RE: The young age of Earth

David J. Tyler (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 14:03:52 GMT

Pim van Meurs wrote on Mon, 15 Mar 1999:

I had written:
> > Abiogenesis advocates have two problems to address: the origin of a
> > chemical structure that appears irreducibly complex and the origin of
> > biological information.
> I showed you data which indicate that IC systems can happen through gradual steps. So
> a cell being IC is no evidence against evolution.

The debate about IC systems has only just started! I'm not planning
to get too involved in the exchanges, but am certainly interested in
what contributions are made. At present, the IC arguments appear
very weighty to me.

This exchange is about abiogenesis. So what "evolution" are you
referring to above? Not Darwinian - because there is not yet a
self-replicating system. Is your "evolution" a term referring to the
emergence of life from non-living precursors by natural processes?
What is the rationale for using this particular word to describe such
a process?

> Pim: "The second problem needs some clarification. Do you mean to
> say with "origin of biological information" the origin of RNA/DNA ?"
I replied:
> NO - because DNA/RNA is the chemical carrier of information. The
> analogy has long been made between the paper and the printing on it:
> the paper is merely the carrier for information. So also DNA/RNA.
> SO this is the same old "information" argument ? Please define information, after all the
> proponents of this "information" idea need to show why this is a problem.

Information appears to me to be an extraordinarily complex concept
that needs unpacking at many different levels. The only attempted
definitions I have seen are by people who have adopted Shannon's
theory of information which operates at the level of statistics and
is not concerned with content. Shannon's concept of information
represents the lowest level of analysis. Higher levels will address
issues of syntax (the code employed to convey information), Semantics
(the communication of ideas), activity (the direct
consequences of communication) and goals (the aims of communicating).

Best wishes,
David J. Tyler.