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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The question of information? Darwinism has no answer.


So...I gave any and all Darwinists a chance to answer the question of information within organisms. After several posts and dealing with their continual evasions I can say with conviction that they do not know. If they comment on this particular post and claim otherwise I invite you, in fact I implore you to read all the posts on Information on this blog and explore the comments threads as well. You will find a series of evasions, redirected questions and pontifications and ad hominem attacks but not one answer. So I hereby give up on this question because I have given them lots of time and rope and yet no answer.

You see, we see a set of stones like those at Stonehenge and we recognize something that is ordered. Now order is a sign of possible intelligence. No one thinks Stonehenge is the result of random rocks falling down into a particular order. Everyone recognizes that Stonehenge was designed.

Within the nucleus of the cell is DNA, a remarkable coding device filled with more information contained within the average early Microsoft computers, too small to see with your eyes and far more complex than an old set of Encyclopaedia Brittanicas and Darwinists expect you to believe it just happened. Now of course they have hemmed and hawed and failed to give us an explanation.

From a forward to Creation Rediscovered, by Gerard J. Keane

...by Professor Maciej Giertych, Phd, excerpted. The interesting point is that he was a believer in Darwinism until the argument came into his specialty and, when he studied the evidence, realized that Darwinism was not reflective of the science he understood and could defend. Doctor Giertych has authored well over 200 scientific papers and his many accomplishments are summarized below this excerpt:

"...If Evolution were proved in some field I was not familiar with, I understood the need to accommodate my field to this fact, to suggest explanations how it occurred in terms of genetics. But to claim that these attempted explanations are the primary evidence for the theory was quite unacceptable to me. I started reading the current literature on the topic of Evolution. Until then I was not aware how shaky the evidence for Evolution was, how much of what was "evidence" had to be discarded, how little new evidence had been accumulated over the years, and how very much ideas dominate facts. These ideas have become dogma, yet they have no footing in natural sciences. They stem from materialistic philosophies. My primary objection as a geneticist was to the claim that the formation of races, or microevolution, as it is often referred to, is a small scale example of macroevolution - the origin of species. Race formation is, of course, very well documented. All it requires is isolation of a part of a population. After a few generations, due to natural selection and genetic drift, the isolated population will irreversibly lose some genes, and thus, as long as the isolation continues, in some features it will be different from the population it arose from. In fact, we do this ourselves all the time when breeding, substituting natural with artificial selection and creating artificial barriers to generative mixing outside the domesticated conditions.

The important thing to remember here is that a race is genetically impoverished relative to the whole population. It has fewer alleles (forms of genes). Some of them are arranged into special, interesting, rare combinations. This is particularly achieved by guided recombination of selected forms in breeding work. But these selected forms are less variable (less polymorphic). Thus what is referred to as micro-evolution represents natural or artificial reduction of the gene pool. You will not get Evolution that way. Evolution means construction of new genes. It means increase in the amount of genetic information, and not reduction of it.
The evolutionary value of new races or selected forms should be demonstrable by natural selection. However, if allowed to mix with the general breeding population, new races will disappear. The genes in select combinations will disperse again; the domesticated forms will go wild. Thus there is no evidence for Evolution here.

Mutations figure prominently in the Evolution story. When in the early '60s I was starting breeding work on forest trees, everyone was very excited about the potential of artificial mutations. In many places around the world, special "cobalt bomb" centers were established to stimulate rates of mutations. What wonderful things were expected from increased variability by induced mutations. All of this work has long since been abandoned. It led nowhere. All that was obtained were deformed freaks, absolutely useless in forestry. Maybe occasionally some oddity could be of ornamental value, but never able to live on its own in natural conditions. A glance through literature on mutations outside forestry quickly convinced me that the pattern is similar everywhere. Mutations are either neutral or detrimental. Positive ones, if they do occur, are too rare to be noticeable. Stability in nature is the rule. We have no proofs for Evolution from mutation research.

It is sometimes claimed that strains of diseases resistant to antibiotics, or weeds resistant to herbicides, are evidence for positive mutations. This is not so. Most of the time, the acquired resistance is due to genetic recombination and not due to mutations. Where mutations have been shown to be involved, their role depends on deforming part of the genetic code, which results in a deformed, usually less effective protein that is no longer suitable for attachment by the harmful chemical.
Herbicides are "custom made" for attachability to a vital protein specific for the weed species, and they kill the plant by depriving the protein of its function when attached to it. A mutation that cancels attachability to the herbicide and does not totally deprive the protein of its function is in this case beneficial, since it protects the functionality of the protein. However this is at a price, since in fact the change is somewhat detrimental to normal life processes. At best it is neutral. There are many ways in which living systems protect functionality. This is one of them. Others include healing or eliminating deformed parts or organisms. Natural selection belongs here. So does the immunological adaptation to an invader. Of course such protective adaptations do not create new species, new kinds, new organs or biological systems. They protect what already exists, usually at a cost. Defects accumulate along the way.

Within the genome of a species, that is, in the molecular structure of its DNA, we find many recurrent specific nucleotide sequences, known as "repeats." Different ones occur in different species. If this variation (neutral as far as we know) arose from random mutations, it should be random. How then did the "repeats" come to be? If mutations are the answer, they could not have been random. In this context "genetic drive" is postulated, as distinct from "genetic drift." But Who or what does the driving? The empirical science of genetics knows only random mutations.


Currently there are new suggestions that molecular genetics provides evidence for Evolution. Analyses of DNA sequences in various species should show similarities between related ones and big differences between systematically far-removed species. They do exactly that. Molecular genetics generally confirms the accuracy of taxonomy. But at the same time, it does not confirm postulated evolutionary sequences. There are no progressive changes, say from fishes to amphibians, to reptiles to mammals. Molecular genetics confirms systematics, not phylogeny; Linnaeus, not Darwin.
No. Genetics has no proofs for Evolution. It has trouble explaining it. The closer one looks at the evidence for Evolution, the less one finds of substance. In fact, the theory keeps on postulating evidence and failing to find it, and moves on to other postulates (fossil missing links, natural selection of improved forms, positive mutations, molecular phylogenetic sequences, etc.).

This is not science.
A whole age of scientific endeavor was wasted searching for a phantom. It is time we stopped and looked at the facts! Natural sciences failed to supply any evidence for Evolution. Christian philosophy tried to accommodate this unproved postulate of materialist philosophies. Much time and intellectual effort went in vain, leading only to negative moral consequences. It is time those working in the humanities were told the truth. Gerard J. Keane is doing exactly that. In clear and simple language, he reviews the present status of the Evolution-Creation controversy. I am very happy to be able to recommend this book. Indeed, Creation Rediscovered by science comes to the rescue of Christianity."

Professor Maciej Giertych,
B.A., M.A. Oxon, Ph.D. Toronto, D.Sc. Poznan Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Dendrology, 62-035 Kornik, Poland

Copyright © 1999 by Gerard J. Keane, Tan Books and Publishers
Home Page Creation/Evolution Theotokos Catholic Books - Creation/Evolution Section - www.theotokos.org.uk

Bio for the Doctor:

Maciej Giertych was born on March 24th, 1936 in Warsaw, Poland. He received a bachelor's and master's degree at Oxford University after which he spent his next four years as a graduate student at the University of Toronto. Maciej Giertych defended his PhD thesis in 1962 at which point he returned to Poland and began research at the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1970, he obtained his habilitation degree in forest genetics at the Poznań Agricultural Academy. In 1981, he was nominated associate professor and in 1989 became a tenured professor in forestry.


Maciej Giertych was born on March 24th, 1936 in Warsaw, Poland. He received a bachelor's and master's degree at Oxford University after which he spent his next four years as a graduate student at the University of Toronto. Maciej Giertych defended his PhD thesis in 1962 at which point he returned to Poland and began research at the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1970, he obtained his habilitation degree in forest genetics at the Poznań Agricultural Academy. In 1981, he was nominated associate professor and in 1989 became a tenured professor in forestry. He has lectured as a visiting professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Toruń (1976-1993) and at the Faculties of Forestry in Poznań (1966-1969, 1996-2001), Warsaw (1969 - 1990), and Kraków (1998 - 2001).He served on the Forest Sciences Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences 1970-2007 and sat for two terms (1995-2000) on the Forestry Council of the Minister of Environment. He served on the editorial board of Silvae Genetica (1973-2001) and Annals of Forest Science (1990-2001). He authored 230 scientific papers. He represented Poland at the International Council of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) from 1986 to 1995.

# # #

While living in the UK and Canada, he was active in Polish émigré youth organisations. On return to Poland, he was active in consolidating traditionalists opposed to the communist system. He secretly distributed Polish-émigré right wing and conservative literature. He located unpublished historiosophical works of Feliks Koneczny, had them typed and transferred to his father in London to be published there. After 1989, they were republished in Poland.

From 1986 to 1990, he served as a member and vice-chairman of the Roman Catholic Primatical Council of Cardinal Glemp, the Primate of Poland. He sat on the Consultative Council of the Chairman of the State as an opponent to the Communist regime from 1986 to1989. On the invitation of Pope John Paul II, he participated as a lay observer in the Synod of Bishops in Rome on the role of the laity in the Church in October 1987.


Since 1990, he has been politically active in the reactivated National Party, a pre-World War II conservative party, and has served as the Chairman of its Supreme Council (1990-2002). He was elected to the parliament (Sejm) in Poland from the League of Polish Families party list in 2001. In June 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament.

Maciej Giertych is married to Antonina nee Jachnik and they have four children and twelve grandchildren.

44 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

After several posts and dealing with their continual evasions I can say with conviction that they do not know.

And I can say with conviction that you're wrong.

A population of Escherischia coli bred in isolation for close to twenty years acquired an ability that no E. coli cell had ever displayed before, either in that line of descent or any other. This is obviously an increase in genetic information.

A population of Italian wall-lizards, taken to an isolated island in 1971, developed the ability to eat and digest vegetation as well as their normal food of insects. Along the way they changed their head shape, their social behavior, and their gut anatomy. They developed a structure called a cecal valve in the gut which aids in digestion of leaves and other vegetable matter. The ancestral lizards didn't have cecal valves and couldn't eat leaves. The derived lizards do and can. This is, again, obviously an increase in genetic information.

New information enters the genome via novel mutations and other genetic changes. All of your complaining, dodging, illogic, and deception won't change that.

Hawkeye® said...

Jon Woolf,
As to your first example, I would bring your attention to the words of the good doctor in the article... "Mutations are either neutral or detrimental. Positive ones, if they do occur, are too rare to be noticeable. Stability in nature is the rule."

First, there is no proof that the mutation which occurred in the E. coli was a "positive" one.

Second, there is no proof that the mutation was in fact "spontaneous" (unless the sample was thoroughly isolated from gamma rays and cosmic radiation, etc).

Third, the conditions of storage may have in fact played some sort of role in the event.

Fourth, if this is the first reported case of an E. coli sample exhibiting never-before-seen characteristics, I would say that qualifies as "rare".

Which brings me to your second example of the lizards, which is a case of "adaptation". OK, so the organism adapts to its environment over time. There are not enough insects to eat, so they start eating vegetation (self-preservation instinct). The offspring are more adapted to their environment. So what? Were they not still lizards despite their new diet?

Adaptation does not explain macro-evolution. Did reptiles begin to fly because they were adapting to being constantly aloft in the atmosphere?

creeper said...

Hawkeye,

"As to your first example, I would bring your attention to the words of the good doctor in the article... "Mutations are either neutral or detrimental. Positive ones, if they do occur, are too rare to be noticeable. Stability in nature is the rule."

Rare? Yes. Too rare to be noticeable? From the perspective of a human looking over the course of a human lifespan, probably yes. But that doesn't mean it never occurs, and "rare" certainly fits in with the evolution of life having taken billions of years.

So not much of an argument against the theory of evolution here.

"First, there is no proof that the mutation which occurred in the E. coli was a "positive" one."

Since you put it in scare quotes, define what you mean by "positive" in this context.

"Second, there is no proof that the mutation was in fact "spontaneous" (unless the sample was thoroughly isolated from gamma rays and cosmic radiation, etc)."

Why would that need to be the case? Gamma rays and cosmic radiation occur in nature; why would they need to be excluded in such an experiment?

"Third, the conditions of storage may have in fact played some sort of role in the event."

Quite possibly. Did you have something specific in mind?

"Fourth, if this is the first reported case of an E. coli sample exhibiting never-before-seen characteristics, I would say that qualifies as "rare"."

a. E. coli hasn't been studied for that long.

b. "Rare" doesn't mean non-existent, and fits in perfectly with the rate of evolution confirmed by the fossil record.

... so I don't see much of a point here.

"Which brings me to your second example of the lizards, which is a case of "adaptation". OK, so the organism adapts to its environment over time. There are not enough insects to eat, so they start eating vegetation (self-preservation instinct). The offspring are more adapted to their environment. So what? Were they not still lizards despite their new diet?"

Sigh... since when is "information gain" identical to "change in taxonomic group"? This is simply an attempt to move goal posts (and a habitual one flogged by YECs)... and not a particularly ingenious one at that.

-- creeper

creeper said...

A remarkable case of projection.

"So...I gave any and all Darwinists a chance to answer the question of information within organisms. After several posts and dealing with their continual evasions I can say with conviction that they do not know. If they comment on this particular post and claim otherwise I invite you, in fact I implore you to read all the posts on Information on this blog and explore the comments threads as well."

I second Jon Woolf's comment above, but I also agree with Radar that readers should go through the previous posts and see the comment threads for themselves. Note how Radar continuously evaded the questions of his commenters, sidetracked readers with various analogies, but never provided a definition of genetic information that was germane to the discussion. Which of course allowed him to keep moving goalposts as we came at this from different angles.

Note in particular that scohen asked Radar at least four times where the gained information in genetic algorithms came from, and Radar was unable to answer.

And note that Radar was unable to address a number of examples of information gain by Jon Woolf.

Is anyone here at all surprised that Radar has to flee yet another discussion?

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Hawkeye wrote: "As to your first example, I would bring your attention to the words of the good doctor in the article... "

Hawkeye, you've obviously mistaken me for somebody who gives a damn about arguments from authority. I don't. On matters of science I believe the evidence, and logical reasoning based on the evidence, and nothing else. If the evidence says I'm wrong, then I change my position. But if the evidence says that I'm right, then no Dueling Quotes game is going to convince me otherwise.

In this case, the evidence says that beneficial mutations do happen, and they can and do increase the information content of the genome. As our esteemed host said only a few days ago: if actual observations tell you something that’s the opposite of your theory, change your theory.

Chaos Engineer said...

Adaptation does not explain macro-evolution. Did reptiles begin to fly because they were adapting to being constantly aloft in the atmosphere?

No, that would violate the laws of physics. They couldn't fly for very long unless they already had wings. Honestly, I can't believe I'm having to explain this!

They developed wings for some other reason, and the ability to fly short distances came as a side-effect. Once they could fly for short distances, the wings evolved flight-specific refinements that allowed them to fly for longer distances.

There's some speculation that wings evolved as "scoops" that insect-eating dinosaurs could use to catch food. When the wings got bigger, the dinosaurs got the ability to glide (like flying squirrels) and eventually fly.

This is all guesswork, but it makes sense and it's a lot more believable than those stories about flying dinosaurs being created by some kind of weird extra-dimensional energy being.

Wing trivia: Did you know that vertebrate wings evolved at least three different times?

We can tell this because of the way that wings are constructed. All vertebrates have limbs with more-or-less the same number of bones, but with varying lengths.

Birds have very small "finger" bones. Their wings are flaps of skin between the body and the large bones of the arm.

Bats have very long "fingers" and shorter arms. Their wings are flaps of skin between the fingers.

Pterodactyls and other extinct flying reptiles have a very long "fourth finger". Their wings are flaps of skin between the body, the arm, and the fourth finger. The other three fingers are short and show up as claws in the middle of the wing.

This is of course rock-solid proof that "intelligent design" is false. If it were true, then the designer would have picked the best wing design and used it for everything, or else randomly assigned wing designs to different groups of animals. (So we'd see birds with bat-like skeletons, and so on.)

radar said...

Two things...commenters bring up examples that once again do not fit the need. NEW information must be input into the organism to demonstrate that it ever has happened. The e coli example did not gain information. You all keep failing to meet the standard. I am confident a perusal of the posts will support my positions logically.

No one argues that organisms can change but they do so by processes designed by the Creator and none of you have ever demonstrated anything else happening.

Instead one of you goes on a long rambling and typical Darwinist just-so story about how things grew wings little by little. I suppose it is because they WANTED them? How do you explain that? You all sound like Michael Ruse saying over and over, "on the backs of crystals!"

As to God being forced to use the same design, that is foolish, and man does not do it either. Ford, Chrysler and GM use different brake mechanisms. Aircraft engineers have used all sorts of kinds of wings and tails in terms of shape and size. I could go on and on.

radar said...

Just for Mr. Woolf = That an organism does something you have never seen before does not mean it added information. Most often it has either lost information or had information transferred from another organism, which does not help the question of from whence it came. We are talking about microbiology now, down inside the cell level within the nucleus where the DNA lives and operates. No one knows how the remarkable DNA strand obtained its vast array of information and no one has ever observed new information being added to the organism at the level of the strand. Period.

radar said...

Finally, when you critique the Creator of the Universe and suggest He didn't know what He was doing when pterodactyl wings and bat wings and bird wings were designed, you are suggesting that your intellect is greater than that of God.

Many have gone down that road, claiming vestigal organs and junk DNA and slowly but surely they learn more and realize the error of their ways. I am not so foolish as to suggest that I am smarter than the Designer of all things. I find it odd that any of you would be so bold. I mean, considering the track record of those who have done it and been shown to be utterly in error...

creeper said...

"No one argues that organisms can change but they do so by processes designed by the Creator and none of you have ever demonstrated anything else happening."

Let's get a few things straight:

1. We do know, thanks to the fossil record, that organisms have evolved quite substantially over time, sometimes in very non-linear ways.

Whether the evolution that took place is due to processes that involve a creator or not, we don't know.

We do know that the theory of evolution happens not to require a creator, though it doesn't exclude the possibility of one. And it is compatible with the notion of God having created life at the outset, which is no doubt why people of different faiths have no problem accepting the theory of evolution.

But for evolution to have taken place the way it has (and the fact that it has is not something that is up to any reasonable doubt at this point - the complete and utter failure of YEC to present any reasonable, demonstrable mechanism that explains the layering of fossils is an embarrassing testament to the inadequacy that lies at the heart of the YEC model), it is difficult to hypothesize that it only involves loss of information and never any information gain. Radar, while you've presented a series of hypothetical arguments and claims that information has been lost, you haven't been able to present a single concrete example of this, nor any explanation of how such a claim would be compatible with the evolution of organisms as we know it from the fossil record.

2. It has never been demonstrated that the processes are designed by the creator or that the creator has a hand in evolution taking place. That evolution can take place without any evidence of the creator's involvement has. You claim otherwise, but have no more than the claim itself. If all information was included in every kind/baramin from the beginning, then what kind of testable predictions does that lead to? What would DNA look like? What would we expect to see in the fossil record?

Maybe that's something these "creation scientists" can sink their teeth into one of these days.

The fact that they don't should tell you something...

-- creeper

radar said...

It is time to leave the toys of Darwinism behind and understand, as Aristotle inherently realized, that there is intelligence behind the design that is what we see in every aspect of scientific study.

Bill Gates of Microsoft once commented about how cells were like computers with the exception that the programming within DNA was far more complex than anything Microsoft had ever written...not remembering his exact words but the point is there.

Anthony Flew, famous atheist, came over to the ID and God side in 2004 when he came to the end of himself in examining the teleological aspects of naturalism. Naturalism has no answer for design and in fact it would expect to encounter chaos, such chaos that man could not trust his senses nor count on any system to work the same way more than once if at all.

Those of you who read these comments see the paucity and childishness of the Darwinist arguments? It is the last stand of a hypothesis that is taking a few last breaths, holding on with all force and will and rancor against the inevitable end.

creeper said...

"Finally, when you critique the Creator of the Universe and suggest He didn't know what He was doing when pterodactyl wings and bat wings and bird wings were designed, you are suggesting that your intellect is greater than that of God. "

Radar,

as Jon pointed out earlier, arguments from authority really aren't all that impressive. Even less so if the very existence of said authority is something that the people you are talking to don't necessarily take on board. I can't speak for the other commenters here, but I happen to think that God doesn't exist.

When you tell me that questioning the way this alleged creator went about his business is insulting to God's intellect, I keep in mind that this is the same hypothetical supernatural entity that engaged in genocidal turf wars among his creations and that saw the need to invent the history of the Universe in advance, encode that into light rays and other radiation and put those rays into place throughout the Universe - all because he committed the blunder of not making the speed of light instantaneous, which according to your mythology was part of his skill set.

This particular "blunder" tells us at least one thing about this alleged creator, should he actually exist:

He is utterly unpredictable. Given a particular design problem, he may choose the most elegant route, or he may choose the most utterly bass-ackwards least efficient route.

And that's a substantial problem when you're actually looking for evidence of this particular designer. Because the more you look at this designer (and especially when you take Occam's Razor into the equation), the more implausible he looks - even more so in the YEC model. He is so utterly unpredictable that we can't draw any conclusions about him.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Instead one of you goes on a long rambling and typical Darwinist just-so story about how things grew wings little by little. I suppose it is because they WANTED them? How do you explain that?"

Good grief, Radar, do you really not understand the very basics of natural selection? Now you're just being intentionally obtuse.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Those of you who read these comments see the paucity and childishness of the Darwinist arguments? It is the last stand of a hypothesis that is taking a few last breaths, holding on with all force and will and rancor against the inevitable end."

If that were the case, why is it that you have to engage in so much dishonesty and obfuscation?

Remind me of the explanation YEC provides for the sorting of fossils in the fossil record.

Or the explanation YEC provides for the decay of radioactive materials on our planet.

Or for the hundreds of thousands of ice core layers.

No doubt you'll pretend you've answered these questions (but conveniently can't find the links) or find a way to belittle them, but for you to claim that mainstream science is on its last legs is just hubris.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Chaos Engineer wrote: "There's some speculation that wings evolved as "scoops" that insect-eating dinosaurs could use to catch food. "

Right, this is the 'ground-up' or 'cursorial' hypothesis of bird origins. The basic origin of feathers is fairly clear: they evolved first as an insulative down. Then some theropods evolved long arm and tail feathers as an insulative cover for use in brooding their eggs. At that point, the two competing ideas diverge. The cursorial hypothesis is as you described it. The competing 'glider' or 'trees-down' hypothesis says that some small arboreal theropods found that their brooding-feathers also made a moderately useful gliding surface, something like a flying squirrel. After that, natural selection tended to improve both the airfoil features of the arm-feathers, and the flight stroke of the arm and shoulder.

Radar wrote: "NEW information must be input into the organism to demonstrate that it ever has happened."

Again you beg the question by assuming that new information must enter from outside. This assumption is false. When you use a biologically-appropriate definition of "information," such as "useful genetic material," it becomes clear that biological information can arise spontaneously. And has.

"No one knows how the remarkable DNA strand obtained its vast array of information..."

Not true. I know exactly how it happened. If you were willing to listen, I could even describe the process for you.

"...and no one has ever observed new information being added to the organism at the level of the strand."

Also not true. Several examples have already been presented. Many more are available -- the origin of venom in snakes, the evolving toxicity of Crotalus sp. in the American Southwest, etc. The problem is, we all know you can't accept any of those examples, because doing so would neatly breach your little Maginot Line against evolutionary theory.

Though I would love to know how you could explain both the loss of venom in ancestral snakes, and the polyphyletic reappearance of venom in derived snakes, as "a loss of information." Under what system of finite mathematics can you subtract 1 twice and end with the same number you started with?

radar said...

scohen knows that in this chess game he is about three moves from being checkmated. His program that supposedly proves Darwinism is a written program. In other words, the program actually does the reverse and proves if anything that intelligence must be from design.

As to the rest of you, are you holding to mutation driven by natural selection as the engine that drives Darwinian evolution?

You would not answer my other question but you ought to be able to answer that one.

creeper said...

"scohen knows that in this chess game he is about three moves from being checkmated. His program that supposedly proves Darwinism is a written program. In other words, the program actually does the reverse and proves if anything that intelligence must be from design."

Radar, aside from the logic fail of your conclusion ("proves if anything that intelligence must be from desigh") you just appear incapable of understanding the basic argument here.

As I explained before, it's an analogous process. All you appear capable of focusing on is the fact that it is an analogous process. It's as if you're looking at a lab experiment and only appear capable on focusing on the manufacturer of the petri dish instead of the pertinent processes going on in the petri dish.

What is going on in the petri dish in this case, Radar? Can you wrap your head around that basic notion? Because you'd have to do that before you can even begin to think about what is being discussed here.

Did the programmers of the genetic algorithm program the designs of antennae that resulted in the end? No, they absolutely did not.

Yet information amounting to antenna designs emerged as a result. Where did the information come from?

Think about it. Far from scohen being three moves from being check-mated, he already check-mated you on this question some time ago, but you've been unable to see it or too proud to acknowledge it.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"As to the rest of you, are you holding to mutation driven by natural selection as the engine that drives Darwinian evolution?"

Yes, of course. One fact-free argument from authority is hardly going to make a difference.

"You would not answer my other question but you ought to be able to answer that one."

Which other question?

-- creeper

scohen said...

"scohen knows that in this chess game he is about three moves from being checkmated."

This isn't chess. We're playing checkers and you're playing hide and seek.

" His program that supposedly proves Darwinism"

For the love of all things big and small, It doesn't PROVE DARWINISM, it shows that information can arise from randomness. On numerous occasions, you have said that natural selection amounts to nothing more than "blind chance", and here we have an example of a program modeled after natural selection that is anything but blind. In fact, it surpassed anything our engineers could create by about 7%.

"the program actually does the reverse and proves if anything that intelligence must be from design."

Next you're going to argue that it actually decreased the amount of information in the initial bit-strings.

radar said...

scohen, you are talking about a program that was intelligently designed by people.

Now, if that just appeared by blind chance and began working or you have records of it building itself after many years from an original simple program that began when lightning struck a pile of garbage out back of your house, then you can proclaim it as evolution.

But when a program is designed to do something and it does it, it therefore mimics what God did. Hurray, you have intelligently designed a program!

If you cannot or will not understand that then you are simply willfully blind.

Jon Woolf said...

But when a program is designed to do something and it does it, it therefore mimics what God did.

Impressive, Radar. When did you convert to being a theistic-evolutionist?

That's what you just said, you know. God Created life, then it changed by evolution.

scohen said...

"scohen, you are talking about a program that was intelligently designed by people."

I brought up the program specifically to address your question about information. You said that the information itself has to be designed or be the product of design.
Yet here we have a program that provides a framework for randomness to yield what you term 'information' in a context provided by the program.

Hypothetically speaking, say that the first life on earth was designed by an advanced alien race (the anulli) that itself was created by Bowalush the destroyer, who in living up to s/her name destroyed s/herself shortly after s/he created the anulli.

The anulli built in a simple framework for self replication and life and variation, but due to engineering errors it wasn't perfect. This life is then subject to variation (due to random mistakes, environmental factors and sex) and selection (due to the environment).
So, despite being 'intelligently designed' by the anulli, the framework continues to operate for billions of years and we get a huge variety of life.

Do you see how the framework (natural selection) is distinct from the initial start of life ( design by the anulli) in this completely hypothetical and not-so-serious example?

Back to the genetic algorithm:
You said that information has to have an intelligent source but in this case the information is created as a byproduct of the program. Yes, the program was designed but it merely provides a framework for selecting towards beneficial information.

In short, there's no intelligence in the algorithm, it's merely a catalyst for information to grow without intelligent guidance (which you said was impossible).

radar said...

Woolf guy, your opinion is that natural selection is a sufficient proof of Darwinism and we have settled that you believe that. I find it hard to believe that scohen does not see what I am saying. When you design something to be able to morph so to speak it obeys the programming. God made animals with the ability to adjust to environments and they have changed quite a bit, most of them. But I assert that all the animals were made fully formed and I will give another reason why very soon, now that you have all agreed that:

You do not know where the information came from

You believe natural selection and mutation drive the development of one creature into another and is sufficient cause for a hypothesized single cell creature being the first in a long line of evolved creatures that now exist.

Does that pretty well sum it up?

radar said...

In short, there's no intelligence in the algorithm, it's merely a catalyst for information to grow without intelligent guidance (which you said was impossible).

Counterintuitive. The program was designed to operate in this way and so all products of the program come from the initial design which required intelligence to think up and produce. If I say I am taking one third of a pie and a math major says that number is .333 with a line over it that extends infinitely have I just created a perpetual motion machine? Does that string of threes keep on going? Are they even in existence?

You can play games with semantics. But the program was intelligently designed and the products of that program are in obedience to the programming.

creeper said...

Radar, you just don't get it. You're still looking at the petri dish, not what's inside it.

If the programmers had put in a variety of antenna designs and it spat out one of those antenna designs, then you'd have an approximation of the set of circumstances that you're proposing: all the information is there to begin with, and some of it is discarded. And in that case, the designs themselves would be the product of intelligent design.

But that's not the case here. The designs themselves came as a complete surprise to the creators of the algorithm. They didn't create the design. That information came from somewhere else.

What you're failing to understand is that the antenna designs were not there to begin with. The programmers did not put them there.

The program is the result of conscious design, but the antennae are not.

That's the crucial difference.

Having seen you play obtuse many times before, I suspect your pride prevents you from indicating that you understand this now, but come on, Radar, it's really not that hard to get.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Quite right, creeper. Here's another way to say the same thing:

A Genetic Algorithm can produce new and more efficient engineering designs (or any other kind of output) even though the programmer who wrote the program knew absolutely nothing about engineering.

Radar:
Does that pretty well sum it up?

No, it does not. I do know where the information in the genome came from.

creeper said...

"The program was designed to operate in this way and so all products of the program come from the initial design which required intelligence to think up and produce."

Can we take it from this that you do understand that there is an increase in information between the initial design and the final, improved design?

-- creeper

scohen said...

"I find it hard to believe that scohen does not see what I am saying. When you design something to be able to morph so to speak it obeys the programming."

Not too put too fine a point on it, but maybe it's because I understand the issue a lot better than you do.

This is a case where the programmers had NO IDEA what would be produced in the end. Furthermore, there is no way to even *predict* what would happen. You can't "reason" about Genetic Algorithms.

"The program was designed to operate in this way and so all products of the program come from the initial design"

This is a clear indication that you're not understanding something. Oh dear.

Jon Woolf:
A Genetic Algorithm can produce new and more efficient engineering designs (or any other kind of output) even though the programmer who wrote the program knew absolutely nothing about engineering.

Yes! Yes! Absolutely!

I could have easily written the program for the antennas, though a domain expert would need to be consulted for the fitness function.

Furthermore, by changing the only the fitness function, the SAME PROGRAM could be applied to other, non-related problems.

radar said...

Genetic Algorithms (there must be some irony that Al Gore is in there somewher) and Heuristics are familiar to me. You seem to think that the fact that man has made a somewhat crude model of the workings of natural selection on organisms has proven Darwinism when it has done the opposite.

First of all, the idea mimics the exterior portion of the working of genetic materials within organisms in relationship to their environments. So people have copied God. We have studied birds to learn more about flight and fish to learn more about moving through water. Micro engineers study microscopic motors. Computer specialists are trying to find a way to write code similar to DNA and/or use organic materials to store more information in smaller containers.

So you have shown us that God is a great engineer and you are able to make crude copies of what he does. Congratulations! However, the inner workings of the cell and the reproductive process are far more complex than you know and more complex than I have shared with you thus far...but that will change.

Anonymous said...

However, the inner workings of the cell and the reproductive process are far more complex than you know and more complex than I have shared with you thus far...but that will change.

Kids, kids...Gather round uncle radar as he prepares to tell you a tale of amazement and wonder...


lava

scohen said...

"Genetic Algorithms...and Heuristics are familiar to me."

fantastic! Would you do me the favor of comparing the information content of the bit vectors on program initialization and their information content on completion?

For a non programmer I'm surprised you're familiar with such esoteric knowledge.

Jon Woolf said...

You seem to think that the fact that man has made a somewhat crude model of the workings of natural selection on organisms has proven Darwinism when it has done the opposite.

You seem to think that the point of bringing up genetic algorithms was to prove Darwinism. It was not. The point of bringing up genetic algorithms was to demonstrate that your definition of "information" is invalid, and your claim that information can't arise without an intelligent source is simply wrong.

Although, in fact genetic algorithms go further than that. They simulate the evolutionary process very accurately indeed. The output produced by a genetic algorithm often bears little or no relation to what we humans think it "should be." Sometimes they produce an astoundingly good design. Other times, they produce a design that accomplishes the objective, but in a way that no rational engineer would use because it's unstable, or insufficiently redundant, or violates one or more of the thousand and one other rules that bloody experience has taught engineers they need to observe.

Much like the living world that we see all around us, which also has many examples of good structures, a few examples of dazzlingly great structures, and also a lot of examples of very bad structures. Did you know, for example, that a dolphin's metabolism runs so hot that overheating is a serious concern for it -- even when it's swimming in 50-degree water? That a snake literally can't stop swallowing a prey animal once it starts, so that snakes can die (and many have) from eating something too big for their gut to hold?

radar said...

No, there is not an increase in information per se, there is a continuation of output. If I divide 2 by seven I get a long continuing number that goes on apparently into infinity. Or, how about the halting problem, a staple of information theory? Just because you use intelligence and information to create a program and you get output, it does not mean the output itself is new information but rather it is the result of the information input into the design of the program.

No intelligent source, no program, no design, no antenna. How hard is that to understand?

Apparently, you do not wish to understand?

radar said...

Also we have known for at least a year that mutation is not as simple as Darwinists would claim. I will expand on that soon.

scohen said...

"No, there is not an increase in information per se, there is a continuation of output"

The sound you just heard was my jaw hitting the floor.

So when you said that you understood GA, that was a lie then. What on earth compelled you to lie about computer science to a guy with a degree in Computer Science? Did you honestly think you could fake your way through this?

I suspected that you understanding of GA solely consisted of reading the wikipedia page, but the above statement plus your non-sequitur about the halting problem indicates to me that you don't understand GAs at all.

2/7 is *not* what you get at the end of a GA when it works. There's a fundamental difference between an infinite series ( and 2/7 repeats) and the end result of a genetic algorithm. Figuring out the difference might help you understand why you're so wrong on this.

Wow, even for you that was a very weak answer.

radar said...

scohen, I must be more blunt. I have been kind but frankly when someone calls me a liar and then lies himself the time comes to draw the line. To say that GA produces information is wrong. It is a program that obeys programming.

GA is part of a program intelligently designed by men. It is a program. If they did not write it and use information to do so it would not exist. I know it and you know it.

The outcome with a GA is ‘pre-ordained’. Evolution is by definition purposeless, so no computer program that has a pre-determined goal can simulate it—period. This is blatantly true of Dawkins’ ‘weasel’ program, where the selection of each letter sequence is determined entirely on its match with the pre-programmed goal sequence (see further reading below). That GAs are not valid simulations of evolution because of this fundamental problem has been acknowledged by experts. There are all sorts of problems with GA. The biggest is the that people lie about what they are and what they do.

radar said...

To sum it all up, and this reminds me a bit of Dawkins and his "Weasel" program, you Darwinists will grasp at straws rather than stand on solid science.

To quote a member of the Gene Emergence Project, Don Abel:

"GAs are nothing more than multiple layers of abstract conceptual engineering. Like language, we may start with a random phase space of alphabetical symbols. But no meaning or function results without deliberate and purposeful selection of letters out of that random phase space."

Jesus told the Pharisees they would "swallow a camel and strain at a gnat." So too will Darwinists, who write a program and then claim it proves that information does not come from intelligent sources. Since Darwinists wrote the program, maybe that IS true.

What garbage, scohen, I thought maybe you would at least think about it but you are no different from Dawkins and Myers and the rest. You will cling to your assumptions like they were your very breath.

radar said...

Woolf, you may remember that medical science used to consider the appendix to be a bad design component and now know better. Maybe you think you know how to design creatures better than God does but it is unlikely that you have the overview to approach that task. Considering that God made baramin some 6500 years ago and they are still whirring away, rapidly adapting when necessary, staying the same if not. I have to say He did pretty well. After all, He made you. Or is that another complaint?

creeper said...

To accuse someone of lying, you'd have to demonstrate that they knowingly spoke an untruth. In this case you're not even clearing the hurdle of demonstrating that scohen spoke an untruth to begin with. You disagree with him, but are chickening out on backing up your own claims. A poor way to present your argument - jumping to the conclusion that you've already demonstrated your point...

"To say that GA produces information is wrong."

You didn't answer this previous question: "Can we take it from this that you do understand that there is an increase in information between the initial design and the final, improved design?"

Answer please. Because it appears you don't even understand this much to begin with.

"It is a program that obeys programming."

Again, this key distinction escapes you: "The program is the result of conscious design, but the antennae are not."

I was extremely dubious from the beginning, when you proclaimed that you "understand information". The usual hubris at work.

"GA is part of a program intelligently designed by men. It is a program. If they did not write it and use information to do so it would not exist. I know it and you know it."

You appear completely blind to the fact that both randomness and selection are featured in the GA.

"The outcome with a GA is ‘pre-ordained’."

No, the outcome is not pre-ordained. What is pre-ordained is that there will be an outcome of some kind, not what the outcome will be. Kinda like evolution.

"Evolution is by definition purposeless, so no computer program that has a pre-determined goal can simulate it—period."

And since GAs do not have pre-determined goals, they can simulate evolution.

"This is blatantly true of Dawkins’ ‘weasel’ program, where the selection of each letter sequence is determined entirely on its match with the pre-programmed goal sequence (see further reading below)."

Dawkins's weasel program was a vastly simplified example of a fitness function for illustrative purposes. GAs don't have the final result stored in them and compare the random output until it matches this pre-ordained result. Even if you knew next to nothing about GAs, you would at least know this much.

But you don't.

"That GAs are not valid simulations of evolution because of this fundamental problem has been acknowledged by experts."

Link?

"There are all sorts of problems with GA. The biggest is the that people lie about what they are and what they do."

Wow, that's quite an allegation. You're assuming that you're right and people with a lot more experience in the field (and no, just because you sell software doesn't make you an expert in information theory any more than someone working in a pet store is a qualified vet) are wrong, and because you disagree, they must be liars and present "garbage" -

- even as you are clearly struggling with some very basic concepts (equating GAs with algebra) and evading the most basic questions.

Start with this one: do you understand that there is an increase in information between the initial input and the final, improved design?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"First of all, the idea mimics the exterior portion of the working of genetic materials within organisms in relationship to their environments. So people have copied God."

What they've done is simulate randomness + natural selection. If you want to call that God that's fine, but as Jon pointed out earlier, that would make you a theistic evolutionist.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Considering that God made baramin some 6500 years ago and they are still whirring away, rapidly adapting when necessary, staying the same if not."

Oh really? So how come the dinosaurs all kicked the bucket in 2348 BC?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"medical science used to consider the appendix to be a bad design component and now know better"

It has some uses (as can certainly be the case with vestigial organs), but that doesn't mean it can't also be a bad design component.

-- creeper

scohen said...

You know radar, your outrage and insinuations would mean so much more if you knew the first thing about programming in general or genetic algorithms in particular.

Your dishonesty is manifest in the fact that you cannot admit that the algorithm creates information.Please, Radar, don't embarrass yourself and compare Genetic Programming to Dawkins's weasel program, they're fundamentally different, and if I need to explain to you *why* then you're even worse off than before.

I wonder, why is it so hard for you to admit you don't know something? Genetic algorithms are esoterica even in the field of CS, and not being an expert in CS, you're totally forgiven for not knowing them. Yet, you claim to be knowledgeable in them and say stuff like a genetic algorithm is "a program that obeys programming", which is so plainly *wrong* that it betrays your lack of knowledge.

Can you imagine if I professed myself as an expert in the Bible? You'd eviscerate me in seconds! Yet, for some odd reason you think that you can somehow fool someone who is versed in computer science when you have *no formal training*.

Your arrogance is showing.

"The outcome with a GA is ‘pre-ordained’."

Completely and utterly false. False with a capital F. Utter falsity. Oh my goodness this is false. Seriously, you expect me to respect your opinions on GAs when you say something as silly as this?

If GAs were pre-ordained, then you could reason about them. I have previously said that reasoning about GAs isn't possible and they fail quite often. In fact, not only is GA not pre-ordained, but this statement is silly for someone who is aware of (though obviously not groking) the halting problem. If program the output of program X were pre-ordained, then the halting problem wouldn't exist.
BASIC CS FAIL.

Next you're going to tell me that you've proven P=NP.

"...GAs are not valid simulations of evolution"

I never claimed they were. I merely claimed that GAs are a great way for a non-intelligent process to produce information.

I'm getting the strange feeling that I've said all this before.

Jon Woolf said...

radar wrote: Evolution is by definition purposeless,

This is another misconception, which even some evolution-defenders fall prey to.

It's true that evolution has no long-term purpose. However, it's also true that evolution has a very clearly defined short-term purpose: to optimize the fit between a population and its environment, and as a consequence, optimize the population's odds of survival.

Which is why Genetic Algorithms work, and why they do effectively simulate evolution. A GA is given a short-term goal: optimize the functionality of item or process A according to fitness function F(). Sometimes no optimal form is available and the GA gets stuck up a dead end, or in an endless loop. Sometimes an optimal form is available, but the GA takes a wrong turn early on and gets stuck. And sometimes an optimal form is available and the GA manages to find it.

The evolutionary process works in precisely the same way.

Radar also wrote: Also we have known for at least a year that mutation is not as simple as Darwinists would claim. I will expand on that soon.

I look forward to reading that, since evolutionary biologists have long suspected that mutation was far more complex than what we were all taught in high school biology. And in recent years that suspicion has been borne out by the discovery of transposons, introns, exons, plasmids, ERVs, and more.

Finally, Radar wrote: Considering that God made baramin some 6500 years ago and they are still whirring away, rapidly adapting when necessary, staying the same if not.

[snicker.wav] You might want to talk to the endemic birds of Guam about that. If you can find any after their populations were devastated by invasive Australian brown snakes.

Same for ibis and storks that nest in the Everglades, and are being battered by invasive Burmese pythons.

Likewise for the whales that are at the brink of extinction because even after being almost wiped out by whaling, they still reproduce excruciatingly slowly, one calf per female every three to four years.