Gene duplication enables a novel function to evolve

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The Sensuous Curmudgeon calls our attention to a new study by researchers at the University of Illnois and the Chinese Academy of Sciences that traces the evolution of a new function via gene duplication. Since I’m not a molecular guy, I’ll very briefly describe it and refer you to the news release and published paper (behind the PNAS paywall). Very briefly, the Antarctic eelpout has a gene that codes for an antifreeze protein, a member of a protein family called AFP III, that enables the eelpout to survive the freezing temperatures in Antarctic waters. It has been hypothesized on genetic homology grounds that the antifreeze gene evolved via duplication of a gene that codes for sialic acid synthase, a cellular enzyme, and subsequent selection for the antifreeze function in one of the duplicates via an escape from adaptive conflict process. From the linked news release:

“This is the first clear demonstration - with strong supporting molecular and functional evidence - of escape from adaptive conflict as the underlying process of gene duplication and the creation of a completely new function in one of the daughter copies,” Cheng said. “This has not been documented before in the field of molecular evolution.”

And from the Abstract:

We report here clear experimental evidence for EAC-driven evolution of type III antifreeze protein gene from an old sialic acid synthase (SAS) gene in an Antarctic zoarcid fish. We found that an SAS gene, having both sialic acid synthase and rudimentary ice-binding activities, became duplicated. In one duplicate, the N-terminal SAS domain was deleted and replaced with a nascent signal peptide, removing pleiotropic structural conflict between SAS and ice-binding functions and allowing rapid optimization of the C-terminal domain to become a secreted protein capable of noncolligative freezing-point depression. This study reveals how minor functionalities in an old gene can be transformed into a distinct survival protein and provides insights into how gene duplicates facing presumed identical selection and mutation pressures at birth could take divergent evolutionary paths.

As the Curmudgeon points out, this is precisely the kind of evidence that Disco ‘Tute attack mouse Casey Luskin asked for a year ago:

Many scientific papers purporting to show the evolution of “new genetic information” do little more than identify molecular similarities and differences between existing genes and then tell evolutionary just-so stories of duplication, rearrangement, and subsequent divergence based upon vague appeals to “positive selection” that purport to explain how the gene arose. But exactly how the gene arose is never explained. In particular, whether chance mutations and unguided natural selection are sufficient to produce the relevant genetic changes is almost never assessed.

There it is, Casey.

2 TrackBacks

A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims to explain the origin of an antifreeze protein in an Antarctic fish. Though touted by Darwinian activists, this paper presents little more than a just-so story that shows no interest... Read More

Darwinism is a prime example of the kind of rigid thinking -- the ide fixe or fixed idea -- that bedevils seemingly unrelated fields having to do with diet, therapy, advice, and self-help, with results that are sometimes comic, sometimes more... Read More

736 Comments

In particular, whether chance mutations and unguided natural selection are sufficient to produce the relevant genetic changes is almost never assessed.

Well, this is just one single case, so it remains “almost” never, right?

Followed by “You can’t prove it was unguided”. (headshake)

This one has been getting raked over the coals in the comments on PHYSORG:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01[…]nctions.html

Complete with scriptural citations. One good thing I’ve noticed in my other work with conspiracy theorists: they never quote sacred texts.

Gasp! A link to my humble blog by Panda’s Thumb. My cup runneth over.

Followed by “You can’t prove it was unguided”. (headshake)

Or front-loaded. Or that Satan hasn’t created a delusion in your mind.

gate.net:

Xylitol is also not normally metabolized, but Mortlock and his colleagues were able to develop strains (generally through spontaneous mutations, but sometimes with u.v. ray or chemical induced mutations) that could use it because ribitol dehydrogenase (which is usually present in the cells to convert ribitol to D-ribulose) was able to slightly speed up the conversion of xylitol to D-xylulose, for which metabolic pathways already exist.

The ability of the strains to utilize xylitol was increased as much as 20 fold when first production of ribitol dehydrogenase was deregulated (the enzyme was produced all the time, not just when ribitol was present), then duplication of the ribitol dehydrogenase genes occurred, then the structure of the enzyme was changed such that its efficiency at working with xylitol was improved, and finally, in at least one case, a line regained control of the modified ribitol dehydrogenase gene so that the enzyme was only produced in the presence of xylitol.

Here we have a complete example of a new metabolic pathway being developed through duplication and modification of an existing pathway.

Here is another example of gene duplication followed by divergence to create a new metabolic pathway.

This is from experimental evolution so it was observed in real time.

Any one willing to bet on how far back Luskin and dupes will move the goalposts on this one? My prediction: First they’ll shot in the dark trying to make it look like something else, then they’ll move the posts back by saying something like “.…but it hasn’t been observed in nature.…”

Whenever ID/creationist carping about “new information” comes up, I wonder why they have never observed the properties of water compared with the properties of hydrogen and oxygen.

Or, if one wants a little more drama, the properties of salt compared with the properties of sodium and chlorine.

And one doesn’t even have to get beyond the brainpower of ID/creationists by using compounds as examples. Why does a solid piece of lead have different properties than a single atom of lead? And why do these properties vary with temperature?

All they have to do to win a Nobel is demonstrate that the laws of physics and chemistry no longer apply to complex phenomena at some level and why. Then they should be able to demonstrate at which particular level of complexity this kicks in and also the mechanism that prevents further assemblies of matter and/or prevents the emergence of new phenomena as complexity increases.

Piece of cake, Casey; go get ‘em!

Casey will take his cue from Behe and call it a trivial change. Simple microevolution. Parlor trick. See it all the time. Fly is still a fly. Move on, folks, no evolution to see here. Same for whales. Pish posh.

Not sure if I should mention this, but you can get a full preliminary copy of the article here:

http://www.life.illinois.edu/ccheng[…]0_online.pdf

It’s very, very thick, but interesting.

OgreMkV said: It’s very, very thick, but interesting.

Ook! It’ll stop a layperson the size of a 500-pound gorilla dead in his tracks.

Gee, gene duplication and divergence documented as a major mechanism of evolution. What a shock! Who would have guessed?

Now all Dembski has to to is to calculate the exact amount of CCSSII before the duplication and after in order to see what evolution is capable of. He can still claim that it can’t do better than this of course, but he can’t claim that there are no beneficial mutations, or that there is no new information, or that no new protein has evolved, or any of that other crap. Not that anyone was ever fooled by his hand waving in the first place.

My bet is on the ‘design’ of the lab experiment.

“This only proves that intelligence can create novel systems.”

Of course this would be a complete misread of the article because the researchers didn’t actually do experiments. They just (hah!) analyzed the gene sequences from a variety of fish.

There’s some golden quote-mine material in there too. I can’t wait to see one of the sentences from the first two paragraphs and then hammer them with the rest of the material.

Comon attack gerbil, don’t let us down.

Doc Bill said:

Casey will take his cue from Behe and call it a trivial change. Simple microevolution. Parlor trick. See it all the time. Fly is still a fly. Move on, folks, no evolution to see here. Same for whales. Pish posh.

They use that argument fairly often; but the reality is that a change in a gene can send an evolving organism in a different direction just as a change in the location of a molecule can affect the evolution of any branching system. There are lots of directions a system can go from where it is; especially when it is already at a high level of complexity.

Thus the changes are really not all that dramatic; they are simply made to seem that way because of the tendency of ID/creationists to assume that the present evolutionary state of an organism was the goal. It’s the Lottery Winner Fallacy again.

But when you compare such changes to the changes in properties that emerge in simpler systems, those changes in simpler systems are by far more dramatic. Why aren’t these impossible for ID/creationists?

But it’s … just MICROEVOLUTION! Not MACROEVOLUTION! It doesn’t ADD information! And there are NO transtional fossils! And DARTH VADER was an EVOLUTIONIST!

OgreMkv,

Thanks for the link.

OgreMkV said: Comon attack gerbil, don’t let us down.

Maybe woodchuck? A hoary marmot if I ever saw one.

“Gopher the jugular.”

“Attack mouse.” I like it.

You don’t have to wait to find out how the cdesign proponentsits will react, there was already a recent Cornelius Hunter trackback on Uncommon Descent addressing the research about new genes becoming essential for survival in fruit flies. DID THOSE DARWINISTS EVER CONSIDER THAT THE GENES WERE NOT THE PRODUCT OF EVOLUTION? WHY NO, OF COURSE NOT!

They also have posts up addressing the recent scandals that the NCSE (via the New Mexico CESME) calls ID “Creationism re-labeled” and that they endorse teaching evolution a fact!
I guess it’s nice of them to finally pay attention after all these years?

Wheels said:

They also have posts up addressing the recent scandals that the NCSE (via the New Mexico CESME) calls ID “Creationism re-labeled” and that they endorse teaching evolution a fact!

“I am shocked, shocked, that anyone would mistake our Low Cost Swan for a duck … stop quacking, you’re supposed to honk.”

Someday I need to tell you guys about the time I was chased out of Herman park by a pack/gang/samurai army of squirrels.

Mike Elzinga said:

Whenever ID/creationist carping about “new information” comes up, I wonder why they have never observed the properties of water compared with the properties of hydrogen and oxygen.

Or, if one wants a little more drama, the properties of salt compared with the properties of sodium and chlorine.

(snip)

Mike, I was thinking of your posts the other day as the temperature here swung above and below freezing. The snow on the roof would never turn to icicles on the eaves if not for the local temperature fluctations, or even the heat leaking through from inside the house. And the icicles would never form if the heat leakage from inside the house was greater.

Someday I need to tell you guys about the time I was chased out of Herman park by a pack/gang/samurai army of squirrels.

In Kew Gardens I saw a tourist trying to take a picture of a swan with its wings out, and he had his wife behind him flapping her arms up and down to attract the swan. Well, it worked. The swan chased the lady, knocked her down and tried to mate with her. (I didn’t think she was all that attractive, but I’m not a swan.) Anyway, the tourist thought it was great and kept taking pictures ignoring his wife’s screams.

Doc Bill said:

Someday I need to tell you guys about the time I was chased out of Herman park by a pack/gang/samurai army of squirrels.

In Kew Gardens I saw a tourist trying to take a picture of a swan with its wings out, and he had his wife behind him flapping her arms up and down to attract the swan. Well, it worked. The swan chased the lady, knocked her down and tried to mate with her. (I didn’t think she was all that attractive, but I’m not a swan.) Anyway, the tourist thought it was great and kept taking pictures ignoring his wife’s screams.

Was her name Leda? Did she lay eggs? Did she have two pairs of twins?

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

The Curmudgeon said:

Gasp! A link to my humble blog by Panda’s Thumb. My cup runneth over.

Gotta steal my stuff from somewhere!

Did the trackback make the trip?

RBH said:Did the trackback make the trip?

I haven’t allowed trackbacks for a year or two. They’re often spammy. But I just enabled them for that one post. Nothing shows up, at least not yet.

The Curmudgeon said:

RBH said:Did the trackback make the trip?

I haven’t allowed trackbacks for a year or two. They’re often spammy. But I just enabled them for that one post. Nothing shows up, at least not yet.

Probably too late unless I figure out how to send another one independent of posting the OP, or something or other.

fnxtr said:

The snow on the roof would never turn to icicles on the eaves if not for the local temperature fluctations, or even the heat leaking through from inside the house. And the icicles would never form if the heat leakage from inside the house was greater.

The ancient Greeks, from at least the times of Lucretius and Democritus, were aware of and wondered about the properties of matter. Even alchemy, in attempting to manipulate the properties of matter, had some concept that there was something about matter that could be manipulated with the right rituals.

The fact that ID/creationists are so compulsively focused on bringing down evolution means that they take no notice of everything that is going on right in front of them every second of their petty little existences.

Even the most superficial observations of the behavior of matter opens up an entire universe of marvelous phenomena all pointing to evolution at all levels of complexity.

You guys can mock Luskin all you want. He will still continue to embarrass Darwinists on a daily basis. For the latest smackdown see his post here:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/0[…]71.html#more

More and more data like this is being uncovered, which completely contradicts the myth of common descent. Darwinists have no choice but to ignore it.

As for gene duplication leading to novel functions, this phenomenon is perfectly consistent with ID. Let me know when you guys can find an example of DNA forming spontaneously from random arrangements of chemicals…

MSG said:

Let me know when you guys can find an example of DNA forming spontaneously from random arrangements of chemicals…

Thanks for showing up here and providing an exquisite example of an ID/creationist who notices nothing going on in the real world.

Of course you can provide the scientific community with the mechanism that prevents matter from evolving beyond a specified level of complexity. And of course you also know that nothing happens with atoms and molecules; they just lie around waiting to be placed in some arrangement by some sectarian deity.

Where do you hang your Nobel Prize medal?

You guys can mock Luskin all you want.

why, thanks!

…and please send our thanks also to Casey for his continued permission to allow us to mock his inanity publicly, with no fear of either libel suit or factual disagreement.

say, do you know when Casey is gonna finish his book:

“The Mouse that Squeaked Very Loudly”

Rob said:

Atheistoclast,

What is your definition of information? Be specific.

What is your definition of data? Be specific.

If you offer no definitions, I call BS.

Data is a quantity of objects/symbols that can *represent* information but which may still contain no information.

This is because information is fundamentally a qualitative “substance”. It conveys something of value or utility as part of an exchange of communication.

For example, your hard drive may hold up to 100 Gigabits of data but it may nonetheless have no information content. It could just contain a random sequence of binary digits.

Likewise the nucleotides in DNA would be meaningless stretches of chemicals except for the fact that they are specifically arranged to convey *information* pertinent to the functionality of the cell.

The question is: who or what specified this information? It is crucial to the debate on evolutionary origins.

SWT said:

Rob said:

Atheistoclast,

What is your definition of information? Be specific.

What is your definition of data? Be specific.

If you offer no definitions, I call BS.

According to his Complexity paper,

Although the nucleotide sequences in DNA are commonly understood to carry/convey biological “information” [28], a precise scientific delineation for the term in the context of genetics is often found to be lacking. Therefore, it is impossible to test any hypothesis regarding the creation of new genetic information without offering at least a conceptual definition of what information means and what the criterion is for identifying it. In Shannon’s theory [29] of communication, information is termed the “reduction in uncertainty,” where entropy is the measure of any stochastic dependencies – the greater the level of uncertainty that exists in a particular situation, the less likely it is to predict the behaviors and outcomes because of the presence of random noise. Therefore, information is that which denotes a degree of determinism in a known relationship, although this would also have to involve a large measure of contingency to permit as many possible combinations to be conveyed. In the framework of molecular biology, information would refer to the inherent functionality of gene products: i.e., how they interact with the biochemical environment in which they operate.

Therefore, I have decided to define any gain in exonic information as: “The qualitative increase in operational capability and functional specificity with no resultant uncertainty of outcome.” The two parts of the statement are complementary, because an appreciably great degree of specificity is required to reduce any uncertainty and problems regarding behavior and effect: this is especially true in the case of enzymes that catalyze only particular reactions, and to the exclusion of all others.

Ah yes, I understand now.

The first bolded statement is correct.

The second bolded statement (immediately following the first) is wrong. It is an assertion that you made up and has no basis in reality.

Again, thanks for playing.

Atheistoclast said:

According to Shannon, two copies of the New York Times has more information.

Dear, oh dear. Can’t tell the difference between data and information.

Shannon’s work is focused on transmitting data without loss, regardless of what that data may “mean.” If you string out the characters in two copies of the NYT, it takes some number of bits to transmit this data. Then it takes one or more extra bits to specify how many times to repeat it. If you do not include those extra bits specifying the number of repeats, the signal you transmitted will not exactly resemble the original, so you will have lost information. Specifically, you will have lost information on the number of copies the original, transmitted signal contained.

The number of repeats is information. In biology, it can be critical information, because number of repeats can control the amount of a protein produced. If the original recipe for a human calls for 2 units of a histone, but you only get 1 unit because your DNA didn’t contain the right number of histone-building repeats, the result could be catastrophic. Repeats matter in biology.

Lastly, even the number of copies of a NYT is important, real-life, honest-to-god information. A paper-deliverer can’t decide how big a vehicle they need without knowing the amount of copies they will be delivering. The NYT can’t decide how much paper or ink to buy without knowing number of copies. Advertisers can’t decide how much an ad in the paper is worth without knowing distribution - i.e. number of copies purchased. And so on. Real-life, important decisions depend on the number of copies of the NYT. You’d have to be an idiot not to call it information.

Atheistoclast said: The question is: who or what specified this information? It is crucial to the debate on evolutionary origins.

(headdesk) The parents that lived long enough to breed.

Atheistoclast said:

Rob said:

Atheistoclast,

What is your definition of information? Be specific.

What is your definition of data? Be specific.

If you offer no definitions, I call BS.

Data is a quantity of objects/symbols that can *represent* information but which may still contain no information.

This is because information is fundamentally a qualitative “substance”. It conveys something of value or utility as part of an exchange of communication.

For example, your hard drive may hold up to 100 Gigabits of data but it may nonetheless have no information content. It could just contain a random sequence of binary digits.

Likewise the nucleotides in DNA would be meaningless stretches of chemicals except for the fact that they are specifically arranged to convey *information* pertinent to the functionality of the cell.

The question is: who or what specified this information? It is crucial to the debate on evolutionary origins.

Why are those your definitions and why don’t you just use the same defintion that everyone uses.

I could argue, and win, that everything is data according to your definition. These words I’m typing are representations of my thoughts, not my thougths themselves. Since they don’t mean anything to you, ‘clast’, they don’t contain any information for you.

You definitions are meaningless. I’ll stick to the standard defintions, thanks. The scientific revolution will not be led by you.

Your second sentence is just plain wrong. Information IS NOT meaning. I don’t know how you can quote Shannon and still not understand this.

If I send an encrypted file over the internet, I am still sending information. There will be uncertaintity if it is sent over a noisy channel. Have you ever heard of a checksum? It’s a method to determine if the recipient got what the sender sent.

And yes, I can think of times when one would want to send white noise (i.e. purely random information) over a line AND make sure that purely random information was recieved exactly as sent. The fact that you cannot understand this just means you don’t know anything about information theory or its use in the world.

Third statement: white noise, random bits, are information. Just because you think they are random doesn’t mean that they do not carry information. Random does not equal no information. You are confusing meaning and information… again.

Fourth statement… no. You are confusing information and meaning… again. Twice in one post. Wow.

The information in the DNA is the sequence. Again, that information can change without changning the meaning (i.e. the protein coded for). There are also ways of changing the meaning without changing the DNA. You have not addressed these issues, which means you don’t know nearly enough about Biology.

Finaly question… no intelligent agent did. There are perfectly natural, physical explanations for the formation of RNA, DNA, how they work, why they work, and what they do. You must know this, but your ideology blinds you to it.

If you think that there is a designer, then please provide evidence that it exists. Here are some questions that you must answer.

What is the difference in complexity between a designed thing and a non-designed thing?

How does one measure complexity (values, units, and process)?

What values in 2 indicate design? Why?

What values in 2 indicate non-design? Why?

That’ll do for now. We can hit the other ones later. Hey, why don’t you head over to the forum, since we’re pretty OT here at this point?

DS said:

Hox genes definitely arose by duplication, after which they absolutely underwent divergence. Indeed, this has been a major mechanism behind the evolution of all of the diversity of body forms seen throughout the animal kingdom. This one example absolutely demolishes the hypothesis that gene duplication is not important in the evolution of novel functions. There are literally thousands of papers on this topic, here are a few to get the atheist guy started:

Brooke et. al. (1998) The parahox gene cluster is an evolutionary sister of the hox gene cluster. Nature 392:920-922.

McClintock et. al. (2001) Consequences of hox gene duplication in the vertebrates: An investigation of zebrafish paralogous grouped genes. Development 128(13):2471-2481.

Lynch et. al. (2006) Adaptive evolution of hox gene homeodomains after cluster duplications. BMC Evolutionary Biology 6:86-94.

Once you have read the papers you can answer these questions:

1) Did hox genes arise by duplication?

2) Dis hox genes diverge?

3) Did hox genes take on new functions?

I can keep asking as many times as needed. Until you address this evidence you will not be taken seriously.

Still no answers eh genius? Ignoring an entire field of science isn’t going to fool anyone. SInce you seem incapable of answering I’ll answer for you. The answer to all three questions is yes, which you would know if you had read the papers. You lose.

And of course this isn’t the only example. Gene duplication has played a major role in the evolution of nearly every gene family, including hemoglobin genes, ribosomal genes, histone genes, olfactory genes, etc. Try as you might, you will never be able to come up with excuses for a all of these. Just give it up already. Evolution is real, deal with it.

Atheistoclast said:

The question is: who or what specified this information? It is crucial to the debate on evolutionary origins.

Random mutations are acted on by natural selection, thus producing a functional genome which is capable of development and reproduction. That is where the information comes from. Now why don’t you answer your own question for us? Where do you think the information comes from? Since your publication record is so great you surely must know. Unless you provide an alternative, then mutation and selection remains the best explanation. Now do make sure your alternative is scientific old chap. Would’t want any ghosts in the machine now would we? You’re going to publish this, remember?

Ogre wrote:

“That’ll do for now. We can hit the other ones later. Hey, why don’t you head over to the forum, since we’re pretty OT here at this point?”

Seconded. We have now moved past the point of arguing about gene duplications. From here it will just degrade into GODDIDIT crap. THe moderators has been generous for the last twenty pages. I see no reason to clutter up the thread any further with off topic nonsense about ghosts and witches conjuring DNA out of their orifices. If this guy wants to continue the conversation, he can take it to the bathroom wall, or ATBC.

Oh well, at least he tried to discuss science for a while. That’s a step up around here compared to IBIGOT and Kris.

Slight variation on everyone else’s response to Atheistoclast’s ‘what specified the information’:

Mutation produces a wide variety of different information in different individuals. Selective processes then do the specification. If a tiger kills and eats you before you could reproduce, natural selection has done the specifying. If you can avoid the tigers but no one wants to have sex with you, sexual selection has done the specifying. If our alien overlords abduct and sterilize you, artificial selection has done the specifying.

In terms of human evolution, I will continue to discount the latter until you show us evidence of alien overlord breeding programs. The mere presence of ‘information’ in the genome is not evidence of alien overlords, since there are at least two other selection processes that could account for it.

There’s the germ of an interesting point here. It looks like ‘clast imagines that evolution can only tinker with functional proteins, and there’s some fundamental gap between simple precursor organic molecules and even the simplest functional protein. This harks back to a rather traditional, vitalist conception about matter: that matter is essentially inert.

But we who know anything about physics and chemistry know that matter isn’t essentially inert. Every molecule does something- can react with something. There is no essential gap between base matter and functional proteins.

This is why ‘clast keeps repeating that “evolution can only tinker” and imagines he’s making a point. “Just tinkering” can get you all the way from the simplest precursor organic molecules to the most beautifully specific functional protein, because there are no fundamental gaps anywhere on the way.

SAWells said:This is why ‘clast keeps repeating that “evolution can only tinker” and imagines he’s making a point. “Just tinkering” can get you all the way from the simplest precursor organic molecules to the most beautifully specific functional protein, because there are no fundamental gaps anywhere on the way.

Which is, of course,descent with modification, which is what evolution is.

SAWells said: “Just tinkering” can get you all the way from the simplest precursor organic molecules to the most beautifully specific functional protein, because there are no fundamental gaps anywhere on the way.

You actually see this in machine design:

Beech Bonanza was a single-engine civil lightplane.

Modify to twin engines, get Twin Bonanza.

Redesign to more capacious fuselage, uprate engines, get Queen Air.

Change from pistons to turboprops, get King Air.

Stretch and change to tee tail, get Super King Air.

Stretch again, get Beech 1900 airliner.

Raise the roof of the Beech 1900 so people can stand up, get the Beech 1900D airliner.

So you might say the Beech 1900D isn’t a “new design” but it almost certainly doesn’t have a single component left in it from the Bonanza. Of course, all analogies between biology and machine design are basically creorobotic, but the point is that evolution works by the “incremental change” model, not the creationist “clean sheet of paper” model.

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…];f=14;t=7199

This thread is open and unused. It would be a fine place to discuss ‘clast.

I would suggest you put the relevant parts of your paper (if you don’t mind) or you could PM it to those interested (so it doesn’t break out on the web).

Then we could really discuss it and use graphs and pictures and such… unlike this comment only thread.

RBH said: Which is, of course,descent with modification, which is what evolution is.

Hey RBH, you’re pretty good about closing down threads that go on too long. I suggest this one is well into diminishing returns and needs to go to the ATBC?

We need to set up an “Athiestoclast” thread there. If he wants to be humored, no problem in humoring him.

Boy howdy, I went over to ATBC to set up an Atheistoclast thread and RBH had already beat me to it. Now THAT’s service!

mrg said: Hey RBH, you’re pretty good about closing down threads that go on too long. I suggest this one is well into diminishing returns and needs to go to the ATBC?

We need to set up an “Athiestoclast” thread there. If he wants to be humored, no problem in humoring him.

I set up such a thread here. I’ll close comments on PT and encourage folks to go there to continue.

Atheistoclast,

I get to call BS anyway.

You have developed your own inconsistent and contradictory definitions.

Atheistoclast said:

Rob said:

Atheistoclast,

What is your definition of information? Be specific.

What is your definition of data? Be specific.

If you offer no definitions, I call BS.

Data is a quantity of objects/symbols that can *represent* information but which may still contain no information.

This is because information is fundamentally a qualitative “substance”. It conveys something of value or utility as part of an exchange of communication.

For example, your hard drive may hold up to 100 Gigabits of data but it may nonetheless have no information content. It could just contain a random sequence of binary digits.

Likewise the nucleotides in DNA would be meaningless stretches of chemicals except for the fact that they are specifically arranged to convey *information* pertinent to the functionality of the cell.

The question is: who or what specified this information? It is crucial to the debate on evolutionary origins.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 14, 2011 9:32 AM.

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