Frequently Rebutted Arguments
A recent development in anti-evolutionary argumentation is the contention that there are no possible ways in which "information" can increase via evolutionary processes. The usual phrasing is something like, "Show me an example of an increase in information in the genetics of any organism."
Usually, those asking the question do not provide the parameters for making a response. They do not say what definition of "information" they might find acceptable, and there are several possible meanings.
Fortunately, though, we can provide examples of "information increase" under several meanings of "information". Some are provided below. The onus is now on those claiming that no such increases are possible to show specifically what meaning of "information" they are using, and especially why their meaning of "information" should be considered to be useful in analyzing the phenomena of interest.
How We Can Trace Ancestry Through Genetics
If you think you've found a problem in the following, please email me at welsberr at inia dot cls dot org. Organismal biology is my field, so I'd appreciate feedback from molecular biologists.
Some anti-evolutionists claim that sequence data from proteins and genetics
disprove the idea of common descent. Because humans evolved from primates,
who evolved from other mammals, who evolved from reptiles, who evolved
from amphibians, who evolved from fish, etc. back to bacteria, then supporting
data from sequence studies should show greater differences between humans
and bacteria than between fish and bacteria, according to those anti-evolutionists.
The data from sequencing the cytochrome-c protein across a few modern species shows that the pattern of differences does not fit that view. Instead, virtually the same distance from the sequence in modern bacteria exists to all modern metazoans. The anti-evolutionists would like you to believe that this poses a problem for the theory of common descent. I will endeavor to explain why they are mistaken.
On Pharyngula, PZ Myers treats us with an incredibly accessible explanation why chromosome number can change.
The posting was in response to an email PZ received about the evolution of chromosome numbers.
How did life evolve from one (I suspect) chromosome to... 64 in horses, or whatever organism you want to pick. How is it possible for a sexually reproducing population of organisms to change chromosome numbers over time?
Firstly: there would have to be some benefit to the replication probability of the organisms which carry the chromosomes
SciCre Population Dynamics: An Exercise in Selective and Misleading Use of Data
Certain proponents of "scientific creationism" (SciCre) have put forward an argument that humans could not have evolved, simply because human population size shows that humans have only been around a few thousand years. Those putting forward the argument tie the original population size to either two (sometimes Adam and Eve, sometimes Noah and his wife) or eight (Noah's immediate family), note a current population figure, and derive a rate of increase by use of some Biblical chronology to either creation, Noah's birth, or The Flood. It should be noted that biblically, what should be argued is either descent from two (Adam and Eve) or from six (Noah's sons and their wives). While some admit up front that the calculation of rate of increase yields an average value and that the actual rate of increase varies, many do not. The crux of the argument comes when they use the derived rate of increase for comparison to the deep time that evolutionary timetables give. The numbers of humans that would be present, they say, were evolution true, would be far greater than what we observe today, and thus evolution of humans must be false. Some are precise enough to restrict their conclusion to only humans, others leave how much is disproved unspecified. Some utilize the numbers to infer intermediate population sizes.