Design inference

Gandalf systems and intelligent design

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In Salvo 15 (Winter 2010), Richard W. Stevens offers “What Gandalf Systems Tell Us About Intelligent Design”:

I first saw Gandalf in 1974. No, not the wizard of The Lord of the Rings. This Gandalf was the colorful box attached to a PDP 11-40 computer, its lights blinking almost rhythmically amid a tangle of wires in the slightly dusty lab office. It had a label in faux Olde English lettering with that whimsical brand name.What was this device named Gandalf? It was a modem, an electronic machine that translates information from one symbolic form to another. A modem is a device that mod ulates (encodes) and demodulates (decodes). Modems allow computers to communicate with one another over telephone lines, cable connections, or wireless links.

The 1974 Gandalf modem converted digital data into tones to send over a telephone line, and also converted tone codes coming in via that line back into digital data. If your personal computer or e-phone connects via WiFi, then there are two modems involved to convey data over that connection.

In short, a modem is an encoder–decoder device. With a wink to J. R. R. Tolkien, let’s call any device that receives information, encodes it into symbols, and can receive the same kinds of symbols and convert them into information, a Gandalf system. And let’s consider this idea: the existence of a Gandalf system gives strong evidence of intelligent design. More here.

14 Replies to “Gandalf systems and intelligent design

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Would it be useful to distinguish what a modem is, or what it does, from what it is used for?

    IOW, that which it is converting may or may not be information.

    Would this distinction at all impact the original thesis?

    the existence of a Gandalf system gives strong evidence of intelligent design.

  2. 2
    Noesis says:

    This is your big chance, Upright BiPed.

  3. 3
    Noesis says:

    Mung (1):

    The distinction between data and information is important. Translation of DNA sequences into AA sequences is data processing.

    Obviously, researchers in the life sciences have had no problem with referring to the “genetic code.” But I believe that coding theorists should object to the usage. Contrary to what the Salvo article claims, there is no “Gandalf system” in the cell. There are cellular processes that have been analogized to decoders, but none that has been analogized to an encoder. And without an encoder, there is no coding system.

  4. 4
    Joseph says:

    Umm, the designer(s) would be the encoder(s).

    Just sayin’…

  5. 5
    Noesis says:

    Try just readin’ a bit more closely, e.g., “in the cell.”

    The article claims that the “Gandalf system” is present in the cell.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Johnson points out that there are millions of computers communicating with each within each cell in the following video starting at about the 3:30 minute mark;

    The Cell – A World Of Complexity Darwin Never Dreamed Of – Donald E. Johnson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4139390/

    Entire video:
    http://www.ideaclubtcw.org/video/DEJohnson.html

    The DNA Code – Solid Scientific Proof Of Intelligent Design – Perry Marshall – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060532

    “A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor). It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required. ,,,there is no known law of nature and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter. Werner Gitt 1997 In The Beginning Was Information pp. 64-67, 79, 107.”
    (The retired Dr Gitt was a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig), the Head of the Department of Information Technology.)

    Moreover the first DNA code of life on earth had to be at least as complex as the current DNA code found in life:

    Shannon Information – Channel Capacity – Perry Marshall – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5457552/

    “Because of Shannon channel capacity that previous (first) codon alphabet had to be at least as complex as the current codon alphabet (DNA code), otherwise transferring the information from the simpler alphabet into the current alphabet would have been mathematically impossible”
    Donald E. Johnson – Bioinformatics: The Information in Life

    moreover there are multiple overlapping codes working in tight integration with each other;

    “In the last ten years, at least 20 different natural information codes were discovered in life, each operating to arbitrary conventions (not determined by law or physicality). Examples include protein address codes [Ber08B], acetylation codes [Kni06], RNA codes [Fai07], metabolic codes [Bru07], cytoskeleton codes [Gim08], histone codes [Jen01], and alternative splicing codes [Bar10].
    Donald E. Johnson – Programming of Life – pg.51 – 2010

    etc.. etc..

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    This is a better link for the Dr. Johnson video;

    Bioinformatics: The Information in Life
    http://vimeo.com/11314902

    here is Dr. Johnson’s home site;

    Science Integrity – Exposing Unsubstantiated Science Claims
    http://scienceintegrity.net/default.aspx

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    On a slide in the preceding video, entitled ‘Information Systems In Life’, Dr. Johnson points out that:

    * the genetic system is a pre-existing operating system;

    * the specific genetic program (genome) is an application;

    * the native language has codon-based encryption system;
    * the codes are read by enzyme computers with their own operating system;

    * each enzyme’s output is to another operating system in a ribosome;

    * codes are decrypted and output to tRNA computers;

    * each codon-specified amino acid is transported to a protein construction site; and

    * in each cell, there are multiple operating systems, multiple programming languages, encoding/decoding hardware and software, specialized communications systems, error detection/correction systems, specialized input/output for organelle control and feedback, and a variety of specialized “devices” to accomplish the tasks of life.

  9. 9
    Joseph says:

    Noesis:

    Try just readin’ a bit more closely, e.g., “in the cell.”

    The article claims that the “Gandalf system” is present in the cell.

    Exactly.

    DNA -> mRNA = encode

    mRNA -> protein = decode

  10. 10
    Noesis says:

    Joseph,

    The first transformation is copying of DNA to a complementary strand of RNA. If you want to fob off chemical complementation as encoding, go argue with someone else.

  11. 11
    Joseph says:

    Noesis:

    The first transformation is copying of DNA to a complementary strand of RNA.

    Transcription is converting from one form to another:

    <a href=http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encodeencode:to specifiy the genetic code for

    That is what mRNA is for- the gnetic code.

    If you want to fob off chemical complementation as encoding, go argue with someone else.

    I’m not arguing with you. I am informing you.

    transcroption (summary):

    Gene expression occurs in two steps:

    •transcription of the information encoded in DNA into a molecule of RNA (described here) and

    •translation of the information encoded in the nucleotides of mRNA into a defined sequence of amino acids in a protein

  12. 12
    Noesis says:

    Joseph,

    Biologists generally throw around terms like “information” and “code” quite casually.

  13. 13
    RClayderman says:

    Response to Noesis – New Book Develops The Point:

    The previous poster supplied the response to Noesis that showed there are “Gandalf systems” within the cells.

    A new book available now in 2016, entitled Evolution 2.0, by Perry Marshall, devotes chapter 7 to explaining that encoding and decoding occur in the cell, and that DNA is itself “code,” i.e., information in coded form.

    The Gandalf article was correct, the Programming of Life book and video are correct, and Marshall’s book confirms why.

    Noesis’s posts did not undermine the fact that whenever we find a code, along with its encoder and decoder devices, we have found irrefutable evidence of intelligent design.

    Marshall’s Evolution 2.0 confirms that view, summarized on pages 206-207.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Noesis, there is no mechanical, forced connexion of necessity between monomer triplets in mRNA and start/stop operations, or adding specific amino acids to elongate the relevant chain. And indeed, there are about two dozen variants or dialects. Plus, we have snipping and splicing to form mRNA strings. mRNA is a string data structure, which is part of a key cellular information system based life process, protein synthesis. You would be well advised to note that here at UD you are dealing with interlocutors who are familiar with machine code and information processing at that level. The loose language, loose analogy talking point fails, and in so failing it inadvertently reveals how strong the point you wish to brush aside is. KF

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