Talk:Information theory argument

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Minor and Major Edits

Noticed some apologetics for the case of the information theory argument added that were begging for responses in boxes. I didn't change anything the Creepsdark (the person who made the additions) except a few spelling errors. I feel that the apologetics being added do not seem to grasp the concept of random mutation and natural selection or perhaps I'm just missing something fundamental in what they are saying. If any apologist could spell it out for me I'll change my responses or remove them. Otherwise, their primary argument seems to be the old "there is never any new information added" argument which is easily remedied by understanding the wide variety of ways that new nucleotides are added which have been observed in nature and in the lab.

--Deimossaturn 16:39 8 July 2010 (EST)
The problem is the argument is a version of the watchmaker argument, and we can simply point out the evolution is a natural process that encodes DNA and therefore the premise is clearly false. Having a good background in information theory, I'm always somewhat stunned by the terrible "information" counter arguments. DNA is perfectly fine to qualify for being a "code", but most codes are made and produced by computer programs nowadays so there's like a trillion errors in the argument. Going around failing to grasp information qua Shannon does not a counter argument make. The counter argument is that the premises are false because DNA is the result of evolution and evolution is generally not considered a mind. Tatarize 18:03, 30 September 2010 (CDT)


Having read this article several times in the process of restructuring it. I'm really not sure there's a lot that can be salvaged. A lot of the counterargument tries to undercut evolution and has a terrible understanding of actual information theory.

From Wikipedia:

Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and communicating data. Since its inception it has broadened to find applications in many other areas, including statistical inference, natural language processing, cryptography generally, networks other than communication networks — as in neurobiology,[1] the evolution[2] and function[3] of molecular codes, model selection[4] in ecology, thermal physics,[5] quantum computing, plagiarism detection[6] and other forms of data analysis.[7]

And it's not wrong. It really does do all those things. You really can consider DNA a code. The genetic code. It really does transfer information from one place to another, it really does have functional descriptions. I think arguing against DNA as a code is a pretty clear mistake. And much of the counter-argument seems dedicated towards that end. Giving the reader a good understanding of information theory is rather vital but the most obviously wrong premise is saying that minds are needed to make codes. That's clearly false because if DNA is a code, then a code was made by evolution. And there's a lot of other good examples. Tatarize 18:39, 30 September 2010 (CDT)

The only real argument you have to support the idea that DNA is a code that was coded is nothing more than a semantics argument. The simple fact is is that DNA is a molecule that has properties. These properties cause it to react in a way that is dependent upon its structure. It's no more special or magical than any other molecule. Is it useful/convenient to think of it as a "code" or as "information"? Sure! But you then can't use the linguistic shortcut to sneak in an argument that "well, since it's a code, it needs a coder". But it's not really a "code" in the very strictest definition. It's just a molecule.
--Deimossaturn 18:49 11 October 2010 (EST)
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