Examining the evidence of macro evolutionary theory in light of the assertion that macro evolution cannot create "new" genetic information


(Ed) #1

I’ve heard it asserted by Christian apologists that macro evolution cannot be true because there is no evidence or known mechanism for new genetic information to be created on a species level. The assertion states that evolution has only been empirically shown to take an existing genetic data set and for it to lose information or for the existing data to be corrupted. So in this way genetic changes do not create “new” information that creates new species.

A further assertion is that information itself is separate from its physical expression. There are many ways to record information once it exists, but can the physical create information due to its own inherent properties? So if this assertion has merit, it begs the question of where does any “information” come from?

The above assertions seemed like reasonable arguments, but like many things asserted with good intentions, they may not have any merit once examined. I have no need for these arguments to be true or false, but my curious mind wants to hear well reasoned arguments for and against. So thank you in advance for debating this topic. Meanwhile, I’ll do my research to see if I can find where I read this because someone will want to clarify something and I won’t have the means to do so.

Ed


(Ed) #2

I just discovered this site today and should have taken some time to peruse this site and get a feel for what goes on here. After about ten minutes on the site I have learned that my post fits into an ID argument since the assertion seems to force the issue that information must come from an intelligence. But I’d still like to hear what people think about the assertions I mentioned.


#3

Some mechanisms producing new genetic information:

  • Gene duplication
  • Exon shuffling
  • Regulatory site shuffling/duplication
  • Recombination
  • Horizontal genetic transfer
  • Transposon insertion
  • Viral insertion

See also:
Information theory and creationism (probably the best place to start)
Mutations can add information
Mutations can produce something new
Email exchange over Lee Spetner’s claims about mutation and new function


Can evolution generate new information? (New Common Questions page)
#4

And yet they do. Constantly. And virtually everywhere we look.

Polyploidy is an unavoidable example and is largely responsible for our food supply. The claim that mutations are at best neutral and otherwise destructive is just plain wrong. As a Christian evangelical, this kind of dishonesty (not by uninformed followers but by some of the origins ministry leaders who know better) disturbs me greatly.

Of course, fixity of species has generally been scrapped for a “fixity of kinds” because there were just too many embarrassing examples of the evolution of new species.

As to the information generation arguments, evolutionary algorithms and large-scale projects like AVIDA have already settled the question of whether intelligence is needed to generate information. I’ve written evolutionary algorithms to solve problems which have nothing to do biology. The generation of information and problem-solving solutions which I would never have considered or found on my own had a permanent impact on my grasp of evolutionary processes.

I praise God for the ingenious plan he established for creating and diversifying life on earth. Evolutionary processes are just the sort of amazing ways an omnipotent and omniscient deity would use to bring about his will for biological life on earth. Hallelujah.


(Ed) #5

Thanks Argon. Lots of good info to chew on.


(Ed) #6

Thanks Socrates. Thoughtful and helpful feedback.

In general I’m thankful that I’ve finally encountered a place were ideas can be discussed in a helpful manner and straw men and rhetoric are not used in place of facts.

Thank you all again!


#7

Me too. And unlike so many Young Earth Creationist website forums, censorship is not constantly wielded to silence “inconvenient” arguments.

At this very moment I happen to be listening to American Family Radio. (I know. I can be a bit masochistic at times.) The host is explaining why it is not good at all to have diversity of beliefs among Christians! His examples include:

  1. Everyone must “believe in” the ark and at least support in principle Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter as a beacon for truth.

  2. Everyone must reject evolution because Genesis 1:1 removes any excuse for diversity of opinion among Christians. Why? Because the text says God “created” the heavens and the earth, not “evolved” them. (I have good relationships with Young Earth Creationist friends, but I want to pull my hair out when I see such childish word games used to manipulate people.)

Now the host is quoting from Andrew Snelling and scientists like him (“flood geologists”) who are showing us the truth of “It is to the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of great men to search them out.” Now he is saying that C-14 in diamonds proves a young earth and that “evolutionists” refuse to accept the truth of the science involved.

Yet, if I posted a rebuttal on the AFR Facebook page, it would only last for a few minutes. I tend to evaluate a website on its reliance on censorship to deal with its fears of evidence. I’ve never seen Biologos show fear towards diversity of opinion or resort to censorship as a debate tactic.


(Peaceful Science) #8

Yes I have heard that assertion too. Turns out it is false. That solves the problem you raise. The premise of the question is false.

I say this as a Christian who believes that God created us that that He designed us all. I am also an expert in computational biology and applying information theory to biological systems. I am entirely qualified to assess their scientific claims. They are wrong.

Many of the Christian apologists are honest and kind people. I agree with their desire to point our world to God. However, their science is not the proper place to put your trust. Unfortunately, they are wrong.


Intelligent Design
(system) #9

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