Creationist arguments in biology are often represented by slogans such as “mutations cannot increase information” by both creationists and evolutionists. However, these slogans oversimplify and tend to misrepresent creationist arguments regarding genetics and molecular biology. Creation biologists Dr Don Batten and Dr Jean Lightner address some of these simplifications.
Richard M. from the United States writes in response to Hebrew Scriptures as an aid to developing a creationist taxonomy. Creation biologist Dr Jean Lightner replies with comments interspersed:
This is the clearest statement that I have seen by a creationist which acknowledges that mutation increases genomic information. Alleles beyond those filtered by the bottleneck mentioned above cannot be dismissed as “being already present in the population” or as arising from “lateral exchange of genetic material.” Logic demands that they must have arisen de novo. The phenotypic traits that they specify could not have been present in the (immediate post-bottleneck) founder population.
By definition, a mutation in a gene results in a new allele. There is no question that mutation (defined as any change in the DNA sequence) can increase variety in a population. However, it is not obvious that this necessarily means there is an increase in genomic information.
If one attempts to apply Shannon’s theory of information, then this can be viewed as an increase. However, Shannon’s theory was not developed to address biological information. It is entirely unsuitable for this since an increase of information by Shannon’s definition can easily be lethal (and an increase in randomness increases Shannon ‘information’).
I realize that the ‘no new information’ argument is popular among creationists at the lay level. Many biologists, including myself, don’t use it for several reasons. First, it is very difficult to define genomic information. This is partially because there are so many levels of information in the genome and also because there is so much we still don’t know….
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