email - September 2008

Did We Lose?

Does the Long Term Evolution Experiment prove that information can be created by chance?

Last month’s feature article worried Gus a little bit.

Subject: Creating new information for evolution
From: Gus
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008

Dear Do[-]While,

I was a tad concern reading your last entry, "The Long Term Evolution Experiment". In some of your previous articles, you've said something along the lines that "new information can not be created". In fact, I've used this to refute many Evolutionist[s].

Example:

"There are two fallacies in this argument. The first is that random changes in existing information can create new information. Random changes to a computer program will not make it do more useful things. It doesn't matter if you make all the changes at once, or make one change at a time. It will never happen. Yet an evolutionist tells us that if one makes random changes to a hemoglobin gene that after many steps it will turn into an antibody gene. That's just plain wrong." 1

Now please explain if I misunderstand, but this newest article seems to prove that new information can be created? Yes, I understand your point is that it's sooo slow b/c of random chance that it couldn't have a huge effect on our populations; but still doesn't it prove that new information can be created. Please shed some light on the situation.

Thank you,
Gus

That was just the first of three emails we received from Gus. In a subsequent email he said,

I think the reason I keep e-mailing you on the subject is b/c this is the only time I feel Evolution actually got a small victory no matter any way I look at it. … But, just like in a football game, no matter how much my team is up, I hate to see the other team score.

One might say that evolution did get a small victory, but you only win 100% of the time if you are the U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball team. 2 Seriously, the results were encouraging for evolutionists, but they were far from a victory.

Gus also wrote,

The e-coli experiment seems to show that positive mutations (or positive noise in the transmitted information) can create new types of e-coli.  Am I understanding correctly?

There are two misunderstandings that we need to address.  First, a new type of E. coli is still an E. coli.  A dog with short hair is still a dog.  A purple rose with orange polka dots is still a rose. Nothing new was created.

Second, one can dump a bunch of Scrabble TM tiles on a table, and some of the letters might form valid English words, but no information is created or conveyed.

Gus then asks,

And if this is true, what stops it from adding on more positive mutations until it is something totally different?

He is asking the wrong question. The correct question is not, "What stops it?"  The correct question is, "What allows it?"

The incorrect answer to the incorrect question is, "Time."  If it took 30,000 generations to acquire a minor improvement in digestion (in just one of 12 populations), just think how many generations it would take for the cow's entire digestive system to evolve (including the chewing the cud part).

The answer to the correct question is, "Nothing we know of allows it."  We can't generate information simply by having supercomputers running day and night, generating random words.

Modification Isn’t Innovation

Consider this analogy. Racing bicycles typically have very narrow tires that are filled with high pressure air to minimize friction on paved roads. If you try to ride a racing bicycle through the desert around here, you won’t get very far because the narrow, hard tires dig down into the sand and get stuck. Suppose someone accidentally put big soft tires on a racing bicycle by mistake. It would be easier to ride across the sand. It would be a beneficial random modification for people who live here in the desert.

So, one might ask, “What stops random mistakes like this one from turning a bicycle into a motorcycle?” To turn a bicycle into a motorcycle, one needs to add an engine, battery, gas tank, and fuel line. One needs innovation to turn a bike into a motorcycle. The real question is, “What would cause innovations (adding new things such as an engine) by accident?” The answer is, “Nothing.” It can’t happen.

The LTEE showed that in rare instances some mistakes are beneficial. But there is more involved than a few beneficial modifications. Evolution requires innovation. Evolution requires creative mutations; not just beneficial mutations. The LTEE didn’t demonstrate any innovation through creative mutation. The bacteria weren’t able to do anything that no living thing had ever been able to do before.

Outrageous Claims

Suppose I make the outrageous claim that I, not George Harrison, played the lead guitar part on all the songs recorded by the Beatles. To prove my claim, I practice the easiest song they ever played 30,000 times, and then I play it for you 12 times. Eleven times, I get every note wrong; but the twelfth time I get one note right. Do you believe me now?

Figuratively speaking, it has been claimed that bacteria evolved the ability to play all the music ever written. To prove it, twelve colonies of bacteria were given 20 years to learn to play one song. Eleven of those colonies failed completely. Only a few of the bacteria in the twelfth colony learned a single note. Such limited success disproves the proposition.

Ignorance is Bliss

The less one knows about evolution, the more believable it is. Experiments like the LTEE simply prove just how inadequate mutation and natural selection are for causing even the slightest improvement in living things. Seeing how hard it is for evolution to produce such a simple improvement in the digestion of a bacterium makes it impossible to believe that the pancreas evolved by chance.

That’s why evolutionists want desperately to censor the science curriculum in public schools. The more students know about life, the less likely they are to believe in evolution. Ignorance of the facts is vital to belief in evolution.

Science is against evolution. That’s why we aren’t afraid to report the results of the LTEE. Evolutionists don’t have truth on their side. That’s why they don’t want any criticism of evolution (which might “confuse students”) permitted in the public schools.

We trust that if you examine the evidence for yourself with an open mind, you will come to the conclusion that evolution is an inadequate explanation for the origin and diversity of life on Earth. That’s why we don’t threaten or badger you. That’s why we encourage you to hear the evolutionists’ side.

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Footnotes:

1 Disclosure, September 1998, “Information and Evolution
2 Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh finally did lose to Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh last month, after winning 112 matches in a row.