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Author Topic:   No New Genetic Information?
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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

  
AdminNosy
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From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Message 2 of 27 (440104)
12-11-2007 2:53 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 365 days)
Posts: 16113
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 3 of 27 (440234)
12-12-2007 8:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
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.
Well, given that bacteria reproduce asexually, these experiments prove them wrong.
http://www.uwyo.edu/krist/misc/sse_poster_june06.pdf
http://www.millerandlevine.com/...vol/DI/Parts-is-Parts.html

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by bernerbits, posted 12-11-2007 2:51 PM bernerbits has replied

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22607
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 4 of 27 (440246)
12-12-2007 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
12-11-2007 2:51 PM


Biologists don't tend to think of genomes in information theoretic terms, but if you can provide some specific creationist claim about some specific genome I suppose we could comment. For example, you say:
benerbits writes:
NNGI proponents argue that the resistance comes from a loss of preexisting genetic information that makes them vulnerable to antibodies.
Assuming you really meant to say "less vulnerable to antibodies," then if you can provide the information about the specific influenza virus and the specific genetic loss of information, including how they conducted the measurements of the amount of information before and after, then we could focus on that.
The NNGI claim itself is self-evidently false, most succinctly expressed here at EvC Forum, if memory serves me correctly, by Dr. Adequate. You start with the assumption that mutations can only cause the loss of information and see where that assumption leads. It is a given that any point mutation, say A=>G, can be reversed by another point mutation, G=>A, at the same location. If the A=>G mutation causes a loss of genomic information, and if the G=>A mutation causes yet another loss of genomic information, then the genome must have less information than it had originally. But applying the A=>G mutation followed by the G=>A mutation actually puts the genome back in its original state, which means the amount of information it contains is unchanged, which invalidates the initial assumption that mutations can only cause a reduction in information.
In other words, the NNGI claim is transparently false on just a pure logic level, so there really isn't much to be gained from examining claims about actual real world examples of mutations.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by bernerbits, posted 12-11-2007 2:51 PM bernerbits has replied

Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 10:28 AM Percy has replied

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 113 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 5 of 27 (440248)
12-12-2007 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Percy
12-12-2007 10:07 AM


Assuming you really meant to say "less vulnerable to antibodies,"
I don't think he did mean that he was saying it was information than confered vulnerability that was lost, not that the loss itself made them vulnerable. Maybe Benerbits sentence could have benefited from a bit more punctuation to make it less ambiguous.
The claim is that there was pre-existing genetic information which caused the bacteria/virus to be vulnerable to attack by antibodies, presumably something coding for a highly antigenic epitope. It is the subsequent loss of this genetic information which supposedly leads to a reduced vulnerability to antibodies.
The problem here is, as always, with the question of what constitutes a 'loss' of information. If a single nucleotide substitution reduces the antigenicity of an epitope then is that a loss of information? There is no less DNA. The main problem is that IDist/ creationist proponents seem to presuppose that there is a perfect platonic genetic sequence and any change to that sequence represents a loss of information no matter what type of change it was. As you point out this idea is easily countered by the question of what a mutation causing a reversion to a higher information state would constitute. T
This of course is why they harp on 'new' or 'novel' information, so that they can dismiss any change from the hypothetical 'perfect' genetic state as a loss of information and counter any reversion to that state as not introducing new or novel information. So while your reversion would constitute a gain in 'information' to that genetic sequence it wouldn't represent the gain of 'novel' information.
So the extra twist is not simply asking to see an increase in genetic information but a requirement for it to be novel.
TTFN,
WK

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bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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 6025 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.

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bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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.

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22607
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 9 of 27 (440258)
12-12-2007 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by bernerbits
12-12-2007 10:28 AM


bernerbits writes:
percy writes:
Assuming you really meant to say "less vulnerable to antibodies,"
I mean the genetic information lost renders them more vulnerable.
I'm pretty sure I know what you mean. I see that WK understood you with no problem, but somehow my default parsing algorithm is making even this new restatement say the opposite to me. But 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, then I get what you're saying.
About your discussion partner, it can be fun to engage these guys and see how far you get, that's why this site exists, but this guy seems to be using lack of clarity and specificity to his advantage.
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. For example, say a very simple TGT genome mutates to TAT, and that we assume that represents a loss of information, and that therefore TAT has less information than TGT, i.e., TAT < TGT. Now a reverse mutation transforms TGT into TAT, and we again assume that it represents a loss of information, and that therefore TGT < TAT. But that means that TAT < TGT < TAT, which means that TAT < TAT, which is impossible. Therefore the initial assumption that mutations can only result in a loss of information is proven logically wrong. Note that this is a mathematical proof, a mathematical certainty. There are no real world considerations to provide wiggle room.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 10:28 AM bernerbits has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 12:56 PM Percy has replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9006
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 11 of 27 (440287)
12-12-2007 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by bernerbits
12-12-2007 12:56 PM


A beneficial Mutation???
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 ;-)
Gain or loss don't we have a lot of creo's saying there are no beneficial mutations? Sure sounds like one of them thar thingies to me.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 12:56 PM bernerbits has replied

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22607
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 12 of 27 (440299)
12-12-2007 1:40 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by bernerbits
12-12-2007 12:56 PM


bernerbits writes:
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.
Yeah, well, like I said, he sounds like someone who is finding refuge in ambiguity. Since every DNA molecule is identical to every other DNA molecule except in the order and number of nucleotides, there is nowhere else for hereditary information to reside. It is nucleotide triplets that encode the amino acid types that are the building blocks of proteins, the final product of the DNA machinery. It's kind of inescapable that nucleotide ordering is the repository of information in DNA.
Where does he say the information resides? He has to know where it resides and how the it is encoded before he can know whether a change increases or decreases information.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by bernerbits, posted 12-12-2007 12:56 PM bernerbits has not replied

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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.

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bernerbits
Member (Idle past 6025 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.

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jar
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Posts: 34051
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 15 of 27 (440371)
12-12-2007 7:35 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by bernerbits
12-12-2007 7:11 PM


Re: A beneficial Mutation???
When the Gish Gallop starts point it out and return to the previous issue with the question "So I see you agree that whateveritwas"
Stick at that point until you get an answer and do not let them simply dance.

Immigration has been a problem Since 1607!

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