Posted by: Dan | January 5, 2007

Cracking the Code of the Universe

I’m not sure what to say about this, other than to say that you’ll need a hefty dose of credulity to buy into the crap that this guy is spewing (via Ivy Privy):

In “The Search for Intelligent Design,” author Duane Whitlock, 89, describes in scientific terms the structure of the universe and how it came to be.

The retired U.S. Navy Captain said he’s convinced his experiences cracking codes led him to a new understanding of science. Whitlock hopes to unleash these discoveries in his new book.

After Whitlock learned how to decode man-made structures, he wondered if he could figure out natural and scientific systems. Whitlock said he discovered that the universe was based on threes.

For example, there are three forces in the universe, electricity, magnetism and gravity and three primary colors – red, blue and yellow.

Hold on – first, physicists generally accept four fundamental forces in the Universe – gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear forces and weak nuclear forces. Every freshman science major knows this.

Second, there are three primary colors (for humans) because that’s how human eyes work. Birds, for instance, see four primary colors, and some other animals even more.

There are only three things, Whitlock said, that make up this universe – matter, energy and design. For example, in a chair, the wood comes from a tree, the design comes from man as well the energy to construct it.

“The mind is the intelligent part of intelligent design,” Whitlock said.

Design is a functional assemblage of matter, not independent of it (where does design fit into E=mc^2 ??). He displays the beginnings to such understanding in his chair analogy, but he skips right over the issue of design versus self-ordering, and assumes the former on a whim – that whim of course being that which theology teaches us.

I’d like to think that Whitlock is just stupid – and he is skeptically deficient, to be sure – but that’s too simplistic an answer. The answer, I’m sure, is much more difficult to explain, and probably involves a good dose of psychology, among other things. And I assume that his views of Godly design in the Universe is inspired by his awe of its richness (an awe I share), so I suppose I can sympathize a little.

But if he’s trying to get such ideas published, who on Earth would be absurd enough to publish such obviously incorrect notions of the Universe into a book??



  1. Oh, you can get anything published these days. See “vanity presses.”

  2. Color Vision: one of nature’s wonders Dogs have two kinds of color photoreceptors. Birds, fish and reptiles have 4 or 5. And then there’s the mantis shrimp:

    …These little rapscallions [mantis shrimp] – which can grow as big as 30 cm and can live for 20 years or more – are said to have the most complex eye known in the animal kingdom. The intricate details of their visual systems (three different regions in each eye, independent motion of each eye, trinocular vision, and so forth) are too many and varied to go into here. Suffice it to say that scientists have discovered some species of mantis shrimp with 16 different types of photo-receptors: 8 for light in (what we regard as being) the visible portion of the spectrum, 4 for ultraviolet light, and 4 for analyzing polarized light. In fact, it is said that in the ultraviolet alone, these little rapscallions have the same capability that humans have in normal light…

  3. I see that in January 2000 Silicon Valley Magazine ran an article about ID featuring quotes from Phillip Johnson with the title The Search for Intelligent Design in the Universe.

  4. If anyone wants to buy Whitlock’s book, Here’s some info:

    The Search for Intelligent Design
    by Duane L. Whitlock
    ISBN 0-533-15373-5 / 0533153735
    Vantage Press

    Yup, Vantage Press is a vanity publisher.
    From their How Does It Work page:

    You, the author, pay a fee for the publication of your book. The amount of the fee varies with each manuscript depending upon length and other factors which contribute to production costs. In return for the fee you pay, we publish your book and you receive 40% of the retail price of every book sold at standard discounts. (The average bookseller gets 40% of the retail price and Vantage Press receives 20%.)

  5. Afarensis found an interesting piece on someone who married a Creationist

  6. ivy privy –

    Thanks for the comment on Mantis shrimp – that totaly made my day and gave me interesting ideas for a sci-fi story. . .

  7. This guy sounds a lot like I did when I was a teen. I was happy to embrace any notion that supported my faith and sounded reasonable – especialy if it was backed up by “scientists.” I think this is the case for most who embrace ID – it certainly is for a few of my friends. None of them are stupid, by any stretch and a couple are exceptionaly bright. But they are very excited about ID. Even going as far as shushing me when I point out that there is no reasonable evidence for it. They just say that it needs to gain more popular acceptance for more research funds – once the “real” research begins, of course we’ll see results.

    It is rather sad to see people who are very intelligent and mostly rational, embrace this crap.

  8. DuWayne,

    You could point out to them that funds have been readily available, but still no applications for research grants came in, and the DI now claims to have a secret research program.

  9. Of course everything is based on threes! There are really only three values, arithmetically: bigger, smaller, and just right. I call it the Three Bears principle. :-)

    Now, if we can only get those pesky binary computers to run on threes: instead of 5V and 0V, it could be +5, -5 and zero.

  10. Actually the three basics here on earth where we can see them are rules (e.g. design, natural laws such as gravity, genetic code), materials, and time. That’s what it takes to take a baby or an oak tree. Notice how I’ve cleverly switched the category from “fundamental forces” to “things needed to get something constructed.”

  11. Just a correction, but there are really just three forces. Physicists have unified the electomagnetic force and the weak nuclear force into what is sometimes called the “electro-weak” force. The Wikipedia article can be found here:

  12. While we’re at it, um… the three primary colors are not red, blue, and yellow. RGB monitors anyone? Actually, the primary colors are red, blue and green if you’re talking additive mixing and cyan, yellow, and magenta if you’re talking about subtractive mixing. Note that the primaries for additive mixing are the secondaries for subtractive mixing and vice versa. Oh yeah, going back to the photoreceptor commentary. Our cones are sensitive to, you guessed, red, blue and green.

  13. Obviously incorrect notions?

    You mean like the earth is not the center of the universe?
    The sun is not perfect? The earth is not round?
    Plate tectonics is obviously absurd?
    There is no ether as a medium for propagation of light?
    There is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference?

    The concepts above were “obviously incorrect” or absurd in their time. Just because you can’t wrap your brain around some concepts in your time doesn’t make them wrong. The proof of a natural theory is in its ability to predict nature.

    “Hold on – first, physicists generally accept four fundamental forces in the Universe – gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear forces and weak nuclear forces. Every freshman science major knows this.”

    He “knows this”? Or does he “believe it” because that is the dogma he has been taught? Then what is GUT all about?

  14. Sam, the theories you stated above where thought true based on the best available evidense. Some still are (the sun isn’t perfect, the earth is oval, the earth isn’t the centre of the universe, there IS NO ETHER as a medium for light, there IS NO such thing as an absolute frame of reference and E does equal mc^2). The ideas of this man and others like hims were also the best idea based on what was known at the time. Thing is, that time was hundreds of years ago. When a theory is proved wrong it is abandoned as should have been this clap trap.

  15. He was a serviceman in the Navy. If it weren’t for him and his colleagues, we just might be speaking Japanese right now. Have some respect for those who put their lives on the line so YOU could live a good life. He is no longer alive and he’s missed sorely.

  16. WTF? When did I disrespect him?

    The point was that the premise of his book was absurd. And it is. End of story.


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