Posted by: Dan | March 23, 2007

Detecting the Designer Among Flagellar Componentry

Here’s an oldie but goodie, reproduced from MikeGene’s Telic Thoughts. He has this spoof scientific paper tagged as “humor,” but it’s about as close as intelligent design proponents get to being scientific about their pet “theory.” Additional footage from YouTube is available at the end of the post, summarizing a hypothetical exchange between reviewers and the manuscript author.


A major short-coming of Intelligent Design Theory has been its reluctance to identify the designer. This study addresses this problem and firmly establishes the reality of Intelligent Design.

Most design theorists are uncomfortable talking about the designer. Wedgecentric analysis has demonstrated this reluctance to be part of a sinister plot to foist a theocracy on an unsuspecting, scientifically-illiterate, Bush-electing public. If intelligent design is to be recognized for the science that it is, it must eschew this deception and show the scientific community the designer.

It has been proven that the bacterial flageller was designed. It is so complex that it must have been designed. It’s not just complex; it’s really, really complex. Think of the most complex thing you can think of. Well, the bacterial flageller is way more complex than that. Ergo, it could not possibly have come together in a tornado, so it just had to be designed.

Since designers must be in the vicinity of their designs, I hypothesized that a simple survey of flagerated bacterium would turn up the designer, sooner or later. I decided to look through 1 x 10^150 bacterial colonies in the hope of detecting the designer.

The following is a re-enactment of the study I completed.

Results

The investigator looked at 3 plates/day for 120 days in the hope of seeing the designer. Since each plate contained approximately 300 colonies, a total of 1.08 x 10^5 colonies were looked at. No positive colonies were scored. Discouraged by the idea of screening through another 145 plates, a minor adjustment in the methodology was made (see Methods).

After appropriate set up, the investigator began to sense the designer was near late one night when no one was in the lab. The investigator quickly secured plate #112 with bacteria (Figure 1). The investigator heard a faint sound coming from plate. A closer look at the plate showed nothing unusual (Figure 2).

The plate was returned to the bench when the sound was heard again. This time, the investigator took the plate and put it under a dissecting scope (Figure 3). As can be seen from the re-enactment, a faint blue dot was seen on one of the colonies.

At this point, the investigator pulled out the special designer-detecting instrument and used it to enhance the image of the scope. Something clearly was on the colony (Figure 4), but the image was oddly blurred, as if the designer was trying to hide.

The investigator then took his two hands, rubbed his eyes three times, waited precisely 12 seconds, and looked again. This time, the designer was identified as clearly seen in the re-enactment shown in Figure 5.

Discussion

The designer has been seen by at least one investigator. With this growing consensus, it is time to introduce design into the public high schools. Future studies will attempt to make contact with the designer.

Methods

100 micrograms of lysergic acid diethylamide was consumed by the investigator prior to sceening bacteria plates. After a delay of 10 minutes, 100 ml of 95% ethanol was also added to the investigator. The designer-detecting instrument (DDI) was constructed by purchasing a magnifying lens from K-Mart and sending it to Venetian Way Holdings Inc. for a blessing. The DDI can be used in conjunction with any standard dissecting scope by using it while looking through the eye pieces.


And the promised YouTube video, A Brief History of Contemporary Intelligent Design (HT Pharyngula):


Responses

  1. He has this spoof scientific paper tagged as “humor,” but it’s about as close as intelligent design proponents get to being scientific about their pet “theory.”

    That’s nothign short of a lie, and the sad thing is, you know it.

  2. “That’s nothign [sic] short of a lie, and the sad thing is, you know it.”

    You are correct, nanosoliton: During the Kitzmiller trial, Defense expert Michael Behe testified that ID is science, according to his definition of science.

    Of course, his definition of science is just slightly different than the NAS definition. His definition of science is broad enough to include a few things that are not science under the NAS definition. These few things are not anything that anyone should worry about though. They’re just a couple of other things that Behe includes within the scope of his definition of science. Nothing to worry about. Just some other things that are sort of science-ish. Like aetheric propagation of light. And, well, astrology.

  3. Allen MacNeill is taking on another controversial topic this summer: Is Religion Adaptive?

  4. nanosoliton,
    How else have IDers tried to study the designer’s identity or methodology then?

    Intelligent design’s arguments rest entirely upon (bad) arguments against evolution, with not even the glimmer of interest in actually studying anything in an experimental setting.

    Scratch that – why waste my time? Can creationists ever understand??

  5. I’m a young scientist and about to do a doctoral studies. I have grown quite quite religious and hold firmly to my beliefs. Despite my religious upbringing I enjoy science, that why I see myself continuing in a career as a molecular biologist. Now, this discussion about ID/evolution I have tried very much to avoid. However, it seems to me for you to be a credible scientist you have to eschew religion. Is it just antithetical to be a scientist and religious? Can there be any common ground?

  6. ramihs,

    However, it seems to me for you to be a credible scientist you have to eschew religion. Is it just antithetical to be a scientist and religious? Can there be any common ground?

    There are a great many scientists out there arguing both for and against there being a “common ground.” For myself, I don’t think there can be a common ground, as the philosophies (more fundamentally than merely the subject matters) of science and theology are indeed antithetical.

    Simply put, if you take an informed and skeptical view of whether god(s) exist, such deities appear to be mere figments of the imagination; alternatively, if you apply the logic of Paley and Aquinas to science, you start finding that things like astrology and homeopathy start gaining validity. Their methods of determining what constitutes logic are just not compatible.

    But as I said, there are plenty of scientists who somehow, in their own minds, reconcile their religion with science. Most of those appear to do so by walling off certain topics from skeptical inquiry – it just feels good to accept certain things, things that sound very silly to other cultures, yet comfort them and don’t adversely effect their daily lives. That’s fine, I guess, it just sounds silly and intellectually lazy to me.


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