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Old 4th September 2007, 10:11 AM   #112
Critical Thinker
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 334
Originally Posted by wuschel View Post
Apart from how vague and unscientific the "more than 20 000 properties" claim is, one would at least need to establish that these claimed "more than 20 000 properties" are indeed "more than 20 000" independent degrees of freedom, because otherwise it looks just like the apparent "Complexity" of the decimal expansion of "PI", which, in fact, is the result of a rather simple algorithm.

It is assumed that the 20'000 genes give rise to more than 20'000 different types of enzymes. And should we not attribute to each of these enzymes at least one property respectively "independent degree of freedom"? The HIV-1 protease for instance cleaves the viral polyprotein at eight different sites during the maturation process of the virus. HIV-1 proteases also have learned defend to themselves from protease inhibitors. We may nevertheless dispute whether 20'000 properties are enough to determine all human enzymes. However, we can be sure that 20'000 properties are not enough to determine the ontogenesis of a human at all levels.

"It is relevant to point out that a gene on average consists of a thousand base pairs, thereby supplying many bits of information. However most of this supply of information is a mirage. The vast bulk of a protein is devoted to folding up into the right shape. The region of interest is the hot spot which only consists of a handful of amino acids. It should also be noted that a fair percentage of the genome is devoted to house-keeping machinery for the eukaryote cell."

The main problem with information increase by means of algorithms or 'elementary cellular automaton rules' is the complete lack of degrees of freedom. Whereas a given phenotype has a continuous spectrum of neighbours, fractals and the decimal expansion of the square root of prime numbers have no neighbours.

Cheers, Wolfgang

"Reductionists have resolved the problem of the missing genetic information by an argument, which is based on a famous philosophical error. They confuse the category of information size with the category of combination number. If some information is condensed to a 1 million bit, one needs a million bit to store it. It is nonsense to argue that 20 bits are enough because 20 bits give more than a million (2^20) combinations. One must clearly distinguish between the information size and the number of combinations that can be stored in a memory of a given size."
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