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Author Topic:   Evolving New Information
LucyTheApe
Inactive Member


Message 421 of 458 (543953)
01-22-2010 10:01 AM
Reply to: Message 420 by greyseal
01-22-2010 9:40 AM


Re: What is information?
greyseal writes:

no, you haven't. As Percy stated, if different compilers take the same code and create files of different sizes using different code, and you claim that simply "counting the bits" tells you how much information there is in those files, then you are dead wrong.

Yes I did.

Different interpreters/coders different amount of information, same amount of meaning.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 420 by greyseal, posted 01-22-2010 9:40 AM greyseal has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18312
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 422 of 458 (543959)
01-22-2010 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 419 by LucyTheApe
01-22-2010 8:42 AM


Re: What is information?
LucyTheApe writes:

I disagree with you Percy. Let me get this right; reality is information and compiled code isn't..hmm.

I don't think I ever said reality is information. I would be more likely to say something like, "Everything in reality is exchanging information with everything else in reality all the time."

But I didn't say the output file of a compiler does not contain information. What I said, in a bit more detail this time, is that the number of bits in that output file is not a measure of its information content.

By the way, all compilers that I'm aware of generate output files in units of bytes (more commonly, units of 4 bytes, often called words), so the number of bytes in any compiled file should always be a whole integer. Since 852 bits is not an integer number of bytes (it's 106.5 bytes), I very much doubt that your Java compiler produced a file 852 bits in length. Did you perhaps mean 852 bytes?

In any event, your program must contain a fixed amount of information. Whatever that amount is, I hope we both agree that all valid methods of measuring its information content must yield the same value. When a carpenter measures a board he expects its length to measure the same whether he uses a ruler, a yard stick, a tape measure, or the rule on his T-Square. And analogously, when we calculate the information content of something, we expect that the value calculated will not vary, no matter what method we use, as long as it's a valid method.

So when you say this:

If you change the communication system then you can reduce the amount of information required to pass on the same message, just like a new version of the compiler or a new release of a language.

You've already conceded the point. You acknowledge that different compilers will yield different measures of the amount of information in your program, and therefore compilers by their inherent character cannot be valid measures of information content because they provide a variety of different values for the exact same program.

By the same token, the amount of information in DNA is not a variable function of the measurement method. If the DNA sequence doesn't change, then the amount of information in it cannot change, no matter who measures it and no matter what method they use. This is another reason why you should question your compiler example. If compiler output is a valid analog to DNA for the sake of this discussion then its information content doesn't change if you use a different compiler. Or if a program's information content *does* change according to compiler (which would make no sense, I'm just including the flip side of the argument), then a computer program is not a valid analog with DNA.

In case you found that last point confusing, just remember that a valid information measurement method will always give the same answer for the same input.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 419 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-22-2010 8:42 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

    
Taq
Member
Posts: 7673
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 423 of 458 (543989)
01-22-2010 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 419 by LucyTheApe
01-22-2010 8:42 AM


Re: What is information?
The amount of information in the dna and mdna, I suspect, is related to the number of base pairs.

That causes serious problems then. According to this measure a random, non-functional 2,000 base pair stretch of DNA carries more information than a functional gene with 1,000 base pairs.

The entire TOE is hypothetical...please.

The entire TOE is a collection of hypotheses that have passed testing.

Tiktaalik is a fish and archaeopteryx is a bird. There is not one single shred of evidence that they had a baby that was an amphibian or that their parent was a dinosaur, respectively. Any suggestion is pure speculation.

The hypothesis is that if a lineage of lobed finned fish evolved into amphibians that there had to exist species that had a combination of lobed finned fish features and amphibian features. This is exactly what we observe in Tiktaalik. The same for Archaeoptyrex with it's combination of avian and non-avian dinosaur features. Another example of a hypothesis that passed the test.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 419 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-22-2010 8:42 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

  
Iblis
Member (Idle past 1976 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 424 of 458 (543992)
01-22-2010 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 407 by LucyTheApe
01-21-2010 7:59 AM


the chicken and the egg
If you try to put chicken nucleus into a human egg cell, the cell will try to produce a human, not a chicken. Similarly if you put human dna in a chicken egg, the egg will try produce a chicken, not a human. The cell contains its own information.

False. Eggs don't "try to produce" anything, they try to become what their nucleus tells them to become. If you put human DNA into a chicken egg, and zap it, it tries to become a human. It fails, because it doesn't have the right materials. This is similar to trying to run the more extreme versions of Microsoft's FrontPage extensions in a normal Mozilla browser. The code tries to be a badly-designed xml freakshow. It fails, because FireFox won't provide it with access to your raw memory areas. Not because it "tries" to be normal code.

We will very soon be sticking nucleus from our cheek cells into cow eggs and growing medicine to help us outlive you. You will hate that. You won't hate it because it's "trying to produce" a cow. That would just be bouillon. You will hate it because it tried to become a human.

Can't have your egg and eat it too.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 407 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-21-2010 7:59 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18312
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 425 of 458 (544103)
01-23-2010 5:45 PM
Reply to: Message 419 by LucyTheApe
01-22-2010 8:42 AM


Re: What is information?
Hi LucyTheApe,

Well, guess you're off living your life again, so since I don't know whether you're going to reply in a day or a month I'll post some thoughts I've had about where you might be going wrong while I still remember them.

I think you must believe that the number of bits used to save data in a file is the amount of information in that data. This is wrong. Let me explain why using your Java shell as an example:

public class information {
public static void main(String args) {
}
}

However much information exists in this program, it must be a constant. We don't know how much information it has, but unless you change it, which we're not going to do, it must be constant. There is only one value for the amount of information in your program shell. All valid methods of measuring its information content must yield the same value.

So let's say we use Java compiler X to compile your program, and it produces a file 1200 bytes in length.

And then we use Java compiler Y to compile your program, and it produces a file 1300 bytes in length.

If compiled file size is the amount of information in your program, then how much information does your program contain? Is it 1200 bytes or 1300 bytes? Only one answer can be correct, right? And is it possible neither answer is right? You bet!

File size is also not a measure of information content. For example, you could save the first paragraph of this message in a file and see that the file size is 218 bytes including the newline character. But you could then run the file through gzip and find that it is now only 177 bytes in length. Gzip relies upon redundancy to compress files. So how much information is in the file? Is it 218 bytes or 177 bytes? Only one answer can be correct, right? And is it again possible neither answer is right? You bet!

Once you accept that compilers and file size are not a measure of information content, then we can continue on to talk about how one goes about measuring information content in a valid way.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 419 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-22-2010 8:42 AM LucyTheApe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 426 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 8:30 AM Percy has responded

    
LucyTheApe
Inactive Member


Message 426 of 458 (544275)
01-25-2010 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 425 by Percy
01-23-2010 5:45 PM


Re: What is information?
Percy writes:

By the way, all compilers that I'm aware of generate output files in units of bytes (more commonly, units of 4 bytes, often called words),..

Your right Percy, 8 doesn't divide 852, it must have been bytes. I've just recompiled the code and got 267 bytes (2136 bits); then 430 bytes (3440 bits) and then 467 bytes (3736 bits) so a difference of 296 bits, this might differ from previous sizes because I might have written the code differently and/or have an updated compiler.

Percy writes:

Whatever that amount is, I hope we both agree that all valid methods of measuring its information content must yield the same value.

Yes and it's a simply a matter of counting the bits when we are talking of the information in a computer program.

Percy writes:

When a carpenter measures a board he expects its length to measure the same whether he uses a ruler, a yard stick, a tape measure, or the rule on his T-Square. And analogously, when we calculate the information content of something, we expect that the value calculated will not vary, no matter what method we use, as long as it's a valid method.

This is where we are getting stuck Percy; our definition of information. The length of a bit of timber is not information unless an intelligence decides to make is so. Its length is just a fact (Newtonian and Euclidean). There is no information in the timber unless the carpenter decides to code it in his memory or write it on a bit of paper. The length of the bit of timber is data.

Percy writes:

You acknowledge that different compilers will yield different measures of the amount of information in your program, and therefore compilers by their inherent character cannot be valid measures of information content because they provide a variety of different values for the exact same program.

Yes, different communication systems use different languages. Now you are confusing information with semantics or meaning.

LTA writes:

The amount of information in the dna and mdna, I suspect, is related to the number of base pairs.

Taq writes:

That causes serious problems then. According to this measure a random, non-functional 2,000 base pair stretch of DNA carries more information than a functional gene with 1,000 base pairs.

If you were talking about a sequential system then you may have a point. But the cell isn't a sequential system. For example code can be read in reverse, it can overlap and the cell is performing many tasks in parallel.

Taq writes:

The hypothesis is that if a lineage of lobed finned fish evolved into amphibians that there had to exist species that had a combination of lobed finned fish features and amphibian features.

So the hypothesis should also explain the bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed cute little mammal;



Taq writes:

Another example of a hypothesis that passed the test.

Test with the bar set really low.

Iblis writes:

False. Eggs don't "try to produce" anything, they try to become what their nucleus tells them to become.

Let's just wait and see what your sick voodoo scientists working in secret in their basement come up with, shall we. I'm not saying that I know that the cell is in control, it just seems the most logical explanation to me.

Iblis writes:

We will very soon be sticking nucleus from our cheek cells into cow eggs and growing medicine to help us outlive you.

Might seem strange to you, but I'm looking forward to my last hour on earth.

Percy writes:

File size is also not a measure of information content. For example, you could save the first paragraph of this message in a file and see that the file size is 218 bytes including the newline character. But you could then run the file through gzip and find that it is now only 177 bytes in length. Gzip relies upon redundancy to compress files. So how much information is in the file? Is it 218 bytes or 177 bytes? Only one answer can be correct, right? And is it again possible neither answer is right? You bet!

Gzip is a lossless compression tool, just another communication system taking bits in, using different symbols for different sequences of bits, passing it to the decoder which reconstructs the original message, just like the different compilers. The amount of information is dependant on the type of system (coder, language, decoder) used.


There no doubt exist natural laws, but once this fine reason of ours was corrupted, it corrupted everything.

blɛz paskal


This message is a reply to:
 Message 425 by Percy, posted 01-23-2010 5:45 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 427 by Granny Magda, posted 01-25-2010 9:27 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded
 Message 428 by Percy, posted 01-25-2010 9:30 AM LucyTheApe has responded
 Message 430 by Meldinoor, posted 01-25-2010 9:42 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded
 Message 439 by Taq, posted 01-25-2010 11:15 PM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

  
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 427 of 458 (544283)
01-25-2010 9:27 AM
Reply to: Message 426 by LucyTheApe
01-25-2010 8:30 AM


Re: What is information?
Hi Lucy,

Taq writes:

The hypothesis is that if a lineage of lobed finned fish evolved into amphibians that there had to exist species that had a combination of lobed finned fish features and amphibian features.

Lucy writes:

So the hypothesis should also explain the bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed cute little mammal;

Huh? Why should a hypothesis about fish evolving into amphibians say anything at all about a monotreme? We are agreed that a platypus is neither a fish nor an amphibian, right?

If you wanted to talk about a rather more extended hypothesis, namely that fish evolved into amphibians, which evolved into reptiles, which evolved into mammals, it might be relevant. Of course, if that was what you wanted to talk about, an egg-laying mammal would seem to fit the picture quite nicely, wouldn't you say?

Of course, this is way of topic, so perhaps any replies could be diverted to the Duck Billed Platypus topic.

Mutate and Survive


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod
This message is a reply to:
 Message 426 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 8:30 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18312
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 428 of 458 (544284)
01-25-2010 9:30 AM
Reply to: Message 426 by LucyTheApe
01-25-2010 8:30 AM


Re: What is information?
LucyTheApe writes:

Yes and it's a simply a matter of counting the bits when we are talking of the information in a computer program.

You keep saying this. I keep explaining why the size of the file output by a compiler is not a measure of the amount of information in the original program, and you keep replying with restatements of your assertion without explanation.

Percy writes:

When a carpenter measures a board he expects its length to measure the same whether he uses a ruler, a yard stick, a tape measure, or the rule on his T-Square. And analogously, when we calculate the information content of something, we expect that the value calculated will not vary, no matter what method we use, as long as it's a valid method.

This is where we are getting stuck Percy; our definition of information. The length of a bit of timber is not information unless an intelligence decides to make is so. Its length is just a fact (Newtonian and Euclidean). There is no information in the timber unless the carpenter decides to code it in his memory or write it on a bit of paper. The length of the bit of timber is data.

Boy, talk about missing the point! The length of a board was an example of measurement, not an analogy with information. When we measure anything, whether the length of a board, the amount of water in a cup, the weight of a sample, we expect those measurements to always be same, as long as we're using valid measurement tools.

That the size of your compiled file varies from one version of the compiler to the next and from one platform to the next is telling you, unequivocally, that a compiler does not provide a measure of the amount of information in your program. Your measurement of a board will not change when you change rulers because a ruler is a valid measurement tool for length. If compilers were a valid measurement tool for information then the amount of information in your program cannot change just because you change compilers. But it does change when you change compilers, and so compilers cannot be a valid measurement tool for information.

There's even the questions of why you think the compiler output is the amount of information in your program in the first place? Why is not the original program file the amount of information? You would still be wrong, but this approach at least has the saving grace of always giving the same answer.

The size of a file is not a measure of the amount of information in that file. To measure the amount of information you have to unambiguously define your message set. If you put the DNA sequence CAGTTC in a file and found that it was 6 bytes long, would you then claim that that sequence contained 6 bytes of information? No, of course not. So why are you claiming that when you place compiler output in a file that the file size is the amount of information in the original program.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 426 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 8:30 AM LucyTheApe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 429 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 9:42 AM Percy has responded

    
LucyTheApe
Inactive Member


Message 429 of 458 (544287)
01-25-2010 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 428 by Percy
01-25-2010 9:30 AM


Re: What is information?
This conversation is pointless unless we both define what we mean by information.

My definition : "a coded message".

Now can I please have you definition?


There no doubt exist natural laws, but once this fine reason of ours was corrupted, it corrupted everything.

blɛz paskal


This message is a reply to:
 Message 428 by Percy, posted 01-25-2010 9:30 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 431 by Jazzns, posted 01-25-2010 10:54 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded
 Message 438 by Percy, posted 01-25-2010 3:36 PM LucyTheApe has responded

  
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 430 of 458 (544288)
01-25-2010 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 426 by LucyTheApe
01-25-2010 8:30 AM


Re: What is information?
Hi LucyTheApe,

LTA writes:

The length of a bit of timber is not information unless an intelligence decides to make is so

So information is in the eye of the beholder?
Does 43251029385 (a random string of numbers I just entered) contain information?
If I decide to use this number as combination code for a safe, does it now contain information?

So any data is information, if and only if an intelligent agent decides to make it so? If so, there is no objective standard by which we can measure genetic information, and the topic of this thread becomes moot. Or am I misunderstanding you here?

LTA writes:

So the hypothesis should also explain the bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed cute little mammal

Indeed. The platypus fits neatly into the mammalian clade, which itself fits neatly within the tetrapod clade. But this is off topic.

LTA writes:

Let's just wait and see what your sick voodoo scientists working in secret in their basement come up with, shall we. I'm not saying that I know that the cell is in control, it just seems the most logical explanation to me.

This is what Discover Magazine has to say on the subject:

Discover Magazine, January/February 2010, p. 42 writes:

In one of [The Institute For Genomic Research]'s most important experiments, we took the DNA from one bacterial cell and treated it with harsh enzymes to destroy any traces of proteins. We found that if we transplanted that naked DNA into another bacterial species, along with associated restriction enymes [molecular scissors that cut DNA in specific places], the cell's original DNA would be destroyed. The transplanted DNA would take over instead. So now we had the cell of one species containing the DNA of another species. In a short time, all the original proteins disappeared, and we ended up with a cell that had totally transformed from one species to another. (Pamela Weintraub, 2010)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 426 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 8:30 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 432 by Wounded King, posted 01-25-2010 11:00 AM Meldinoor has not yet responded

    
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1991 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


(1)
Message 431 of 458 (544299)
01-25-2010 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 429 by LucyTheApe
01-25-2010 9:42 AM


Metric!
I have said this before to no avail, getting no attention from either side. What Percy is basically saying is that any useful definition of information requires you to provide a metric.

It MUST satisfy those exact properties or else you cannot use that definition to do useful things such as build an algorithm that tells you when one thing has "more" or "less" information than another thing. Or equivalently, to tell if information has "increased" or "decreased".

Without proving that your metric satisfies all 4 strong properties of a metric:

1. non-negativity
2. identity
3. symmetry
4. triangle inequality

You cannot use words such as "more", "less", "increasing", "decreasing".

In particular, byte counts are an invalid metric because they do not satisfy the 2nd property which is pretty significant.


If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. --Thomas Jefferson
This message is a reply to:
 Message 429 by LucyTheApe, posted 01-25-2010 9:42 AM LucyTheApe has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 433 by cavediver, posted 01-25-2010 11:16 AM Jazzns has responded

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2175 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 432 of 458 (544300)
01-25-2010 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 430 by Meldinoor
01-25-2010 9:42 AM


Bacteria/oocytes as Tabula Rasa
It's worth bearing in mind that a bacterium and oocytes are pretty radically different. The fact that a genome transplant works in one does not neccessarily mean it will work in the other.

That caveat aside however there is plenty of evidence that genome transplants into oocytes do work, even across species boundaries in some cases. There are a number of ongoing projects to find ways to increase population numbers of endagered species by using related species as a form of surrogate mother. These have had varied degrees of success, for a review off mammalian attempts see Loi et al. (2007).

Part of the issue here is that LTA is at least half right. The oocyte isn't a clean neutral template that will accept any nuclear content and produce a viable organism of the genome donor's species. Cross species hosts need to be carefully matched and the further apart species are the less succesful such attempts appear to be. Even in the bacterial example the two bacteria are forms of mycoplasma, allowing the tried and tested creationist response of 'but they are still mycoplasma!'

As I say LTA is only partly right because when these transplants are successful the offspring are genetically and as far as can be determined phenotypically of the donor's species. The one area where the hosts genetic complement can be seen to persist is in the mitochondrial genome inherited from the oocyte. Except for the mitochondria and proteins derived therefrom everything is based on the donor's genome, all donor species proteins and what have you. One might make an attempt to argue that some structural information is passed on from the oocytes centrosomal structures and associated proteins to the daughter cells, but these structures don't tend to differ radically between closely related species and the accessory protein complement from the oocyte would very rapidly be superceded by new proteins generated from the donor genome.

TTFN,

WK

Edited by Wounded King, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 430 by Meldinoor, posted 01-25-2010 9:42 AM Meldinoor has not yet responded

    
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1723 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 433 of 458 (544303)
01-25-2010 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 431 by Jazzns
01-25-2010 10:54 AM


Re: Metric!
I have said this before to no avail, getting no attention from either side.

Well, I decided long ago to avoid any of these discussions until they raised themselves to the point of appreciating what you have just posted


This message is a reply to:
 Message 431 by Jazzns, posted 01-25-2010 10:54 AM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 434 by Jazzns, posted 01-25-2010 11:54 AM cavediver has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1991 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 434 of 458 (544315)
01-25-2010 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 433 by cavediver
01-25-2010 11:16 AM


Re: Metric!
But it is the silver bullet to the whole information argument. I don't get why our fellow anti-IDers beat around the bush so much.

There is the constant call to IDers to provide a definition of information when the real question should be, "how do you measure information (regardless of what IT is)".

If using your measuring tool I can measure the information of two different things yet get the same measurement, then your measurement tool is crap. QED.


If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. --Thomas Jefferson
This message is a reply to:
 Message 433 by cavediver, posted 01-25-2010 11:16 AM cavediver has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 435 by cavediver, posted 01-25-2010 12:30 PM Jazzns has responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1723 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 435 of 458 (544319)
01-25-2010 12:30 PM
Reply to: Message 434 by Jazzns
01-25-2010 11:54 AM


Re: Metric!
If using your measuring tool I can measure the information of two different things yet get the same measurement, then your measurement tool is crap. QED.

If your measurement is simply scalar, then you're being a bit harsh here - you can have two utterly different entities that just by chance happen to have the same information measure.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 434 by Jazzns, posted 01-25-2010 11:54 AM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 436 by Jazzns, posted 01-25-2010 1:04 PM cavediver has responded

  
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