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There is a law of conservation of information (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (There is a law of conservation of information (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CI010:

Information cannot be created by either natural processes or chance, so there is a law of conservation of information.

Source: Dembski, William A., 1999. Intelligent Design: The bridge between science and theology. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Dembski defines his information as Shannon uncertainty, which is equivalent to entropy. We know that entropy can and does increase. Dembski's law of conservation of information is simply wrong.

This is totally false, since, on page 154, Dembski specifically refers to information as a reduction in uncertainty, equating it to Shannon information, not Shannon uncertainty. This response shows that the article's author did not even read the book, but is only copying what others have said, since the claim that "Dembski defines his information as Shannon uncertainty" is taken from one of the references, not the book itself.

2. No recognized theory of information (i.e., the statistical theory of Shannon et al, and the algorithmic theory of Kolmogorov, Chaitin, and Solomonoff) has a law of conservation of information. William Dembski and Werner Gitt have each invented their own nonstandard information theories, but neither of these theories is used in science or engineering, and their claims are not supported by the vast body of research into information theory.

It may not be stated as such, but by applying entropy to information, Shannon's work produced such a principle, since it shows that the natural tendency is for information to become more randomized, not less.

3. Even if there were a law of conservation of information, it would not necessarily invalidate evolution. Information is transferred from the environment to organisms by natural selection and other processes.

Natural selection, by definition, does not transfer any information; it can only select from what already exists.

Mutations by their random nature can only increase entropy of DNA.

Natural Genetic Engineering is an actual transfer of information from the environment to the organism, but it is of no help to evolution. Natural Genetic Engineering is largely a response to a specific situation to produce the appropriate proteins or enzymes to deal with that situation. It cannot grow new organs. The fact that a cell can actually analyze its chemical and biological environment, devise a response to it, and then store the results in its genes, shows the incredible complexity of life. This makes a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life even more ridiculous.

4. Normally, physical laws get to be considered laws after they are tested and verified by independent sources under very many various conditions. For Dembski to claim a new physical law without any testing whatsoever is hubris of the highest magnitude.

If he had made the claim on his own, as Talk Origins implies, their response might be true, but Dembski cites another source on page 170. However what Dembski is doing is simply making the case for such a law as applied to Complex Specific Information.

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