« William Lane Craig Event | Main | Links Mentioned on the Show »

October 06, 2011

Comments

Does he see or admit the possibility of an immaterial cause for the immaterial information? Or is he merely stating that there exist things in the real world that are immaterial such as information?

Damian, he says that information (something immaterial) "really does cause things." In other words, he's opening up the possibility for scientists to reason to immaterial causes--and he's against the idea of scientists automatically ruling out immaterial causes as being unscientific. He doesn't extrapolate to God, but the principles he establishes leave the option open, if the evidence points that way.

Should read Dr. Werner Gitt's "In The Beginning Was Information"

Wouldn't the existence of information be dependant on the cognitive ability to understand it? For example if I use a pencil to write a novel and hand the novel to a cat, wouldn't the cat just see a pile of paper with lines on it rather than the communication of ideas?

@Brandon - there would be at least one mind that understood it, the one that authored it. While a receptor is required for communication to take place, it is not required for information to exist. I don't understand all that Einstein discovered and formulated, but that does not mean that the discoveries he made does not exist.

I'm thinking more about the effect of information. In order for information (cause) to have an effect it has to be received and interpreted. This makes sense between two entities with consciousness. If people cease to exist then we might have paper with ink on it, but that will no longer be information.

Brandon, let's say that at some point, humans become extinct, but their artifacts survive, including a lot of books. And let's say that in 200 million years or so, a new species evolves and is just as intelligent as we are. And let's say they discover our books and are somehow able to discipher them. Would you say that during the time when nobody was around who could read or understand the books that the books contained no information?

Sam:

God, we find it an odd situation
That the tome still contains information
When there's no one to look
Inside of the book
To decipher its marks and notation.
God:
Dear Sam, Though the words on the pages.
Are unread by your scholars and sages,
They are all in my view
Both the false and the true.
For I see all. Love God, Rock of Ages.

It seems it would be information from the perspective of an intelligent observer, but would be incapable of causing effect until it was received as communication by the intelligent reader. Basically it seems to me that it is quite a stretch to apply the non-physicallity of the concept of information to physics.

If someone looks at the stars and see dragons and dippers and makes stories about them, passes them along to others... then would that information about the objects in the sky still exist after the story tellers were gone? Or would we just have burning balls of gas in the cosmos?

Thanks Amy

Brandon-

The stories will never be forgotten for all eternity, for they will always be present in God's mind. And those burning balls of gas in the cosmos have always been ideas in minds (most notably, the mind of God) through-and-through.

"It seems it would be information from the perspective of an intelligent observer, but would be incapable of causing effect until it was received as communication by the intelligent reader."

Here's an example of information causing an effect without an intelligent reader: The information encoded in DNA drives the process of protein synthesis in cells. No intelligent reader involved--just molecular machines.

Ribosomes are molecules.

So are amino acids, proteins, and strands of RNA.

Translation is a chemical reaction.

RonH

Should read Claude E. Shannon's "A Mathematical Theory of Communication"


Information has no power in and of itself to be causal--even to trigger/cause other thought but especially toward the physical.

God spoke and his Word caused matter, and whats more, it obeys necessarily. If not for Him, and his sustaining all that there is, there'd be no information or the physical realm. To call information real without justification is just some guys speculation based on his own fallible reason.

Information is not defined as such on the basis of its actualizing its intended purpose, that of informing, rather it is defined as such on the basis of its author's intent to be used to inform. This close link between the author of information and the information itself is why information without an author is not information.

"Information' has multiple meanings.

Don't confuse the meanings that come from everyday usage with the one that comes from information theory.

Information theory doesn't deal with things like purposes, authors, or meanings.

And, it is the information of information theory that bears on DNA.


I wasn't arguing that the information content of DNA is exactly the same as the information content in, for example, this message. But one thing they both share is that the information itself is immaterial.

Though information theory doesn't weigh in on the particular meaning, purpose, or author of a given signal, it is used to discern whether a signal originated from a random or intelligent process (e.g. SETI).

Brad B--

I stand corrected. I suppose then that the DNA-->proteins example is not an example of information causing anything after all. The information in the DNA did not cause anything, rather the factors that influenced polymerase to bind and begin transcription caused the protein synthesis.

information itself is immaterial

It is - in the same sense that the sum, the product, the average, etc. of two numbers is immaterial.

The comments to this entry are closed.