[NoNukes says]: A creationist might state that nature cannot create the "information" required to produce novel features and "macroevolution" . Dog breeding includes human intervention which can be viewed as being similar to an ID agent stepping in to add information allowing new features like wiener-dog legs.
I don't really grasp the context of the issue of "novel" characteristics so I'm not sure how to address that, but I can respond to the idea of "information" at least.
Apparently this is easily misunderstood, and I have to agree that the very term "information" is vague or even cryptic in a way. The idea is really pretty simple though, from a creationist point of view anyway. You have a given built-in genetic recipe from the Creation for each species, so the possibility of that species evolving into another would require the addition of whatever is lacking in the first that the second needs. That's the "information" that would have to be added to the genome for it to macroevolve. Perhaps I don't even need to invoke the original Created species for this to make sense. It should be apparent to all that each species does have its own genome, many of which are in the process of being sequenced, and they are being sequenced AS being specific to the particular species they belong to. The DNA for each species has its own characteristics peculiar to that species, genes that aren't found in some other species but only this one, a certain number of chromosomes particular to the species and so on and so forth, with of course occasional exceptions. The genes pertain to the particular trait, perhaps eye color, the alleles define the different qualities of that trait, in this case the color. Wherever there are many alleles for a trait you can get a great variety from the genome as given for that species, you don't need to add alleles. Macroevolution requires getting from these recognizable species to something completely outside the particular genetic recipe, whether you think of them as having evolved to their present identity or been created independently at the Creation. You still have to posit the addition of NEW information that is not already present in the current genome.
New genes at least. New alleles isn't enough. New alleles for extant genes could only give variation to the trait the gene instructs for.
So has anybody ever shown the formation of a new gene? Is there even a theory about how that might come about?
In any case, the whole idea of the need for more information really starts as an observation that the processes of evolution ELIMINATE INFORMATION rather than adding it, and that fact means that evolution is moving in a direction that makes evolution less rather than more possible.
But I think it's clearer to say that evolution reduces genetic diversity. It's really the same observation. Evolution eliminates alleles at the very least and at some extremes may eliminate ALL alleles for a given gene which effectively kills the gene and most probably makes it a corpse in the genetic graveyard known as Junk DNA.
This IS the natural direction of all evolutionary processes. In order to get a new phenotype, especially one that sticks and becomes characteristic of a new population or variation or breed, other alleles for the same traits that give a different character MUST GO. That's LOSS OF INFORMATION, or REDUCED GENETIC DIVERSITY.
THIS LOSS IS THE VERY MACHINE OF EVOLUTION ITSELF.
Now here comes RAZD answering NoNukes:
Curiously, the mutations that cause short legs are fairly common in many species, including humans - it's called Dwarfism.So is RAZD saying these mutations are NEW information?
I must ask, how does he know these are mutations? He gives no evidence, he merely CALLS the allele that bring about this trait mutations. Evidence please. I'm willing to consider this a mutation myself just because dwarfism must be thought of as a disease process, which I KNOW mutations produce. But are all shorter legs caused by dwarfism or is it simply possible to get a combination of naturally occurring (built-in) genes/alleles that naturally produce shorter legs? Evidence please.
The difference is between a random mutation occurring and it being spread into the breeding population is selection.Pure theory, which is all evolution ever has to offer. Is he talking about useful / beneficial mutations, and if so nobody has ever shown that they even occur except in very rare and problematic instances, they are merely ASSUMED to be the source of all change in the genome. But if we are talking about nondeleterious variations the most likely scenario is that a rare normal allele simply comes to expression, and then yes, it will spread in the population if it is selected in the reproductive lottery. If not, it won't. But to call it a mutation is simply to beg the usual questions.
Within the ecological challenges and opportunities imposed by artificial selection, there is a survival and reproductive benefit to having short legs for the dogs being bred that have them, and not having them would be detrimental. This is a rather demanding ecology to survive in, yes?Could be, depends I suppose. But we still don't know if this is a mutation or simply a normal-occurring healthy allele.
Now the problem with the creationist\IDologist claim about information is that they don't define what the concept meansWell, it's difficult, but I believe I may have succeeded in defining it above. And I vote for substituting the concept of reduction or loss of genetic diversity as being easier to grasp.
or even more importantly, how it can be measured.As I've proposed, do a DNA sampling of the first and last populations in a ring species, one you find in nature or one you create in the lab. You should find obvious reduced genetic diversity in the last population and probably a progression of reduction in intermediate populations as well. Lots of homozygosity in the last population, a lot more heterozygosity in the first. Go gather a bunch of salamanders from the California ring species, label them and sample their DNA especially the genes for the patterns on their skin.
He goes on to give an irrelevant self-fulfilling chart he claims falsifies the claim about loss of information. He's probably misreading a built-in allelic possibility as new information but it's all just an exercise in proving what he wants to prove.
No, do what I suggest above, see that there really is loss of genetic diversity (same as loss of information) when species evolve. That kills MACROevolution right there.