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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Recent Advances in Intelligent Design Creationism

In case you missed it, 2011 was a wonderful year for the IDiots. There were many "scientific" breakthroughs supporting the existence of god an intelligent designer. Access research network provides a list of the top ten "Darwin and Design" news stories for 2011.

I'll just give you the titles. Most of you have already read these very important science papers. The rest of you can access more information at: Top Ten Darwin and Design
Science News Stories for 2011
  1. 50th Peer-Reviewed Pro-ID Scientific Paper Published
  2. The Design of the Butterfly Continues to Inspire and Amaze
  3. Woodpecker Drumming Inspires Shock-Absorbing System
  4. Stylus Aims to Bridge Gap Between Real World and Artificial Evolutionary Simulation
  5. Explosive Radiation of Flowering Plants Confirmed
  6. Golden Orb-Weaver Fossil Spider Provides New Evidence for Stasis
  7. Complexity in the Universe Appears Earlier Than Thought
  8. An Identity Crises for Human Ancestors
  9. DNA Repair Mechanisms Reveal a Contradiction in Evolutionary Theory
  10. The Limits to Self-Organization Identified
The nice thing about this list is that it gives us a very good view of the quality of data supporting Intelligent Design Creationism. This is the best they have.

The God helmet is used by Michael Persinger in his neuroscience "research." When you put on the helmet it makes you see God. It's just one of many illusions that supposedly reveal the presence of a supernatural being. Of course it has nothing to do with the content of this post.


  1. "a “limitative theorem” that certain types of objects cannot self-organize through the laws of nature..."

    I guess they will prove at exactly what moment "certain types of object" are getting to complex for natural selection to have evolved, and where god decided to step in.

  2. What in the world do biomimetic technological applications have to do with ID creationism? I'm afraid it's even worse than it looks (although they think it's pretty good)....

    "Magic from design" indeed.....

  3. Pro-ID scientists like William Dembski or Robert Marks have shown how programs smuggle in information such that they are pre-directed to evolve their targets.

    That's nonsense, plain and simple. IDers make this assertion all the time all the time, but its just denial. Their ideology does not allow for the possibility of evolutionary algorithms creating information, therefore they must smuggle it in, QED.

    If a lie is the best they have, they got nuttin.

  4. 50 papers in only twenty plus years (given the date of the name change from creationism to ID). Amazing. Evolutionary theory has only managed, well, what in that amount of time? Thousands certainly at least, tens of thousands?

  5. I read number 9, now my brain is stunned by stupidity.

  6. In my article refuting William Dembski's assertions, I gave a simple example of evolution creating information by choosing one base out of all four in a population that initially has equal frequencies of all bases. No one has shown that I was wrong about that.

    In addition the assertions about evolutionary algorithms are that they have goals and information built in. As I noted in that article there are some that manifestly do not have anything like that built in. For example, Karl Sims's work as exemplified in Jon Klein's free program breve. There the program scores evolving creatures for their ability to swim rightwards -- and that's all. The program has no detailed design and no particular structure that is its goal.

    So the charge that all evolutionary algorithms smuggle information in is blatantly false. People can run breve and see for themselves.

  7. Anon

    I guess they will prove at exactly what moment "certain types of object" are getting to complex for natural selection to have evolved, and where god decided to step in.

    Unsurprisingly, they won't. They will instead scream "burden shift!" and challenge the 'darwinist' to demonstrate that undeniable current processes of mutation and selection/drift have, as a matter of historical fact, led to one (just one - see how reasonable we're being?) complex adaptation. Genes and selective advantages of each step, please. Microevolution -> higher taxonomic divergence or 'complexity' has to be empirically shown to surmount a barrier (whose existence need not be demonstrated), otherwise it ain't science.

    You don't have such a history, you say? Design, then.

  8. Anon

    I read number 9, now my brain is stunned by stupidity.

    Briefly discussed here

    Nothing like the phrase "a contradiction in evolutionary theory" to get the juices flowing. No actual defence of the proposition, yet. It is enough that a peer-reviewed paper exists that says it, all contrary argumentation met with "lalalala".

  9. Wow! 50 articles! 50!

    ....and yet none of those findings were even worthy enough to find a placement in the other nine slots.

    Nope, better piggyback off real scientists and attempt to twist their words instead.

  10. I notice that much of this is still stuck in the mode of "somehow, something is wrong with evolution". How about a positive description of what "intelligent design" is, when and where it happens, what the difference is between things that are designed and those that are not (or just an example of something that is not). With all of that time and all of those people and all of their work, you'd think that there would be the glimmerings of something positive to show for it.


  11. It's worth noting that a very basic problem with the "smuggled information in" contention is that the whole purpose of running EAs is to see what they come up with. They often they produce results that surprise their programmers, an impossibility if they smuggled in the answer. The whole exercise would be pointless if the result was known ahead of time, so this claim of the IDers is its own special kind of idiotic.

  12. Just skimmed the list of papers and I just know it's going to be a tangle of lies and wishful thinking. I've come across a few before and they are sloppy or don't support ID.

  13. Scienceavenger said: It's worth noting that a very basic problem with the "smuggled information in" contention is that the whole purpose of running EAs is to see what they come up with.

    That, and the rest of that comment, are excellent and telling. The absolute silliest thing that anti-evolution debaters do when faced by an evolutionary algorithm is to declare that it is itself intelligently designed. No matter how carefully we simulate random mutation and natural selection, they argue that this very care and thought means that the result of the simulation is to be credited to Intelligent Design, and is not showing what evolution can do. It is appalling that anyone lets them get away with this argument.

  14. I haven't read everything in the PDF yet but a couple of things jumped out at me already. In no. 6, it says:

    "Today, these same insects adorn tropical rainforests..."

    Since when are spiders "insects"?

    In no. 2, it says:

    "Meanwhile, another group of researchers say they have shown for the first time that swallowtail butterflies have an array of sensors on their forelegs that
    allow them to get a flavor of the leaves they land on."

    Similar wording can be found at physorg, here:

    First time? I read the paper and the researchers didn't say that. Besides, it has been known for a long time that butterflies taste with their feet.

    This is the full paper:

  15. Larry

    What was the reception from the scientific community on these 50 peer reviewed papers published?

  16. The argument that "well, the GA was intelligently designed, therefore the GA's results were designed" argument has a nasty little implied consequence: It's saying that the GA's designers are frauds -- that the GA's designers damn well made sure of whatever results the GA came up with, as opposed to setting up the initial conditions and seeing what happens.
    In the past, I've responded by pointing out that GAs have been known to come up with results that work even tho no human being understands how said results work, and how the hell is it even possible to "smuggle in" a solution that you don't understand? More recently, I thought of a different response which others might find useful: "The GA was designed, therefore whatever the GA produced was designed? Okay, fine. By that same reasoning, a roulette wheel is designed, therefore whatever sequence of numbers comes up on the wheel is designed. Right?"

  17. Ryan C,

    A quick look through the 50 "publications" showed me that these "papers" were not even "received" by the scientific community. Most is meaningless and hyper inflated crap. In other words, the ID shit does not impact science at all.

  18. @ Ryan C

    Judge for yourself. I selected one of the highlighted names from the .pdf Larry linked to.

    Below is from an ISI citation search on "DEMBSKI WA [author]"

    publications from 1991-2009
    Results found: 11
    Sum of the Times Cited: 10
    Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 8
    Citing Articles: 8
    Citing Articles without self-citations: 7
    Average Citations per Item: 0.91
    h-index: 2

    For comparison - a search on myself, who can not yet get short-listed for any faculty position search.

    publications from 2004-2011
    Results found: 11
    Sum of the Times Cited: 325
    Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 316
    Citing Articles: 279
    Citing Articles without self-citations: 272
    Average Citations per Item: 29.55
    h-index: 8

  19. It is stunning that people can continue to believe in a concept (creationism)that has absolutely no evidence while rejecting a theory (evolution) that has enjoyed overwhelming evidence. An equally baffling thought is that we rationals occasionally find ourselves arguing with such people.

  20. In a way you're just amazed by the power of adaptive evolution. Sadly you want to bring the god of the gaps to the equation.