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Salvo: Life as information is fatal to current evolution theory

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When I first began to study these issues over a decade ago, I sometimes wondered whether I would wake up one morning to learn that researchers had discovered the way in which Darwinian evolution really did happen. That is, I thought I might learn how a long, slow chain of favorable mutations was accidentally generated and then meticulously conserved in survivors, resulting in vast networks of information.

In retrospect, I realize that I simply did not understand the nature of the problem back then. What I understand now is that life is largely information, and no information system can be built in that way.

It was as if, centuries ago, I had wondered if the alchemists would one day hit on a formula for turning lead into gold. The question could not be answered even today by a simple yes or no.

Why isn’t “no” the correct answer? Because it amounts to no more than a prophecy that the alchemists will not find the secret formula. That’s true, but the correct answer is that there is no secret formula. The belief that there is one stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of metals. The periodic table of the elements, their natures and relationships, reveals the answer—by dissolving the question. More.

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15 Replies to “Salvo: Life as information is fatal to current evolution theory

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    The mistake here is in thinking that we understand everything that law or chance or law + chance can do. We don’t.

    Because we do not understand all things that may be achieved by law or chance or law + chance it inexorably follows that there cannot be, even in principle, a “better explanation” than law or chance or law + chance.

    This is, I believe, totally fatal to the entire ID enterprise.

  2. 2
    gauger says:

    Mung,

    What if we are moving in the opposite direction? What if every new discovery makes the problem of law and/or chance solving the problem ever more unlikely?

    What if things are getting worse for the evolutionary paradigm every year precisely because of new and increasingly breath-taking discoveries in cell and molecular biology? These discoveries, in my opinion, have a snowball’s chance of being explained by current evolutionary theory. Or any version of evolutionary theory.

  3. 3
    OldArmy94 says:

    Mung,

    What does “law” and “chance” mean, though? Can they exist before the creation of our universe? Are they, too, dependent upon information?

    Basically, what you postulate is a fool’s errand. Why do we have any reason to believe that chance generates information when everything we know about it is that intelligence is its source?

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    The 3rd. way is trying to resolve this apparent ‘information’ problem, and they seem to be getting there… just have a few outstanding minor issues to take care of, before they can get their task done, but that may occur pretty soon, as this quiet discussion thread indicates:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    mung you claim:

    The mistake here is in thinking that we understand everything that law or chance or law + chance can do. We don’t.

    Because we do not understand all things that may be achieved by law or chance or law + chance it inexorably follows that there cannot be, even in principle, a “better explanation” than law or chance or law + chance.

    This is, I believe, totally fatal to the entire ID enterprise.

    Yet law and chance don’t ‘do’, ‘achieve’, or ’cause’ anything mung!

    “In the whole history of the universe the laws of nature have never produced, (i.e. caused), a single event.”
    The Laws of Nature by C.S. Lewis Doodle – 3:39 minute mark – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    The term “chance” can be defined several ways: a mathematical probability, such as the chance involved in flipping a coin; however, when scientists use this term,
    generally it’s substituting for a more precise word such as “cause,” especially when the cause is not known.

    “To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.”

    Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made,,, The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’”

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    And if one tries to become more precise in his definition and say that a ‘chance’ event was caused ‘randomly’ instead of by the purposive will of a causal agent, then that is, IMO, an even worse mistake than trying to attribute causal power to the mythical god of ‘chance’. This is because if ‘random’ is given causal power to explain why everything happens and exists in this universe (and for why the universe came to be in the first place), then the entire enterprise of science winds up in epistemological failure (Plantinga; Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, Gordon; Boltzmann’s Brain).

    of note, this all also plays directly into the ‘first mover’ argument for Theism:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    Aquinas’ First Way – (The First Mover – Unmoved Mover) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

    Aquinas’ First Way
    1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.
    2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.
    3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.
    4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.
    5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.
    6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.
    7) This Pure Act– Prime Mover– is what we call God.
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/.....t-way.html

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the following video that meshes perfectly with the ‘first mover argument’::

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Verse and Music:

    Acts 17:28
    For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as also certain of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

    Lyric: “You give purpose to chance”
    Steven Curtis Chapman – Lord of the Dance (Live)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDXbvMcMbU0

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, something like Brownian motion is a classic example of a chance based stochastic process driven in this case by molecular random motion. Those who understand it — effectively fluctuations of small particles in a fluid due to molecular collisions (acting as “giant” molecules — will realise that it is maximally unlikely for such to cause say the dust to spell out this post. In such contexts, it is reasonable to speak of chance as a causal factor. And no, this is not unknown or ignored cause, and it is not making up a mythical godlike figure. The design inference recognises that high contingency makes mechanical necessity (why things fall if dropped etc) implausible as causal explanation. High contingency as an aspect of an object, phenomenon or process points to the two known causal factors: chance and design. FSCO/I is a very good discriminator between the two, for reasons just outlined. It seems we all need to get back to basics. KF

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    kairosfocus, you just made the same category error I corrected mung on. i.e. You attributed Brownian motion to ‘random’ motion. This is to miss the pertinent point that ‘randomness’, as Boltzmann’s Brain, Plantinga’s EAAN, the first mover argument, and quantum non-locality, make clear, is not the ’cause’ of the quote unquote ‘random motion’. By leaving your ’cause’ at random and short of a true ‘first cause’ you have, IMHO, introduced ambiguity where none need exist. An ambiguity of definition that atheists take full, and unwarranted, advantage of.

    To go a bit deeper into what I mean by all this. Talbott humorously reflects on the awkward situation between Atheists and Theists, with the word ‘random’, here:

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    Basically, if the word ‘random’ were left in this fuzzy, undefined, ‘could you be a little more explicit here’, state one could very well argue as Theistic Evolutionists argue, and as even Alvin Plantinga himself has argued at the 8:15 minute mark of this following video,,

    How can an Immaterial God Interact with the Physical Universe? (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfzD3ofUb4

    ,,, that each random/chance event that occurs in the universe could be considered a ‘miracle’ of God. And thus, I guess the Theistic Evolutionists would contend, God could guide evolution through what seem to us to be ‘random’ events. And due to the synonymous nature between the two words, random and miracle, in this ‘fuzzy’, undefined, state, this argument that random events can be considered ‘miraculous’, while certainly true in the overall sense, would none-the-less concede the emotional high ground to the atheists since, by and large, the word random, as it is defined in popular imagination, is not associated with the word miraculous at all but the word random is most strongly associated with unpleasant ‘random’ events. Associated with ‘natural’ disasters, and such events as that. Events that many people would prefer to distance God from in their thinking, or that many people, even hardcore Christian Theists, are unable to easily associate an all loving God with (i.e. the problem of evil, Theodicy). Such events as tornadoes, earthquakes, and other such horrific catastrophes. Moreover, Darwinists, as Casey Luskin and Jay Richards pointed out in a disagreement with Alvin Plantinga, have taken full advantage of the popular definition of the word ‘random event’, (as in the general notion of unpredictable tragic events being separated from God’s will), in textbooks to mislead the public that a ‘random’ event is truly separated from God’s divine actions in the universe,,,

    Unguided or Not? How Do Darwinian Evolutionists Define Their Theory? – Casey Luskin – August 11, 2012
    Excerpt: While many new atheists undoubtedly make poor philosophers, the “unguided” nature of Darwinian evolution is not a mere metaphysical “add on.” Rather, it’s a core part of how the theory of Darwinian evolution has been defined by its leading proponents. Unfortunately, even some eminent theistic and intelligent design-friendly philosophers appear unaware of the history and scientific development of neo-Darwinian theory.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63191.html

    “Random: A Carefully Selected Word” Dr. Michael Behe – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-MuGUVWeFs

    But, because of the advance of modern science, we need not be armchair philosophers that must forever, endlessly, wrangle over the precise meaning of the term random chance being synonymous with the word miraculous, (all the while conceding the public relations battle to the Darwinists over the word ‘random’), we can now more precisely define exactly what the term random chance means, as to adequate causal chain, so as to see exactly what a Darwinist means when he claims a ‘random chance’ event has occurred in the universe!

    In this endeavor, in order to bring clarity to the word ‘random’, it is first and foremost very important to note that when computer programmers/engineers want to build a better random number generator for any particular computer program they may be building then a better source of entropy is required to be found by them in order for them to achieve the increased randomness they desire for their program:

    Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator
    Excerpt: From an information theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._generator

    By the way, if you need some really good random numbers, go here:
    http://www.random.org/bytes/
    These are truly random (not pseudo-random) and are generated from atmospheric noise.
    per Gil Dodgen

    And indeed, entropy is strongly, though not completely, associated with randomness:

    Entropy
    Excerpt: It is often said that entropy is an expression of the disorder, or randomness of a system, or of our lack of information about it (which on some views of probability, amounts to the same thing as randomness).
    per wikipedia

    Moreover, entropy is pervasive in its explanatory power for physical events that occur within this universe,,

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    But what is devastating for the atheist (or even for the Theistic Evolutionist) who wants ‘randomness’ to be the source for all creativity in the universe, is that randomness, (i.e. the entropic processes of the universe), are now shown, scientifically, to be vastly more likely to destroy functional information within the cell rather than ever building it up’. Here are my notes along that line:

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? …. The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article

    And , after years of intense effort, a direct connection was finally made between entropy and the information inherent in a cell:

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    ,,having a empirically demonstrated direct connection between entropy of the universe and the information inherent within a cell is extremely problematic for Darwinists because of the following principle,,,

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    and this overarching principle is confirmed empirically:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Thus, Darwinists are found to be postulating that the ‘random’ entropic events of the universe, which are found to be consistently destroying information in the cell, are instead what are creating the information in the cell. ,,, It is the equivalent in science of someone (in this case a ‘consensus of scientists’) claiming that Gravity makes things fall up instead of down. And that is not overstating the bizarre situation we find ourselves in in the least, since Gravity can now rightly be thought of as arising as an ‘entropic force’ from space-time.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    it is also very interesting to note that Ludwig Boltzmann, an atheist, when he linked entropy and probability, did not, as Max Planck, a Christian Theist, points out in the following link, think to look for a constant for entropy:

    The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: “This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant.”
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....ation.html

    I hold that the primary reason why Boltzmann, an atheist, never thought to carry out, or even propose, a precise measurement for the constant on entropy is that he, as an atheist, had thought he had arrived at the ultimate ‘random’ explanation for how everything in the universe operates when he had link probability with entropy. i.e. In linking entropy with probability, Boltzmann, again an atheist, thought he had explained everything that happens in the universe to a ‘random’ chance basis. To him, as an atheist, I hold that it would simply be unfathomable for him to conceive that the ‘random chance’ (probabilistic) events of entropy in the universe should ever be constrained by a constant that would limit the effects of ‘random’ entropic events of the universe. Whereas on the contrary, to a Christian Theist such as Planck, it is expected that even these seemingly random entropic events of the universe should be bounded by a constant. In fact modern science was born out of such thinking:

    ‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true.’
    Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    That consciousness did not ‘emerge’ from the entropy of the universe, but is the cause of the ‘random’ entropy of the universe is perhaps most easily demonstrated by the ‘Quantum Zeno effect:

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

    i.e. Why in blue blazes should conscious observation put a freeze on entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than entropy is? And seeing that entropy is VERY foundational to explaining events within space-time, I think the implications are fairly obvious that consciousness precedes the 1 in 10^10^123 entropy of the universe!

    On top of the quantum Zeno effect, and as mentioned in the first paragraph, Boltzmann’s Brain, Plantinga’s EAAN, the first mover argument, and quantum non-locality, can all also be brought in as well to argue against the causal adequacy of randomness. Thus kairosfocus, I think it is a great disservice to ID for you to cut short your explanation for ‘randomness’ as you have done in post 6

    Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – When The Stars Burn Down – Worship Video with lyrics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPuxnQ_vZqY

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77:

    No, I did not do a circular definition.

    I spoke to a case in point of molecular random motion — as is easily assessable on observation and analysis of relevant dynamics (well, maybe not easy to analyse) . I then outlined how this gives rise to the phenomenon termed Brownian Motion. Which shows stochastic randomness.

    I pointed out that chance patterns are giving rise to an effect that is observable and can be analysed in terms of mathematical models of randomness. Indeed, they are the basis on which the atomic-molecular theory was seen to be physically demonstrated.

    Thus I spoke to chance in one of its major manifestations, as a causal pattern. If you put two smoke cells under a microscope that for argument have identical patterns say in a grid initially, they will have similar initial points, but will go into widely divergent specific motion, but with similar statistics.

    Similarly, if we have say a tossed die, due to chaotic influences, two clashing deterministic mechanical chains with a lack of correlation will give rise to a random outcome. Even, names and phone numbers in a phone book are assigned on a non random basis, but when we use the lack of correlation between initial letters of names and numbers (usually) then we can generate statistically random numbers using a phone directory. In the old days statisticians did just that.

    I am saying to you that chance is a reasonable causal explamatory factor, and arises in sufficiently diverse ways that we have good reason to reckon with it. Themally linked molecular agitation and related phenomena, sky noise, tossed dice and many more. In genetics, there is no correlation between passing of RA particles and ionisation of H2O molecules leading to reaction with nearby biomolecules in cells [main path], leading to a randomised scrambling. Radiation sickness, cancers etc come form that.

    And of course, at very low levels, mutations, by one mechanism.

    Much of this is a commonplace of physics.

    KF

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    “I am saying to you that chance is a reasonable causal explamatory(sic) factor”

    I disagree very strongly. As with law, chance has NEVER caused anything! It, i.e. chance, is a place holder for ignorance. For you tack on the argument from evil, i.e. ‘Radiation sickness, cancers etc ‘, in your defense of the causal adequacy of chance is, IMHO, is to play right into the mistake so many others have made.

    But so be it. Believe as you wish, I shall not join you on that path.

    Of related note:

    “It has been experimentally confirmed,, that unstable particles will not decay, or will decay less rapidly, if they are observed. Somehow, observation changes the quantum system. We’re talking pure observation, not interacting with the system in any way.”
    Douglas Ell – Counting to God – pg. 189 – 2014 – Douglas Ell graduated early from MIT, where he double majored in math and physics. He then obtained a masters in theoretical mathematics from the University of Maryland. After graduating from law school, magna cum laude, he became a prominent attorney.

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    lol. ok, I apologize, but mainly only to gauger. most of the rest of you should know better.

    Usually the first question to ask when readying a post of mine is whether I am being serious or sarcastic or humorous. Admittedly, sometimes its’ difficult to tell, but that potential for ambiguity is just one of the joys of language and communication.

    In my post @ 1 a was channeling RDFish.

    I was using this OP as an opportunity to mock someone who’s arguments should not be taken even slightly seriously, yet they are.

    RDFish has admonished others for not accounting for everything we don’t know about what physical laws can or can’t do. Of course, by the same token and with no more ground he could say the same thing about our lack of understanding of what chance can or can’t do.

    And on this shaky foundation he constructs his objection to ID. We’re too ignorant, THEREFORE NOT ID.

    But not too ignorant to rule out ID by such reasoning, oh my no, not that ignorant.

    Wonderful. Amazing. Incredible. Astounding. Words fail me.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    gauger @ 2. Ann, is that you? How can I get a tour!

    Can I just drop by some day?

    🙂

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    gauger@2 noted

    What if things are getting worse for the evolutionary paradigm every year precisely because of new and increasingly breath-taking discoveries in cell and molecular biology?

    Exactly my experience. The needle on my mental implausibility gauge pegged, broke, and fell off.

    I don’t reject Darwinism because of Christianity, I reject Darwinism because it’s lousy science. It was a great idea when first proposed, but now it’s simply a dying, 19th-century scientific curiosity that in the future will take its place next to spontaneous generation, “vestigial” organs, and “junk” DNA.

    -Q

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Heaven & Back: 45 Min. Near Death Experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxNzm2q8IVY

    “I woke up in the Morgue” Near Death Experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxSQqY_JFhs

    Near Death Experience: to Hell and Back – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjRUv8wwJDs

  15. 15
    Eugen says:

    matter is playground for information!

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