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  Topic: Information. ID versus non-ID< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 36
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2003,16:56   

I started a separate thread to keep the original thread about survival of the least appetizing on track per suggestion of Irving.
Irving suggested that Noel was looking for a real demonstration but I believe the issue was

Those who want Darwinism to be true must demonstrate that random incremental change and selection can increase information.

And ev and others have shown that in principle mutation and natural selection are sufficient to increase information in the genome. Experiments in real life are more complicated but SELEX experiments are the next step to show that in 'real life' mutations and selection can be shown to increase information in the genome.

Hi Noel,

you state


Those who want Darwinism to be true must demonstrate that random incremental change and selection can increase information. Should they be able to do this, which is doubtful, it still does not follow that everyone would opt for their explanation.
That is a very simple demonstration and various experiments and simulations have shown that this is indeed the case
ev: Evolution of Biological Information


The ev model quantitatively addresses the question of how life gains information, a valid issue recently raised by creationists [32] (Truman, R. (1999), but only qualitatively addressed by biologists [33]. The mathematical form of uncertainty and entropy implies that neither can be negative, but a decrease in uncertainty or entropy can correspond to information gain, as measured here by Rsequenceand Rfrequency. The ev model shows explicitly how this information gain comes about from mutation and selection, without any other external influence, thereby completely answering the creationists
Evolution of Biological Complexity


In order to make a case for or against a trend in the evolution of complexity in biological evolution, complexity needs to be both rigorously defined and measurable. A recent information-theoretic (but intuitively evident) definition identifies genomic complexity with the amount of information a sequence stores about its environment. We investigate the evolution of genomic complexity in populations of digital organisms and monitor in detail the evolutionary transitions that increase complexity. We show that because natural selection forces genomes to behave as a natural ``Maxwell Demon'', within a fixed environment genomic complexity is forced to increase.
In fact as I have argued elsewhere, the fourth law of thermodynamics as proposed by Dembski is imho nothing more than a reformulation of the second law of thermodynamics for a closed system. When realizing that in open systems, entropy can decrease/information can increase and that in evolution it is the environment which infuses information into the genome through selection, and we realize that information increase is not that hard to realize.


Others have comment on this
Victor J. Stenger and Here

found via this link

Adrian L. Melott

Common objections are that ev somehow smuggled in information and although noone really seems to have shown that there is any smuggling done, increase of information of course requires 'smuggling in information' just as selection 'smuggles in' information from the environment into the genome.
I would be interested in any evidence that the information was pre-coded.


Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2003,18:16   

If you get an IDist to give you a non-question-begging definition of information, let us know...


Posts: 69
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2003,22:38   

Noel seems to be jumping the gun, IMO.  If we assume that "information" in this case is what Dembski would call Complex Specified Information (CSI), then I think we all must wait for that first piece of evidence showing that any facet of life (or nature, for that matter) actually possesses, or is described by, CSI.  As things stand at the present, there is no evidence that CSI exists, and plenty of data that shows that life is devoid of CSI.

If there is no CSI, then there is nothing for RM&NS to "create".

Edited by Art on Jan. 11 2003,22:38


Posts: 36
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2003,15:41   


I notice that you still have not identified how and where Tom Schneider used teleology to gain a specific result. In fact you seem to confuse the hypothesis formulated by Tom with the experiment to support or disprove the hypothesis. His hypothesis was that random mutations and selection could explain the observed Rfreq. But did he code this into his program? Of course not.

That no matter what initial condition this goal is always reached is an example of robustness but was this goal programmed into the program? Roger has failed so far to show that this is indeed the case. In fact if Roger had read the pages I referenced he would have found that different initial conditions and runs lead to different outcomes.

The ev program was run repeatedly to 2000 generations starting with 100 different random seeds. The lowest observed final information content was 2.3 bits and the highest was 5.2 bits, with a mean of 3.8 0.5 bits. Duplicate runs occured 7% of the time. These duplicates do not affect any conclusions, but they do suggest that the random number generator is not the best. Despite this, the program invariably gave a significant information increase. From the observed values, we can determine that the probability of a return to zero information is 1.5 x 10-14 (7.6 standard deviations).

Fitness was not defined as a future goal, if you had read Ev's manual and the accompagnying papers you would have realized that the fitness function is dependent only on time t. Your claim that teleology or an intelligent selector is being used fails to show that 1. teleology is actually been used, in fact the opposite seems to be the case 2. that intelligence is a requirement for the selector.

As far as Rossum's claims, he seems to be correct. Dembski does allow algorithms to generate information and Dembski does allow that EA's can 'transfer' CSI. But similarly to EA's being probability amplifiers, human intelligences functions as probability amplifiers as well. Dembski's claim that in a Closed system CSI can only decrease seems to be correct after all his 4th law seems to be nothing more than a reformulation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. But once he allows the system to be open such as through an intelligent designer OR through a natural designer, complex specified information can increase in both cases.
What part of Rossum's response do you doubt?

So far you have failed to show where in the program Schneider used teleology. Your argument so far confuses hypothesis with the program, suggests that contrary to fact the fitness is with respect to future and seems unaware of the fact that the outcome of the experiment is NOT the same always.

I suggest that you read the relevant papers and pages that deal with Schneider's program before you accuse him of something you cannot even support.


Posts: 36
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2003,11:55   

“And ev and others have shown that in principle mutation and natural selection are sufficient to increase information in the genome.”—Frances

But this is not in dispute, is it?

But it is, if you check out the works of the more vocal ID proponents it seems that the claim that evolution cannot increase information is quite prevalent. Phillip Johnson reviving the 'specter of Spetner' comes to mind as a good example.

I do not understand why you have such a hard time seeing the information increase in Schneider's experiments or Adami's experiments. It is a relatively straightforward calculation that shown that Shannon information increases during the experiment. You claim that the experiment is 'to match a target sequence'. That statement by itself suggests that you have not carefully read the work and the programs involved since there is no 'target' to match a particular sequence. It saddens me to see time after time Schneider's work be 'attacked' or misrepresented in this manner.

So once again: Show where in the program the object is to match a target sequence or the value of its information content.


This information, the target Rfreq, a population, recognizer, etc., etc., altogether must constitute some ponderable amt of information. What happened to the “zero information” we were going to begin with? Is any of this information, other than Rfreq, measured precisely by the experimenter?

Please explain the relevance of the target R_freq as it applies to the program, what lines of code do you consider enforce this target, what relevance does population or target recognizer or etc etc have other than to distract from the simple point that you still have not indicated any relevant objection. The information content of the genome is zero, that is random at t=t_t0. What other objections do you have that are relevant to the experiment? Schneider is modeling a biological system in an abstract way.

The final comment that there is teleology involved due to the fact that the experiment was to set out to see if R_seq can match R_freq shows a clear example of equivocation and irrelevancy.

Lets focus on this clearly visible 'smuggling' of information per suggestion of Janitor: Where was the information clearly inserted, support your claims with references to the programming code and show that they are relevant.

To give a few hints to show that Janitor is wrong:

there is no preset target to which R_seq has to evolve, in fact the experiments show that it varies significantly. When removing selection, R_seq does not change much so if it were population that played a role in inserting information, removing selection should not have made a difference. As for the etc. etc. without details of objections, one may just wonder about their relevance to the discussion.

So far people seem to object to Schneider's experiment but they seem to be a bit unfamiliar with the details etc etc :-)

As far as the dispute of complex specified information, Dembski was the one to raise the issue that Schneider had claimed that he had shown that CSI could increase through natural means.


As an example of smuggling in complex specified information that is purported to be generated for free, consider the work of Thomas Schneider. Schneider heads a laboratory of experimental and computational biology at the National Cancer Institute.


Dembski seems to agree that CSI was generated, he just considers the CSI to have been smuggled in.

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