Mark Perakh posted Entry 1572 on October 11, 2005 12:27 PM.
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This essay is authored by Dr. Thomas D. Schneider. We thank Dr. Schneider for this guest contribution.

Intelligent Design advocates frequently state that living things are too complex to have evolved. This article shows how Claude Shannon’s information measure has been used as a well-regarded proxy for ‘complexity’ to predict the information that is required for a genetic control system to operate. This measure is called Rfrequency because it is computed from the frequency of binding sites in the genome for proteins that do the genetic control. Using information theory, we can also precisely measure the information in DNA sequences at the binding sites, a measure that is called Rsequence. In nature we observe that Rsequence is close to Rfrequency, which implies that Rsequence must have evolved towards Rfrequency. A model that you can run on your computer demonstrates this evolution, starting from no pattern in the binding sites and ending with the two measures being equal within the noise of the measurement. The amount of information evolved in the model is far more than the Intelligent Design claim can withstand. Given 2 billion years for evolution on this planet there was plenty of time to evolve the observed complexity.

The article is based on this paper . A web site accompanies the paper, giving many more details about the computer model and how to run it.

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Comment #51969

Posted by Corbs on October 11, 2005 6:28 PM (e)

Great stuff.

A nice easily understood explanation as to why Dembski is full of it.

Could Tara Smith or Dr Schneider (or someone else with nothing to do) take this a little further and link their posts? (Although they may see it as a complete waste of their time).

What do I mean? Using Dembski’s IC rubbish, can it be shown that the probability of the Avian Influenza mutating to a human pandemic is so low that if it occurs, it must be the work of an intelligent designer?

We can then save a fortune in preparing for the pandemic. If God wants there to be a pandemic, no matter what we do, God will just ID the virus any way God wants to make sure that there is one.

See ID is useful, it will save millions and millions of dollars that would be otherwise wasted in trying to prepare for the pandemic.

Comment #51984

Posted by Joel Sax on October 11, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

So they are proposing to dumb down science so it isn’t so hard to understand?

Comment #52036

Posted by Patrick on October 12, 2005 8:51 AM (e)

This is really cool. Once I figured out how to tweak the settings, it became really fun to make all kinds of weird stuff. I set it so that binding sites can overlap randomly, and then set binding sites to be ten bases long. I’ve got a C (base 277) that’s part of six (!) overlapping binding sites, and after 2700 generations, all six are working fine.

I’ve never going to get any work done today.

Comment #52105

Posted by Gary Hurd on October 12, 2005 7:21 PM (e)

I am very glad that Tom wrote this. For far too long we have had creationists prattle on about information theory and compexity. Some excellent counter arguments have been published, for example in Why Intellignet Design Fails. The article by Schneider helps particularly as the simulation can be run by anyone, and as often as it takes for them to learn the lesson - the evolution of complexity.