Discoveroid Discovery: Code Looks Like Code!

This appeared a month ago at the PhysOrg site: UK codebreakers stumped by WWII pigeon message. It says:

British intelligence officials are baffled by a secret World War II message that was discovered on the leg of a dead pigeon, they admitted on Friday. The message, consisting of 27 hand-written blocks of five letters, was attached to a pigeon skeleton that was found by retired probation officer David Martin when he was renovating his house in Surrey, southeast England.


Codebreakers said the message, which did not include a date, was impossible to crack without its codebook.

Written on a small sheet of paper headed “Pigeon Service”, the code was found in a small red canister and listed the sender as “Sjt W Stot”. The recipient is named as “X02”.

Not much there to get excited about, right? But that’s because you’re not a creationist. The story has deep meaning for the Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. They just posted this amazing article at their blog: Pigeon Code Illustrates Principles of Intelligent Design. After describing the find, they say, with bold font added by us:

Why did they immediately infer an intelligently designed message and not gibberish?

Wow — what a powerful question! Let’s see now … maybe because as the PhysOrg article mentions, it was in a red canister attached to a pigeon, found in England, “Britain used some 250,000 pigeons as military messengers during World War II,” the paper in the canister said “Pigeon Service,” and it was sent by a sergeant? We don’t like to leap to hasty conclusions, but all of that might have suggested something. Let’s read on:

Even without the clue that it was found in a canister attached to a carrier pigeon’s foot, intelligence experts would have ways to determine the answer.

Get ready now. Here comes the Discoveroid analysis:

One clue is the spacing of the array into columns of five letters. Another could come from letter frequency analysis, to see if certain letters appear more frequently than expected by chance.

Yes! In fact it looks just like DNA, and we all know that’s designed. The Discoveroid analysis continues:

And even without knowing about World War II code-making, a third clue would be knowing that our uniform experience with codes leads us to infer that such arrangements of symbols are typically the product of a mind.

How true! But wait — there’s more:

Some 250,000 pigeons were used as military messengers during the war. That provides two more examples of intelligent design: the designed plan by humans to use pigeons as messengers, and the design of the bird itself. When you see multiple systems interacting for the function of heavier-than-air powered flight, you have good reason to infer the activity of intelligent causation, rather than an unguided natural cause like natural selection.

See? When the keen mind of a Discoveroid goes to work on a deep mystery, everything is suddenly obvious. You can’t fool those guys! They know — almost instinctively — that the pigeon and the paper weren’t products of natural selection.

It’s not relevant to the Discoveroid post, but there’s a follow-up story to the pigeon code: Has a Canadian cracked the ‘pigeon code’ that stumped Britain’s spies?

Whether the code has been cracked or not, don’t try to claim that the bird evolved with that message in a red canister on its leg. The Discoveroids are smart and they’re way ahead of you.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Discoveroid Discovery: Code Looks Like Code!

  1. Charley Horse

    Yes, the message was decoded…

  2. To the old question, “Is there anything that doesn’t look like ID?” we should add, “Is there anything that ID doesn’t look like?”

  3. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
    – Sir A.C.Clarke

    In the case of the ID gang however, the technology doesn’t need to be very advanced.

  4. I thought the point was that the disco-tute and pigeons produce the same thing.

  5. Colonel Klinkenklanker is insulting to the memory of an avian veteran of Great Britain!

    This poor pigeon, probably drafted, gave its life in the service of its country in a time of need and sacrifice having flown how many hundreds of miles over enemy territory, the treacherous English Channel, finally roosting on a rooftop exhausted, probably singed and, basically, pigeon pooped! Only to be overcome by the fumes of a fire trying to keep its beloved countrymen warm. And he fell.

    That pigeon is a hero. That pigeon had more honor and courage than a thousand Klinklehoffers. That pigeon expired, croaked, shrugged its mortal coil, kicked the bucked, went to meet its maker, in short, died so that the feeble minded Klankleklopper could spill his pitiful bilge in an unsuccessful and poorly written attempt to sully the reputation of a hero.

    Shame of you Disco Tooters, picking on a deceased military aviator, a war hero, a role model to us all! So, let us shun the Disco Tuters, turn our backs on them for the cowards they are and raise our glasses instead in toast to a brave pigeon, a pigeon who gave its all, a naturally selected, well-adapted credit to its species and to ours.

    Hip hip! Hooray!

  6. Going backwards, no, the Canadian has not broken the code. He thinks the five letter groups are acronyms. I doubt the Brits (or anyone) would send five letter acronyms. This code (actually it is probably an encipherment, which means each letter is treated individually; a code works on a per-word basis) is probably a message mixed with a one-time pad, meaning that the only way to even theoretically break it is to find that pad. Otherwise, no dice.
    As for Klinghoffer’s grasping at the pigeon’s feces feet, he’s he saying that The Designer (blessed be He!) writes in code? If so, how do we tell The Designer’s code from the randomness of nature? Or is all of nature designed? If so, what do the codes say when decoded? What’s the key? And if we’re able to decode them to figure out the key, does that mean we’ve managed to read the mind of The Designer? Wouldn’t that be blasphemy?
    Okay, all kidding aside, yes, of course we can see that this was intelligently designed. By humans. Aside from the fact that it was found in a canister attached to the skeleton of a pigeon, it was found in five letter groups. That’s a clear indication of enciphered messages, which have been sent as five letter groups since before WWII. But let’s even set that aside. It was also written on paper, yet another indication of its human origins. What was on the paper? Ink. Another human invention. How far down this rat-hole does he want to go? And it’s human all the way down.
    Yes, truly another Klinghoffer klunker.

  7. Per the Discoveroids logic, if the message were tied to a rock and tossed through a window of the house, they would conclude that the rock was designed.

    I suppose the radio tracking collars that biologists attach to wildlife clearly indicate that those animals are designed. I put some lights on a tree in the yard, so I suppose that now means the tree is designed.

  8. The question that I am sure that their sponsor is wondering is, how much money does it actually take to do this kind of “research”.

  9. This is a British pigeon. I think perhaps they are overlooking the possibility that the message, whatever it is, may be completely untranslatable without the original phrase book.