How do creationists define "information"?

From an answer posted earlier:

"They know that they must rely on some other process to create the required new information, because the evolution story demands it. 'Once upon a time, it says, there was a world of living creatures with no lungs. Then the information for lungs somehow arose, but feathers were nowhere in the world--later these arose too.' But the bottom line is that natural selection, by itself, is powerless to create. It is a process of 'culling', of choosing between several things which must first be in existence. There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this."

Is it...

1. Increased genetic variety in a population? It's been observed.

2. Increased genetic material? It's been observed.

3. Novel genetic material? It's been observed.

4. Novel genetically-regulated abilities? It's been observed.

5. Something else? How is it defined?

Please try to answer the question, not change the subject. Thank you.

(citations for 1-4 available upon request; I didn't want to clutter the question).

12 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Nice question. Not a lot of people making clear choices from the menu so far. Shocking, I know.

    Interior Castle wrote: “How can a different part of the cell encode for the same information that the symport and antiport membrane transport mechanisms decode for -- when the organelle came from outside the cell.”

    Response: You do realize many of the original mitochondrial genes have transferred to the nuclear genome, right? http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcg...

    Martin S wrote: “When considering how to define information you have to realize that information is only information when it means something to someone.”

    Response: And there’s your problem! You’ve established a definition according to which DNA can only carry “information” if God exists (given that no one else knew the DNA code until the early 1960’s). What you haven’t done is establish that DNA must meet that definition of “information”. As far as is evident, the only “information” in DNA is the kind that allows variations in that molecule to produce corresponding variations in an end product (the protein or RNA or phenotypic trait). Similarly, variations in rainfall up in the mountains can produce variations in the silt layer at the mouth of the river. Changing wind patterns out in the ocean can move the wrack line on a distant beach. A rock comes loose from a cliff-face up there, and ends up down here. In each of those examples a passing intelligent person might be able to discern things about the initial conditions from changes at the endpoint, but those endpoint changes still occur, and are specified by the initial conditions, regardless of whether the intelligent person is there or not. Sequence variation in DNA specifies, through a series of intervening chemical reactions, the amino acid sequence in a protein. There is no requirement that the code mean something to someone.

    Martin S wrote: “Or,...you believe that a code far more complex than the code that runs on your computer just came about through massive amounts of time and fantastically lucky breaks with natural selection canceling out all of the "bugs" in the code along the way.”

    Response: It’s not more complex than the code that runs on my computer. The DNA code consists of 64 codons that map to 20 amino acids, a start prompt and a stop prompt. You could learn it in a couple minutes if you were allowed to write it down. People study for months to learn computer languages, and that’s just so they can interact with the machine code.

    Furthermore, the system according to which DNA sequences eventually produce phenotypic traits is much more forgiving than the one by which programmers make computers perform tasks. Screw up a tiny bit of spelling or syntax in thousands of lines of computer code, and the computer will just sit there. By contrast one can change DNA in all kinds of ways without causing any problems at all. Whole viruses and transposable sections of DNA get inserted all over the place. Chromosome strands regularly cross over and switch places with their homologues during meiosis. Bases get miscopied. But DNA doesn’t work like a computer program. Every word of a computer program specifies an outcome, and changes to any such word generally result in failure to produce any outcome. By contrast, most of DNA doesn’t do anything, and any changes to the parts that do merely result in a somewhat different protein or RNA. Usually the changed protein or RNA works the same as the original, sometimes worse, occasionally better. Natural selection lets the neutral changes stick around, tosses out the bad changes, and increases the good ones. In short, a computer program is highly subject to error, and intelligence must be used to avoid such errors. The DNA-to-phenotype system invites errors, and works better when they occur. Not only is it idiot-proof, it’s idiot-friendly! One has to wonder why God would design an idiot-friendly system that only He can run.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Martin S: "it's clear that in order for DNA code to work in living cells either some intelligence had to design the cells and the code to work to keep the cell functioning"

    No it isn't clear. It's your assumption based argument from incredulity - you can't imagine it so it must be designed.

    And your statements indicate you think evolution is random, it isn't. Your foundation is not correct.

    Finally, the first life wasn't like a modern cell. A modern cell is the result of 3 billion years of evolution.

    You need to read a textbook NOT published by the Discovery Institute.

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  • 1 decade ago

    they define it in whatever way will allow them to claim that it can't increase, of course. for instance your answerer blithely ignores mutation and the repeated action of mutation and selection over many generations. if one were to point this out of course, they would just claim that there are no beneficial mutations. and so it goes... don't we all know the steps to this dance by now?

    vv martin:

    "It's like saying a natural computer with all of the right chips and power supply and software all came together by chance and more than that, that all of the information in the software came from randomness."

    it would be like that, if computers reproduced, mutated, underwent natural selection - in short, if they evolved. do they? I haven't heard that.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Not a creationist -

    But I do like the 'you are fat' answer best of all.

    I thought that showed some major input on their part.

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  • 1 decade ago

    By now you should know cretinsts don't have actual definitions for any of their claims.

    What is a kind?

    What is macroevolution?

    Edit: Inferior Castle, they weren't there or necessary originally. There are living amoebas that form symbiotic relationships with different species of cyanobacteria.

    Clearly transport isn't a major issue for them. The current system would have had billions of years to coevolve.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    So far we have (in no particular order):

    You're a loser.

    Goddidit.

    I'm a biologist who doesn't want to answer your questions.

    All words are subjective, therefore everything you say is meaningless, therefore goddidit.

    Christians shouldn't have to provide scientific claims for what they claim to be an alternative branch of science.

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  • 1 decade ago

    When considering how to define information you have to realize that information is only information when it means something to someone. If you spilled a bowl of alphabet soup in the sink you might look at all of the letters and be able to find four of them that spelled a word and to you that would be information. But if someone couldn't read they wouldn't see anything there but some spilled soup in the sink.

    So how does that definition fit in with the "information" found in the DNA code that is in every living cell?

    Consider a computer since computers use coded information. A computer has a lot of zeros and ones stored on a hard drive that wouldn't mean anything to most people. But the people who designed the computer created software and processing devices so that all of those zeros and ones serve a function to make the computer do certain things.

    That's why it's clear that in order for DNA code to work in living cells either some intelligence had to design the cells with all of their interdependent parts, and the code in them that sends orders to keep the cell functioning...

    Or,...you believe that a code far more complex than the code that runs on your computer just came about through massive amounts of time and fantastically lucky breaks with natural selection canceling out all of the "bugs" in the code along the way.

    It's like saying a natural computer with all of the right chips and power supply and software all came together by chance and more than that, that all of the information in the software came from randomness.

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2000/256/

    As Michael Denton has pointed out, "Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, each is in effect a veritable microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up of 100,000,000,000 atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world."

    The "simple cell" turns out to be a miniaturized city of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design, including automated assembly plants and processing units featuring robot machines (protein molecules with as many as 3,000 atoms each in three-dimensional configurations) manufacturing hundreds of thousands of specific types of products. The system design exploits artificial languages and decoding systems, memory banks for information storage, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of components, error correction techniques and proofreading devices for quality control.

    All by chance? All without a Designer?

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  • 1 decade ago

    The realm of God and Christianity is of a spiritual nature. You ply Christians with spiritual questions while requiring them to give answers according to the rudimentary elements and limitations of this world. You ask worldly and scientific questions to Christians supposing that that are indebted to give answers outside the boundaries of their stated doctrinal beliefs. You take someone with a belief system and ply them with questions about a different belief system and marvel that they cannot give you an answer that harmonizes with your position. Ask Christians Christian questions.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It has something to do with "kindology"

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Ok, poseur.

    It is like the informational coding under the endosymbiontic theory of Plant cell organelles. How can a different part of the cell encode for the same information that the symport and antiport membrane transport mechanisms decode for -- when the organelle came from outside the cell. It defies my highly mathematical mind to think it could happen in 10 billion years. That's what I mean, poseur.

    ====> Almost forgot. You frauds get me so excited. I am NOT a creationist. I'm just someone whose plant biology training has convinced him that Evolution is complete crap.

    UTTER CRAP.

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