted by the right physical regime before it has a chance of working. This post on Panda’s thumb sums it up: “….Dembski and Marks’s argument ends up leaving us to argue about where the laws of physics ultimately come from, and most evolutionary biologists will not feel too worried”.

So what is the argument really all about?

At this point I have to confess that Dembski’s position rather puzzles me. He is trying to quantify the kind of resource that everyone agrees evolution needs before it stands a chance of working. But in the ID community this is somehow construed as an anti-evolution argument; perhaps because ID supporters feel that if intelligence is going to resource evolution in order to create life, it may as well create life more directly. But why doesn’t Dembski just come out with it: His mathematics, in the final analysis, is neutral about whether evolution has happened on not.

Then again perhaps Dembski’s position isn’t so puzzling. Frankly, I think it is too late for Dembski to take a stance of more studied detachment. As I think I have said before, the human aspects in this battle are intrusive and dominating. Dembski is the ID clan’s “David” in a “David and Goliath” battle with the academic establishment. Dembski’s friends and mates are looking to him to score points. Many of those loyal and admiring friends may even be YEC’s. The personal aspects have taken over Dembski’s life. He does not have the heart to crush the hopes and expectations of his friends. They alone have given him kudos and status and in return he must act well on their behalf in order to fulfill their expectations. He cannot be a turncoat or traitor; he is too nice a guy for that.

Characters of the Wild Web 17: Mark Chu-Carrol: Good guy, bad guy. We know what Uncommon Dissenters think.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ken is not Amused

A rather nonathletic PZ Myers may have found this exhibit easier to ride.

There are certainly a lot of blog miles to be had in the “atheists do the creation museum” farce. A youTube video of PZ Myers having a ride on Ken Ham’s toy triceratops can be seen here. PZ has difficulty getting on and off the exhibit and looks about as lumbering as a dinosaur himself. Being an expert in natural history and all that, one might expect that mounting a dinosaur would be second nature to PZ. However in this post PZ suggests an explanation for his brontosaurian maneuverability; using AiG age scales he claims he is only 36 minutes old but unfortunately for him he was created with the appearance of (great) age. What a shock for his mother.

Ken Ham, being the butt of the jokes, is not really well placed to see the funny side of all this and he gives his stern and censorious reaction on his blog. One peculiar aspect of Ham’s post is that he displays a set of photos of bumper stickers collected by his staff from the museum's car park on the day of the atheist visit. Ken suggests these stickers are a clear sign of the devil's work. So what do we find on these atheist bumper stickers? “Support the anti Christ”? “Enjoy Sexual lust”, “Live eviL”, “I Hate God”? Not at all; instead stickers expressing self defined ethics, support for evolution, gay marriage defined by love, and a desire to do good. Just the sort of thing one would expect from a group of genuine people looking for moral and spiritual anchorage in a post death of God culture. One can hardly expect to find stickers proclaiming repentance, forgiveness of sins and free salvation. For these people there is no divine underwriter for such things, and frankly, Ham’s group, with its holy idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, is easily construed as further evidence of an absence of God.

But of course for Ham these stickers are the deceitful veneer of unspeakable evil. It is not at all surprising that amongst Ham’s atheist bumper sticker collection is one that simply offers support for Obama. Obama is a believer, but for heresy hunters an apostate faith is, if anything, a worse sin than atheism, for it is regarded as the gloss of a bad conscience that hypocritically courts Satan. Willful deceit and duplicity are round every corner for strict sectarians like Ken Ham.

Atheists might poke fun at Ham and co, but what Ham throws back is far more serious; namely accusations of evil and threats of damnation. And Ham doesn’t reserve this for atheists only but for all who don’t see eye to eye with his view of creation, and even those who simply support president Obama. Holding a different point of view is for them a likely sign of a willful rejection of the truth, thus providing Ham and friends with a pretext to dig deep into their supply of spiritual invective.

Strict sectarians like Ham cannot (yet) be accused of propagating an authoritarian cult regime. Instead they tend to be a decentralized self organizing group that flock in the manner of a boids simulation. What keeps them together is a mutual suspicion of the “outside” world, a world from which they have been well and truly spiritually alienated. Moreover, anyone in the group who might moot a revision of concepts receives a barrage of askance looks; nobody dare move for fear of setting a bad precedent and shaking the foundations of the subculture. Any breaking of ranks might be the road to hell.

I wouldn’t want to accuse Ham of being at the head of a cult, but the step from strict sectarian to the narrow paranoiac conspiracy theory touting cult member is not a big step. Strict sectarians are usually a small tightly knit remnant, an embattled group of people thoroughly disaffected with the anonymity and excesses of a greater society with which they fail to identify. However, there is a danger that as the strict sectarians increase in numbers the transition to a cult is subtly made; this may be forced upon them because the decentralized flocking dynamic may not be sufficient to keep together a large number of people.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stephen Wolfram and Cellular Automata Part 2

At the constructive suggestion of a Paul Abbots who commented on my first post on Wolfram’s cellular automata I have pushed the boat out a little further by doing some reading of Wolfram’s NKS online, viz the sections on universality and computational equivalence. Paul was responding to this comment in my post:

On the subject of computational equivalence Wolfram is less compelling. Simple processes can produce the high complexity of disorder, but simple processes, which are relatively small in number, merely sample a very small part of the huge class of complex and disordered configurations. The only way of reaching this huge class is to start with complexity. Accordingly I am not sure I know what Wolfram means when he talks about a “maxing out” of complexity. Complexity of process seems to have no upper limit. Perhaps I do not understand Wolfram aright but it seems to me that there is a huge platonic realm out there of highly complex algorithms, whose rules are beyond our ken, algorithms whose computational resources are too great to be humanly manageable.

So how does the above compare with Wolfram’s notion of Computational Equivalence?

Having read bits of NKS online I think I now have a much clearer idea of Wolfram’s notion of computational equivalence. This is how I currently see it: According to Wolfram there is a class of computations based on simple rules that generate complex “baroque” patterns; see for example those simple cellular automata that generate complex patterns like the one illustrated. The members of this class, Wolfram conjectures, are by and large computationally equivalent in that at some point in the sequence of patterns generated by these computations each and every possible computation is carried out. That is, provided you wait long enough for one of these simple rule systems to do its work, it will generate the conditions that in conjunction with further operations of the rule system will then proceed to carry out any identified computation. If Wolfram’s conjecture is correct then there is an obvious sense in which any selected baroque computation can’t do better than any other; for all of these baroque computations (it is conjectured) eventually create the conditions which when worked on by further application of the rules will effectively be carrying out any identified computation. Hence I now see what Wolfram means by a “maxing out” of complexity. Each and every baroque computation potentially embodies all computations and therefore can’t do any better.

The sting in the tail here is that Wolfram’s conjecture may never be proved for the simple reason that the computation needed to prove it may be too long. However, thinking about it, computational equivalence does have some support in intuition. Chaotic computations, like say random number generators that are “baroque” enough not to contain periodicities, will forever generate novelty of pattern. In effect they are (unsystematically) ringing the changes and thus working their way through the entire space of possibilities and thus one expects that given enough time they will visit all computations that are possible. The same even seems to be true of a simple counting procedure; given time it will generate a string that, appropriately decoded, will represent some computation. Put like this, though, Wolfram’s equivalence conjecture seems almost trivial. However, according to Wolfram computational equivalence is always a little bit bigger and profounder than our articulations of it: “Computational equivalence is truer than any proof of it or illustration of it”.

According to Wiki’s NKS page some critics have suggested that Wolfram’s conjecture is equivalent to the Church-Turing thesis. This I don’t see; the Church-Turing thesis affirms the universality of certain models of computation; that is, it affirms that certain models of computation can carry out any computation if appropriately programmed. But Wolfram seems to be saying something that at first sight is surprising; namely that a particular computation (and not a particular computational model), provided it is baroque enough, is potentially universal. That surprising result appears not to follow from the Church-Turing thesis, a thesis which concerns the universality of computational models and not the universality of particular computations.

Now we come to my own comment quoted above. The intended content of this comment, which I can now see doesn’t challenge Wolfram’s thesis of computational equivalence, I explain below. The following really represents my own informal grasp of the kind of work that is being carried out formally by people like Gregory Chaitin. (Caution: my understanding here is still at the hand waving stage)

A computation is product of two resources: the starting program string (which encodes data and the rules of operation) and time (which equates to computational steps). Hence, a given computational result can be expressed as the product of two resources, program and time, thus:

Program + Time = Result.

This equation is not rigorous or literal mathematics but rather a metaphor, a metaphor that illustrates the complimentary relation of program string and time: If we want to shorten the time needed to arrive at a given result we can do so by increasing the length of the program string, effectively giving the computation more information. Conversely if we shorten the program string depleting it of information this has the effect of increasing the time needed to generate the designated result. Together, program string and time must “sum” to the “value” designated as “result” in the above “equation”. (It is assumed here that “memory space” is unlimited). There is a loose analogy here with data compression; the less compressed data is, the less time needed to decompress it, whereas the more compressed the data, the greater the time needed to decompress it. The size of the combined resources of program string and time can be thought of as a measure of the computational complexity of the result.

Of particular interest to human beings are results that are a product of manageable resources; that is, program strings and computation times of humanly convenient length. In this connection it is clear from such things as random number generators and Wolfram’s cellular automata, that configurational complexity need not be particularly computationally complex; that is, configurational complexity can be the output of computational simplicity; simple in terms of manageable programs strings and computation times. Thus, there is a class of configurationally complex structures that can be “compressed” into elementary computing resources.

Given a particular programming model it is clear from combinatorial considerations alone that the number of short programs is very small compared to the enormous size of result space. Thus, if we are to stipulate that short programs are only allowed to map to this space via links that consist of a realistic number of computation steps, then it follows that the very limited supply of short programs reaches a very small sample of results. However, if we put no limit on the number of computation steps by switching our programs into nonstop production mode thus allowing them to generate very long sequences of results, we are then moving into a realm where Wolfram’s computational equivalence may apply. Thus, from computational equivalence we deduce that any result can be reached with most short program strings that have a “baroque” output, but the colossal size of result space will ensure that the majority of results will only be arrived at after a prohibitively long time.

As Gregory Chaitin points out, a theory is a successful means of computing the complexity we see around us, but such theories only have human utility if they use humanly tractable resources; namely relatively short program strings and computation times. This is a form of data compression and a theory’s ability to compress data into simple computing resources is in part the human rationale for theorizing. A good theory is a way of describing the complexity we see around us using minimal computational resources. On the other hand if we apply computational equivalence then trivially any observed configuration could in principle be a product of a simple computation, but it is unlikely to be a computation with a tractable number of steps. In fact if computational equivalence holds then any observed complexity could be the product any of a large class of “baroque” computations that have been given enough time to do their work. Thus, computational equivalence leaves us with an ontological ambiguity in that when we allow long computation times any of a large class of long computations could do the job of describing the cosmos.

On the other hand this ontological ambiguity is not true of low resource computations; (that is, short program strings and computation times) if we succeed in describing the complexity we see around us using a low resource computation it follows that we have found a very rare case indeed; that is, a rare mapping from a low resource computation to the specific configurational complexity found in the cosmic setting. In terms of real descriptive power and succinctness of resource not all computations are equivalent.

…to be continued.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


PZ Myers is still posting material following his visit to the Creation Museum. Just look at following which was taken from one of the Creation Museum presentations:

I'm gobsmacked; all squeezed into the first part of a short 4400 history since the Flood (There seems to be an even greater difficulty over the development of radically different carnivorous phenotypes from herbivores in the space of about a 1500 year period between Fall and Flood). I wonder if Homo Heidelbergensis and the distribution of genetic markers have somehow been synthesized into the above picture by Ham's vaunted PhD's? Looks like I'm going to have to pay AiG a visit sometime.

In 1975 I read "The Genesis Flood" by Whitcomb and Morris. In one of their appendices they stated:

"... it seems Biblically possible, or even probable, that the Flood occurred several millenia before Abraham"*

Since Abraham is dated about 2000 BC Whitcomb and Morris were arguing for an Earth that could be as much as 10,000 years old. This at least made life a little easier for them; they didn't have to place the Flood around 4400 years ago thus having to explain away the apparent conflict with, say, Egyptian history. What has changed since 1961 when "The Genesis Flood" was published?

* See "The Genesis Flood", Page483, 1974 edition.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PZ Myers does the Creation Museum

Characters of the Wild Web Number 17: PZ Myers' Raiders Visit the Creation Museum

PZ Myers, along with some 300 hundred other “raiders”, recently converged on Ken Ham’s creation museum. For Myers’ perspective on the event see here, here here and here. Interesting is Myers' link to this blogging Christian minister. The latter notes the dualism that is the founding philosophy of Ham’s museum – a common philosophy of thought that I have often found in the unselfconscious evangelical and fundamentalist mindset.

Myers account of the visit reveals what is essentially a glitzy and superficial Disneyland style “museum” that will no doubt provide comfort and solace for the converted masses easily persuaded by special effects and science qualifications, but which will cut no ice with those looking for rigorous science and philosophy. (Those who are looking for some rigorous science are likely to find themselves on the receiving end of some spiritual intimidation; such as being accused of looking to inferior human reason rather than obeying sublime revelation – this is what we mean by “dualism”)

Now, it might be validly pointed out that one shouldn’t just go to PZ Myers alone for a view on the museum. However, I have to say that Myers’ account gave me such profound feelings of reminiscence and vivid flashbacks to my own experience of fundamentalist creationism that I suspect that he is close to the mark. This brand of creationism is less about science than it is a PR exercise in securing a following of spiritual rednecks who will then cough up the finance to keep the whole creationist show on the road, thus generating a self perpetuating travesty of science. Summing up, the museum, like so much Christian fundamentalism, appears to tap into yearnings for a Kincadian cozy living room version of reality that promotes feelings of warmth and well being. And to think of the number of prayer meetings that must have offered up prayers in support of the museum, assured that God was on their side and His Spirit guiding them.

I wonder what William Dembski thinks of this museum? Would he dare vocalize his true thoughts? Is he now too much in the pockets of the YEC’s to do that?

Following the raid a fight broke out on Larry Moran’s blog involving PZ Myers and one of Ken Ham’s staff about the culpabilities and facts surrounding the ejection of one of the raiders from the museum. Frankly, the whole incident now seems to have pathologically degenerated and become bound up with the trivial, rather than with the profound mysteries of our cosmic setting. But why is it I can't stop laughing? Schadenfreude?

Characters of the Wild Web Number 16: PZ rides in at the head of his raiders proving once and for all that man coexisted with dinosaurs.

Stop Press 13/8/9
For anyone wanting to know the circumstances surrounding the above surreal picture, then see the account below. The following is part of an incongruously sober report prepared by one of the creation museum staff and marked for Ken Ham’s attention. It appears on Ken Ham’s blog. (Note: SSA = Student Secular Alliance)

But there were still some incidents, but most were minor. For example, despite our clear sign next to the Triceratops model downstairs (which is not in the museum exhibit area), where it stated this was a photo op and that children under 12 could get on (see photo attached), some SSA members hopped on anyway. Our head of security went downstairs to stop that activity when he heard of it. The prof (PZ Myers) got on, too, but insisted that he only saw the children’s sign after he got on! Here is a photo of the sign which is easy to see and read:

Indeed, that much-mocked Triceratops model of ours—with the saddle on it, and which has been mistakenly taken by our opponents as a museum exhibit rather than a photo op area for families with children—was a center of much attention today. The model had just been patched up Thursday (it had taken a lot of beating over the past two years by children climbing on board ) to be back just in time for today. We did not want to be accused of hiding something so “infamous.” It was clearly placed in a non-exhibit part of the museum and marked with a sign that stated that this was for children to get on and for photos to be taken. Of course, we are not embarrassed by our teaching that dinosaurs and humans co-existed, but the atheists have been implying that this photo-op spot in the museum was our “evidence” of dino-human co-existence. To use a photo op area for kids, no different to what one finds at many secular venues, shows how much these opponents clutch at straws and will twist anything to try to mock us.

It’s rich. Imagine the scene. Amidst a rowdy group of laughing, joking and mocking students (who were no doubt delighted to find and abuse this legendary “exhibit"), a well known university professor joins the fun and does a stint on the children’s toy. He then gives the stern head of security the corny story that he didn’t see the sign!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Here We Go Round Again: The Heart/Head Dualism

Look here on Uncommon Descent for a very interesting post by sociologist Steve Fuller. He links to his review of Karen Armstrong’s book “The Case for God”. Below I have paraphrased some comments from Fuller’s review. I have never read Armstrong, so the following will have to serve as an account of her position on religion.

Armstrong according to Fuller
* Armstrong sharply distinguishes the status of religion as either logos and mythos – that is, as an account of how the world really is and how we make sense of our place in the world.
* Armstrong seeks an end to arguments for and against God’s existence, arguments which obscure the divine.
* The divine is beyond words.
* Religion works best when mythos has the upper hand over logos.
* Intelligent Design theory is logos driven
* Science’s quest for certainty is hubris.
* Humanity’s logos mania has led to untold cruelty, misery and harm to other humans and nature.
* ID supporters are the target of Armstrong’s anti enlightenment harangue.
* Core religious experience is silence before the ineffability of being; the apophatic response.
* There has been a decline in modern religious authenticity as it becomes bound up with science.
* Armstrong calls for Stephen Jay Gould’s magisterial segregation of religion and science.
* ID is too enamored with science as opposed to religions ultimate basis in the ineffable.

My Comments
Firstly, I don’t think it does justice to describe the logos vs. mythos dichotomy by portraying it as a distinction between how the world really is and how we make sense of our place in the world. For many an atheist evolution has the character of a structure that makes sense of our place in the world; or at least as far as the materialist can make sense of that place. Moreover, evolution is a hugely complex object tying together a very tiny sample of direct experience and thus evolution is less the world as it really is than what we think it is. So, what Armstrong really means here is that "logos" grounded theories like evolution (and ID!) make little sense of the human predicament in terms of axiomatic human predicates such as value, purpose, meaning, sensibility and feeling.

Therefore my reading of Armstrong (according to Fuller) is that she is in actual fact manifesting yet a another version of the tension found in a very common duality, a duality that I have expressed time and again on my blogs and elsewhere; words versus feelings, analysis versus intuition, knowledge versus gnosis, H. G. Wells’ Morlocks vs. Eloi, etc; in short the head versus heart dualism (See here, here and here). This dualism may actually have a grounding in the left/right physiology of the brain, although I apply this picture tentatively because the scientific account may need modification. However, the left/right brain division at least serves as an excellent metaphor for Armstrong's head vs. heart religious dualism.

Armstrong, needless to say, is a religious liberal and yet in her valuing of mythos over and against logos she has much in common with the skew in EPC Christian culture (EPC = Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic) toward the Holy Spirit; or as many New Agers would contend, a shift from the age of pisces (Icthus, the fish) to the age of aquarius (the water carrier). It is surely an irony that Armstrong’s disaffection toward logos religion closely mirrors the EPC Christian's oft expressed disdain for reasoning, thinking, and language. Unlike Armstrong the EPC Christian may espouse fundamentalist doctrines, but those doctrines have more the character of a hard shell or husk that encases what to the EPC is the heart of the matter; a faith of mythos mush, an intimate and unspeakably sublime connection with the Divine. For how many times have I heard in my unfortunate association with EPC of the 18 inch separation between head and heart? How many times have I been told that faith is not in the head but in the heart? How many times have I heard expressed EPC diffidence toward “enlightenment” thinking? How many times have I had the misfortune to sit under preachers, even strict and particular evangelicals, who deride the products of reason and promulgate a fideist gospel? How many times have I heard that true faith is in the heart and not in the head? How many times have preachers expressed a dislike of science and compared "man’s knowledge" unfavourably with Divine knowledge? Just like Armstrong, EPC yearns for mythos over and against logos.

The following quote taken from a charismatic fundamentalist (whom I have on video) typifies so much that I have heard in EPC:

“If you always process salvation through your mind you will never enter the fuller things in your walk. You must move from a place of cognitive reasoning ability to a place where faith and belief flows through your spirit and not your head … God is beyond your logic.”

Another manifestation of the head vs. heart dualism with a bias toward the former is surely found amongst some emerging church Christians. See, for example, this exchange on Network Norwich where a commentator by the name of Paul expresses diffidence toward James Knight 's highly intellectual and cognitive apologetics and he echoes what is the equivalent of Armstrong's disdain of ID theory. Paul says:

In dissecting the wager as you (James Knight) have done you have put forward the modernist construction that one believes first - it is about thought, will and logic. You've basically said it's about competing truth claims (eg propositions that can be debated, arguments clinched). Surely all that does is narrow and confine the God you are attempting to expose to as "more than" that. In essence then the place to encounter God is in certainty and the mind. Interesting that Kraft said the evangelical church was the child of modernity. Not sure your arguments hold in a postmodern, postchristian, postchristendom and postwhatever society.

Making a guess I identified Paul as a post-evangelical, emerging church Christian and I went on to hazard that he appeared again in this thread on Network Norwich, but without a name, and so I gave him the acronym PAUL which I said stood for "Postmodern Antifoundationalism Undermines Logocentricity", or "Postmodern Ambiguity Undermines Language".

Anyway, here was my reply to Paul:

In the tension between the Institutional and the Celtic, between the analytical and the intuitive, between science and art, between the informational and the heartfelt, between ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’, I’m for a synthesis rather a competitive spiritual hegemony by partisans who place all their eggs in one basket, whether that basket be just the formal or of the intuitive.

It is surely ironic that today’s charismatically oriented mainstream evangelical, who often derides the ‘head’ knowledge of propositional doctrine, thus finds himself on a similar quest to the emerging church and the liberal theologians. In their own ways they are all reacting to the apparent epistemological and ontological hegemony of analytical science by finding spiritual refuge in that last bastion of sacredness and humanity: the mysteries of inner life. I would be the last to deny the important role that sublime experience may play in the spiritual life of some people but it’s gone too far when the ecstatic is set over and against the analytical.

God can, I believe, can be found in the modernist and the abstract (in thought, will and logic) as in any other domain of human experience. But human knowledge is inherently probabilistic and probabilities soften the sharp outlines of binary logic saving the analytical from human hubris.

Pascal is a very significant figure in this connection. In him we see the tension between the analytical and the intuitive worked out, in his case resolved in favour of the mystical and the fideist. But he had also become aware of the probabilistic nature of human knowledge. He appealed to the analytically inclined by suggesting that their knowledge had blurred edges. (The exact space of possibilities in which Pascal offered the choices of his wager were the options the culture of his day thought to be nigh on exhaustive)

Evangelicalism the child of modernity? No! No! No! Evangelicalism has been and continues to be as much the embodiment of tensions between “right and left brain” expressions as many other parts of society.

The escape from science into gnosis or mythos seems to be a very general phenomenon, a phenomenon that goes wider than religious liberals and EPC . At its root is a thirst for mystery that science finds hard to satiate:

Do not all charms fly at the mere touch of cold philosophy? Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings, conquer all mysteries by rule and line, empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine – unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made the tender-person’d lamia melt into the shade. (Keats)