RE: Where's the Evolution?

Pim van Meurs (
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 08:55:24 -0700

Pim: Indeed, or that evolution requires such an increase in complexity.

Ami: Evolution, the observed fact, may not require complexity, but doesn't the
Theory? Isn't increased complexity in organisms through the history of life
an observed fact, that must be explained by the theory?

But the main difference is that while the theory does not require increase in complexity it can accomodate it.

Ami: Also, tell me if I'm wrong, but isn't a bacterium which gains the ability to
break down polyurethane(? is that the one?) more complex than its
predecessor which can't? Let me elaborate.

That is a good question but without defining complexity in a way that can be measured, it is hard to address these issues. Is a mole that loses vision more complex?

Ami: Lets imagine a gene for a protein very similar to the one which is the
enzyme which can break down the polyurethane. At some point, this gene gets
duplicated. There are now two of them in the genome of the bacteria. By
chance, one of them mutates into this beneficial protein which opens up a
whole new food source to the bacteria.

Spetner would argue, and I believe incorrectly, that there is no increase in information but actually a decrease. So unless we define information and complexity we are a long way from determining the direction.

Ami: Two steps: 1.duplication 2.mutation Now, either of these steps taken in
isolation may not be an increase in complexity. However, both of them taken
together cause the bacteria, which before could only produce the one useful
protein, to now be able to produce two different useful proteins. Isn't
that an increase in complexity?

And that's the question that needs to be answered.