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Author Topic:   Can mutation and selection increase information?
Vlad
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Posts: 27
Joined: 06-03-2017


Message 46 of 222 (811888)
06-13-2017 8:33 AM


Mutations and new information
Bluegenes comments right on the point. Of course, without constraints, there is no such thing as function. Well, here are the constraints: only the “bite” form – out of all the above mutants – qualifies as functional (“viable”) since it proves its adequate meaning. A rare score… That is, “viable” forms dwell by no means in a void but in the dense “lexical” environment.
Moreover, self-replication is only possible in a permanent flow of matter and energy. Controlled metabolism takes place, etc. In other words, new genetic information doesn’t emerge as a free gift, though I see no need to focus here on these banalities.
The thing is that living entities spontaneously evolve, yet not only living things evolve. For example John von Neuman’s self-reproducing automata spontaneously evolve – at least, in principle. After all, viruses are inanimate entities, yet they happily evolve because they are replicated by living cells. Early self-replicators (arguably ribozymes) were no more animate than present-day viruses, yet they initiated the evolution of all the living things. So there is, in fact, no matter of dispute here, and we should only do away with the blinders of worm-eaten stereotypes.
All in all, spontaneous evolution takes place, in the model, and the new form “bite” evidently contains 33.3…% more meaning heritable information than the primordial noun “bit”. In other words, the process of self-replication is inevitably accompanied by chance mutations and, in this way, it generates new information.
As Henry Quastler, 1908-63, commented, “The ‘accidental choice remembered’ is a mechanism of creating information...” [The Emergence of Biological Organization, 1964, p. 16] That is, the emergence of the “viable” form “bite”, capable of producing – in suitable environment – its “digital” copies, denotes that the accidental choice is remembered. So the above case delivers, by Quastler, the example of spontaneous creation of new information. To avoid misunderstanding, note that Henry Quastler has here in view the “choice”, not “selection” (though he mentions natural selection, in other contexts).
Replies to this message:
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JonF
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Member Rating: 3.2


Message 47 of 222 (811890)
06-13-2017 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Vlad
06-13-2017 8:33 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Analogy is still not argument.
This message is a reply to:
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Taq
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Posts: 7141
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 48 of 222 (811930)
06-13-2017 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Vlad
06-13-2017 8:33 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Vlad writes:

All in all, spontaneous evolution takes place, in the model, and the new form “bite” evidently contains 33.3…% more meaning heritable information than the primordial noun “bit”.

What about "bit" to "bat"? Is that an increase in information?


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Vlad
Junior Member
Posts: 27
Joined: 06-03-2017


Message 49 of 222 (812166)
06-15-2017 9:05 AM


Mutations and new information
Spontaneous evolution takes place, in the model, and you may trace various feasible paths of advancement yourself. And also evaluate the probabilities of evolutionary progressions up to some interesting forms. Of course the accidental emergence of a new “viable” form by no means always signifies any quantitative increase in information content. Say, mutant form “bat” is quite “viable” yet the quantity of information it carries remains the same as in the primordial noun “bit”.
As often as not, the evolution also displays some loss in information content. That is, the form “kite” might spontaneously “germinate” the “viable” form “kit” (these special cases are at times specified as “involution”). Yet even in the cases of the forms “bat” and “kit”, the process creates qualitatively new meanings – the evolutionary phenomena of no less importance than the increase in quantity of information. Incidentally, the quite “viable” noun “kit” turns out to be poorly “fit” with regard to the English literary context 2000-08 – see the Google Ngram Viewer statistics at books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=kit&year_start=2000&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=1&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ckit%3B%2Cc0

Being poorly “fit”, the clone “kit” wouldn’t grow in number, and it wouldn’t be able to originate any mutant forms. A sort of evolutionary dead end… Besides, in 1850-58, the same “kit” form was well “fit”, and the clone might happily grow in number. Life is changeful…


Replies to this message:
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Taq
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Posts: 7141
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.9


(1)
Message 50 of 222 (812187)
06-15-2017 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Vlad
06-15-2017 9:05 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Vlad writes:

Say, mutant form “bat” is quite “viable” yet the quantity of information it carries remains the same as in the primordial noun “bit”.

Then your definition of an increase in information is irrelevant to how biology actually works. Substitution mutations, those that change one base to another DNA base, do change phenotype and are responsible for the difference in phenotype seen between species.

You have effectively argued yourself out of the conversation by using a definition for information that has no biological relevance.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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caffeine
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Posts: 1346
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 51 of 222 (812256)
06-15-2017 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Taq
06-15-2017 10:50 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Then your definition of an increase in information is irrelevant to how biology actually works. Substitution mutations, those that change one base to another DNA base, do change phenotype and are responsible for the difference in phenotype seen between species.

You have effectively argued yourself out of the conversation by using a definition for information that has no biological relevance.

But his example also changed the phenotype. It's just that the new 'organism' did not contain more 'information' that the previous one, as information is here arbitrarily defined.

I would agree that the analogy is not really relevant, but not because an SNP mutation does increase information. Does it?


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Taq
Member
Posts: 7141
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 52 of 222 (812294)
06-15-2017 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by caffeine
06-15-2017 3:48 PM


Re: Mutations and new information
caffeine writes:

I would agree that the analogy is not really relevant, but not because an SNP mutation does increase information. Does it?

Does it matter if a creationist will not accept an SNP as an increase in information?

We once again run into the creationist game of focusing on definitions instead of reality. It really doesn't matter if a mutation meets their criteria for an increase in information. All that matters is if the mutations can produce the biodiversity we see today.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 9 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 53 of 222 (812336)
06-16-2017 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Vlad
06-13-2017 8:33 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Vlad writes:

Bluegenes comments right on the point. Of course, without constraints, there is no such thing as function.....

.....The thing is that living entities spontaneously evolve,...

One of the synonyms for "spontaneous" is "unconstrained".

As you don't seem to be using it that way, are you trying to express the view that evolution is contingent/unpredictable?

There's a significant difference between "unconstrained" and "unpredictable", so perhaps you could clarify that point.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 9 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 54 of 222 (812341)
06-16-2017 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Vlad
06-15-2017 9:05 AM


Re: Mutations and new information
Vlad writes:

Spontaneous evolution takes place, in the model, and you may trace various feasible paths of advancement yourself. And also evaluate the probabilities of evolutionary progressions up to some interesting forms. Of course the accidental emergence of a new “viable” form by no means always signifies any quantitative increase in information content. Say, mutant form “bat” is quite “viable” yet the quantity of information it carries remains the same as in the primordial noun “bit”.

If "meaning" = "function" in your analogy, then an increased number of letters doesn't really mean that there's a "quantitative increase in information content". Neither "bite" nor "bat" can necessarily be described as having more meaning than "bit".

By some descriptions of "functional information" for biology, or "meaningful information" in your analogy, the "meaning" measure of the words would depend on the number of synonyms that could convey that meaning. The fewer the ways of conveying the meaning, the higher the information content.

However, we can use your analogy to say with confidence that changing bit to bat or bite creates new information, and that if "bit" is retained alongside a new word, as in "tit bit", then we have a clear increase in information.

But as we could do that with examples from biology, I don't think that your analogy really brings much meaningful function to this thread.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 9 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 55 of 222 (812345)
06-16-2017 5:22 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by caffeine
06-15-2017 3:48 PM


Re: Mutations and new information
caffeine writes:

I would agree that the analogy is not really relevant, but not because an SNP mutation does increase information. Does it?

On arrival in the individual, it changes information without increase, but its arrival in the population would increase information. If, however, it went to fixation replacing the old allele, we're back to square one if we're assuming the functional information content of all functional alleles to be about equal.

So, a lineage can evolve in this way, replacing allele after allele, and become a very different organism without requiring any overall increase in information at all.

However, if both alleles remain, as in the pocket mouse example Taq often gives, where we start with mice of one colour, and end up with two colours in two different environments, then information has been added. In that sort of way, the life system as a whole certainly can add information by branching, and do so without increasing the quantity of information or complexity of any particular lineage.

Of course, some lineages have increased the quantity of functional information considerably when compared to a likely LUCA, and further up the thread I was pointing to some of the ways in which additional coding genes can be added within a lineage.


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Vlad
Junior Member
Posts: 27
Joined: 06-03-2017


Message 56 of 222 (812530)
06-17-2017 8:31 AM


Mutations and new information
Anyway, try and trace the path “bit”, …, “evolution” – with considerable gain in both the quantity of information and “lexical” meaning. Or any other paths you would like…
Amusingly, even this simple a model readily displays the possibility of new heritable information emergence – due to accidental mutations. This is because spontaneous evolution is, in fact, the game of numbers. Once a clone attained great enough number, it would inevitably “germinate” mutant forms. And among mutants some “viable” forms may emerge – NS or no NS.
Once again, chance mutations are able to create new heritable (and meaning) information – in principle. Yet, it is known that the truth is in measure. Indeed, until the process of self-replication operates within the area of comparatively simple forms – say, “birth”, “suite”, etc. – it faces no insuperable difficulties in its creative activities.
Then consider the advanced form “evolution”: the clone “evolution” would be able to sooner or later accidentally create the new form “revolution”. And here the awkward question suggests itself: are chance mutations able to create even more complex forms? Would the clone “revolution” be able to originate such form as, for instance, “counterrevolution”?
    
CRR
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Posts: 578
From: Australia
Joined: 10-19-2016
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 57 of 222 (813722)
06-30-2017 7:45 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by bluegenes
05-19-2017 4:17 AM


Re: Bump for CRR - copious quantities of genetic information
I'd like to ask CRR ...

Then you might have sent me a message to say you were asking.


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 Message 33 by bluegenes, posted 05-19-2017 4:17 AM bluegenes has not yet responded

  
CRR
Member
Posts: 578
From: Australia
Joined: 10-19-2016
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 58 of 222 (815749)
07-24-2017 5:02 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by bluegenes
05-19-2017 4:17 AM


Re: Bump for CRR - copious quantities of genetic information
bluegenes writes:

Rather than saying that a theory itself has a direction, it might be better to say that an explanation of natural history would have to explain the direction that that history has taken. That includes the emergence of many complex organisms in the latter part of that history from relatively simple forms, and the presence of an enormous quantity of species from one or several originals.

Put that way, I broadly agree. Although biological "information" is difficult to define and measure, I agree that there appears to have been an enormous increase.

And, from the same thread:

Message 163

CRR writes:

It is the theory of evolution that relies on the gain of copious quantities of genetic information. Creationists are just asking how the theory can be taken seriously when the evidence is that the mutation selection mechanism appears to be insufficient to explain where that information comes from.

Here we have the type of creationist claim that I mentioned in the O.P.

I'd like to ask CRR and any other creationists for their own views on this. Is it that mutation and selection can produce no new information at all, or is it that they just can't produce enough?

Can anyone support either claim?


Yes I think that is a good way to put it. According to the ToE the development of living things has HAD a general direction from simple to more complex organisms, although this does not exclude instances of the reverse direction. I note you agree that there appears to have been an enormous increase in information.

I would say that the mutation selection mechanism can't produce enough new information. This might not be a universal view among ToE skeptics but I think this opinion is fairly widespread; e.g. Kirk Durston, Douglas Axe, Stephen Meyer. In "Undeniable" Douglas Axe says in Chapter 11 " As a finder of inventions, Darwin's evolutionary mechanism is a complete bust, but as we saw in chapter 7, it sometimes comes in handy as a fiddler".

Can anyone support either claim? Well in the 150 years since Darwin published Origin of Species what do our observations show? So far we have seen many examples of changes that could be accomplished by a fiddler; we have seen none that require an inventor.

One oft cited example of evolution is the Peppered Moth. It is quite likely that the dark form arose as a mutation not long before it was first observed in 1811. This produced a new variety but not a new species. The mutation produced a new allele of an existing gene.

quote:
This species has two different adult forms. One form of the species, typica, is a pale lighter color that is peppered with black speckles. The other form, carbonaria, is a much darker color that is peppered with light speckles. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/peppered-moth

The spread of the dark form is one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Natural Selection in action. However this is the work of a fiddler, not an inventor. It provides very little support for evolution being able to produce significant amounts of new information.
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Replies to this message:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 5065
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 59 of 222 (815750)
07-24-2017 5:13 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by CRR
07-24-2017 5:02 AM


Re: Bump for CRR - copious quantities of genetic information
CRR writes:

The spread of the dark form is one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Natural Selection in action. However this is the work of a fiddler, not an inventor. It provides very little support for evolution being able to produce significant amounts of new information.

Yes, it's a good example of a beneficial mutation followed by natural selection creating a change to the phenotype of a population - evolution in action, observed and proven. This is something creationists claim can't happen. Well there it is happening.

And yes, it's still a moth - and even still a peppered moth. But it changed and that was regarded as impossible - and still is by your chums. Dredge and Faith but it's good to see you moving forwards.

The 'fiddler' makes small changes slowly and over a long period of time they amount to very large changes as demonstrated by the fossil record.

It's case close, sir.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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CRR
Member
Posts: 578
From: Australia
Joined: 10-19-2016
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 60 of 222 (815753)
07-24-2017 6:20 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Tangle
07-24-2017 5:13 AM


Re: Bump for CRR - copious quantities of genetic information
This is something creationists claim can't happen.

Incorrect.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Tangle, posted 07-24-2017 5:13 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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