Intelligent Design

Is E.T. calling us? Stay tuned!

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New Scientist magazine reports on a paper by Hippke, Domainko and Learned, suggesting that fast radio bursts, which were first discovered in 2001, may be artificial signals produced by alien – or human – technology. Ten fast bursts of radio waves have been detected within the past 15 years, and the delay between the arrival of the first and last waves is always very close to a multiple of 187.5. The authors claim there is a 5 in 10,000 probability that the line-up is coincidence, and they argue that no known natural process can explain this curious fact. They conclude that if the signals are not due to “a [natural] galactic source producing quantized chirped signals” (which would be “most surprising”) then “an artificial source (human or non-human) must be considered, particularly since most bursts have been observed in only one location (Parkes radio telescope).” The authors consider the possibility that fast radio bursts are “Earthly noise” – a strong possibility, since they “show arrival times with a strong correlation to Earth’s integer second,” which “hints at some man-made device, such as mobile phone base stations.” The article in New Scientist points out that if the signals are produced by aliens, “the aliens would have to be from what SETI scientists call a Kardashev Type II civilisation” – one which “has a star’s worth of output at its disposal,” and is capable of capturing all its sun’s radiation, throwing material into a black hole and sucking up the radiation, or alternatively, traveling to many planets and stripping them of resources.

What do readers think about these curious radio signals? Are they human, alien or natural? Whatever your conclusion may be, this is a clear-cut case of Intelligent Design reasoning at work in the scientific realm.

9 Replies to “Is E.T. calling us? Stay tuned!

  1. 1
    Sebestyen says:

    I think they shouldn’t even mention the possibility of aliens as long as they’re not even able to tell for sure if those are “earthly noises” or signals from outer space. It’s ridiculous…

    Sebestyen

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    “Quantized chirped signals”. Not peeps? That rules out hyper-intelligent intergalactic bonobos.

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    Um, the chirps don’t come from any particular DIRECTION?? How exactly are they being received? And since Earthly use of burst transmission of radio messages is used for the purpose of making them harder to detect and decode, only really dumb aliens would attempt to use compressed messages to send Earth greetings along the line of “Hi, this is Zeta Reticuli. Please send more ‘I Love Lucy’.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick, each atheists, both appealed to ETs rather than God to explain life.
    Richard Dawkins stated the situation as such in his interview with Ben Stein:

    BEN STEIN: “What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in evolution?”
    DAWKINS: “Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”
    – Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview (3:18 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc

    Francis Crick was much more explicit than Dawkins, and stated it best in his book “Life Itself”

    “Life did not evolve first on Earth; a highly advanced civilization became threatened so they devised a way to pass on their existence. They genetically-modified their DNA and sent it out from their planet on bacteria or meteorites with the hope that it would collide with another planet. It did, and that’s why we’re here. The DNA molecule is the most efficient information storage system in the entire universe. The immensity of complex, coded and precisely sequenced information is absolutely staggering. The DNA evidence speaks of intelligent, information-bearing design.
    Complex DNA coding would have been necessary for even the hypothetical first so-called’ simple cell(s). Our DNA was encoded with messages from that other civilization. They programmed the molecules so that when we reached a certain level of intelligence, we would be able to access their information, and they could therefore — teach” us about ourselves, and how to progress. For life to form by chance is mathematically virtually impossible.”
    Francis Crick – Life Itself – September 1982

    Although to be clear, Crick, though he said ‘DNA evidence speaks of intelligent, information-bearing design’, emphatically stated elsewhere that what we see in biology was merely the ‘appearance of design’ that we are seeing.

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – July 1990

    But alas, the ‘appearance of design’ in life dies extremely hard.
    Some researchers have apparently taken Crick’s suggestion that, “Our DNA was encoded with messages from that other civilization”, seriously and they now claim to have detected the extraterrestrial ‘WOW signal’ in DNA

    In the Planetary Science Journal Icarus, the “Wow!” Signal of Intelligent Design – March 12, 2013
    Excerpt: “The ‘Wow! signal’ of the terrestrial genetic code.” Their paper has been accepted for publication in the prestigious planetary science journal Icarus, where it’s already available online.
    Their title comes from a curious SETI signal back in 1977 that looked so artificial at first, a researcher wrote “Wow!” next to it.,,,
    “Here we show that the terrestrial code displays a thorough precision-type orderliness matching the criteria to be considered an informational signal. Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of the same symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing rather than of stochastic processes (the null hypothesis that they are due to chance coupled with presumable evolutionary pathways is rejected with P-value < 10-13)."
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69941.html

    The problem with Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick, as well as the “WOW” researchers, appealing to ETs to explain the ‘appearance of design’ in DNA is that information is uniquely the product intelligence.
    In fact, unguided material processes have never been observed to create a single instance of functional information.
    In fact, just one observed instance of material processes creating non-trivial functional information would falsify Intelligent Design:

    “The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.
    Now let’s turn that around and ask, How do we falsify the contention that natural selection produced the bacterial flagellum? If that same scientist went into the lab and knocked out the bacterial flagellum genes, grew the bacterium for a long time, and nothing much happened, well, he’d say maybe we didn’t start with the right bacterium, maybe we didn’t wait long enough, maybe we need a bigger population, and it would be very much more difficult to falsify the Darwinian hypothesis.
    I think the very opposite is true. I think intelligent design is easily testable, easily falsifiable, although it has not been falsified, and Darwinism is very resistant to being falsified. They can always claim something was not right.”
    – Dr Michael Behe

    Paul Nelson used the fact that only intelligence can create functional information to argue that Methodological Naturalism should be dumped as the prior assumption of science. (Personally, I never thought that science had any prior assumptions until I heard atheists invoke Methodological Naturalism as supposedly ‘THE’ uncompromising assumption of science).

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And indeed, as Dr. Nelson pointed out, there is a very sharp dividing line between what minds produce and what the laws of physics produce.

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    Of related note, free will, (which atheists insist is merely an illusion), is strongly correlated with our innate ability to create functional information:

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    And yet free will, and consciousness, though necessary for the creation of functional information, are not reducible to the laws of physics, but are both considered “axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory.”

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will

    In fact, not only is consciousness considered an ‘axiom’ of quantum physics, but consciousness is now found to precede material reality.
    In other words, due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Excerpt:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    And to solidify the inference that information comes only from a conscious Mind, and the inference that the conscious Mind of God precedes all of material relality, it is now found that material reality reduces to a ‘information theoretic’ foundational basis:

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    also see quantum teleportation

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an inherent ability to understand and create information.
    I guess a more convincing evidence could be that God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such a convincing evidence as that?

    Turin Shroud Quantum Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ – video
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J21MECNU

    Solid Oval Object Under The Beard
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/s.....-the-beard

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

    Of supplemental note:

    Tyson: “Their (SETIs) goal is the ultimate prize in the life finding game. Someone out there we can talk to.”
    Shostak: “Nothing to do but sit here and wait for them to call.”
    (And exactly at that moment the phone rings right behind Shostak).
    Shostak: “And on cue they’ve called.”
    – quotes as stated at 11:22 minute mark – Where are the Aliens Origins Nova Neil Degrasse Tyson – video –
    https://youtu.be/6pSYBwyP-Yo?t=677

    As a Christian who has seen a few answered prayers during my life, I find it strange that the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) organization spends millions of dollars vainly searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life in this universe, when all anyone has to do to make solid contact with THE primary ‘extra-terrestrial intelligence’ of the entire universe is to pray with a sincere heart. God, who created heaven and earth, certainly does not hide from those who sincerely seek Him.
    I would think that personally communicating with the Creator of the universe would be a lot more exciting than not communicating with some little green men that in all realistic probability, given naturalism, do not even exist.

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    “All my discoveries have been made in an answer to prayer.”
    Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727)

    “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.”
    George Washington Carver

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Old SF fans like me have long been aware that radio waves are not a very practical form of interstellar communication They take too long to get there.

    I still remember the old TV show that brought it home to me. It was a short-lived series called (IIRC) Men into Space made in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The episode in question concerned an alien signal picked up by a radio telescope on a Moonbase. They determined that the point of origin seemed to be a star that was something like 500 light years away, relatively close in Galactic terms. The point being made was that whoever sent the signal, if they were anything like us, would have been long dead and that any reply we sent wouldn’t arrive until the senders were long dead. At the time that made my hair stand on end.

    Oner other question concerning radio transmissions is that we have been broadcasting into space for maybe a hundred years, for the sake of argument. So there is an expanding bubble of these emissions, currently about 200 light years in diameter spreading outwards at the speed of light. My question is, given that the signals are getting fainter and fainter as they spread outwards, at what point do they become so weak that they are lost in the background radio noise of the Universe?

  7. 7
    REW says:

    If we knew for a fact that there were aliens in that particular region of space then in lieu of a natural explanation, explaining it as ETs would be reasonable. But we haven’t established the existence of aliens and there are good reasons for thinking intelligent aliens would be extremely unlikely. So a natural explanation is much better at this point.
    We do know that intelligent creatures could evolve on the surface of a planet, as we have, and we humans could conceivably send such a signal one day so we have a justification for a design explanation.
    This could be a case where we say that the design provides evidence of the designer, but that only works when we’ve ruled out every natural explanation, and that can only happened when we have a complete understanding of everything in the universe- which is impossible.
    If we could somehow decode the signal and it was clear that is was a communication then that would be positive evidence. More positive evidence would be if we could use our telescopes to visualize a VERY large created object ( Death Star?) in the vicinity of the signal.

    The false alarms we’ve had in the past, such as the “LGM signal” should also make one wary. On the other hand there is still the ‘OMG’ signal from the 70s ( or 80s?) which still defies explanation

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    “We do know that intelligent creature could evolve on the surface of a planet, as we have,”

    You do realize that you are posting on Uncommon Descent, where it is not a given that humans, or any other life, randomly evolved by unguided material processes? i.e. Hence the ‘Serving The Intelligent Design Community’ header?

    You may be able to state what you just stated on PZ Myer’s blog without question, and even be applauded for it, but here you are required to actually provide empirical evidence to prove your claim. Good luck with that. You will need it. No one, despite years of looking, has been able to provide any empirical evidence to back up your claim that unguided material processes can produce any non-trivial functional complexity/information (much less produce humans).

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

  9. 9
    DennisM says:

    Well, some radio chirps were identified as coming from the microwave oven at the cafe next to the Parkes radio telescope. Can’t help but wonder if there aren’t other devices somewhere behaving in a similar way.
    http://www.skyandtelescope.com.....-05122015/

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