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Author Topic:   Question on genetic information
Arithus
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 32 (372913)
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


I had recently read:

"Information does not have to be increased for the mutation to be beneficial. It has to be increased for the theory of evolution to be plausible."

I have yet to study anything in genetics and I was wondering, if those of you who know genetics could clarify these statement and tell me wether they are true or if it is all just another creationist misunderstanding.

Here is the entire thing:


Information does not have to be increased for the mutation to be beneficial. It has to be increased for the theory of evolution to be plausible.

There is a fish in the depths of the ocean where the waters are so inky dark that the fish is unable to see. It often swims into the jagged rocky sea bottom in search of food and the rocks cut its eyes and causes infections and sometimes death. The fish has offspring that have eyelids welded shut. The fish now has a barrier between its eyes and the deadly rock. Evolution? Many scientists use it as an example of it...

But was there new information given to the fish to secure its survival? The answer of course is no. The fish traded sight for this mutation. A loss of information. An entire sense is gone to insure its survival in the inky waters. One could argue that the fish could not see to begin with, and this perhaps might be true. But just because you are not using the sense does not mean you are not at a loss when it is stripped from you. This is the loss of information that I was talking about.

INFORMATION - What is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things : genetically transmitted information.

The information inside of you was given to you by both sets of parental units. Half of your DNA code was given to you by your father, and half from your mother. There is not one nucleotide base inside of your own body that was not given to you by your parental units. Every individual adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine that make up the Deoxyribonucleic Acid in your body is directly inherited from those two individuals that made you. A faux pas could have been made that gave you an odd combination or a missing piece that made you not like anyone else, possibly in a way that makes you stronger in specific areas... But none of the information that is given to you upon birth can be contributed to any outside factor other than your parental units. Meaning: there are limitations to what this faux pa can do to you. Human beings have the ability to make any number of human combinations within their genetic makeup, but do not have the ability to make anything outside of the human genetic makeup. Two mulattos can create any shade of offspring, but the offspring will still undoubtedly be human and will still undoubtedly only have information in their bodies given to them directly from the parent units.

If you do some deep research into artificial selection you will see the extent of the limitations in our genetic codes. Through artificial selection we have been able to breed larger cows, chickens, and crops for larger and healthier quantities of food product. Alas, there are limits to this. Also, birds have a gene that gives their legs their scaley lizard like appearance, and genes that give them teeth so that they may break open the eggs they are born in. In nature parts of these genes are turned off so that its body can grow feathers for flight and so the teeth will not interfere in the later years of their lives in how they eat. Through artificial selection scientists are able to turn on certain genes already existing in a bird to cover its entirety in scales and to prevent its teeth from going away after it hatches. This gives the bird a slight lizard like appearance, but does not benefit the bird. It loses its ability to fly and can no longer uses its beak in the way nature intended it. The bird ultimately dies without the care of a human being. This may seem like proof of evolution; unfortunately there were no new features given to the bird, only existing features intensified. The DNA is still dependant on the parent units. We have only turned some recessive genes into dominant genes and vice versa. Just enough to fool the scientifically illiterate crowd into believing that they are seeing proof of evolution in full swing. However, these limitations badly damage the theory. The potential offspring in an evolving world should be limitless. It is not. We are unable to produce through artificial selection a creature better suited for the environment any better than natural selection is able to do.

I do not argue that mutations can't be beneficial. I do not argue that mutations can't be genetic. What I'm arguing is that mutations have limitations. These limitations include adding information that can be inherited by offspring, and changing the basic genetic make-up of one organism to another. A two-headed snake is still a snake, a fish without sight is still a fish, and a fanged-featherless bird is still a bird. None of them have anything new in them that separate them from the rest of their species. DNA is unable to produce anything that is not recycled.

The SUPERcell required to start all of life must have had every possible DNA combination stored inside of it in order to branch out into all of the different living things we see today; plants and animals included. The combinations would then have deteriorated from one generation to the next, and we would see a genetic decrease in complexity rather than a genetic increase in complexity. Sexual organisms would be needed at the beginning of this genetic disorder because they are in all respects more complicated than asexual organisms. This means that there would be two original SUPERcells required to start all of life. The world and everything in it would be in disorder and chaos, unless these SUPERcells were vastly intelligent and planned everything into existence. If they had been vastly intelligent then they would have known exactly what traits to pass down to insure survival to certain offspring that inherited the majority of the original/desirable traits so that they, too, would be intelligent and would be able to pass down the desirable traits. These would be a SUPER/Favorable species that had the originals' potential and likeness. They would probably even be in their own image... Wait a minute. I've read this somewhere...

Edited by Arithus, : No reason given.


I only want the truth, whatever it leads to is fine by me...
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AdminTL
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 32 (373000)
12-30-2006 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Arithus, can you please give the source of the quote and shorten it some? This is a little long for an opening post, and I don't think you need that whole quote. Also, such a long section unaccredited isn't a good thing. Please tell us where you got it from. Can you cut it to two or three quote paragraphs?
This message is a reply to:
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Arithus
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 32 (373108)
12-30-2006 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminTL
12-30-2006 12:29 PM


Oh yes. I'll edit the first post...

The quote comes from some random guy who calls himself "Chase Webster" I'm not sure if that is his real name but that is the only info I have on him. He recently started this topic in another group I frequent on Myspace.

I'm not sure how the rules are on hotlinking so I'll just paste the URL

http://forum.myspace.com...

Edited by Arithus, : No reason given.

Edited by AdminAsgara, : edited out loooong url


I only want the truth, whatever it leads to is fine by me...
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Admin
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From: EvC Forum
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Member Rating: 3.7


Message 4 of 32 (373375)
01-01-2007 10:33 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Coragyps
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Posts: 5381
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 8.6


Message 5 of 32 (373395)
01-01-2007 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Hi, Arithus! That statement is on the literate side of the arguments from the "no new information" camp - but let me take a crack at it.

Also, birds have a gene that gives their legs their scaley lizard like appearance, and genes that give them teeth so that they may break open the eggs they are born in.

That isn't quite true. Birds have genes that code for proteins, or for when/where/how/if those proteins get made. Mutations alter one of these items.

Every individual adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine that make up the Deoxyribonucleic Acid in your body is directly inherited from those two individuals that made you.

No. Each of us has maybe 100 (biologists?? what's the accepted number?) of those that are neither Mom's nor Pop's.

None of them have anything new in them that separate them from the rest of their species. DNA is unable to produce anything that is not recycled.

Not so. Mutations result in brand-spankin'-new proteins all the time. Your correspondent seems to want to see tyrannosaurs hatching out quail before he'll sign on to anything beyond "a snake is still a snake." He's ignoring what Darwin so clearly saw - it takes lots of time.


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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3862
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 6 of 32 (373402)
01-01-2007 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Not a lot of time, just a couple of small quick points.

But was there new information given to the fish to secure its survival? The answer of course is no.

Actually, the answer is yes. The creationist may feel that the new information that caused the sealing of the eyelids is a "loss" of information in that the fish lost its sight, but, the eye is still there and additional proteins are necessary to cause the eyelids to be sealed...new information. In actuality what happens in these cases is not that the eyelids seal shut, but, that when mutations occur that blind the individual, since the eye is useless in the environment anyway, the survival and reproductive imperative is not altered, the blindness is passed on to offspring which survive and reproduce just fine.

A faux pas could have been made that gave you an odd combination or a missing piece that made you not like anyone else, possibly in a way that makes you stronger in specific areas... But none of the information that is given to you upon birth can be contributed to any outside factor other than your parental units.

There are plenty of vectors that increase genetic materials: new gene space usage, transcription error in meiosis, viral transfer, symbiotic gene transfer, and other dozens of known vectors that increase the total number of nucleotide space available for new capabilities to be expressed. The creationist contention that

The SUPERcell required to start all of life must have had every possible DNA combination stored inside of it in order to branch out into all of the different living things we see today; plants and animals included.

is bogus. Any simple research, Google search, and time spent reading and studying the processes of what evolution really says should be enough to show that these creationist views are without foundation.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14818
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 7 of 32 (373447)
01-01-2007 2:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


I don't think that it is a misunderstanding. I think that it is an intentional untruth - albeit one not invented by the author you quote. Creationists never define what this"information" they are talking about really is in any adequate way. They never let us know how to know if it has increased or even give a reasonable argument to explain why it must increase if evolution is to succeed.

Obviously the whole argunent is a lie. For it to be true they would have to have such a measure of information. And since they don't have one they resort to vagueness in the hope that nobody will work out that their claims are unfounded


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limbosis
Member (Idle past 4387 days)
Posts: 120
From: United States
Joined: 12-06-2006


Message 8 of 32 (373606)
01-02-2007 1:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Wow!
That is one of the most amazing things I have ever read (up until the last line).

I think you might be talking about a different kind of god, though.

Hey, check out my engineer thread in Intelligent Design, if you have a couple weeks. (There's a couple posts under God's Debris, too. [books section])


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3862 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 9 of 32 (373607)
01-02-2007 2:18 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


macro and genetic information
Following up on what Paul said,

A good way to tell when a creationist is pulling from thin air is when they talk about information increase in an organism, but don't define information, and switch between some sort of macroinformation and genetic information definition, as I have begun to call them. They will talk about genetic information in things like new genes and genes that switch traits on and off. But we can give actual mathematical descriptions of genetic information in the same way that we can describe the information in the digital bytes of your hard drive. Problem is that genetic information increased if the length of the DNA sequence increases. And there are several known mechanisms which cause the length of the DNA sequence to increase.

This causes them to switch to a macroinformation concept, which seems to be looking for new "functions" in an organism, though function often isn't defined and really can't be measured in any effective way. Additionally, we have examples of opposite trends in macroinformation, for example where one group of organisms evolves to bigger sizes and one evolves to smaller sizes. Both of these changes can't be a decrease in information.

A commonly cited example used by creationists is snakes. Creationist mostly accept that snakes have lost their legs, there is fossil evidence of such a transition occurring and some snakes still have vestigil legs. Snakes lost their legs, which is the loss of an appendage and function, obviously a loss of information. But if function is our concern, their are several forms of snake locomotion that have evolved after the limbs have been lost, lateral undulation, sidewinding, concertina, rectilinear, and slide pushing are all forms of ground locomotion, while some snakes have adapted the ability to climb trees and glide trough the air. Several of these forms of locomotion involve changes in the snakes body, which are neccessary for these locomotions to occur. In other words, a mutation in design which causes a new function, or an increase in information.

I'd be happy to direct you to more information concerning these examples, just let me know. The basic point is that information is a useful metaphor for what is stored in DNA, but that evolutionary changed care not for information- the concept is foreign. Things change, that's it.

Edited by platypus, : No reason given.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19818
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 10 of 32 (373628)
01-02-2007 7:49 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by AZPaul3
01-01-2007 12:21 PM


... but, the eye is still there and additional proteins are necessary to cause the eyelids to be sealed...new information. In actuality what happens in these cases is not that the eyelids seal shut, but, that when mutations occur that blind the individual, since the eye is useless in the environment anyway, the survival and reproductive imperative is not altered, the blindness is passed on to offspring which survive and reproduce just fine.

The sealed eye is also protected from infection and parasites. Less infection or fewer parasites = increased survival.


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we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19818
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 11 of 32 (373631)
01-02-2007 8:03 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Welcome to the fray Arithus.

I had recently read:

"Information does not have to be increased for the mutation to be beneficial. It has to be increased for the theory of evolution to be plausible."

I have yet to study anything in genetics and I was wondering, if those of you who know genetics could clarify these statement and tell me wether they are true or if it is all just another creationist misunderstanding.

The other standard creationist or IDist claim is that information is not created by mutations it is just rearranged from previously existing information.

This too is bogus for a couple of reasons. First there is no definition of "information" given, second there is no metric for measuring the quantity of "information" present before and after, and third, information is in the arrangement.

If you look at any method used for conveying information, the information is NOT in the alphabet or binary code used, it is in the arrangement of them: rearranging can and does provide new information.

The SUPERcell required to start all of life must have had every possible DNA combination stored inside of it in order to branch out into all of the different living things we see today;

Not necessary, because rearrangement can create new combinations. Seeing as there is NO evidence of a past "SUPERcell" (the first life known is a simple cyanobacteria) this is just another ad hoc invention made to support a false concept.

{abe}One could say that this conclusion thus shows that the whole argument is false, because there is absolutely no evidence for such a "SUPERcell" to have existed or for this division of pre-existing stored DNA information to currently exist and play a role in the continuing evolution we see today.{/abe}

Enjoy.


ps type [qs]quote boxes are easy[/qs] and it becomes:
quote boxes are easy

and thanks for "fieldset"

Edited by RAZD, : abe - added by edit


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
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we are limited in our ability to understand
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... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5381
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 8.6


Message 12 of 32 (373634)
01-02-2007 8:08 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by platypus
01-02-2007 2:18 AM


Re: macro and genetic information
Creationist mostly accept that snakes have lost their legs, there is fossil evidence of such a transition occurring and some snakes still have vestigil legs.

Well, and it says so in Genesis......


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3304 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 13 of 32 (373638)
01-02-2007 8:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arithus
12-30-2006 1:04 AM


Hi Arithus,

"Information does not have to be increased for the mutation to be beneficial. It has to be increased for the theory of evolution to be plausible."

How does a series of mutations, therefore, that produce a new structure or function not contain new information?

This seems to me to be creationists trying to have their cake & eat it. They want to preserve new information for god alone, but exclude new information that arises by natural processes from being information at all. In other words, creationists want any protein created by god to have new information by definition, but the same protein arrived at by natural selection isn't possessing information.

Presumably, they then get to say, "hey! DNA contains new information, it is therefore god's work".

What they fail to recognise is that we know proteins with new function arise by natural processes, which opens up the prospect that DNA, by their definition, contains no information at all.

This gambit is used all the time with such tactics as "information has a sender", DNA has information, therefore it has a sender, that sender is god. Of course, this obviously means that if we cannot show that a sender exists, then DNA contains no information at all by that definition.

There is a fish in the depths of the ocean where the waters are so inky dark that the fish is unable to see. It often swims into the jagged rocky sea bottom in search of food and the rocks cut its eyes and causes infections and sometimes death. The fish has offspring that have eyelids welded shut. The fish now has a barrier between its eyes and the deadly rock. Evolution? Many scientists use it as an example of it...

But was there new information given to the fish to secure its survival? The answer of course is no.

The answer is of course, yes!

Welded eyelids are new structures defined by new information that didn't previously exist. It matters not a jot that information is lost elsewhere. New information is evident.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18372
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 14 of 32 (373655)
01-02-2007 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by platypus
01-02-2007 2:18 AM


Re: macro and genetic information
Hi Platypus,

I'm primarily using your message as a jumping off point to reply to the opening post.

platypus writes:

Snakes lost their legs, which is the loss of an appendage and function, obviously a loss of information.

This year's Nobel prize in biology was for research into gene regulation and expression, and when I read your post I wondered if perhaps the snake's loss of legs was due to regulatory changes rather than to loss of actual genes. In other words, while this is obviously a loss of form and function, it might not be a loss of information.

My brief search around the Internet seemed to indicate that snakes still possess the genes for limbs, they're just no longer expressed, being removed by regulatory processes that halt the expression of these genes. In the case of the hind limbs, the genes are turned off by additional genes. In the case of the forelimbs it is more complicated and I couldn't find a definitive answer in the five minutes I allotted myself for looking this up, but the genes for the entire section where forelimbs would attach are no longer expressed.

An analogy might help those creationists out there who are trying to understand the ID argument about information. There is more than one way to turn off a light bulb. One way is to remove the wires that connect it to the battery, and that would be analogous to a loss of information. Another way is to insert a switch in the circuit and turn the switch off. That's analogous to a gain of information.

There are other ways to turn the light bulb off, of course. One is to break the light bulb, and I'm not sure if that's analogous to a gain or loss of information. Maybe it's just a change. Another way is to short out the light bulb by connecting another wire directly across its terminals, which is analogous to a gain of information. Another way is to remove the battery from the circuit, which would be analogous to a loss of information.

Analogies can be dangerous, so let me nip any efforts at carrying the analogy too far in the bud. I'm just trying to explain something complex and unfamiliar by drawing an analogy to something simple and familiar. I'm definitely not saying that genetics and gene expression is the same thing as an electric circuit.

--Percy


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3862 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 15 of 32 (373724)
01-02-2007 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Percy
01-02-2007 10:05 AM


Re: macro and genetic information
Thanks Percy, I was not aware of that research done on snake legs. I guess it goes to show that a loss of an physical feature or function does not always translate into a loss of genetic information.
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