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Friday, January 13, 2006

2^30,402,457-1

That's the value of the new record for the longest known prime number, 9.1 million digits long, discovered recently by a team (not of mules) led by Curtis Cooper and Steven Boone of Central Missouri State University after nine years and using hundreds of computers. The effort is part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search competition that is seeking the first discovery of a prime number longer than 10 million digits. Sure the computing for this exercise resulted in a number of hardware and software improvements, or the number could be useful in some data encryption scheme, but why mention it? Because this is an illustrative example of the level of work I think the actual science part of intelligent design (ID) is, the attempted classification of specifically (irreducibly) complex evolutionary anomalies that could convincingly demonstrate the gaps in the neo-Darwinist model and possibly provide a framework for an alternate theory; derivative, incremental, and legitimate.

As long-time readers could expect, I agree with the result of the ruling in the Dover panda trial (it's too cute a turn not to use) that found that ID should not be introduced as part of the local school disctrict's science curriculum, although not necessarily for the same reasons. Perhaps with this result, the ID scientists will divest themselves from the movement's media marketing machine to focus on their own mind-numbing, esoteric quest, like Messrs. Cooper and Boone, and come back in a decade, or so, with the goods.

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