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Author Topic:   No New Genetic Information?
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 1 of 27 (440100)
12-11-2007 2:51 PM


A popular counterclaim to evolution is the "No new genetic information" claim. Specifically, supporters of this view insist that scientists have never discovered new genetic information entering a species' genome, and that all genetic variation is a result of either loss or recombination.
Case in point: influenza. Typically, science attributes the increasing resistance to antibodies on the part of the influenza virus to its ability to mutate quickly. NNGI proponents argue that the resistance comes from a loss of preexisting genetic information that makes them vulnerable to antibodies.
Is this the case? Or are they blowing smoke?
Intuitively, exposure to environmental pollutants, replication errors, etc. would result in insertions, deletions, and modifications, so this doesn't seem likely. Evolution should proceed in all of these directions.
Does science have evidence of this? Or is all the so-called scientific evidence of it neodarwinian bull-crap?
Those of you in the know, can you provide counterexamples? Specific counterexamples -- isolated genes from specific species that are known not to be present in previous generations, and cited sources would be nice.
Those of you who would support this claim, how would you explain that pathogens tend to *accumulate* resistance, thereby *gaining* abilities, rather than losing them?

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-12-2007 8:22 AM bernerbits has replied
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 12-12-2007 10:07 AM bernerbits has replied
 Message 21 by mobioevo, posted 12-13-2007 6:36 PM bernerbits has not replied
 Message 22 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 12-13-2007 7:01 PM bernerbits has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 6 of 27 (440251)
12-12-2007 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Percy
12-12-2007 10:07 AM


percy writes:
Biologists don't tend to think of genomes in information theoretic terms
Sorry, I'm a computer scientist by profession. I like to draw the analogy between bits and nucleotides when I'm arguing this stuff.
percy writes:
Assuming you really meant to say "less vulnerable to antibodies,"
I mean the genetic information lost renders them more vulnerable.
The person I'm debating is a "secular non-evolutionist". I'm not sure what alternative he supports as he has refused to discuss it. But for the most part he's making common creationist counterclaims: "probability makes evolution impossible" -- not true when you consider trillions of organisms at any given time over trillions of generations -- "evolution is about competition so symbiosis makes no sense" -- utter garbage -- "bombardier beetle cannot evolve without killing itself" -- well, humans manage to keep blood and urine separate without killing themselves -- "science has an agenda and cannot be trusted" -- what the hell do you say to that?
But his pet argument is the NNGI claim.
I demonstrated that we can look at the individual nucleotides of two successive generations of a virus and identify key differences, and showed how a tiny change in nucleotides can either subtly or completely alter protein structure and render it invisible to the host's immune system. He nevertheless insists that this is information loss and that nucleotides cannot be new genetic info.
I asked him what IS new genetic info, and he said DNA the organism creates.
I said but nucleotides make up DNA and then he said nucleotides are not genetic information. He insists that the only reason antigens become resistant is because they secrete an enzyme that alerts immune responses to their existence and then destroy the gene that causes them to secrete that enzyme. I told him that's still evolution and he insists that it's not because it's a loss of information and not a gain.
I asked him to back his claim up and he insists that I do him the same courtesy and cite the specific scientific study that shows "the new viral gene", "exactly what it encodes", and "how it got there". Presumably so he can knock it down using more empty rhetoric.
At least, that's the best way I understand his arguments.
Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.
Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 12-12-2007 10:07 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Percy, posted 12-12-2007 11:17 AM bernerbits has replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 7 of 27 (440252)
12-12-2007 10:36 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Wounded King
12-12-2007 10:26 AM


wk writes:
Maybe Benerbits sentence could have benefited from a bit more punctuation to make it less ambiguous.
Sorry, I have a tendency to under-comma ;-)
wk writes:
The problem here is, as always, with the question of what constitutes a 'loss' of information.
Exactly, and the more I debate this guy, the more dodgy he becomes about his precise definition of "information loss".
wk writes:
So the extra twist is not simply asking to see an increase in genetic information but a requirement for it to be novel
But that's the thing. A single accidental nucleotide insertion is enough to change the surface protein on a virus to make it invisible to the host's immune response. This is novel in my book. But my opponent can't accept this.
The weird thing is he describes himself as a "secular non-evolutionist". I fear this is a new breed that we'll start seeing more of in the ensuing years resulting from all the creationist indoctrination and the public mistrust of science.
Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Wounded King, posted 12-12-2007 10:26 AM Wounded King has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 8 of 27 (440253)
12-12-2007 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Dr Adequate
12-12-2007 8:22 AM


dr.a writes:
given that bacteria reproduce asexually
Yeah I've basically disposed with the recombination aspect and focused on the loss/gain aspect.
He keeps insisting that asexual organisms can "reshuffle" their DNA though so obviously he didn't ace high school biology. Of course with his mistrust of science, he can easily chalk up anything he disagrees with to scientific dishonesty.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-12-2007 8:22 AM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 10 of 27 (440276)
12-12-2007 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
12-12-2007 11:17 AM


percy writes:
somehow my default parsing algorithm is making even this new restatement say the opposite to me
The genetic information, which confers upon the virus a disadvantage, and which the preceding generation possesses, is lost in the new generation. That clearer? I can go all day ;-)
percy writes:
if you're saying that the virus had genetic information that made it vulnerable to antibodies, and that mutation then caused it to lose this information thereby rendering it less vulnerable to antibodies
Yep.
percy writes:
I still think the argument about the A=>G mutation which is then reversed by an opposite G=>A mutation should be very effective. He can't have it both ways.
I still have to somehow get him to concede that nucleotides really carry information before that argument carries any weight. His constant assertion that they aren't is what's really baffling.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Percy, posted 12-12-2007 11:17 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by NosyNed, posted 12-12-2007 1:13 PM bernerbits has replied
 Message 12 by Percy, posted 12-12-2007 1:40 PM bernerbits has not replied
 Message 18 by mark24, posted 12-13-2007 5:59 AM bernerbits has replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 13 of 27 (440307)
12-12-2007 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by NosyNed
12-12-2007 1:13 PM


Re: A beneficial Mutation???
Gain or loss don't we have a lot of creo's saying there are no beneficial mutations?
In my experience the ones that like to go the micro/macro route are more fond of NNGI over NNBGI. Just in my experience.
Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by NosyNed, posted 12-12-2007 1:13 PM NosyNed has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 7:11 PM bernerbits has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 14 of 27 (440360)
12-12-2007 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by bernerbits
12-12-2007 2:09 PM


Re: A beneficial Mutation???
The thread is here if anyone wants to follow along. He appears to have dropped the issue of NNGI and taken a different tack. Pretty typical.
Humans Evolving 100 Times Faster Than Ever - Slashdot
So far, rehashing old creationist arguments and getting nowhere. Suggestions (on this forum please) are welcome.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 2:09 PM bernerbits has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 12-12-2007 7:35 PM bernerbits has not replied
 Message 17 by Wounded King, posted 12-13-2007 5:10 AM bernerbits has replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 19 of 27 (440454)
12-13-2007 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Wounded King
12-13-2007 5:10 AM


Re: Not even talking about evolution
wk writes:
your interlocutor is putting forward his own highly idiosyncratic definition of evolution
I am trying to correct him, but he seems to be expecting my corrections and believes that they are examples of evolutionary theory relinquishing its scope.
He has even brought up this concept of "original evolution" which I've seen before and is a thinly-veiled strawman. I mean, heck, I don't accept HIS theory of evolution.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Wounded King, posted 12-13-2007 5:10 AM Wounded King has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 20 of 27 (440455)
12-13-2007 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by mark24
12-13-2007 5:59 AM


mark writes:
Then surely DNA doesn't carry information? Meaning the information argument is moot.
I asked if DNA was there to look pretty. He changed the subject. Dodgy son of a bitch.
Edited by bernerbits, : Someday I'll get these quote tags right. Posting on two different forums at the same time is confusing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by mark24, posted 12-13-2007 5:59 AM mark24 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Equinox, posted 12-14-2007 6:08 PM bernerbits has replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6059 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 27 of 27 (441712)
12-18-2007 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Equinox
12-14-2007 6:08 PM


Thanks everyone for your help, but it appears my opponent has stopped responding.
I'm rather disappointed. I was hoping for a challenge from this guy (it could be prejudice, but "secular non-evolutionist" sounded smart!) but I instead got the same oft-repeated creationist arguments, accusations of not taking creation "science" seriously, and a clear lack of scientific understanding of evolution.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Equinox, posted 12-14-2007 6:08 PM Equinox has not replied

  
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