Home » Intelligent Design, News, Peer review » Design inference used in detecting science fraud, but significance not really admitted

Design inference used in detecting science fraud, but significance not really admitted

In “Uncertainty shrouds psychologist’s resignation” (Nature, 12 July 2012), Ed Yong reports, “Lawrence Sanna departed University of Michigan amid questions over his work from ‘data detective’ Uri Simonsohn.”:

In one experiment, Sanna checked the willingness of volunteers to force other people to eat hot sauce in order to make them feel pain. The volunteers were tested after being in three positions: walking up or down a staircase or staying level. Simonsohn noticed that although the results for each of the three test positions had different means, they had uncannily similar standard deviations. “I ran simulations and the similarity was extremely unlikely for proper random samples,” he says.

Simonsohn found three other papers by Sanna2–4 and several from other researchers that used one of the methods found in the elevation paper — a cooperation game that involved fishing. “When other authors ran this paradigm, they got healthy-looking standard deviations. But when Sanna did, he got very similar ones,” says Simonsohn.

In September, Simonsohn sent an eight-page report detailing his concerns to Sanna and two of his senior co-authors. He received back raw data, which revealed, for example, almost identical ranges between the maximum and minimum data points, across different conditions. “That’s extremely rare,” Simonsohn says.

Notice that it was not at all like what happens when we discover that everything inside a cell just happens to be little machines, doing jobs. And someone whistles past the graveyard of Darwinism, to the tune of, oh, it was just natural selection, acting on random mutation. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on! Move on! Or else.

That fact attracted the attention of philosopher and photographer Laszlo Bencze, who writes us to say,

It’s interesting that in unmasking fraud, the investigator relies on statistical standards about how “extremely unlikely” or “extremely rare” something might be. Notably he does not use evolutionary reasoning: that even extremely rare events are nonetheless certain to happen sooner or later.

Common sense tells us to be highly skeptical about rare events, especially when they start popping up in profusion. The evolutionary mindset, on the other hand, urges calm acceptance. But calm acceptance of extraordinarily rare events blinds us to fraud. In fact such a mindset divests us of our reasoning power. Children from the ages of two to four are not entertained by magic shows because they calmly accept that anything is possible for adults. It’s the capacity for skepticism that makes magic entertaining.

If evolutionists were to be consistent in their understanding of the world they would be as naive as children. As this article once again reveals, no evolutionist is consistent with his world view. All of them, in order to function at all, must contradict their world view.

Of course Darwin’s men will say that the human mind evolved for fitness, not for truth, so the design inference is just an illusion.

Well then, why did that guy Sanna have to resign? The blobs of brain jelly that judged him were no more rational than any other, because there is no such concept in Darwin’s world. Darwin trembled at the horrid thought, but he accepted it. One wonders whether he guessed that his followers would.

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9 Responses to Design inference used in detecting science fraud, but significance not really admitted

  1. Is the “design inference” ever actually used to detect Design in living things, or was that just hyperbole?

  2. SamHMannning,

    I to would like to know what the state of design detection is. I kind of assumed that the BioLogic Institute was working on that sort of thing but apparently they’ve been producing a book over the last year or two.

  3. Is the “design inference” ever actually used to detect Design in living things, or was that just hyperbole?

    Yes, we have detected design in living organisms:

    The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘ s Black Box: “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    He goes on to say:
    ” Might there be some as-yet-undiscovered natural process that would explain biochemical complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless, we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further, it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers.”

    That said, what does your position have besides the a priori rejection of the design inference?

  4. Joe,

    That is just the point Jerad! Actually we do have repeatable evidence that Intelligence can and does produce functional information.

    Have you got a worked out example other than the bacterial flagellum and the human immune system? (I’m only leaving those two out ’cause there’s been so much published about them already.) An example which has not been beaten to death?

    A model which explains and is supported by multiples lines of evidence. Darwin and Wallace, in particular, found the biogeographic record of species compelling. And Darwin say lots of support in the ability of human ‘selection’ to create wide varieties of plants and animals.

    I would say too that while ID proponents say there is no ‘observed’ evidence that purely natural processes can create ‘new’ body plans there is no evidence that they can’t. The ‘edge’ of evolution concept is based on probabilistic assumptions, a fairly short observation time, some wishful thinking AND it’s a negative argument. And it’s very difficult to prove a negative.

  5. Jerad:

    Have you got a worked out example other than the bacterial flagellum and the human immune system?

    How many do you need seeing that your position has absolutely no worked examples?

    I would say too that while ID proponents say there is no ‘observed’ evidence that purely natural processes can create ‘new’ body plans there is no evidence that they can’t.

    LoL! Science works via positive evidence and your position doesn’t have any.

    The ‘edge’ of evolution concept is based on probabilistic assumptions,

    Nope, there isn’t any evidence for any probibilty. And it is based on observations, many observations.

    a fairly short observation time,

    Not our fault that your position relies solely on the untestable tracks of father time. “Oh yeah but when we weren’t watching all this happened I tell you!”

    some wishful thinking

    The wishful thinking is all evos.

    AND it’s a negative argument.

    Which means you just need ONE counter example and STILL can’t do that.

    Totally pathetic…

  6. Joe,

    Not our fault that your position relies solely on the untestable tracks of father time. “Oh yeah but when we weren’t watching all this happened I tell you!”

    Okay Joe. Give me your testable, observed, rock-solid, explanatory alternative to evolutionary theory.

    Or just any viable alternative.

    Anything really other than just sniping at the edges.

  7. Jerad:

    Give me your testable, observed, rock-solid, explanatory alternative to evolutionary theory.

    Intelligent Design- at least we have criteria that can either be met or not.

  8. Joe,

    Intelligent Design- at least we have criteria that can either be met or not.

    I’m going to have to think about how to test your proferred version of ID (in the other thread). It’s kind of an interesting problem . . .

  9. Jerad,

    You should think about how to test your position…

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