Discoveroids: Intelligent Design Is Really Useful

From time to time, the Discoveroids claim that their “theory” of intelligent design is already being used in other sciences, so it’s only a matter of time before the stubborn Darwinists yield to the inevitable and ID will be the ruling paradigm in biology. The last time they made that bizarre claim we wrote: Intelligent Design Is Science: Cryptology Uses It.

Besides, cryptology, they’ve made similar claims regarding other topics: sculpture (Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore …), and SETI (Discoveroids: SETI Uses Intelligent Design Theory), and archeology (Rock Mounds Are Designed, Therefore …). For all of those claims, we’ve pointed out the same flaw: We know that humans send messages, make sculptures, and build monuments. Therefore, for example, in wartime, if we find a paper bearing symbols within a container strapped to a pigeon’s leg, we know that it isn’t a pigeon with a mutated leg; rather, it’s a human devised coded message. Similarly, when we see Mt. Rushmore or visit the Parthenon, we know that humans are the creators of such works.

But those observations take place here on Earth. and involve an extremely limited set of cases where we see what, based on our experience, can only be the product of human intelligence, because there’s nobody else here. Such thinking could be extended, in case we find the wreckage of a flying saucer with alien corpses, star-maps, and totally unfamiliar artifacts. It’s a safe bet that such a vessel was the product of a non-human intelligence, rather than being the natural product of a lava flow. Similarly in the work that SETI does, they look for artificial signals, and if they should ever find one, then they’ll worry about the meaning contained therein.

But it’s a very big leap to extrapolate from such limited cases to proclaiming one of the fundamental principles of the Discoveroids: that they can — and do! — detect design throughout the galaxy — and beyond! — where no one else is able to do so. How do they do it? They have their wondrous “design inference” — which is nothing more than Paley’s watchmaker analogy And they have the analogy of human designs, which tells them that if we can make artifacts, then so can the gods. Their operating principle is: Mt. Rushmore is designed, therefore so is Uranus.

Now they’re doing it again, and claiming that yet another field of science is using ID. Their new article is Intelligent Design in Action: Informatics. They start out with a long and tedious description of informatics. Here’s a brief excerpt:.

Informatics is roughly equivalent to computer science or “information processing.” It can, however, be independent of any computer hardware. It concerns not so much actual implementation as much as concepts and theories about what problems are meaningful, logical, and tractable. It is also concerned with data integrity: ensuring the validity and reliability of answers.

Well, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah! What does informatics have to do with the Discoveroids’ claims about a magical intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who runs around invisibly tinkering with things so that we have a universe, a planet (which is unique), and our whole biosphere? They never really say. After endlessly babbling about informatics, they leap right to their conclusion — which of course is their premise, so it was never in doubt. They say:

If there is any field that unquestionably qualifies as a design-based science, informatics surely is one. All the ID concepts are here: irreducible complexity, complex specified information, design detection, optimization, logical inference … you name it. Informatics is about as un-Darwinian as science gets.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Informatics is un-Darwinian? Hey, so is interior decorating, and there’s no doubt that too is “a design-based science.” Maybe the Discoveroids are in the wrong business. They might find acceptance and happiness in being decorators. Well, that may be fun to think about, but let’s stay with their article. They say:

The question then becomes, if intelligent design is integral to fruitful sciences like archaeology, cryptology, forensics and informatics, why not in biology or cosmology? The same questions can be asked, and the same methods used, when inferring design in the fine-tuning of the universe or in the genetic code. … Only dogma would prevent ID’s proven principles from applying throughout the natural sciences.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, intelligent design is integral to fruitful sciences like archaeology. Perhaps, now that Indiana Jones is fading, the next big whip-cracking movie hit will be “Casey and the Mystery of the Washington Monument.” What was the ominous obelisk that terrorized the nation’s capitol? Was it a natural phenomenon, an alien threat, or a warning from God? Watch Lucky Luskin solve greatest puzzle of all time, using the cutting-edge science of intelligent design!

Anyway, here’s how the Discoveroid article ends:

So let no one claim that intelligent design is not science, or is anti-science. ID is used daily in science all over the world. Arguably, any science that uses logic, mathematics and explanatory inference is de facto intelligent design science.

Yeah, okay. We’re convinced.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Discoveroids: Intelligent Design Is Really Useful

  1. docbill1351

    That must have been written by Dense.

    Any bets?

  2. Credit where due: the Discoveroids have dragged the venerable old fallacy of petitio principii to new depths.

    In fact, they don’t so much ‘beg the question’ as ‘sell their own grandmothers and pimp for their sisters the question’…

  3. docbill1351 wagers

    That must have been written by Dense.

    I dunno. Does this DI blog post display the true Ineluctable Perplexity associated with Ms O’Leary? Would her Godzillan ego allow her to pass an unsigned article through her Vainitory Filter? Can we detect in this article sufficient CSI (Cretinous Solipsistic Idiocy) to be certain this is indeed an authentic O’Leary artifact rather than a random word salad produced by an undirected and possibly intoxicated orangutan?

    Tough call…

  4. Let us take the “Intelligent Design” seriously for a moment, and see what it says about designed things. It says that products of nature like plants and animals are designed just precisely in the same sense that things that humans produce. That means that the sculptures on Mt. Rushmore are no different in their design than the flora and fauna on the mountain.

    When a person asks, “What are the origins of those sculptures?” and gets answer “They were intelligently designed” – that does not distinguish them from things like the mosquitoes and dandelions, from the point of view of “Intelligent Design”. “Being designed” from an advocate of ID, as we often point out, does not tell us about when or how, but more than that it is leads to the paradox that it actually makes the analogy of human designed objects practically meaningless.

  5. Perhaps, now that Indiana Jones is fading, the next big whip-cracking movie hit will be “Casey and the Mystery of the Washington Monument.”

    More Indenial Jones, please.

  6. docbill1351

    A veritable sage wrote:

    I dunno.

    It has all the hallmarks of Density:

    1. Density often posts as “News” or “Anon.” Her little joke, I guess.
    2. It’s not ponderous, tedious or boring enough to be the Gerb.
    3. It’s not nasty, childish and sloppy to be Klingledingle.
    4. Meyer is too high and mighty for a mere posting. He has minions.
    5. Not pompous, posing or bloviated enough to be Berlinski.
    6. Too original for Wells.

    And, finally, Number 1 – it reads like Timothy Leary having a bad trip. OMG! Leary, O’Leary – it’s an ad homonym attack!

  7. I didn’t catch how practitioners of informatics (informaticians?) actually use CSI, IC and the other “proven principles” in their day to day work. I guess we’ll all have to wait for a future post. I tingle.

  8. An ad homonym attack, docbill? I sea what ewe did they’re.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Once again, the Distractoids can see something the rest of us can’t. And they because they think we can see it, they use one sentence to identify the link. Even though the whole point of what they do is to prove that the link exists and is necessary, they don’t even try to do it.

  10. Let’s not forget crop circles and the Nazca lines in the desert, all seemingly “intelligently designed” with no evidence of human “intervention.”

  11. docbill1351

    Mark the Germ wrote:

    I tingle.

    Perhaps there’s a fungus among us. I can recommend an ointment. Something topical for your tropical.

  12. All the ID concepts are here: irreducible complexity, complex specified information, design detection, optimization, logical inference … you name it.

    Really? I have never read an ID article that discusses “optimization” as an ID concept, and “logical inference” has, to my knowledge, never been used by an ID advocate. Misused, maybe.

    Within informatics, there is a logical defined structure that is repeatable and testable, and actually useful. ID has no such defined structure – there are no units to measure CSI, no specific and repeatable methods, no non-subjective means to “detect design”, and no means by which any ID concept can be tested or applied. The “it looks designed, therefore it is” method at the heart of ID is not translatable to any sort of scientific discipline, whether informatics or anything else. There is virtually zero overlap between the rhetorical argument called intelligent design and the discipline of informatics.

    BTW, I think of informatics as more akin to mathematics than to science. Is it normally thought of as a scientific discipline, or is that just DI spin?

  13. Informatics is certainly not a Natural Science, but the Discoveroids somehow think it is indistinguishable from Cosmology or Biology. I wonder if they even know what a Natural Science is.

  14. @Stephen K: Since they clearly have no idea what science is, the answer to your question about Natural Science follows as night the day: nope, not a clue.

  15. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    @docbill re:#1

    Yeah, I dunno. There have been perhaps a post or two or three by “News” in the last few/several months that haven’t seemed to have O’Leary flavor to them. IIRC someone over at ATBC made that same observation.

    It makes me wonder if the good Dr. Dr. has had the itch to play again but doesn’t want to get pressured into having to regularly contribute. Posting openly would get the… uhhh… “regulars” begging for more, or the more parsimonious guess might be that he lacks the gonads to hang his name on it.

    I freely admit I’m shooting in the dark here. Also, 9/11 was an inside job.

    **shrug**

  16. As for the ID of our author, it can’t be O’Leary because it was not sneery enoughh; there were even some sentences that were not ad hominem, so that rules out O’Leary.

    It’s not negative enough for Youngkin or West or Classless Chaps.

    Not boring enough to be Ann Gauger.

    That leaves the kid, MacLatchie, and the old guy, the Drama major whose name I forget.

  17. At least point they’re just playing word games, defining ID broadly enough so they can take credit for other people’s work.

    If IDers do informatics, why don’t they publish in informatics journals an article detailing how ID is so essential to the field?

    …Oh yeah.

    To digress: Dembski, although they call him an “information theorist”, does not publish in journals of information theory. His “big” paper on “The search for a search” was published in IEEE.

    Recall that the IDiots had a deal to publish the proceedings from their “Cornell” conference (not affiliated with Cornell) with Springer, until Springer backed out.

    What’s the connection? Recently there was a big scandal where it was discovered that hundreds of papers full of fancy sounding gibberish (generated by SciGen) had been published in peer reviewed journals. Who were the most easily bamboozled?

    Springer and IEEE.

    Coincidence? Or did the IDiots figure out whom to target?

  18. IDiotology is really useful — in the same essential way astrology, phrenology and alchemy are really useful — as another instructive example of how easy it is to dupe yourself and how not to do science or acquire new knowledge.

    To the committed designophile, design is self-evident virtually everywhere, just as subterfuge and deception are self-evident virtually everywhere to the committed conspiracy nut. Any attempt to disabuse someone of such notions is automatically rejected for being blatantly at odds with “obvious facts”. The problem then is not so much belief as the perception that cements the belief.

  19. @Con-Tester To the committed designophile, design is self-evident virtually everywhere
    Which means that in detecting design mean that one is not discovering anything useful.
    If natural things, from viruses and bacteria to dinosaurs and pitcher-plants, are the product of design, what does tell us about a curiously shaped rock or radio waves that they are also products of design? They might be products of growth of (unintelligent) living this. It doesn’t tell us, as the ID advocates insist, anything about the agency which produced the design. Nor about when or where, and most certainly not any “pathetic level of detail in telling” how it came about, let alone why.

  20. @TomS: Indeed, but it would appear that designophiles are not interested in the trivia and minutiae of how the ostensible design was implemented. I suspect that the real motivation for designophilia is the comfort that is afforded the designophile by the “knowledge” that there is design in everything. This serves to impose the appearance of order, purpose and agency on a world that would otherwise be incomprehensibly chaotic. Of course, the further purported inference from design to the nature of the designer is a total sham because they already know exactly who that is before they even start. Their denials on that point are as hollow and transparent as their “science” is.

  21. Naive as I am I would think that design is especially clear in a grain of sand and in a snowflake. For some reason hardly an IDiot argues for this though.

  22. Con-Tester says: “To the committed designophile, design is self-evident virtually everywhere, just as subterfuge and deception are self-evident virtually everywhere to the committed conspiracy nut.”

    Yes, and to those of us who are gifted with true insight, all the conspiracies, like Bush’s inside job on Nine-Eleven, Obama’s fake birth certificate, the phoney Moon landing, the Illuminati symbols on your currency, etc., are the work of the intelligent designer. Doing biological tricks is just a cover story for his real mission. It’s so obvious!

  23. Mark Joseph

    @The Curmudgeon:

    And, the fact that there is no evidence for any of these conspiracies just goes to show how successfully the powers that be have covered them up!

    I presume you’ve seen this ultimate guide to conspiracy theories?

  24. OT, but I thought Curm would get a chuckle out of Denyse O’Leary at Uncommon Descent pushing straight up creationism and calling it “creationism”, in a post titled, “Creationism as Common Sense.” Why is creationism common sense? Because, and I quote, “all the approved explanations are stupid.” Therefore creationism. No God of the Gaps there!