Biological Information- What is it and can it be measured?
Just a mere mention of the word information wrt biology causes evoTARDgasms so intense that if all the TARDs were together it would cause an earthquake. Yet a little history demonstrates that Sir Francis Crick talked about biological information in his "Central Dogma". For example:
Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues in the protein.Each protein consists of a specific sequence of amino acid residues which is encoded by a specific sequence of processed mRNA. Each mRNA is encoded by a specific sequence of DNA. The point being is biological information refers to the macromolecules that are involved in some process, be that transcription, editing, splicing, translation and functioning proteins. No one measures the biological information in a random sequence of DNA nor any DNA sequence not directly observed in some process. The best one can do with any given random DNA sequence is figure out its information carrying capacity. You couldn't tell if it was biological information without a reference library.
And Leslie Orgel first talked about specified complexity wrt biology:
In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.As far as I can tell IDists use the terms in the same way. Dembski and Meyer make it clear that it is sequence specificity that is central to their claims.
That is the whole point- if sequence specificity matters the tighter the specification the less likely blind physical processes could find it. Yup those dreaded probabilities again, but seeing yours doesn't come with a testable model it's all we have. See Is Intelligent Design Required for Life?
With that said, to measure biological information, ie biological specification, all you have to do is count the coding nucleotides of the genes involved for that functioning system, then multiply by 2 (four possible nucleotides = 2^2) and then factor in the variation tolerance:
from Kirk K. Durston, David K. Y. Chiu, David L. Abel, Jack T. Trevors, Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Vol. 4:47 (2007):
[N]either RSC [Random Sequence Complexity] nor OSC [Ordered Sequence Complexity], or any combination of the two, is sufficient to describe the functional complexity observed in living organisms, for neither includes the additional dimension of functionality, which is essential for life. FSC [Functional Sequence Complexity] includes the dimension of functionality. Szostak argued that neither Shannon’s original measure of uncertainty nor the measure of algorithmic complexity are sufficient. Shannon's classical information theory does not consider the meaning, or function, of a message. Algorithmic complexity fails to account for the observation that “different molecular structures may be functionally equivalent.” For this reason, Szostak suggested that a new measure of information—functional information—is required.
ETA for OMagain:
First, as observed in Table Table1,1, although we might expect larger proteins to have a higher FSC, that is not always the case. For example, 342-residue SecY has a FSC of 688 Fits, but the smaller 240-residue RecA actually has a larger FSC of 832 Fits. The Fit density (Fits/amino acid) is, therefore, lower in SecY than in RecA. This indicates that RecA is likely more functionally complex than SecY. (results and discussion section)And more TARD- what else when he has been expsoed as an asshole:
So you are saying that you can measure the FSCO/I in a protein but can’t measure it in a paragraph of text?I did it with text. I used the definition of an aardvark.
Also, I find it odd that “FSCO/I” does not appear in the article you link to, neither does “CSI”. Why not?If you knew anything you would know they are the same thing FSC = CSI = FSCO/I. Just read this OP.
So if you can indeed measure FSCO/I did it increase or decrease in Lenski’s experiment after the citrate mutation occurred? Please show your working!The protein does the same thing. No new functionality arose. And you need to show us how what occurred was a blind watchmaker process. And yes, show your working!
Here is a formal way of measurinmg biological inforamtion:
Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak, Functional information and the emergence of biocomplexity , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 104:8574–8581 (May 15, 2007).
Jack W. Szostak, “Molecular messages,” Nature, Vol. 423:689 (June 12, 2003).