Darwinism Evolution Genomics ID Intelligent Design

Hidden Code of the Future

At Phys.Org there’s a press release that talks about how “information” can be “hidden” in plain text. They use some kind of ‘perturbation’ method, which, I suspect is linked to some kind of set of statistics.

Here’s what they say:

Computer scientists at Columbia Engineering have invented FontCode, a new way to embed hidden information in ordinary text by imperceptibly changing, or perturbing, the shapes of fonts in text. FontCode creates font perturbations, using them to encode a message that can later be decoded to recover the message. . . .

“While there are obvious applications for espionage, we think FontCode has even more practical uses for companies wanting to prevent document tampering or protect copyrights, and for retailers and artists wanting to embed QR codes and other metadata without altering the look or layout of a document,” says Changxi Zheng, associate professor of computer science and the paper’s senior author.

Scientists have already found different types of ‘codes’ at work in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. I suspect that someday soon they will discover something along the lines of FontCode also “embedded” in the ‘ordinary text’ of DNA.

This is an ID prediction. It is based, as is the technique described by the PR, on “information theory,” something that didn’t exist in the 19th Century. This type of ‘coding’ is now ‘hidden’ from us, but, when we know what to look for, will be ‘discovered.’

8 Replies to “Hidden Code of the Future

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    How is this an ID prediction? How is a designer involved, and why could such an unknown code not have evolved, and biology just not have advanced far enough for us to notice it?

    BTW, the perturbation is simply to change a font slightly (i.e. perturb it), so that the differences can be recognised by a computer, but not by the naked eye. No statistics involved in the perturbation (but machine learning is used to recognise the perturbations).

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Codes only come from intelligent agents, Bob. And ID is OK with the code evolving by means of intelligent design

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “How is this an ID prediction?”

    ID ‘predicts’ that information, particularly coded information, only comes from a mind.

    “How is a designer involved,”

    Via Agent Causality, i.e. Only intelligent agents are known to devise codes.

    “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.)

    “and why could such an unknown code not have evolved,”

    Ask Richard Dawkins that question:

    Venter vs. Dawkins on the Tree of Life – and Another Dawkins Whopper – March 2011
    Excerpt:,,, But first, let’s look at the reason Dawkins gives for why the code must be universal:
    “The reason is interesting. Any mutation in the genetic code itself (as opposed to mutations in the genes that it encodes) would have an instantly catastrophic effect, not just in one place but throughout the whole organism. If any word in the 64-word dictionary changed its meaning, so that it came to specify a different amino acid, just about every protein in the body would instantaneously change, probably in many places along its length. Unlike an ordinary mutation…this would spell disaster.” (2009, p. 409-10)
    OK. Keep Dawkins’ claim of universality in mind, along with his argument for why the code must be universal, and then go here (linked site listing 19 variants of the genetic code).
    Simple counting question: does “one or two” equal 19? That’s the number of known variant genetic codes compiled by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. By any measure, Dawkins is off by an order of magnitude, times a factor of two.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....44681.html

    Collective evolution and the genetic code – 2006:
    Excerpt: The genetic code could well be optimized to a greater extent than anything else in biology and yet is generally regarded as the biological element least capable of evolving.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10696.full

    Universal Genetic Code? No! – January 18, 2016
    Excerpt: “To date, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which houses all published DNA sequences (as well as RNA and protein sequences), currently acknowledges nineteen different coding languages for DNA… “,,,
    This was a shock to me. As an impressionable young student at the University of Rochester, I was taught quite definitively that there is only one code for DNA, and it is universal. This, of course, is often cited as evidence for evolution.,,,
    In the end, it seems to me that this wide variation in the genetic code deals a serious blow to the entire hypothesis of common ancestry, at least the way it is currently constructed. Perhaps that’s why I hadn’t heard about it until reading Dr. Rossiter’s excellent book.
    http://blog.drwile.com/?p=14280

    “and biology just not have advanced far enough for us to notice it?”

    I have no clue what that question is suppose to mean.

    Of final note, if I recall correctly, in the following video Trifonov speaks of a newly discovered genetic code that was defined by the specific shapes of the molecules in the sequence.

    Second, third, fourth… genetic codes – One spectacular case of code crowding – Edward N. Trifonov – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDB3fMCfk0E

    In the preceding video, Trifonov elucidates codes that are, simultaneously, in the same sequence, coding for DNA curvature, Chromatin Code, Amphipathic helices, and NF kappaB. In fact, at the 58:00 minute mark he states, “Reading only one message, one gets three more, practically GRATIS!”. And please note that this was just an introductory lecture in which Trifinov just covered the very basics and left many of the other codes out of the lecture. Codes which code for completely different, yet still biologically important, functions. In fact, at the 7:55 mark of the video, there are 13 codes that are listed on a powerpoint, although the writing was too small for me to read.

    Concluding powerpoint of the lecture (at the 1 hour mark):
    “Not only are there many different codes in the sequences, but they overlap, so that the same letters in a sequence may take part simultaneously in several different messages.”
    Edward N. Trifonov – 2010

    From wikipedia we find:

    Multiple genetic codes
    Excerpt: Trifonov,, was also the first one to demonstrate[20] that there are multiple codes present in the DNA. He points out that even so called non-coding DNA has a function, i.e. contains codes, although different from the triplet code.
    Trifonov recognizes[19]:5–10 specific codes in the DNA, RNA and proteins:,,

    chromatin code (Trifonov 1980)
    RNA-to-protein translation code (triplet code)
    framing code (Trifonov 1987)
    translation pausing code (Makhoul & Trifonov 2002) protein folding code (Berezovsky, Grosberg & Trifonov 2000)
    fast adaptation codes (Trifonov 1989)
    binary code (Trifonov 2006)
    genome segmentation code (Kolker & Trifonov 1995)

    The codes can overlap[19]:10 each other so that up to 4 different codes can be identified in one DNA sequence (specifically a sequence involved in a nucleosome). According to Trifonov, other codes are yet to be discovered.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....etic_codes

    Trifanov EN – Genetic sequences as products of compression by inclusive superposition of many codes. Mol Biol 31:647–654. – 1997
    Excerpt: The genomic DNA sequence is, therefore, an unusual example of natural sequence compression where, apparently, each single symbol not only is not wasted, but is also used simultaneously in many superimposed messages.
    http://www.garfield.library.up...../6766.html
    Codes of biosequences – E. N. Trifonov – 2007
    http://is.muni.cz/el/1431/jaro.....uences.pdf

    DNA Caught Rock ‘N Rollin’: On Rare Occasions DNA Dances Itself Into a Different Shape – January 2011
    Excerpt: Because critical interactions between DNA and proteins are thought to be directed by both the sequence of bases and the flexing of the molecule, these excited states represent a whole new level of information contained in the genetic code,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104244.htm

  4. 4
    groovamos says:

    Bob How is this an ID prediction? How is a designer involved, and why could such an unknown code not have evolved, and biology just not have advanced far enough for us to notice it

    Information does not exist outside the context of intelligence, mind, or consciousness. And codes are structures within information theory. Biologists may claim that information in the genome was created by chaos, but this has never been and never will be proven.

    Information can be categorised in various ways. Here is a crack at it:

    (1) information acquired by humans by observation, measurement, estimation, imaging, data acquisition, sound recording, etc. etc.
    (2) information springing from the creative process. This would include all of human creative activity, and that by non-human agents and would include CSI of Dempski. However this can be illusory in some ways because one person’s value of information may be such that another person’s information is worthless, or essentially non-informational in content.
    (3) Information exchanged by living things or within living things is a byproduct of the CSI of Dempsky. This may be a subcategory of (2)

    This is a rough outline and is an attempt to organise a topic that is not easy to nail down being somewhat squishy. However I am sure of one thing. If a biologist tells you that living things obtain information from the environment which is transferred to their genomes and thus the source of information there, this is pseudo-science. And you can prove it by asking said biologist how much information is in a grain of sand, or in a puddle of water. In other words science is all about quantifying, so such a claim should be backed up with answers, in the measure of information in bits.

  5. 5
    PaV says:

    Bob O’H:

    How is this an ID prediction? How is a designer involved, and why could such an unknown code not have evolved, and biology just not have advanced far enough for us to notice it?

    Briefly, this is an ID prediction because it correlates known intelligent activity as the source of characteristic markings associated in a ‘code’ (language). When, and if, similar ‘markings’ are found in the genetic code, ID theory would have ‘predicted’ that the “source of [these] markings associated [with] a ‘code'” would be found given the ‘nature’ of intelligence.

    As to “why . . . such an unknown code [could] not evolve,” is the same as saying these indistinguishable markings “evolved” through human usage of written language. Obviously, if these markings are “indistinguishable,” then they wouldn’t form part of the ‘evolution of language,’ and, if they somehow evolved, they would have done so without serving any function/purpose at all. As the Darwinists say, “No increase in ‘fitness’.”

    BTW, the perturbation is simply to change a font slightly (i.e. perturb it), so that the differences can be recognised by a computer, but not by the naked eye. No statistics involved in the perturbation (but machine learning is used to recognise the perturbations).

    I hardly looked at the paper, but, from the ‘markings’ I saw it looked like the computer was picking up these markings and then applying some kind of algorithm to them; that makes me suspect some kind of statistical weighing is involved.

  6. 6
    PaV says:

    Here’s the pdf of the paper, and here’s a quote:

    In coding theory, maximum likelihood decoding is not an algorithm.
    Rather, it is a decoding philosophy, a framework that models
    the decoding process from a probabilistic rather than an algebraic
    point of view. Consider a letter block C and the code vector r˜ formed
    by the extracted integers from C. We treat the true codeword r encoded
    by C as a latent variable (in statistic language), and model the probability of r given the extracted code vector r˜, namely P(r |r˜).

    With this likelihood model, our decoding process finds a codeword r
    that maximizes the probability P(r |r˜),
    and decodes r into an integer using the Chinese Remainder theorem formula (1).

    Looks like I was right.

  7. 7
    polistra says:

    Steganography is extremely old. Altering the font is one of the old methods. Steganography was always used by spies, and always used for copyright protection and commercial signals.

    Nature uses steganography all the time. Nervous systems are extremely good at detecting a slight change in a habitual pattern. A stranger won’t notice it but a friend or family member will; so a slight change is a good way to leave a coded message or a call for help.

    Why is this even news?

  8. 8
    PaV says:

    polistra:

    I’m making a prediction. Darwinism can’t do that. It’s all a posteriori since all of its predictions fail to materialize.

    So, when the prediction comes to pass, then it will be ‘news.’

    A stranger won’t notice it but a friend or family member will; so a slight change is a good way to leave a coded message or a call for help.

    Yes, intelligent agents can, and do, use systems of code.

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