Many thanks to Radar, a newcomer, for his thoughtful comments and his referencing real research in the areas we are discussing and attempting to shed light on.

Radar, I assume you have encountered a few answers to the question “What exactly is ‘information’?” I would invite you to read my quickly-collected thoughts below, and add whatever you might think beneficial.

———————————————————————————————

Warren’s task was as follows: Intelligent Design proponents simply do not define “intelligent.” They will also say that there is too much “information” in the genome to have evolved, but cannot define “information.”

Having dealt briefly (whether satisfactorily or no) with the term ‘intelligent’; I would now like to attempt a definition of “information.” It is mere regurgitation of something I have found particularly helpful and challenging in the book Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, which is an impressive, encyclopedic piece of research, covering the history of Christianity, some basic, populuar-level epistomology, and the presuppositions of the currently prevelant philosophy of science.

The argument cited by Warren runs: “information,” which is supposedly found in the human genome, cannot be produced from simpler elements to more complex.

His challenge is to define the nebulous term “information.”

Pearcey gives for a definition of information, and argues that the above argument is stronger than it might seem. She argues that the above is not an argument from ignorance, but that it is an argument from principle.

Types of Pattern

Now, there are four kinds of pattern.
1. Random selection (from a limited pool).
2. Simple repetition.
3. Cyclic repetition.
4. Information.

Examples of each:

1. ABKQNOKDJQOKGHOCN.

2. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

3. ABCABCABCABCABCABC.

4. THEQUICKBROWNFOXJUMPSOVERTHELAZYDOG.

Sources of Each Type

How do we arrive at each of these?

#1. can be produced by the formula “A or B or C or D or E (on through the 26 possibilities)… plus A or B or C or D or E… plus” and so on, with 17 total additions.

#2. can be produced by the formula “A times 17”

#3. can be produced by the formula “ABC times 6”

#4. can only be produced by the formula “THEQUICKBROWNFOXJUMPSOVERTHELAZYDOG times 1”

A preliminary definition of Information

This fourth kind of pattern is the only one that counts as information, because a) it is meaningful as a whole, and b) its meaning cannot be “built” out of its parts.

While chance can produce random collections of letters (from a given pool), it cannot produce information.
While law can produce simple repetition, it cannot produce information.
While chance plus law can produce limited cyclical repetition, it cannot produce information.

Only a mind can produce information.

There’s a preliminary definition, and, again, I invite correction/commentary from Radar or anyone who has studied this subject more thoroughly than I.

Information as such, found in the Human Body

Now, DNA patterns in the human body are more like the 4th kind of pattern (ie Information) than the other two. Certain genetic chains translate into certain tasks when “read” by the appropriate proteins. These chains are not merely two codes with their own “meaning” added to eachother to create a sum of the two meanings. Two independently meaningful codes produce a third meaning that is greater than the sum of its parts. When observed occuring naturally and mindlessly in the human body, this is, well… its kinda eeiry.

Notice that this argument is one from principle, not from ignorance. We are not giving up and saying, “We do not yet know how a complex genome evolved out of simpler ones, so let’s call it something else.” Rather we are confidently saying, “It is impossible that information arise out of patterns governed by law or chance.”

A few more examples:

Random selection, from a pool of 10 arabian numerals (chance) =
65198432491649849546546
654651324935856519894654

Simple Repetition (law) =
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Pattern (law plus chance)=
ICANTBELIEVEITSMIDNIGHTICANTBELIEVE
ITSMIDNIGHTICANTBELIVEITSMIDNIGHT.

Information (designed by a person) =
MIDWAYTHISWAYOFLIFEWE’REBOUNDUPON/
IAWOKETOFINDMYSELFINASTRANGEWOOD/
THERIGHTROADWASWHOLLYLOSTANDGONE.

The fourth sentence example had to be created “with the end in mind.” It could not, in principle have evolved from a set alphabet of simpler letters, repeating in obedience to any law of repetition or cycle.

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Posted by Keith E. Buhler

14 Comments

  1. I just thought of a really good critique exploiting what might be the main vulnerability of the above argument for information… it would be to show that these four sources (law, chance, law+chance, and design) are not exaustive categories, but that there is some fifth category that explains seemingly “meaningful” patterns, while showing how they arose mindlessly.

    Well, don’t just sit there reading… have at thee!

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  2. Oh yeah, also, you could establish that even a complex pattern like “MIDWAYTHISWAYOFLIFE,” COULD in fact be produced by law+chance. Even though a random selector, picking 20 letters picking one letter out of a 26 letter alphabet, per line would have about a 1/12,645,100,408,832,000 chance in coming up with “MIDWAYTHISWAYOFLIFE”… still, it could happen.

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  3. Though, if you said, that you’d have to go on to explain where this arbitrarily sized pool of 26 letters came from (or, rather, its parallel in the material universe).

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  4. (I wonder what the chances are of an entire play like Hamlet appearing out of this random word generator? Good Lord…)

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  5. I just thought of a really good critique … that these four sources … are not exaustive categories…

    Hey, that’s my line. I bet you know that I’m going to say that a fifth category is selection of information by its inherent value.

    Words are not self replicating. Nor would appearance of meaningful phrases have any advantage over non-meaningful sequences. They don’t compete.

    If we are to copy a sequence of letters and randomly mutate it, then keep those copies which look most like words, words would form before our eyes. It would not be a surprise, and we would attribute the information gain to the intelligence who can distinguish word-likeness.

    Unlike word-likeness, survivability does not require an intelligence to detect. More specifically, non-survivability does not require an intelligence to detect; it simply fails to survive so that everything else is selected. This is what I mean by “inherent value.” It can only be interpreted in the context of the system. The system in our case is the ecosystem. Survivability within it does not need to be selected by an intelligence but yet certain possibilities are actualized to the exclusion of others due to its nature.

    The presupposition that information has only intelligence as its cause leads to a definition that precludes natural sources. It is no surprise then to find that Dembski rules out natural selection as a source for genetic information. The presupposition is not correct.

    If you read his article, Dembski is the guy painting the bull’s eye around the arrow.

    This fourth kind of pattern is the only one that counts as information, because a) it is meaningful as a whole, and b) its meaning cannot be “built” out of its parts.

    Only a mind can produce information.

    This illustrates my point. The terms “meaning” and “meaningful” above are contextually contingent. In the case of letter sequences, words have meaning because we understand them that way, so we are the intelligence. In this article the definition of “meaning” requires intelligence. But what “meaning” does DNA have? The significance of GCACCTCAGCCTGCTCC is not inferred by intelligence, but by an ecosystem. In the context of an ecosystem its value (or significance, or meaning) is survivability. If GCACCTCAGCCTGCTCC does not survive as well as GCACCCCAGCCTGCTCC, then eventually instances of the former are replaced by instances of the latter without the need for an intelligence to decide which is the better survivor.

    I know we can agree that using one definition for prediction purposes, and another for confirmation is illogical.

    The digits of pi are often used as an example of randomness. But we know it is not random. It isn’t repetitious and has “meaning” and is natural.

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  6. This post has been removed by the author.

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  7. Great continuation of the discussion!

    Meaning-Words have meaning to us because they are a means of information transmission specific to our ability to comprehend them. They are meaningless to a frog or a rock. English words are primarily meaningless to someone who only reads Mandarin Chinese. However, a sentence written in English transmits information to a person who reads in English.

    DNA-This transmission of information is from one organism to another. If I see it as GCACCTCAGCCTGCTCC and recognize the pattern therein, I am much like the person fluent in Mandarin Chinese. I can see it contains information but that information isn’t transmitted to me. However, DNA does contain information specific the organism. Part of the reproductive process is the transmission of DNA to the offspring. DNA then transmits vital information to the cells of the offspring, telling them what to be and what to do.

    Recent press releases from the International Human Genome Sequencing consortium gives the human gene number at about 20-25,000. The current genome sequence is estimated at 2.85 billion neucleotides. When talking DNA in comparison to a written message, DNA is comparative to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica!

    A careful study of DNA not only reveals how complex it is, but how the formation of DNA itself is specifically ordered. There is also the chicken-and-egg problem concerning the enzymes required in the building of DNA.

    I believe that the remarkable complexity of DNA and the very specific ways in which it must be “built” preclude any possibility that it came about by chance. It is notable that even organisms we consider very simple in nature nevertheless have this same means of transmitting information from generation to generation, the same blueprint by which cells are formed and given their assignments-DNA.

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  8. If I see it as GCACCTCAGCCTGCTCC and recognize the pattern therein, I am much like the person fluent in Mandarin Chinese. I can see it contains information

    Dembski, himself, says that “pattern” does not mean “information.” It is expected for genetic mutation with natural selection to generate a pattern. That pattern is survivability as I’ve been saying. Saying it is like a different language is misleading and ignoring my point.

    The difference between this and language is that the “meaning” of the genetic code affects it’s ability to survive long enough to transmit a copy of itself. How is that like English or Mandarin Chinese?

    Mutations during transmission can actually be beneficial (a good mistake). The new copies have different “meanings.” Beneficial changes statistically win out over the originals and bad mistakes, until you may be left with only the new “meanings.” If meaning is information, then we’ve added information.

    2.85 billion neucleotides. When talking DNA in comparison to a written message, DNA is comparative to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica!

    So what? Encyclopedias neither replicate nor compete for survival based on the accuracy of their content. If they did, then it would not even be surprising to find some in nature. If the amount of information in Encyclopedia Brittanica is to be impressive, we must first have some reference to how fast genetic mutation and natural selection can operate.

    A careful study of DNA not only reveals how complex it is, but how the formation of DNA itself is specifically ordered. There is also the chicken-and-egg problem concerning the enzymes required in the building of DNA.

    I believe that the remarkable complexity of DNA and the very specific ways in which it must be “built” preclude any possibility that it came about by chance.

    Again with the abiogenesis. You say “Great continuation of the discussion!” and talk about DNA itself coming about by chance without even addressing the points of the discussion. Whether DNA itself could have arisen from a sea of nucleic acid is irrelevant here because this discussion is about the ability of mutations with natural selection to add information to already existing DNA. It’s irrelevant everywhere because evolutionists neither require nor propose any such nonsense.

    It is notable that even organisms we consider very simple in nature nevertheless have this same means of transmitting information from generation to generation, the same blueprint by which cells are formed and given their assignments-DNA.

    The fact that the organisms, though, otherwise unrelated, all have the same building blocks is evidence of common descent. I can’t think of another reason that this is notable. Additionally, we are discussing the amount of information. I missed where you explain how the nature of the medium for transmission of the information affects the addition of information during mutation.

    Known mutation mechanisms of genetic information alone is enough to get to human DNA from mouse DNA. The barrier to this is time. Natural selection is a ratcheting process which gives the process direction which reduces the barrier by orders of magnitude. How can Dembski claim that natural causes can subtract but not add information when anything a mutation can do it can undo? Easy, Dembski simply redefines information as presupposing non-natural causes. Now a mutation can delete information, but the reverse of that mutation doesn’t add it.

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  9. Warren, it is distressing to see you use words like “nonsense” in the midst of these discussions. You want to make it seem as if you are the wise, all-knowing one and those who disagree with you are stupid. This detracts from your message. Furthermore, you invariably do this when encountering a point you don’t care to debate. Evolutionists don’t like to discuss such “nonsense” because they have no answers to the basic questions.

    The Encyclopaedia reference is to highlight how remarkably complex DNA is and how many beneficial mutations would have to occur to get there from, well, nothing.

    If we bypass the huge problem of how such a remarkable thing as DNA came to be and simply focus on how information presented by DNA is changed, we finally get around to mutation. Beneficial mutations are given the assignment of making changes to the DNA itself and therefore the organisms.

    There are inherent problems here. First, the mutation has to be beneficial. Experiments with fruit flies, done over thousands of generations, have demonstrated this problem. Most mutations are in no way beneficial. There have been some mutations that allowed the flies to live and could be passed down, but in the wild such mutations would likely have perished. There have been no useful mutations found during such experiments.

    However, suppose that one organism mutates in such a way that it is superior to others of it’s kind and this mutation can be passed on. That is one organism within a pool of, depending on the organism, say a million of individuals that do not have this mutation. It is unlikely that this one mutation will survive to begin to alter the gene pool, this one-in-a-million mutation.

    But lets give this one mutation the benefit of the doubt. Over the course of many hundreds of generations it infuses the gene pool and becomes part of that pool. That is merely one change, perhaps a thicker hair follicle that makes the organism better suited to survive temperature extremes, and one change is a long way from one species mutating into another species. Thousands, but more likely millions of differences can be found between a bullfrog and a salamander. Since scientists, even by manipulating the DNA and bombarding with radiation have not produced favorable mutations in the fruit fly population in the last hundred years….well, again, the odds say no to the idea of beneficial mutation producing species change.

    In summary, the idea that mutation brings beneficial change is contrary to the Laws of Thermodynamics and has not been seen in extensive testing.

    The idea that organisms share DNA as a means of passing on information is your idea of common ancestry, but my idea of common design. You dislike automobile analogies, however, for many years all GM vehicles were made with tailfins. It wasn’t by chance but it was rather a design choice. The same GM design group put tailfins on Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac cars.

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  10. radar, what are you distressed about? The term, “nonsense,” in that sentence clearly refers to the arising of DNA from a sea of nucleic acid. Was it not your position that it was nonsense?

    I want to point out that you accused me of “name calling” in another post on this blog. You’ll have to show me where because I couldn’t find it.

    If civility is important, I’d think you’d refrain from claiming to know my motives. I don’t claim to be the only wise one, or all-knowing. I do not care if you remain a creationist. I used to be one. My only aim has been to point out errors or fallacies in arguments. I honestly cannot help that your posts contain so many. I have been welcoming you to point out errors or fallacies in my arguments, but you kept going back to abiogenesis. This post is the first where you have answered concerning natural selection’s ability to be beneficial which is at least pretty close to the argument at hand. And I’m just about to get to that, but I want to point out that throwing out a huge amount of information that does not refute my point is what we call red herrings. It is a clever tactic in debating, and therefore frustrating. I aim at truth. Who can debate better is usually not associated with truth.

    I have not said you are stupid for disagreeing with me. I have said that you cannot discredit an argument if you do not understand it. You have demonstrated that lack of understanding of basic evolutionary principles by characterizing natural selection as chance, and characterizing irreducible complexity as having more levels than “is” and “isn’t,” and calculating the odds of human DNA coming together instantly with no predecessors.

    However, suppose that one organism mutates in such a way that it is superior to others of it’s kind and this mutation can be passed on.

    By Jove, I think he’s got it.

    It is unlikely that this one mutation will survive to begin to alter the gene pool, this one-in-a-million mutation.

    Oops, spoke too soon. Beneficial means this mutation provides an advantage to the organism. This organism begets more organisms which begets more organisms. They all compete. Statistically, beneficial mutations win out over time, naturally – that’s the definition of “advantage.” The neutral changes propagate also, but do not have “selective pressure.” Why would you think that neutral mutations die out? Do you expect that the fly will have no offspring? More alarming, what makes you think that beneficial mutations would die out?

    But lets give this one mutation the benefit of the doubt. Over the course of many hundreds of generations it infuses the gene pool and becomes part of that pool. That is merely one change, perhaps a thicker hair follicle that makes the organism better suited to survive temperature extremes…

    This is one mutation, but mutations are ubiquitous, and happen in parallel. While your hair follicle is evolving, other things are still free to evolve. Larger populations can mutate faster. Several generations after a mutation in one organism, many other organisms can also receive that mutation. The propagation is even faster in sexually reproducing organisms.

    Though this concept originated with evolutionists, it is documented and accepted by creationists and IDers alike. You can check out Arguments we think creationists should NOT use for this and more arguments which creationists themselves have accepted as debunked. You have used a few of these so check it out.

    … and one change is a long way from one species mutating into another species… millions of differences can be found between a bullfrog and a salamander.

    Your characterization of speciation is not consistent with evolutionary theory. Modern species do not morph into other modern species. Species diverge. The common ancestors to bullfrogs and salamanders were likely geographically separated and mutated separately. At some point, the two became reproductively incompatible. That is the definition of species. The result was not immediately bullfrogs and salamanders. In evolution, there are innumerable transitional forms during the process, usually followed by stasis. This is all explained scientifically.

    Since scientists, even by manipulating the DNA and bombarding with radiation have not produced favorable mutations in the fruit fly population in the last hundred years….well, again, the odds say no to the idea of beneficial mutation producing species change.

    What percentage of the fruit fly population would you say scientists are working with? Is the lab a “natural” environment? Would it not stifle “natural” selection?

    Nature is a far better at evolving things than we are in practice. We have recorded speciation of fruit flies due to differing environments within a canyon… (reference)

    A hundred years? Fruit flies have been evolving for millions of years. We do not expect much from a span of time tens of thousands of times shorter on such an insignificant slice of the population.

    In summary, the idea that mutation brings beneficial change is contrary to the Laws of Thermodynamics and has not been seen in extensive testing.

    Thermodynamic laws are for closed systems. The ecosystem uses energy from other sources – the sun is one. The sun is increasing in entropy as it burns energy. This is one place the entropy goes.

    The idea that organisms share DNA as a means of passing on information is your idea of common ancestry, but my idea of common design.

    I would not use it as evidence for common ancestry myself, but common ancestry requires it. It is a prediction resulting from it. It is falsifiable yet confirmed. There is no known reason that an intelligent designer would need to conform to these building blocks. So this cannot be used in favor of that argument or against it. I only pointed this out because you brought it up, I believe.

    You dislike automobile analogies, however, for many years all GM vehicles were made with tailfins. It wasn’t by chance but it was rather a design choice. The same GM design group put tailfins on Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac cars.

    I love automobile analogies. But these analogies are not usually relevant since the ecosystem and building cars are dissimilar at the points that make the ecosystem work. I would like to point out that GM took the “tailfin” idea from one car and used it on another, just as it did and continues to do with other innovations. This is something one might expect from a designer who can design each car from scratch. Common descent cannot and so it is limited. This creates a falsifiable prediction about biodiversity. When a new feature appears in a population of organisms, only descendents from that population can benefit. So even though an animal, like a bat could potentially benefit from the “innovations” birds have, such as wish bones, hollow bones, avian lungs, feathers etc., we should not find them. We do not. This is not the only case, but I already pointed this out in another post.

    This resulting “nested hierarchy” of phylogeny is incredibly powerful emperical support for common descent. Not the hierarchy itself, but that it can be drawn at all. It is not so for things designed separately such as cars.

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  11. Warren, thanks for the link to the “arguments” I should not use. I don’t recall using any of them before now but AIG, like Institute for Creation Research, is a good informational site.

    Quote: “I have not said you are stupid for disagreeing with me. I have said that you cannot discredit an argument if you do not understand it. You have demonstrated that lack of understanding of basic evolutionary principles by characterizing natural selection as chance, and characterizing irreducible complexity as having more levels than “is” and “isn’t,” and calculating the odds of human DNA coming together instantly with no predecessors.”

    Point one-You want to continually say I don’t understand evolution. You just can’t get away from positioning me as ignorant even as you claim you don’t wish to do so. To disagree is not the same as to fail to understand.

    Point two- Natural selection is first what occurs within the gene pool as the most survivable traits within that gene pool are the ones most likely to survive and reproduce. I don’t propose bringing chance into the argument here. We both agree natural selection operates within current gene pools and that is known alternately as microevolution.

    When you are postulating that frogs become salmanders, or rather that an ancestor of both frogs and salamanders evolves into them, chance does enter in. This is because mutations are the supposed engine that fuels change in the genetic code. Mutations are random occurences, mistakes in the transference of information via DNA, and my point is that they are almost always negative rather than positive. Fruit flies are used in the example because they have such short lives and can produce multiple generations in a year’s time. This is why they are popular for lab experimentation.

    Point three – The definition of “irreducible complexity” demands the idea of “is or isn’t” concerning a system. Otherwise, it would not be irreducible.

    Point four – DNA. All known creatures have such coding systems, whether simple or complex. E, coli has thirty times the base pairs of a human and in fact most simpler life forms have more DNA than man. Often the information contained therein is equal to or less than that of the human (because of repetitive DNA), but there is no evidence that simpler life forms of the past had simpler coding systems. It is a nice story to tell, lacking in evidence, to avoid the obvious conclusion that DNA is the means by which life transmits information down through generations, it is too complex to have evolved, and there is no other means found on earth.

    Quoted dialogue between us: “However, suppose that one organism mutates in such a way that it is superior to others of it’s kind and this mutation can be passed on. (me)

    By Jove, I think he’s got it. (warren)

    It is unlikely that this one mutation will survive to begin to alter the gene pool, this one-in-a-million mutation. (me)

    Oops, spoke too soon. Beneficial means this mutation provides an advantage to the organism. This organism begets more organisms which begets more organisms. They all compete. Statistically, beneficial mutations win out over time, naturally – that’s the definition of “advantage. (warren)”

    Answer – The offspring of organisms born in the wild are more likely to perish than to survive. In it’s lifetime, a Painted Turtle female will on average have two surviving offspring. Up to 90% of Salmon spawned in the wild do not even make it out to sea. Many creatures have far worse survival rates than that.

    Let’s suppose an organism has 100 babies per year and that the normal survival rate of those offspring is 10%. Let’s also suppose that a beneficial mutation in one of those offspring make it twice as likely to survive as the others. That gives it a 20% chance of survival. (That one change in one allele would make an organism twice as likely to survive is generous to say the least.) Statistically, only one in every five such mutations would even live to be old enough to reproduce. Added to the odds against a mutation being favorable in the first place, the odds of a favorable mutation surviving in the gene pool are remarkably tiny. Really, until the organism has had surviving children it is unlikely the trait will have a reasonable chance to be passed on.

    Now, for macroevolution to have taken place, thousands and perhaps millions of such mutations must be successful against the odds for a rodent to evolve into a horse, or whatever example you wish to use.

    Warren quote (concerning fruit flies) “A hundred years? Fruit flies have been evolving for millions of years. We do not expect much from a span of time tens of thousands of times shorter on such an insignificant slice of the population.”

    Answer – Scintists have already studied more generations of fruit flies than the number of generations that humanity has existed. Studying mitochondrial DNA, it has been determined that the first human female is found 3,000 generations ago. Fruit flies are used because in a year’s time you can study the same number of generations as produced by perhaps 200 years of one of the higher vertebrates.

    Since there are so many varieties of life, here comes a forbidden question:

    WHERE ARE THE TRANSITIONAL FORMS? Oops, I finally ventured into a field AIG suggests that I avoid. Rather, they suggest that we not say there are no transitional forms, only that the few examples currently used by Darwinists are questionable at best.

    But now paleontologists have so many multiple thousands of fossils to study from all over the planet and still not one reliable transitional form has been identified. We really should see a continuum of organisms moving up the evolutionary ladder within the fossil record if macroevolution is true and if uniformitarian geology is correct. But this is not what is found. We have found and identified thousands upon thousands of vertebrate fossils and yet the search for one dependable transitional form continues.

    More quoted dialogue: “The idea that organisms share DNA as a means of passing on information is your idea of common ancestry, but my idea of common design. (me)

    I would not use it as evidence for common ancestry myself, but common ancestry requires it. It is a prediction resulting from it. It is falsifiable yet confirmed. There is no known reason that an intelligent designer would need to conform to these building blocks. So this cannot be used in favor of that argument or against it. I only pointed this out because you brought it up, I believe.(warren)”

    Answer – You make a presumption concerning the thought processes of the Designer here. Simplicity would dictate using the same design in all models should the design work. Really, why would the Designer use more than one method? If you give Edison credit for inventing the light bulb, do you then wonder why he didn’t look for another way to produce light? Nope, he went on to other projects having accomplished his goal in this area. We enter into the realm of intent when starting down this road, however, there is no known reason a Designer would have to use more than one design to accomplish a desired operation.

    Finally, we also get into the realm of intent if we wonder why a bat doesn’t have feathers, hollow bones, avian lungs, etc. It might be because then the creature would be a bird not a bat. A designer may have wanted bats to exist in addition to birds. One cannot determine intent here.

    The existence of bats and birds is more questionable if macroevolution is the creator of species. As simple creatures evolve into more complex creatures, the best surviving organism should be the survivor. It would make sense that in an evolved world, only a few kinds of organisms would make it since the laws of chance work against a mutation becoming part of the gene pool. I would expect a few hundred different organisms in such a world, not millions.

    I wonder if anyone saw the National Geographic special, “Extraterrestrial”? Scientists from organizations like SETI and NASA collaborated to propose what alien life would be like on other planets. Their fictional flora and fauna resembled what I would expect macroevolution to produce, should it actually operate. Entire planets were shown as having less than a half-dozen advanced forms of life. I thought it was humorous to see millions of dollars spent on research to reveal life on other planets and wind up watching an animated Muppet show…

    Scientists have seen natural selection operate and by observation what has happened is that the information held in the gene pool is either conserved or lost over time. Macroevolution requires natural selection, in conjunction with mutation, to add information to the gene pool. This has not been observed and is contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Oh, and I can say we are in a closed system known as the Universe, within which the Laws of Thermodynamics work. I will believe the Laws of Thermodynamics, tested and tested again, over the supposition of macroevolution, which is largely untested and completely unproven.

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  12. To disagree is not the same as to fail to understand.

    You’re right, it isn’t. I gave examples of failures to understand. In fact, my point is that you say you disagree, but when you describe what you disagree with, it is not evolution. That is what we call misunderstanding.

    I am not positioning you as ignorant. I have said you were ignorant of the theory of evolution you sought to discredit. I gave examples. You were discrediting a straw man. If you were not ignorant, then you were deceptive.

    [mutations] are almost always negative rather than positive

    But some are positive. Positive have selective pressure to propagate. Negative have selective pressure towards extinction.

    The definition of “irreducible complexity” demands the idea of “is or isn’t” concerning a system. Otherwise, it would not be irreducible.

    Exactly. My point was that your previous statements contradicted this by implying that some things are “so irreducibly complex” as if it is a mathematic measurement.

    Point four – DNA. All known creatures have such coding systems, whether simple or complex. E, coli has thirty times the base pairs of a human and in fact most simpler life forms have more DNA than man. Often the information contained therein is equal to or less than that of the human (because of repetitive DNA), but there is no evidence that simpler life forms of the past had simpler coding systems. It is a nice story to tell, lacking in evidence, to avoid the obvious conclusion that DNA is the means by which life transmits information down through generations, it is too complex to have evolved, and there is no other means found on earth.

    Bacteria reproduces so fast and is so much older than humans that one would expect a serious amount of genetic material. We know that it is mostly repetitious and junk. Most of the simplest organisms have been around longer than humans. What we don’t expect is for a designer to use so much more material on E. Coli or those simpler organisms than on a human. But yet, there it is.

    DNA is too complex to have evolved? It is easy to see how you might reach this conclusion. You expect that beneficial mutations have a one in a million shot of survival. You admit there are beneficial mutations. You admit that natural selection will select organisms with advantages. And you reach the conclusion that odds are against the survival of beneficial mutations?

    If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll have to start by agreeing with yourself. You can’t agree with the components that prove my point, then disagree with the point they prove. You have to disprove one of the components, or show how they don’t prove the point. Anything else is just babble.

    The offspring of organisms born in the wild are more likely to perish than to survive. In it’s lifetime, a Painted Turtle female will on average have two surviving offspring. Up to 90% of Salmon spawned in the wild do not even make it out to sea. Many creatures have far worse survival rates than that.

    You said one in a million.

    Why should the 90% of salmon that don’t survive make a difference? If salmon lay about 3000 eggs, and 10% of those survive, that means one salmon begat 300 salmon in one generation. Keeping that rate up, that salmon should have influenced 2,430,000,000,000 salmon in the fifth generation.

    Salmon and turtles make up two examples. Are these to be representative of the ecosystem?

    Let’s suppose an organism has 100 babies per year and that the normal survival rate of those offspring is 10%. Let’s also suppose that a beneficial mutation in one of those offspring make it twice as likely to survive as the others. That gives it a 20% chance of survival. (That one change in one allele would make an organism twice as likely to survive is generous to say the least.)

    Let’s assume, as you have, that all mutation happens during the organism’s reproductive cycle and affects each child differently. An organism having 10 children is just as likely to produce a surviving beneficial mutation as one with 100 where only 10 survive, because the one with 100 will statistically have 10 times the mutations. In fact, since some beneficial mutations could give a slight edge, the one giving birth to 100 should produce a statistically larger ratio of beneficial to non-beneficial.

    In other words, in order for the species to survive at all it has to reproduce faster than it dies. If it’s doing that, then the percentage of offspring that die is irrelevant. Each surviving child gets an equal chance at genetic mutation regardless of percentage. Since we know the species is reproducing faster than it dies, it can evolve.

    But now paleontologists have so many multiple thousands of fossils to study from all over the planet and still not one reliable transitional form has been identified. We really should see a continuum of organisms moving up the evolutionary ladder within the fossil record if macroevolution is true and if uniformitarian geology is correct.

    We do get a “ladder” called the geological column. Intelligent Design can’t explain that at all. It is not true that it is expected to be a continuum such that the whole ecosystem evolves uniformly across time. Environment changes cause “regime” changes.

    It is expected that usually species diverge because of geographic separation of a part of its population. This means that transitional forms are likely to be much more localized and harder to find. We have a myriad of transitional fossils. AIG calls them “dubious” as you’ve read but that is quite a claim given the number that have been uncovered.

    In hominids alone, the differences between an ape’s skull and a human’s skull are obvious. Yet the record of transitions is gradual enough to have creationists unable to agree on which ones are apes and which ones are human.

    You make a presumption concerning the thought processes of the Designer here. Simplicity would dictate using the same design in all models should the design work. Really, why would the Designer use more than one method?

    I said there was no known reason he would “need” to conform. I didn’t say it was an argument against. I said that it is neither an argument for, nor an argument against. I pointed out the concept of falsifiable predictions again and how I.D. doesn’t make any as you just pointed out for me again.

    Finally, we also get into the realm of intent if we wonder why a bat doesn’t have feathers… One cannot determine intent here

    You presuppose intent here. This is what happens when we presuppose intent. The theory of common descent elegantly answers the “why” of this – in fact it makes the prediction. The theory of “Intelligent Design” simply says “we don’t know why – because that would require determining intent.” It can’t make predictions. It can be the answer for everything.

    Don’t know why electromagnetic radiation behaves as particles (photons) but also as a wave at the same time? Because it is designed. Prove me wrong?

    The existence of bats and birds is more questionable if macroevolution is the creator of species. As simple creatures evolve into more complex creatures, the best surviving organism should be the survivor…

    Complex is not always “better.” Things don’t evolve from simple to complex. They evolve from less-able to survive, to more-able to survive. The definition of able changes based on environment. Try surviving in the ocean longer than, say, a fish, despite all your complexity. Your designer didn’t give you gills. Bacteria have a remarkable ability to survive about anything, do you?

    Sometimes species diverge because of geographic separation, leaving both species. Within contiguous regions, the whole population can change together if the region is not too spread out. Look at some of the ring species for examples of this.

    I would expect a few hundred different organisms in such a world, not millions.

    What you would expect from macroevolution is irrelevant considering that I am demonstrating that your understanding of it is wrong. You want to disagree with it, but that you are disagreeing with a straw man (see above).

    I wonder if anyone saw the National Geographic special, “Extraterrestrial”?

    It is speculation, for one thing. I don’t need to see it to know that they had only a few life forms because they didn’t have time to go about inventing millions, of course.

    Macroevolution requires natural selection, in conjunction with mutation, to add information to the gene pool. This has not been observed…

    I love how we use “information” again without a definition. We have observed bacteria evolving the ability to digest nylon. Nylon is a man-made substance. Are we to believe that natural selection just “uncovered” the inherent ability to digest something that didn’t exist a hundred years ago?

    …and is contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Oh, and I can say we are in a closed system known as the Universe, within which the Laws of Thermodynamics work. I will believe the Laws of Thermodynamics, tested and tested again, over the supposition of macroevolution, which is largely untested and completely unproven.

    (Sigh) clearly you do not comprehend the 2nd law of thermodynamics either. The 2nd law does not say that entropy never decreases. It says that total entropy in a system doesn’t decrease. The system cannot be getting energy from elsewhere or it isn’t closed. The sun, for instance, is increasing in entropy as it pumps out energy (in the form of heat and other things, hence the “thermo” in “thermodynamics”). The ecosystem, by itself, is not a closed system because it gets energy from the sun as well as other sources. The increase in entropy in those sources more than makes up for the decrease in entropy in the ecosystem.

    If you are to invoke the 2nd law, you need a closed system. If you really want to use the universe, let’s see how you propose to measure the entropy universe-wide to make your case.

    So, you see, you can’t call it “disagreeing” instead of “failure to understand.” You don’t understand. How can you disagree with something you don’t understand? It is not “contrary to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.” You don’t understand thermodynamics. You have hardly the ability to disagree.

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  13. Warren, you would doubtless flunk debate. Your primary and feeble point is that I don’t understand anything. Bo-o-o-o-oring. I give up on ya, bro!

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  14. Debates are won using tactics designed to distract and mislead. Truth and the outcome of a debate are seldom related. In fact, the outcome is usually determined by who plays dirtier. I’m not a debater. Except for you, the rest of us were discussing, not debating. I’m interested in truth whether by correcting false arguments, or having mine corrected. I’ve been corrected in these discussions already. There is nothing here to win.

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