Re: Information: a very technical definition (was Dawkins'

Glenn R. Morton (
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 20:17:35 -0500

At 12:41 PM 6/15/98 +0800, Stephen Jones wrote:
>Could you please clarify what your "technical definition" of "information"

H=-K sum(i) P(i)log(p(i))

where P(i) are the probabilities of each character in the information
carrying set.

To quote Yockey,

"if all the n probabilities are equal, p(i)=1/n, then H must be a monotonic
increasing function of n"

Yockey Theorem 2.1 Information Theory and Molecular Biology p. 62

do you see what I am talking about Stephen? It is quite technical.

>GM> and by that definition, there are lots of examples of increase in
>information by mutation.
>First of all, I would like to state up-front that I do not rule out that
some increases
>in information could occur by random mutation and natural selection. If it
could be
>shown that some limited increases in genetic information could occur, that
may still
>only be a mechanism for microevolution.
>However, Spetner, whose qualifications are in information and communication
>"I received the PhD degree in physics from MIT in 1950 and joined APL in
>I spent most of my professional career doing research and development on
>information processing in electronic systems, and teaching information and
>communication theory. After I had been at APL for about a dozen years, I was
>offered a year's fellowship in the university's Department of Biophysics.
There I
>was to solve problems in the extraction of signal from noise in DNA
>electronmicrographs. I accepted the fellowship and, as it turned out, I
learned a
>lot about biology.." (Spetner L.M., "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern
Theory of
>Evolution," Judaica Press: New York, 1997 revised, p.iv)
>"Information theory, which was introduced as a discipline about half a
century ago
>by Claude Shannon, has thrown new light on this problem. It turns out that
>variation cannot lead to large evolutionary changes. The information
required for
>large-scale evolution cannot come from random variations. There are cases in
>which random mutations do lead to evolution on a small scale. But it turns
out that,
>in these instances, no information is added to the organism. Most often,
information is
>lost. A process that adds no heritable information into the organism
cannot lead to the
>grand evolutionary advances envisioned by the neo-Darwinians." (Spetner,
1997 p.vii)

Does he show that mathematically? Yockey seems to accept evolution and
Yockey is also an expert in information theory.

>"You can easily add symbols to a message and not add information: just add
>symbols. Then you won't be adding information - you'll be adding only
>Similarly, if you add random nucleotides to the genome you add no
>Symbols without meaning carry no information." (Spetner, 1997 p83)
>GM>If you start with a sequence of 11111111111 or in DNA AAAAAAAAAAA and
>>then mutate it so that it is 11111211111 or in DNA AAAAATAAAAA you have
>>actually increased the information.
>I have a son, Brad, who is studying InformationTechnology Engineering at
>and he is currently doing Information Theory. I showed him your message
and he said
>what you are saying here is "wrong" (his word). He gave me a very detailed
>why (which I did not fully understand), and even if I did it sounded to
complex for me to

Brad better wait til he gets his degree. The equation I presented above
shows why there is no information in a sequence like AAAAAAAAAA. There are
no choices of characters so the probability of getting A is 100% or 1.
Thus when you put that into the above equation

H=-K (1) log(1).

Well the log of 1 is ZERO, 0. This means that -K times 1 times zero is
ZERO. NO information.

In the case of AAAAATAAAA the probabilities of the characters are:



H=-K (.9log(.9)+.1log(.1))= -K(-.041-.1)=.14K.

As long as K is not zero, which it isn't then the mutation Brad says
doesn't increase information does exactly that. There is more information
in the later case than in the former.

This should be enough for now.

>How about quoting the relevant paragraphs from Yockey to support your

I did.


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