Joined: Feb. 2008
|Quote (Henry J @ May 21 2010,23:18)|
|It appears to me that calling a genome a "signal" is a misleading analogy.|
When a deliberately sent signal is vital to some goal, then degrading of that signal is harmful.
But a genome isn't a deliberate signal, and there isn't a goal that depends on 100% accuracy of its transmission, especially not to all of a large number of descendants.
Agreed, the whole analogy is bogus. It seems to me it's largely based on a failure to understand how messy and plastic biology is, in contrast to things that are actually designed. A bit ironic coming from people who claim to be experts in "design detection".
ID proponents like to go on about how genomes are "code", but unlike real, designed computer code, we observe that flipping a few bits frequently has no noticeable effect, and when it does have an effect, the resulting function is frequently similar to the original. Signals that are actually designed don't work like that, because they had designers who had specific goals and were concerned about maximizing efficiency.
It's worth emphasizing that this is an observation, not a hypothetical argument. Blast a colony of bacteria with radiation, and if they don't all die, you'll get a lot of mutations, most neutral. Blast a computer with radiation, and eventually some bits will flip and the program will stop doing what it was designed to do.
(aside, voyager 2 just experienced a radiation induced bit flip: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-151 )