Intelligent design and "design detection"

The focus on human genes is probably heavily influenced by various religious beliefs, although non-religious people are just as susceptible to ego as anyone else.

From my understanding, the argument boils down to the probability of producing a highly conserved protein sequence. Their claim is that only that sequence could have carried out that function which is evidenced by how highly conserved it is. What they don’t seem to consider is contingency through time. Protein interactions can cement the importance of a specific sequence after it has appeared, especially if multiple proteins interact with the same target. It’s a bit like being amazed that the hole in the ground exactly fits the shape of the water in the hole.


But Gpuccio isn’t even measuring conservation. He’s measuring similarity to the human sequence. Not in any way the same thing.

1 Like

If an orthologous sequence is 99% similar between sharks, frogs, birds, and humans then that would be a highly conserved sequence.

1 Like

For sure. But that isn’t what’s happening there. The comparison is only between some species and humans. Chimps, by that measure, would have almost every sequence highly conserved, while sharks would have very few.


I think I am confusing things in my mind. I am remembering arguments based on a single or handful of strongly conserved genes, but that doesn’t appear to be the argument being cited here. Apologies.

IIRC, Gpuccio was plugging the bit values from BLAST alignments into Szostak’s equation(s) and claiming “information” or something like that.

Clearly he doesn’t understand Szostak’s definition. But the graph that’s been shown doesn’t even use an equation. It just reports the bit values.

The graph is meant for people like @Giltil, not for anyone who has the first frigging clue. So, as we can see, it is a very good graph in terms of achieving its intended goal.

What you call a “flaw” maybe simply that the analogy is not exactly the same as the original claim. If it was exactly like the original claim would it be an analogy?

What would be your argument that it is “flawed” or a poor analogy?

In one case we know the existence of the designer in the other we need to infer existence. While direct evidence of the designer would be preferred does lack of direct evidence really nullify the inference?

Exactly that.

While direct evidence of the designer would be preferred does lack of direct evidence really nullify the inference?


Some people may disagree with this as it would disqualify the use of abductive and inductive reasoning :wink:

I was one of many who participated in the long and very tedious discussion of gpuccio’s functional information criterion. In fact I wrote two posts at TSZ (here and here) that led to discussion on that. In the end we found that unlike Szostak he was assuming that all sequences that had less functionality than the one which we saw, were so much less functional that there was no evolutionary path to the observed sequence. This is way different from Szostak and Hazen’s FI. They were not even attempting to use FI to discuss whether evolution could reach that sequence.

BTW, I am failing to access TSZ, there is some 404 problem.


The links work fine for me right now.

1 Like

You will find such a graph at post 78 of this thread

Best read the posts that follow that one.

The comparison Gpuccio is interested in is between species whose common ancestor lived a long time ago because in that case, the similarities denote conservation throughout long evolutionary time.

Already done

Then why did you make the blatantly false claim that @gpuccio used Szostak’s definition?

FI=-log2(target space /search space).
This is the definition Gpuccio uses, which is also Szostak’s definition.

Utterly false. @gpuccio has done nothing to measure either space. Looking only at existing sequences, particularly only consensus ones, tells you nothing.

1 Like