There Will Always Be an Argument About Information

Question from Sam:
Hi, so I was casually surfing the web when I came across a video in “Answers in Genesis” which was basically said it could disprove evolution in 3 minutes with two simple facts. The second fact, which they championed, made the claim that it was impossible (there are no possible means by which this can occur) to add to genetic code in any way, meaning there was no possible way for an aquatic creature to create genetic code to grow legs, etc. (Disproving evolution) Of course, I questioned this bold claim, especially since they were extremely vague about their sources and provided no sources or further material for study. As such, I haven’t a clue how they came upon this claim, or the legitimacy of it, could you lend some further insight into this?

Answer by SmartLX:
I’m assuming the first of the two facts didn’t do anything for you, which does not surprise me.

The source of the claim amounts to “it stands to reason” which is what people say when they don’t want to bother reasoning through something. It’s one variant of the argument from ignorance I’m always pointing out, specifically, “I personally don’t know how additions can be made to a genome, therefore there is no way.” People don’t know this because they literally have not checked at all, because the relevant material can be found online in seconds.

This TalkOrigins article from 2001 fits the bill nicely. The mechanisms by which information is added to the genome are quite simple, for instance gene duplication, or essentially random noise from mutations. What’s harder to comprehend is how this information proves useful, and particularly allows new features to emerge.

The answer to this is straightforward though the detail is immense if you drill into it: natural selection helps to eliminate the information which is not useful, leaving that which is. There are countless analogies for this, so to pick one arbitrarily, genetic material is thrown into an arena and under constant attack, so whatever survives does so because it makes a difference to the fight.

The true difficulty is in convincing creationists that this kind of argument doesn’t convince anybody, which does seem to be true in my experience; its purpose nowadays is instead to reassure creationists. Or perhaps they know this already, but it doesn’t stop them from using it to reassure each other.

7 thoughts on “There Will Always Be an Argument About Information”

  1. Hello SmartLx. I’m sorry but the “proof” that you are giving to support your claims have nothing but speculation to be based upon. What is not in the DNA, is nothing that should have been there. What all DNA started with was pure and needed nothing else for it to do what it needed to do. What has happened since then is a break down of the communication in the DNA. So that it stopped doing some or all of what it was supposed to do. This is what mutations do. They prevent organisms from doing what they are supposed to do. I’m not talking about changes in beak sizes or change of color, or size. These abilities were already built into the DNA of all organisms to vary their colors and sizes. But nothing can make any organism be, what has already been programmed inside its DNA. That is why even after years of manipulations of bacteria and fruit flies, everything that has come from either of these organisms, have been more of what they each were. But their has been one difference. The other bacteria and fruit flies, remained themselves, but they have been made worse than what they were or they died. This, what you use as evidence,
    “It is hard to understand how anyone could make this claim, since anything mutations can do, mutations can undo. Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term “information” undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve.” What is one thing that a mutation done and then undone/ You aren’t referring to changes of beak sizes are you something similar are you? Well, if you are, then show me the proof that the changes were mutational initiated. What proof can you show that any of the differing of colors and sizes were not but what had already been built into the DNA programming of the DNA? Or that some of what has been done that makes one organism not the best that it should be, is not because of a corruption of the DNA programming? You know you should realize that garbage in, garbage our. So if broken organism meets up with another broken organism, then you will have other broken organisms. But the DNA, still attempts to compensate, making at least a somewhat passing organism but not as perfect as the original that God created in the beginning of creation.
    So go ahead show me what examples of something good done by mutation, that you can show actually happened by a breakdown of in the DNA programming.
    For example this statement you made. “The answer to this is straightforward though the detail is immense if you drill into it: natural selection helps to eliminate the information which is not useful, leaving that which is.” How can natural selection select anything that stays or goes. Even if it accidentally causes this, then that means it has something to work with that had been already programmed into the DNA of the organism. And fortunately, when two different organisms are involved into producing another of the same organism, what was broken in one of the two organisms, may be repaired from the DNA programming of the second organism.
    As I said before, you have nothing but speculation as proof that what ever causes good to pass from one or two organisms, was not already programmed into the organisms that allowed it to survive. Like the uplifted example by the evolutionists where bacteria has been supposedly “manipulated”, into consuming petroleum products. They were so happy to tout this supposed manipulation, until it was discovered that there were bacteria who had of themselves began to live off of plastic garbage floating in the ocean. It didn’t have any one to manipulate it then and just because an intelligence deprived some bacteria of eating what it normally ate, and gave it something else, does not mean that there was a change in the programming in the DNA of those bacteria. No. Because what was programmed in the DNA was that ability already. And you have no research proof showing that these programmings were not already programmed in the DNA either. All of what you are giving are speculations about how an end result came to be as it was at the end.

    And if you think that part “A”, on how evolution can be disproven, (and done so without ever referring to the Bible), is not enough to sway your thinking into dropping the unscientific and mere speculation of the theory of evolution then you just refuse to accept truth as fact. “Where’d You Get Your Information, Bub?
    Everything that makes up your body requires genetic information. You’ve got hands and feet because your genes code for it. The same is true for any creature—dogs, camels, you name it.

    The genetic information in humans varies from the information in animals, plants, and so on. Seems obvious, so why point it out? Because for animal kind A to somehow “presto-change-o” into animal kind B, the information’s got to change. A fish doesn’t just morph into an amphibian without something changing in the genes. It would have to gain some new information.

    Here’s the clincher: when we use operational science—the kind involving observable, repeatable, testable results—we have never observed, repeated, or been able to test animal kind A turning into animal kind B—at all. Sure, there’s some genetic “do-si-do” going on through mutations and gene drift, but there’s no way fish are going to sprout hair and opposable thumbs. Just in case you think by “no way” we mean there’s still a chance, there’s not—none, zilch, nada, not going to happen. What if we add billions of years and cool artistic renderings? Still no.
    Now if these points are not correct or fail to express the truth, then don’t simply state categorically
    that they are wrong. Please offer evidence proving how they are wrong. And don’t pull out other pure speculatory statements to shore up an already disproven speculation.

    I have already stated before, that all organisms could never have become with out DNA, and its programming. It has been observed that every organism comes complete with DNA, and the programming necessary to allow that organism to fend for itself. And it has also been observed that the source of the DNA and its programming, was from the original organism. So it is pure speculation that the organism just, “appeared”, and that somehow, it tripped over DNA, and that the programming of that DNA came all by itself. All of those who speculate are under obligation to demonstrate how all of these accidental occurrences could have been possible by reduplicating the circumstances that led up to the end result of the first ever organism of that first ever organism, and then how that first ever organism could have been reprogrammed to morph into an all together different organism, until there are all other organisms. All of these, are thought up assumptions spurred on by the undisciplined imaginations of unprofessional scientists who allowed other reasons to drive their search, and who have accepted error as their truth.

    1. One interesting thing to pick up on among all this. Your position literally does not allow for an answer to your question about benefits of mutation that cannot be explained by all information pre-existing in the DNA. There are many answers in the category of features that at one point did not exist at all. Where was the DNA for saliva, for instance, in single-celled organisms that did not yet have mouths? But of course you think animals and people were initally created with mouths in place, rather than mouths developing over time. That’s just too much of a change to be possible, because a change scientists believe took millions of years has not been observed happening from start to finish in the last few thousand years. The problem here is that your standards for evidence are impossible, and deliberately made so.

  2. Gerald writes: [What is not in the DNA, is nothing that should have been there. What all DNA started with was pure and needed nothing else for it to do what it needed to do.]

    Your scientific ignorance of DNA is astounding, Gerald. It’s a well known fact in the field of genetics that DNA is not “pure”. It is full of things that don’t work well, and things that haven’t always been there. You of course have an illogical disbelief of this despite the empirical evidence, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

  3. Hi Tim. I see once again you fail to understand or try to understand the true point of my point. And my ignorance seems to be second only to yours. And along with that you once again make statements without providing proof.
    Please show me where it has been proven that DNA, was never pure. Of course you can’t because it is an observable fact that there is a breakdown of DNA in every new lineage that is born. Our great, great grandparents were wiser and healthier that the children being born today. There are more birth defects and the like that were not back then.
    And you once again talk about the “empirical evidence without providing any. I know this must have been an oversight on your part. Probably due to the over abundance of joy feeling you had when you found my post on the net. Don’t worry. Just add that “evidence” when you next respond.

    1. No Gerald, you don’t get to shift the burden of proof on this. You stated, in your original reply, that “What all DNA started with was pure and needed nothing else for it to do what it needed to do.” You make this statement, yet offer zero supporting empirical evidence for it. In other words, you claim it without proving it. Unless you can offer proof that this is true, then there is no reason for anyone to consider your claim valid or realistic.

      What I stated is that “it is well knows that DNA is not pure”. The scientific literature supports that:

      Then you go on to say more ignorant things, like this comment: [Our great, great grandparents were wiser and healthier that the children being born today.]

      That comment is hilarious. Simple population statistics bear this out. The average life span has increased since our great grandparents were born. It’s preposterous to claim that people from that time were healthier:

      People nowadays survive all kinds of things that would have killed them in 1850. Burst appendix, scarlet fever, anemia, Type 1 diabetes, cat scratch fever, ectopic pregnancy, meningitis, CANCER…the list goes on.

      Which couples very nicely with the obvious fact that there wasn’t as much wisdom in those days either, or else people would have lived longer and not died from things that they easily survive today.

      The facts, as usual, prove your baseless assertions to be utter nonsense.

      Gerald writes: [There are more birth defects and the like that were not back then.]

      I couldn’t find anything conclusive about this one way or another. Birth defects weren’t something that was tracked. It is well known that with modern wisdom (which they didn’t have 150 years ago despite your claim) things like taking folic acid to reduce neural tube defects has reduced occurrences of things like spina bifida however. Here’s an interesting article:

      [And you once again talk about the “empirical evidence without providing any.]

      Because that is what you always do, Gerald. It is not my responsibility to disprove a claim made by you that you have not proven to be true in the first place. You make speculative claim after speculative claim on this website, don’t offer any empirical data showing it to be true, and then demand that someone prove the opposite. That isn’t how the game is played, and it’s high time you figured that out.

      But fear not, because once again I have demolished one of your factless rants by providing empirical data and evidence. Your entire post was a dismal shambles.

  4. SmartLx, please provide how you know this, “There are many answers in the category of features that at one point did not exist at all.” to be true. You just should ‘t make statements that are not verifiable. You assume that they didn’t exist as you also assume that all animals evolved, in the face of the fact that there is no evidence of any kind of evolution. And the scientists of the theory of evolution, have never ever duplicated the circumstances that lead to the same results of all the different organisms and their fossils. And they also don’t even attempt to explain why even though they are supposed to be scientists, they refuse to adhere to what science usually use to verify the viability of the theories formulated among them, the scientific method. It must be because that if they were to use the scientific method, they would themselves have to denounce the viability of the theory of evolution. They had to do this with theory of “spontaneous generation” that met its demise due to the diligence of scientists, whose only goal was to find the truth. And yet the scientists pushing the theory of Evolution, ignore the fact and you do also, failing even to try and contest the damning evidence that speaks against the “supposed proof,” that the evolutionists are always spouting off about. But here is the facts. Using the “Scientific Method”, the creation scientist, and quite frankly you don’t even need to be labeled a scientist, to follow the scientific method. It is so easy to use that a baby, or a chimpanzee can follow it.
    And this is because, there have been witnesses who have been observing all the organisms that have been around. And rubbing shoulders with organism in one form or another, these organisms, have never been witnessed to come from any other means other than the same kind of organisms that they came from. This is a pattern that has never been seen to have been broken. All organisms produce themselves. So if this is what has been observed and no one has ever observed that one organism has never before been observed to produce a completely different organism, then according to the “scientific method” the theory of evolution, really is not a scientific theory. It is a theory built upon pure speculation alone.
    They used the same method, to find that the theory of spontaneous generation was invalid. They used the scientific method, to disprove the flat earth theory. And yet, all of a sudden, the scientists of evolution, find that the scientific method is not the best way to determine whether or not the theory of evolution, is viable or not. So please out side of the provision of the “mountain” of evidence that has been always asked for and never provided, but also explain why the same way that all the uncontested theories have been verified and accepted, is not being used to verify the theory of evolution.
    Now this, this is mind numbing. “Where was the DNA for saliva, for instance, in single-celled organisms that did not yet have mouths?”
    Are you saying that there were some how organisms that first didn’t sport a mouth and little by little found out that a mouth would be a good thing to have? Is this what you are implying? Okay. Fine then, “where or where has the evidence gone, oh where oh where can it be?” And I won’t even limit it to saliva and the mouth. Show me, provide evidence that anything that any organism has, that the original one of that organism, that specie or that kind, did not have from their beginning.
    You see I know you can’t do this. If this were possible, it would have been a long time ago. And it has never been duplicated to show research that demonstrates that what you claim took place.
    Come on. Stand up and tell the world that evolution is bunk. Honor the mind and being that you have been blessed with and stop trying to hold up a theory that is so unsupportable, that you can’t even get your hands on it.

    1. Gerald is making the same debunked claims again everyone. This is perhaps his favorite: [You assume that they didn’t exist as you also assume that all animals evolved, in the face of the fact that there is no evidence of any kind of evolution.]

      Here are some links, supported with references and attributions. The PBS one has hundreds of links…

      Please show where any of this work did not follow the scientific method (you claim, without proof, that it doesn’t follow the scientific method). Please show how the conclusions of any of these hundreds of works fails to explain all the facts in existence today, and offer a different explanation that explains all the facts in existence today more conclusively.

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