Request for Criticisms: A Tutorial on Specified Complexity

I am working on a series of tutorials to cover the basics of Intelligent Design, especially the mathematics of it. This is my tutorial on Specified Complexity, and I would appreciate any thoughtful criticism of it.

Note that I am specifically requesting criticisms on the content of the video itself, not on applications of the concept that are outside the bounds of the video. This is both to help me (I’m trying to improve my presentation of ID) and to help clarify the conversation (is the criticism of *this* information or of some *other* information).

388 thoughts on “Request for Criticisms: A Tutorial on Specified Complexity

  1. Allan Miller: If that was Sal’s ‘essential point’, I won’t argue with it.

    I was trying to figure out what I was in fact agreeing to when I mentioned Salvador’s essential point.

    🙂

    You’re ok Allan. Do you have any particular knowledge related to cell membranes? If there is one single element of cell biology that interests me the cell membrane would be it. One of the first thing I noticed about one of Sal’s post was the reference to insulin and I immediately wondered just what sort of cell he was relying on for his argument.

  2. Mung,

    Do you have any particular knowledge related to cell membranes?

    Not particularly, but membranes are indeed fascinating and vital. Not just for keeping the outside out and the inside in, it appears that they are an essential component of the most fundamental energetics of the cell, since you can’t operate proton- and sodium-ion gradients without them, and those appear to be primordial means of harnessing energy. So, if you want to charge RNA monomers (inc. ATP) by that means, you need a membrane. Membranes thus go hand in hand with both replication and cell energetics, chicken-and-egg fans!

    One of the first thing I noticed about one of Sal’s post was the reference to insulin and I immediately wondered just what sort of cell he was relying on for his argument.

    Insulin is just a signal. It binds to receptors on the outer surface and changes the conformation of membrane proteins to allow glucose transport. Inter-cell signalling is way down the line from the kind of generalised membrane model I was thinking of, the cell vs The Environment.

    Once manufactured, a protein gets to its location by a combination of electrostatic and hydrophobic/polar forces (if there is no active transport). Proteins with lots of surface hydrophobic residues tend to gravitate to membranes, and if they are in the right places, they can stick right through and become transmembrane proteins. Membranes are actually quite fluid. If, on the other hand, the hydrophobicity is all on one side (eg amphipathic alpha helixes), they can become inner membrane proteins. This is all just thermodynamically driven – just as with protein folding, protein migration is simply the system adopting the lowest-energy configuration.

    But it’s much more subtle than Sal portrays (“But what is a random alpha helix going to do when parked on membrane. It will take up space, and enough of those will block the membrane. Not good.”). He seems to imagine a small change in hydrophobic moment resulting in the turning on of a vast electro-magnet, the membrane becoming completely gummed. But all manner of things can perturb the lowest-energy configuration – pH, solute concentration, temperature, motion. Thus weak-affinity proteins spend only a proportion of their time membrane bound. A substitution that increases or decreases the hydrophobic moment will change this percentage, rather than irrevocably gum up the works. If the enzyme’s activity is optimal when membrane bound, it’s clearly possible to tune this.

  3. Allan Miller: But it’s much more subtle than Sal portrays (“But what is a random alpha helix going to do when parked on membrane. It will take up space, and enough of those will block the membrane. Not good.”). He seems to imagine a small change in hydrophobic moment resulting in the turning on of a vast electro-magnet, the membrane becoming completely gummed.

    He also seems to imagine a newly evolved protein is expressed at a level where so many copies are continously synthesized that eventually it fully takes up the entire inner surface area of the membrane, rather than (as is actually known to be the case), initially at very low levels of expression that can subsequently be tuned up if the protein is selectively advantageous.

  4. back in the day i used to work in a biophysics lab. If you take the right concentration of phospholipids in water, and squeeze them through a filter, you get phospholipid bilayers. If the holes are too small you get micelles. But if the size and concentration are right, the basics self-assemble.

  5. I also used to replace lysines and cysteines with serine so we could jack the molecule and do FRET, so when i hear creationists talk about how specified and unlikely a specific protein is, and how a single mutation would ruin everything, I have to laugh. Total morons.

  6. I don’t think creationists understand that their refusal to understand and demands to be spoon-fed everything don’t reflect poorly on science, they reflect poorly on them.

  7. AhmedKiaan:
    back in the day i used to work in a biophysics lab. If you take the right concentration of phospholipids in water, and squeeze them through a filter, you get phospholipid bilayers. If the holes are too small you get micelles. But if the size and concentration are right, the basics self-assemble.

    Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.

  8. CharlieM: Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.

    You would imagine a god of infinite power would not need to be concerned with such. Just create and sustain life via magic. Who cares about the components.

    And if the chemical elements are so well suited to form complex life don’t you ever wonder why in the entire universe we are the only life so far observed. Your observations actually disconfirm your case.

  9. OMagain: You would imagine a god of infinite power would not need to be concerned with such. Just create and sustain life via magic. Who cares about the components.

    Well its a good job I don’t believe in such a god.

    And if the chemical elements are so well suited to form complex life don’t you ever wonder why in the entire universe we are the only life so far observed. Your observations actually disconfirm your case.

    Don’t you ever wonder that if current human observational powers were not so limited what we would discover out there?

  10. CharlieM: Don’t you ever wonder that if current human observational powers were not so limited what we would discover out there?

    If the elements that make up the universe were so oriented towards producing life, as you claim, we’d see evidence of that life right now out there. We don’t.

    As such, on what basis do you make the claim that the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form? As based on the existing evidence (i.e the observed universe) the exact opposite is true.

  11. CharlieM: Well its a good job I don’t believe in such a god.

    So your god can create a universe but is unable to dictate the laws within it? Ok……

  12. “Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.”

    Or you could say the universe is so poorly tuned to life that only one atom is positioned to make it happen. God’s quantum mechanics choices lead to a largely sterile universe.

  13. OMagain: If the elements that make up the universe were so oriented towards producing life, as you claim, we’d see evidence of that life right now out there. We don’t.

    As such, on what basis do you make the claim that the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form? As based on the existing evidence (i.e the observed universe) the exact opposite is true.

    You believe that life as we know it exists in the most infinitesimally small part of the universe, yet you wonder why, from this very limited position, we can’t see any signs of other life in the universe! Do you see a contradiction here? I think that you have an overly inflated opinion of the observational ability of astronomers.

    If it was to take thousands of tons of physical matter to keep you in existence throughout you life, do you think that it would be worth it?

    It takes the appropriate elements in a suitable environment to sustain earthly life. The solar system provides that environment. And what makes you feel competent to judge the truth of what constitutes a living being?

  14. OMagain: So your god can create a universe but is unable to dictate the laws within it? Ok……

    You seem to be an expert on the affairs of God.

  15. CharlieM: Don’t you ever wonder that if current human observational powers were not so limited what we would discover out there?

    Do you ever consider that your admiration for the views of Steiner might be completely misplaced?

  16. AhmedKiaan:
    “Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.”

    Or you could say the universe is so poorly tuned to life that only one atom is positioned to make it happen. God’s quantum mechanics choices lead to a largely sterile universe.

    Another one who knows the universe intimately. We don’t have a clue as to what constitutes the majority of matter and of energy in the universe, but there is one thing that you know for sure, it is sterile.

  17. CharlieM: Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.

    Why isn’t it happening on Mars?

    More importantly, what if it didn’t happen outside of life at all? Wouldn’t you then just conclude that it’s a marvel that it happens in life and not outside of it?

    I’m just wondering if there is any situation that you wouldn’t take as “evidence” for the supernatural.

    Glen Davidson

  18. GlenDavidson: Why isn’t it happening on Mars?

    What would a person say if in the very distant future, due to changes in the sun, it made the earth inhabitable but mars now became a perfect habitable zone for physical life? Humans would then say that it was very fortunate that at a time when the they had the technology to carry out mass migrations to this once inhabitable planet it was now in a position to sustain life.

    I’m not saying this is going to happen but it seems to me that those who are arguing against me here cannot think very far beyond the here and now.

    You are like someone who criticises a baby for not pulling their weight in the community.

    More importantly, what if it didn’t happen outside of life at all?Wouldn’t you then just conclude that it’s a marvel that it happens in life and not outside of it?

    If what didn’t happen?

    I’m just wondering if there is any situation that you wouldn’t take as “evidence” for the supernatural.

    Glen Davidson

    I do not like the term supernatural, I prefer to use the term supersensible for anything that lies beyond our ken. Reality isn’t dictated by the awareness of human beings.

  19. Allan Miller: Not particularly, but membranes are indeed fascinating and vital. Not just for keeping the outside out and the inside in, it appears that they are an essential component of the most fundamental energetics of the cell, since you can’t operate proton- and sodium-ion gradients without them, and those appear to be primordial means of harnessing energy. So, if you want to charge RNA monomers (inc. ATP) by that means, you need a membrane. Membranes thus go hand in hand with both replication and cell energetics, chicken-and-egg fans!

    Well said.

  20. Allan Miller: Inter-cell signalling is way down the line from the kind of generalised membrane model I was thinking of, the cell vs The Environment.

    I’m not sure it should be though. I think someone posted a vid a while back of intra and perhaps even inter species signalling/communication between bacteria that I found fascinating.

    Anyhoo. Anything you find on cell membranes of single-celled organisms or of hypothetical pre-cursors I hope you’ll mention it.

  21. Wow – that was a lot of replies! Many apologies for the length of time for my response, but drinking from the TSZ firehose is not something that always comports with my schedule 🙂

    Anyway, I’m not going to bother with the off-topic issues too much, but wanted to at least acknowledge some of the points and posts that deal with the issues at hand.

    It seems like the primary criticisms are:

    • 1) We could reject the coin toss example using ordinary statistical distribution patterns
    • 2) We need a more practical example
    • 3) I need to respond to Shallit

    Technically, I should say that I agree with all three. On #1, however, while I agree that this can be done (we are X standard deviations from the mean), other types of patterns become more difficult to reject. As described by Abel and Trevors – functional codes tend to operate more at the “random” end of the spectrum. However, where they were incorrect is stating that KC can’t compress them, as Ewert showed that it could using functional tests. Therefore, for biological sequences, while chirality can help you if you are doing statistical tests, statistical tests don’t help you when looking for other types of patterns.

    Now, I don’t think that specified complexity on its own is the best tool for the job, but it shows the general pattern of thought. I don’t use it even for genomic work, where it is probably best-suited. The point, however, is to see if the mathematics holds up. I actually didn’t see a single post about the mathematics not working, except those who pointed to Shallit (whom I will respond to later). That gives me a pretty good idea that, even if it is difficult to apply, the math itself is probably fairly sound.

    On #2, I think that there could be multiple questions being asked: (a) Is there anything other than trivial examples that we can look at Specified Complexity with, and (b) can you look at the Specified Complexity of my given object.

    I think that (a) is a good question, but (b) is not. Every tool has parameters for which it is helpful, with which it could be helpful given enough effort, and for which it is not helpful. Thus, asking for more than trivial examples is certainly a valid question, but if you think that the fact that you imagined a question means that it must be answerable by Specified Complexity for it to be valid, is silly.

    Now, as for (a), note that in the video, producing a design inference was only one of the uses of Specified Complexity, and in fact is the most difficult one. However, Ewert has himself developed several uses of Specified Complexity. Basically, given a message and multiple contexts, the context from which the message arises is the context which exhibits the highest ASC.

    As for a design inference, because of the difficulty of probability space, Specified Complexity works best with coded systems, for which the message is independent of the medium. That is why it is easier to analyze origin-of-life scenarios than it is to measure fishing poles.

    However, to give an example of how it might be done with the reel mechanism and establishing a design inference, what you would need to do is (a) describe the reel in terms of its functionality, (b) describe an ordering process that would put all versions of the given functionality in numerical order, and (c) establish which index the reel would occur at in the given ordering. If the reel is exhibiting Specified Complexity, the combination of (a), (b), and (c) should be shorter than simply describing the reel in terms of its physical arrangement of parts given probabilities in nature.

    Tom English asked about Hermit Crabs forming a line. I agree that this exhibits high ASC for certain things (remember, ASC depends on what you are comparing it to). It gives a high ASC for the line compared to the hermit crabs just walking around. That seems like a success, not a fail, as you have successfully determined that they are lined up intentionally. Even though you don’t have all of the prerequisites for a design inference (at least in your post here), you have at least shown that intentionality on behalf of the hermit crabs is a live possibility. Since they are lining up for a particular purpose, that seems to line up with reality.

  22. Alan Miller –

    You had a question on my genome size comment. This is off-topic, but I wanted to answer it. ID doesn’t say anything about whether or not everything shares a common ancestor. It does say things about whether or not things can arise accidentally. If we assume that any design that exists for biology is within biology itself (i.e., there aren’t genome sequences traveling in on a meteor, etc.), then ID can sometimes tell us, for certain parts of biology, what the prerequisites for X existing is. For irreducibly complex systems, for instance, even if the system itself did not exist, there must have been sufficient information in the genome to create it. Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world. I don’t have an exact count on that, but this seems to be a lot of information that would have to be packed into the original organism. Not only did it have to live (which is what you were assuming), it would have to evolve to modern life forms. The latter requires a lot of information in order to beat the probabilities. It is not impossible that there could have been an original ancestor with that much information, but I don’t know the theoretical limits of genome size.

  23. AhmedKiaan:
    I also used to replace lysines and cysteines with serine so we could jack the molecule and do FRET, so when i hear creationists talk about how specified and unlikely a specific protein is, and how a single mutation would ruin everything, I have to laugh. Total morons.

    It think they’re wrong too, but we don’t have to call them morons. It’s ignorance and we’re all ignorant of something.

    On subject, I recentl read a paper detailing an experiment where a population of bacteria had every single codon which codes for Trp evolved to accept a synthetic amino acid. Over twenty thousand tryptophanes were replaced with a synthetic but chemically similar amino acid. In the end, the bacteria were able to survive and reproduce in media completely absent Trp (with the Trp biosynthesis pathway removed).

    Chemical Evolution of a Bacterial Proteome.
    Hoesl MG1, Oehm S1, Durkin P1, Darmon E2, Peil L3, Aerni HR4, Rappsilber J5,3, Rinehart J4, Leach D2, Söll D6, Budisa N7.

    Abstract
    We have changed the amino acid set of the genetic code of Escherichia coli by evolving cultures capable of growing on the synthetic noncanonical amino acid L-β-(thieno[3,2-b]pyrrolyl)alanine ([3,2]Tpa) as a sole surrogate for the canonical amino acid L-tryptophan (Trp). A long-term cultivation experiment in defined synthetic media resulted in the evolution of cells capable of surviving Trp→[3,2]Tpa substitutions in their proteomes in response to the 20,899 TGG codons of the E. coli W3110 genome. These evolved bacteria with new-to-nature amino acid composition showed robust growth in the complete absence of Trp. Our experimental results illustrate an approach for the evolution of synthetic cells with alternative biochemical building blocks.

    Trp is believed to be evolution’s latest addition to the genetic code[10] and demands the highest metabolic synthesis cost of all proteinogenic amino acids. Therefore, it has relatively low abundance in proteins (~1% i.e. about 20,000 residues in the whole E. coli proteome[11]) and is encoded by a single codon (UGG). It possesses special biophysical properties which allow for its participation in numerous interactions (π→ π stacking, hydrogen bonding, cation-π interactions). Therefore, Trp plays a major role in protein stability and folding, and participates in mediation processes such as receptor-ligand interactions or enzyme-substrate binding. Thus, substitution of Trp with other cAAs can often result in misfolded proteins and inactive enzymes, ultimately causing cell death

    Suitable auxotrophic strains are a prerequisite to apply selection pressure for amino acid analog usage by the cell. We have chosen the E. coli K12 W3110 derivative CGSC# 7679.[17] In this strain, the whole Trp biosynthesis pathway is removed (ΔtrpLEDCBA). In Trp-auxotrophic E. coli strains, Trp and its analogs enter the cell via transporter-mediated uptake.[18] This mechanism might be a ready-made target for the cell to shut down analog uptake and avoid disadvantageous consequences of incorporation into proteins. Therefore, our experimental setup was based on indole (Ind) and β-thieno[3,2-b]pyrrole ([3,2]Tp) (Figure 1), which enter bacterial cells by passive diffusion through the membrane.[19] To convert these precursors intracellularly into Trp and [3,2]Tpa respectively, we equipped CGSC# 7679 with the plasmid pSTB7[20], which harbors the Salmonella typhimurium Trp synthase (TrpBA), an enzyme known to efficiently convert [3,2]Tp into [3,2]Tpa.

    This is nothing short of astonishing.

  24. johnnyb:
    Alan Miller –

    . . .
    For irreducibly complex systems, for instance, even if the system itself did not exist, there must have been sufficient information in the genome to create it.

    You are ignoring the environment as a source of information (leaving aside the issues with that approach in the first place).

    Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.

    Wrong, for the same reason.

  25. johnnyb:

    Now, I don’t think that specified complexity on its own is the best tool for the job, but it shows the general pattern of thought.

    Sadly the general pattern of ID-Creationist thought is “make up some sciency-sounding but useless bullshit to gull the scientifically illiterate IDC supporters into buying more of our bullshit books.”

    Feel free to prove me wrong.

    BTW I see you completely ignored the problem of how your specified complexity calculations deal with iterative processes involving feedback from selection. No surprises there.

  26. ID math is perhaps relevant to systems that do not learn or evolve.

    It seems brain dead to try to use math that ignores evolution to disprove evolution.

    Perhaps that is why Dembski finally gave up.

  27. Patrick: You are ignoring the environment as a source of information (leaving aside the issues with that approach in the first place).

    Wrong, for the same reason.

    Ye,s laughably bad. But if ID does believe in mega-frontloading It should be easy to tell us what’s next for life by reading genomes.

  28. johnnyb,

    Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems,

    An alternative approach is that your intuition on irreducibly complex systems is wrong. After all, if you think the genome of a common ancestor must be front-loaded with the genetics of its descendants, we must also wonder how those genes survive when the organisms do not even express this supposed potential, and what turns them on in an irreducibly complex way. Immediate survival in microorganisms turns on shedding all excess baggage.

    It seems a complete non-starter to me. Of course, you presumably want it to be a non-starter, because it aids your preferred narrative, but I don’t see any compelling reason to think that this is a necessary entailment of UCD itself – just an example of the kind of hoops IDCists have to jump through.

  29. Johnnyb, is there a list of CSI values? Like, how much is in a chromosome, or an egg, or a roundworm, do twins have the same CSI values at birth, does a daughter cell have more or less or the same as the mother cell, etc?

  30. “Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.”

    The might be the wrongest thing I’ve ever read, not counting BornAgain or Kairosfocus.

  31. johnnyb: Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.

    I don’t have an exact count on that….

  32. AhmedKiaan:
    “Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.”

    The might be the wrongest thing I’ve ever read, not counting BornAgain or Kairosfocus.

    To be fair, it’s at least comprehensible enough to be obviously wrong. Try getting that clarity from KF.

  33. CharlieM: You seem to be an expert on the affairs of God.

    No more or less then anybody else.

    CharlieM: You believe that life as we know it exists in the most infinitesimally small part of the universe, yet you wonder why, from this very limited position, we can’t see any signs of other life in the universe! Do you see a contradiction here? I think that you have an overly inflated opinion of the observational ability of astronomers.

    You claim was:

    CharlieM: Yes the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.

    What does “so well suited” mean, precisely? I take it to mean that life is expected when those elements appear, and they have appeared and been around for many billions of years already. And we can see in certain wavelengths to near the edges of the visible universe. And in all that space and time there’s not a single example of life as we know it putting out a signal we can detect? It’s almost as if complex life is rarer then you attempt to make out, and therefore your claim is disproven. You want to have it both ways.

    CharlieM: It takes the appropriate elements in a suitable environment to sustain earthly life. The solar system provides that environment. And what makes you feel competent to judge the truth of what constitutes a living being?

    All excuses as to why we appear to be alone in the universe when the very chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited to form the molecules and polymers necessary for complex life to form.

    Nothing makes me competent to judge the truth of what constitutes a living being. For all I know we’re the dark matter bit and everyone else is wondering where we are. But that’s not the point.

    The point is that you can’t point to some as yet unknown life form as evidence that the chemical elements have the requisite properties that are so well suited for life to form!

    So life is either inevitable, as you seem to be saying, presumably because chemical elements were designed somehow or it’s not expected to be life I can recognize because I’m not competent to judge what life is when I note the universe is empty of the sort of life I’m familiar with.

    Yeah, whatever.

  34. You are ignoring the environment as a source of information

    The environment doesn’t have information in the sense needed for evolution. It contains the problem domain, not the solution domain. If you know of an instance where the solution domain is somehow encoded into the environment, I would love to know about it, because that would be fantastic.

    ID math is perhaps relevant to systems that do not learn or evolve.

    Specified Complexity is difficult, but there are other metrics that can be used there. However, the place where it seems most applicable is in the origin of life, where the question of evolution is not relevant.

  35. johnnyb: The environment doesn’t have information in the sense needed for evolution.

    The environment is the designer of life. The niche designs the organism. The niche is the source of new information. Jon, I’m staggered!

  36. johnnyb: If you know of an instance where the solution domain is somehow encoded into the environment, I would love to know about it, because that would be fantastic.

    Install Eureqa. Be illuminated.

  37. johnnyb:

    You are ignoring the environment as a source of information

    The environment doesn’t have information in the sense needed for evolution. It contains the problem domain, not the solution domain.If you know of an instance where the solution domain is somehow encoded into the environment, I would love to know about it, because that would be fantastic.

    The environment impacts which phenotypes reproduce and to what extent. That modifies the distribution of alleles in the genotypes of the population. In that sense, the current population contains information about the environment of its ancestral population.

    That makes your claim that “Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.” false.

  38. Hey Johnnyb,

    Good video and great summary.

    I will be pointing folks to it in the future when the subject comes up.

    peace

  39. “To be fair, it’s at least comprehensible enough to be obviously wrong. Try getting that clarity from KF.”

    Lol.

  40. “The environment doesn’t have information:”

    So, like, there’s no CSI in the natural world?

    Still waiting on that list.

  41. Woodbine:
    Specified Complexity is difficult, but there are other metrics that can be used there. However, the place where it seems most applicable is in the origin of life, where the question of evolution is not relevant.

    Yeah what a pile of dumb bullshit.

  42. Patrick: That makes your claim that “Therefore, if Universal Common Ancestry is true, there must have been sufficient information in the universal common ancestor to create the irreducibly complex systems, or at least make them probable, for every organism in the world.” false.

    Would you say that the UCA had sufficient information to make irreducibly complex systems

    1) barely possible
    2) a toss up
    3) more likely than not
    4) likely

    peace

  43. I think it might help if people could be a bit more specific about an irreducibly complex system not expressed in the UCA that the UCA would need to contain the genes for.

  44. Allan Miller: I think it might help if people could be a bit more specific about an irreducibly complex system not expressed in the UCA that the UCA would need to contain the genes for.

    Who said any thing about needing to contain certain genes?

    We are talking about the information that was necessary. Perhaps it was not a gene(s) at all but simply some unknown process that allowed new irreducibly complex systems to arise.

    We are just trying to establish a minimum amount of information necessary and the limits of that information,

    Surely you think there was some minimum.

    peace

  45. “We are just trying to establish a minimum amount of information necessary and the limits of that information,”

    Do you have any numbers to show us?

  46. AhmedKiaan: Do you have any numbers to show us?

    I’m not even sure where to begin.

    I just know that Patrick says that the idea that UCA had information that made irreducibly complex systems is probable is false.

    That seems to be a testable claim to me and I’d like to flesh it out

    It seems like he should be the one to provide the numbers.

    I would think you would need to know how much is necessary to say that the idea that a certain amount is necessary is false

    peace

  47. What’s interesting is that there is some truth in the claim that a lot of ID’ers come from a creationist background (myself included), and that probably does influence some of our default answers. However, it amazes me that the evolutionists, despite many people saying that there is more to evolution than neo-Darwinism, have as standard answers to run home to neo-Darwinism.

    For instance, Patrick says:

    The environment impacts which phenotypes reproduce and to what extent. That modifies the distribution of alleles in the genotypes of the population. In that sense, the current population contains information about the environment of its ancestral population.

    and Alan Fox says:

    The environment is the designer of life. The niche designs the organism. The niche is the source of new information. Jon, I’m staggered!

    The niche can’t “design” anything. It might contain constraints, but constraints do not solve themselves. If the constraints don’t get solved, organisms die, and there are more ways to be dead than alive. The only way the environment can direct the organisms to the right solution, is if the organism already contains information telling it how to process the environment into the solution. Thus, it only works if one assumes Intelligent Design. Pretending that it automatically happens from selection is just old-school Darwinism poking through, not evidence.

    Alan miller said,

    After all, if you think the genome of a common ancestor must be front-loaded with the genetics of its descendants, we must also wonder how those genes survive when the organisms do not even express this supposed potential, and what turns them on in an irreducibly complex way. Immediate survival in microorganisms turns on shedding all excess baggage.

    It seems a complete non-starter to me. Of course, you presumably want it to be a non-starter, because it aids your preferred narrative

    It does conform to my preferred narrative, but a lot of my preferred narrative came from looking at the evidence. I have never once seen someone get evolutionary algorithms to work except by flatting out the parameters (i.e., providing information to make evolution more likely). For technical reasons as to why, see this paper I wrote a while back.

  48. johnnyb: The environment doesn’t have information in the sense needed for evolution. It contains the problem domain, not the solution domain.If you know of an instance where the solution domain is somehow encoded into the environment, I would love to know about it, because that would be fantastic.

    The random genetic variations that happen in every member of every species when they reproduce is raw new information. The new information which is added to the gene pool are those random variations which by surviving selection or through neutral drift become fixed.

    Science has only known about the process for around 70 years which explains why the IDiots still haven’t grasped it.

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