You Don’t Need Darwin to Explain the Degradation of Information
|September 26, 2005||Posted by William Dembski under Evolution, Intelligent Design, Darwinism|
In today’s Washington Post, one reads:
If Darwin was right, for example, then scientists should be able to perform a neat trick. Using a mathematical formula that emerges from evolutionary theory, they should be able to predict the number of harmful mutations in chimpanzee DNA by knowing the number of mutations in a different species’ DNA and the two animals’ population sizes.
“That’s a very specific prediction,” said Eric Lander, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and a leader in the chimp project.
Sure enough, when Lander and his colleagues tallied the harmful mutations in the chimp genome, the number fit perfectly into the range that evolutionary theory had predicted.
COMMENT: Darwin’s theory does not require harmful mutations but only beneficial mutations — competition for scarce resources would then provide the necessary sieve. There is no requirement in Darwin’s theory for mutations that are inherently lethal of maladaptive. Indeed, the accumulation of such mutations says nothing about the emergence of biological innovation; it merely points to the degradation of information. The same problem arises with vestigial structures (like cave fish with functionless eyes). It’s not the loss of information/function that requires explaining, but its origination in the first place.