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Evolution Debate

It's the Darwin crowd that lacks the facts in evolution d...

I think the idea is that you look at at the totality of the evidence, create hypotheses that best fit that evidence, then test your hypotheses against new evidence. Your idea that these animals lived and died but were not related to each other is one hypothesis, but it doesn't help to explain the examples we have of gradual changes in lineages of animals. Evolution is better at explaining this.  (Feb 13, 2014 | post #126783)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

I take issue with your claim that I "argued strongly that there is NO information in DNA". I believe you are referring to this paragraph I wrote: "I'm not interested into arguing over whether information is being added or not unless you first define what you mean by "information ". I think we are using different definitions, so it would be a pointless argument at the moment. The only point I'll make is that the entire genome is a repetition of smaller sequences. There are only four bases, and everything else is merely a duplication of these. I don't agree with you that duplication does not result in additional information because the logical conclusion of your premise is that there is as much information in 4 single bases as in the entire human genome." I don't think this reads as though I am strongly claiming there to be NO information in DNA, but perhaps you're thinking of something else I wrote. Please provide a quote and I'll re-examine it. Perhaps I made a typo. I'll happily own up to any mistakes I think I've made. It looks like you're on your third or fourth definition of "information " now. This is especially striking as you initially claimed it was so obvious that it needed no explanation! I'll consider analysing your position once you settle on one. I also find it extremely amusing that you think word counts on wiki pages mean anything. You claim 15 matches for the word "information " on the wiki page for "Genetics " is evidence for something? Did you know there are 22 matches for the word "evolution " on that same page, 1 for "creation " and 0 for "devolution "? Case closed, right? Or maybe word counts don't prove whatever it is you seem to think they do. You chose to put forward the idea that information in a genome always decreases. You were initially unable to define what you meant by "information ". Your first definition was qualitative, your second was quantitative but inconsistent with the idea that information always decreases, your third and fourth were qualitative and consisted of an arbitrary classification scheme. I agree with you - you should not spend more time on this nonsense.  (Jan 30, 2014 | post #163382)

Evolution Debate

Math Professor destroys Atheist

OK, I'm willing to put that example to one side and concentrate on the principle itself. First, let me make sure I understand what you're talking about. Your devolution theory states: 1. Genetic copying errors arise in every generation and accumulate in a population over time. 2. More of these errors have a negative effect than a positive one (though most may be neutral). 3. As the errors accumulate, they cause more and more problems until, ultimately, the population dies out. Is that right, or have I misunderstood?  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #95)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

It's nice to meet you! I hope your health has improved, and I appreciate your reasons for being here.  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #163338)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

Without going into too many details, I think I've said elsewhere that I'm educated to degree level in Natural Sciences but I work in an unrelated field. I am interested in both education and learning, and am here to have genuine debates and discussions with people whose views differ from my own. I think that is all that is relevant for now. Although I don't believe it to be relevant, religion seems to crop up a fair amount on this board. I am not religious, but I am not anti-religion. I probably think of myself as an agnostic atheist, but I am not associated with any organised groups.  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #163269)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

I take issue with your claim that I "argued strongly that there is NO information in DNA". I believe you are referring to this paragraph I wrote: "I'm not interested into arguing over whether information is being added or not unless you first define what you mean by "information ". I think we are using different definitions, so it would be a pointless argument at the moment. The only point I'll make is that the entire genome is a repetition of smaller sequences. There are only four bases, and everything else is merely a duplication of these. I don't agree with you that duplication does not result in additional information because the logical conclusion of your premise is that there is as much information in 4 single bases as in the entire human genome." I don't think this reads as though I am strongly claiming there to be NO information in DNA, but perhaps you're thinking of something else I wrote. Please provide a quote and I'll re-examine it. Perhaps I made a typo. I'll happily own up to any mistakes I think I've made.  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #163268)

Evolution Debate

Transitional Fossils - your missing millions

Please look up the definition of the word "falsifiable ". It doesn't mean what you think it means.  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #212)

Evolution Debate

Math Professor destroys Atheist

The person you are responding to was quoting my analysis of your flawed thought experiment. I used the mutation rate given in the paper you referenced and an estimate of the number of letters in a text book to calculate a reasonable error rate if we were to actually perform your experiment. The only way 100 errors per text makes sense otherwise is to assume that each book is 3000 times longer, or that your error rate is 3000 times higher. But perhaps I was wrong to do this - perhaps you wanted to present a deliberately misleading picture.  (Jan 29, 2014 | post #85)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

If there was no new information, how could the bacteria do something it couldn't do before? Remember, this wasn't a case of switching off down-regulation of the expression of the citT gene, it involved the construction of a switch to up-regulate expression. Also, don't forget, according to the method of measure the quantity of information that you proposed, duplication of information represents an increase in information - you just count the bits, right? More bits, more information.  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #163209)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

OK, so you're willing to agree that the amount of information increases with duplications, right? So, on the subject of "new information", what would new information look like? No matter what the phenotypic change, at the level of DNA it would just be a different sequence of bases, right? Would you agree that a change to a single nucleotide would represent new information? For example, we have a sequence "ATCG". There's a mutation, and it now reads "ATTG". Hopefully, you agree this is different information. And hopefully, you agree that it is, when compared with the old sequence, new.  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #163208)

Evolution Debate

It's the Darwin crowd that lacks the facts in evolution d...

If it's of any interest, there are about 1.5x10^8 square kilometres of land on the planet. If you assume that methane will be released from this land at the rate of half that measured at the Three Gorges Reservoir (3.35 mg/m^2/hour) then the amount of methane produced would be over 1x10^10 kg per day (over 18 trillion litres per day). The Earth has the natural capacity to remove the methane that is produced naturally. Human influence has caused a net increase of about 20 teragrams per year (a teragram is 1000 billion, a trillion) and scientists are worried about this. However, if the amount of methane above was produced over the land surface of the Earth for an entire year, the net gain would be 200 times greater: over 4000 teragrams. I have no idea what this would do to the climate, but I know it wouldn't smell very nice.  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #126115)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

polymath257 has beaten me to it. If you want to measure the quantity of information in this way, then duplications, such as the mutation observed in the Lenski experiment, must represent an increase in information. You claimed this was a decrease in information. Do you recognise this as a contradiction in your position?  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #163204)

Evolution Debate

Transitional Fossils - your missing millions

The way you've worded your question is really confusing. If something truly cannot be tested, then you can't test it. I think we'll both agree on that. If you're trying to test something like evolution, then that's OK, because you can test the predictions that the theory of evolution makesActually, yes it can. I don't mean this impolitely, but you don't know what that word means. Whether something is falsifiable or not has no bearing on whether it is true or false. It just means that the possibility exists to prove it false. Here are some examples: 1. I am not eating a bagel. This statement is both true (I am not eating a bagel) and falsifiable (you could prove the statement false by finding a bagel in my mouth). 2. I am eating a bagel. This statement is both false (I already told you I'm not eating a bagel) and falsifiable (you could prove it false by checking to see if I was eating a bagel). 3. There is a parallel dimension that we can never reach where bagels eat people. This is both of indeterminate truth (I don't know if it is true) and unfalsifiable (we can never show this statement to be false because we would never be able to reach this dimension). To help, replace "falsifiable " with "testable " and you'll be OK 99% of the timeMaybe, but that would be an unfalsifiable hypothesisI hereby present a universal set, containing everything, including itself. Perhaps you could show me how to generate probabilities with it?  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #209)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

Let's recap what actually happened: You're right, I did say information was added. You disagreed and, being generous, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed you were working to a different definition of "information ". You see, you claimed that every change to the genome resulted in either no change in information content, or a loss of information. I asked you to give your definition of "information " and you chose to give a definition that does not allow information to be quantified, making it impossible to back up your claim that genetic information is always decreasing. To advance the conversation, I asked you a couple of questions, which you have ignored. Instead, you thought it would be more interesting to attempt to insult me. I don't know if that's a stock reaction you have acquired from being here, or if you're suffering cognitive dissonance between your personal beliefs and the illogical leaps you need to make to preserve them. I have formed many opinions of you during our discussion, some positive, some not, but I'd rather we just talk than exchange barbs. I was enjoying talking to someone with a completely different world view, but perhaps you've had enough for now. I'll leave it up to you: Answer my questions or take a break for a while.  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #163190)

Evolution Debate

Should evolution be taught in high school?

Great, I'm happy to use that. By this definition, we could say that a sequence of DNA contains information as long as it has some kind of function. So, true junk DNA wouldn't be said to contain any information, but a stretch of DNA that codes for a gene would be classed as containing DNA. This is, more or less, the commonplace definition. Because it doesn't give us a way of objectively measuring and comparing the amount of information, we should avoid discussions where we attempt to do so, but we should still be able to agree on whether information is present or not. So, with that in mind, if DNA containing a gene is duplicated, do you think the duplicated section of DNA contains any information? (My answer is yes, I think the new and old DNA both contain information. If they are identical and both work the same way, I would even say they contain the same information.) If the duplicated DNA was later the site of another mutation, but remained a gene capable of expression, would you say that the information in this section of DNA was the same, or different to the original DNA (which is still present and unchanged)? (My answer is that I would consider this information different, though the extent of the difference would depend on the mutation.)  (Jan 28, 2014 | post #163177)