Intelligent lack of design

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The most recent Scenes From a Multiverse cleverly combines the intelligent design controversy with (an indirect form of) the Cretan liar's paradox:


  1. Kylopod said,

    March 29, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    This is not a new idea. I remember some theological discussions about the Bible Codes, concerning what you'd do if you found a code that seemed to contradict religious doctrine–like, for Jews, finding a code that says "Thou shalt eat pork," or for Christians, "Jesus is not the Son of God."

  2. YM said,

    March 29, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    Pshaw. The latest research in historical linguistics proves that the book of Genesis is literally true.

  3. Chad Nilep said,

    March 29, 2012 @ 11:00 pm


    Gee, it's based on Jared Diamond's question about one paper, so it must be true.

  4. Layra said,

    March 29, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

    Is that better or worse than the message in this Dresden Codak strip?

  5. NW said,

    March 30, 2012 @ 3:43 am

    Surely if you sequence enough monkeys, you can find any message.

  6. Sili said,

    March 30, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    That would certainly solve that annoying Creationist gotcha question: "If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"

    Sequence *all* the monkeys!

  7. Dan Hemmens said,

    March 30, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    I was going to say that it wasn't a version of the Cretan Liar Paradox since it isn't actually a paradox at all, but then I realized that the Cretan Liar Paradox isn't actually a paradox either.

    In both cases, all you get is a false self-referential statement (like "this sentence contains exactly three words") – the fact that monkey's DNA contains a message strongly implies that it did not evolve naturally, but nothing precludes a non-naturally-evolving monkey from having a message in its DNA claiming otherwise.

    Plus I confess, I was kind of hoping that the message would be "ceci n'est pas un singe."

  8. Pharmamom said,

    March 31, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Or perhaps "this monkey is a businessman."

  9. Circe said,

    March 31, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    There is also the Mitchell and Webb There is no God sketch about signs.

  10. EndlessWaves said,

    March 31, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    I'd assume the incredible odds against it precludes a natural occurrence of this from practical consideration.

    I think the paradox in this case is that if the monkey was naturally evolved to begin with and our mischievous alien comes along and tags it to say so then is the monkey still naturally evolved?

  11. Jess Tauber said,

    April 14, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    There are all sorts of relations in the Periodic Table (both electronic and nuclear) that point to the Pascal Triangle and its mathematical relationships. This includes deep diagonals (natural number, triangulars, tetrahedrals, pentatopes…) and shallow ones (which sum to Fibonacci number), the horizontals (which code things like quadratic equation coefficients, powers of 11, counts of dimensionally defined aspects of polytopes (vertices, edges, faces, bodies…) and more. Not limited to the classical Pascal system either- the 2,1-sided 'sister' gives odd number rather than naturals, squares instead of triangulars, square pyramidal numbers in place of tetrahedrals and on the shallows both Fibonacci and Lucas numbers. Nor ir the atomic math limted to just those number related to the Golden Ratio- we find other Metal Means as well. All this is 'about' packing and growth in space and time, mass and energy. That so many of these relations seem to built right into the periodic table(s) would seem to imply some sort of optimization, if not design. Many of the 'tweaks' seem to aid in higher level combinatorics. So the system has language-like features (as does the genomic/proteomic realm).

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