Biological Information

  1. ‘Information’, ‘data’ and ‘media’ are distinct concepts. Media is the mechanical support for data and can be any material including DNA and RNA in biology. Data is the symbols that carry information and are stored and transmitted on the media. ACGT nucleotides forming strands of DNA are biologic data. Information is an entity that answers a question and is represented by data encoded on a particular media. Information is always created by an intelligent agent and used by the same or another intelligent agent. Interpreting the data to extract information requires a deciphering key such as a language. For example, proteins are made of amino acids selected based on a translation table (the deciphering key) from nucleotides.
  2. Information is entirely separate from matter. The same media (matter) may contain data representing information for one or more users, or random noise if the same bits of data have been randomly configured. Furthermore, without a deciphering key, one user’s information is random noise to another (like bird songs to unrelated birds). Information can be encoded in different ways (like distinct languages), resulting in unequal data sets. The size of the data is [in practice] always larger than the information carried due to redundancy which is necessary to maintain the integrity of the carried or stored information.
  3. The biologic cellular system is strikingly similar to human built autonomous information systems and unlike anything else observable in the inert universe. Media can be anything including any collection of atoms and, without a decoding key, the same media can support an infinity of data. For instance, a DNA chain encodes one set of data when read left to right, another when read in reverse, yet another when read pair-by-pair, and so on. But in living organisms, DNA actually encodes specific information that is uniquely decoded with a key. Furthermore, the information in the DNA is also redundantly encoded to ensure its long term integrity. Aside from DNA and RNA, we can observe many other information systems in nature (with decoding keys such as pheromones, antigens, and hormones), but all are limited to the living.
  4. DNA mutations are wrongfully interpreted by some as spontaneous information generation, however the DNA limitations show that DNA is not ‘the code of life’, but only a configurable portion of ‘the code of life’. In addition, the adaptive mutations appear limited in range, reversible when the stimulus is removed, and repeatable, indicating their non-random character (as in “the peppered moth”, “Darwin’s finches”, and antibiotic resistance). This is exactly how advanced human designed computer systems behave – they have been built with adaptability in mind, therefore to the untrained eye these systems seem completely autonomous and infinitely auto-reconfigurable (”Artificial Intelligence” fallacy).
  5. Information cannot just pop into existence in the absence of an intelligent agent. That is why all noise-based information generating attempts including all “infinite monkey” experiments have failed and that is why “Artificial Intelligence” will never “rise”. Separating information from noise has been a very important human activity for thousands of years and success in this endeavor has always been based on two critical elements: deciphering key and redundant encoding.
  6. Information can exist for a long time without an intelligent agent. Information can be stored, transmitted and downloaded into machines that perform certain operations regardless of whether the intelligent agent is still around or not. Based on all our knowledge about information, not observing the intelligent agent at work should never lead to the absurd assumption that the information machine “arose without a designer”. It is no coincidence that teleological terms such as “function” and “design” appear frequently in the biological sciences.
  7. Data is everywhere (including fossil record and marks of past events such as asteroid impacts), but that data becomes information only to intelligent agents like us (organisms) and only when we learn to interpret it and to make predictions (answer questions). When we look at the sedimentation and erosion, we take that data and make information from it based on our knowledge. There is no information in the rocks, just data.

Summary:

  1. ‘Information’, ‘data’ and ‘media’ are distinct concepts
  2. Information is entirely separate from matter
  3. Biologic cellular systems are strikingly similar to human built autonomous information systems and unlike anything else observable in the inert universe
  4. DNA mutations are wrongfully interpreted by some as spontaneous information generation
  5. Information cannot just pop into existence in the absence of an intelligent agent
  6. Information can exist for a long time without an intelligent agent
  7. Data is everywhere (including fossil record), but that data becomes information only to intelligent agents

Links:

https://schneider.ncifcrf.gov/

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/information-biological/

https://evolutionnews.org/2014/08/biological_info_1/

http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/8818#t=toc

https://discourse.biologos.org/t/information-entropy/35327/21

https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/genetic-novelty-conference-errors-cannot-explain-genetic-novelty-and-complexity/#comment-651105

Notes:

Con: Information is just entropy.

Pro: Shannon never said “Information = Entropy”. Wikipedia quote: “Entropy is a measure of unpredictability of the state, or equivalently, of its average information content. Hence Entropy is just an attribute of Information. In addition, information always requires a deciphering key and some redundancy, both of which reduce entropy. Information is meaningful only to the sender and receiver (and the spy). To all others it’s noise.

Con: Random number generators can open any lock.

Pro: The human opens the lock, not the random generator. The random generator is just a tool to the human.

351 thoughts on “Biological Information

  1. colewd:
    Yes.Billions of living organisms with no evidence of a designer inside our space-time,

    That doesn’t look like evidence for designers outside our space-time. It looks like desperation to infer design regardless of the lack of evidence for designers.

    colewd:
    and no evidence of a simple to complex model that could explain this without a designer.

    Sorry Bill, but even if it was true that no evidence existed to explain those billions of organisms in natural terms, that would not make the “invisible, unexplainable, out of our space-time designer” any more plausible. You’re calling for an argument from ignorance. Typical god-of-the-gaps fallacy. Sorry. It doesn’t work. It just shows the abysmally poor philosophical foundations and abysmally poor scientific approaches you’re willing to take in order to conclude as you like, rather than as proper thinking would lead.

    colewd:
    Simple analogy:If I see a dead body in a room with a knife in the middle of his back and no one is in the room I would infer murder from someone outside the room.

    But you’d know that there’s people outside the room Bill. You even know both what a room is like, and what outside of a room is like. You have no idea what outside our space-time could even mean or look like. You have no idea if intelligent beings are possible and what they’d be like outside of our space-time. You have no idea how anything could cross from outside our space-time into it, you have no idea if it’s even possible to design and build anything without leaving a trace of the handiwork, let alone via spectacular trans-space-time events every now and then, with such crossing, despite being so spectacular, leaving no traces either.

    Do you really not see how ridiculous it looks for you to be so naïve, or rather gullible, when it comes to your preferred conclusion, yet so stubbornly and irrationally skeptical about things much more proximal like evolutionary processes?

    If I didn’t understand much about evolution and/or natural phenomena in general, I’d be much happier with “I don’t know” than embracing something as irrationally ridiculous as ID.

  2. newton: Carried from where, if information is not data, where did the information come from?

    is information in the pattern of the data ?

    The information is generated by the researchers studying the tree ring. These researchers create the deciphering key and communicate with each other. Data is data, not information. Information is abstract, data is physical.

    Erik: I have no problem with “anything else”. I have a problem with “strikingly similar”. What’s the striking similarity there?

    In my view, there’s a striking dissimilarity instead. Human-built information systems (from alphabet and abacus to servers) are part of the observable inert universe, while biological organisms are observably not inert at all.

    That’s what paragraph 3 explains.
    Are you saying life is “striking dissimilarity” from the inert?!? That doesn’t go with your materialism, abiogenesis and all that nonsense. Don’t let the Darwinista inquisition find out.

    Entropy: Again, that you have your preferred definitions, mixed with some convoluted bullshit, doesn’t make Shallit’s point a sophism. He’s talking about mathematical definition of information, rather than your preferred one. Thus it’s proper to evaluate Shallit’s comment under those foundations.

    No one gives a hoot about you singing praises to Shallit. Let him present counterarguments to the ideas discussed here or, if (BIG IF) you’re smart enough, go ahead and present his counterarguments.
    And bring your own INTELLIGENT counter-definition and counter-arguments if you have any… and stop whining all the time.

    colewd: Design is an actual explanation which is now used all the time. Q. Why does the software work that way? A. It is intrinsic to its design.

    Design is a very powerful descriptive explanation for how functional objects come into existence. These objects can be the result of hard working design teams.

    When we claim biology is designed any explanation beyond that is difficult, as there is no visible designer inside our space-time. That, however, on its own, does not rule out design as the best explanation for complex biological features.

    Very well said! Too bad you’re hitting a wall of proud ignorance here.

  3. Joe Felsenstein: It is the old creationist trope that includes natural selection in the list of “purely random” evolutionary processes. It is what creationist debaters do to try to persuade gullible audiences that evolutionary biologists have no theory to explain why adaptations evolve. Calling the result of evolutionary processes that involve fitness differences “serendipity” is very misleading.

    There’s no such thing as “natural selection” and most certainly no “fitness”. We had a very long discussion here and none of you guys were able to prove otherwise. Where have you been? The thread is still open and you’re invited, but bring some logical arguments, not just empty claims.

    On this thread we’re talking about biological information. Are you disputing anything in the OP?

  4. Rumraket: Then the same is true for DNA.

    Information is abstract while DNA is physical data. But DNA carries what looks like computer code, aka designer information aka an executable file. And no, DNA is not the whole executable file.

    Rumraket:
    a) Now you’re just assuming there’s a creator of the “machine”. Your whole OP is one giant assertion.

    b) You didn’t explain it, you asserted it. I can assert just as you can: Data can be information.
    But data may carry information.
    As opposed to being information? A meaningless distinction.

    No. DNA can be executed (like code) by the biologic machine, but it has been encoded by an intelligent agent and we (the other intelligent agents) can decode it to extract information such as: “what protein will this DNA segment produce?”

    c) That’s just more assertion.

    d) Your ability to link an article on information doesn’t mean you are correctly applying the definition therein. You are claming information is always created by an intelligent agent, and can’t evolve, but nothing of that sort is supported by anything stated in the link you give.

    a) What exactly are you disputing (quote from OP) and where are your counterarguments? The Creator is the logical explanation based on our experience. What is your scenario for biological information? And try to base that on observations, not on the Darwinist religion dogma.
    b) Let’s see if you’re right: can you extract information from data if you do not have the deciphering key? Looks like you’re disputing this: “The same media (matter) may contain data representing information for one or more users, or random noise if the same bits of data have been randomly configured. Furthermore, without a deciphering key, one user’s information is random noise to another (like bird songs to unrelated birds). Information can be encoded in different ways (like distinct languages), resulting in unequal data sets.” But where are your arguments?
    c) Just based on what we know. Provide counterexample if you have any
    d) The link was just for the definition, not for their yapping. Again, provide alternative definition and counterexample if you have any.

    Rumraket: As usual you are entirely assertion, zero logic or evidence.

    I don’t care for Shallit. You present his arguments if he has anything applicable and you can sustain them.

  5. colewd: Simple analogy: If I see a dead body in a room with a knife in the middle of his back and no one is in the room I would infer murder from someone outside the room.

    Hmmm, why are you in that room, Bill?

  6. colewd: Read how I modified the statement you objected to.

    which was:

    Through serendipity you can get an adaption through random change but eventually the laws of statistics result in loss of information. This is John and Bill’s argument and I have not seen a reasonable challenge yet.

    I modified “that information” to “information”. I am not sure a single bit does anything to add information unless the function requires a specific sequence and the bit change enables that function. An example is a telephone number that calls a friend that is off by one digit.

    You are stuck in your Design view and seem unable to detach. The DNA sequence in the genome is not like a telephone number. Let me try to explain:

    There is, in principle, nothing that distinguishes purifying selection from positive natural selection. We just use the word “purifying” to indicate that the fitness variation that is acted upon is generated by recurrent mutations but it is the very same process that drives novel beneficial mutations to fixation. Once an adaptation arises in a population (e.g. the ability to grow aerobically on citrate in Lenski’s LTEE) all of the alternative alleles associated with the ancestral function have become deleterious. And yes, fixing the adaptation will add functional specified information (by definition, if the function is understood to be fitness) which will henceforth be preserved by purifying selection (which is simply natural selection, the same process that drove it to fixation in the first place).

    John Sanford and Bill Basener argue that because of the continuous influx of deleterious mutations, natural selection is neither capable of fixing enough novel beneficial variants to compensate for that nor capable of preserving existing non-deleterious variants. These are two sides of the same coin.

    ETA: clarification

  7. Nonlin.org: a) What exactly are you disputing (quote from OP) and where are your counterarguments?

    I’m disputing basically every single thing in the OP. It doesn’t contain any arguments, it is just a long list of assertions. I reject all of them. I don’t need to argue against them since none of them are arguments or are supported by anything. You just state a lot of conclusions, but they’re not built on anything.

    The only relevant response here is: Prove it. Prove all your assertions.

    Find something uncontroversial between us that we both agree on, and then from that prove that all the assertions you make in the OP follow from them. If you can’t do that, then I don’t need to accept any of the claims your OP makes, because they don’t seem to follow from anything I already accept. As such, it’s just naked assertions.

    But you never do any of the work that it takes to show your assertions true. You don’t argue a point by just stating the point. To argue for a point you need to show that the point must follow from something already accepted by the people you wish to convince otherwise. But you have not done that work.

  8. Nonlin.org: That’s what paragraph 3 explains.

    No, it doesn’t explain. It merely asserts, and there are obvious objections to the assertion, which I laid out to you.

    You need some evidence or argument to back up what you are saying. But by now it’s clear you are just a waste of time.

  9. Nonlin.org: Rumraket: Then the same is true for DNA.

    Information is abstract while DNA is physical data.

    I reject that statement as unsupported. I don’t think information isn’t physical. I have never come into contact with immaterial information.
    All information I have ever come into contact with was in the form of a physical medium or physical interactions between physical entities. You will need to demonstrate that there is such a thing as immaterial information.

    But DNA carries what looks like computer code, aka designer information aka an executable file. And no, DNA is not the whole executable file.

    It doesn’t matter what you think DNA “looks like” to the question of whether is contains information or not.

    Rumraket:
    a) Now you’re just assuming there’s a creator of the “machine”. Your whole OP is one giant assertion.

    a) What exactly are you disputing (quote from OP) and where are your counterarguments?

    See previous post.

    The Creator is the logical explanation based on our experience.

    This is you just making an assertion again. Prove it, prove the assertion. Start with uncontroversial premises and work towards the conclusion. Don’t start from “information is immaterial”, as I reject that premise. You will need to convince me that information is immaterial first.

    What is your scenario for biological information? And try to base that on observations, not on the Darwinist religion dogma.

    Mutations and natural selection. And those are observations.

    b) You didn’t explain it, you asserted it. I can assert just as you can: Data can be information. But data may carry information.

    b) Let’s see if you’re right: can you extract information from data if you do not have the deciphering key?

    Irrelevant. My ability to extract the information doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    Looks like you’re disputing this: “The same media (matter) may contain data representing information for one or more users, or random noise if the same bits of data have been randomly configured. Furthermore, without a deciphering key, one user’s information is random noise to another (like bird songs to unrelated birds). Information can be encoded in different ways (like distinct languages), resulting in unequal data sets.” But where are your arguments?

    My argument is that the conclusion “therefore there is no information in X (which could be tree rings)”, or “data isn’t/doesn’t contain information”m doesn’t follow from what you write. YOU are the one who needs to make an actual argument. The conclusion you are seeking to make, that data isn’t information and that information is immaterial, doesn’t follow from what you write above. I want you to write a syllogism with premises and a conclusion, so the logic of what you are saying can be properly analyzed.

    Like:
    Premise 1. Matter may contain data representing information for one or more users.
    Premise 2. Matter may contain data representing random noise… bla bla.
    Premise 3. (fill in necessary premises).
    Conclusion: Therefore information is immaterial.

    Correctly construct an argument so that we can see that the conclusions you assert in the OP necessarily follow. Until you do that, nobody is under any obligation to accept anything from your OP.

    Nonlin: No. DNA can be executed (like code) by the biologic machine, but it has been encoded by an intelligent agent and we (the other intelligent agents) can decode it to extract information such as: “what protein will this DNA segment produce?”

    Rumraket: That’s just more assertion.

    Nonlin: Just based on what we know. Provide counterexample if you have any

    There isn’t anything we know from which it follows that DNA has been encoded by an intelligent agent. As such, what you stated really was just a mere assertion.

    Again, you need to construct a proper argument, a syllogism, so that we can analyze the premise and the logic that leads you to conclude that the information in DNA was “encoded by an intelligent agent”.

    Don’t just respond by making another long list of assertions. Start with uncontroversial premises we both accept, and then derive the conclusion from there.

    d) Your ability to link an article on information doesn’t mean you are correctly applying the definition therein. You are claming information is always created by an intelligent agent, and can’t evolve, but nothing of that sort is supported by anything stated in the link you give.

    d) The link was just for the definition, not for their yapping. Again, provide alternative definition and counterexample if you have any.

    You’re confused. You are the one starting an OP containing a whole pile of blanket assertions about what information is and how it comes to exist. But nowhere do you really argue for it. Go do that, go argue for it.

    Rumraket: As usual you are entirely assertion, zero logic or evidence.

    I don’t care for Shallit. You present his arguments if he has anything applicable and you can sustain them.

    I don’t care that you don’t care for Shallit. That’s not even an argument. That’s just a statement about your personal emotional state. Nobody gives a shit what you care about. Shallit has shown that under a rigorous mathematical definition of information accepted by mathematicians and computer scientists, DNA can be considered information, and that with this definition in mind, it can be shown that basic evolutionary mechanisms like gene duplication, substitution, deletion, and rearrangement, evolution can create new information and increase or decrease information.

    You haven’t even argued what is wrong with Shallit’s use of Kolmogorov information theory. You’ve just stated how you feel about it. That’s not an argument that should convince anyone to take you seriously.

    Do some actual work, don’t just make a long list of unsupported statements and conclusions. Argue for them with proper logical arguments.

  10. Erik,

    We might have deep differences Erik, but I truly admire how quickly you’ve got to the conclusion, unlike me who insisted and insisted, as if there was a point where Nonlin would be able to understand that his assertions are not laws that everybody else has to follow.

  11. Entropy:
    Erik,

    We might have deep differences Erik, but I truly admire how quickly you’ve got to the conclusion, unlike me who insisted and insisted, as if there was a point where Nonlin would be able to understand that his assertions are not laws that everybody else has to follow.

    I second this. I’m glad we’re not the only ones who see that Nonlin is making an awful lot of claims he has done little to no work to support.

  12. Rumraket: I second this. I’m glad we’re not the only ones who see that Nonlin is making an awful lot of claims he has done little to no work to support.

    Wait for Nonlin to send you to discuss definitions with google. That takes the cake.

    I think that Nonlin is sincerely and honestly mentally immature. So she thinks all her bullshit is all right because nobody is there by her side to explain carefully, and patiently, what’s wrong with her thinking. Her style looks awfully like middle school play-yard arguing.

  13. colewd: This assumes the only designers that exist are the ones we observe inside out space-time. The evidence is challenging your assumption yet you refuse to re consider it. I think this is where we are stalemated.

    First you need to establish such entities exist before you assign them as specific causes.

  14. newton,

    First you need to establish such entities exist before you assign them as specific causes.

    What is the process for establishing existence for something we cannot directly observe? Start with atoms.

  15. Corneel,

    There is, in principle, nothing that distinguishes purifying selection from positive natural selection.

    Purifying selection removes a gene from the population. In its most graphic form a mutation that stops 2 sub units of ATP synthase from binding stops an organism in development and a mis carriage occurs. This has stopped a deleterious mutation in its tracks but it also limits variation and is a reasonable conclusion why sequences are preserved.

    And yes, fixing the adaptation will add functional specified information (by definition, if the function is understood to be fitness) which will henceforth be preserved by purifying selection (which is simply natural selection, the same process that drove it to fixation in the first place).

    Function and fitness are different things. Fitness is how well a group of functions work together to ultimately reproduce. Fitness change does not necessarily correlate with addition or subtraction of information. It is not clear if information was gained or lost in the LTEE. We know gene duplication occurred and that allowed transportation of an existing enzyme in aerobic conditions. Again, the fitness change was the result of how a group of existing function were working together.

    John Sanford and Bill Basener argue that because of the continuous influx of deleterious mutations, natural selection is neither capable of fixing enough novel beneficial variants to compensate for that nor capable of preserving existing non-deleterious variants. These are two sides of the same coin.

    I agree. This is logical given that proteins genetic information or data lives inside a sequence where each position has 20 choices.

  16. colewd:
    newton,

    What is the process for establishing existence for something we cannot directly observe?Start with atoms.

    We use tools which exist in this space and time, which tools do you use detect something outside this space and time?

  17. Entropy,

    That doesn’t look like evidence for designers outside our space-time. It looks like desperation to infer design regardless of the lack of evidence for designers.

    I guess this makes a market. You don’t see living organisms as evidence of design outside space time and I do.

    Sorry Bill, but even if it was true that no evidence existed to explain those billions of organisms in natural terms, that would not make the “invisible, unexplainable, out of our space-time designer” any more plausible.

    Again, a difference of opinion.

    But you’d know that there’s people outside the room Bill. You even know both what a room is like, and what outside of a room is like. You have no idea what outside our space-time could even mean or look like.

    None of this is required for the inference or argument.

    You’re calling for an argument from ignorance. Typical god-of-the-gaps fallacy.

    The design argument is an argument from analogy and not from ignorance. It is not a god of the gaps fallacy as it is a positive argument based on evidence we are familiar with.

    Do you really not see how ridiculous it looks for you to be so naïve, or rather gullible, when it comes to your preferred conclusion, yet so stubbornly and irrationally skeptical about things much more proximal like evolutionary processes?

    The evidence is overwhelming to me that the theory of evolution is broken beyond repair. This is primarily from the molecular evidence. Now we have no explanation inside our space-time for life and its diversity. If you add to that the problems with explaining the origin of matter and its incredible predictability an outside space-time solution seems logical.

    Granted we have no idea what it looks like out there other then there is evidence here that intelligence exists outside our Universe.

    We are like the little boy raised in a bubble who is placed in a room and sees a man face down on the floor with a knife in his back. Is his immediate conclusion I just don’t know what happened…..hard stop.

  18. newton,

    We use tools which exist in this space and time, which tools do you use detect something outside this space and time?

    The same tools you use to detect something inside this space-time. You also use inductive reasoning which allows you to identify the existence of something you cannot directly observe.

  19. colewd:
    newton,

    What is the process for establishing existence for something we cannot directly observe?Start with atoms.

    You start with known causes in order to understand and explain the unknown. For instance, packing of atoms could explain crystals, and it turns out that it does (in part).

    IDists start with unknown causes to try to explain known facts. That’s completely backward, and the lack of specific causation is what makes ID worthless as an explanation. While there are some legitimate analogous aspects, IDists are careful to avoid the disanalogous aspects of life and cherry pick to act as if the analogies hold across the board. They don’t, because ID has neither specific known causes, nor will it even stick with human analogies when life is shown not to agree with human intelligent activity (rather, life is constrained by unthinking evolutionary “mechanisms”).

    Causes have to be established legitimately in order to reason from the known to the unknown. Causes that are made up are simply invoked to “explain” the known, and thus these lead to no actual knowledge in non-sciences like ID.

    Glen Davidson

  20. Erik,

    In my view, there’s a striking dissimilarity instead. Human-built information systems (from alphabet and abacus to servers) are part of the observable inert universe, while biological organisms are observably not inert at all.

    Yes, there are differences in their form. What he is referring to is that both have translation systems and translate bits (DNA to amino acids or digital bits to ascii characters) into characters which ultimately produces a function.

  21. colewd: Me: There is, in principle, nothing that distinguishes purifying selection from positive natural selection.

    Purifying selection removes a gene from the population.

    So does positive selection. Once a beneficial allele fixes, the ancestral allele it displaced is gone.

    You really have a hard time getting this, don’t you? 😀

    colewd: Function and fitness are different things. Fitness is how well a group of functions work together to ultimately reproduce. Fitness change does not necessarily correlate with addition or subtraction of information. It is not clear if information was gained or lost in the LTEE. We know gene duplication occurred and that allowed transportation of an existing enzyme in aerobic conditions. Again, the fitness change was the result of how a group of existing function were working together.

    Very well. Then tell me what is the function that the functional specified information is supposed to encode, if not ultimately reproductive success. And please tell me how that functional specified information is conserved by purifying selection, independent from its effect on fitness.

    colewd: I agree. This is logical given that proteins genetic information or data lives inside a sequence where each position has 20 choices.

    Yet at the same time you acknowledge that the ATP synthase alpha and beta chains have been conserved for over 400 million years. Does not compute!

  22. GlenDavidson,

    IDists start with unknown causes to try to explain known facts.

    Design is a known cause of complex function. Computers are the result of design.

  23. colewd:
    GlenDavidson,

    Design is a known cause of complex function.Computers are the result of design.

    Design is a category of causes. It is not a cause in itself.

    Computers are the result of certain kinds of design. Why don’t you ever learn anything from people who know science, rather than the claptrap that you prefer that pseudoscientists tell you (self-answering, I know)?

    And it’s because computers are the result of specific design principles and thought, that we can identify them as having been designed by specific organisms that do such things. If we found alien computers, we could presumably identify them as having been made by organisms that think similarly to ourselves. Life, by contrast, does not have such identifying design characteristics, nor any design characteristics at all that anyone has legitimately demonstrated.

    Consider that we’d be almost certainly be quite aware of the fact that alien computers were designed (if not far more sophisticated than our own, anyhow), and that the aliens were not–at least not similarly to the computers. We know this in part because computers do agree with our intelligent output, while life has many features that deviate from human design principle and practice.

    And yes, I know full well that in many cases one should be able to identify design without knowing all of the facts, or even the specific designers responsible. The point, though, is that you have to analogize, and analogize properly, the glaring fact that you always ignore. You analogize like a preacher, non-specifically and without understanding the importance of known causes.

    But you’ve only learned science from charlatans, even though you’ve been given much better material.

    Glen Davidson

  24. Corneel,

    So does positive selection. Once a beneficial allele fixes, the ancestral allele it displaced is gone.

    Are you claiming this is the same as a mutation that never arrives as I described in a miscarriage? You are getting lost in your own rhetoric.

    And please tell me how that functional specified information is conserved by purifying selection, independent from its effect on fitness.

    Preservation of information is not what you are trying to solve, it is the origin of information that requires explanation. Cancer is easy to explain when mutations are involved evolution is not.

    Yet at the same time you acknowledge that the ATP synthase alpha and beta chains have been conserved for over 400 million years. Does not compute!

    If living organisms only contained ATP synthase you have these guys checkmated.:-)

  25. GlenDavidson,

    Design is a category of causes. It is not a cause in itself.

    This statement is not coherent and is not consistent with the scientific method. Multiple causes are normal in the real world.

    When you claim evolution is a cause of life’s diversity there are multiple causes involved in this claim.

  26. colewd: Are you claiming this is the same as a mutation that never arrives as I described in a miscarriage? You are getting lost in your own rhetoric.

    Did you forget why we were having this discussion? It was because of this:

    Through serendipity you can get an adaption through random change but eventually the laws of statistics result in loss of information. This is John and Bill’s argument and I have not seen a reasonable challenge yet.

    The process that prevents your miscarriage from arriving is the same as the one that fixes the adaptation, and it ain’t serendipity.

    colewd: Preservation of information is not what you are trying to solve, it is the origin of information that requires explanation. Cancer is easy to explain when mutations are involved evolution is not.

    Oopsy, forgot to answer my questions? As Joe Felsenstein has been patiently explaining for some time now, when the frequency of beneficial alleles in the population increases, functional information is being added. The goalposts need to be returned to their initial positions, I am afraid. Here come my questions again, in the hope they will receive an answer this time:

    Please tell me what is the function that the functional specified information is supposed to encode, if not ultimately reproductive success. And also be so kind to explain how that functional specified information is conserved by purifying selection, independent from its effect on fitness.

    colewd: If living organisms only contained ATP synthase you have these guys checkmated.:-)

    You are a scream, Bill. What about

    -the eukaryotic ribosome
    -the cell nucleus
    -the ubiquitin system
    -the spliceosome
    -chromatin structure
    -the nuclear pore complex

    A gazillion “bits” conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution.

    Checkmate!

  27. colewd:
    GlenDavidson,

    This statement is not coherent and is not consistent with the scientific method.

    Do you know what a category is? Or a statement? We know you don’t know what the scientific method is, as you do hermeneutics as if it were science.

    Multiple causes are normal in the real world.

    Which has absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote. How is there supposed to be a discussion when you don’t even understand what the other person writes?

    When you claim evolution is a cause of life’s diversity there are multiple causes involved in this claim.

    Evolution not only has multiple causes, it has multiple types (categories) of causes. It’s not that hard to recognize.

    And you don’t know the difference between a theory involving different sorts of causes and a category of causes like “design.” Yet you cast judgment on what I wrote based on your many lacunae in knowledge. Not for the first time, of course.

    Glen Davidson

  28. GlenDavidson: Evolution not only has multiple causes, it has multiple types (categories) of causes.

    So many that you can’t tell them apart. They are inscrutable. Just like the gods.

  29. Corneel: Did you forget why we were having this discussion?

    Yes.

    Corneel: As Joe Felsenstein has been patiently explaining for some time now, when the frequency of beneficial alleles in the population increases, functional information is being added.

    I don’t always believe everything Joe writes.

  30. Rumraket: It corresponds well with DNA because DNA can be treated as a discrete string of symbols.

    You can treat all sorts of things as if they are something they are not. So that’s not a very good argument.

  31. Rumraket: If you don’t think tree rings contain information but only “conveys” it, then neither does DNA.

    I don’t think tree rings “convey” information either.

  32. colewd: Design is a known cause of complex function. Computers are the result of design.

    Computers are the result of a design process.

  33. Corneel: So does positive selection. Once a beneficial allele fixes, the ancestral allele it displaced is gone.

    Sounds like a loss of information to me. 😉

  34. Mung: Sounds like a loss of information to me. 😉

    Sure, in the same way that the influx of deleterious alleles is a gain of information. I don’t think that is the type of information we are discussing though 🙂

  35. Corneel: Oopsy, forgot to answer my questions? As Joe Felsenstein has been patiently explaining for some time now, when the frequency of beneficial alleles in the population increases, functional information is being added.

    Is there a chart somewhere showing the quantity of genomic information in various species? That would be the sum of protein coding and regulatory genes. (Yes/no?)

    I know that the length of genomes bears little relation to the great chain of being, and I know that some bacteria have very short genomes, but beyond that, I do not know if insects have less functional DNA than humans.

  36. Mung: So many that you can’t tell them apart. They are inscrutable. Just like the gods.

    Actually not true, because you can use comparative methods to infer whether certain loci have been evolving at, under, or above the neutral rate of mutation. Which indicates whether it has been evolving by positive or purifying selection, or drift.

    So once again it really just is the gods, aka your position, that is inscrutable. And you’re fine with it.

  37. Mung: You can treat all sorts of things as if they are something they are not. So that’s not a very good argument.

    But it works. Creationists have been blathering about information and DNA for years and never been able to back their assertions up. And once the creationist claim is subjected to rigorous mathematical analysis it collapses as the gibberish it is. What creationists then do is start squirming and flailing around, just as Shallit predicted.

  38. Mung: LoL! Were you expecting a bump on the head?

    All information I have ever come across came by a physical medium. Where do I find this immaterial information again?

  39. Rumraket: Where do I find this immaterial information again?

    Where do you find anything at all that is immaterial? What physical manifestation were you expecting from your encounter with immaterial information?

    Your statement was just so obviously nonsensical, and yet you still don’t get it?

    You’re being illogical.

  40. From the OP:

    ‘Information’, ‘data’ and ‘media’ are distinct concepts.

    This is just assertion and conjecture. You need to provide supporting EVIDENCE.

    #BeSkeptical

  41. colewd:
    newton,

    The same tools you use to detect something inside this space-time.You also use inductive reasoning which allows you to identify the existence of something you cannot directly observe.

    Tools require a knowledge of regularities, what do know about the nature of outside of space and time ? With space matter does not exist so any tool which requires the material world would be ineffective. Without a before and after can anything be said to happen?

  42. Mung: Where do you find anything at all that is immaterial? What physical manifestation were you expecting from your encounter with immaterial information?

    I weren’t, that’s my point. The idea of immaterial information is incoherent. How would you ever detect it?

    Your statement was just so obviously nonsensical, and yet you still don’t get it?

    You’re being illogical.

    What an ironic statement. 🙂

  43. colewd:
    I guess this makes a market.You don’t see living organisms as evidence of design outside space time and I do.

    Because you have double standards. An irrationally skeptical one for natural phenomena, an anything-will-do-even-something-as-ridiculous-as-a-designer-outside-our-space-time for ID.

    I have the same standards for both.

    colewd:
    Again, a difference of opinion.

    None of this is required for the inference or argument.

    You’re just making my point. Your standards for ID are non-existent. Anything goes. I’m sorry to call it naïve and gullible, but that’s exactly what this is.

    colewd:
    The design argument is an argument from analogy and not from ignorance.It is not a god of the gaps fallacy as it is a positive argument based on evidence we are familiar with.

    Sorry, but no. It’s an argument from ignorance based on mistaken notions about natural phenomena, cherry-picking but one word: “design,” without looking at its implications and requirements. Simple god-of-the-gaps desperately trying to hide behind convoluted smoke-and-mirrors. Also, sorry, but no, we’re not familiar with designs that haven’t been made by ourselves, or designs that leave no trace of tools and designers doing the designing and building, or designers outside our space-time.

    colewd:
    The evidence is overwhelming to me that the theory of evolution is broken beyond repair.

    See? God-of-the-gaps, only forcing the gap by extreme skepticism, based on mistaken notions and misinformation, about evolutionary processes, while remaining naïve and gullible about ID.

    colewd:
    This is primarily from the molecular evidence.

    Nope. By the smoke-and-mirrors put together by ignorants and smoke-and-mirror “artists” like gpuccio.

    colewd:
    Now we have no explanation inside our space-time for life and its diversity.

    Of course we do. That you’re mystified by smoke-and-mirrors doesn’t make it go away. Yet, if we didn’t, that would mean that we don’t know, not that “god-did-it.”

    colewd:
    If you add to that the problems with explaining the origin of matter and its incredible predictability an outside space-time solution seems logical.

    The origin of matter is known to be within our spacetime Bill. After the expanding universe was cold enough for atoms to form, etc.

    colewd:
    Granted we have no idea what it looks like out there other then there is evidence here that intelligence exists outside our Universe.

    There’s no evidence that intelligence exists outside of our universe Bill. You’re chanting victory on no basis but amazingly low standards when it comes to your preferred conclusions.

    Of course, you’re free to do that, but you have no reason to make the claim as if everybody should be equally convinced, when you know very well that the only reason you’re convinced is because you prefer it to be true, and already believe it to be true. These discussion have nothing to do with your conviction.

  44. Corneel,

    The process that prevents your miscarriage from arriving is the same as the one that fixes the adaptation, and it ain’t serendipity.

    So you consider a miscarriage and a baby born with a healthy reproductive system the same process? Is this one of the miracles of evolution Mung talks about 🙂

    Lets sort this out because the rest of your issues relies of this claim.

  45. Entropy,

    Of course, you’re free to do that, but you have no right to make the claim as if everybody should be equally convinced when you know very well that the only reason you’re convinced is because you prefer it to be true, and already believe it to be true. These discussion have nothing to do with your conviction.

    I may be nuts but I think the evidence is overwhelming we are in a created universe. I know you see it differently but again thats what creates a market. I respect your opinion and I think it is time to agree to disagree.

  46. newton,

    Tools require a knowledge of regularities, what do know about the nature of outside of space and time ?

    I don’t know anything about it except that the evidence is that the universe had a beginning and that is when space and time came into existence. I think its reasonable to assume a cause. Evidence like atoms, molecules and living cells make me believe that there is a design intelligence behind it all. Assuming I am right and that intelligence is behind it all and was the initial cause, the intelligence must exist outside space-time.

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