April 26, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

SETI Researcher Analyzes Language Mathematically

Space.com had a story April 22 about Dr. Laurance Doyle, who studies non-human communication with information theory.  The article is mostly about his study of whale and dolphin signaling, but mentions how information theory is related to the intelligence of the communicating entities:

Doyle’s team uses statistical tools from a field known as “information theory” to measure the complexity of different species’ communication systems and thus learn how much information individual animals can transfer between each other.  This allows the scientists to draw inferences about the intelligence of the communicating species, which in turn gives Fi researchers a better understanding of intelligence as an evolutionary adaptation.

The term Fi comes from the Drake equation, a well-known SETI formula invented by Frank Drake that seeks to calculate how many intelligent civilizations might exist in space wishing to communicate with us.  It stands for the fraction of habitable planets with life that have evolved intelligence – the most speculative factor in a string of speculative factors that comprise the equation.

Like most evolutionary articles, this evolutionary article merely assumes evolution.  It takes for granted that life and intelligence will evolve, given enough time.  As such, it provides nothing new in the rhetoric of Darwinism.  But it does remind us that communication of information is a hallmark of intelligence.  Animals possess intelligence and communicate information to one another in many ways, but only humans lie (see next entry).  If we know empirically that information is a telltale sign of intelligence, how can it be honest to assert that human intelligence had a non-intelligent source, ultimately from hydrogen?

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Categories: Intelligent Design, SETI

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