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Science and information collide

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  • Science and information collide

    Some real scientists have recently published a paper about information, and the Discovery Institute is all over it.

    The real science is here:

    The DI's pseudo-science is here:

    The DI's spin concludes:
    Originally posted by Discovery Institute
    But the damage is done. Even if their estimates need to be revised by a terabase or two some day, they have made it clear that our biosphere is awash in information. Though clearly evolutionists, they have presented a significant challenge to scientific materialism to account for all this processing power. Simultaneously, they demonstrate the fruitfulness of an information-based approach to the investigation of life.
    What they would like you to think is that the paper somehow supports their own nebulous use of the word "information". It does not.

    Here is how the real scientists estimated the total information:
    Originally posted by Real Scientists
    Using information on the typical mass per cell for each domain and group and the genome size, we estimate the total amount of DNA in the biosphere to be 5.3 10^31 (3.6 10^31) megabase pairs (Mb) (Table 1). This quantity corresponds to approximately 5 10^10 tonnes of DNA, assuming that 978 Mb of DNA is equivalent to one picogram [3]. Assuming the commonly used density for DNA of 1.7 g/cm3, then this DNA is equivalent to the volume of approximately 1 billion standard (6.1 2.44 2.44 m) shipping containers. The DNA is incorporated within approximately 2 1012 tonnes of biomass and approximately 5 1030 living cells, the latter dominated by prokaryotes.
    So the information corresponds directly to the mass of DNA on the planet. The equation is simply:
    [total number of picograms of DNA] x [information per picogram] = [total information]
    Think about that.

    Think about a growing plant. It gains weight as it grows. It does so by increasing the number of cells, which means the number of picograms of DN A is increasing. And that means the total information of the tree is increasing as it grows.

    What did William Dembski say?
    Originally posted by Dembski
    This strong proscriptive claim, that natural causes can only transmit CSI but never originate it, I call the Law of Conservation of Information.
    Far from being a problem for evolutionists, this paper completely refutes Dembski's supposed "Law of conservation of information"!

    I will note that Dembski has corollaries for his supposed law:
    Originally posted by Dembski
    The specified complexity in a closed system of natural causes remains constant or decreases.
    The specified complexity cannot be generated spontaneously, originate endogenously or organize itself (as these terms are used in origins-of-life research).
    The specified complexity in a closed system of natural causes either has been in the system eternally or was at some point added exogenously (implying that the system, though now closed, was not always closed).
    In particular any closed system of natural causes that is also of finite duration received whatever specified complexity it contains before it became a closed system.
    Is the tree not a closed system? Are we smuggling in information anywhere? The tree is growing using (essentially) water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. No DNA there. And yet somehow it generate a huge amount of information. How can that possibility be? Unless the tree is intelligent... or Dembski is wrong!
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