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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CI111.2:

An intelligent agent is one that chooses between different possibilities. Specified complexity (also called complex specified information) detects design because it detects what characterizes intelligent agency; it detects the actualization of one among many competing possibilities.


Dembski, William A., 2002. No Free Lunch, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 28-30.


  1. Specified complexity does not indicate intelligence agency; it merely indicates copying. When a pattern matches a specification, that can happen only by coincidence, by the causes of both patterns following the same constraints, or by some kind of copying of information. The specified complexity criterion explicitly rules out the first two possibilities (Dembski 2002, 6-13), leaving only copying.

    Consider the following scenario: A person accidentally spills some ink and creates a complex inkblot on a page of a report. The spill goes unnoticed until several copies of the report have been made. The inkblot images in the copies of the report exhibit specified complexity, as they are complex, and they match a specification (the original spill). But they achieved specified complexity by copying, not by deliberate choosing.

  2. Nonintelligent processes also select between different possibilities. The machines that select lotto numbers are an example.


  1. Dembski, William A., 2002. (see above).

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created 2003-10-17