Discoveroids: Everyone Uses Our Theory

The Discoveroids have been on a strange crusade to establish the acceptance of their “theory” of intelligent design. This is tangled with but different from their desperate attempts to promote Their Magic Filter and Their Magic Inference.

What they’re doing is claiming that their “theory” is already accepted and being actively used by a variety of sciences. It probably impresses their generous patrons to imagine that they’re making such splendid progress. We’ve previously posted several times about such claims. See, for example: Humans Copy Nature, Therefore Intelligent Design!, and Discoveroids: SETI Uses Intelligent Design Theory, and Intelligent Design Is Science: Cryptology Uses It, and Discoveroids: Intelligent Design Is Really Useful (about infomatics), where they asked:

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.

The reality is, of course, that nobody uses whatever it is that the Discoveroids call intelligent design, which somehow enables them — and only them — to “scientifically” determine that not only life, but the whole universe, is the handiwork of their mystical designer — blessed be he!

With that as background, we’re delighted to see that they’re at it again. They just posted this at their creationist blog Intelligent Design in Action: Optimization. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

In the past we’ve discussed several sciences that rely on principles of intelligent design: among them, archaeology, forensics, cryptology, informatics, SETI and SEETI, and more. Now a paper describing a remarkable achievement offers the opportunity to explore another: optimization. [Links omitted.]

Oooooooooooooh — another science uses intelligent design! Everybody’s using it! They quote from a news item that says:

The key to solving many of the most important problems in business, science and technology lies in optimization — finding the values for variables that give you the highest benefit. … When a problem is simple, we can program a computer to solve it. When it’s too complex for that, optimization is how the computer finds the solution by itself.

Impressed? It’s about using computers to solve problems. Is that how the Discoveroids’ celestial designer does it? The Discoveroids say:

We all know a computer is incapable of finding a solution all by itself. An appropriate algorithm designed into it, however, can seemingly hit the jackpot automatically.

Skipping several paragraphs of babbling, we come to this:

Natural selection has no foresight. Portraying neo-Darwinism’s mechanisms as optimization strategies is, therefore, wishful thinking.

Aaaargh!! Natural selection needs no foresight. It uses mutations, which occur with every act of reproduction, and the hardships of life select those organisms that are best adapted for survival and reproduction. That’s the “program,” which no one designed. Anyway, here’s the final paragraph:

Optimization is a good example of intelligent design at work in the sciences. Not only is the field permeated with ID concepts from start to finish, it is also highly useful and widely applicable. So is ID a “science stopper” as Darwinists often claim? Quite to the contrary.

Yes, dear reader, everyone is using intelligent design. The Discoveroids’ have triumphed! But somehow, they still can’t get any respect.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

16 responses to “Discoveroids: Everyone Uses Our Theory

  1. Of course, every single one of the sciences mentioned by this nutjob (with the possible exception of “informatics,” which may or may not be an actual science) involves the study of human beings and their behavior. Even SETI and SEETI involve human efforts to find alien intelligent life. Not one of them proves the existence of God, let alone that God created the universe in six days 6,000 years ago.

    The fact that humans intelligently (well, more or less intelligently) design things has nothing to do with whether humans themselves might be intelligently designed, or, if so, who did it, how, and on what time scale. But for creationists, even “scientific” ones, all that really counts is what the Bible says, because (they say, with zero proof) the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

  2. This seems like another case where a very basis understanding of selection eludes the writer and where a paraphrase of José Mourinho applies “So click Google instead of making stupid assertions.”

  3. Other points to consider:
    A design has never produced anything. A design may be used by a constructor, but the constructor needs materials and energy and time before there appears something answering to the design.
    Necessity is the mother of invention. A design is a reaction to a state of affairs which is going to change. And the design must take account of the properties of the materials available.
    Both of those make sense only in the context of natural laws. Design makes no sense in reference to an agent not constrained by nature.

  4. As a marketable product i.d. appears to be a dead end. The way the D.I. anonymous writers describe it the design should be obvious to all the mystical minds that buy into their tale. The bad part for them is that i.d. is so simple and vacuous that once it has been stated there is no need to say anything further about the claim. According to the D.I. if you can’t see it your just dumb. Unless it is going to be used to attack something or someone else. Even so each time it is used it drifts further from being a pretentious claim towards simply being another tired and obvious propaganda device. What other religious apologetics source even bothers to make use of i.d. claims?

  5. I was all set to explain how we archaeologists attempt (not always successfully) to differentiate between human-designed and natural artifacts.

    But Eric Lipps has already done a more succinct post.

  6. Dean declares: “As a marketable product i.d. appears to be a dead end.”
    Which raises the question: as what exactly is IDiocy not a dead end?

  7. @Coyote
    One more thing. To ID advocates do not claim to be able to distinguish between human designs and the natural. On the contrary, they are telling us that natural things are the same, with respect to “design”, as products of humans.
    They are telling us that, just as the watch on the heath is designed, so are the flora and fauna of the heath. They are telling us that the images of the presidents on Mount Rushmore, as far as “design” inference tells us, might as well have grown there.
    And sometimes it is even odder that that. Sometimes we are informed that the grasses and worms are beyond any capability that has been observed of (human) design. Or that humans have been driven to imitate nature when their designs prove inadequate. (Remember Orgel’s Second Rule: Evolution Is Cleverer Than You Are.)

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    The subject of optimization came up on FB, so I had to go read the whole post to see how optimization in ID works. The author is claiming that not only is the design coming from an intelligence, but that the optimization process afterwards is also led by the intelligence. And, amazingly, therefor anything that uses optimization is a case for ID. This then covers my usual question of when did the design happen and things get set in motion, as the designer is now responsible for both the design and the optimization in a seamless way. Seamless, as in we can’t tell what the heck it did or didn’t do, and thus can’t call out the DI on it.

  9. This “optimization” argument is a hackneyed old argument that goes right back to their misconceptions about basic, high school level chemistry and physics; living organisms are not exempt from the laws of physics, and they do not violate the second law of thermodynamics.

    Soft matter systems made of complex molecular assemblies are free to explore millions upon millions of configurations that simpler systems – and systems that are more tightly or loosely bound – cannot explore. They are jostled by the thermal bath in which they are immersed, and they slip and slide into any state that is available to them within the energy window of their heat bath; which, in the case of living organisms that we know about, is the range of energy in which water is a liquid.

    There is no “optimization” in the sense of some “ideal” assembly falling out. Whatever works in the given environment is what survives for a relatively longer period of time because it is consistent with the temperature, pressure, volume, and available micostates.

    ID/creationist CSI calculations have absolutely nothing to do with how atoms and molecules behave. Dembski never had a shot at the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry which was, instead, awarded to physical chemists who actually know how to put the laws of physics into a computer program and have the program replicate molecular assemblies.

    ID/creationists have no clue what these professionally written computer programs do. Those programs go far beyond the incompetent, high school level programs written by sectarians who can’t even understand the level of probability taught in AP Statistics. And Dembski didn’t even know that he needed to initialize the variables in his programs.

    Every time ID/creationists come up with some pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo to explain why atoms and molecules can’t do what they do, they simply reveal their total ignorance of science at its most fundamental level.

  10. Optimization ? I don’t know anyone who owns an Optima, however I’ve never thought of Kias as class leaders engineering wise.
    Until now I didn’t know the ‘roids were operating in Korea.
    Does this mean Kim Il Jong is a contributor? What part has kadoopleflinger played in constructing N Korea’s missile program?

  11. Intelligent Design is a movement, it’s a re-telling of the old ‘argument from design’ used by William Paley in his famous ‘Watchmaker Analogy’. It’s a political and marketing concept with some very specific goals in mind, and none of them involve actual science. Maybe the folks at the DI should start doing some actual science to support their idea of Intelligent Design before they start claiming all these victories, or is that too much to ask?

    On the other hand intelligent design, lower-case ‘i’ and ‘d’, is something that we humans have been doing for a very long time. It doesn’t involve the invocation on a specific deity, but the application of thought, talent, and more than a little perspiration. While some of the people who have invented many of the things we tend to take for granted today might cite ‘divine inspiration’, it was their intelligence, their design, their hard work that was the creative agency, not one god or another.

    in programming terms: intelligent design != Intelligent Design

  12. @Ted Herrlich
    political and marketing concept
    Indeed!
    That’s it.

  13. “But somehow, [the Discoverrhoids] still can’t get any respect.

    Au contraire, mon Curmudgeon; they get every bit of the respect they’ve earned. It isn’t our fault that that happens to be zero.

  14. My hunting buddies and I have a silly running gag that parallels the violation of Ockham’s Razor committed by ID proponents. Whenever we see deer tracks, we accuse the Department of Natural Resources of sending employees out wearing stilts carved at the bottom ends to make prints like deer tracks. Why? They are trying to promote the idea that deer are plentiful, so that more of us will buy licenses and thus enrich the DNR.

    Essentially, the Discovery Institute’s ploy is just as ridiculous: some unseen agent spurred by its own mysterious motivations must be responsible for designing the things we see around us, because natural phenomena cannot conceivably be produced by natural processes. The DI coyly declines to offer a solution to the mystery of why. They leave that task to preachers, who identify the Designer as that Abrahamic deity whose ultimate aim was to create a host of devotees who would validate his existence by showering him with glory.

  15. @Retired Prof
    And natural processes can be produced by other-than-natural processes? The ID advocates don’t bother with “how” any more than “why”. /Nor “when” nor “where”.

    Nor “who”: b “other than natural” we often assume to be “supernatural”, but why not “sub-natural” or “para-natural”?

    And, of course, the supernatural is incompetent in getting their way by using natural processes, or in making the natural laws to do their bidding. Or making things at first in the right way, so that ongoing micromanagement is not called for.

  16. I’m trying to imagine the pitch to some funding folks for someone who wants to build a car, and he has to depend on the whim of a capricious deity instead of science and engineering.
    . . . well you see, we’re gonna fill this tank up with gasoline . . . well because Joe here had a dream and God told him to use gasoline . . .yes, it’s very flammable . . . yes, we are going to burn it . . . no, we don’t think it’ll blow-up, we’re going to use lots of metal to keep the explosion contained . . . yes, I said explosion, but it’s just a little one . . . we pray a lot that it’s just a little one. . .. Would be fun to be a fly on the wall for that one.