Lenny Flank, this is for you…

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PT commenter Lenny Flank often asks for IDists to present an actual theory of intelligent design. Well Lenny, an exclusive commentary was just posted by Kelly Hollowell (see her website, ScienceMinistries.org) on WorldNet Daily entitled, “Mechanism behind intelligent design uncovered?

Few e-mails have ever stopped me as cold as the one I am about to describe. In it, the author, a former university professor who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to know the actual mechanism behind intelligent design. That is the mechanism by which God created the universe, our world and all biological life within it.Kelly Hollowell, “Mechanism behind intelligent design uncovered?

With an intro like that, you know it has to be good. Read it here.

(PS: I vote that the anonymous scientist’s email is a hoax. However, it can be extremely difficult to tell. Last night, I wrote in a quick draft, “ScienceMinistries.org is clearly one of those fairly subtle hoax websites, like the Landover Baptists, that exploits the outrageous bogosity of everyday creationism to create a parody almost indistinguishable from reality.” But then this morning I saw Hollowell’s name all over the ScienceMinistries website, and she wouldn’t link to the website unless it was her name being used legitimitely. So ScienceMinistries can’t be a hoax. The only other option is that the whole thing, including the WorldNetDaily article, were a hoax propagated by hackers, which is getting rather elaborate. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.)

(PPS: I do believe, actually, that the mechanism behind intelligent design has been discovered. The mechanism behind intelligent design is wishful thinking.)

70 Comments

If I had a 10-year-old as gullible as Hollowell, I’d be ashamed.

Yeah, that was my idea – figure out a theory that explains the entire universe and the origin of life, and submit it anonymously via email to a quack pseudo-journalist. Damn ! Now I’ve got to come up with a better idea.

That’s not even as good as the typical raving crank’s M.O: Write up the Revolutionary Manifesto, USPS mail it to various science professors, and never hear back from them.

(as an aside, this happens so much, that one thermo professor I had, suspected that the NCSU physics dept was rerouting all the cranks his way. Sadly, they weren’t.)

The “mechanism of ID” article by “anonymous” may be an attempt to create a parody on two levels – first, patch together a revolutionary “scientific mechanism of ID” by stringing together technical terms and God-talk. Second, the anonymous article, while claiming to overturn evolution, remains very vague, and may simply be proposing nothing more than physics and chemistry as God’s vaunted “mechanism.” I think that everyday interactions between atoms are supposed to basically involve electromagnetic forces, i.e. the electron shells of atoms interacting with each other. It’s hard to tell if this is what is actually meant in the hoax, with all of the obscuring gibberish, but anonymous’s hoax article may have two levels.

I cast my vote with yours: The message is a hoax, a prank, and Kelly Hollowell, J.D., Ph.D., was taken in by it (despite being a savvy molecular biologist knows that “Darwin’s theory is unworkable”).

Say, does anyone know what Alan Sokal is up to these days?

Gadzooks! Don’t go out in the sun or you run the risk of having your DNA complexified by its EMF powers!

We already have the mechanism of ID. Behe said it was a magic puff of smoke. Dembski later commented that ID lacks a certain level of detail, but what the hay.

PS: I vote that the anonymous scientist’s email is a hoax. However, it can be extremely difficult to tell. Last night, I wrote in a quick draft, “ScienceMinistries.org is clearly one of those fairly subtle hoax websites, like the Landover Baptists, that exploits the outrageous bogosity of everyday creationism to create a parody almost indistinguishable from reality.”

Maybe that’s the way to fight ID (assuming the truth doesn’t work) : launch an industry creating sham theories of biology, physics, astronomy, etc. which the creationists would cite without hesitation;i.e., join the “growing number of scientists”.… Hopefully, the work would be referenced in ID textbooks, court cases, prominent ID websites, etc. The only tricky part would be how to reveal that it was all a sham – more than likely, the IDers would go on believing it anyway…

This explains how a human has only double the number of genes as a fruit fly. The amount of DNA didn’t need to proportionately increase with human complexity; rather complexity of the relationships among existing nucleotides needed to increase.

I think this is my favorite piece of pseudoscientific gibberish.

Who cares that Xenopus Pax6 can substitute for Drosphila eyeless, because the vertebrate one has more complex relationships between the nucleotides! Functional domains be damned, just increaase the complex relationships and you’ll evolve!

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 5, column 259, byte 672 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 10, column 2, byte 601 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Gadzooks! Don’t go out in the sun or you run the risk of having your DNA complexified by its EMF powers!

Somehow the idea of flashlights and magnets as a mechanism for ID seems appropriate.

I’m with Nick on the assertion that this might be a parody with two levels. After all, chemistry is utimately driven by the electromagnetic force. Since mutation is a chemical process, we all owe our evolutionary legacy to the electromagnetic force (plus the sieve of natural selection…)

I don’t know what an “increased complexity of the relationships among existing nucleotides” means. It doesn’t seem right that it would an allusion to mutual information, although the increased number of repeats would generate more nucleotides that share mutual information with other nucleotides I wouldn’t think that would be increased complexity by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe it is an allusion to an increase in the proportion of alternatively spliced exons in vertebrates.

Alternatively, it could be sort of like the broken clock that is correct twice a day. Throw out enough random scientific terms purporting to confirm some pseudoscientific nonsense and it might tend to sound like a good parody…

When you get right down to it, this is one bizarre piece of nonsense.

The jist of it is that statement that the emf, rather than mutation, is the exclusive cause of imperfect replicatin of DNA.

That’s not even a creationist argument, since there’s nothing supernatural about the emf.

“Mutation” is a blanket term for changes in DNA sequence/imperfect DNA replication. All the natural forces that are involved in the complex biochemistry of DNA are in some way related to “mutation”. An irrational and trivially disprovable statement that only one natural force is involved is actually a nonsensical but “methodologically materialist” claim. And then there’s…

“This explains how a human has only double the number of genes as a fruit fly. The amount of DNA didn’t need to proportionately increase with human complexity; rather complexity of the relationships among existing nucleotides needed to increase.”

Can anyone explain to me how we measure the “complexity of the relationships AMONG nucleotides”? Or even what that is? How do we measure the “complexity” of a species for that matter? How do we know how much more “complex” humans are - or even if, granting that they’re far larger and apparently more “intelligent”, that they are more “complex”? It doesn’t really matter, but these people seem to think that any statement, however ludicrous, is made valid with the use of the word “complexity”.

What’s depressing is that this woman has a PhD in “molecular and cellular pharmacology” from the University of Miami, and has worked as a forensic toxicologist. At some level she must be aware, or have been aware once in her life, of enough basic science to understand that what she’s written is garbage (even if you want to be very disdainful of the UM pharmacology department, and that’s not my intent, that virtually has to be true).

Her law degree is from - surprise! - Regent University. I guess Liberty University must have wait-listed her.

There’s nothing “Christian” about touting degrees and then posting nonsense to trick vulnerable people. Her only possible moral defense is mental defect - either inability to see that it’s nonsense, despite her education, or inability to understand that dishonesty is wrong.

Was that quote from Linda Holloway or Kelly Hollowell?

It seems that you might be confusing the names of two different pseudoscience advocates.

Last night, I wrote in a quick draft, “ScienceMinistries.org is clearly one of those fairly subtle hoax websites, like the Landover Baptists, that exploits the outrageous bogosity of everyday creationism to create a parody almost indistinguishable from reality.”

I agree, it’s gotten to where parody of ID or creationism is essentially impossible. But checking out ScienceMinistries.org, I’d have to say that while its content makes no more sense than a parody site would, it’s not funny enough to be a parody site.

The main question NOW is whether we’ll see creationists enthusiastically citing this new ‘theory’ for the next ten years over and over. If it silently drops from sight, that’s probably a tacit admission that they got taken in.

Besides, they can’t trot this ‘anonymous expert’ out on the lecture circuit if he stays anonymous!

Oops, fixed it. Linda Holloway must reside close to Kelly Hollowell in the neuron firing patterns…

scienceministries.com used to be affiliated with a network of Christian websites (I can’t remember the name, unfortunately), so it, in itself, is not a spoof site.

I used to pop in from time-to-time since the nonsense Hollowell wrote could be quite entertaining, but she started recycling a lot of her old stuff with very little new material so I stopped visiting.

I’m not at all surprised she’s been taken in by a hoax. She has a very credulous m.o. and will publish stories on just about any creationist nonsense that comes along.

I’m going to time myself on pointing out the basic factual and scientific errors in this … GO!

00:00:00

After this explosive event, these sub-atomic particles were sometime later transformed into atomic nuclei and the various elements. When asked why the sub-atomic particles joined together into the more complex arrangements of nuclei and elements, science answers that it is due to the “electromagnetic force.”

Strong force [quantum chromodynamics, nuclei] != weak force != electroweak force != electromagnetics.

Not sure how many errors we should count for this – (4 choose 2) = 6 errors is a pretty good count for this last sentence, plus one because that’s not what “science” says.

00:01:12

Both the Big Bang event and subsequent arrangement of sub-atomic particles, therefore, provide our first opportunity to see light as the interface between the non-physical (spiritual) world and physical existence. Think about it. From light came matter. Then that matter was organized into various elements by EMF.

Measurements of the random fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe (WMAP) confirm very precise predictions made by the by the inflationary theory of the big bang, which according to its discoverer Alan Guth of MIT:

Alan Guth Wrote:

“The universe could have evolved from absolutely nothing in a manner consistent with all known conservation laws.”

“The question of the origin of the matter in the universe is no longer thought to be beyond the range of science … everything can be created from nothing … it is fair to say that the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”

Also, all the matter and energy in the universe cancels out with all the negative potential energy stored in gravity, so the statement about matter coming from light (which has positive energy by Planck) illustrates deep confusion. The Big Bang is all physical, and does not provide a connection with the non-physical world.

00:03:23

This is supported by Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity concerning the characteristics of light. Specifically, photons of light can behave dually like a stream of high-speed, submicroscopic particles, but also like a wave phenomenon. A wave is defined as a disturbance that propagates and carries energy. As a wave, light does not show the physical property of mass. This non-material characteristic, once again, reveals light as an interface between the non-physical (spiritual) world and the physical universe.

General relativity != quantum mechanics, plus how many other really egregious errors here? Just doesn’t seem worth actually counting them. Well okay, it’s just plain ignorant to directly contradict de Broglie’s wave-particle duality.

00:04:15

DONE! (With the really glaring ones.) Okay, that took about five minutes to read, refute, and type. At least this is is a lot faster and easier than verifying actual facts! The ID crowd really do make it easy for us by contradicting really fundamental physical and mathematical facts.

I’m afraid that I’ll have to disagree with Nick Matzke’s conclusion on this one: the mechanism behind Intelligent Design is crackpotism.

Unless it’s a big hoax, as Kelly Hollowell allows.

While searching in ancient tomes for words of wisdom, I discovered the following “truth” regarding origins of stuff. Makes sense in a Dutch sort of way.

En de goddelijke ontwerper richtte haar vinger en scheid gelopen af.

This parody idea is rather intriguing. Why can’t we cook up something that sounds like an explaination of “the mechanisms behind intelligent design”, but is essentially Evolutionary Theory. We could throw in lots of theological sounding terms, and appear on the surface to be hostile to some nebulous Theory of Evolution. The Creationists have never bother to learn about Evolutionary Theory, so all we’d have to do is say we doubt this theory called “Evolution”, and then we could dress the real details of Evolutionary Theory up in theological terms and announce that this is our explanations of the mechanisms behind Intelligent Design.

The Creationists have always been about mindlessly taking sides, without ever learning about the issues. I’m thinking they might not be able to resist jumping on the band wagon until long after we’ve gotten a good laugh about their foolishness.

Adrian

I think Dr. Anonymous makes some valid points which I will summarize here. So, pay attention.

The good doctor’s lesson regarding EMF Complexity, boys and girls, is simply this:

Wear sunscreen.

It’s that simple.

Do you realize that during the summer months the chance of getting hit by a rogue photon is nearly One Hundred Percent? Yes! You could be outside minding your own business when out of the blue - WHAM! - you’re smacked by a photon traveling many thousands of miles per hour. So fast you can’t even see ‘em coming.

Remember: wear sunscreen. (p.s. a hat helps, too.)

So, reading the e-mail, and assuming “Mr. Former Universite Professor” is in earnest we can replace goddidit with lightdidit or perhaps goddiditwithlight.

And that helps ID theory… how?

Okay, given that the email is a bunch of crap, I thought I’d just point out a few specific craplets from the point of view of a (partially informed) physicist :

1) The Big Bang did not come from a “single focal point of light”. It is not easy to visualise, but it disstinctly was not an occurence at one point in space; space itself sort of unfolded, but there was mass/energy distributed throughout.

2) I don’t think it is correct to refer to “light” at the very early moments of the Big Bang. At extrmemly high energies, all of the fundamental interactions (electromagnetic, weak, and strong) were coupled; my understanding is that the interaction between particles at that enery are carried by bosons which are a quantum superposition of the various field bosons : photon, W+-, Z0, and gluons. (i.e., there was not light, but rather a tangled mess of energy.)

3) When protons and neutrons combine (in stellar interiors) to form the heavier elements, it is very specifically not the electromagnetic interaction (light) which binds them together. Protons are positively charged, and neutrons are neutral. The electromagnetic interaction is strictly repulsive, tending to prevent formation of any nuclei (except perhaps, heavy hydrogen.) What binds the nuclei together is the strong force, of which the author seems blissfully unaware.

4) The term EMF has absolutely nothing at all to do with any of this. It is a rather unfortunate archaic term that found its way into undergraduate textbooks to describe batteries, generators, etc. that can maintain a voltage difference even when a current flows. Signs that the author saw an intro physics book at some point in life, and didn’t understand much of it.

5) Atoms do exchange photons when changing their internal states; hey, there’s a correct statement in there after all ! Oops, it’s asolutely in no way relevant to the argument about how elements formed.…

6) Light has absolutely nothing to do with a “Non–physical, spiritual world” (suprise!) In a garbled way, it is mentioned that photons have no mass, hence are non-physical. What the hell is non-physical ? The behavior of photons is extremely well described by deterministic equations; their interaction with matter is one of the best-tested, most precisely predictable aspects of modern physics. If you’re lookin’ for a gap, you’d better just move along, nothin’ to see here…

6.5) BTW, when photons are acting in their role as carriers of the electromagnetic force, say in the repulsion between two protons, they are called “virtual photons”; in this case, they do have a mass. Kind of a shame to spoil an otherwise beautiful theory.…

7) As was mentioned, Special Relativity has absolutely nothing to do with photons, as “should be known to all” with a “modern education”.

8) “…through logic, extrapolation and preliminary scientific findings, we may fairly hypothesize that the same method of applying EMF/light is used as in the earlier stages of progressive development.” Here we begin making the transistion from physics crap to biology crap, and I actually had kind of a biology-related question : What’s the best way to clean up puke?

Gosh, I spent all those years studying physics and astrophysics, and I could have saved myself a lot of time by simply reading some interesting stories passed down by a bunch of shepherds. It is mind-numbingly sad that anyone who claims a J.D. and a Ph.D. could be taken in by such tripe. Clearly the state of science education in the U.S. is deplorable, and I expect it will only get worse if religious fundamentalists are allowed to force their anti-intellectual agenda upon this nation.

May not count as the “best” way, but it would be tempting to suggest: print this crap on paper towels and wipe up any puke therewith…

Now were the writing not so faux-erudite, we might suspect Charlie, but perhaps this output comes from the bastard offspring of CW, JD, and JH?

hugs, Shirley

Wouldn’t it be nice to believe this women actually cared one whit whether or not this, or any of her other “iD-ers,” actually described the Universe around her? Or, indeed, about anything NOT herself?

What awful people these have made themselves into! This sort of women is capable of justifying any lie, and would, given the power, justify any crime that flattered her vanity.

While searching the archives of a German university late one night, I found that someone had already identified the mechanism of ID:

Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!… Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from creationism.

Are they kidding with this crap? The “proposed mechanism” for ID sounds to me like the ruminations of a lazy 14 year old pothead who suddenly “saw the light” literally, got religion, and started leafing through an outdated, second-rate high school physics text for remedial students.

Not a translation, but the origin…

http://www.jumpstation.ca/recroom/c[…]on/joke.html

Re: “Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! … Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”

Have none of you heard of Babelfish? If you plug in that quote and have it translated from German into English, you get this:

“If the Nunstruck is git and Slotermeyer? !… Beiherhund the or the Flipperwaldt gersput.”

See? Perfectly clear now.

After Hollowell’s article the WorldNetDaily said:

Kelly Hollowell, J.D., Ph.D., is a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct law professor of bioethics. She is a senior strategist for the Center for Reclaiming America, a conference speaker and founder of Science Ministries Inc.

How did I know she was a bioethicist? Are there any bioethicists who are not Biblical literalists (or pseudo-literalists) Christians? Everyone I ever see on TV has a clerical collar or a crucifix.

Center for Reclaiming America

Reclaim it for who, the Cherokee? Aliens? Sasquatchs? It can not be for Bible worshipers because they already have it.

Can you really get a PhD in pharmacology without knowing anything about chemistry or DNA? COOL! Where do I attend and what is the tuition?

You all sneer. This ‘anonymous’ scientist is not the only bona-fide scientist to be investigating this. Read here: http://sciencethefuture.blogspot.com/

You all sneer. This ‘anonymous’ scientist is not the only bona-fide scientist to be investigating this. Read here: http://sciencethefuture.blogspot.com/

Good spoof, but this just gives it away:

…why is it that the relationship between the number of DNA and the number of types of cell in a living body exhibit the same patterns as the changes in the brightness of light from a quasar?

LOL. Don’t let David Heddle get hold of this stuff.

Why, oh why must the pretty ones be so stupid?

Beauty x Brains = Constant

(Just kidding.. don’t get sore at me..)

I am sending you this information in hopes that you can find some way to use it in the battle against the atheistic, Darwinian concept of evolution which has destroyed so much of the original spiritual nature of human society, and help to bring the attention of the people of the world back to the increasingly obvious fact that God created this universe and everything in it. I was some years ago a university professor with a background in theoretical physics, but am now quite old and dying of cancer.

Yep… I finally went to read this little article of Hollowell’s. Reminds me of some other emails I’ve gotten.

Your name has reached me by the grace of God. I sending you this information because I am dying of cancer and my two children cannot recevee the needed care that is to help them grow up here in Nigeria. My estate is very valuable, but I must transfer my total assets out of the nation in order that to protect them and my children. If you can provide me an American account into which to deposit the monies (stocks, cash, and valuables stored in safe-deposit box) I will permiting you gladly to keep a 20% commission.

Looks like somebody’s learned the in’s and out’s of email scams, and it sure ain’t Kelly Hollowell!

…and airplanes have those wheels on their landing gear to drive on those invisible air highways that keep ‘em aloft. And the reason they retract the landing gear on takeoff is that when you’re going UP, you have to ride the upside down air roads that run through the plane’s undercarriage.

She is called hollowell because her heads hollow.

I don’t know. I’d like to think it’s a parody, but probably not. Whatever it is, even Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who!” makes more sense than this crap does.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on June 18, 2005 3:42 AM.

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