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Author Topic:   Gene pool deeper?
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Message 4 of 47 (106648)
05-08-2004 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Justin Horne
05-08-2004 3:12 PM

The Biblical model is based on Kinds. This model is also based on the idea that natural selection and mutation is a directional change from High Information, Low Specificity at creation to Lower Information and Higher Specificity currently. The idea is that the original kinds were created before death and mutation were factors (before Adam’s Sin) therefore, the originals had the highest information content. Through natural selection, mutation, and isolation, the specificity we see today emerges.

For example – If Adam is indeed the first human (according to the Bible), then how do we get all the different races, skin colors, etc that we see today. Adam, being the original man, would have to have the DNA for black skin, white skin, and every thing in between. He would also have to have the genetic information for the common African and Asian features, such as large nostrils or ‘slanted’ eyes (that is not meant as a disparagement, but merely an example). Adam would have to have a High level of information in order to pass these traits on to his offspring.

In the same way, there were probably less ‘species’ of dog, for example. Through isolated selection and mutation, information is lost until you arrive at a ‘more specific’ variety.

However, immediately after creation, the people and animals would have been at their very highest information level – and there would be very few mutations. Why is inbreeding dangerous today? Because those in the same immediate family usually have the same genetic defects. Those born from close relations are born with retardation, or are often very sickly. But why? Because their genetic code rely’s on an outside influence to ‘make up for’ the genetic defects in the family line. Chances are, outside the family line someone else will have an un-mutated version of a needed gene. Their genetic structure will contain the necessary information for correction or completion of a necessary gene.

Those immediately born after Adam would have very few genetic mutations, therefore inbreeding would not be dangerous. They would have enough genetic information to overcome any small mutation that might be passed on.

It is important to note that it wasn’t until the days of Moses (about 3000 years after Adam) that God gave laws regarding inbreeding.

Of course this flies directly in the face of modern evolution. Modern evolution says that the directional change goes from simple cell, gains information, and eventually results in complex life forms such as people. However, creationists believe that this is assumptive because no-where in nature can you observe the directional information gaining change required to make Darwinistic evolution possible. So there is contention and controversy between Evolutionists and Creationists.

Hope this helps to answer your question.

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Inactive Member

Message 8 of 47 (106660)
05-08-2004 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by JonF
05-08-2004 5:49 PM

JonF - How is this physically possible?

Gup20 - Well, skin color is actually just the ammount of melanin in your skin. I suppose the genes for it simply tell your skin how much melanin to produce. I suppose the thought would be that it started out somewhere in between and mutation corrupted the regulatory cells in some way.

JonF - Pleas expand ... exactly how does this give rise to the different breeds of dogs?

Gup20 - My understanding of the creationist theory is that the original kinds were created with full information, as genes mutated, they became non-functional (or malfunctional) thereby creating a loss of information. For example - a white rabbit in a snowy region. Say there are many rabbits of many colors. The white rabbits have an advantage. Say the genes for other fur colors are damaged or lost - natural selection gives the white rabbits an advantage. Pretty soon there are more white rabbits than any other. Then, the white rabbits only mate with other white rabbits - further increasing the specificity. The animal has lost the genes for other fur colors. The only way to re-introduce other fur color is to breed with a rabbit that is another fur color. Here is an example of increased specificity, and decreased information.

JonF - Why would there be very few mutations?

Gup20 - Too many mutations at once is usually fatal or renders the creature sterile. In order for genetic mutations to be passed on, they must happen gradually. It is generally accepted that mutation happens on a very low percentage. It is a very long and drawn out process.

JonF - It is also contradicted by all the evidence available.

Gup20 - Such as?

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 Message 6 by JonF, posted 05-08-2004 5:49 PM JonF has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 9 of 47 (106662)
05-08-2004 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Coragyps
05-08-2004 6:00 PM

Coragyps - What's that "directional" doing in there? What does that have to do with "Darwinistic" evolution?

Gup20 - Darwinistic evolution goes from molecules to man - creationists see it as going from the apex of man at creation to the corruped skewed version we have today. This is the reason I say 'direction'. Creationism and Evolution go in opposite directions. Creationists imply that man is constantly de-evolving as genetic copying and mutational mistakes build up.

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Inactive Member

Message 20 of 47 (106738)
05-09-2004 4:41 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by JonF
05-08-2004 8:52 PM

JonF writes:

In other words, you have no idea how it might happen, and you just sort of make it up as you go along. That's what we call an ad-hoc hypothesis; a hypothesis for which there is no evidence and no reason other thatn to try to save your cherished beliefs.

I was simply trying to answer Justin's question without taking a side. If this is to be a hostile environment, then I would take a side and argue my beleif.

There is no such thing as skin color. There is the ammount of melanin your skin produces. All skin is the same color, it just has more or less melanin. This gives it a darker or lighter appearance.

Mutations in several genes can cause changes to skin color. A change to a cell telling your body how much melanin to produce can cause lighter or darker pigmentation. Also, mutations to the cells that produce melanin directly can also have an effect on the ammount of melanin produced.

In fact there is almost always no simple one-to-one correspondence between a gene and the characteristics of the organisms that carry that gene. Hox genes are a great example of that. Make a change in a HOX gene and you can get something that doesn't even look like its parent.

This however doesn't support or degrade either evolution or creationism. If you turn a hox gene off, you are simply turning off the expression of a gene. The organism still retains the information (specified complexity and order).

Feel free to present non-Biblical evidence, not rhetoric, for it.

I decided to respond to this statement as an aside to the main discussion. It would be foolish and ignorant for me to adhere to this if I were to argue the creationist point of view. If I were to say - You can argue evolution with me, but you can only present evidence that shows how supernatural influence made everything happen, you would look at me like I was nuts. By definition, the Theory of Evolution is naturalistic and humanistic. It is entirely exclusionary to the to supernatural. By the same token, creationism is inseparable from the Bible or from the supernatural. It is the basis of the theory. To explain it in a naturalistic way would only subject it to the same exclusionary outcome as Evolution.

Nobody has ever observed any process such as you describe, or any hint that of evidence such a process might exist, or (as I pointed out above) the evidence that such a process would leave behind.

No one has ever observed evolution either. There is evidence which must be interpreted under an assumptive process (as no one can go back a million years and measure and observe) which equates to 'our best educated guesses'. And we have already determined that the answers MUST be exclusionary to the supernatural, therefore it is not surprising that the interpretation of any evidence discovered and categorized by someone with an evolutionary paradigm would reflect this naturalistic worldview. It is not that the evidence says this - evidence and facts do not 'speak'. They must be interpreted in order to draw conclusions.

Many mutations have been observed and identified that give rise to abilities that were not present in previous generations.

I will show how these mutations are directionally the opposite that is required for a single cell to eventually branch into a person (you like how I picked up on the directional Bush comment?).

For our purposes here, we will talk about and define information. If you have a book, and you make a duplicate copy of the book, you do not have more information, you have twice as much of the same information. Dr. Don Batton says it this way - if [the word] "superman" were [a] duplicated 'gene', and mutations in the letters changed it to "sxyxvawtu ", you have clearly lost information, although you have a new sequence. This is the difference between complexity and specified complexity. A pile of sand is complex , but is information-poor, because it specifies nothing.

An extremely common miconception about this information theory is that creationists believe that all mutations or changes are harmful or bad. This simply is not true. However, all mutations do result in a loss of information (specified complexity and order). While most mutations are neutral some can be beneficial, and others can be harmful.

Having said that, let me delve into your examples, JonF.

Many mutations have been observed and identified that give rise to abilities that were not present in previous generations. In bacteria, the classical example is the nylon eating bug.

This is an often used example. However, it does not show that any new information arises. Let me explain. The changed genes that allow the bacteria the appearant novel ability to consume nylon is actually not on the bateria's DNA genomic structure. The change is actually in one of the bacterium's plasmids (the main DNA of the bacteria remains unchanged). Furthermore, the plasmids on which we see this appearantly novel ability is most likely designed to adapt the bacteria to new food sources. The evidence of this is that these plasmids are not activated by the bacterium unless it is under considerable strain or pressure. This suggests that it is the function of these plasmids to adapt the bacterium to new environments. Also, it is important to note that the way, the plasmid does this with the nylon eating is by a frame shift which removes the information telling the bacteria what not to eat. It is the equivalent to putting a blind fold on, and plugging your nose as someone puts food in front of you to eat. Your indicators telling you if it is real food or not have been disabled, so you consume away. This is certainly a decrease in specified complexity, and a loss of information. In this case, the loss of information is beneficial to the bacterium. Again, it is a very common misconception that creationists believe that all mutations and all losses of information are harmful to an organism.

Bary Hall's experiments with beta-galactosidase; he deleted this gene from bacteria, and a new set of genes arose by mutation, which created a new irreducibly complex system (see A True Acid Test.

This experiment is the equivalent to deleting the one letter in a word - such as removing the O in the word TEAMWORK so that it looks like TEAMW*RK. Moreover, you leave the word in the same sentence with the same context - We won the game by pulling together and working as a team - it was this TEAMW*RK that gave us the win. Hall takes a working, existing gene with an existing function and deletes one part of a multi-part system, then claims novel ability when the system repairs itself. While this is a marvelous example of the error correction built into genetic structures, it does not demonstrate how a bacteria that NEVER HAD this function in the first place could have developed it. Moreover, it is indeed a multi-part function - all the parts would need to be devoloped at the same time for any function to occur at all. This certainly is not evidence of an information gain. An information gain (increase in specified complexity) would be for him to delete the beta-galactosidase gene and have a completely differnt gene with a completely different multi-part gene grow back in it's place (one that the bateria has never had before) with increased functionality over the previous gene (such as able to do what the previous gene could do, plus add a novel function with it). That sort of change is the one required for Evolution to take place. For genes to keep existing function and information while adding new ability and function to it. This is, after all, exactly what evolutionists claim happens. They claim genes duplicate themselves and then ONE of the copies mutates while the other remains the same. This of course would be evidenced by a the existing function and specified complexity remaining (entact and in it's original form), while novel ability was added. It is this BUILDING UP of information that DOES NOT occur. If we see a new ability, it is at the expense of existing specified complexity. THAT is what we see under a microscope. THAT is the direcitonal change we can observe - and it is NOT the one needed for Evolution to happen.

In humans, one example is the Alipoprotein mutation that confers resistance to heart disease.

Again, this makes the assumption that beneficial mutations go against the creationist model or idea of information. This is, again, not the case. Beneficial mutations do happen, however it is a loss of specified complexity. In this case an ammino acid is replaced with a cysteine residue for a protein that removes cholesterol from arteries. The mutated gene doesn't do it's intended function very well anymore, but one effect of the mutation is that it now acts as an antioxident (because of the cysteine) which is good for keeping the arteries from hardening. Up to 70% of the original cholesterol fighting capability of the gene is hindered, but the remaing 30% still try to perform their function. One part that is left is the targeting information - so the gene is able to perform it's function as an antioxident rather that it's intended functionality. In other words, specificity of the antioxidant activity does not lie with the mutation itself, but with the protein structure, which already existed, in which the mutation occurred. You can read the AiG description (which I have borrowed from) here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/feedback/2003/0221.asp

It sums up nicely: Now in gaining an anti-oxidant activity, the protein has lost a lot of activity for making HDLs. So the mutant protein has sacrificed specificity. Since antioxidant activity is not a very specific activity (a great variety of simple chemicals will act as antioxidants), it would seem that the result of this mutation has been a net loss of specificity, or, in other words, information. This is exactly as we would expect with a random change.

So again we can see that this is the wrong directional change needed by evolution. It is a loss in information (specified complexity). Perhaps a new ability is gained, but at a cost. This goes to demonstrate the concept that I was trying to convey to Justin (the thread starter). Adam had all the human genes in perfect condition (unmutated) and mutation has lessened the information level in the human genome since then. Therefore inbreeding would not have been, nor caused, a problem for the first few thousand years.

Another example is the CCR5-Delta32 deletion which confers resistance to HIV.

Here again we see a loss of information. Let me quote the first line of that:

"The CCR5-Delta32 deletion obliterates the CCR5 chemokine and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 coreceptor on lymphoid cells, leading to strong resistance against HIV-1 infection and AIDS."

We have the receptor genes that HIV attacks being deleted. This is an obvious loss of genetic information, albeit with a beneficial result. Again, this is not a problem for creationists as it is clearly a loss of specified complexity.

See The genetic basis of adaptive melanism in pocket mice

Here we see that there is already many varieties of colors - the article mentions 18 different populations with coat colors taht range from very light to very dark. I don't see anything unusual here beyond natural selection. As we saw in the nylon, adaptation can be expected (it was designed for), and as we saw in the Acid, it is existing genes. Moreover, we are dealing with the same type of characteristic of Melanin. In humans our bodies are programmed to release more melanin into the skin as we spend time in the sun (a protection mechanism). The tanning industry can attest to the consitency and repetitive nature of that mechanism. Is it surprising then, that in mice (which share so much in common with the human genome that most lab tests for humans is done on mice) would have some type of mechanism for melanism?

And this isn't even scratching the surface. Everything we have learned about populationj genetics and mutations conflicts with your "theory". Everything.

Well you are right about one thing - EVERYTHING in evolution uses these same criteria to try to boulster the case of molecules to man evolution. Each and every case that exists follows these rules of Information and Specified Complexity. No where in nature do you find matter spontaneously givne rise to information - no where in nature do you find information gaining mutations. Mutation IS the only mechanism for molecules to man evolution. At this basic level then, molecules to man evolution simply cannot happen.

It is more likely, then, that a system such as the Kinds system associated with the Bible and creationism make more sense. The original creation was perfect - no mutation - God created every creature in a perfect state. The Bible says God created them and saw that they were good. He found no flaw or blemish in them. The only reason that this isn't accepted is because it is not naturalistic. It involves the supernatural too much for the humanist mindset to be comfortable with. After all - if God created us, we are ultimately responsible to Him - if we evolved, then we are rulers of our own domain and can do 'whatever seems right in our own eyes'.

But hey - I completely understand your position, JonF. You are in the position that you cannot accept anything that is not entirely Naturalistic. This sounds far fetched to you because it casts doubts on the only system you have for naturally explaining the origin and existance of life. I understand your hostility and consternation to these ideas. But even completely naturally speaking, these concepts of information gaining and specified complexity hold true. It is indeed impossible to gain novel function without some kind of loss of information. Why? Because we were specifically designed a certain way. When you start with a perfect design, changes can only dilute perfection. God is a much better and wiser designer than chance, chemistry, and time. If he is wise enough to create the universe and life - I would trust that over the trial and error process of chance at 'getting it right'.

Another interesting aside that demonstrates these concepts is to look at the the incredible design and engineering feats of ancienct civilizations. Engineering feets that modern engineers can't even begin to fathom. Yet these people had no machines, no computers, nothing to aid them. Look at the Great Pyramid, for example. An enginieering marvel that can't be duplicated. Look at Stone Henge, look at the ancient city of Sacsahuamán, near the city of Cuzco, Peru, there is a magnificent wall built by the Incas, deliberately using irregularly shaped blocks of stone. Some of the blocks weigh as much as 100 tonnes and are so accurately fitted together that still today it is not possible to insert a piece of paper in the joints between the blocks. Even more incredible, however, is a larger stone block in the area. The size of a five-storey house and weighing an estimated 20,000 tonnes, the builders of Sacsahuamán could, and somehow did, move this block! The feat of moving such a staggering weight has never been attempted, let alone duplicated, with modern machinery. Even the largest crane in the world today is capable of lifting only about 3,000 tonnes. Yet somehow these people of ancient times were able to do this. They were able to figure this out. How? Well if Adam was indeed created perfect, he probably had the IQ and intellect abilities that probably exceeded the greatest minds we can think of. Probably even more amazing than a Savant's ability (going back to our discussion on race - everything we see today would have been genes resident in Adam). Also - Adam was created with the knowledge and ability to speak and communicate. This is a highly complex form of knowledge - Humans being the only creature on the earth with the ability for language. We see this evidenced by God speaking with Adam. We also see extreme intelligence as God (practically ordaining Biological science) brought all the animals to Adam to name. We also see God commanding Noah to build a Ship greater than several football fields... no small engineering task. Notice God didnt' tell Noah how to make the planks or the pitch or how to piece it together... he jsut told him to build it and the size dimensions. That is another engineering marvel.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by JonF, posted 05-08-2004 8:52 PM JonF has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 24 of 47 (106811)
05-09-2004 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by crashfrog
05-09-2004 6:33 AM

Fascinating on the skin coloration info. It does, however, show the possibilty of one individual having the ability genetically to be the source of all variety of 'skin color' we see today.

crashfrog writes:

I challenge you to identify a hypothetical change - in any situation or analogy you choose - that represents an increase in specified complexity.

Cetainly, I can provide a hypothetical. Lets say you have a fruit fly. You mutate the fly so that it grows an extra set of legs on it's head. However, you have not increased the information content of the fruit fly. You have simply caused fruit fly legs to grow out of place. An increase of information would be for the fruit fly to grow a bee's stinger (or equivelent) or a grasshopper's jumping legs, or a the ability to weave a web as a spider does. Here, we would have information that is novel to the fruit fly. It would be an increase in specified complexity. A functional increase without a loss. Afterall - the primary mechanism for evolution is an information gaining process whereby genes are duplicated and one set of genes remains the same while the duplicated set is free to mutate and change. In this scenario we would see that all existing functions, traits, and complexity remain intact as novel function and complexity is added.

Let me give you another hypothetical example. Take Archaeopteryx; here you see a discreet fossil. The evolutionist says 'see here is a transitional fossil'. The creationist, however, says 'I do not see any transition - I see a discreet fossil'. According to the evolutionary model, we should see the Archaeopteryx as a reptile, a few million fossils later we should see the Archaeopteryx transitioning to a 'bird like' reptile. Several million fossils later we should see many of the reptile features beggining to wein in comparrison to the novel bird features. And eventually, we should see Archaeopteryx without any vestigial reptile features (or very few). According to the theories of evolution in the matter of gene duplication, where one set is preserved and the duplicate set mutates, this is exactly the transition we should see. Because the Archaeopteryx must keep it's existing genes in order for an 'information gain' to take place, it would also retain it's appearance for the most part and the changes would be gradual as the many different subsets of genes mutated. "But what about HOX genes?" Well, HOX genes are capable of radical feature tranformations, however, hox genes only turn on and off genes that are already there. Moreover, for a mutated gene, we would have to assume that as a gene mutated, there was also simultaneous and idential mutation happening in the HOX genes to directly reflect the novel features and turn them on or off. It is hypotheically analogus to building a home with a circuit breaker, then tapping into one of the wires in the wall to run a new line. You do not have direct control of the 'new line' accept to turn off the old line. For you to control the new line with the circuit breaker youwould need to install the line in both the wall and the circuit breaker (along with fuses and everything else). The odds against such a thing happening simultaneously are so astronomically high as to be a real impossibilty. For a mutation to occur giving novel function (increased specified complexity) to one gene and be identially mirrored in the hox genes would be pretty incredible.

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Inactive Member

Message 28 of 47 (106824)
05-09-2004 6:09 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by JonF
05-09-2004 10:24 AM

JonF writes:

I notice that you have taken a common creationist tactic; rather than presenting your theory, you are attacking mine. Please present your theory of how all the genetic information required for today's life was packed into a relatively few organisms. I also don't recall you specifying a time period over which life has been present and your supposed mechanims have been operating and what kind of mutation rate would be rewquired to iimplement the changes over that time period. Please do so.

Oh, I thought that is what I was doing. I was answering Justin's question about the Biblical model of how inbreeding was possible by stating the creationist/biblical viewpoint. Then, it seems, you chimed in with your discent. I then responded to your discent. I really don't see any evidence to suggest your implication that "rather than presenting your theory, you are attacking mine". In fact, I was presenting 'my' theory and you attacked it. It would seem, in this case, that you have projected your own characteristics and actions onto me. Therefore, I would dismiss your notion that I have employeda 'common creationist tactic' as the premise to this statement is irrefutably false.

I agree completely. The TOE is science, creationism is not.

You are trying to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'. Because creationism is not exclusively naturalistic doesn't mean that we can't use naturalistic evidences or procedures to confirm the Bible. While I am glad that you would agree that Evolution is completely exclusionary to the supernatural, I would also point out that any conclusions drawn on by the evolutionary paradigm that suggest the supernatural doesn't exist would demonstrably be a result of the exclusionary process through which Evolution filters it's conclusions. This, in itself, cannot be considered evidence against creation because the original premise, or assumption, is that the supenatural does not exist, nor does it exert influence. Evolution attepts to explain life in a naturalistic way, and is intentionally exclusionary to the supernatural, therefore it cannot be used to evaluate or judge the validity of creationism or the Bible.

Sorry, that's not a definition of information; at best it's an example. A definition would allow us to examine a system and determine the amount of information in it without knowing the process by which that information arose, or to calculate the amount if changes in information by various processes.

I started with an example so there would be context. I clearly defined 'information' as specified complexity.

Your problem is that all extant operational definitions of information have been shown to yield information increase under some circumstances, and few if any extant operational definitions of information are applicable to biological systems.

Yet, there is not a single example of such given.

I know. Irrelevant.

This is not irrelevant. The premise here is that an evolutionary addition of informaation is demonstrated by the nylon eating bacteria. However, we show that no changes are made to the bacteria, let alone an addition of information. The purpose of the nylon eating bacteria is to show how information can be added and built upon to go from molecules to man. Insomuch, the example of nylon eating bacteria fails because nothing is added or even changed on the bacteria itself. It remains a bacteria. It remains the same bacteria it was before.

That is not evidence for design rather than evolution.

Quite right. Design would have to be inferred. However, it would be safe to say that it is the 'intended' function of the plasmid if you get too hung up on 'designed' function.

Since you have not defined or measured the information, this claim is meaningless. How much information was present before and after the mutation, and how do you determine those amounts?

In fact I did define information. I didn't quantify it, that is much harder to do precisely. I did however give enough so that we can see directional changes. By the definition, we perhaps couldn't tell the exact percentage of change, but we could see that a change in a particular direction took place.

The system did not repair itself, a new system arose. Repairing itself would have been restoring the deletion.

As I stated before, no new information arose. The change is neutral. The specified complexity remains the same. He removed a component of a system that had a specific function. The rest of the system would perform as though the fucntion was present. It is not novel to the structure for that function to happen. It is not an increase in information for it to do what is is supposed to do.

Lets look at an anaology. Say we are driving down the road in our car and we get a flat tire. We replace the flat tire with the doughnut. Is there an increase in specified complexity? No. Why? Because the car is designed to work with 4 tires. Remove one tire, and you need a tire for the car to work as intended. Putting a donut on the car is akin to a 'new gene' but it doesn't increase the information of the car - it still has 4 wheels. Now if we replaced that tire with a tank track - that would be hypothetical example of increasing the information (specified complexity). A tank track not only serves to do the same function as a tire, but requires many additional components with a specific function - such as equipment to hold the track on, the track itself, equiptment to drive the track, a protective covering for the track so that it didn't come off, etc. Here we have added specified complexity. The donut, while different from the full size tire, has no more 'information'. It allows the car to continue functioning as designed, and in the designated mannor.

All parts of the new system did not develop at the same time. Close to the same time, on our time scale, but far apart on a bacterial time scale.

In any multipart system, all the components must be there for function to occur, otherwise the rise in information is vestigial and as you said - unused or useless parts are discarded quickly. They only serve to use up resources the creature could use toward functional components. Natural selection would weed these out quickly.

No, in this case it makes the assumption that new abilities arising through mutation is against your earlier claim. A mutation occured, a new ability arose.

As I demonstrated, this 'new ability' was at the price of a loss of information. While beneficial, it is directionally the opposite change that must occur for molecules to man evolution to happen. In fact this is in support of de-evolution.

You are assuming your conclusion when you say "intended function". Intent is yet to be established. In Eeolutionary theory there is no such thing as an intended function.

The protein has the function of removing cholesterol from the arteries by making HDLs. It has indeed suffered a loss in the ability to do this. Your statement if broadly applied could mean that Evolutionists do not believe that the Heart muscle is intended to pump blood throughout the body, or the spinal cord is not intended to carry motor control signals to the rest of your body. If indeed in Evolutionary theory there is no such thing as intended function these would be true.

Please post the difference in information content before and after the mutation. Show your work.

As I stated, I defined information, but did not quantify it. Specific numbers are not needed to show directional change. They are needed to show exact change, but we are not worried about the exact change - just is the change the right direction to make molecules to man possible. This of course should be qualified by saying that because I have not personally quantified 'information' that actual creationist geneticists have not. Quantifying the information is simply over my head, so I choose not to try to present it here.

"It was designed for" is assuming your conclusion again. Design is yet to be demonstrated.

I need not make that assumption. The fact that the information already exists is enough. The genes are already there as well as a mechanism for melanism.

evidence indicates clearly that the means by which it arose are indistinguishable from naturalistic means operting over long periods of time.

As you have already admitted, Evolution is completely exclusionary to the supernatural. Again, you cannot judge objectively using a paradigm that is exclusionary to any possibility. Since all conclusions must be naturalistic, it is logical to conclude that any interpretaton of evidence would adhere to that. As I stated before, facts and evidence can say nothing on their own. They must be interpreted. The lense through which you look for interpretation is exclusionary to the supernatural by default - therefore it is not surprising that you come to a naturalistic, or supernaturally exclusinve conclusion.

And I certainly can accept things that are not entirely naturalistic, on the basis of faith rather than scientific evidence. I just don't try to introduce non-naturalistic items where they're not appropriate.

Indeed it pleases me to hear you say that. While we may differ on scientific world view, we can, at the very least, acknowlege our differences in mutal respect.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by JonF, posted 05-09-2004 10:24 AM JonF has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 29 of 47 (106839)
05-09-2004 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Chiroptera
05-09-2004 3:43 PM

Chiroptera writes:

We have evidence in the fossil record of the jaw joint of the ancestral reptile transforming into the inner ear bones of the mammal. Would the individual steps indicate an increase in information? If so, what about this evidence that information does increase? If not, then could "information" be irrelevant to evolution?

This does not show 'the same creature' transitioning... it shows a continuum of discreet creatures which happen to have similar features which were created for a continuum of possible environments.

Jar writes:

but what we see is actually a wide variety of creatures from all over the world that are all transitional dinosaur/birds.
Longisquama insignis
Protarchaepteryx robusta
Caudpteryx zoui

The same can be said here... we do not see any transitions, just a full spectrum of discreet creatures created for a full spectrum of environments.

A transition would be fossils of the same creature at various stages of it's evolution. The evolutionary paradigm of genetics says that a gene will duplicate and one copy will remain the same while the other is free to mutate into something else. If this is true, we should see billions of transitional creatures where we see (in early rock layers) a specific animal. Then later we see the same animal with a new feature... the later we see the same animal with more new features, etc etc. There should be billions of creatures that display this type of transition. THere are none. There are only discreet examples that cannot be shown in their earlier or later transitions. Remember... the basis of claiming they have new information is that they keep the old information as the duplicate set of genes mutates. So, we should be able to easily recognize a creature in it's transition from reptile to bird, for example. "see here is the ARCHAEOPTERYX as a full reptile. Here it is - notice it looks exactly the same except that the scales/skin is turning into feathers. Here is is again... notice how it looks extremely similar except for the new wings. Etc etc etc until we see the full Bird".

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Inactive Member

Message 34 of 47 (106854)
05-09-2004 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Coragyps
05-09-2004 3:47 PM

This is still a loss of information (specified complexity). Despite the fact that sickle cell anemia sufferers are more resistant to malaria, they are also subject to 'growth impairment, susceptibility to infection, and chronic organ damage due to repeated vaso-occlusive episodes'.

Again, it is not unreasonable that a mutation will have a beneficial side-effect. It is only stated that a loss of information has occured and that this is the wrong directional change for molecules to man evolution to take place.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Coragyps, posted 05-09-2004 3:47 PM Coragyps has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 36 of 47 (106862)
05-09-2004 8:07 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Chiroptera
05-09-2004 7:06 PM

Re: hoo boy!
Chiroptera writes:

Which itself is not defined adequately.

In the words of Dr. Don Batton, "I thought it rather obvious that a mutation that destroys the functionality of a gene is a loss of information. I also thought it rather obvious that a mutation that reduces the specificity of an enzyme is also a loss of information."

Calculate the information in the original bacterium and the information in the nylon eating bacterium, and show that the second number is smaller than the first.

I am not a geneticist. Merely an enthusiast.

I believe it is over your head - this is how you were fooled by a slick sounding argument that has no meaning.

Isn't that what I said? For the actual quantitative numbers you can look at the following:


Here is a brief taste:

The information content of the genome is difficult to evaluate with any precision. Fortunately, for my purposes, I need only consider the change in the information in an enzyme caused by a mutation. The information content of an enzyme is the sum of many parts, among which are:
* Level of catalytic activity
* Specificity with respect to the substrate
* Strength of binding to cell structure
* Specificity of binding to cell structure
* Specificity of the amino-acid sequence devoted to specifying the enzyme for degradation
These are all difficult to evaluate, but the easiest to get a handle on is the information in the substrate specificity.

To estimate the information in an enzyme I shall assume that the information content of the enzyme itself is at least the maximum information gained in transforming the substrate distribution into the product distribution. (I think this assumption is reasonable, but to be rigorous it should really be proved.) We can think of the substrate specificity of the enzyme as a kind of filter. The entropy of the ensemble of substances separated after filtration is less than the entropy of the original ensemble of the mixture. We can therefore say that the filtration process results in an information gain equal to the decrease in entropy. Let's imagine a uniform distribution of substrates presented to many copies of an enzyme. I choose a uniform distribution of substrates because that will permit the enzyme to express its maximum information gain. The substrates considered here are restricted to a set of similar molecules on which the enzyme has the same metabolic effect. This restriction not only simplifies our exercise but it applies to the case I discussed in my book.

The products of a substrate on which the enzyme has a higher activity will be more numerous than those of a substrate on which the enzyme has a lower activity. Because of the filtering, the distribution of concentrations of products will have a lower entropy than that of substrates. Note that we are neglecting whatever entropy change stems from the chemical changes of the substrates into products, and we are focusing on the entropy change reflected in the distributions of the products of the substrates acted upon by the enzyme.

The entropy of an ensemble of n elements with fractional concentrations f1,…,fn is given by
and if the base of the logarithm is 2, the units of entropy are bits. As a first illustration of this formula let us take the extreme case where there are n possible substrates, and the enzyme has a nonzero activity on only one of them. This is perfect filtering. The input entropy for a uniform distribution of n elements is, from (1), given by (2)
since the fi's are each 1/n. The entropy of the output is zero,
because all the concentrations except one are zero, and the concentration of that one is 1. Then the decrease in entropy brought about by the selectivity of the enzyme is then the difference between (2) and (3), or
Another example is the other extreme case in which the enzyme does not discriminate at all among the n substrates. In this case the input and output entropies are the same, namely (4)
Therefore, the information gain, which is the difference between HO and HI, in this case is zero,
We normalize the activities of the enzyme on the various substrates and these normalized activities will then be the fractional concentrations of the products. This normalization will eliminate from our consideration the effect of the absolute activity level on the information content, leaving us with only the effect of the selectivity.

Although these simplifications prevent us from calculating the total entropy decrease achieved by action of the enzyme, we are able to calculate the entropy change due to enzyme specificity alone.

I hope this helps you to understand these concepts. While I may not understand it quantitatively, I can understand the layman's version - and use common sense and logic.

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Inactive Member

Message 40 of 47 (106887)
05-09-2004 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by JonF
05-09-2004 7:15 PM

Well, you haven't answered how any of the following is physically possible, or what processes operate over what time frame at what rates:

I didn't know you were legitimately asking. I thought you were asking a rhetorical question to be argumentative. By all means, if you are curious as to what I believe, ask me a specific question and I will be happy to answer.

You can start with a description of the physical makeup of Adam's genome, and what processes prevented all those genes he was carrying from expressing. Then we'd like to see your time frame (with your reasoning for that time frame) and mutation rate calculations.

While I cannot give you exact details for every conceiveable possibility, I will try to explain at least one example. We have spoken of skin color (melanin). The genes that were present in Adam would most likely been of medium skin tone. The genes would all be fully informative - without mutation. Therefore there would conceieveable not be an over or underproduction of melanin. It would have also reacted most proficiently to the sun. Eventually, some small mutation in these genes would have effected the functionality of the melanin genes so that an overproduction or underproductive condition occured. These genes were then passed on to offspring. The environmental conditions (read natural selection) would have aided in isolating those with more melanin into areas with lots of sun, whereas it would have been bad for those with light colored skin. So the answer to your question is there would not need to be a 'one or the other' expression - there was uncorrupted genes which expressed the original function perfectly without information loss (there was no mutation). So what processes prevented all those genes he was carrying from expressing? Nothing - the genes worked properly to begin with and didn't need to express a mutation. Am I wrong in assuming that expression of two different traits is only an issue when there are two different versions to choose from?

Then we'd like to see your time frame (with your reasoning for that time frame) and mutation rate calculations.

What time frame are you looking for? Also, I mentioned that I am not a geneticist. I woulnd't do mutation rate calculations.

"Specified complexity" is undefined, and you still have not attempted to provide an operational definition.

I would have thought that the refutations to your four examples of information gaining systems would be 'operational definitions'.

Information, or specified complexity, would be defined as genes having a specific function. Dr. Don Batton puts it this way:

"However, a mutation does not necessarily reduce specified complexity—just that it is so likely to do so that it cannot be the mechanism for generating the huge amount of specified complexity that we see in living things. That mutations are known primarily by the defects they cause testifies to the overwhelming tendency for them to reduce the information in living things (just like a mistake on my computer keyboard will decrease the information content of what I am typing). Spetner also discusses gene duplication at the above URL. However, just think: if you buy two copies of the newspaper, do you buy twice as much information? Of course not. Duplication of anything does not constitute an increase of information. Random mutations to change the duplicated gene would not add information unless the mutated sequence coded for some new, useful protein (no one has demonstrated such a thing happening; there have only been imaginative scenarios proposed). To illustrate: if "superman" were the duplicated 'gene', and mutations in the letters changed it to "sxyxvawtu ", you have clearly lost information, although you have a new sequence. This is the difference between complexity and specified complexity. A pile of sand is complex , but is information-poor, because it specifies nothing.


I'll have to get to the rest of your post later...I am out of time now. Please give me time and opportunity to respond.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by JonF, posted 05-09-2004 7:15 PM JonF has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 44 of 47 (107231)
05-10-2004 8:14 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by JonF
05-09-2004 7:15 PM

JonF writes:

Any mutation in a junk DNA region of repeated codons (e.g. AAAAAAA...) increases Shannon-Weaver information, since the maximum Shannon-Weaver information is obtained with a totally random sequence.

There are several assumptions in that sentence that creationists would disagree with. First, on the issue of Junk DNA. There is still quite a bit about DNA we do not understand. More and more areas of 'junk dna' is being found to have a purpose or function.
"Psuedogenes are often referred to in the scientific literature as non-functional DNA, and are regarded as junk. But more scientists are now conceding that this is far from true for many pseudogenes. As the function of more pseudogenes is being uncovered by testable and repeatable science, it is evident that these genetic elements, which are copiously spread in the genomes of different organisms, have been created with purpose. The recent finding of insertion hotspots also clarifies how pseudogenes may have appeared to evolutionists as shared mistakes and now invalidates their use in phylogenetic studies."

Secondly, Shannon-Weaver information is not what we are talking about. That information system gives imphasis to the bits of information - unexpected bits being classified as new information. However, with specified complexity we are concerned not only in new genetic material, but what that material represents or 'specifies'. This link should give you more on creationist information theory.

As far as Shannon’s concept of information is concerned, it is entirely irrelevant whether a series of letters represents an exceptionally significant and meaningful text or whether it has come about by throwing dice. Yes, paradoxical though it may sound, considered from the point of view of information theory, a random sequence of letters possesses the maximum information content, whereas a text of equal length, although linguistically meaningful, is assigned a lower value.

This is almost the opposite of creationist information theory.

Now it's your turn; you haven't provided an operational definition of information that applies to biological systems. Let's see one.

From that information link:

The most important empirical principles relating to the concept of information have been defined in the form of theorems. Here is a brief summary of them:

1. No information can exist without a code.
2. No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.
3. No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics.
4. No information can exist in purely statistical processes.
5. No information can exist without a transmitter.
6. No information chain can exist without a mental origin.
7. No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.
8. No information can exist without a will.

It is indeed still a bacteria, and that is totally irrelevant.

It is not irrelevant. The problem is, this experiment was done to show how the DNA of the bacteria could evolve - with the underlying impression being that molecules to man evolution is possible. By not changing the primary genomic structure we can see that it does not demonstrate molecules to man evolution. It demonstrates adaptability certainly. But it does not show an increase in specified complexity (information). The plasmids are designed (intended - or whatever you want to call it) to react in hard times for the bacteria, and adapt it to changing food sources and they did their designated function.

Please show your calculations of the specified complexity. Until you can quantify amounts or changes in amounts or demonstrate mathematically directions of changes, you have nothing.

As I said before - I am not a geneticist. I have no capability of doing measurements. However, as a 'layman' in this area I can observe directional changes, once I generally understand the concept. For example - with a general understanding of Wind, I can see it bend a blade of grass or a tree branch. Without measuring I can tell the 'directional change' of the wind strength by simple observation. I can tell if the wind blows harder or softer. Another example is, if I am listening to a sound, I can tell when the sound gets louder or quieter. I couldn't tell you how much unless I had a decible meter - but as someone without the proper tool I can certainly observe a directional change.

In the same way I find it obvious that a mutation that eliminates function to a gene or protein is a loss of information (specified complexity). I can't quantify it for you or give you any measured numbers (remember, I am not a geneticist) - but I can see that it is directionally the wrong change required for molecules to man evolution.

Let's not. Analogies are useful for making concepts clearer, not for establishing arguments.

I am trying to make the concept clearer. You keep telling me I haven't defined anything and that you don't understand what I am talking about.

Gup20:Because the car is designed to work with 4 tiresp

JonF: Assuming your conclusion again. Your analogy is valid only if the bacterium is designed, which is yet to be demonstrated.

Cars aren't designed? ;p (just giving you a good poke)

Prima facie false in the case of the Hall experiments; natural selection did not weed the new functionality out.

I think you are missing my train of thought here. I was saying that in Hall's case, he took one of the wheels off the car, and then claimed novelty when a different wheel showed up in it's place. However, this doesn't account for why the wheels are there in the first place, or why there are wheels instead of tank tracks. For a multi-part system to arise when it is not there would involved many genes mutating at once to give rise to all the parts. Lets say (for the sake of this argument) that one part of multi-part system did arise - without the rest of the multi-part system in place to give it meaning or function the new 'vestigial' component would disappear or be removed by selection. The whole multi-part system would have to arise at once for there to be any specific function.

So, you basically don't know what you are talking about; you just like the conclusions the creationists come to so you believe them.

Now JonF, lets not go 'there'. That path of argument can be riddled with duplicity. What person has PhD's in every area of known science? Yet what person who has a single PhD hasn't already formed an opinion on 'what they believe' in areas outside their specialty. I am sure that you are not an expert and conduct scientific reasearch in every area of evolution, but what you have seen leads you to accept it as a whole, doesn't it.

Sure you can. If you admit all possibilites, there is no such thing as science.

Science isn't so much about 'what exactly did happen' as it is about defining what we know didn't or couldn't have happened. One thing we know about God is that he is ULTIMATELY Just. He follows even his own laws and rules. We can assume that once God created the universe, he operated within the bounds of it's laws and processes. Therefore, we should be able to see a the possibility and plausibility of the Biblical account (which creationists believe we do). Also, you are domonstrating that you hold the assumption that we have thoroughly quantified, and qualified God. This, of course, is not true. Therefore we cannot scientifically rule him out - therefore He remains a possibility.

There are slivers of the nature of God we can estimate and quantify from what is written about him in the Bible - but we obviously cannot measure him, can we.

Therein lie the tools of science - logic and observation. Without being able to observe and measure God directly (only by his influence - such as gravity) we cannot know the very nature of God.

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