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Caleb

Why wouldn't God exist?

Does God exist?  

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  1. 1. Does God exist?

    • Yes
      13
    • No
      30


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I think it is fair to say that the 'modern-day' image of God doesn't exist, or is very unlikely; however the Bible God and various other religious book God(s) may exist. It is purely how we interpret the word God in the present day - I doubt it was interpreted the same years ago - anyone who says it was just a 'story' back then is ignorent, selfish and obviously full of him/herself.

 

tl;dr - Stop bashing God. Continuing bashing the modern-day image of God.

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If I understand your sentence, you are saying that everything you have just told me contains no information, since it does not generate a functional system. My measure of quantity of information is approximately the size of the data when it is as compressed as possible. Function of it or lack thereof has nothing to do with any particular string of information, since there is no difference between useful and useless information, not without looking at the context.

 

My invitation to suggest a string of data that you believe contains no information is still standing.

 

I can only conclude you don’t understand my position. Like many things, information takes on several forms. We are focused on a particular kind of information as I have defined. I am being specific about the kind so we avoid confusion. These sentences also contain and convey information by virtue of the fact they eliminate vast quantities of alternate possibilities, however in this conversation I am being more specific. Functional information is information that when processed results in a functional system. Data is different from information because data requires analysis and interpretation in order to derive meaning and thus eliminate alternatives.

 

I understand your definition of information and I accept it for what it is. It is a very broad definition that is useful in data and information transmission especially in that the compressed instruction set is information since when it is processed, the original sequence, or a representation of it, is regenerated and thus alternative configurations are eliminated. I don’t find this kind of information applicable to biological systems and thus making a comparison to it makes little sense. However, the compressed instruction set is information and I do not know of any example where random processes are able to generate the compressed representation of a particular sequence, irrespective of the source of that sequence.

 

 

On the contrary, we have identified several. The metabolic pathway of glucose is a good example.

 

Is it? You can describe the stepwise evolutionary pathway that derived the components, expression controls and developmental controls for glucose metabolism from a system that lacked it?

 

No, what you are asking is that we observe an event which the theory predicts to be unlikely to happen within the confines of a lab within a reasonable amount of time, and then pretending that is evidence against the theory, or that it is a reasonable suggestion and you remain open-minded.

 

Nonsense. Let’s test your claim with what the theory predicts about human evolution and compare it to the lab. Human history is estimated at 6 million years. The human genome contains at least 10,000 substantive differences from the predicted primate like ancestor. In 6 million years that is about 200,000 generations, and thus about 20 substantive alterations per generation amongst fewer than a trillion cumulative population . In the lab Lenski’s ecoli work alone has covered nearly 35,000 generations with over a million, trillion cumulative population and he got a total of 1 substantive alteration. The prediction would have Lenski getting several orders of magnitude more and this is only one of the thousands and thousands of relevant lab experiments being conducted to observe evolutionary processes. By this example it should take just a few years to confirm the presence of evolutionary pathways by noting and comparing the rate that these pathways precede as compared to the rates required by evidence from the fossil record. By Lenski’s example and others including several focused on applying observed rates with population genetic models, it is clear that the rates are orders of magnitude too slow. Your claim falls flat.

 

In this your demand is far more close-minded than my demand to see someone raised from the dead, since the latter is something that not only has (according to the Bible) happened about 5 times in a few thousand years but also that only requires a little bit of faith the size of a mustard seed for anyone to do.

 

Please don’t exaggerate. My request is far more reasonable as I demonstrated above and furthermore unlike yours, it allows you to cite observations of process known to exist and in operation today.

 

But why the need to do it the difficult way? Why the requirement to observe something which the theory itself predicts you could have to wait millions of years to observe (really, the odds of an ability sufficiently novel to satisfy you, and on top of that for it to happen to the same species limited to a minuscule population (1 ton would be like 0.00000001% of earth's biomass) within a literal blink of an eye (0.000001%) of geologic time, and if you wanted them to build off each other than it has to relate to 1 out of thousands of genes three times, which would be a chance of 0.0000001% of a chance if you wanted 4 such examples and the four did happen anyways within the lab population and experiment runtime. Why such an unlikely thing, when you could simply look at the historical and DNA evidence?

 

Nonsense, historical and DNA evidence cannot tell us how the similarities and differences came to be the way they are, a prediction that cannot be verified is of no use. I am asking for just a handful of observable modifications. Protein-protein binding sites are generally made up of 5-10 amino acid loci. Likewise for expression and developmental controls. Protein shape is determined by folds, which are also based on binding sites. All of these are the lowest level functional precursors to novel form and function. I am not asking for development of an entire system I am only asking for evidence that random error and selection generates these lowest level subunits. Based on population genetic models these would need to occur every few hundred generations, but even after over 35,000 generations of observations in ecoli and 50 years of observing malaria with countless tens of thousands of generations and trillions of trillions of organisms (10^15 times as many as the total number of mammals that have ever lived) still no example of a new binding site

 

Like the Bible, evolution makes specific predictions as to what DNA should look like. According to the Bible, DNA should look like the quantity of DNA that fits on a big wooden boat, and the maximum number of alleles depending on the type of animal -- 4 alleles per unclean animal, 14 alleles per clean animal or bird, and only 1 allele in the Y chromosome and only one type of mitochrondrial DNA for unclean animals.

 

The bible is not a science manual. Are you suggesting that science is similar to religion? If not, perhaps you should use a better example. For the record I have not once suggested that the Bible provides an accurate representation of how life diversified.

 

Evolution predicts that DNA will look like it was copied and mutated, with less mutations to the more vital genes due to natural selection and probability of improving an already well-refined gene, and more mutations in neutral DNA. Guess which one turns out to be true?

 

Turns out neither are accurate. I would not expect the Bible to be accurate on these issues but I would expect a valid theory to be accurate. The number of exceptions to this model are staggering. Take the gene that codes for histone IV for example. It is highly conserved with fewer than 6 of its hundreds of nucleotides showing variation between a very diverse group of species. Your model predicts there should be strong functional constraints (vital as you call it) but lab experimentation in yeast cells confirms that the constraints are mild. Several mutations do not alter fitness by any measurable amount. Even more astounding are the thousands of ultra-conserved elements (UCE’s), these DNA segments, hundreds of base pairs long are found across a wide range of species.

 

This is quite obviously false. Many times in evolutionary history genes have been copied wholesale, and then one of the copies modified to a new purpose. This does not destroy the original information.

 

Perhaps you misinterpreted what I said. Duplication and then modification can increase information but this in direct observations, this is rare relative to the losses occurring by other mechanisms. Since historical analysis can only provide measures of similarity and differences but don’t provide objective measures of the various mechanisms nor any information about processes we can’t use it to derive meaningful measures of information gain or loss. Experimental analysis indicates that on average information does not accumulate. This is as we would expect from information entropy laws.

 

When there is no difference between two things it is reasonable to say they are identical. So yes, I do consider any string of data to contain information, though you are welcome to try to show a string of data with no information (again though, I shall be the one to put some context to said string).

 

If you are putting context to the data then it is your mind that is deriving information based on the data string. I am quite aware that human minds are capable of deriving data and don’t see any value in this demonstration. I will stipulate now that your mind can generate information in the process of analyzing any data stream I was to provide. However this is quite different than encoded digital information that is translated, transcribed and then processed by chemic processes (without a mind) to derive a functional system.

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Nonsense. Let's test your claim with what the theory predicts about human evolution and compare it to the lab. Human history is estimated at 6 million years. The human genome contains at least 10,000 substantive differences from the predicted primate like ancestor. In 6 million years that is about 200,000 generations, and thus about 20 substantive alterations per generation amongst fewer than a trillion cumulative population . In the lab Lenski's ecoli work alone has covered nearly 35,000 generations with over a million, trillion cumulative population and he got a total of 1 substantive alteration. The prediction would have Lenski getting several orders of magnitude more and this is only one of the thousands and thousands of relevant lab experiments being conducted to observe evolutionary processes. By this example it should take just a few years to confirm the presence of evolutionary pathways by noting and comparing the rate that these pathways precede as compared to the rates required by evidence from the fossil record. By Lenski's example and others including several focused on applying observed rates with population genetic models, it is clear that the rates are orders of magnitude too slow. Your claim falls flat.

 

This is a false analogy. Lenski's bacteria were not subjected to selection pressures (they were grown in their ordinary environment), they were pre-adapted to their environment, and Lenski had no way of detecting other mutations and alterations that may have been substantive but not immediately visible. (For example, a mutation could have occurred that set the stage for a later development, but did not cause significant changes in the bacteria by itself.) Furthermore, your claim of "1 substantive alteration" is false; Lenski has noted numerous differences between his lab bacteria and the "original" bacteria, such as significantly increased size (a doubling in volume), a change in cell shape to a more spherical form, a decrease in reproduction rate (as the larger cells consume more resources and compete with each other), and a change in DNA repair which accelerated mutation in some of the populations (evidently as a way of speeding adaptation). Lenski himself estimates 10-20 beneficial mutations that became fixed in the populations, among numerous neutral or deleterious mutations.

 

Furthermore, it's silly to assume that there'd be one fixed mutation rate that would occur over all time. The evidence for punctuated equilibrium suggests that it is responsible for a significant portion of evolutionary adaptations, and one would not see punctuated changes in a short-term sample without being extremely lucky, or introducing the bacteria to significantly different environments.

 

Finally, I'd like to see a source for your numbers, so I can see that "substantive alterations" in the genome means "significant beneficial change in phenotype", rather than simply "a difference in genes." Lenski estimated 10-20 beneficial mutations, but the number of neutral mutations -- which would not be easily noticed -- could easily be far higher in each population. And, of course, Lenski did determine the mutation rate per base pair in the bacteria, which could tell us the number of "substantive" mutations of the genome, whether they're beneficial, neutral, or unhelpful.

 

(Also, I don't see how you can make the claim that human and bacteria mutation rates should be similar, when their environments are significantly different, they are subjected to different selection pressures, and their molecular mechanisms for repairing DNA damage are different. Lenski observed a change in mutation rates after 20,000 generations in some populations; why should humans over 200,000 generations maintain the same mutation rate? Why should bacteria over tens of thousands of generations? It's a very naive claim.)

 

If you're going to make claims about evolution's observability, at least familiarize yourself with the results of experiments already conducted and understand the mechanisms explained by those experiments.

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I can only conclude you don’t understand my position. Like many things, information takes on several forms. We are focused on a particular kind of information as I have defined. I am being specific about the kind so we avoid confusion. These sentences also contain and convey information by virtue of the fact they eliminate vast quantities of alternate possibilities, however in this conversation I am being more specific. Functional information is information that when processed results in a functional system. Data is different from information because data requires analysis and interpretation in order to derive meaning and thus eliminate alternatives.

 

I understand your definition of information and I accept it for what it is. It is a very broad definition that is useful in data and information transmission especially in that the compressed instruction set is information since when it is processed, the original sequence, or a representation of it, is regenerated and thus alternative configurations are eliminated. I don’t find this kind of information applicable to biological systems and thus making a comparison to it makes little sense. However, the compressed instruction set is information and I do not know of any example where random processes are able to generate the compressed representation of a particular sequence, irrespective of the source of that sequence.

 

I do believe I understand your position. I was caught in the very same web of deceit and faith before I saw the truth. The trick is that whoever controls the context of a string of data controls whether it can be considered useful information or not. Thus, since there are some rather convenient rules in communications theory (random processes do not create message-information but destroy message-information), the trick is to convince people to apply this message-information concept and the way it works, to cells. But if you think about it, you realize that cells couldn't care less how surprised you or anyone else is about their genome. They convert coding DNA to proteins, whether the protein has an obvious function or not. Other bits of DNA have some function as well, and some appear to have no function other than perhaps as a spacer. But, if we're not looking at how surprised people are at the DNA, it becomes obvious that mutations can create information as well as modify or destroy it.

 

I shall now give the example I thought of, that would result in an organism evolving a series of 4 new functions each dependent on the previous new one, with a population and timeframe amenable to a science experiment, the example I said you would not accept. It is thus: take an organism, and identify within it a series of 4 proteins in a metabolic pathway that is important but not vital. Ideally, each protein provides a useful function even without the following proteins. Next, identify a location where a single nucleotide mutation will disable each of the proteins. With this as the starting organism, place several colonies of them in a growing environment and let them evolve. Several colonies are needed to be certain this works, as it is chance based. I have no doubt that they will evolve to gain 4 new abilities each dependent on the previous.

 

Now, you will dismiss the above, claiming I "cheated" by inserting the information ahead of time. However, think about this some more. Are you going to say that a functional protein has just as much information as a useless protein? Are you going to say that evolution added some information, but not very much? Or are you going to say that getting 4 specific mutations among trillions of tries is unlikely?

 

The truth is, DNA contains zero communication-information, and evolution cannot add any more communication-information but could destroy some if it were there. Nobody cares. The context of the data on the DNA is cell mechanisms, not communication.

 

Is it? You can describe the stepwise evolutionary pathway that derived the components, expression controls and developmental controls for glucose metabolism from a system that lacked it?

 

Hm, no, that is old and I think universal. In any case, I'm not familiar enough with any metabolic pathways and their DNA and genetic history, to be able to answer your question.

 

Nonsense. Let’s test your claim with what the theory predicts about human evolution and compare it to the lab. Human history is estimated at 6 million years. The human genome contains at least 10,000 substantive differences from the predicted primate like ancestor. In 6 million years that is about 200,000 generations, and thus about 20 substantive alterations per generation amongst fewer than a trillion cumulative population . In the lab Lenski’s ecoli work alone has covered nearly 35,000 generations with over a million, trillion cumulative population and he got a total of 1 substantive alteration. The prediction would have Lenski getting several orders of magnitude more and this is only one of the thousands and thousands of relevant lab experiments being conducted to observe evolutionary processes. By this example it should take just a few years to confirm the presence of evolutionary pathways by noting and comparing the rate that these pathways precede as compared to the rates required by evidence from the fossil record. By Lenski’s example and others including several focused on applying observed rates with population genetic models, it is clear that the rates are orders of magnitude too slow. Your claim falls flat.

 

Several things. First, bacteria have less DNA and a lower mutation rate than humans (1000 times less DNA with mutation rate 1000 times lower). Second, you're not counting the human's rate of death before birth, which is fairly high in the past but also plays a role in evolution, so the population is somewhat higher than you expect. Third, can you give me an example of one particular substantiative difference of that 10,000 (and not a multi-gene difference). I ask because I had understood your demand to be significantly different than this sort of difference. Fourth, there were several additional differences in the Lenski experiment bacteria, some of which could be noticed by Lenski himself and some which would have been invisible to him, as Cap'n noted.

 

Please don’t exaggerate. My request is far more reasonable as I demonstrated above and furthermore unlike yours, it allows you to cite observations of process known to exist and in operation today.

 

Ah, well what Jesus said didn't have an expiry date, so it should still be true should it not?

 

Nonsense, historical and DNA evidence cannot tell us how the similarities and differences came to be the way they are, a prediction that cannot be verified is of no use. I am asking for just a handful of observable modifications. Protein-protein binding sites are generally made up of 5-10 amino acid loci. Likewise for expression and developmental controls. Protein shape is determined by folds, which are also based on binding sites. All of these are the lowest level functional precursors to novel form and function. I am not asking for development of an entire system I am only asking for evidence that random error and selection generates these lowest level subunits. Based on population genetic models these would need to occur every few hundred generations, but even after over 35,000 generations of observations in ecoli and 50 years of observing malaria with countless tens of thousands of generations and trillions of trillions of organisms (10^15 times as many as the total number of mammals that have ever lived) still no example of a new binding site

 

The point is not that history can tell us what happened, but rather that evolution predicts this historical data and the probability of making consistently correct predictions on such a large dataset is absurdly small -- and so the probability of the theory being correct is taken to be very large. This is little different than in other fields, although in this case the larger dataset is historical and fresh data can only be gotten slowly.

 

The bible is not a science manual. Are you suggesting that science is similar to religion? If not, perhaps you should use a better example. For the record I have not once suggested that the Bible provides an accurate representation of how life diversified.

 

Ah, well if evolution is the best theory we have, then we can't really abandon it now can we?

 

Turns out neither are accurate. I would not expect the Bible to be accurate on these issues but I would expect a valid theory to be accurate. The number of exceptions to this model are staggering. Take the gene that codes for histone IV for example. It is highly conserved with fewer than 6 of its hundreds of nucleotides showing variation between a very diverse group of species. Your model predicts there should be strong functional constraints (vital as you call it) but lab experimentation in yeast cells confirms that the constraints are mild. Several mutations do not alter fitness by any measurable amount. Even more astounding are the thousands of ultra-conserved elements (UCE’s), these DNA segments, hundreds of base pairs long are found across a wide range of species.

 

I'm not sure why you find any of this surprising, or evidence against rather than for evolution. Think about the function of histone: how specific a sequence does it have to be to use it as a little ball to wrap DNA around? What happened to the copy-cat God that likes to reuse stuff rather than re-invent? Yet one exception in no way disqualifies a rule, especially since there is another rule also derived from evolution: the more a string of DNA can be mutated without changing its function, the more likely it is to differ species to species. This however is more specific to each gene and generally can't just be guessed at but rather must be measured. What remains however, is that you gave an example of how evolutionary theory correctly predicts DNA patterns over many species.

 

As for ultra-conserved regions, it would follow from evolutionary theory that these must have a high importance and/or are likely to become non-functional when mutated. You would have to determine whether this is true or not before using it as evidence for or against evolution. From this article, it seems that many of them do indeed follow this pattern. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040507080649.htm:

Nevertheless, most of the 481 ultra-conserved elements appear to be associated in some way with genes, if not overlapping them then residing near genes or in the noncoding portions of genes. Furthermore, they tend to be associated with parts of the genome that are involved in regulating the expression of genes in various ways.

 

...

 

More than half of the ultra-conserved elements that overlap coding regions are associated with genes that take more than one form, depending on how they are transcribed to RNA. Through a process known as alternative splicing, different parts of a gene may be spliced out under different circumstances, so that a single gene can produce several different proteins. Bejerano thinks the association of ultra-conserved elements with alternatively spliced genes is significant.

 

"It's a cautious hypothesis that these elements may cause some type of interaction to determine what part of the gene will be spliced out," he said.

 

The ultra-conserved elements that do not overlap with any coding region tend to be found in regions of the genome that are associated with gene regulation, the transcription of DNA to RNA, or the binding of regulatory proteins to the DNA.

 

While we're at it, I might as well mention another rule that is also independent from the other two I mentioned. Some regions of DNA tend to mutate more quickly. As modified by their importance and the likeliness that mutations would break it, the regions with more mutation are expected to be more different in different species.

 

Perhaps you misinterpreted what I said. Duplication and then modification can increase information but this in direct observations, this is rare relative to the losses occurring by other mechanisms. Since historical analysis can only provide measures of similarity and differences but don’t provide objective measures of the various mechanisms nor any information about processes we can’t use it to derive meaningful measures of information gain or loss. Experimental analysis indicates that on average information does not accumulate. This is as we would expect from information entropy laws.

 

Yet information has consistently been on the increase, both in our society and genetically by looking at the number of species, in the latter only being reduced during periods of mass extinction. I'm not buying it. To which experimental analysis are you referring?

 

If you are putting context to the data then it is your mind that is deriving information based on the data string. I am quite aware that human minds are capable of deriving data and don’t see any value in this demonstration. I will stipulate now that your mind can generate information in the process of analyzing any data stream I was to provide. However this is quite different than encoded digital information that is translated, transcribed and then processed by chemic processes (without a mind) to derive a functional system.

 

No, I'm not talking about my own mind but rather of context. I intend to show that given a certain context, any data string could be significantly valuable information, whereas in another context it may be worthless. Thus, communication-information depends not on the data but entirely on its context -- and as such, it is impossible to measure for anyone who isn't omniscient, and worthless as a measure of information without assuming things about the context.

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This is a false analogy. Lenski's bacteria were not subjected to selection pressures (they were grown in their ordinary environment), they were pre-adapted to their environment, and Lenski had no way of detecting other mutations and alterations that may have been substantive but not immediately visible.

 

They were under selection pressure with oversupply of citrate in an oxygenated environment and limiting supplies of nutrients readily metabolized.

 

(For example, a mutation could have occurred that set the stage for a later development, but did not cause significant changes in the bacteria by itself.)

 

Speculation. Ifs and ands, but hardly scientific.

 

Furthermore, your claim of "1 substantive alteration" is false; Lenski has noted numerous differences between his lab bacteria and the "original" bacteria, such as significantly increased size (a doubling in volume), a change in cell shape to a more spherical form, a decrease in reproduction rate (as the larger cells consume more resources and compete with each other), and a change in DNA repair which accelerated mutation in some of the populations (evidently as a way of speeding adaptation). Lenski himself estimates 10-20 beneficial mutations that became fixed in the populations, among numerous neutral or deleterious mutations.

 

Estimates are fine but only one is documented by the normal measure what the theory of natural selection predicts, and that is the ability to outperform and out-reproduce relative to the others. The model for evolutionary algorithms is always to kill off the weakest for a reason. Only the one alteration significantly outperformed the others. The rest of these changes did not outperform the rest of the population. Sorry, it is not proper to move the goal post. I repeat, just one significant alteration.

 

Furthermore, it's silly to assume that there'd be one fixed mutation rate that would occur over all time. The evidence for punctuated equilibrium suggests that it is responsible for a significant portion of evolutionary adaptations, and one would not see punctuated changes in a short-term sample without being extremely lucky, or introducing the bacteria to significantly different environments.

 

Science requires citation to processes currently in operation. We observe a narrow range of mutation rates today, anything different than that is speculation. If speculation is allowed in this debate then let's also allow the creationists their speculations.

 

Finally, I'd like to see a source for your numbers, so I can see that "substantive alterations" in the genome means "significant beneficial change in phenotype", rather than simply "a difference in genes."

 

There are several estimates based on extensive study of differences between modern humans and modern primates. There are hundreds of millions of point level differences and even a few thousand unique gene sequences. Is it hard to believe the estimate? It may take me a few hours to find this the source material and confirm my estimate, so can you indicate what number you believe is correct? If we are close I prefer not to quibble over a side issue since this will not change the substance of the primary point which is encoded functional information and the inability to demonstrate if natural processes do generate it. How many substantive alterations would you accept as reasonable? What about from say the first mammal to modern humans?

 

Lenski estimated 10-20 beneficial mutations, but the number of neutral mutations -- which would not be easily noticed -- could easily be far higher in each population. And, of course, Lenski did determine the mutation rate per base pair in the bacteria, which could tell us the number of "substantive" mutations of the genome, whether they're beneficial, neutral, or unhelpful.

 

Lenski's definition of beneficial seems loose as does your definition of substantive. Neutral mutations don't eliminate options and thus do not change information content.

 

(Also, I don't see how you can make the claim that human and bacteria mutation rates should be similar, when their environments are significantly different, they are subjected to different selection pressures, and their molecular mechanisms for repairing DNA damage are different. Lenski observed a change in mutation rates after 20,000 generations in some populations; why should humans over 200,000 generations maintain the same mutation rate? Why should bacteria over tens of thousands of generations? It's a very naive claim.)

 

Have a look at the lab notes regarding the change in mutation rates it appears to be isolated cultures where mutation caused damage to critical replication components. Note what happens when these strains are made to compete with slower mutating lines. We don't know if human ancestors had different mutation rates, we can only go by the processes and rates we observe today plus what we know about the mechanisms that lead to faster rates and it does not seem encouraging for your position. I find it even more naive to use speculation to prop up a untenable position.

 

If you're going to make claims about evolution's observability, at least familiarize yourself with the results of experiments already conducted and understand the mechanisms explained by those experiments.

 

That's just it, I seem to be quite informed about what Lenski's research shows and what it doesn't show. We only seem to get into contention when either Lenski or you want to go off and speculate about what things might mean or might have been.

 

Returning to the primary point, experimental results (and Lenski's seems to be among the most optimistic available) we have documented evolutionary pathways where selection is actually selecting an advantageous mutation only once and then the pathway is just three steps long with one neutral or detrimental step. This pathway fits within the range of what one would predict from a random walk so we have no example of known evolutionary processes deriving functional information beyond what little is predicted by information entropy. With this, it seems clear to me that naturalism is in need of a new and improved process in order to explain life and the diversity we observe.

 

But, if we're not looking at how surprised people are at the DNA, it becomes obvious that mutations can create information as well as modify or destroy it.

 

I shall now give the example I thought of, that would result in an organism evolving a series of 4 new functions each dependent on the previous new one, with a population and timeframe amenable to a science experiment, the example I said you would not accept. It is thus: take an organism, and identify within it a series of 4 proteins in a metabolic pathway that is important but not vital. Ideally, each protein provides a useful function even without the following proteins. Next, identify a location where a single nucleotide mutation will disable each of the proteins. With this as the starting organism, place several colonies of them in a growing environment and let them evolve. Several colonies are needed to be certain this works, as it is chance based. I have no doubt that they will evolve to gain 4 new abilities each dependent on the previous.

 

Now, you will dismiss the above, claiming I "cheated" by inserting the information ahead of time. However, think about this some more. Are you going to say that a functional protein has just as much information as a useless protein? Are you going to say that evolution added some information, but not very much? Or are you going to say that getting 4 specific mutations among trillions of tries is unlikely?

 

Sounds hypothetical. Is this a real event or a just so story?

 

The truth is, DNA contains zero communication-information, and evolution cannot add any more communication-information but could destroy some if it were there. Nobody cares. The context of the data on the DNA is cell mechanisms, not communication.

 

Not so. It fits the definition of encoded functional digital information in every sense. It has both semantics and syntax. It is translated and transcribed. It is independent of the material it is encoded on. The messages are independent of the carrier. The ratio of functional to non-functional messages is very small 1 in 10^74 by our best estimate.

 

Several things. First, bacteria have less DNA and a lower mutation rate than humans (1000 times less DNA with mutation rate 1000 times lower). Second, you're not counting the human's rate of death before birth, which is fairly high in the past but also plays a role in evolution, so the population is somewhat higher than you expect. Third, can you give me an example of one particular substantiative difference of that 10,000 (and not a multi-gene difference). I ask because I had understood your demand to be significantly different than this sort of difference. Fourth, there were several additional differences in the Lenski experiment bacteria, some of which could be noticed by Lenski himself and some which would have been invisible to him, as Cap'n noted.

 

I addressed most of this already, but I add that none of your objections substantially change the result. We can quibble over the numbers and still fall many orders of magnitude off the mark.

 

 

 

 

The point is not that history can tell us what happened, but rather that evolution predicts this historical data and the probability of making consistently correct predictions on such a large dataset is absurdly small -- and so the probability of the theory being correct is taken to be very large. This is little different than in other fields, although in this case the larger dataset is historical and fresh data can only be gotten slowly.

 

The evolutionary tale fits the historical record because it has been carefully molded over 150 years to fit it. Now with modern experimental techniques its ability to morph is falling on hard times. If we apply scientific rules to the predictions by requiring citation to observable processes it falls way short of accomplishing what is prescribed to it in the timeframe assigned. We simply do not observe evolution generating functional change at the required speed. It does not generate new information any faster than a random walk. In other words the fitness function does not appear to contain smooth pathways from one functional advantage to the next. It appears that there are discontinuities that limit the traverse. That being the case we should be looking for alternative processes.

 

You have offered a number of hypothetical examples of how evolutionary processes might generate this kind of information but it is all presupposed or imagined. We know that a mind generates this information. My point in going down this path was to demonstrate that those who claim that known evolutionary processes do generate new function and form are unable to offer known examples, instead they show that diversity happen by comparative analysis and they presume that it happened a particular way without knowing if it did or not. You have taken this same tact.

 

 

Yet information has consistently been on the increase, both in our society and genetically by looking at the number of species, in the latter only being reduced during periods of mass extinction. I'm not buying it. To which experimental analysis are you referring?

 

Of course it has. Life had a beginning and diversity happened. The question is how? Information has increased over time, but how? You presuppose the answer is by natural processes but I have shown that thus far only mind is known to be capable of generating the quantity of information required to begin life and allow for its diversity. You have offered only hypothetical imaginations of how known natural processes might do so. Personally I suspect there is some group of undiscovered processes that account for generation of functional information at a rate sufficient to account for diversity of life but at this time, mind is the best explanation for life and the universe and perhaps even diversification.

 

Unless there is some real example of natural processes in operation today that can be demonstrated actually generating large amounts of information quickly, I don't see much point in continuing this discussion. We have gone down many rabbit holes and chased many a goose and we have come away empty.

 

 

No, I'm not talking about my own mind but rather of context. I intend to show that given a certain context, any data string could be significantly valuable information, whereas in another context it may be worthless. Thus, communication-information depends not on the data but entirely on its context -- and as such, it is impossible to measure for anyone who isn't omniscient, and worthless as a measure of information without assuming things about the context.

 

You are suggesting that every mutation is functional but Douglas Axe and several others have already shown that this is false. The ratio of functional to non-functional expressed sequences seems to be less than 1 in 10^74

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Sounds hypothetical. Is this a real event or a just so story?

 

Ah, I forgot the other alternative: dismissing it because it is inconvenient. Do you really believe 1 specific single nucleotide mutation cannot happen simply because they would produce functional proteins? Really? I know you did not say so because you know how likely said scenario would be to go as described, but you might as well have since otherwise it doesn't matter whether it happened or not. I'm somewhat disappointed here.

 

Not so. It fits the definition of encoded functional digital information in every sense. It has both semantics and syntax. It is translated and transcribed. It is independent of the material it is encoded on. The messages are independent of the carrier. The ratio of functional to non-functional messages is very small 1 in 10^74 by our best estimate.

 

Ah, but the same applies to randomized genes (with a copy of a promoter sequence). They too are transcribed and translated, and their information can be extracted independent of the material it is coded on. They too have semantics and syntax. They too are functional, even if their function is to make a protein which no one sees any use for. The protein produced is a real product.

 

I addressed most of this already, but I add that none of your objections substantially change the result. We can quibble over the numbers and still fall many orders of magnitude off the mark.

 

Very well, no need to quibble over most of these numbers -- it only changes the result by a few million. However, I'm going to have to insist on the little question of whether you would consider a change similar to one of the more average of the 10,000 changes you called "substantiative", to be "substantiative" when applied to your request of 4 substantiative changes. Just confirming that you're using the same standard for both, to save some time in case you don't.

 

The evolutionary tale fits the historical record because it has been carefully molded over 150 years to fit it. Now with modern experimental techniques its ability to morph is falling on hard times. If we apply scientific rules to the predictions by requiring citation to observable processes it falls way short of accomplishing what is prescribed to it in the timeframe assigned. We simply do not observe evolution generating functional change at the required speed. It does not generate new information any faster than a random walk. In other words the fitness function does not appear to contain smooth pathways from one functional advantage to the next. It appears that there are discontinuities that limit the traverse. That being the case we should be looking for alternative processes.

 

You have offered a number of hypothetical examples of how evolutionary processes might generate this kind of information but it is all presupposed or imagined. We know that a mind generates this information. My point in going down this path was to demonstrate that those who claim that known evolutionary processes do generate new function and form are unable to offer known examples, instead they show that diversity happen by comparative analysis and they presume that it happened a particular way without knowing if it did or not. You have taken this same tact.

 

We know evolution creates new function and has done so in controlled experiments. It does so in the easiest way possible, which is usually to modify existing function. In fact I am not aware of any single evolutionist who would expect a new function to arise in any other way -- while I'm sure it's possible, it is the more unlikely path. Because of this, you dismiss example of new function as being modifications of existing function (which is what we expected).

 

Of course it has. Life had a beginning and diversity happened. The question is how? Information has increased over time, but how? You presuppose the answer is by natural processes but I have shown that thus far only mind is known to be capable of generating the quantity of information required to begin life and allow for its diversity. You have offered only hypothetical imaginations of how known natural processes might do so. Personally I suspect there is some group of undiscovered processes that account for generation of functional information at a rate sufficient to account for diversity of life but at this time, mind is the best explanation for life and the universe and perhaps even diversification.

 

Unless there is some real example of natural processes in operation today that can be demonstrated actually generating large amounts of information quickly, I don't see much point in continuing this discussion. We have gone down many rabbit holes and chased many a goose and we have come away empty.

 

Yes, we really disagree on this. I think it is best to start a separate thread on information. I'd start one for you but I'd like you to have the chance to choose the title and the contents of the first post in it. Just link to it here for others to follow. Feel free to copy/paste to save time.

 

You are suggesting that every mutation is functional but Douglas Axe and several others have already shown that this is false. The ratio of functional to non-functional expressed sequences seems to be less than 1 in 10^74

 

No, I am saying that any string of data could be useful information or not, and whether it is or not depends at least equally on the context or on the data. For communication purposes, any string could be in the context of a one-time-pad encryption, for example, in which by choosing context one can change its meaning to anything wished for. Similarly one could change the rules of transcription so that any given DNA could translate to any given protein. The point is that there is no way to know by looking at a string of data itself whether it is information or not, and that there is always going to be some context in which it is useful information. Thus, all data must be considered potentially useful information, unless it can be shown that in every context that exists in actuality that the data is of no value.

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Estimates are fine but only one is documented by the normal measure what the theory of natural selection predicts, and that is the ability to outperform and out-reproduce relative to the others. The model for evolutionary algorithms is always to kill off the weakest for a reason. Only the one alteration significantly outperformed the others. The rest of these changes did not outperform the rest of the population. Sorry, it is not proper to move the goal post. I repeat, just one significant alteration.

And the adaptations I listed outperformed and out-reproduced the others, since they became the dominant traits. The entire average population size, shape, and growth rate changed. These adaptations were found to be beneficial when compared against pre-mutation cells.

 

Additionally, Lenski noted beneficial alterations such as the loss of the ability to grow on ribose, as a result of a gene deletion, and mutations in the spoT gene, which provided a significant advantage to 8 of the populations.

 

Extensive phenotypic evolution has occurred, including substantial gains in competitive fitness. After 20,000 generations, the evolved bacteria on average gro about 70% faster than the ancestor when they compete in the same environment. Average cell size also dramatically increased in the evolving populations. This specialization reflects pleiotropic tradeoffs of mutations that are beneficial in glucose medium, much more than it does drift accumulation of neutral mutations in unused genes.

 

http://myxo.css.msu....s,%20Lenski.pdf

 

Hardly "one significant alteration."

 

Science requires citation to processes currently in operation. We observe a narrow range of mutation rates today, anything different than that is speculation. If speculation is allowed in this debate then let's also allow the creationists their speculations.

We observe mutation rates changing. Because mutation rates change, assuming that they have stayed the same in the past is naive. Lenski in particular observed that adaptation rates slowed after thousands of generations, likely because the bacteria were becoming well-suited to their environments.

 

If you are going to discount several key predictions of evolutionary theory -- punctuated equilibrium, variable adaptation rates, and so on -- and then complain that it doesn't work anymore, well, that's your problem.

 

Also, your definition of "science" is inaccurate. Science merely requires testable hypotheses. "Mutation rates change" is testable. Most creationist speculations cannot be tested by definition -- an omniscient designer or god can not be tested for in an experiment.

 

I suggest The Logic of Scientific Discovery for a further explanation of this topic.

 

There are several estimates based on extensive study of differences between modern humans and modern primates. There are hundreds of millions of point level differences and even a few thousand unique gene sequences. Is it hard to believe the estimate? It may take me a few hours to find this the source material and confirm my estimate, so can you indicate what number you believe is correct? If we are close I prefer not to quibble over a side issue since this will not change the substance of the primary point which is encoded functional information and the inability to demonstrate if natural processes do generate it. How many substantive alterations would you accept as reasonable? What about from say the first mammal to modern humans?

The key is what you mean by "substantive alteration." It could mean "mutation in genome of any kind," it could mean "added feature," it could mean "beneficial adaptation of any kind," it could mean "only added features of a certain size," or just about anything else. The veracity of your claim depends on your definition of "substantive alteration."

 

Have a look at the lab notes regarding the change in mutation rates it appears to be isolated cultures where mutation caused damage to critical replication components. Note what happens when these strains are made to compete with slower mutating lines. We don't know if human ancestors had different mutation rates, we can only go by the processes and rates we observe today plus what we know about the mechanisms that lead to faster rates and it does not seem encouraging for your position. I find it even more naive to use speculation to prop up a untenable position.

 

The mutator cell lines are not significantly better or worse off, as Lenski notes, likely because the increased mutation piggybacks on a beneficial change that "cancels" it out. It would be interesting if he subjected these mutator cells to high selection pressures (completely new environment and competitors) to see what happens.

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C'mon guys, this is a science forum. Let's have less of the off topic discussion about genetics and evolution, and get back to discussing God.

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And the adaptations I listed outperformed and out-reproduced the others, since they became the dominant traits. The entire average population size, shape, and growth rate changed. These adaptations were found to be beneficial when compared against pre-mutation cells.

 

Additionally, Lenski noted beneficial alterations such as the loss of the ability to grow on ribose, as a result of a gene deletion, and mutations in the spoT gene, which provided a significant advantage to 8 of the populations.

 

They survived along with the other variations and became diluted in the population unless purposely isolated. Hardly the model that is described by the theory. But even if I were to accept all 20 as examples of selective advantage the 5+ order of magnitude gap has closed by less than two orders of magnitude so we are arguing over an insignificant difference.

 

We observe mutation rates changing. Because mutation rates change, assuming that they have stayed the same in the past is naive. Lenski in particular observed that adaptation rates slowed after thousands of generations, likely because the bacteria were becoming well-suited to their environments.

 

If you are going to discount several key predictions of evolutionary theory -- punctuated equilibrium, variable adaptation rates, and so on -- and then complain that it doesn't work anymore, well, that's your problem.

 

Also, your definition of "science" is inaccurate. Science merely requires testable hypotheses. "Mutation rates change" is testable. Most creationist speculations cannot be tested by definition -- an omniscient designer or god can not be tested for in an experiment.

 

I don't discount the variation, since any change in mutation rate in the lab experiments figure into the results, that factor has been included. Your hypothesis is far more than "mutation rates change though, yours is that higher mutation rates in the past account for the observed gap. Significantly greater mutation rates (the several orders of magnitude needed) won't help anyway. By Genetic population models, as you significantly increase the mutation rate the number of catastrophic mutations overlap with any neutral and beneficial mutations so that any pathway that otherwise would emerge is cut off. Besides if significant changes in mutation rates were observed and were advantageous then Lenski's research would not be the one we used as an example as that research would show better results. Your claim that mutation rates in the past could account for the gap not only seems theoretically incorrect, it does not seem to be testable.

 

My hypothesis is testable. It is that we observe that biological systems contain large amounts of digitally encoded functional information. We also observe that mind/intelligence is the only causal entity that generates large amounts of this kind of information. Therefore an agent with a mind/intelligence likely generated life. We test this by conducting experiments to see if natural processes do generate this kind of information and we observe genetic engineers closing in on the task of generating new life forms by design. My hypothesis does not make any appeal to an omniscient god. However this is evidence that suggests.

 

 

The key is what you mean by "substantive alteration." It could mean "mutation in genome of any kind," it could mean "added feature," it could mean "beneficial adaptation of any kind," it could mean "only added features of a certain size," or just about anything else. The veracity of your claim depends on your definition of "substantive alteration."

 

No it's not the key. Regardless of how we define terms, observed evolutionary processes simply do not generate large amounts of digitally encoded functional information any faster than a blind search. Artificial selection (captive breeding) does however, but even it seems to have limits. Only genetic engineering is known to bridge the gap. We can sit here and quibble about the finer points but none of it will change the outcome.

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They survived along with the other variations and became diluted in the population unless purposely isolated. Hardly the model that is described by the theory. But even if I were to accept all 20 as examples of selective advantage the 5+ order of magnitude gap has closed by less than two orders of magnitude so we are arguing over an insignificant difference.

 

Wait, I think that if you want to point out a 4 order of magnitude difference then you can't discount the 6 order of magnitude difference that I pointed out earlier -- humans have ~1000X the DNA and ~1000X the mutation rate as compared to bacteria.

 

My hypothesis is testable. It is that we observe that biological systems contain large amounts of digitally encoded functional information. We also observe that mind/intelligence is the only causal entity that generates large amounts of this kind of information. Therefore an agent with a mind/intelligence likely generated life. We test this by conducting experiments to see if natural processes do generate this kind of information and we observe genetic engineers closing in on the task of generating new life forms by design. My hypothesis does not make any appeal to an omniscient god. However this is evidence that suggests.

 

We've already tested this and found it false. The simplest example is the reversal of SNP mutations, where a random process creates a functional protein from a non-functional protein, and a non-random process favors the bacteria with the more functional protein.

 

No it's not the key. Regardless of how we define terms, observed evolutionary processes simply do not generate large amounts of digitally encoded functional information any faster than a blind search. Artificial selection (captive breeding) does however, but even it seems to have limits. Only genetic engineering is known to bridge the gap. We can sit here and quibble about the finer points but none of it will change the outcome.

 

The outcome is that any form of selection, including artificial selection, reduces the amount of information, but does so in a non-random way. Thus by selectively reducing the information via the selection rules, it non-randomly changes the character of the information to more closely match the selection rules. Genetic engineering does have the most interesting mutator function though.

 

C'mon guys, this is a science forum. Let's have less of the off topic discussion about genetics and evolution, and get back to discussing God.

 

Looks like a keeper

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C'mon guys, this is a science forum. Let's have less of the off topic discussion about genetics and evolution, and get back to discussing God.

 

 

Awesome!...especially coming from a particle physicist :D

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No it's not the key. Regardless of how we define terms, observed evolutionary processes simply do not generate large amounts of digitally encoded functional information any faster than a blind search. Artificial selection (captive breeding) does however, but even it seems to have limits. Only genetic engineering is known to bridge the gap. We can sit here and quibble about the finer points but none of it will change the outcome.

 

It's very much the key. If your "substantive differences" mean "significant alterations in genome," regardless of what functional advantage or disadvantage they bring, or whether they're neutral mutations, then the objection that major adaptations do not occur fast enough doesn't fly. All one needs is a mutation of any kind, not just a beneficial adaptation. And I think you'd agree that it takes many mutations to generate one beneficial mutation.

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Wait, I think that if you want to point out a 4 order of magnitude difference then you can't discount the 6 order of magnitude difference that I pointed out earlier -- humans have ~1000X the DNA and ~1000X the mutation rate as compared to bacteria.

 

Sure but the analysis already accounted for that. My previous description skipped past the math and took shortcuts and simplified and estimated to avoid what I considered too much detail to make the post more brief. Perhaps we will need to go into the details. If so I will start a new thread on this too.

 

We've already tested this and found it false. The simplest example is the reversal of SNP mutations, where a random process creates a functional protein from a non-functional protein, and a non-random process favors the bacteria with the more functional protein.

 

As I have previously acknowledged, we do not lack examples of mutation generating function in one to three steps which is in the realm of what a blind search can accomplish, what we lack are actual examples of the multistep evolutionary pathways the theory predicts exist.

 

It's very much the key. If your "substantive differences" mean "significant alterations in genome," regardless of what functional advantage or disadvantage they bring, or whether they're neutral mutations, then the objection that major adaptations do not occur fast enough doesn't fly. All one needs is a mutation of any kind, not just a beneficial adaptation. And I think you'd agree that it takes many mutations to generate one beneficial mutation.

 

Whether I object or not is not the issue. Nor does it matter what I agree. The issue is that when experiments are conducted and numbers are run, known and observed natural processes including evolutionary processes simply do not generate this kind of information at a rate consistent with observed diversity and estimated geologic time. This is a fact that cannot be hidden in back of side issues.

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Whether I object or not is not the issue. Nor does it matter what I agree. The issue is that when experiments are conducted and numbers are run, known and observed natural processes including evolutionary processes simply do not generate this kind of information at a rate consistent with observed diversity and estimated geologic time. This is a fact that cannot be hidden in back of side issues.

 

This is not a "side issue." If "substantive differences" just means "difference in genome, whether good, bad, or neutral," your figure no longer supports your claim. 10,000 genetic changes could easily be accumulated over thousands of years, even if you argue that 10,000 significant beneficial adaptations could not be.

 

Could you stop dodging the question and just answer it? It'd be much easier than continued quibbling.

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Three things to keep in mind. First, when we talk about evolution, we are talking about population effects (not individuals). Second, 10,000 mutations can be easily found within a single bacterial culture within few generations. Third, most mutations just sit there and do nothing. They can even add to the genome, e.g. by duplication, though their effect on the phenotype is near nil. Say, a hydrogenase gene duplicates and sits there. It spreads a bit in the population, accumulating mutations in the process (as it is not in use there is no selective pressure). Then at some point a new nutrient source comes in that the mutated hydrogenase can suddenly convert into something useful for the cell. Whee, see the allele. See how it spreads. Spread allele, spread.

 

At which point we marvel how well designed this particular strain is to utilize, say, spam extract.

 

Well this is the simple version (in which we do not want to be tangled up in networks), anyway.

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This whole issue is discussed by cosmologists and philosophers under the name of the 'anthropic principle.' Simply put, it states that the universe can only be perceived by the type of perceiving entities which are sufficiently consistent with its design so they can see it. The universe could have developed in such a way that it would have generated no percipients with the ability to perceive it, or no percipients at all, but once it does develop in a way that it generates percipients who can perceive it, they will always be amazed that they can see it, not realizing that there might have been a trillion alternative universes which failed to generate matching images and image-receivers able to reflect them. But these trillion alternative universes cannot be perceived and counted as failures to put our own coincidental matching of perceivers and perceived in context, since there was nothing to see them!

 

There is a biological equivalent of the anthropic principle which states that unless we could see the universe as ordered we could not have survived as a species, since noticing the order of the universe is necessary to deal with survival challenges. Thus the only things that exist have to be things which can see the universe as ordered, since otherwise evolution would have wiped them out. So those perceivers which have survived evolutionary siftings are always amazed at the 'coincidence' that their own minds match the universe so well that they see it as ordered, when in fact that is no coincidence at all, since they would not exist to notice that they could not see the universe as ordered if they did not already see it as ordered.

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This is not a "side issue." If "substantive differences" just means "difference in genome, whether good, bad, or neutral," your figure no longer supports your claim. 10,000 genetic changes could easily be accumulated over thousands of years, even if you argue that 10,000 significant beneficial adaptations could not be.

 

Could you stop dodging the question and just answer it? It'd be much easier than continued quibbling.

 

Skeptic asked the same question and I answered it several posts ago. Substantive changes are function and form modifications and new function or form subcompontents that were incorporated into the entire population. this disposes of ChardonY's 2nd point. I am also speaking of population effects which disposes of the first point. The third point does not explain or demonstrate how natural processes actually derive digitaly encoded functional information faster than a blind search so it is irrelevant either way.

 

Marat's argument is interesting but it is a just so narrative without a causally adequate process and is as meaninless as pure speculation. Could haves and would haves, ifs and ands.

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Skeptic asked the same question and I answered it several posts ago. Substantive changes are function and form modifications and new function or form subcompontents that were incorporated into the entire population. this disposes of ChardonY's 2nd point. I am also speaking of population effects which disposes of the first point. The third point does not explain or demonstrate how natural processes actually derive digitaly encoded functional information faster than a blind search so it is irrelevant either way.

 

Marat's argument is interesting but it is a just so narrative without a causally adequate process and is as meaninless as pure speculation. Could haves and would haves, ifs and ands.

Function and form modifications do not seem to be constrained by the same information-generation limitations you are so fond of, when compared with new functions and subcomponents.

 

My original request to see how your source defines "substantive difference" still stands.

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I don't understand what you are asking for then. In the Lenski research the ecoli which is able to metabolize citrate in anaerobic conditions underwent a two or three step mutation and was able to metabolize free citrate in an oxygen rich environment. It was a modification of existing function due to a change in expression controls. Is this not a substantive change that was selectable? If it was then my definition seems to be consistent.

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I don't understand what you are asking for then. In the Lenski research the ecoli which is able to metabolize citrate in anaerobic conditions underwent a two or three step mutation and was able to metabolize free citrate in an oxygen rich environment. It was a modification of existing function due to a change in expression controls. Is this not a substantive change that was selectable? If it was then my definition seems to be consistent.

 

Your source for the 10,000 alterations figure may use a different definition than you do. I am just trying to determine what definition that source uses.

 

On the other hand, your definition includes "function and form modifications," which means that "substantive alterations" encompasses mutations that do not introduce new information but merely alter existing functions. For example, changing size without introducing novel mechanisms would be a "function and form modification," but it would not be constrained by your information-theoretic concerns.

 

If that is the case, the figure of 10,000 is attainable, because the information theory constraint does not apply. We are not limited by the amount of information that must be generated, because 10,000 "significant alterations" do not imply 10,000 cases of new "information" being introduced.

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Your source for the 10,000 alterations figure may use a different definition than you do. I am just trying to determine what definition that source uses.

 

Perhaps so, I have not had the time or energy to locate the original source. However irrespective of that example, the basic premise remains that we do not observe any natural processes generating large quantities of information significantly faster than a blind search. Furthermore in order for known evolutionary processes to account for observed diversity of life, one would look at the required rate of information increase throughout geologic time and compare it to the rate of increase we do observe. When this comparison is made, it fails. I have seen these analyses made three or four times now. Once using malaria and the human hosts as an example, once with whale evolution, once in an analysis of gene expression controls and once with regard to the increase in phylum during the Cambrian.

 

On the other hand, your definition includes "function and form modifications," which means that "substantive alterations" encompasses mutations that do not introduce new information but merely alter existing functions. For example, changing size without introducing novel mechanisms would be a "function and form modification," but it would not be constrained by your information-theoretic concerns.

 

If that is the case, the figure of 10,000 is attainable, because the information theory constraint does not apply. We are not limited by the amount of information that must be generated, because 10,000 "significant alterations" do not imply 10,000 cases of new "information" being introduced.

 

I don't agree with your distinction because the criteria in either case should be whether or not the alteration ultimately spreads or exists in the entire population of a unique species and another species or the orginal species retains the original. In that case functional information is increased regardless of the nature of the alteration (agin keeping in mind that only alterations that change function or form are included, since information is equal if two sequences have the identical function). The main problem we are having is you seem to presuppose a mechanism even in discussing the changes. If we drop the presupposition and remain focused on the fact of the changes, then I don't see how it matters.

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I don't agree with your distinction because the criteria in either case should be whether or not the alteration ultimately spreads or exists in the entire population of a unique species and another species or the orginal species retains the original. In that case functional information is increased regardless of the nature of the alteration (agin keeping in mind that only alterations that change function or form are included, since information is equal if two sequences have the identical function). The main problem we are having is you seem to presuppose a mechanism even in discussing the changes. If we drop the presupposition and remain focused on the fact of the changes, then I don't see how it matters.

So... if an alteration spreads through the entire population, the net functional information does not increase, because the old gene no longer exists.

 

If the alteration exists in one particular subgroup, but another group retains the old gene, the net functional information increases.

 

Somehow, the second option cannot be easily done via mutation and natural selection, because of the information increase.

 

Is that what you are implying?

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If you want to see exactly what blind search is capable of, what you should do is take a genetic algorithm, and modify its fitness function to be constant. Do that (or just imagine it) and compare it to the same genetic algorithm with a particular fitness function. Compare the results, then come back and tell me about how effective blind search is. (And if you meant blind search while still checking for results, instead modify the genetic algorithm to not prefer the more fit over the less fit in the reproduction phase).

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So... if an alteration spreads through the entire population, the net functional information does not increase, because the old gene no longer exists.

 

If the alteration exists in one particular subgroup, but another group retains the old gene, the net functional information increases.

 

Somehow, the second option cannot be easily done via mutation and natural selection, because of the information increase.

 

Is that what you are implying?

 

No, I was simply making an accounting distinction in how to describe substantive differences in the human genome vs. primate example. Don't miss the forest for the trees, it is just one of millions of cases and it was offered to illustrate the challenge which is that nobody has yet demonstrated that known evolutionary processes do actually generate new form and function in the timeframe indicated by the fossil record no matter which example is chosen. New form and function is the focus because it is easiest to identify but one could easily include all modifications in that statement. The diversity in the genome of species that are thought to have a common ancestor represent differences in the digital information content of the DNA and this kind of information is a not only a convenient way of measuring the functional content but it is also a marker of a process derived by mind since thus far only intelligent agents are observed capable of deriving digitally encoded functional information. this is evidence that life was created by a causal power with a mind, and it is this that is the topic of this thread. Let's not lose focus.

 

If you want to see exactly what blind search is capable of, what you should do is take a genetic algorithm, and modify its fitness function to be constant. Do that (or just imagine it) and compare it to the same genetic algorithm with a particular fitness function. Compare the results, then come back and tell me about how effective blind search is. (And if you meant blind search while still checking for results, instead modify the genetic algorithm to not prefer the more fit over the less fit in the reproduction phase).

 

Yes I agree this would be an interesting approach to discover what is required to generate functional systems. The challenge in conducting these kinds of tests is to avoid conformational bias and other errors by not inadvertently inserting information into the algorithm and thus helping the algorithms to succeed. In probability theory, it has been shown that on average over the range of fitness landscapes, no search function outperforms blind search. It is called the No Free Lunch Theorem. If you wish to discuss this as a potential solution to the challenge posed by information perhaps a new thread would be good for this topic too.

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No, I was simply making an accounting distinction in how to describe substantive differences in the human genome vs. primate example. Don't miss the forest for the trees, it is just one of millions of cases and it was offered to illustrate the challenge which is that nobody has yet demonstrated that known evolutionary processes do actually generate new form and function in the timeframe indicated by the fossil record no matter which example is chosen. New form and function is the focus because it is easiest to identify but one could easily include all modifications in that statement. The diversity in the genome of species that are thought to have a common ancestor represent differences in the digital information content of the DNA and this kind of information is a not only a convenient way of measuring the functional content but it is also a marker of a process derived by mind since thus far only intelligent agents are observed capable of deriving digitally encoded functional information. this is evidence that life was created by a causal power with a mind, and it is this that is the topic of this thread. Let's not lose focus.

"New form and function is the focus because it is easiest to identify but one could easily include all modifications in that statement."

 

If one includes all modifications, one is not constrained by any information theory rules. And Lenski showed that modifications happened at a much greater rate than 1 per 20,000 generations.

 

Furthermore, your accounting distinction is moot; what should matter is the information per organism, which does not change with a modification. (An old method is destroyed and a new method appears.) That this changes the information level of the entire population is unimportant; the processes occurring inside that one organism will happen if there's one organism or ten million.

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