Comments on Gpuccio: Functional Information Methodology

Because we don’t claim this. @Ashwin_s, you have a very stubborn imagination about the what scientists believe, and how science works. Keep tilting at those windmills!

Then what do you claim? That there are processes other than evolution which are responsible for innovation in life like photosynthesis?

Biologists do not think science has ruled out God’s tinkering or directing evolution. Some do not think it was necessary, but it is not as if science demonstrates this so. Either way, if God exists (as we both believe he does), he created evolution, and providentially governs it according to his purposes.

So God is responsible for innovations in life like photosynthesis, and this is entirely consistent with mainstream science.

You are inventing and imagining and pressing conflict where it really just does not exist. So many words multiplied in this. Sometime, I really hope, you just pause and think through the vicious cycle you are in. There really is a better way. Come find it with us.

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The last time I checked, evolution is a natural non teleological process in which no intelligent mind is tinkering. As far as I can see, this is the mainstream opinion and it has not changed.
Recently, some scientists have spoken about how evolution is “neutral” with respect to God. When push comes to shove, I don’t see evolutionary science acknowledging God as anything more than an unnecessary add on.
I don’t think such science can really be accepted as it is when doing theology for the simple reason that it doesn’t reflect reality. God is not a simple unecessary add-on in creation. He is the creator.

And I think you are working towards a more political solution where scientists agree God could have been involved and theologians cede the space for evolutionary science to constrain interpretations of the creation story.
This is how the entire issue looks like to me.
And of course, we might have different views of what a “win” looks like.

Yes, I did say that you were stubborn in this position, against much evidence. Carry on.

Name even one scientific discipline that regards God as necessary, Ashwin. Do physicists need God in order to describe relativity? Do meteorologists need God to explain clouds? Do chemists need God to explain covalent bonding?



18 posts were split to a new topic: Ashwin discusses the multiverse

@Rumraket and @Faizal_Ali seem to think differently from you here.

Their only objection to my comment seems to be that i use the word “assume” while “demonstarted” might be a more appropriate word.

Would it be fair to say that you dont represent all Scientist when you say that “we dont claim this”?

There you go again. Nothing they have said is conflict with what I said. Notice, they are not disputing me. They are disputing you. We are all in agreement that you are out of touch with what we mean when we discuss scientific findings.

Oks let me try and make logical sense of this.

Let me use @Rumraket restatment of what i said because that’s exactly what i meant -

@Rumraket: Said- Its not assumed, Biologists have good reason for thinking this.

I don’t have any dispute with what @Rumraket statement because i also think that’s exactly what biologists are claiming with respect to evolution.

Why do you say this is not what Scientists are claiming? Or did i misunderstand you?

I think there’s a difference between these two statements:
A) Science has shown that the diversity of life evolved by a purely natural process without God’s involvement.
B) Science has shown that it is not necessary to think that God was involved in the evolution of life’s diversity, and that a purely natural process could have produced everything we see in life.

I think biologists are generally saying B, but it’s often mistaken for A. I think Ashwin_s is taking the A statement to be implied by the B statement.


Don’t both statements coincide when we take into consideration that evolution tries to describe actual biological history… And not possible biological history.

Is there a difference in practical terms when science is communicated?

Sounds about right, though sometimes some say A when they really mean B, and are easy to correct on this. Non-scientists with an anti-religious agenda? That’s when it get difficult.

No they do not coincide.

We seem to communicate just fine, with each other and with the public. This hang up is owned by you. Certainly others too, but we have made the distinction clear and many many other people have understood.

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I think there is a difference. Of course some biologists are going to say that they mean one or the other, but when we look at the actual evidence and the methodology of science, all we can really say is the B statement.

In describing some inferred evolutionary history, scientists can only really say what is likely to have happened (we think that first this evolved and these mutations happened, then later these other mutations happened and so on).

They can’t say anything about the ultimate causes of those mutations. What we can say is that we know mutations happen, and that they’re consistent with our understanding of physics and chemistry, so God is not necessary to make evolution “work”. But how would anyone know that some mutation that occurred in some individual 347 million years ago was not caused to happen by God? It should be clear that nobody could ever claim to really know that.


@Rumraket I think I would probably state your points in a different way too, but I think we are on the same page.

The key point is that there is a lot of evidence for evolution, but science doesn’t tell us if God was involved or if his involvement was necessary. Science doesn’t answer questions like that, and evolutionary science doesn’t rule out God.

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Let us take a real life example like the evolution of whales. When a scientist presents tree to represent whale evolution, isn’t it implicit that a series of evolutionary events exist in actual history which achieve all the changes required to move from a pakecetus to a modern whale?

Are you suggesting it’s only a possible way this happened as opposed to a claim about what actually happened in history?

If you read the last few post I made you will know the answer. I hope you can find a way out of your vicious cycle! One hint: your attempts to read between the lines are usually just flat out wrong,

Good luck!


40 posts were split to a new topic: Ashwin and Faizal discuss science and miracles

You are not the only one here to think that the immune system falsifies the claim by ID theorists that high FI is a reliable sign of design. IOW, you and others think that the immune system demonstrates the capacity to produce high new FI. But this is not the case.

Let’s look at what happens when a foreign antigen enter the body (as far as the humoral response is concerned).

There are 2 steps in the humoral response to a foreign antigen. The first is the recognition of the antigen by some B cells patrolling the human body that happen to express a receptor with, most often, a weak affinity for the antigen. The second step occurs when these activated B cells migrate into follicles and proliferate to form germinal centers where they undergo V-region somatic hypermutations that improve affinity for the antigen.

Now, let’s look at the NEW FI produced during these 2 steps.

As showed by @gpuccio , we first have to define a function and then calculate the probability for the organism to find this function.

For the first step, the function is for a B cell to bind the antigen. But the important thing to see here is that in most cases, the function is already there so that no NEW FI is produced during this step.

Now, what about the new FI produced during step 2, ie, during the somatic hyper mutation phase. Here, the function for the activated B cells can be defined as follow: « bind the antigen with higher affinity ». Note that in contrast to the situation of step 1, the organism has now to undergo a real search for producing that function. Let’s try to calculate the probability P to find that function.

I will first take a conservative approach and assume that in order to produce the function, a specific mutation (a specific aa change) must occur at a specific position in the V region of a B cell receptor within a single activated B cell. Let’s call p this specific location and r this specific mutation. Now let’s define the following 3 probabilities P1, P2 and P3, with:

P1: the probability that a mutation occurs in the V region of a B cell receptor during a cell division. (I’ve found in my immunology textbook that P1 is close to ½)

P2: the probability that the above mutation occurs at position p in the V region (given that the V region of immunoglobulins is 120aa long, we have P2=1/120)

P3: the probability that the above mutation that occurred at position p corresponds to r (given that there are 20 different aa, and assuming for simplicity that each aa change is equiprobable, we have P3=1/20)

Now given that P=P1xP2xP3, we have P=1/4800; and FI being the –log2 transformation of P, we have FI = 12 bits.

The bottom line is that the amount of new FI produced by the immune system is, to say the least, ridiculously low compared to the 500 bits threshold required to draw a design inference.

You’ve skipped the actual first step. How did the B cell come to possess the receptor with a weak affinity for the antigen?

The function of antibodies is to protect the organism from invaders. If all you have is antibodies with weak affinity, you will die. The function is not present.

Fine. Accepting your calculation, that’s 12 bits for one antibody. And another 12 bits for an antibody protecting against the next pathogen. And another 12 for the pathogen after that. Or, if you happen to live in a malaria endemic region, 12 bits for the first var gene that a parasite strain expresses, 12 bits for the next, 12 bits for the one after that, until you cycle through a few dozen var genes possessed by that particular strain. And then start over when you get reinfected. As the process repeats, you very quickly exceed 500 bits of FI.