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Author Topic:   Simultaneous Evolution?
Posts: 5654
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1

Message 3 of 42 (574137)
08-14-2010 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM

sac51495 writes:
So here we have two chemicals working together to create something, with DNA being the information, while RNA can be seen as the language interpreter.

Whether or not DNA is information, is actually a contentious question. I am one of those who prefers to not consider it information.

If I look inside the gear box of my car, I can see gear wheels with cogs. It seems to me that saying "DNA is information" is comparable with saying that the cogs are information.

The DNA is part of a physical causal process, just as are the cogs on that gear wheel. We normally think of information as abstract, and as separated from its uses. DNA lacks that abstractness aspect.

As I said, the issue is contentious. I don't expect my comments above to settle anything. I made those comments to indicate the kind of disagreements that you will find.

As for RNA, it is my impression that there are places where RNA is used without DNA. There seems to be a consensus that RNA probably arose before DNA in the history of early life (or early pre-life). And then there's the possibility that early proto-life forms did not depend on either DNA or RNA.

All of this is, of course, related to the question of abiogenesis (the formation of life from non-life). It is very much an unsettled area of science, so you probably won't find definitive answers.

Here are my own current view on possibilities for the formation of early life on earth (in no particular order):

1: Early proto-life forms emerged from the chemical soup, and possibly did not depend on DNA or RNA, with the use of those evolving later;

2: Panspermia - life on earth arrived from elsewhere. However, this only shifts the problem to somewhere other than earth. There is the possibility that life always existed in the universe, so never needed to emerge. However, that seems to be incompatible with current ideas in cosmology.

3: Divine creation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by sac51495, posted 08-14-2010 2:38 AM sac51495 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by sac51495, posted 08-14-2010 2:36 PM nwr has responded

Posts: 5654
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1

Message 12 of 42 (574209)
08-14-2010 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:36 PM

Re: Exclusively chemical?
sac51495 writes:
And I also consider the statement you just made to contain no information...following your logic that is.

That's obviously false. If you had considered it to contain no information, then you would not have responded.

sac51495 writes:
Information in language is formed by the correct sequencing of letters...

That's a bit simplistic. For example, it ignores the role of semantics.

sac51495 writes:
If I write "het sargs si rnege", I have written no information, ...

It takes a bit more effort, but I could read that without any difficulty. If you had also scrambled the word order, that might have made it more difficult.

sac51495 writes:
Information in DNA is formed by the correct sequencing of nucleotide bases, which are sequenced just in the correct way that sections of the DNA can be copied in order to form various proteins.

Information in a gearbox is encoded in the correct sequencing of the cogs on a gear wheel, which are sequenced to that they mesh with the cogs on the next wheel in just the right way. You can see how well the paraphrase works. And if you don't actually think those cogs as part of an information sequence, then perhaps you can see why your parallel argument carries no persuasive force.

sac51495 writes:
All of the instructions for the makeup of your body - eye color, nose length, skin color, etc. - are contained in a single strand of DNA, in each of your cells. How is this not information?

The statement is factually incorrect. The DNA is used to generate proteins, and the makeup of the body is not entirely protein.

We use the word "information" in many different ways. Yes, DNA can be considered information in one particular way of using the term. The structure of a snow crystal can be considered information in another use.

The term "information", as it applies to human language, is very different from "information" as applied to DNA. In most ordinary use of "information", we are using it in the sense in which it applies to language. ID proponents like to conflate those different meanings of "information", but it is a mistake to do so.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by sac51495, posted 08-14-2010 2:36 PM sac51495 has not yet responded

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