Paul Price: What are the Substantive Critiques of Genetic Entropy?

This is just like the monkey with the typewriter. Let’s say it has no information. That doesn’t imply that changes are just as likely to be beneficial as deleterious. Building information is hard work. It’s not likely to happen by chance. That’s why it takes intelligence to write novels, papers, blueprints, etc. We don’t expect that throwing random stuff together will be “just as likely” to help as hurt. It almost never helps, regardless. GE does not depend upon the assumption of starting with perfection.

No, I’m saying we aren’t mentally adding ‘effectively’ to ‘neutral’ every time we hear it because it doesn’t matter.

Yes, let’s. Let’s say I hand you a page of meaningless gibberish, typed by a monkey. That’s what junk DNA is. Now start making random changes to it. Do the changes make it more or less meaningful?

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I wish I had a dollar for every time a Creationist makes the false claim evolution works just by chance. A dollar for every time they deliberately omit the effects of feedback from selection in making and saving positive changes. I’d pay off the national debt and still have enough left to fund the NASA Mars missions. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Parts of the genome are not being removed. That’s not how it works. Variation can be removed through selection, but there are still alleles for each of those genes. Phenotype is still directly tied to the sequence of those alleles, and according to you those differences between sequence among alleles should be mostly deleterious. Selection doesn’t remove junk DNA, either.

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Let’s extend the analogy. Letters take different amounts of toner to print. So each time you change a letter, you’re changing the printing cost of the page slightly. Now go back to making random changes to your page of gibberish: do you think that as you make change after change, the cost of printing the page will steadily mount?


Who has done so? Please produce a single quote to support your claim of what others are allegedly suggesting.

How do you explain the false and very large elision you’ve made here?

Why are so many creationists apparently unable to understand that noncoding does not mean junk?

Or are you just pretending not to understand, Paul?

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The more gibberish you have, the greater the cost obviously, with no benefit since there’s no information. As you make random changes (not really random, but actually biased changes), the information content does not increase. It remains gibberish. Anything you add increases cost to print, which is deleterious. I don’t see much chance for anything beneficial in this scenario.

How so? Do most mutations increase the size of the genome?

No, I didn’t say they do. But each letter costs toner.

Who said anything about more gibberish? Stick with the analogy: you start with one page of gibberish and make changes to it. Does either the information content or printing cost of the page change systematically over time? It’s a yes or no question.

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So did the letter it replaced. So does the cost change?

Junk DNA is already gibberish. Changing some gibberish for some different gibberish does not increase gibberish.

There are not enough facepalms for this in all possible worlds.

I’ve never seen anyone squirm so hard to admit conceding such a simple point.


No it didn’t, but neither did it change the gibberish into non-gibberish. But this analogy is not accurate in that regard, since what you’re describing would be strictly neutral in our analogy–something that doesn’t actually exist in the real world. I’m struggling to see how that fact jives with saying that junk dna contains no information, however.

No, it didn’t. Just as the vast, vast majority of mutations to junk DNA don’t change it to functional DNA. But we’re not talking about where functional DNA comes from; we’re talking about the selective effects of most mutations and whether GE is true.

No, the changes to the gibberish I’ve described are not strictly neutral: every letter costs a different amount to print. That’s why I asked whether the cost changes. Does it?

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Sorry, I missed that. I’m trying to put together a kimchi stew at the moment.

So I’m gathering you’re suggesting that the effectively neutral mutations are as likely to reduce the cost of printing as they are to increase it. And since you’re claiming that there’s no information contained, all we’re doing is just cycling from one gibberish to another, and the cost of printing will go up and down randomly. Scratch that. The cost of printing will on average stay the same.

At least, I hope I understood you properly with this analogy. So you’re saying the effectively neutral mutations have no overall tendency towards being deleterious, and the mutations which do change the information content are fully selectable, and that selection acts upon them with such efficiency that, despite an overwhelming likelihood of damage, we still have either a net zero or a net gain over time.

I think I see the problem here …

It is still information, but there is no function or meaning. Thus “gibberish”.

“No Information” is not correct, or at least not complete. Gibberish is also information, but it doesn’t do anything relevant to biological function.

Gonna have to disagree with you there. Information is not gibberish. It’s the antithesis of gibberish.