Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Coded without Intelligence

I've recently seen a lot of references to the idea that codes are impossible without a codemaker, a designer, and ultimately referring to God's existence. I never really understood that. Sure you need intelligence to understand a code, but you certainly don't need intelligence to create a code.

This recently came up at Skeptico's, and again at ERV, and I am sure it has been brought up in 100 other places.

So, may I present to you a list of codes that do not require a codemaker.

Tree rings
Tree rings can be seen when a tree is cut down. No one designed those rings but they are a very accurate method by which to encode the age of the tree.

Ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon-14
This ratio encodes how long ago something died (good to about 50K years, after that there are other methods that work on similar principles). No one controls this ratio, it is a natural process by which carbon-14 decays into carbon 12.

Color of Hydrengea
The color of this plant encodes the Ph of the soil and the presence of aluminum.

Fraunhofer Lines
Fraunhofer lines encode the presence (or absence) of a set of elements based on the spectra of the light source. These can be used to find elemental information about stars in distant solar systems.

X-Ray fluoroscopy
When an element is hit with an x-ray and a photon is energized and released. The individual component wavelength of this emissions encodes the elements that were present.

Lightning and Thunder
The time in seconds between seeing a flash of lightning and hearing the thunder, divided by five equates roughly encodes the distance, in miles, the flash was from the observer (divide by three for kilometers).

This is probably my favorite one because it looks so random. To the trained professional bloodspatter can encode a wide variety of things, including:

  • Type of damage (arterial or not)
  • Direction of Action
  • Height of wound
  • a number of other aspects of both the victim and the attacker

(big thanks to Big Al at Skeptico's for providing a couple of those)

This is but a small list, there are lots and lots of examples of things that are encoded, not because some great codemaker encoded something one way or another, but because we as humans understand the mechanisms behind the encoding.

Feel free to enter you ideas for Coding without Intelligence...

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