The Nitty Gritty Bit

This essay is authored by Dr. Thomas D. Schneider. We thank Dr. Schneider for this guest contribution.

Intelligent Design advocates frequently state that living things are too complex to have evolved. This article shows how Claude Shannon’s information measure has been used as a well-regarded proxy for ‘complexity’ to predict the information that is required for a genetic control system to operate. This measure is called Rfrequency because it is computed from the frequency of binding sites in the genome for proteins that do the genetic control. Using information theory, we can also precisely measure the information in DNA sequences at the binding sites, a measure that is called Rsequence. In nature we observe that Rsequence is close to Rfrequency, which implies that Rsequence must have evolved towards Rfrequency. A model that you can run on your computer demonstrates this evolution, starting from no pattern in the binding sites and ending with the two measures being equal within the noise of the measurement. The amount of information evolved in the model is far more than the Intelligent Design claim can withstand. Given 2 billion years for evolution on this planet there was plenty of time to evolve the observed complexity.

The article is based on this paper . A web site accompanies the paper, giving many more details about the computer model and how to run it.

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