Explaining the Cancer Information Calculation

You seem to be misquoting me. I do not say I(C1:C2|G) cannot increase. Remember, at the very beginning of this thread, my first comment was I have no disagreement here.

I say that I(C1:C2) cannot increase, and it is the upper limit of I(C1:C2|G). Therefore, I(C1:C2|G) generated through random processes is dependent on apriori information.

Hence, it is a question begging argument to insist I(C1:C2|G) increasing somehow discredits ID claims.

If I’m taking Josh’s three circles illustration almost literally, then there is nothing special about the a priori, maximum amount of MI in the system that bounds (C1 \cap C2) \setminus G. You don’t need any sort of intelligence to start with this. This is simply a statement that cancers are mutations from a germline. So, there was a time when the cancer was “identical” to the germline - i.e. when there was no cancer!

Am I missing something here?




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I don’t know. I’m just writing the circles in mathematical notation, and the notation says C(C1:C2|G) is derived from I(C1:C2). If that’s wrong, then we need new circles. But, this is it for me. I’ve come to the end of my interest here.

When I say “moving circles”, I mean moving not in physical space, but in the Venn diagram space, where more area overlap = more commonalities between the sequences, and vice versa. So the illustration of moving circles is right, I think.

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OK, I’m going to retract what I just said, after thinking about this more carefully.

On the one hand, it seems to me that Eric is arguing that common ancestry requires intelligence, which is weird. (I guess this is Josh’s main complaint with ID theorists in the first place - assuming that all MI is a signature of intelligence.)

On the other hand, Josh says this:

Yes, common ancestry explains the high initial amount of MI. But, it is unclear to me what are the relative increases/decreases of (C1 \cap C2) and (C1 \cap C2 \cap G). As I said in my initial long post in this thread, this is crucial in determining whether (C1 \cap C2 \setminus G) can actually increase - you need the second term to decrease faster than the first.

In other words, you have not explained how the circles move relative to each other. There is something in here which is not captured by the Venn diagrams - something more than just common ancestry. Common selection pressure might be. Can you clarify this, Josh?


Common selective pressures select the same mutations that arise randomly and independently in different patients. This happens in cancer, without intelligent guidance. The common selective force, as part of a parallel evolutionary experiment, produces the mutual information. Once again, without intelligent guidance of any kind.

Cancer is empirical demonstration that this type of mutual information increases.

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Does this help anything?


Biodiversity, Entropy and Thermodynamics
John Baez
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/bio info/

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It probably would, but I think @dga471 got this covered.

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In this particular thread I am showing @swamidass conditional MI I(C1:C2|G) increase example does not contradict my argument, since it requires prior absolute MI I(C1:C2) due to the fact I(C1:C2|G) = I(C1:C2) - I(C1:C2:G). My argument is that natural processes cannot create I(C1:C2), so the possibility that natural processes can increase I(C1:C2|G) has no bearing on my argument.

What it shows is that all your theoretical statements can be true and have absolutely zero grounding for ID arguments against evolution. I’ve never disagree with the proofs that MI isn’t supposed to grow in a narrow theoretical construct. I’ve argued instead that it has nothing to do with the real world of evolutionary biology.

Nothing to do with evolutionary biology is a stretch. DNA and proteins are organized in a relevant sequence as is mutual information as Eric has been arguing.

Your statement here seems to be in agreement with the one you just responded to. The prior MI I(C1:C2) is produced by common ancestry of C1 and C2 from G. Are you really arguing that replication of DNA requires intelligence?


My point is that since I(C1:C2|G) is upper limited by I(C1:C2) then when evolutionary biologists measure I(C1:C2|G) as you seem to say they are, they are also measuring a lower bound on I(C1:C2). And if I(C1:C2) cannot come about through naturalistic processes, so any I(C1:C2) > 0 is an indication of intelligent design, then likewise any measurement of I(C1:C2|G) > 0 is an indication of intelligent design. So, I do not understand why your claim that I(C1:C2|G) > 0 can be produced by natural causes undermines ID, if you at the same time agree I(C1:C2) cannot be produced by natural causes. I am very confused.

This is what the argument boils down to.

Since in other threads, Eric has adamantly held that any sort of consistency or order in nature is against methodological naturalism and thus an argument for ID, I wonder if all that he is arguing is that the existence of any regular biological phenomena (such as DNA replication) points to a a Designer.


Exactly. Replication of DNA produces MI, lots of it, by an apparently natural process. The objection to this is that it is not new FI, in that there is no new commonalities produced by replication. That is where the cancer example is great. It shows that there are new FI produced independent of common descent too.

So common descent produces MI, and common selective pressures can produce MI too. The argument is, by demonstration, false. Yes, @EricMH, I’m giving necessary caveats. The theoretical and uncomputable MI of your proofs never increases, but that has nothing to do with this.


@colewd maybe God did need to intervene in evolution. Fine. That might be possible.

However, we can be certain that the ID information arguments do not demonstrate this to be the case. That is what is established here.

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This claim is not established in my opinion unless you define function in very loose terms.

How do you know that the remaining FI after subtracting out common ancestry (i.e. (C1 \cap C2) \setminus G) is the result of common selection as opposed to say, neutral evolution? What experiments or reasoning is done to establish that?


As I understand it, the main thrust of the mathematical argument you made is that Durston wildly overestimates the amount of MI that needs to be explained. If he properly subtracts out the common ancestry, then natural causes are sufficient to explain the small amount of MI remaining. So, they can no longer complain that evolution fails to explain function.