In previous articles, I demonstrated how substantial quantities of biological information cannot emerge through any natural process (see here and here), and I described how such information points to intelligent design. Now, I am addressing the mistakes typically made by critics who challenge these claims (see here, here, here, and here). See my post from Wednesday, here, on misapplying information theory; and yesterday, here, on misinterpreting research related to protein rarity.
Another very common error is to assume that evolutionary processes can generate large quantities of new information. Often evolutionists appeal to such mechanisms as gene duplication, lateral gene transfer, gene fusion, gene fission, and de novo origination. Unfortunately, no hard evidence exists that either these or any other mechanism can produce more than inconsequential amounts. In contrast, all experiments and all studies on the genetic variation in species demonstrate that natural processes either degrade information or only make trivial modifications to it, and arguments to the contrary consistently rely on circular reasoning (see here, here, here, and here).
Small Targets in an Immense Space
The fundamental challenge is that viable proteins and other biological structures represent fantastically small targets in an immense space of possibilities. And, no mechanism or search strategy can substantially increase the efficiency of finding a target above that of a random search. This conclusion has been proven by the No Free Lunch theorems and the research I described in my previous article (see here and here).
To fully appreciate the challenge, imagine taking the text of Macbeth and attempting to rearrange and duplicate sentences and randomly change letters until the first few sentences of the book Lord of the Flies appears. Generating such a large quantity of new information would be impossible by any undirected means. For the same reason, the chance of any novel protein evolving with a complexity comparable to or greater than β-lactamase is beyond remote.
Moreover, the evolution of many novel complex traits, such as echo location in whales, requires the modification or creation of numerous proteins, physical structures, and neural connections. Such a feat is only possible through intelligent design.