Re: Can variation and natural selection add or create new information? (was Revised Kansas...)

Stephen E. Jones (
Sat, 21 Aug 1999 20:43:02 +0800


On Tue, 17 Aug 1999 21:16:35 -0400, Tim Ikeda wrote:

TI>Quoted from a compromise draft of the Kansas state science
>standards (posted by Stephen):


>SJ> Natural selection can maintain or deplete genetic variation but
>> does not add new information to the existing genetic code.


TI>I've got to dispute this statement. Can variation and natural
>selection add or create new information? I think so. And I've
>yet to see a reliable and consistent metric of information
>proposed by the people who make the claim made above.


TI>What do these people mean by new genetic information:
>Additional sequences? Altered reactions catalyzed by the
>encoded enzymes? New functionality? Upon what are they
>basing this position?

Although I can't speak for the "people" on the Kansas Board of
Education, the "people" in the ID movement would probably mean
"by new genetic information" the same as what the Darwinists
mean by it, as for example what Dawkins means by "information"
when he writes:

"Each nucleus, as we shall see in Chapter 5, contains a digitally coded
database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the
Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not
all the cells of a body put together....The total number of cells in the body
(of a human) is about 10 trillion. When you eat a steak, you are shredding
the equivalent of more than 100 billion copies of the Encyclopaedia
Britannica." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker," [1986], Penguin:
London UK, 1991, reprint, pp17-18)

But for starters, I would be happy for Tim to demonstrate how "variation
and natural selection" can "add or create new information" in the sense that
*Tim himself* understands the term, when he answered his own question
"Can variation and natural selection add or create new information?" with
"I think so".


"Reduced to the initial and still crude form in which it is now emerging in
the modern world, the new religious spirit appears, as we have said (cf. I),
as the impassioned vision and anticipation of some super-mankind ... To
believe and to serve was not enough: we now find that it is becoming not
only possible but imperative literally to love evolution." (Teilhard de
Chardin P., "Christianity and Evolution", 1971, pp183-184, in Bird W.R.,
"The Origin of Species Revisited", Regency: Nashville TN, Vol. II, 1991,