Yet Another Creationist Myth: "Evolution Cannot Produce New Genetic Information"

"No matter what example is offered as evidence that mutations can generate an increase in information, Creationists naturally have rationales for regarding that example as a case of loss of information. But every time Creationists "prove" another mutation to be an example of information loss, they add one more item to the list of biological changes which don't require a gain of information! If this pattern continues, Creationists will eventually "prove" that no biological change requires an increase in information; hence, they will have destroyed their own argument." (From reference 23 below)

One of the topics Mr. Knapp discusses on his website has to do with the formation of new genetic information in biological systems..  As might be expected, he is an advocate of the creationist claim that an increase in genetic information cannot be caused by purely-naturalistic mechanisms.  He cites the writings of creationists Timothy Wallace, Werner Gitt, and Lee Spetner to support his position on this issue.  Creationists find it difficult to define exactly what they mean by "information" in a biological context and to agree on a common definition among themselves.  "Information," according to creationists, seems to be whatever they think, at the moment, cannot be adequately explained by naturalistic processes.  Whenever evidence is presented to demonstrate information increase in genetic systems in accordance with their current definition, creationists move the goal posts and redefine "information increase" so as to exclude the latest example.   

What follows are some articles and references which demonstrate that, despite creationist claims to the contrary, new genetic information can, and is, routinely added to biological systems through mechanisms consistent with the theory of evolution. The flaws in the reasoning of Wallace, Gitt, and Spetner regarding this issue are also discussed in certain of the articles. 

Disclaimer - Since some of the following references list a number of examples of evolution-induced increases in genetic information, there is some unavoidable duplication between the them.

1. Can New, Beneficial Genetic Information Arise?     

2. Apolipoprotein AI Mutations and Information

3. Numerous examples of genetic information increase in biological systems via evolutionary  mechanisms

4. How to Measure Information

5. Is there a law of conservation of information?

6. Can evolution cause an increase in information?

7. Does "microevolution" merely select pre-existing variation?

8. Spetner and Biological Information

9. A short review of Spetner's book, "Not By Chance"

10. A more detailed review of Spetner's book, "Not by Chance"

11. Information Theory and Creationism: Werner Gitt

12. Discussions with a Creationist [Timothy Wallace] about the Second Law of Thermodynamics

13. Letter by Chris Paull to Timothy Wallace

14. Examples of Beneficial Mutation and Natural Selection

15. Information Theory

16. Creationism and Information Theory

17. Genome Evolution

18. Evolution of Biological Complexity

19. Evolution, Biology, and Biocomplexity

20. Gene Duplication versus ID

21. Evolution of Improved Fitness

22. The Nylon Bug

23. Gene Duplications Adapt to Changing Environments

24. Evolution of new information

25. Information Theory and Creationism

26. Individual Gene Changes in Complex Structure Traced, Proving Darwin's Theory

27. Evolutionary increases in information

28. Gene Family Information (Gene families are formed when genes are duplicated and diverge, under selective control, to perform new functions.)

29. Bicoid Evolution

30. Evolutionary Fate of Retroposed Gene Copies in the Human Genome

31. Sodium Channel Genes and the Evolution of Diversity in Communication Signals of Electric Fishes

32. Gene duplication and evolution of molecular isoforms of prothrombin activators in the brown snake

33. Adaptive evolution by mutations in the FLO11 gene

34. Bacterial reverse mutation test

35. Mutation increases bacterial heat resistance

36. Evolution by Gene Duplication

37. Prediction of Gene Family Distributions in Microbial Genomes

38. Further Examples of Evolution by Gene Duplication...

39. Lineage Specific Gene Duplication...

40. The Evolution of Trichromatic Color Vision by Opsin Gene Duplication...

41. ...Complex History of Gene Duplications During Early Vertebrate Evolution

42. Independent Duplications of the Acetylcholinesterase Gene Conferring Insecticide Resistance...

43. Resurrected Proteins Reveal Their Surprising History

44. Novel Sex Pheromone Desaturases...Generated Through Gene Duplication and Retrospon Fusion

45. A Gene Divided Reveals the Details of Natural Selection


Updated: 11/1/07