Pharyngula

I take my criticisms back. It seems Intelligent Design creationism has made a profound contribution to computer science.

Introduction

Intelligent design sort is a sorting algorithm based on the theory of intelligent design.

Algorithm Description

The probability of the original input list being in the exact order it’s in is 1/(n!). There is such a small likelihood of this that it’s clearly absurd to say that this happened by chance, so it must have been consciously put in that order by an intelligent Sorter. Therefore it’s safe to assume that it’s already optimally Sorted in some way that transcends our naïve mortal understanding of “ascending order”. Any attempt to change that order to conform to our own preconceptions would actually make it less sorted.

Analysis

This algorithm is constant in time, and sorts the list in-place, requiring no additional memory at all. In fact, it doesn’t even require any of that suspicious technological computer stuff. Praise the Sorter!

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Hatfield
    December 4, 2006

    Funny, in a vacuous sort of way—-which pretty much sums up all the math object/information theory arguments for ID, IMHO….SH

  2. #2 Keanus
    December 4, 2006

    Now we know: The intelligent sorter is an old IBM punch card sorter. And we mess with it at our peril.

  3. #3 Junk Jungle
    December 4, 2006

    I guess this means that since they couldn’t win in biology, they moved onto something less organic…who knew they had it in them to give up the fight like that.

  4. #4 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    The ID Sort doesn’t require any computational effort at all.

    But the Demon Sort is niftier, since it can drive a perpetual motion device. In fact, since it violates the the second law of thermodynamics it would be the IDea(TM) of an evolutionary algorithm.

    Hmm. So if one makes an entropy-reversal Demon Sort on an unmovable ID Sort, time would go backwards. Yup, sounds like ID alright. No wonder the Earth is said to get younger, the more creationists ‘contributes’!

  5. #5 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    The ID Sort doesn’t require any computational effort at all.

    But the Demon Sort is niftier, since it can drive a perpetual motion device. In fact, since it violates the the second law of thermodynamics it would be the IDea(TM) of an evolutionary algorithm.

    Hmm. So if one makes an entropy-reversal Demon Sort on an unmovable ID Sort, time would go backwards. Yup, sounds like ID alright. No wonder the Earth is said to get younger, the more creationists ‘contributes’!

  6. #6 jeffw
    December 4, 2006

    Brilliant. Don’t like the sort performance? Just change the collating sequence. Move those goalposts.

    I’m trying to think of an evolutionist sort. Maybe mergesort – the way it “recombines” partially sorted lists to produce more “fit” lists is somewhat reminiscent of genetic algorithms. No selection though. But at least it works.

  7. #7 Caledonian
    December 4, 2006

    There are information theory principles that rule out Maxwell’s Demon, Torbjorn. Entropy cannot be reversed at all.

  8. #8 Gerard Harbison
    December 4, 2006

    I have an odd feeling Torbjörn knows that. :-)

  9. #9 Joshua
    December 4, 2006

    I’m highly tempted to write a Demon Sort application in ZOMBIE now…

    Does MarkCC know about this site?

  10. #10 BRH
    December 4, 2006

    jeffw: You could add some simple selection criteria to bozo sort or bogo sort to make an evolutionist sort. It would have an awful runtime but it would work.

  11. #11 tristero
    December 4, 2006

    “The probability of the original input list being in the exact order it’s in is 1/(n!). ”

    Wow! That’s a really excited letter n!!!!!!!! So it must be true!

    (Yes, I know.)

  12. #12 thwaite
    December 4, 2006

    Not quite on topic but perhaps interesting, from slashdot:

    Google De-indexes Talk.Origins, Won’t Say Why

    Posted by kdawson on Sunday December 03, @11:21PM
    from the honest-webmasters-go-fish dept.
    Google //
    J. J. Ramsey writes “Talk.Origins is an archive with thousands of pages exposing creationist pseudoscience. Rather mysteriously, Google pulled the plug on its search engine, giving only the vague reason: ‘No pages from your site are currently included in Google’s index due to violations of the webmaster guidelines.’ This was apparently triggered by a recent cracking of the site that added ‘hidden links to non-topical sites,’ but Google won’t say just what the violations were. Talk.Origins webmaster Wesley R. Elsberry believes that this Google policy harms honest webmasters.”

    …discussion is mostly but not entirely about Google’s policy on excluding websites found subject to hijacking. The hijacking is done to raise google link scores of the non-topical sites, and is a pain for webmasters to resolve.

  13. #13 ChopraFan
    December 4, 2006
  14. #14 just john
    December 4, 2006

    And just in time!

    I’d been feeling out of sorts.

  15. #15 just john
    December 4, 2006

    thwaite: I’d just been reading a Google person’s take on that:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-google-handles-hacked-sites/

  16. #16 Scott Hatfield
    December 4, 2006

    See, now, TL is funny in a *non-vacuous* way!

  17. #17 thwaite
    December 4, 2006

    Just_John, thanks for posting that clarification from Google. This really does seem off-topic now, since the (legitimate) content of talk.origins wasn’t in any way involved – just an unlucky victim for about a week.

  18. #18 Tyler DiPietro
    December 4, 2006

    Dude, that’s awesome. I can just imagine the correctness proof:

    Initialization: Correct, because it is intelligently sorted and any mathematical objections from you mere mortals are automatically null.

    Maintenance: Same as above, you stupid materialist Turing machine formalist!

    Termination: THIS CORRECTNESS PROOF IS NOT NECESSARY, IT IS UNIMPEACHABLY TRUE. WHY ARE DOING ACTUAL WORK? INTELLIGENT SORTING IZ TEH R0XXOR!!11eleven

    Clearly an achievement beyond any other in the history of computing, this should be up for a Turing Award in no time.

  19. #19 Bruce Johnson
    December 4, 2006

    You evil evil man!

    That link lead me to the rest of the website, which lead me to the section on the Ook language which lead me to Brainf*ck …coffee fired through the nose onto the monitor means it just doesn’t work well any more.

  20. #20 Tyler DiPietro
    December 4, 2006

    By the way all, this topic might a good time to give you an exclusive preview of Ann Coulter’s new book:

    Godless, Volume 2: The Church of Turing’s Thesis.

    In it she will expose the entire field of computer science as a plot by godless conspirators to strip our society of mores and cause everyone to have sex with dogs.

    I’m sure you’re all ripe with anticipation!

  21. #21 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    Thanks Scott! :-~

    No, multiverse vacua is not the answer to everything. In fact I have it from an often referenced source that the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is “42”.

    Caledonian:
    That is why it was called an IDea(TM) – but perhaps I assumed people would play with the site: “Demon sort is a sorting algorithm that violates the second law of thermodynamics.” (http://www.dangermouse.net/esoteric/demonsort.html )

    It is a good idea to visit the site if you feel down or stressed, or whenever time or 2LOT seems to be working against you. (“Whenever – a language with no sense of urgency.” Uses the administrative operator “defer”.)

  22. #22 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    Thanks Scott! :-~

    No, multiverse vacua is not the answer to everything. In fact I have it from an often referenced source that the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is “42”.

    Caledonian:
    That is why it was called an IDea(TM) – but perhaps I assumed people would play with the site: “Demon sort is a sorting algorithm that violates the second law of thermodynamics.” (http://www.dangermouse.net/esoteric/demonsort.html )

    It is a good idea to visit the site if you feel down or stressed, or whenever time or 2LOT seems to be working against you. (“Whenever – a language with no sense of urgency.” Uses the administrative operator “defer”.)

  23. #23 Kseniya
    December 4, 2006

    How interesting: Now, when I Google “talk origins” the first link that comes up is this:

    http://www.trueorigin.org/

    Ick.

  24. #24 Nerull
    December 4, 2006

    Brainf*ck is a neat language.

    Its actually easier to write an interpreter (a compiler might take a bit more work) than it is to write a BF program (Beyond ‘Hello World’ anyway). ;)

  25. #25 mikey
    December 4, 2006

    This leads me to the ID justification for mikey coming to work naked algorithm. I was Intelligently designed in the naked state. Any changes to that state will necessarily de-optimize my state. Therefore, in accordance with Intelligent Design Theory, I must come to work naked…

    mikey

  26. #26 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    We should not forget the ID heuristic:

    Introduction

    Immensely Dense heuristic is an AI (Absent Intelligence) algorithm that arrives at an answer to all questions.

    Algorithm Description

    Information Disappearance is forbidden, verily even godless atheist scientists believe in the one unitarity. The heuristic must contain all necessary information you will ever need, and so no input is required. To achieve this information is immensely dense packed.

    This means of course a singularity from which no real information can be unravelled. Near the so called eventually an answer horizon angel pair production spontaneously appear. Black angels will fall into the hole leaving white angels as a Hawking halo buzzing around, endlessly producing the dummy message “goddidit” as string output.

    Analysis

    It is theologized that at the end of times, the ID singularity will finally evaporate in a final release of thermal radiation, and the black angels will be freed to tell the truth. It will be the day hell freezes over.

  27. #27 Torbjörn Larsson
    December 4, 2006

    We should not forget the ID heuristic:

    Introduction

    Immensely Dense heuristic is an AI (Absent Intelligence) algorithm that arrives at an answer to all questions.

    Algorithm Description

    Information Disappearance is forbidden, verily even godless atheist scientists believe in the one unitarity. The heuristic must contain all necessary information you will ever need, and so no input is required. To achieve this information is immensely dense packed.

    This means of course a singularity from which no real information can be unravelled. Near the so called eventually an answer horizon angel pair production spontaneously appear. Black angels will fall into the hole leaving white angels as a Hawking halo buzzing around, endlessly producing the dummy message “goddidit” as string output.

    Analysis

    It is theologized that at the end of times, the ID singularity will finally evaporate in a final release of thermal radiation, and the black angels will be freed to tell the truth. It will be the day hell freezes over.

  28. #28 lo
    December 5, 2006

    hahah, awesome. Neat pick!

  29. #29 False Prophet
    December 5, 2006

    About three years ago, someone submitted a piece to my local paper’s opinion section on something similar to this tripe. I immediately wrote a letter to the editor denouncing the theory as a retread of the design argument for the existence of God, which David Hume rebutted over 200 years ago. This sparked off a minor flame war on the paper’s letters page for about two weeks. ;-)

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