Complexity [Split from Resources]

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#1

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:41 am

Neo, you believe in some form of Theistic Evolution right?

Yes, we can see similarities between "species". Viruses and simple life evolve into new strains... we witness adaptation under environmental pressures and natural selection to certain degrees, etc. No one can really deny these things. So, I have no reason to deny many forms of evolution are true.

But. Just wondering, in a sincere inquisitive way... to what extent does evolution account for the diversity we see?

Many on both sides agree evolution does not account for initial life. It does not attempt to explain that puzzle.

So do you believe God injects the biological information into creation as needed, and evolution takes over from there...? Or, do you believe natural evolution can account for all biological information we see today?

For example, take all the new biological information needed to evolve from a wolf-like creature into a whale? Or mammals from reptiles? Did God have to do some "new coding" during the evolutionary process, or do you believe natural processes alone can account for it all?

Don't want to enter into a debate. Just curious to hear what someone with your passion on this topic believes.
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#2

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:23 am

Hi Kurieuo

I know you posed this question to Neo but I would like to give my answer if I may.

I try to look at creation from God's perspective, this entails not being bound by time of course.
So to me God is intimately involved in every single aspect of creation from simple chemicals all the way through to the most complex of life. From the beginning (if we can even call it a beginning, maybe from our perspective it is) God knew every outcome and all was according to his plan. He didn't need to tweak anything, intifere with anything or inject anything at any particular time at all because everything unfolded according to his plan. His plan hasn't even finished yet, it is still unfolding like a great big blanket until it has reached the intended purpose.

I see creation from God's perspective as an event, past present and future all wraped up with the sweep of his hand. I would say every natural process was a part of God's plan and there is no randomness at all, everything was planned and had a purpose.

To us we see Evolution as a long process but from God's perspective it is not. This is the best analogy I could come up with so bear with me. Creation is like a painting and from god's perspective he threw a blob of chemicals at a canvas and made a master piece in the blink of an eye, from our perspective however inside of time we see blue mix with red to evolve into purple and yellow mix with blue evolve into green. From God's perspective it all just happened according to what he wanted, from our perspective we see a process (random process for the atheist and planned process for the theist).

I hope this makes sense, I can picture it in my mind but I find it difficult to put into words (but that is usual for me for any subject)
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#3

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:08 am

Thanks Dan.
Danieltwotwenty wrote:Hi Kurieuo

I know you posed this question to Neo but I would like to give my answer if I may.

I try to look at creation from God's perspective, this entails not being bound by time of course.
Only if one believes God remains separate from time. ;) But that's a different topic for discussion.
Danieltwotwenty wrote:So to me God is intimately involved in every single aspect of creation from simple chemicals all the way through to the most complex of life. From the beginning (if we can even call it a beginning, maybe from our perspective it is) God knew every outcome and all was according to his plan. He didn't need to tweak anything, intifere with anything or inject anything at any particular time at all because everything unfolded according to his plan. His plan hasn't even finished yet, it is still unfolding like a great big blanket until it has reached the intended purpose.

I see creation from God's perspective as an event, past present and future all wraped up with the sweep of his hand. I would say every natural process was a part of God's plan and there is no randomness at all, everything was planned and had a purpose.
Then again, perhaps a discussion on God's relationship to time is very relevant to your words here... but ignoring the time discussion, there is not much to disagree with.

I think we might strongly agree that the schism between "natural processes" and "creation" is rather blown out of proportion by those who vehemently hate any thought of God in their world. Who want a story devoid of a creation act. In fact, the natural design of things, laws and what-not I'd argue must necessarily be ontologically founded upon, well, design. Just those who refuse to acknowledge intelligence was there first, prior to what we recognise as the "material" or "natural world"... well, they need a story of their own.

But to those of us, who know better (and I'm speaking specifically to Christians or Theists here, so not interested in an Atheist chiming in)... we are free to look at the reality of our world in a more neutral manner.
DTT wrote:To us we see Evolution as a long process but from God's perspective it is not. This is the best analogy I could come up with so bear with me. Creation is like a painting and from god's perspective he threw a blob of chemicals at a canvas and made a master piece in the blink of an eye, from our perspective however inside of time we see blue mix with red to evolve into purple and yellow mix with blue evolve into green. From God's perspective it all just happened according to what he wanted, from our perspective we see a process (random process for the atheist and planned process for the theist).

I hope this makes sense, I can picture it in my mind but I find it difficult to put into words (but that is usual for me for any subject)
It makes sense, but such it too much of a broad stroke.

Going back to my original question of Neo, I'm interested to know since he strongly advocates evolution and is Christian, how much he believes evolution accounts for when it comes to all the information we see in life -- for example, all the new biological information required to transform from my previously given example of a wolf-like creature into a whale. This is just one instance. We're talking of many millions of instances where new information is require to transform from one ancestor to the next.

As I see it, there is an "information gap" that needs explaining to get from shared ancestors to the divergent relatives. For example, what biological information is necessary to transform from the shared ancestor of the salamander and frog, into a salamander or frog? Or even bigger, to go from the shared ancestor of Amphibia, marsupials and reptiles, etc into each of these divergent lines. The biological information necessary, which is just often assumed, is the biggest dilemma I see with an entirely "natural" accounting. That is, given we just ignore the debate even about whether intelligence logically existed prior to matter rather than matter prior to intelligence as Atheists believe.

So this is why I posed my question to Neo, as to whether he believes evolution can account for all this "information" we see today.
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#4

Post by hughfarey » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:59 am

Kurieuo wrote:
hughfarey wrote:You could try reading the sources so usefully provided by neo-x right here!
I've read many before, but they don't help. And if they did then I'm entitled to ask directly aren't I?
Fair enough. For a good description of the various ways in which "simple" DNA can become gradually more and more complex - and contain more information, if you like - try the wikipedia article on "Mutation." You have spotted that DNA of a particular length can change the information it has, but not increase it (unless some junk DNA is suddenly given a purpose), but DNA can, and frequently does, duplicate chunks of itself, producing the opportunity for extra new mutations and increased complexity.

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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#5

Post by neo-x » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:37 am

Kurieuo wrote:Neo, you believe in some form of Theistic Evolution right?

Yes, we can see similarities between "species". Viruses and simple life evolve into new strains... we witness adaptation under environmental pressures and natural selection to certain degrees, etc. No one can really deny these things. So, I have no reason to deny many forms of evolution are true.

But. Just wondering, in a sincere inquisitive way... to what extent does evolution account for the diversity we see?

Many on both sides agree evolution does not account for initial life. It does not attempt to explain that puzzle.

So do you believe God injects the biological information into creation as needed, and evolution takes over from there...? Or, do you believe natural evolution can account for all biological information we see today?

For example, take all the new biological information needed to evolve from a wolf-like creature into a whale? Or mammals from reptiles? Did God have to do some "new coding" during the evolutionary process, or do you believe natural processes alone can account for it all?

Don't want to enter into a debate. Just curious to hear what someone with your passion on this topic believes.
Evolution does not account for abiogenesis, its not the theory to do that. Your question is basically about abiogenesis. How can life start? I would not mind to think God did something special for life on this planet, may be he did. Do I think that life could evolve from natural ingredients, yes I think it can. This however is a testament to God in my eyes, since his creation has the capabilities to sustain nature. As you said we see evolution happening, even if in some forms, not by automation but by change and adaptation where no external supernatural interference is needed.

I think God kick started things, perhaps even before this universe ever formed and then just let it run, the laws he created are self sustaining. May be to him its a domino effect. I don't think he actively inserted infos. That would be so unlike God. That would be, for me, thinking that God did not know what he could do before so when he saw something gone wrong he had to introduce a fix. That to me sounds, well below God to be frank.

Can DNA form new information. I don't you what that phrase means. What information? Remember individuals do not evolve, populations do, and more precisely the genepool, on the whole does. Some changes are mutated, others are forced by NS. The ancestor of frog and salamander did not give birth to frog and salamander and started two species, it gave birth to creatures like itself, some of those were perhaps for food or various reasons chose to stay in water more, others not. Of those who lived close to water more, only those would survive more who could hold their breaths for longer periods, in other words, those with lungs capable of holding more breath relative to the other descendants, would choose to stay at water and since a whole population of such creatures would be breeding, they in turn would give rise to a population just like them, the odd ones would not prosper. At some point a webbed feet mutation would survive more in water since the chances of catching food would be higher in those who has it than those without it, hence in the longer run, like an eon of time, only those will remain at the water who have advantages others will move to a different locale for food and shall have different pressures on them which might lead to what we know as the salamander. So the cycle would continue. The mutation is random, but the mutation which has the advantage to survive would over run those who are without it, forcing them either to go extinct or adapt to some other pressures.

We do know that DNA makes copies of itself. That is why common ancestry is above doubt. I have nothing against special creations, I just don't think it happened that way. It seems redundant. The info for the eye is not embedded in DNA when life begin, but as time went on, DNA made copies of itself, accumulating every successive change in it, hence today you see the eye and think that the INFO was embedded in DNA and it is but remember the molecule has evolved, and the info was not there in the beginning. or every creature would have eyes, including plants. But that is exactly why plants don't have eyes even though they share our DNA, they split at a point where the information for the eye was not in the DNA. The DNA is simply making copies of itself as time passes on. Else if all life has the same DNA, and the info for the eye was in DNA, then all living things, past present future would have eyes, the same way. But they don't have it. The same is with wings, if the info for a flying wing is in the DNA, then all life DNA should show it, but it doesn't. If you look up a plant DNA, you won't find hidden info for wings. Nature and biology both work to produce what we see.

That is why I don't get when someone says, look its not evolving but devolving! There is no such thing as that. The DNA copies itself out respectively according to the changes nature has forced and mutation in a population has achieved.

Also in reverse, that is also why the caspase 12 gene in humans don't work, and yet it shows exactly at the same point, the exact same location in a DNA strain in us, as in chimps and mice. Yet has no function of its own in humans only. Its junk DNA. in words of francis collins:
The human gene known as caspase-12, for instance, has sustained several knockout blows, though it is found in the identical relative location in the chimp. The chimp caspase-12 gene works just fine, as does the similar gene in nearly all
mammals, including mice. If humans arose as a consequence of a supernatural act of special creation, why would God have gone to the trouble of inserting such a nonfunctional gene in this precise location?
unless its common inherited DNA, copying itself out.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#6

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:39 pm

hughfarey wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
hughfarey wrote:You could try reading the sources so usefully provided by neo-x right here!
I've read many before, but they don't help. And if they did then I'm entitled to ask directly aren't I?
Fair enough. For a good description of the various ways in which "simple" DNA can become gradually more and more complex - and contain more information, if you like - try the wikipedia article on "Mutation." You have spotted that DNA of a particular length can change the information it has, but not increase it (unless some junk DNA is suddenly given a purpose), but DNA can, and frequently does, duplicate chunks of itself, producing the opportunity for extra new mutations and increased complexity.
Hi Hugh, thanks for turning it down a notch, and responding with a mechanism that can be discussed.

So you believe mutations acting on random mutations. That is, with DNA duplication followed by with random mutations under natural circumstances can account for the diversity of life that we see and in DNA that see? Let's not forget the RNA which also helps with duplication is necessary. You kind of need the two together.

To extend a lifeline, something like extrapolating homeobox genes could help account for some diversity -- notwithstanding you need these "gene kits" to begin with. Just because we start with them, doesn't mean the initial information/building blocks no longer need explaining. But a small portion of some genetic information with some elasticity may also have existed very early on, anciently so.

The question really becomes the explanatory power of such things to explain the diverse biological information in purely natural evolutionary terms devoid of any intelligence playing God.

Darwin thought in terms of visual similaries, not in terms of information. DNA wasn't known back then. Often proponents who argue for evolution online fall into, I think this old way of seeing evolution, which is devoid of understanding what must ultimately evolve and be synthesised are massive amounts of biological information. Therefore stories like, eyes started off with just an ability to sense light, before evolving to see able to distinguish shapes, perspective and colours is often an acceptable explanation to many.

Or to take Neo's own elegant explanation in response to me:
Neo-x wrote:The ancestor of frog and salamander did not give birth to frog and salamander and started two species, it gave birth to creatures like itself, some of those were perhaps for food or various reasons chose to stay in water more, others not. Of those who lived close to water more, only those would survive more who could hold their breaths for longer periods, in other words, those with lungs capable of holding more breath relative to the other descendants, would choose to stay at water and since a whole population of such creatures would be breeding, they in turn would give rise to a population just like them, the odd ones would not prosper. At some point a webbed feet mutation would survive more in water since the chances of catching food would be higher in those who has it than those without it, hence in the longer run, like an eon of time, only those will remain at the water who have advantages others will move to a different locale for food and shall have different pressures on them which might lead to what we know as the salamander.
This is just a story that aligns with evolution. But it doesn't explain the information. (I'm just using this as an example, but I note that Neo's words around this paragraph go into mechanisms like random mutation acting on DNA replication).

But, what new information is being added? What differences are there when we look at the genetic code? It is not good enough (at least I don't think) to simply say it went from this, to that because they appear similar. And than wave the information issue away in saying it must have been random mutations acting on DNA duplication without really providing any sustainable scientific theory about how such is actually achieved.

For example, fruit flies with a DNA replication of an additional leg, still runs into many issues on how mutations can shape such into something truly new and meaningful. A plausible rate of mutational changes should also be applied, how long would it legitimately take to get from A -> B. How can intermediates actually sustain/pass on such mutations in such a way as to account for the rich diversity of biological information we see in plants, animals and all sorts of life. "Vestigal" organs would be a good candidate for something that could become functional... but have/do they, and how?

Yes, these are big questions. However, I believe a full blooded Atheist has some major issues on their hands. Not to do with the beginnings of life (though that is an issue too), but rather the new information that always seems required for new biological species to occur on the phylogentic tree.

But that is my take on the matter. I understand you guys may not agree for whatever reason.
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Re: Evolution - Resource Thread

#7

Post by neo-x » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:01 pm

But, what new information is being added? What differences are there when we look at the genetic code? It is not good enough (at least I don't think) to simply say it went from this, to that because they appear similar. And than wave the information issue away in saying it must have been random mutations acting on DNA duplication without really providing any sustainable scientific theory about how such is actually achieved.

For example, fruit flies with a DNA replication of an additional leg, still runs into many issues on how mutations (and a plausible rate of mutation) actually can be sustained and account for the rich diversity of biological information we see in plants, animals and all sorts of life. Vestigal organs would be a prime candidate for something that could become functional... but to say they do, well how?
K, I would like to discuss this further with you if you would like that to, that is...may I request that you or a mod could please split the topic right here, I don't want this thread to be a discussion thread. I would ask anyone doing it to split it from the last page where you posted and hugh replied. That would give the new thread proper context and this thread will remain clean.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Complexity [Split from Resources]

#8

Post by hughfarey » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:01 am

Following a discussion which started on what was intended to be purely a resources thread:
- The origin of life involved a self-replicating molecule which appeared by chance, design or inevitability.
- The fewest number of genes possible to sustain life as we know it seems to be in the order of three or four hundred.
- The organism with the least number of genes yet discovered is Mycoplasma genitalium, with 482, while the organism with the most is Daphnia pulex, a tiny water flea, with about 31000. Humans have about 23000.
The question being asked on the previous thread, if I understand it correctly, is: where does all the increased information come from? Kurieuo, if I understand him correctly, can at least see what evolutionists are thinking when they claim that genes alter from time to time to produce different organisms, but does not follow how a couple of hundred genes can "mutate" to become tens of thousands. That's not just change, that's addition (or multiplication!). Is that OK for an OP?

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Re: Complexity [Split from Resources]

#9

Post by Thadeyus » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:19 am

One simple answer I have seen is 'Code copying errors'.

When genes are copied the general theme/want is for an exact new copy to be formed.

However, sometimes the mechanism 'glitches' and one of two things happen. The little bit of protein is possibly deleted or a duplicate one added.

Then I think there is 'Trans-positioning errors'?

Where the place for the proteins is shifted. Also, instead of just one 'set' of the GATC pair being copied/deleted, whole large chunks (Alleles) are effected the same way.

So....the code can be both added to and/or deleted from. In quite random seeming ways.

Of course, the place where this effects evolution is when the copying errors (And sometimes even just the variations in the standard sexual shuffling) happen in the sex cells (Gametes) of a sexual organism. (Asexual organisms do it differently) since THAT'S where the change manifests, in the offspring. Just random changes during standard cell splitting tends to lead to things like cancers and such.

Note that above I'm talking about mutation(I suppose). The actual normal 'shuffling' that happens with each offspring is also a factor as well.

I have a friend who's doing a Bachelors in Nano-tech which brushes into biology. Will try and get a better handle on this topic, sans Neo-X etc adding actual proper and correct information. :)

Much cheers to all.

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Re: Complexity [Split from Resources]

#10

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:41 pm

I'm impressed Hugh and Thad.

Whenever I've raised this in the past it's never been treated with much seriousness... rather side-stepped if anything.

I think you provide pretty much the same picture as I understand matters Thad, only stated much more clearly than I could have.

Reflecting upon simple celled life, to go from that to what we see with the richness of biological information seems nothing short of mind-boggling and well... miraculous to me.

At the time of Darwin, DNA wasn't known about, nor RNA and how all the proteins work and behave, etc. Blood was just nothing more than perhaps a simplistic plasma-like substance. There is even an exchange between Darwin and Francis Galton about blood-mixing in animals, where "gemmules" in the blood could impart characteristics (like happens in a hybrid plant when one might splicing two different plants together). Galton proved Darwin wrong, and Darwin fell back to a position that perhaps they're largely multiplied during reproduction.

In any case, the richness of biological information that we now know exists in blood and DNA, such that we can now map it out and decode it like that of the Human Genome project... I'm sure would have blown Darwin's mind. The issues are much more complicated than simply "splicing" two species together. Or perhaps some genetic substance accidentally getting mixed into the reproductive organs to produce some new hybrid animal.

So I think you have summarised it in a nutshell quite well Hugh. Specifically, the question is understanding how all this genetic information formed and increased over time. And as I see things, we're talking encyclopedias of genetic information that need accounting for. Think of what was mapped in the human genome project, and that took many years for us just to map.

It is quick a leap I think, to believe all this information and the changes necessary to go from one species to the next (especially those with very different features, traits and abilities) could be accounted for by above scenarios we've proposed. Perhaps everything we've stated above would allow for some sort of "genetic drifting", such as Darwin saw with finch beaks, but surely something more is needed to reasonably explain to diversity in life that we see and all the genetic information entailed within such.

Anyway, certainly something to think about and consider.
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Re: Complexity [Split from Resources]

#11

Post by pat34lee » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:08 pm

DNA is the killer that should have sealed the fate of evolution, if it were anything but a fable in the first place. Did you know that 'junk' DNA does not exist? It is going down faster than vestigial organs. Even in non-creationist science papers:
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpag ... k-dna-1211

If you look up the ENCODE Project, they have shown that at least 80% of non-coding DNA has a function. Think of one-time events all through life that DNA must control, like after conception, when to begin making specialized cells for skin, blood, bone, etc. Why are many scientists afraid to call DNA code information? Because information requires intelligence. So, DNA is like a massive hard drive on a computer, full of information. Like that hard drive, it is useless by itself. You not only need hardware to read it, you need a program that tells what to do with it. And you cannot upgrade any one of the three alone. They must all be changed together. If you could make DNA more complex in a creature, it would be like trying to run 16-bit Windows on an 8-bit processor or creating new commands for a program that cannot understand or process them.

I can't find the link at the moment, but one thing ENCODE found was that DNA not only reads forward on one of the two halves of the helix as once thought. It can read forward, backward, on either side of the helix, commands may overlap others, and some sequences may use genes that are widely separated from each other. There is nothing random about it, and no way for random changes to do anything but damage it.

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Re: Complexity [Split from Resources]

#12

Post by Ivellious » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:17 pm

Did you know that 'junk' DNA does not exist?
Yup. It's a pretty new discovery that lots of our DNA has functions that we didn't know about a decade or more ago. But how exactly does that hurt evolution? I fail to recall any time where evolution required non-functioning DNA to be workable.
Why are many scientists afraid to call DNA code information?
Ironically, they aren't. Seriously, try reading a science textbook sometime. Or talk to a scientist. Or read scientific papers (not those random creationist articles that don't have any science). Any biologist or biology textbook calls DNA information for our cells. That's not news, either; that's decades-old scientific wording.

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