Population Bottleneck


I was talking about the Shannon information contained in DNA. If you are using a different measure of information then you will need to define that measure objectively so it can be calculated. If you cannot put a numerical value on “information” then it is difficult to talk about “more” or “less” information.



Woah, there, I’m not aware that anybody is trying to say that. If that is what you are disputing then I agree with you, but it’s not what the science says so I wonder if you’re arguing against a straw man.

As for presenting “my” evidence, I might be inclined to cite some examples, but given how you seem to have misunderstood the evidence from embryology I fear I might be wasting my time. To help me out, can you explain what you would accept as being empirical evidence for evolution? The reason I ask is that I’ve had this discussion before, and it often turns out that the sort of evidence theists demand demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Theory, and at worst would actually disprove evolution (a monkey giving birth to a human being one example - yes, seriously).



In one of my posts above ( Post #382 ) I suggested that the Functional Sequence Complexity (FSC) might be better for biology than the Shannon uncertainty. The Shannon formulas can measure the variability of sequences, but it does not express variations related to biological functionality. The definition and formulas for calculating the FSC are included in the link I provided above.

Anyway, I am trying to keep this discussion at a level that is educated, but not too mathematical nor too technical for most readers here in the Catholic Answers Forum. Sometimes (but not always), there is also an advantage afforded by the simplicity of common sense.

Consider the following sequence of words:

  • I will see my mother tomorrow.
  • James and John are arguing vertically around the identity of flat earth with the perpendicular genome of music embedded in the vertex of Amoeba dubia.

Without using statistics, and using common sense, which sequence of words do you think gave more information , sequence 1 or sequence 2?

Sequence 2 used a lot of meaningful words, but it really didn’t tell us anything. Sequence 1 only used six words, but it gave useful information.

I brought this up to highlight the importance of genetic information in the subject of evolution. Genetic information is what gives instruction to build up an organism. The Amoeba dubia may have 200 times as many base pairs (letters) as that in the human genome, but common sense tells us that the human genome has a richer genetic information because it produced a human being. The presence of pseudogenes, junk DNA, and repeated sequences can inflate the amount of DNA in a genome without a proportionate increase in genetic information.

Well, if you don’t hear from me tomorrow, I wish you and everybody here at CAF a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


For your information, it was Charles Darwin himself who used that argument. You can find it in his book, The Origin of Species, Ch. XIV. Begin reading at the last paragraph of p. 338 in the link provided. (Just click on the page or on the edge of the page to turn the page.)

The drawings were made by Prof. Ernst Haeckel, who deliberately tweaked the drawings to make the embryos look alike in the early stages. The fraud was exposed just a few months after he published his book.

As far as I know the same evidence is still being used today. See this link, for example. It is not a straw man that I just made up. But if you have evidence from embryology that is different from what I presented, this is your opportunity to present it now and I will be happy to review it.

An empirical evidence is something that can be verified. For example, give me a documented case of a population of interbreeding organisms that has no eyes at any time before time T1, and the same population of interbreeding organisms that developed eyes at a later time T2. The new body part does not have to be an eye. But the development of a new body part, such as an eye, a limb, a wing, etc., in an interbreeding population that previously never had that part , will be a great argument for super-evolution, rather than a population of organisms that merely changed their appetite, their behavior, their resistance to a harsh environment, the color of their eyes, the size of their limbs, the length of their antennae, etc. These latter examples can be achieved by selective breeding, adaptation and natural selection, but they will not be a good evidence for super-evolution because they do not prove a gain in new genetic information. Equally unacceptable would be the growth of additional organs that were already in an organism (such as a third eye in a two-eyed organism), or the recovery of an organ in the members of a population whose members already had the same organ but lost it. In these cases the genetic information was already in the biocosm, and therefore does not prove a gain in new genetic information.

If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, then I wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


Right, also where did all this genetic information come from for all different kinds of fruits, vegetables and flowers we have today.


Why from the air of course! :crazy_face:


Yeah…back in those days the air was rich with DNA information, young plants could write their own ticket, the sky was the limit ! :roll_eyes:


Weren’t the Engineers from Promethius responsible for LIFE?


If you fully understood evolution you would know that maybe true, or might not be true, it just depends.


You are confusing information with meaning. The two are different, and science generally does not use meaning because it is a subjective measure. For example, here is some text with meaning:

gtam gzhi dang, nges par 'byung bcas gzhi dang bcas,
gang dag zag bcas nyer len pa’i, phung po’ang de dag 'thab bcas kyang,
sdug bsngal kun 'byung 'jig rten dang, lta gnas srid pa’ang de dag yin,

That verse comes from the Tibetan translation of the Abhidharmakosa. Unfortunately, that text only has meaning to someone who can read Classical Tibetan. I read a little, and can recognise some words; “dang” means “and” for example. On the other hand, the amount of Shannon Information is easily calculable independent of any meaning it may or may not have to the reader.

Meaning is not objectively measurable because it depends on the knowledge of the reader. Different readers will find different meanings in the text depending on their individual knowledge. That makes meaning subjective and science avoids subjective measures wherever it can.

Of course, the word “Abhidharmakosa” only has meaning to Sanskrit scholars. Buddhist scholars will in addition have an idea of the place of the Abhidharmakosa in Buddhist history.



I have already told you. Evolution is a process which copies information from the environment into the genomes of organisms living in that environment.

Information is copied by evolution. Random mutations change DNA and natural selection selects the best match among the variants in the population. Here “best match” is effectively “more grandchildren”.



Excellent! Meaning comes from a mind. Codes, language, maps, symbols come from a mind. A good proof for ID given the fact the we know the DNA language is complex and uses encryption.


Why would a plant morph into becoming an artichoke ?


Because it grew from an artichkoke seed?



No, no… that was fiction.


Yes, but it’s illegal to teach ID and wrong to even talk about it :wink:


No idea. Things just happen… somehow.


Oh, well, I’m not too smart :sweat_smile:


It depends on who you ask. If you ask a theist, he will say that God was the Author of the genetic information. That would be my answer, too. If you ask an atheist, he might say it just evolved. Or he might say it just got there by chance. But Rossum thinks it came from the environment.

Science does not use meaning to measure information. It uses meaning to understand the information.

Information is not the same as meaning, but you cannot have information without meaning. If you go back to the Sequence 1 and Sequence 2 examples I gave you, you will notice that Sequence 2 has a lot of meaningful words in it, but the sequence itself has no meaning, so it failed to give any information. Therefore, information does not consist merely in the letters or words by which the information is conveyed, but in the meaning of the sequence.

It is important to distinguish the information (which requires meaning) from the sequence of letters and words which convey the information. Meaningless sequences contain no information.

Mathematics and Statistics can count the letters and words and measure the size of sequences, but they cannot measure the meaning of sequences and, therefore, they cannot measure the importance of the information that the sequences contain. The Shannon measure, as well as the FSC, measure the sizes and complexity of nucleotide sequences, but they are both incapable of measuring true genetic information (which involves the biological meaning of nucleotide sequences). This is the reason why I am not too excited about using these mathematical measures. They don’t really measure genetic information which contains instructions for transcribing and translating protein synthesis; they only measure the size and complexity of nucleotide sequences, but not their biological significance.

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