Sunday, September 09, 2018

Robert Marks: Four Years and Still No Answer -- and More Baylor Hijinks


Once upon a time, the illustrious Baylor professor Robert Marks II made the following claim: "we all agree that a picture of Mount Rushmore with the busts of four US Presidents contains more information than a picture of Mount Fuji".

I don't agree, so I asked the illustrious Marks for a calculation or other rationale supporting this claim.

After three months, no reply. So I asked again.

After six months, no reply. So I asked again.

After one year, no reply. So I asked again.

After two years, no reply. So I asked again.

After three years, no reply. So I asked again.

Now it's been four years. Still no reply.

The illustrious Marks also recently supervised a Ph. D. thesis of Eric Michael Holloway. In it, the author apparently makes some dubious claims. He claims that "meaningful information...cannot be made by anything deterministic or stochastic". But if you want to actually read this Ph. D. thesis and learn how this startling claim is proven, you're out of luck. And why is that? It's because Eric Holloway has imposed a 5-year embargo on his thesis, meaning that no one can read it for five years, unless Eric Holloway approves. And when I asked to see a copy, I was refused.

Now, if there were some shenanigans going on -- for example, if a Ph. D. thesis were of such low quality that you wouldn't want anyone else to know about it -- what better way to hide that fact than to impose a ridiculously lengthy embargo? Perhaps an embargo so long that the supervisor would be safely retired by then and not subject to any investigation or sanction?

Then again, perhaps Eric Holloway is just following the example of his illustrious supervisor, who is adept at ducking questions for years.

4 comments:

Lee Witt said...

I think this is the same Eric M. Holloway who is (at least was, in November 2017) in charge of the "The Baylor Student Chapter of the American Scientific Affiliation".

I've never heard of putting an embargo on a dissertation: nothing says "I stand 100% behind my work" like that does. I do see that Baylor's online repository for theses and dissertations lists this for a short description of his work:

Meaningful information is a mystery, where does it come from? It cannot be made by anything deterministic or stochastic, as will be proven in this study. What can make it? The proofs indicate the nature of the source; certain characteristics the source must have.

Apparently it won't be until this work is published in journals that the nature of those "proofs" will be known.

Lee Witt said...

I did not note the link to "Beardocs" you had posted, which makes my reference to the same summary not needed. Sorry for missing something I shouldn't have missed.

Unknown said...

EricMH has posted in this forum in eg this thread, if you want to try to engage him there

https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/side-comments-on-algorithmic-specified-complexity/1447

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Thanks. I'm not optimistic, though.