Intelligent Design

Detecting Design — that’s not science; Detecting Intent — that’s science

Spread the love

How is it that when cognitive psychologists and computational intelligence engineers detect user intent, they are doing science, but when ID theorists detect design in biological systems, they aren’t? There’s a double standard here. ID might fail as a science — methods of design detection might be defective or fail to yield a positive result, but to say that their application does not even constitute science, as Judge John E. Jones III ruled in Kitzmiller v. Dover, is on its face ludicrous. Consider the following letter from a colleague:

Bill,

I wondered if science did any studies on “intent detection” so I searched Google. The focus has always been on the phrase “design detection” so it never occured to me that science might be doing research under an alias like this. Here’s one article I came across.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030815074654.htm

Sandia Team Develops Cognitive Machines — Machines Accurately Infer User Intent, Remember Experiences And Allow Users To Call Upon Simulated Experts

“Over the past five years a team led by Sandia cognitive psychologist Chris Forsythe has been developing cognitive machines that accurately infer user intent, remember experiences with users and allow users to call upon simulated experts to help them analyze situations and make decisions.”

Question 1: Does the computer really infer intent or is the program written in such a way as to cause the computer to infer intent where there is none?

Question 2: If code can be written to infer intent then why can’t code be written to infer design since design and intent are inseperably linked?

Question 3: How is this science different than the “non-science” of design detection? I don’t see any difference.

Regards,
[snip]

10 Replies to “Detecting Design — that’s not science; Detecting Intent — that’s science

  1. 1
    DaveScot says:

    Hey Bill, I guess we both woke up this morning thinking about double standards and posted articles about it just minutes apart. Weird huh?

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    How is this science different than the “non-science” of design detection? I don’t see any difference.

    This is different from design detection because here, once we have inferred intent, we don’t try to identify the intenter, And thus, the question of who intended the intenter never comes up.

  3. 3
    DonaldM says:

    Dave S

    Hey Bill, I guess we both woke up this morning thinking about double standards and posted articles about it just minutes apart. Weird huh?

    Hmmm…was there a ‘higher’ intention at work? Or is it just one of those undireted, natually caused events? Could science even tell us?…for these and other questions, stay tuned!!

  4. 4
    dgw says:

    Deception detection (lie detection) is another variant on this. This harks back to Dembski’s earlier work on detecting polling place irregularities.

  5. 5
    Lurker says:

    Question 2: If code can be written to infer intent then why can’t code be written to infer design since design and intent are inseperably linked?

    Question 3: How is this science different than the “non-science” of design detection? I don’t see any difference.

    These are the 2 questions I want PZ Myers and the raving lunatics at the Panda’s Thumb to answer. I know they read this blog so let’s see if they can provide some coherent answers. Not holding my breath though.

  6. 6
    BK says:

    Darwinists are masters of the double standard. In fact, each one individually carries around a personal goal post to drop and move wherever it is needed most in order to appear like he is arguing rationally.

  7. 7
    ThePolynomial says:

    I think Mung, even in joking, has a point on the nature of the intenter.

    1. Here we know who is intenting…the nature of the intenter, and therefore it is more reasonable to build a model to detect his/her intent. We can set up trials to see whether we are right when it comes to this kind of intent.

    2. Also, these machines, it would appear (let me know if I’m reading wrong), aren’t detecting the presence of intent as much as they are detecting the nature of the intent. Presence is assumed. That’s a pretty big difference, no?

  8. 8
    Lurker says:

    1. Knowing who is intenting doesn’t help you answer the question “Did you intend?”

    2. If they aren’t detecting the presence of intent then how does the computer know that intent was present? Perhaps this is a given. But then if it’s a given doesn’t it follow that whatever you do is what you intended to do?

  9. 9
    improvius says:

    1. It’s safe to assume the user intends to do something, otherwise they wouldn’t be using the computer to begin with.

    2. Users can make mistakes, in which their actions do not match their intentions. Spell checkers would probably be an excelletn example of a machine that infers intent.

  10. 10
    crandaddy says:

    Machines cannot detect intent, and I don’t see how they could ever possibly be able to. Mental states such as purpose or “aboutness” generate profound difficulty for materialism (at least insofar as materialism is classically conceived). What we have in this article is an instrument of intentive design which is informed with logical patterns of purposive agency.

    Also, I would like to know of what significance the association of the intender with physical embodiment and subsequent physical causal ability is to this “intent detection” process. (How about none.)

Leave a Reply