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Genetic novelty conference: “Errors cannot explain genetic novelty and complexity.”


From Guenther Witzany, Telos-Philosophische Praxis, Salzburg-Austria, Corrado Spadafora, CNR National Research Council of Italy, and Luis Villarreal, University of California here:

Evolution – Genetic Novelty/Genomic Variations by
RNA Networks and Viruses, 4 – 8 July 2018 Salzburg – Austria

For more than half a century it has been accepted that new genetic information is mostly derived from random‚ error-based’ events. Now it is recognized that errors cannot explain genetic novelty and complexity.

Empirical evidence establishes the crucial role of non-random genetic content editors such as viruses and RNA-networks to create genetic novelty, complex regulatory control, inheritance vectors, genetic identity, immunity, new sequence space, evolution of complex organisms and evolutionary transitions.

Genetic identities of RNA stem loop groups (RNA-networks) such as e.g., group I introns, group II introns, viroids, RNA viruses, retrotransposons, LTRs, non-LTRs and subviral networks such as SINEs, LINEs, Alus invade and even persist in host genomes. Also mixed consortia of RNA- and DNA-virus derived parts that integrate in host genomes have been found. Highly dynamic RNA-Protein networks such as Ribosome, Editosome and Spliceosome generate a large variety of results out of DNA content.

Genome invading agents such a viruses and RNA-networks represent a very large and dynamic source of genetic novelty. They can co-operate, build communities, generate nucleotide sequences de novo and insert/delete them into host genetic content. Viruses and RNA-networks often remain as mobile genetic elements or similar ‚defectives’ and determine host genetic identities throughout all kingdoms including the virosphere. But inclusion of a transmissive viral biology differs fundamentally from conventional thinking in that it represents a vertical domain of life providing vast amounts of linked information not derrived from direct ancestors.

This new empirically based perspective on the evolution of genetic novelty will have more explanatory power in the future than the „error-replication“ narrative of the last century. More.

Why the conference?  Program. Submissions.  Speakers. (Yes, Jim Shapiro is on the program.)

The Altenberg 16Remember The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry (2009). The “let’s make Darwin history”  movement has grown, not shrunk. Get the book,  so you know what pop science media haven’t been telling us for a decade, or not much or not very clearly. However they choose to explain that.

See also: Researchers: Over one hundred million-year gap between accounts of when flowers originated – “false precision”.  But is that kind of time gap science? Yes, the fossil record has “shortcomings.” We know. We are still seeking a recovered materials market for splintered lecterns. There needs also to be a market for viable new ideas.

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

Good discussion, MB and ET. Here's a related long argument with Biologos (before they banned me for not being "gracious" enough with their dogma): https://discourse.biologos.org/t/information-entropy/35327/21 Nonlin.org
Molson Bleu:
By understanding how sedimentation and erosion works, we are able to gain information from the geological strata
Right, we did it. The earth just provided the data. We took that data and made information from it based on our knowledge. There isn't any information in the rocks, just data. ET
"On the other hand, it’s indisputable that information requires an intelligent user/creator." I don't believe that this is correct. It is indisputable that information needs an intelligent user. Or more accurately, an intelligent interpreter. Without understanding how to interpret the written word, we don't know if marks on a page contain information. And without understanding how DNA functions, we wouldn't know that it contains information. It could also be argued that an intelligent creator is also not always needed. By understanding how sedimentation and erosion works, we are able to gain information from the geological strata. But we could hardly say, except for the fact that the universe was intelligently designed, that the information in the rock strata required an intelligent creator. Molson Bleu
... 1. I am in effect pointing out that such a fitness landscape of clustered or scattered atoms and molecules is overwhelmingly dominated by seas of biologically non-functional gibberish. ... 2. thinks like macro vs micro evolution, [neo-]darwinism etc. ... 3. complex, configuration-driven function depends on well-matched, correctly oriented, arranged and coupled parts forming a coherent whole ... In short, we are seeing an inadvertent confirmation of the power of the per aspect, FSCO/I based design inference explanatory filter.
1. Why are you playing their game when “natural selection” is in fact the biggest fake science concept ever? http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/ 2. Again, why are you playing their game? http://nonlin.org/microevolution-fallacy/ 3. Yes, but since you’re playing their game, they say “natural selection” is not random, thus brushing aside all your calculations. And if you say "yes, but mutations are supposed to be random" they migt say "you know, I think mutations are not random either". Then what? http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
...As shown, randomness just cannot be demonstrated, therefore in the Darwinian explanation, randomness is just assumed. “Natural selection” then intervenes to cancel any previously possible randomness, in the same manner a person would choose only Heads from among a previously more or less random coin toss sequence – the outcome of the combined process is clearly non-random. It’s not a random coincidence that no mosquitos live freely in Antarctica and no polar bears live willingly in Sahara. Why even bother with randomness in nature if (a) randomness just cannot be proven, and (b) “natural selection” overcomes any randomness anyway?...
On another note, who owns this site, and why it's not using a better commenting tool such as Disqus? Reply notifications by email are important. Nonlin.org
Nonlin, It's a pity we seem to be discussing in so scattershot a pattern across threads. Now, the claim no ONE is acting as a self-aware, volitional agent doing a search is not a refutation of, we have a space of possibilities being explored by natural random walk/hop and/or mechanical/"ballistic" trajectory processes as molecules interact in Darwin's pond or the like. Evolutionary search algorithms is a known field of study, and the ideas are broadly connected to neural network "learning" also. The further arguments about broad sense hill-climbing in a field of possibilities through the differential outcomes on a fitness landscape is also relevant. I am in effect pointing out that such a fitness landscape of clustered or scattered atoms and molecules is overwhelmingly dominated by seas of biologically non-functional gibberish. So the core search-challenge is to reach shorelines of coherent, configuration-driven function that rise above the gibberish level. Search is a handy term and one used in the field. I suspect we may be seeing yet another run of the no true englishsman [--> "Scientist"] speaks in those terms game. As in, whenever design thinkers etc use a term often enough, it is disdained in popular literature or by internet atheists and popularisers as though the terms are idiosyncratic or are being somehow distorted. A glance at the UD weak argument correctives will show cases in point with thinks like macro vs micro evolution, [neo-]darwinism etc. Rhetorical dirty tricks like that are a sign that the point has been lost on the merits. A good example of islands of function in seas of non function is protein-functional molecules in amino acid sequence space, especially given deeply isolated domains that follow no obviously closely related structural pattern that leads to evolutionary sequence hypotheses. In general, complex, configuration-driven function depends on well-matched, correctly oriented, arranged and coupled parts forming a coherent whole. I have often illustrated with the Abu 6500 3C fishing reel exploded diagram, and notice the sneering snickers that pretend that a point is not being made by way of undeniable fact. That same functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I for short] is manifest in the bacterial flagellum on UD's masthead above. It is found in ATP synthase. It is found in mRNA, tRNA and DNA. It is in ribosomes. It is in other functional units in the cell. It is in the integrated metabolic reaction set of the cell -- compare a petroleum refinery -- and much more. The sneering is a sign that the point has been lost on the merits but there is a zero concession, animus-driven policy in effect towards those IDiots. And yes, more polite objectors, ponder the company you keep and the behaviour you enable and give respectable cover to. I suspect many objectors are unfamiliar with the common concept in statistical thermodynamics of an ensemble of systems starting from similar initial conditions and then spontaneously playing out from there. Resemblance to the model of each atom in the observed cosmos [~10^80] observing a tray of 1,000 coins in a string flipping at 10^14 times/s for 10^17 s is not coincidental. And, coins are a stand-in for a simple bidirectional paramagnetic substance subject to a weak orienting field and subject to thermal disorientation. The point is, this explores a toy model digital space of 1.07*10^301 possibilities, and gives a picture of a describing/specifying language. Tie together enough of these strings and any 3-d entity can be described in some language so discussion on such strings is WLOG. It also happens to pose a very simple experimental test: use blind chance and/or blind mechanical necessity to produce FSCO/I-rich strings by way of say computer runs. This has actually been tried and it underscores the 500 - 1,000 bit threshold, once we recognise that ASCII codes use up the 128 available states for 7 bits. Let me again clip the Wiki article on the infinite monkeys theorem, on random text generation:
The theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation. One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the "monkeys" typed, "VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t" The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from "Timon of Athens", 17 from "Troilus and Cressida", and 16 from "Richard II".[24] A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulated a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took "2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years" to reach 24 matching characters: RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r"5j5&?OWTY Z0d... Due to processing power limitations, the program used a probabilistic model (by using a random number generator or RNG) instead of actually generating random text and comparing it to Shakespeare. When the simulator "detected a match" (that is, the RNG generated a certain value or a value within a certain range), the simulator simulated the match by generating matched text.[25] More sophisticated methods are used in practice for natural language generation. If instead of simply generating random characters one restricts the generator to a meaningful vocabulary and conservatively following grammar rules, like using a context-free grammar, then a random document generated this way can even fool some humans (at least on a cursory reading) as shown in the experiments with SCIgen, snarXiv, and the Postmodernism Generator.
A factor of 10^100 short of searching 10^150 possibilities [~500 bits]. Do I dare to suggest: empirical support for a longstanding prediction? And, do you notice how, to get more functional results, more and more intelligently directed configuration has to be front-loaded in? In short, we are seeing an inadvertent confirmation of the power of the per aspect, FSCO/I based design inference explanatory filter. Not too shabby for those IDiots, nuh? KF kairosfocus
KF, are you referring to something like this: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/informatics/ai-state-configuration-space-search-and-the-id-search-challenge/? I have to review it first, but it's likely a weaker argument. First because they can say "no one is searching for anything", and second because they might say "because there's no target and no search, the outcomes we see have been reached much faster than a search algorithm predicts". On the other hand, it's indisputable that information requires an intelligent user/creator. Also "randomness" is mathematically unknowable, so they can't possibly defend that claim. Let's keep it simple, remember? Nonlin.org
Guys, briefly, pop science media has not been telling us this for a decade. Help make pop science media history. News
Non-lin, actually, on factoring in atomic and temporal resources and costs, no feasible number of monkeys would ever credibly arrive at a significant result by chance. The point is, that the abstractly possible (to arrive at any particular configuration in a space of possibilities by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity) is not to be confused with what is plausibly feasible (to be dominated by the implications of relative statistical weights of clusters of possible states, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics emphasises). That is closely tied to the search challenge issue to find islands of function in large configuration spaces that is being discussed in several other threads. KF kairosfocus
Ok, so assume we are a part of a network from which emerges a system that can build everything we see. You still need to account for the functionality of that network via means prior to its operation, which is much further beyond the ability of RM+NS to account for than the traits we're assuming it could build. It's far easier to write a spreadsheet than to write Excel. Distributing the components across a network so that you can confuse yourself as to how much work you had to put in (while maintaining functionality) only makes it harder to write. I suppose the next step is to sweep the origin of genetic networks and self-modification under the rug with OOL. Or maybe a different rug, so as to make the lump less pronounced. Evolutionists may be able to continue chasing their fantasies past Darwin's second expiration date by abandoning RM+NS; but they will have conceded defeat, whether they understand it for themselves or not. LocalMinimum
For more than half a century it has been accepted that new genetic information is mostly derived from random‚ error-based’ events. Now it is recognized that errors cannot explain genetic novelty and complexity.
This has been known for a while: http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/ ... The Infinite Monkeys theorem affirms that randomness could create Hamlet or The Odyssey (but the argument is really about life forms, not about literature). Indeed, a random process could theoretically generate these masterpieces. And if we allow for many alternative targets (like any document ever created), the probability of success goes up substantially. Quite likely, the “monkeys” would have duplicated many other information (like chemical formulas) way before typing Hamlet. But monkeys care about bananas, not Hamlet, so the random output remains meaningless until an educated reader assigns meaning based on his/her prior knowledge. Hamlet and Odyssey are important precisely because we recognize them as non-random. They fit in our history and culture and have been preceded and followed by other non-random creations. Creators, not Randomness, provide meanings. Nonlin.org
What IS the empirical evidence that viruses and RNA-networks create genetic novelty? Has this actually been observed happening? aarceng

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