Yet another controversy - the Intelligent Deceiver

| 84 Comments

The eminent science journal Nature has a letter (subscription required) from Professor A. Richard Palmer of the Systematics and Evolution Group, at the University of Alberta.

In it, he proposes that we teach the controversy - not only should we teach that there is an Intelligent Design hypothesis, we should also teach that there is an Intelligent Deceiver motivating the ID movement.

Individuals who understand how to debate alternative scientific hypotheses would never intentionally promote religious dogma as science. So an intelligent deceiver must be at work, guiding proponents of ID to sow confusion over valid scientific debate.

He goes on to say:

To exclude intelligent deception from debates over ID versus evolution could be considered hypocritical on both legal and moral grounds. And if proponents of ID reject the hypothesis of intelligent deception, their objections would be most interesting to hear, particularly the ones that dismiss the deceiver without imperilling the designer.

We here at the Pandas Thumb like this idea. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough. If we want to teach the controversy, let us teach all of it. For example:

This is the theory that every little trait, and every organism, had its own Designer. Not only does it have exactly the same philosophical and scientific basis that ID does, it is more explanatory than ID. It is also something we take particular pride in having proposed right here at The Panda’s Thumb.

This is the view that the Designer actually just finished doing His work yesterday, or Last Thursday, or 6000 years ago, but made it look like it happened over 4.5 billion years (for terrestrial evolution). A variation on this is the idea that while the Designer (notice how carefully we are avoiding the G-word?) had a hand in some or all of biological evolution, He (or It or They) made it look exactly as if it had happened naturally. But it takes special powers to see that it couldn’t have.

This scientific gem proposes that we deny that inheritance is based on chromosomes and that what happens to organisms can be inherited. It was used to great effect in the old Soviet Union (it killed millions in a famine induced by its application to agriculture). It should be amenable to the present U.S. Administration.

I’m quite sure that I have left out some equally as important as ID theories that could be taught with as much profit. Do please add them to the Comments…

84 Comments

For another insight into the ID, read this clear to the end.

There’s the “delusion” idea (modified in the “matrix” trilogy): it’s all an illusion and we’re each actually just a brain (or something) in a vat.

And of course, there is always solipsism: “it’s all just my imagination”.

Two points:

1)It is something of a mantra among the ID movement that we can tell when a structure or system of parts fulfills “a purpose”, and that this is a reliable sign of design. They’ve made something of a PR success.

Our failure has been to let them get away with not discussing the “purpose” which is evident in organisms. If this topic is pushed at all, it turns out that the “purpose” of all living systems and structures is– to encourage the transmission of the genes that code for that system or structure. Of course, it just happens that natural selection only favors systems with this “purpose”.

2) I’m especially fond of Multiple Designer Theory because it points to a serious weakness in ID that I think most lay people can intuitively understand. We design machines to do a particular job. We do not then turn around and design other machines to specifically interfere with the first machines. Some of the most ingenious “designs” in nature do precisely this.

Working at cross purposes to oneself is not a hallmark of a single intelligent designer, yet nature is constantly engaged in this. IMHO, conflicts within a species are a real can of worms for ID– especially, for example, conflicts between mother and fetus. What a mess for ID– but so easily explained by evolution.

Is there really any evidence of intelligence behind the deception? Is an intelligence agency needed to deceive the Intelligent Design movementeurs (yeah, I know its not a real word).

What if they are just irreducibly uninformed?

And of course, there is always solipsism: “it’s all just my imagination”.

And don’t forget post-modernism: “It’s all just our imagination”. A social variant of solipsism at basis, it seems.

It was used to great effect in the old Soviet Union (it killed millions in a famine induced by its application to agriculture)

I hear this a lot about Lamarckism/Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union. Weren’t their problems economic? Didn’t Stalin and totalitarian brutality cause the famines? Before I get jumped on, all I’m saying is that it’s simplistic to use this argument. A better one would be… well I don’t know. This argument just seems prone to attack by you know who.

The reliance upon vernalisation did cause famine. Economic mismanagement (over-reporting yields) also caused famine. Stalin also murdered, or rather his secret police did, millions of people. The one does not rule out the others.

In Soviet Russia, you die for a wide variety of reasons!

Omphalism… A variation on this is the idea that while the Designer (notice how carefully we are avoiding the G-word?)

Man… at this point can we just drop the words “God” and “Designer” altogether and skip straight to “Demiurge”?

That’s a good point. I wasn’t familiar with the term “vernalisation” and had to google it.

“And don’t forget post-modernism: “It’s all just our imagination”. A social variant of solipsism at basis, it seems.”

Ahh, but some forms of postmodernism deny the possibility of genuine imagination!

Brian Spitzer Wrote:

We design machines to do a particular job. We do not then turn around and design other machines to specifically interfere with the first machines.

I have worked on many software systems that have, over the years, had exactly such processes added to them. Particularly when an old system has been ported to a new platform, it’s easier to add a whole new program to stop an undesirable behaviour than to modify the old program.

“It was used to great effect in the old Soviet Union (it killed millions in a famine induced by its application to agriculture)”

Not true.

Don’t forget the Meddling Designer (mentioned in another PT thread) - a designer who can’t keep his hands to himself, even today, and thus prevents scientists from being able to trust the results of any experiment they run.

Then there’s the Lazy Designer, who did some pretty good work but, let’s face it, could have done a whole lot better had they put in a little more effort.

Perhaps PT should inaugurate a Pantheon of Designers as a helpful guide to confused would-be ID supporters?

I would like to present the: Cosmic Game; Design Hypothesis: There are 2 Designers (or possibly design teams)trying to out compete each other. Team 1 “Kicks off” by designing something biological. Team 2 takes it’s turn; options a)Design an opposing biological system or b)Cause a non-biological event to wipe out opponent’s design.

After a set time there is a great weigh in and the side with the most bio-mass wins.

This hypothesis would explain. The sudden appearance of creatures. Lack of transitional fossils. The germ/immune system weirdness.

I realise that I now need to come up with some experimental evidence, but before I do that lets teach it in science class. Mass extinctions

Bah! Should have previewed more carefully.

Mass extinctions: should be above the sentence asking for class time, and under germ/immune comment.

There were a couple of interesting evolution related papers in the previous issue. One on protein folding and the other on the evolution of complex systems IIRC. For some reason my suscription isn’t working so I can’t provide the abstracts. Thought the PT might comment on at least one of them.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 54, byte 54 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

On a somewhat unrelated note, the Flying Spaggetti Monster appears in living bacteria.

Scientists at UC San Francisco have engineered bacteria to create living photographs that weigh in at 100 megapixels per square inch.

The photos were created by projecting light on “biological film” – billions of genetically engineered E. coli growing in dishes of agar, a standard jello-like growth medium for bacteria.”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/scienc[…]og/66259267/ http://www.brainblog.com/cms/scient[…]tographs2480

How about my “Grand Unification Theory of evolution and design”? -which goes like this: - When organisms die their blueprints of these beta-versions (souls) are ported off to another dimension where they are stripped down by teams of parsimonious designers. The most promising kinds are then chosen (supernatural selection) and then re-assembled using old parts to create new and updated models for further testing. Thus explaining: re-incarnation, observed design, micro- and macro-evolution, convergent evolution, re-combination, selection, similarities in DNA and organelles, deja-vu, and more besides. This theory should appeal to: deists; theists; environmentalists (recycling as a devine principle); polytheists; ‘Darwinists’ and Dembski-ites alike. There is a test for this - if Behe can find an improbably complex organelle such as a flagelleum; then all he has to do is find another one like it: Hey presto!: the design has obviously been copied! This should appeal to consensus politicians most of all - since everyone gets a bit of pie then there is no need to teach any ‘controversy’ - whats not to like?

Brian Spitzer Wrote:

1)It is something of a mantra among the ID movement that we can tell when a structure or system of parts fulfills “a purpose”, and that this is a reliable sign of design. They’ve made something of a PR success.

Our failure has been to let them get away with not discussing the “purpose” which is evident in organisms. If this topic is pushed at all, it turns out that the “purpose” of all living systems and structures is— to encourage the transmission of the genes that code for that system or structure. Of course, it just happens that natural selection only favors systems with this “purpose”.

Yes, an effective technique, sell sell sell the stuff that makes design look good like the complement fixation pathway, hype the bacterial flagellum and ignore stuff like choleratoxin, poliovirus and the apical complex.The apicomplexa are only a source of misery for humans and anyone else who “designed” something else like them would be arrested for bioterrorism and put into a prison suitable for containing dangerous lunatics.

Anyone that would know enough about bacteriology to discuss flagella would presumably know about the abundance of bacterial virulence factors as well and is therefore “purposefully” supressing their knowledge of host-parasite interactions for cultural and political influence over society. We need to end the “balanced discussion” stuff for them and ATTACK them as the con artist snake-oil salesmen they are, the same as you would attack someone who tried to sell your grandma a scientology e-meter.

Anyone that believes in the devil, as most fundamentalists of the ID bent do, would normally have a ready answer for why “good Christians” like Bonsell and Buckingham perjured themselves in court. What is that answer? Isn’t it the devil’s work? What should that tell them about the ID scam? ID, the intelligent deceiver, they don’t even have to change a lot of their scam literature. The guy writing the Nature letter is probably on to something that might finally hit the religiously motivated where they can’t willfully ignore it without doing the devil’s work.

PS- But dosen’t this look cool anyway despite where it came from?

Drawing of apical complex: http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/courses/b[…]iComplex.jpg

“Look at the complexity of that thing! It had to be DESIGNED!”

“We design machines to do a particular job. We do not then turn around and design other machines to specifically interfere with the first machines.”

The Army, the NSA, and some virus writers would probably disagree with you on this one.

Ron, that’s one way of looking at it. I’ve seen the “devil” excuse used by a few when bad things happen (especially spats between members of church congregations).

However, there is a more realistic reason why Bonsell and Buckingham saw fit to lie through their teeth. Creationists such as these believe they are fighting a war against the evil atheistic scientists. Those scientists are agents of Satan, spreading their intellectual filth to innocent children and deceiving them out of the Christian faith and into homosexuality and drug abuse. To them, the only outcome of accepting evolution is rotting in hell for all eternity.

So, they simply believe that lying on the stand is the lesser of two evils. Kind of like lying to a Nazi in WW2 to protect the Jews hiding in your basement. God wouldn’t frown on a liar if he was lying for Jesus?

Would He?

Andrew

Dark Matter I think you might be on to something there Could that be.…. I might be making a jumps here .….but .…Actual .…direct photographic (well OK its not … but could be photographic …if you got the real photos)

Of the FSM creating itself in its own likeness right here on the 3rd rock…well of course ..not actually creating ..its not a photo of the factory ..but obviously it must have been created by anyone who has an IQ under 90 or is it over I’m never sure which is smarter.

…except it is only a visual representation drawn by a zoologist who was a scientist and they really know stuff …or it could have been an artist.… boy, do those guys have imaginations .…plus they always seem to have girls hanging around them. Maybe that’s why its only in 2 dimensions and is made up of what seems like dots of ink on .…is that paper or velum? Hey? or is it just pixels on a glass tube. Dang that translation via the internef thing .…is just such a precise and infallible translation. I’m picturing the electrons and the Nyquist or is that Nudist limit as well as the infinite wave thingy.. with zero information transfer.…but how did the actual information get here if there was zero transfer. Oh and to prove my point Galileo, Big Bang, Easter Island, Einstein and other relly reealy brill. guys ..except those Easter Is. guys they really **cked up.

There must be a book in this somewhere.

You do realize people from all over the world are going to want to touch that photo don’t you? And ask for a sign. (ok …I Know its not a photo but I still believe its a photo so don’t argue or I’ll get upset and call people I know, who know other people and throw things) The cult thickens.

The mind boggles at the pure simplicity of MY theory and I’m the ONLY person who can explain it AND I get to set the rules nah nah nah.

Does this all have a familiar ring? When it was creationism, we advocated teaching all creation stories if we are to teach one. Now that it’s called id, we are advocating teaching all different ID stories. Yet, ID has nothing to do with creationism.

Cheers

Joe Meert

Simple just take out FSM and put in ID (FSM is NOT a CREATION story OK) How dare you acuse me of callin FSM a creation story I’ll stamp my feet.

“ID has nothing to do with creationism.” And there aren’t any infidels in Baghdad, either… Man, we got to be able to make a Discovery Institute Information minister parody. Oh, wait, they’ve already got Lyin’ Luskin… Dang, you can’t even use sarcasm against creationists. Probably because most parody ID positions have already been taken by genuine IDiots.

- JS

How did the designer found life?

found To come upon, often by accident; meet with. To come upon or discover by searching or making an effort: found the leak in the pipe. To discover or ascertain through observation, experience, or study: found a solution; find the product of two numbers; found that it didn’t really matter.

To perceive to be, after experience or consideration: found the gadget surprisingly useful; found the book entertaining. To experience or feel: found comfort in her smile. To recover (something lost): found her keys. To recover the use of; regain: found my voice and replied. To succeed in reaching; arrive at: The dart found its mark. To obtain or acquire by effort: found the money by economizing. To decide on and make a declaration about: The jury deliberated and found a verdict of guilty. All the jurors found him guilty. To furnish; supply.

To bring (oneself) to an awareness of what one truly wishes to be and do in life. To perceive (oneself) to be in a specific place or condition: found herself at home that night; found himself drawn to the stranger.

Create To cause to exist; bring into being. . To give rise to; produce: That remark created a stir. To invest with an office or title; appoint. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort: create a poem; create a role.

“Evolution” itself can also be deceptive: http://www.brastraps.com/evolution.htm

I could say something snide (many snide things, really) about the little archetypal Scientist with his white lab coat, test tube, and beaker in the upper right hand corner of Coppedge’s website…

But that would just be mean

(But that shouldn’t stop anyone else here who might wish to snark about it… :-))

OK. Someone give me an example of the empirical evidence of the evolution of a new species by natural selection.

Someone give me an example of the empirical evidence of the evolution of a new species by natural selection.

The genome of every living organism on the planet earth.

OK. Someone give me an example of the empirical evidence of the evolution of a new species by natural selection.

(sigh)

You know, I’m not at all surprised when creationists prove themselves to be crushingly uneducated and ignorant about basic biology and evolution. But I *am* mildly surprised (and a little annoyed) when they turn out to be too stupid and uninformed to even get the basic CREATIONIST arguments straight.

This is from the website of Answers in Genesis, one of the largest creationist organizations in the world:

“Poorly-informed anti-creationist scoffers occasionally think they will ‘floor’ creation apologists with examples of ‘new species forming’ in nature. They are often surprised at the reaction they get from the better-informed creationists, namely that the creation model depends heavily on speciation.”

Let me repeat that, in case you’re not bright enough to get it. Answers in Genesis says that not only does creationism itself “depend heavily on speciation”, but they also say that those who argue that there are NO “new species forming in nature” are “poorly informed”.

Guess that means YOU, huh. By arguing to me that new species cannot evolve, you are not only demonstrating that you are completely ignorant of basic biology, but you’re also demonstrating that you’re too stupid and uninformed to even understand the most elementary CREATIONIST arguments.

Anyway, you want some examples of observed speciation events? Sure. Here’s a reading list. Get cracking.

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Weinberg, J. R., V. R. Starczak and P. Jora. 1992. Evidence for rapid speciation following a founder event in the laboratory. Evolution. 46:1214-1220.

Wood, A. M. and T. Leatham. 1992. The species concept in phytoplankton ecology. Journal of Phycology. 28:723-729.

Yen, J. H. and A. R. Barr. 1971. New hypotheses of the cause of cytoplasmic incompatability in Culex pipiens L.

Just think how much more LESS wonderfull the world would be if the truly stupid took it over.

Just think how much more LESS wonderfull the world would be if the truly stupid took it over.

As I have argued elsewhere, simply branding ID’ers stupid is a losing strategy for winning this fight, and serves only to make evolutionists feel superior and good about themselves. For an alternate approach to dealing with ID, see this news item in Science about Steve Verhey’s paper in the November 2005 issue of BioScience. Although the commentators quoted here say that this approach could not be adapted to the high school situation, I think it could with some imagination and skill:

http://www.michaelbalter.com/Homini[…]s/11_26_2005|Teaching_the_intelligent_design_controversy.php

I see that this link is too long for the page, if so please go to:

http://www.michaelbalter.com

Then to News, then Hominid Highlights, and the item will appear.

Just keep religion out of the science classromm

…another possibility - God created the Intelligent Designer - who then went on to create life on earth Who says that someone with God’s powers couldn’t do that? I’d like to ask the guys at the Discovery Institute - did God create the Intelligent Designer? to see what answer they give.…. - or is the Intelligent Designer really just God himself in a lab coat?

For an alternate approach to dealing with ID, see this news item in Science about Steve Verhey’s paper in the November 2005 issue of BioScience. Although the commentators quoted here say that this approach could not be adapted to the high school situation, I think it could with some imagination and skill:

Then go out there and show us how it’s done.

Ah_mini wrote:

Ron, that’s one way of looking at it. I’ve seen the “devil” excuse used by a few when bad things happen (especially spats between members of church congregations).

However, there is a more realistic reason why Bonsell and Buckingham saw fit to lie through their teeth. Creationists such as these believe they are fighting a war against the evil atheistic scientists. Those scientists are agents of Satan, spreading their intellectual filth to innocent children and deceiving them out of the Christian faith and into homosexuality and drug abuse. To them, the only outcome of accepting evolution is rotting in hell for all eternity.

So, they simply believe that lying on the stand is the lesser of two evils. Kind of like lying to a Nazi in WW2 to protect the Jews hiding in your basement. God wouldn’t frown on a liar if he was lying for Jesus?

Would He?

There could be creationists incompetent enough to rationalize what they are doing in this way. Kansas, Ohio, and Dover demonstrate that, but could they all be that badly off. They aren’t saving anyone from the Nazis, the inquisition, reformation, or even the Romans. They are lying about their religion and the nature of God. What kind of moral example does that set for their kids? A lot of them even know that they are lying about it. If they had half a brain or any moral sense they would be wondering why they have to lie about the things that they lie about.

What gets to me is that they give up on the honest track, and believe that the desception is the way to go when their religious beliefs are against the wall. That should tell them volumes about why their beliefs shouldn’t be taught in the public schools. That is pretty sad. If they really had faith, they would be working to change the laws in an honest and straightforward manner. There are set means of doing that in an honest and upfront manner, but they have decided not to go the honest route. The constitution can be changed. They shouldn’t need dishonest scams like ID or teach the controversy to change it.

Civil disobedience is a means to challenge the law, but why sneak around the back way if you want to challenge a law. It defeats the purpose of what you are trying to do if you lie about why you are breaking the law. It is the lie that gets challenged and not what you want to challenge. If they believe that their religion should be in the public schools they should be advocating exactly what they want, not lying about it so that they can sneak it in the backdoor using some dishonest or incompetent teacher.

Look at Dover. It is the dishonest ID scam that is getting challenged in court, not what they really want to teach. So they look like the liars that they are, and for what purpose? A stupid dishonest scam makes their cause look bogus.

Why would God need someone to lie for him?

Ron Okimoto

Pandas Thumbers didn’t propose the “Multiple Designers Theory.” David Hume did that long ago in his refutations of the Argument from Design. Sorry, I had to set the record straight.

In Russia, Lysenko was responsible for the deaths of some scientific / political adversaries, but Lysenkoism was not a cause of the huge deaths from famine so much as it was offered as a politically correct ‘scientific’ solution to the famines. The famines had largely already been caused by bad agricultural policies.

However, after setting Soviet genetics and agriculture back by about a generation, Lysenkoism then went on to become responsible for huge famines and related deaths in China.

For a discussion of all of this, see http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.p[…].html#000000

Ric wrote

Pandas Thumbers didn’t propose the “Multiple Designers Theory.” David Hume did that long ago in his refutations of the Argument from Design. Sorry, I had to set the record straight.

True, but Hume didn’t develop his speculation as I did here, or provide a novel research technology to begin to test the conjecture, as I did here. I still say MDT is the most detailed ID proposal on the table, with the most substantive research program directed at testing its central tenet. The results reported in the latter essay constitute more actual data directed at testing an actual ID hypothesis (as distinguished from an “evolution can’t do this or that” claim) than has been reported by all the contemporary IDists (Dembski, Behe, Meyer, et alia) put together.

RBH

Mr. Wells, not once you repeat the following claim:

“Note that this is conciliatory, but he quietly arranged to have geneticists thrown in prison and in some cases killed”

Please, list these geneticists or issue a correction.

pt Let me quess “Objectivism” posing as “Objectivist History” to discredit the messenger

Keep going pt I’ll gut you.

Dr Flank: Thanks for the speciation bibliography above. I will be reading as fast as I can. Hope Neal does too.

Here’s another article:

Wake, David B.”Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 94, pp. 7761-7767, July 1997 Colloquium Paper http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/94/15/7761

Matt

Dr Flank: Thanks for the speciation bibliography above.

Don’t thank me – it came from the talk.origins archives. Best source of scientific info on the evolution, uh, “controversy”.

A couple of excellent references on speciation, one with many recent examples, and the other a theoretical discussion of the math, are:

Coyne, J. A. and H. A. Orr (2004). Speciation. Sunderland, Mass., Sinauer Associates. and

Gavrilets, S. (2004). Fitness landscapes and the origin of species. Princeton, N.J.; Oxford, England, Princeton University Press.

Coyne and Orr defend a modified version of the reproductive isolation conception of species. Gavrilets discusses how the notion of a fitness landscape causes us conceptual trouble, and how a relaistic model leads to the conclusion that speciation is more or less inevitable.

I love you Lenny Flank.

For the record, Lysenko came after the great Soviet famine(s) which were caused primarily by collectivization. Lysenko did use his influence to have geneticists arrested, imprisoned and sometimes executed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

I believe Steve Hurlbert came up with the Intelligent Deceiver hypothesis in that 1984 paper in ecology “Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments” or something like that. demonic intrusion, if i remember correctly.

FSM rocks da tectonic plates

Erasmus Wrote:

I believe Steve Hurlbert came up with the Intelligent Deceiver hypothesis in that 1984 paper

All due respect to someone named Steve, but the Omphalos hypothesis goes back at least as far as Philip Henry Gosse’s 1857 book, Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot, which you will note is still available.

love you Lenny Flank.

(blush) Awww, shucks . …

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This page contains a single entry by John S. Wilkins published on November 23, 2005 8:00 PM.

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