Re: [asa] EIC (Evolutionary Informed Christian)

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Sun Dec 14 2008 - 10:58:51 EST

David Clounch wrote:

"I myself used to talk about "random creationism" meaning the belief that random events create information ex nihilo. The idea that new information, never seen before, is created where none was before.

Right or wrong may I be, that, to me, is the very essence of the idea of what materialists conceive evolutionary theory to be.

The idea of random creationism occurred to me while listening to a discussion between Del Ratsch, Chris Macosko, and Mark Borrego after Del gave a talk on Darwin. (I hope I spelled all their names correctly).

For the record, I utterly disbelieve that randomness produces information. There is only one way I can conceive of it doing so: if information pops out of empty space much like a virtual particle.

But materialists surely must believe that information comes from somewhere. I am confused about that source may be. If it isnt symmetry (where symmetry is pre-existing information, not new information) and isnt created randomly (ie, isnt randomness ) then what is it?"

Dave, I think the key is the understanding of information. That term is used casually to mean two very different types of "information" which are technically known as "complexity" and "information." Complexity has to to with configurational entropy. It's like throwing down a hundred pennies and seeing a string of heads and tails. Is it information? No, it's complexity. Information is a meaning assigned by a sentient being. That same string of heads and tails could have been arranged by an intelligent agent and represent numbers or words or anything that agent may have encoded. In that case, there would be information.

The key question is whether DNA is "complexity" or "information." The community of information theorists tell me that they consider it complexity. Steve Meyers has championed the idea that it is information and most of the ID community has gone along with that. The arguments for information lie in what they consider the analogy between DNA and its functions and the kinds of information that humans produce, such as computer codes. Sometimes Carl Sagan's arguments for identifying SETI are invoked as a test as well. What they usually don't say is the key difference between DNA and information produced by intelligent agents. Simply put, one of those key differences in that true information is independent of its physical embodiment while complexity IS its physical embodiment. We've discussed this in previous threads but it bears repeating.

To understand that better, consider any human-generated information. It can be expressed, conveyed, or stored in various physical embodiments. Bits of zeros and ones could be heads or tails of pennies, electron densities, magnetic domain orientation, circuit logic states, or anything else. Complexity, however, is simply the physical form and its function which changes with the physical embodiment.

So to answer your question, randomness in the process of replication of DNA can certainly generate an increase in complexity. No new true information is actually created.

Randy

  I myself used to talk about "random creationism" meaning the belief that random events create information ex nihilo. The idea that new information, never seen before, is created where none was before.

  Right or wrong may I be, that, to me, is the very essence of the idea of what materialists conceive evolutionary theory to be.

  The idea of random creationism occurred to me while listening to a discussion between Del Ratsch, Chris Macosko, and Mark Borrego after Del gave a talk on Darwin. (I hope I spelled all their names correctly).

  For the record, I utterly disbelieve that randomness produces information. There is only one way I can conceive of it doing so: if information pops out of empty space much like a virtual particle.

  But materialists surely must believe that information comes from somewhere. I am confused about that source may be. If it isnt symmetry (where symmetry is pre-existing information, not new information) and isnt created randomly (ie, isnt randomness ) then what is it?

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Received on Sun Dec 14 10:59:39 2008

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