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Author Topic:   The Common Ancestor?
nwr
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Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 151 of 341 (587012)
10-16-2010 10:16 AM
Reply to: Message 150 by frako
10-16-2010 5:47 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
barbara writes:
Some people here do not agree that genes actually carry information
frako writes:
If this where true, transfering Jellyfish Genes, the ones that make them glow in the dark, to rats would not make rats glow in the dark.

No, sorry, that's a poor argument.

If I hammer a nail into a car tire, the tire will go flat. We usually don't say that it is because the nail carries information. Rather, we say that it is a cause.

Disagreements over whether genes carry information are conceptual disagreements over what we mean by "information".


Jesus was a liberal hippie

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frako
Member
Posts: 2932
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 152 of 341 (587016)
10-16-2010 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 151 by nwr
10-16-2010 10:16 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
well information on how the organism should look, and function.


No, sorry, that's a poor argument.

If I hammer a nail into a car tire, the tire will go flat. We usually don't say that it is because the nail carries information. Rather, we say that it is a cause.

i dont get it, if the gen did not have any information on how the organism should look like and function, then there would be no change in the organism.


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 Message 151 by nwr, posted 10-16-2010 10:16 AM nwr has replied

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 153 of 341 (587019)
10-16-2010 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by frako
10-16-2010 10:41 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
frako writes:

i dont get it, if the gen did not have any information on how the organism should look like and function, then there would be no change in the organism.

Genes are portions of long molecules.

Molecules don't contain information about what reactions they undergo. Instead, molecules do what chemistry/physics laws require based on shape and electron configuration of the molecule.

Would you say oxygen molecules contain information describing how iron is to rust? I would not.


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frako
Member
Posts: 2932
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 154 of 341 (587021)
10-16-2010 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 153 by NoNukes
10-16-2010 10:55 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
Would you say oxygen molecules contain information describing how iron is to rust? I would not.

would you say a tiny hole in a cd-rom that alowes light to reflect from the mettal in the middle of the disk contains information? Or no hole and no light reflecting from the metal in the middle does that have any information?

the principle behind it is yes and no, 1 and 0, put a bunch of yes and nos in a row and you have some information. Im guessing gens work in a similar way though they are not as simple as yes and no on a cd.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19540
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 155 of 341 (587022)
10-16-2010 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 143 by barbara
10-15-2010 4:29 PM


barbara writes:

Some people here do not agree that genes actually carry information.


I think what people are saying is that the "information" - if you want to call it that - on DNA is not fundamentally different from the information on any other molecule. IDists seem to think that there is tiny writing on DNA molecules that could only have been put there by a Designer. The "argument against information" is that there is nothing "on" a DNA molecule above and beyond what is on a water molecule. The "code" is the structure of the molecule itself.

Edited by ringo, : Reemoved eextra leeter and extra extra word word.


"It appears that many of you turn to Hebrew to escape the English...." -- Joseppi

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nwr
Member
Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 156 of 341 (587023)
10-16-2010 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by frako
10-16-2010 10:41 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
frako writes:
i dont get it, if the gen did not have any information on how the organism should look like and function, then there would be no change in the organism.

The gene works by chemistry, not by information. Whether or not we say that the gene has information does not in any way affect the chemical behavior of the gene.

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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1345 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 157 of 341 (587024)
10-16-2010 11:33 AM
Reply to: Message 152 by frako
10-16-2010 10:41 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
i dont get it, if the gen did not have any information on how the organism should look like and function, then there would be no change in the organism.

That's not the kind of information we're discussing anyway - molecular clocks, and phylogenetic trees do not care what the gene means, only what the sequence of nucleotides are. This is why they're powerful.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 158 of 341 (587025)
10-16-2010 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 154 by frako
10-16-2010 11:07 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
frako writes:
would you say a tiny hole in a cd-rom that alowes light to reflect from the mettal in the middle of the disk contains information?

When people talk about a CDrom containing information, they are talking about 0s and 1s. They are not talking about pits in the surface.

The pedantically strict view would be that the surface pits are a physical representation of the information, but they are not the information itself. Rather, the information itself is in the 0 and 1 symbols that are represented in the pits. And those 0 and 1 symbols are abstractions, which means that they exist only in Plato's heaven (for a mathematical platonist), or they are mere useful fictions (for a mathematical fictionalist).


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frako
Member
Posts: 2932
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


(1)
Message 159 of 341 (587040)
10-16-2010 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by nwr
10-16-2010 11:34 AM


Re: Time Tree : : Timescale of Life
ok i give.

genetics is not my cup of tea, i am more in to economy. In short i can tell you tomorow, why the economic predictions i made yesterday for today did not come true.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1345 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 160 of 341 (587059)
10-16-2010 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by nwr
10-16-2010 11:34 AM


Information rides again
I think it's silly to say that a gene does not contain the information for coding a protein. Equally it's silly to think that kind of information is quantifiable.

The only reason I can see for denying that the section of DNA that codes for a protein contains the information for that protein is the nonsense and equivocation we've had to put up with from Creo's regarding the information issue. I think it is a very sad day for science when we retreat for using perfectly sensible terminology for that reason.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 161 of 341 (587063)
10-16-2010 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Dr Jack
10-16-2010 5:00 PM


Re: Information rides again
Mr Jack writes:
The only reason I can see for denying that the section of DNA that codes for a protein contains the information for that protein is the nonsense and equivocation we've had to put up with from Creo's regarding the information issue.

There's also equivocation and confusion about information in cognitive science, AI, consciousness studies.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

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barbara
Member (Idle past 4042 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 162 of 341 (587160)
10-17-2010 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by nwr
10-16-2010 5:26 PM


Re: Information rides again
Science creates the dialect used in terminology and obviously have the power to change or alter the definition as they see fit whenever they want to.
The word "information" is constantly used to describe genetics by scientists so why is when a creationist (I hate that word) uses your own term is considered an idiot?

Molecules based on shape and electron configuration that do what physics has assigned in terminology to explain the reaction is information. What else would you call it so you can discuss it. In reality words used to describe life and the definition we assign to it is only relevant to us. In reality words means nothing in the natural world, only in ours.
So when I ask what information are the genes telling you does not mean that I expect DNA to be written in its content so you can tell us what it said it means.
One aspect of evolution is based on evidence of fossil bones and claims genetics back its up. Then I assume that you know which genes is responsible for bone structure, how the body plan is constructed and what mechanism controls the growth of bone.

This is a chemical reaction but in most people's mind it resembles what a chemist does in a lab combining chemicals to produce its results. In a body there is no chemist controlling the experiment so what mechanism prevents us from being a soup of chemicals all mixed together?

Chemical reactions are regulated and kept from another chemical reaction that occurs in the body as well. These two separate chemical reactions cannot be combined otherwise it could not be specialized in its product.

The sequence of nucleotides is said here to be all powerful so one assume it is this sequence that tells you exactly what product it produces. This is information because science has assigned information to it to describe it.

Am I assuming too much of what science really knows so far?


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3335 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


(1)
Message 163 of 341 (587191)
10-17-2010 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by barbara
10-17-2010 10:50 AM


Re: Information rides again
I have to say I'm with Barbara on this one. I understand what NWR is saying about the nature of information, in fact in many ways it is an approach consonant with many creationist ideas about infomation, except they always want to include genetic information in the abstracted information set and he puts in on the outside with other natural phenomena such as tree rings, etc ....

But whatever the pros and cons of a semantic debate on the nature of information theidea that there is some form of information inherent in specific sequences of DNA is certainly one that is well established in the scientific literature, in terms of Shannon entropy, Kolmogorov complexity, Fisher information, Kullback-Leibler information and probably many others.

Even if it is only an aplication of informatic techniques to something that doesn't strictly fit a certain semantic definition of information it is nevertheless a highly productive one.

The real problem when creationist's choose to discuss information in genomes is that they don't use any of the well defined easily measured metrics measured above. In fact they rarely propose any sort of metric that can be consistently measured at all. Most of the time creationist's talking about infromation are considered to be idiots because historically we have seen that as such discussions go on they prove themselves to be so.

When a creationist/Ider comes around talking about information and only wants to discuss it in terms of Gitt information or irreducible complexity or complex specified information, then it is pretty much a certainty that they will never be able to tell us how to measure such types of information, but they will declaim ad nauseam that they can never be increased by random mutation and natural selection. More often than not they don't even have any coherent concept of what they mean by information but claim, like hard-core pornography, they know it when they see it.

TTFN,

WK

Edited by Wounded King, : Removed greengrocer's apostrophes


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 164 of 341 (587199)
10-17-2010 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by barbara
10-17-2010 10:50 AM


Re: Information rides again
barbara writes:
The word "information" is constantly used to describe genetics by scientists so why is when a creationist (I hate that word) uses your own term is considered an idiot?

Firstly, I don't recall using "idiot" in this discussion.

Some people use "IDiot" to refer to ID proponents - note the capitalization used. While it is possible that I have used that expression in the past, I mostly try to avoid it. I take it as a kind of joke/pun with a built in insult. I am not a fan of ID arguments, but I usually prefer to omit the insults.

Getting back to the work "information" - it is both an ordinary word from our common language (derived from the verb "to inform"), and it is also a technical term. It's meaning/usage as a technical term is different, more precise, than its use as a word in ordinary language.

I don't have any problem with the ordinary use of the term in normal speech, and that includes much of the use of it in genetics. The problem is when people use it loosely, as in ordinary speech, and then try to make claims about it that are only appropriate in technical usage. This mixed use is what leads to bad arguments. And, as mentioned previously, I see that kind of faulty mixed use coming from the creationist/ID communities, and also coming from the cognitive science/consciousness studies/AI communities.

barbara writes:
Molecules based on shape and electron configuration that do what physics has assigned in terminology to explain the reaction is information.

The cogs on the gear wheels in the gear box of my car do what the automotive engineers have assigned them to do. So I guess cogs are information, too.

Normally, we think of the cogs as acting causally and mechanically. Normally, we think of information as detached from the direct causal chain, and as used for communication. So I think we unnecessarily confuse things when we use "information" for actors in direct causal chains.

If things that act in direct causal chains are information, then everything is information. And if everything is information, then the word "information" becomes useless.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

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nwr
Member
Posts: 5977
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 165 of 341 (587201)
10-17-2010 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 163 by Wounded King
10-17-2010 3:07 PM


Re: Information rides again
Wounded King writes:
But whatever the pros and cons of a semantic debate on the nature of information theidea that there is some form of information inherent in specific sequences of DNA is certainly one that is well established in the scientific literature, in terms of Shannon entropy, Kolmogorov complexity, Fisher information, Kullback-Leibler information and probably many others.

I don't actually have a problem with that.

My view is that when "information" is used as a technical term, we should understand that we are using a mathematical model. So we should be prepared to identify the information system to which we are applying that model. And if we want to talk about ideas such as "conservation of information", then we either need to prove that such conservation is provable purely from the mathematics, or we need to be able to provide a basis for assuming that conservation as part of the particular information system being modeled.


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