Home » Intelligent Design » The Medium is Not the Message

The Medium is Not the Message

March madness is upon us.  In that vein, I ask you to consider the following sentence:  “A basketball is round and orange.” 

You read this sentence through a medium, probably a computer screen.  This means I had an idea, and I wrote out on my computer screen a representation of the idea in symbols (Latin letters forming English words arranged together into a sentence using the rules of English grammar and syntax).  I uploaded these symbols onto the uncommondescent.com website.  You downloaded the symbols to your computer and deciphered them.  Now a representation of the idea that was once in my head is in your head.  When you read my sentence you thought about a round orange basketball.

Now consider this.  My computer, the UD server, and your computer all have physical properties that can be measured.  These properties include mass, charge, etc.  But the information in the sentence “A basketball is round and orange” is quite independent of the physical properties of the medium on which it is placed.  Indeed, none of the physical properties of your computer changed when you downloaded the information.  The physical properties of your computer were rearranged, but they did not change.  Your computer had the same mass, the same charge, the same specific gravity, etc. after you downloaded the sentence that it did before you downloaded it. 

Think of it this way.  Suppose I wrote the same sentence (“A basketball is round and orange”) on a piece of paper and handed it to you and asked you to read and memorize it.  You proceed to memorize the sentence.  I take the paper back and burn it.  Then I ask you to repeat the sentence into a tape recorder.  You dictate “A basketball is round and orange” into the tape recorder.  What just happened?  The information was in my head.  Then it was on the paper.  Then it was in your head, but not the paper.  Now it is on the tape of the tape recorder. 

What is the point of all this?  The point is that information may be transmitted on a physical medium, but it is not reducible to the medium on which it is carried, and it is independent of the medium upon which it is carried.  Information has no mass.  It has no charge.  Indeed, it has no property that can be measured by the same means we measure matter and energy.  We conclude, therefore, that information is not reducible to matter, and it is not reducible to energy, and it is not reducible to a combination of matter and energy.  Yet we know that information exists in the universe.  Therefore, we must conclude that the universe is more than matter and energy, that it is more than mere particles in motion. 

If the existence of information cannot be reduced to the properties of matter and energy, where did it come from?  Where indeed?

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129 Responses to The Medium is Not the Message

  1. Its what they call an abstract noun. Each of us creates it anew in our head. It doesnt ‘exist’ just as a circle, happiness etc dont exist.
    They are concepts, not objects.

  2. 2

    Barry

    All information is an abstraction. It requires perception to exist.

  3. I don’t get this. If information “has no property that can be measured by the same means we measure matter and energy,” what’s Dr. Dembski doing all that math for? Isn’t a lot of that about measuring information?

  4. 4

    Actually, your example would have only been more demonstrative if the phrase passed about was “material is all there is”.

  5. Re #1: So if all of a sudden all perception would, let’s say, die, then all information would suddenly disappear?

    I guess that, as always, it depends on which definition of information you are using.

    But, to make your sentence impossible to fact-check, most likely you will not want to provide a cogent definition of what information you speak of.

  6. 6

    In [1] Graham uses information to deny the existence of information. Self refute much?

    In answer to composer’s question in [3], I did not say that information cannot be measured. I said it cannot be measured in the way matter and energy can be measured, because it has neither mass nor energy.

  7. #5

    Uh, yes! hrun that is correct.

    Information requires perception; since it doesn’t exist without it.

    Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?

    When it comes to understanding the material world we live in, does information regarding the material world exist IN matter (as in measurable protons, nucleus, and orbits) or, is it ABOUT matter (as in an abstraction of reality)?

    Please be unequivocably precise in your answer. Thanks!

  8. Uh, yes! hrun that is correct.

    Information requires perception; since it doesn’t exist without it.

    You are just restating what you said earlier.

    Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?

    I don’t know if you would find it inside a carbon atom. I guess, as I have said before, it depends– just as I said earlier– on which definition of information you use. Of course, as I predicted, you did not define how you use information.

    Please be unequivocably precise in your answer. Thanks!

    Funny. You want me to be unequivocal, but you are unwilling to define information (without which your whole statement is impossible to sort out).

    How about you define what you mean by information. Then we can sort out if you original statement is correct and I will answer your question in #7.

  9. Darn the blockquotes.

    Re #7: By the way, I don’t think your question even makes sense. Maybe you should read it again and then restate it in a better way.

  10. BarryA: “Indeed, none of the physical properties of your computer changed when you downloaded the information. The physical properties of your computer were rearranged, but they did not change. Your computer had the same mass, the same charge, the same specific gravity, etc. after you downloaded the sentence that it did before you downloaded it.”

    None of the above is true. As you download the information, the physical charges in your DRAM memory change. These physical changes consist of electrons that are moved onto or off of capacitors built into every memory cell.

    Since electrons have mass and charge, the mass and charge of your computer will also change as the number of electrons stored in DRAM changes. The changes are very small, but they are real and they can be measured. In fact, the information on your screen comes from your video hardware which measures these charges and uses the information encoded in them to create the pattern on your screen.

    A more accurate statement of your opening post would be to say that all information is encoded in some sort of physical medium, whether the medium is the capacitors in DRAM memory, magnetized spots on a piece of tape, the pattern of pulses of light, neurons in your brain, ink on paper or carved stone in a monument. Without a material medium, there is no information.

  11. Upright Biped in #7: “Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?”

    Of course. If you look into an atom and see 6 protons, you’ve got a carbon atom. If there are 8 protons, it’s an oxygen atom, if there’s only one proton, it’s a hydrogen atom and so on. Look at a periodic chart – the atomic number is the number of protons in the nucleus and that information determines the type of the atom.

    Information is embedded in physical material. The number of protons and their location (in the center of an atom) define the type of atom.

    An oxygen atom with two hydrogen atoms attached to it makes a water molecule. Change any of the three atoms and it’s no longer water.

    Many people confuse this type of inherent information with representations of information, such as are found in printed material, coded light pulses, charges in DRAM chips, etc.

    The latter type of information generally requires an intelligence, the information that is inherant in matter generally doesn’t.

  12. Its what they call an abstract noun.

    From the gramatical point of view some of the above mentioned words are no way “abstract” – be it “ball” for instance.

    It’s a pity that in these disputes only informatics and physics are debated. Philosophy and linguistics have a lot to say to these problems, but they are somehow neglected. Actualy I think it is lingustics that resists neodarwinian attacks very succesfully. The notion of “evolutionary linguistics” is ridiculous.

    http://cadra.wordpress.com/

  13. Could you say a poem existed if it had never been spoken, written or any way physically manifested?

  14. 14

    hrun @ 8

    Information is that which informs us. Is there a more parsimonious description of information you’d like to use, perhaps you’d like to distrust and discard the original etymology of the word informationem: i.e. – to give form to, to inform...? Perhaps you find it illogical?

    What other words do you find we must redefine on your behalf?

    warehuff # 11,

    “Of course. If you look into an atom and see 6 protons, you’ve got a carbon atom.”

    And how do you come to the conclusion there are 6 protons? In other words, what is the exact nature of the verb to “look” inside an atom? What is it exactly that must occur for us to become informed about what we see in an atom?

    - – - – -

    hrun and warefuff: You both seem to have skipped over the part of my post that many might find most interesting if it were answered.

    So please, allow me to reinstate the question so as to give yu both the opportunity to gain the significant interest of those who might be reading this thread. Here is the question:

    “Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?”

  15. 15
    CannuckianYankee

    Warehuff, re 10 and 11,

    You’re confusing me, and I think I know why. Please let me know if I’m doing the same to you. If you think about it, your abstract information is required to do physical science. Mathematics is an abstract and the only really provable scientific method beyond much of a doubt, yet it often conforms to non-abstract physical reality. Numbers conform to reality.

    If I had two apples and three oranges and I didn’t know anything about numbers or how to count, I would not know in any meaningful sense precisely how many apples or oranges I had, beyond the vague observation that there might be more than one. Yet even that one is not an example of how your argument works, because even if I know that there might be at least one orange or apple, along with the additional and observable presence of other oranges or apples, this does not automatically require me in this limited thinking sphere to assume that there are other apples and oranges present. I could assume that the other apples and/or oranges are new manifestations of the same one orange or one apple. Try that trick on an infant or my cat, for example – another abstract and perhaps illogical assumption. So abstracts are not completely separated from physical reality, yet you can’t really claim that they are completely apart from physical reality and that the only true information is that which is generated through matter, and still make some logical (there’s another abstract – logic) sense.

    So I don’t think a case can be made that information comes from matter. No, it conforms to matter, and brings certain logical realizations to matter in order to make sense of it, yet it remains abstract and separate from that matter.

    Lets go back to the infant and my cat again. Infants exhibit the most conforming behavior among humans because their brains have not developed to the point where they understand that they can make certain decisions beyond those that are concerned with their needs and immediate desires. By conforming, I mean that most infants do pretty much what other infants do, with a few odd and distinguishable personality traits. Cats are similar, but not entirely, because cats conform to behavior that is peculiar to cats, and their brains have less ability for abstract thinking. Their thinking does not develop (so far as we can detect) beyond that instinctive behavior. Infants develop greater and greater abstract thinking ability as they grow and get older, and they begin to discover that there are more and more choices available to them, and decisions to make. Now there’s another example of abstracts conforming to matter. As the brain develops, more abstract thinking develops.

    Yet how is the brain able to decipher the difference between what is abstract information and what is not by purely physical reality? Can it? How does the human brain come upon abstract information that does not conform to any physical reality? That which we call abstract information must exist and come to us beyond the physical information we see around us. Therefore, it makes more sense that abstract information may be understood with a better developed brain, yet such a brain is not the immediate source of the abstract information, which conforms to physical matter.

    No matter how you look at it, abstract information, which we humans take credit for constructing, itself comes from domains that must be separate from our brains in order for their nature to exist in reality. Try then explaining just how abstract information came to be in the first place if it wasn’t human constructed, and how we came to ascertain it. This brings us entirely back to the issue of complex specified information as it pertains to ID, and to the ever more logical nature of the human mind being separate from the human brain. I therefore believe that Barry’s argument is exactly right and logical (in a purely abstract sort of way :) ) And I believe that abstract information is not really created by us. It is discovered as our brains develop the capacity to discover it. Someone used the example of poetry. Poetry is far different than the mathematical abstract information, in that it is not discovered, but invented by us. Mathematics exists apart from us. We discovered it.

  16. 16
    CannuckianYankee

    Warehuff, I’m in the process of reading a perhaps rather elementary book on mathematics entitled ‘Mathematics for the Non-Mathematician’ by Morris Kline. Kline in his opening chapters discusses the history of the development of mathematics and logic, which might offer some interesting insights on this issue. Particularly with how the ancient Persians developed mathematics for purely logistical and commercial purposes, but could not use it beyond that application, while the ancient Greeks built on that knowledge, and developed the discipline of logic for purely impractical and abstract thinking purposes. It wasn’t until the practical and the abstract applications of math and logic were brought together, according to Kline, that modern science was really able to co-develop. I haven’t reached the part where he explains how this occurred, but I have ideas, and I believe the beginnings are found with the ancient Romans in the West with their arches, paved roads (which require geographical knowhow) and complex architecture, and perhaps among the ancient Chinese in the East with their similar abilities.

    With that in mind, let me ask you this. Do you believe the ancient Romans or a near pre-society to the Romans invented the mathematical equations, which necessitated their ability to construct columns of that nature, or do you believe they discovered the math that required them? Furthermore, what is it that struck the ancient Greeks with logic without applying it to the problems of their daily lives? This rather awkward observation strikes me as historical evidence for abstract information being discovered quite apart from the physical realities upon which we currently apply them.

  17. 17
    CannuckianYankee

    Sorry Mark Frank, I didn’t give you credit for the remark about poetry. :)

  18. 18
    CannuckianYankee

    Or did my computer all of a sudden change shape and color and begin bouncing off my table the moment Barry’s basketball phrase appeared on the screen?

  19. Mr Arrington,

    If the existence of information cannot be reduced to the properties of matter and energy, where did it come from? Where indeed?

    As you said,

    The physical properties of your computer were rearranged, but they did not change.

    So we can see information grounded in the arrangement of matter and energy.

  20. 20
    CannuckianYankee

    Major error in 16 last paragraph 9th line from the bottom should read “….necessitated their ability to construct arches of that nature….” not columns.

  21. Poetry is far different than the mathematical abstract information, in that it is not discovered, but invented by us. Mathematics exists apart from us. We discovered it.

    This is quite controversial – just try typing “mathematics discovered or invented” into Google. I am of the school that maths is a combination of invention and empirical facts about the world about us. We invented zero, complex numbers, non-Euclidian geometry and they proved useful tools for dealing with the world.

  22. Barry,

    There are a few properties at which information interacts with matter and energy that are very intriguing to look at, for instance:

    It should be noted that, counter-intuitive to materialistic thought (and to every kid who has ever taken a math exam), a computer does not consume energy during computation but will only consume energy when information is erased from it. This counter-intuitive fact is formally known as Landauer’s Principle. i.e. Erasing information is a thermodynamically irreversible process that increases the entropy of a system. i.e Only irreversible operations consume energy. Reversible computation does not use up energy. Unfortunately the computer will eventually run out of information storage space and must begin to “irreversibly” erase the information it has previously gathered (Bennett: 1982) and thus a computer must eventually use energy. i.e. A “material” computer must eventually obey the second law of thermodynamics for its computation.

    “information is physical”
    Rolf Landauer

    Landauer’s principle
    Of Note: “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase ,,, Specifically, each bit of lost information will lead to the release of an (specific) amount (at least kT ln 2) of heat.,,, Landauer’s Principle has also been used as the foundation for a new theory of dark energy, proposed by Gough (2008). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._principle

    This ability of a computer to “compute answers” without ever consuming energy, until information is erased, is very suggestive that the answers/truth already exist in reality, and in fact, when taken to its logical conclusion, is very suggestive to the postulation of John 1:1 that the “information of Logos” is ultimately the foundation of our “material” reality in the first place.

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

    (of note: “Word” in Greek is “Logos”, and is the root word from which we get our word “Logic”)

    This strange anomaly between lack of energy consumption and the computation of strings of information seems to hold for the human mind as well.

    Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
    Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237.full

    THE EFFECT OF MENTAL ARITHMETIC ON CEREBRAL CIRCULATION AND METABOLISM
    Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....4-0127.pdf

    in further note: Considering computers can’t pass this following test,,,

    “… no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”
    – Douglas G. Robertson, “Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test,” Complexity, Vol.3, #3 Jan/Feb 1999, pp. 25-34.
    http://www.evoinfo.org/

    ,,Whereas humans can fairly easily pass the test of discovering true information, or writing fictional information,, thus these findings strongly imply humans have a “higher informational component” to their being,, we have “a transcendent mind”,, i.e. these findings offer another line of corroborating evidence which is very suggestive to the idea that humans have a mind which is transcendent of the physical brain and which is part of a “unique soul from God”.

  23. It seems t me that warehuff @ 10 and 11 pretty thoroughly refuted the OP contention’s. That really ought to bring the thread to a close, I would think.

    Bornagain77, why do you copy-paste bomb every thread. Can’t you respond to a thread without copy-pasting lots of disconnected and barely related quotes? No offense, I’m just asking.

  24. in further note Barry;

    At the foundational level of reality, below the encryption level you are currently dealing with, It should be pointed out that Quantum Mechanics has clearly shown information to be transcendent of the space/time of General Relativity, i.e. it is not limited by the constraints of space or time in any fashion. As well Quantum Mechanics, as empirically shown information to exercise dominion of matter energy. i.e. It tells matter/energy exactly what to be and do in entanglement and teleportation experiments;

    As well “infinite information” is THE definition of a Photon Qubit:

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport. http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    As well “Information” is the only known “real” entity capable of explaining the origination of matter/energy, space and time, in the Big Bang;

    Scientific Evidence For God (Logos) Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995300

    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is “information”.

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.” John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/Magaz.....fault.aspx

  25. further notes on the interactions of information and energy at the foundational level of reality:

    Reflection on the quantum teleportation experiment:

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. the entire information content of a photon was “transcendently displaced” from the material universe, in the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became the transmitted photon “a”). Thus, this is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, energy, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).
    The fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact “location dominion”, of a photon of energy by “a specified truth of infinite information”, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar “specified location” fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows “coordinated universal control” of entangled photons of energy, by transcendent information, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment.

    Job 9:8
    He stretches out the heavens by Himself and walks on the waves of the sea.

    Thus “infinite transcendent information” provides a coherent picture of universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify all of physics upon further elucidation. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe. This following article powerfully backs up my assertion:

    Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter?
    Excerpt: It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes.” ,,Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as ‘dark energy’, which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A more radical solution is a revision of the laws of gravity first developed by Isaac Newton in 1687 and refined by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in 1916. Einstein never fully decided whether his equation should add an omnipresent constant source, now called dark energy. ,,Dr Famaey added, “If we account for our observations with a modified law of gravity, it makes perfect sense to replace the effective action of hypothetical dark matter with a force closely related to the distribution of visible matter.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....154644.htm

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein

    Further reflections on the “infinite transcendent information” framework:

    Mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. As well, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for mass at the speed of light (i.e. the mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light.). For us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, only gets us to first base as far as quantum teleportation is concerned. That is to say, traveling at the speed of light only gets us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, “past and future folding into now”, framework/dimension of time. This higher dimension “eternal” inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not “frozen within time” yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein
    http://www.rd.com/your-america.....176-2.html

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.” – Richard Swenson

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this “timeless” travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework/dimension of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation though the “time not passing”, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework/dimension. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks/dimensions, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus “pure information” is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks/dimensions. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which It resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned). Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless (eternal) reality It inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive. The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal framework/dimension does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework/dimension that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy – Artwork homepage – http://www.artakiane.com/ – Music video – http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4204586

    As well it should be pointed out that the “Infinite Quantum Information Wave” will not even collapse to its “uncertain” 3-D particle state, in the double slit experiment, until a conscious observer is present. Thus since consciousness is a prerequisite for 3-D material reality to exist in the first place, it is impossible for 3-D material reality to give rise to that which it is dependent on for its own reality. i.e. Consciousness must precede 3-D material reality.

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

  26. One further note Barry:

    I find it extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum “information” wave collapse to its “uncertain” 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that I exist?

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4240304/

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
    From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time “unifying” mathematically (Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and the laws of Quantum Mechanics), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    Yet, this “unification” between what is in essence the “infinite world of the “information” of Quantum Mechanics” and the “finite world of the space-time of General Relativity” seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993426/

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

  27. re #14:

    Information is that which informs us.

    So I think this is a stupid definition, because it contains a derivative of the word you’d like to define. But fine. Let’s assume that this is the best you can do.

    Now let’s answer your questions:

    Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?

    The answer is yes: Looking inside the carbon atom informs us about what is inside the carbon atom.

    When it comes to understanding the material world we live in, does information regarding the material world exist IN matter (as in measurable protons, nucleus, and orbits) or, is it ABOUT matter (as in an abstraction of reality)?

    Yes, information regarding the material world exists IN matter and, yes again, information regarding the material world can be ABOUT matter.

    These answers follow directly from your definition of information.

  28. Re #14: Btw. your definition of ‘information’ has extremely peculiar effects, that are probably counterintuitive to most readers here:

    Take a library book. If a reader takes a look at it, it has an enormous amount of information, if a person with a poor grasp of the language reads it, the book has less information, if somebody who is just learning his letters reads it, it has very little information, and if you close it and put it away, it has no information. But, if you take that very same book again and read it to a crowd of people, the information is magically back again.

    Is that REALLY what you mean by your definition of information? If you do, then you are indeed correct with your statement at #2. It’s just very odd and nobody I know uses that definition of information.

  29. Matter exists in numerous configurations. Some of these we find useful and interesting, and we sometimes call them ‘information’.
    The rest we don’t find interesting or useful and we call those ‘noise’. Information is therefore a subjective human concept that exists in the same way as many others such as ‘beauty’, for example. These concepts are labels we humans attach to certain configurations of matter, and not independent properties of anything at all.

    To make matters worse, we don’t all attach such labels in identical ways. Information exists by the grace of background knowledge in the observer. Once you get your head round this it becomes easy to understand why some people see information where others only see noise, and vice versa. An ancient Roman would probably interpret your message as a citrus fruit and not as a piece of sports equipment. An Eskimo unfamiliar with both basketball and citrus fruits might not detect any information in your message at all.

    How anyone can ever hope to objectively quantify ‘information’ is beyond me.

    fG

  30. Upright at 14: We “look” inside atoms with atom smashers. We see what’s inside by seeing what flies out.

    The information in the nucleus is embedded in the makeup and properties of its constituents and their number.

    Think of information as what you need to make a new carbon atom. You need six protons and several neutrons. Put them together, cram them close enough so the strong nuclear force captures them and then let six electrons get captured by the nucleus and you’ve got a carbon atom.

    Don’t waste your time looking for a “thing” that is information. The information is in the physical matter (is it a proton or a neutron, for example) and its arrangement (is it in a nucleus or flying freely through space.)

    One good way to think of information is that it’s what’s needed to duplicate something: type of particles, arrangement, etc.

    Forget about comprehension, being informed, etc. Those are human attributes and information existed long before humans.

  31. Re #14: One other thing to consider: If this is indeed your definition of information and if what you said in #2 is true, then you must be an extreme opponent of the so-called second law of information. In your world, information gets created and destroyed all the time, depending on whether somebody is informed by it or not.

    Most likely, that is not what you intended with your definition.

  32. Information is information, neither matter nor energy. Any materialism which disregards this, will not survive one day.- Norbert Weaver

    Information is neither a physical nor a chemical principle like energy and matter, even though the latter are required as carriers.- Dr. J. Piel

    As for a definition of “information”- according to Dr Meyer in “Signature in the Cell”:

    the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something

  33. Information is the difference between a rock and an artifact.

    It is the difference between a pile of stones and Stonehenge.

    Without information we couldn’t communicate…

  34. Though transcendent information can be shown to be foundational to reality (space-time, matter-energy), the interesting part of information and how it relates to matter-energy, from a Intelligent Design perspective, is when it is encrypted onto matter-energy after matter-energy are already created, such as the information we see in computer programs or the encryption on DNA and Proteins (of note; there is evidence to strongly suggest that pieces of highly advanced algorithmic information are actually encrypted IN the amino acids themselves);

    What is interesting to note, in furtherance of Dembski and Marks work on the Conservation of Information, i.e. matter and energy cannot create complex specified information, is that there are now numerous lines of evidence showing that the second law of thermodynamics extends to the information encrypted onto a material system. That is to say there is now substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that not only can material processes never create complex functional information, but that there is also now substantial evidence to show that despite the multiple layers of error correction and “data recovery” witnessed in the genome, Entropy will eventually win out over the functional information that was originally encrypted onto the genome. This “entropic” battle between information and the matter-energy it is encrypted on is of a different order of entropy that is called Genetic Entropy, which though strongly inferred by the evidence at this point is not as fully elucidated as it should be. The reason why this important principle of Genetic Entropy has not been fully elucidated to the fullest extent that it should be is, what I think should be apparent to most people on UD, that most of the brightest minds in biology are “chasing their tails in a circle” with the unwarranted assumption that generating information in biology is “no big deal” for Darwinism. Thus instead of solving what needs to be solved they are constructing endless epicycles of Darwinian rationalizations.
    As far as measuring the information inherent within a biological organism it seems there are a few different avenues for getting a rough measure to tell you that functional information is indeed present in a system, or in a organism, as well as rough measures that can tell you of the deterioration of that information, but as has been previously pointed out, putting and exact number on the functional information present in a system is an extremely difficult endeavor. Shoot, from what I have seen so far, I would almost say it is impossible to do so. Be that as it may, it is still no excuse, as materialists would pretend, for us to not use the “rough measure” tools that are now available to us and to further refine our understanding of information in biology to the highest standards achievable for us.

  35. 35

    hrun #26

    Information is that which informs us.

    So I think this is a stupid definition, because it contains a derivative of the word you’d like to define. But fine. Let’s assume that this is the best you can do.

    I’m quite okay that you think the definition is stupid. Perhaps you think that the definition of a word derived from another word should not include the word it was derived from. Okay by me. We can know walk, but we cannot know walking. We can know heme, but not hemoglobin.

    On second thought, I think I’ll just stick with etymology, a noun of the action ’to give form to’. After several hundred years of use and reflection, it just seems to make sense.

    Can we look inside a atom of carbon and find amongst the particles of matter this thing we call information?

    The answer is yes: Looking inside the carbon atom informs us about what is inside the carbon atom.

    There are particles of information that exist in a carbon atom? If so, then maybe at least a notation on the Periodic Table is in order. If not, then information does not exist materially. And if that is the case, then what must happen for information to exist? Does our “looking” involve perception?

    When it comes to understanding the material world we live in, does information regarding the material world exist IN matter (as in measurable protons, nucleus, and orbits) or, is it ABOUT matter (as in an abstraction of reality)?

    Yes, information regarding the material world exists IN matter and, yes again, information regarding the material world can be ABOUT matter.

    I refer you to the previous paragraph. If there are actual particles of infomration in matter, then stop the presses – at least a notation in the physics text is in order. If not, then what exactly brings information into existence?

  36. 36

    hrun #27

    Btw. your definition of ‘information’ has extremely peculiar effects, that are probably counterintuitive to most readers here

    I think I may a bit of an outsider around here with my insistence that information requires perception to exist. Either that or I am a poor communicator. I am okay with that.

    Take a library book. If a reader takes a look at it, it has an enormous amount of information, if a person with a poor grasp of the language reads it, the book has less information, if somebody who is just learning his letters reads it, it has very little information, and if you close it and put it away, it has no information. But, if you take that very same book again and read it to a crowd of people, the information is magically back again.

    Once the information contained in the book is instantiated in matter by the author, then it contains that amount of information regardless. The level of perception may change in those who read it, and indeed, if a person does not read it, then they themselves have not perceived the information it contains. That you find that counterintuitive is still okay by me.

  37. 37

    Warehuff #29

    The information in the nucleus is embedded in the makeup and properties of its constituents and their number.

    What materially exist inside a carbon atom are protons, neutrons, etc. There is no information there. I refer you to my answer to hrun on that issue.

    Think of information as what you need to make a new carbon atom. You need six protons and several neutrons.

    How do I know I need six protons if I have not first perceived it in order for that information to exist?

    Don’t waste your time looking for a “thing” that is information. The information is in the physical matter (is it a proton or a neutron, for example) and its arrangement (is it in a nucleus or flying freely through space.)

    If it’s all the same to you, I’d like not to conflate reality with abstractions of reality. If my information says that there are only 4 protons in a carbon atom, shall I say that reality is wrong, or that my perception has failed – and with it my information? If that is the case, then how can information “which is in physical matter” fail?

    Forget about comprehension, being informed, etc.

    Very informative advice, I am sure.

    Those are human attributes and information existed long before humans.

    Perception is not a product of humanity; it’s a faculty of an agent (earthworm or astronaut).

  38. 38

    hrun #30

    One other thing to consider: If this is indeed your definition of information and if what you said in #2 is true, then you must be an extreme opponent of the so-called second law of information. In your world, information gets created and destroyed all the time, depending on whether somebody is informed by it or not.

    I am certainly willing to get schooled. While I’m in class, can you tell me if Abe was holding Mary’s hand when the bullet went into his head?

  39. When one uses the term “information”, one can be referring to at least four different phenomena: Shannon information, Kolmogorov information, complex specified (“Orgel”) information, and meaningful information. To me, it appears that the first three types of information – Shannon, Kolmogorov, and complex specified information – are fundamentally different from meaningful information.

    What do we “mean” when we say that something is “meaningful”? To me, “meaningful” information is encoded information in which the “bits” of information “encode” (or “stand for”) other bits of information via analogy. A meaningful “bit” therefore “stands for” some other bit.

    Furthermore, two bits of information that stand for each other necessarily not identical, even if they are written (i.e. symbolized) using exactly the same symbols. That is, two copies of the same symbol may “mean” the same thing, but they are not the “same” symbol, except via analogy. To be the “same” symbol, there could only be one symbol which “stands for itself”. This is simply a reinterpretation of Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction.

    Moreover, it seems to me that not only is meaningful information necessarily analogical, it is also necessarily arbitrary, in the sense that the analogical relationship between the bits of a message and the concept with which those bits is associated is not “natural” (i.e. it is not the result of physical necessity), but rather “non-natural” (i.e. the result of arbitrary semantic association).

    For example, consider the meaningful word “two”. I can substitute the numeral “2″ for the English word “two” without changing the meaning of the word. Indeed, the following words all “mean” the same thing: 2, ii, II, 10 (binary), dué, deux, duo, twa, zwei, etc. [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_%28number%29 ] This list can be infinitely extended: 0 + 2, 1 + 1, 2 + 0, 3 – 1, 4 – 2, etc. (and, of course, zero plus two, one plus one, two plus zero, three minus one, four divided by two, ten divided by five, etc.). All of these words and phrases “mean” exactly the same thing: that which we refer to with the English word “two” (or, if you prefer, the Arabic numeral “2″).

    In the previous example, all of the words and phrases are encoded analogies of the concept of “twoness”, none of them are more or less “twoish” than any other (You’re twoish? That’s funny, you don’t look twoish), and indeed none of them are necessarily “twoish” at all. That is, the meaningful relationship between the various words and phrases and “twoishness” is arbitrary or, more precisely, non-natural. We may refer to such meaningful (and ultimately arbitrary) relationships between the “name” and “the thing named” as semantic associations, to distinguish them from non-arbitrary natural relationships.

    It appears to me that arbitrary semantic associations such as those symbolized by the numeral “2″ are fundamentally different from the natural relationship between the number of protons in an atomic nucleus and its chemical properties. Regardless of what one “calls” a nucleus with two protons (“helium” is the most common name for it, but there are others), and no matter which of the words or phrases one chooses to refer to the number of protons in the nucleus, the chemical and physical properties of the nucleus remains the same [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium ]. Ergo, the “twoness” of the protons in the nucleus of helium is a non-arbitrary, “natural” property of such nuclei, and is therefore not a form of meaningful information.

    By contrast, saying that the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom of helium has no more effect on the natural properties of such a nucleus than if one says that there are deux (or twa or zwei) protons in such a nucleus. No matter what you call it nor how you refer to the number of protons in its nucleus, helium is helium is helium (pacé Gertrude Stein).

    Given the foregoing, it should be clear that the first three types of information I listed at the beginning of this comment are not necessarily meaningful. That this is the case for Shannon and Kolmogorov information is widely accepted. However, it is also the case for some (but not all) forms of complex specified (“Orgel”) information. For example, if one constructs a string of random nucleotides (or any random string of bits), if that string does not subtend a promoter sequence, it will not “code” for the amino acid sequence of a polypeptide. Furthermore, unless such a string subtends a “binding region” (i.e. a sequence to which a protein or RNA molecule may bind via hydrogen bonding) it will also not have a regulatory function in a larger biochemical/cellular system. Under these circumstances, such a random string will not “encode” for any structure or function, but still possesses what Leslie Orgel [1] referred to as “complex specified information”.

    Ergo, “meaningful information” is analogical information; it “stands for” something else. Furthermore, the relationship between a bit of meaningful information and the thing it stands for is a functional relationship. That is, the meaningful bit specifies the function of the thing for which it stands (i.e. not “Richard Stands”). This means that meaningful information is necessarily teleological, as “functions” are semantically equivalent to “goals” which are semantically equivalent to “ends”.

    So, teleology must exist in any functional relationship, including those in biology. The question is not “is there teleology in biology”; no less an authority on evolutionary biology than the late Ernst Mayr (not to mention Franciso Ayala) emphatically stated “yes”! The real question (and the real focus of the dispute between EBers and IDers) is the answer to the question, “where does the teleology manifest in biology come from”? EBers such as Ernst Mayr assert that it is an emergent property of natural selection, whereas IDers assert that it comes from an “intelligent designer”. It has never been clear to me how one would distinguish between these two assertions, at least insofar as they can be empirically tested. Rather, the choice of one or the other seems to me to be a choice between competing metaphysical world views, which are not empirically verifiable by definition.

    This is not, however, to say that the distinction between evolutionary and non-evolutionary models of reality is purely and solely a matter of choice of metaphysics. On the contrary, the empirical evidence for evolution is overwhelming, as is the evidence for at least some of the characteristics of living organisms having arisen as the result of natural selection. What is still a matter of dispute is where meaningful information “comes from”: does it arise as an emergent property of natural processes (such as natural selection), or must it be “read into nature” from some non-natural source?

    That is the question…

    REFERENCE CITED:

    [1] Orgel, L. (1973) The origins of life, Chapman & Hall, London, UK, pg. 189:

    “…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.”

  40. So, Shannon information, Kolomogorov information, and Orgel information need not be perceived to exist, but meaningful information does.

  41. As for the second law, it seems clear to me from what I know about biology (the only natural science that deals with meaningful information) that both encoding and decoding meaningful information requires the transformation of energy from a condition of lower to higher entropy. This is always the case when meaningful information is “transformed”, whether one is referring to the replication of DNA, the transcription of DNA into RNA, the translation of mRNA into polypeptides, the catalysis of biochemical reactions via enzymes, the transduction of changes in the physical environment into action potentials in the sensory nervous system, the transduction of action potentials in the motor nervous and musculoskeletal systems into behaviors, or the playing of a game of chess (regardless of whether one uses a board and pieces).

  42. I’m quite okay that you think the definition is stupid. Perhaps you think that the definition of a word derived from another word should not include the word it was derived from.

    If it includes such a word, then that word should also be defined. Do you have a definition of ‘informs us’?

    There are particles of information that exist in a carbon atom? [...]

    I didn’t say there were particles. You made that up.

    I think I may a bit of an outsider around here with my insistence that information requires perception to exist.

    Yes you are. That’s why it is so curious that you can simply make such statements without any challenge and factual support.

    Once the information contained in the book is instantiated in matter by the author, then it contains that amount of information regardless.

    That is not true per your previous answer. Even if said information was instantiated by the author, if nobody was around to perceive that information, it would, according to you, not exist.

    Reread what you wrote!

    I am certainly willing to get schooled.

    And this doesn’t require schooling from me. It’s right there in what you wrote. You answers run counter to the conservation of information. I didn’t make this up. You did.

  43. 43

    Does an of arrangement of nucleobases ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ in DNA mean anything?

  44. 44

    hrun,

    Yes you are. That’s why it is so curious that you can simply make such statements without any challenge and factual support.

    I already stated that I am. As far as support, can you tell me of any information that was not first perceived?

    That is not true per your previous answer. Even if said information was instantiated by the author, if nobody was around to perceive that information, it would, according to you, not exist.

    So you don’t think information can be recorded after its perceived?

    Can’t help you there.

  45. I don’t understand the importance this assertion. Information is non-material only in the sense that is a mathematical concept. But so what? All math is non-material in the sense that it’s conceptual.

    Do we say that the very existence of mathematics proves something other than materialism? Bertrand Russell once thought so, but he soon outgrew that kind of idealism. The passage in Russell’s autobiography where he abandons Hegelian idealism is amusing and instructive.

  46. Mr BiPed,

    Does an of arrangement of nucleobases ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ in DNA mean anything?

    Only in some context. They only inherent meaning of ACA is ACA.

  47. hrun0815 and Upright BiPed, I think you may both have a point. Is the information in a sentence in French determinable? Does the measure differ depending on whether you know, or don’t know French?

    Imagine a dialogue on information between a music studio engineer (played by hrun0815) and a librarian (played by Upright BiPed). For the librarian, “information” is tangled up with concerns like “information literacy.” The studio engineer just wants to compress the most data into the smallest file size.

  48. Allen states:

    “What is still a matter of dispute is where meaningful information “comes from”: does it arise as an emergent property of natural processes (such as natural selection), or must it be “read into nature” from some non-natural source?”

    Whether materialists admit it or not, the “dispute” is settled;

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    Leading atheist Richard Dawkins has called people who believe in God delusional. Yet, people who are delusional resolutely deny reality. Then the truth is that materialists, such as Richard Dawkins, are the ones who are delusional, in the purest sense of the word, since quantum mechanics has revealed, in no uncertain terms, that reality is a “consciousness centered” reality that precedes the 3 dimensional “material” reality in the first place. i.e. It is impossible for a 3 dimensional material reality to independently give rise to that which it is absolutely dependent on for its own reality in the first place. Consciousness must, of logical necessity, originally arise from the “infinite transcendent information realm” revealed by Quantum Mechanics.

    So Allen, I would like for you to explain why materialists continue insist, after Aspect’s falsification of hidden variables, that consciousness arises from a 3-D material basis when “uncertain” 3-D material particles do not even collapse from the “quantum information waves” in the first place until a conscious observer is present. Please explain how in the world something can give rise to that which is a necessary condition for its own reality in the first place.

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/site/c.h.....ialism.htm

    As well Allen, the following would seem to present an insurmountable problem to the materialists/naturalists. If consciousness is required for the “materialization” of even the smallest of material particles how in the world are you going to, as a “naturalist”, separate that into a non-teleological process at whatever level you choose, even if information were found to be generated by “natural processes” which it isn’t.

    of note:

    material processes are under the second law to such extent that they have never been shown to generate functional information.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

  49. Inside joke for you Allen:

    The double slit experiment is so strong as to the discriminating of how reality is constructed, it should be called the “I Am” experiment.

  50. Re #41: I did not define informations and made claims about it. You did. I simply showed where exactly those definitions lead.

    So you don’t think information can be recorded after its perceived?

    I didn’t say anything about what I think. I showed specifically where it leads if what you think is actually true.

    Information gets created and destroyed depending on whether or not somebody is around to perceive it. Obivously, according to you, the law of conservation of information is wrong.

    That’s all there is to it.

  51. Re #44: That is not correct. You are misinterpreting me. I am simply pointing out what Upright BiPed believes and how that clashes with what people on this blog (notably Dembsky) believe.

    In addition, I am challenging Upright BiPed to support his plain assertions like the one made in #2. It is not intuitive. It runs counter to what many people believe. Yet, nobody challenges it. Weird!

  52. Upright said, “Perception is not a product of humanity; it’s a faculty of an agent (earthworm or astronaut).”

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but how do you know it about the earthworm?

  53. 53

    Because earthworms perceive their surroundings. Their faculty may be modest, best suited their existence, but they don’t wander onto a concrete sidwalk and just stay there.

  54. 54

    hrun, can you tell me of any information that was not first perceived?

  55. 55

    Hello Nakashima,

    The arrangement ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ is meaningful information in the context of DNA, just as the diameter of a pulley is meaningful information in the context of making a water pump. What is meaningful is not contained within their physical properties; it is derived from their usefulness in attaining a function. That is precisely the point. The meaningful information recorded in DNA manipulates and constrains matter resulting in biological function. And as Allen McNeil has shown us, meaningful information requires perception to exist.

    Hello composer,

    Information existed prior to mathematics. We may impose mathematics upon it in an effort to manipulate it, but its existence is not contingent upon math.

  56. Upright BiPed, I think I see: are you making an argument for a First Earthworm who must have preceded information?

  57. 57

    composer, I don’t think I can attain the level of intelligence to parse apart what you mean. Or how you culd have arrived there.

    Or, that was humour.

    Either way, I do apologize.

  58. hrun, can you tell me of any information that was not first perceived?

    That is very difficult to answer. Would you like me to use your definition of information (That which informs us)? In that case, no, all information must be percived in order to exist.

  59. Upright,

    Would you say that a robot that sees the wall and avoids it is also perception? Do you know if any experiments show quantum collapse when observed by a robot?

  60. 60

    Collin,

    I think a machine designed and equipped to use information to avoid walls is doing exactly what it was designed and equipped to do with information.

  61. Upright Biped,

    It was (bad) humor, extending your mention of earthworms. I thought you were proposing an argument for God from information, as a First Perceiver. If information is inherent in the universe, and information requires (and has always required) a perceiver, then the universe requires (and has always required) a perceiver.

    But I missed your #7, where you seem to suggest that information is not a property inherent in the universe at all. So, my apologies; I misunderstood where you were going.

  62. Again, I think you’ve both got a point. Information might be used to measure a real kind of complexity, but as a concept it’s invented. You may measure a football pitch at 105m x 68m, but it would be silly to say that metres are a property of the universe.

  63. Allen MacNeill (#39):

    You write:

    This means that meaningful information is necessarily teleological, as “functions” are semantically equivalent to “goals” which are semantically equivalent to “ends”.

    So, teleology must exist in any functional relationship, including those in biology….

    What is still a matter of dispute is where meaningful information “comes from”: does it arise as an emergent property of natural processes (such as natural selection), or must it be “read into nature” from some non-natural source?

    Your question gets right to the heart of the matter. I would also like to thank you for openly acknowledging the fact that teleology pervades nature, even beyond the realm of biology.

    However, I would respectfully submit that meaningful information cannot be “an emergent property of natural processes.” For if “meaningful information is necessarily teleological,” as you write, then it is prescriptive, as opposed to merely descriptive. However, the language commonly used by scientists to talk about “natural processes” (especially at the lower levels) is descriptive. Trying to derive a prescription from a description is the ultimate “rabbit from a hat” trick. It can’t be done.

    Indeed, I would suggest that the prescriptive-descriptive problem goes even deeper, right down to the very laws of nature themselves. There are two possibilities: either the laws of nature are prescriptive or they are purely descriptive.

    If “laws of nature” are taken to be prescriptive statements of how some class of natural entities should behave in a given set of circumstances, then we have to ask where the “should” comes from. Minds are the only things that can generate norms. And while mindless objects can behave in accordance with a norm, one would not expect them to do so unless a mind set them up that way. Or in the words of Sir James Jeans:

    The stream of human knowledge is impartially heading towards a non-mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm. [The Mysterious Universe (1930), chapter 5.]

    But if, on the other hand, if “laws of nature” are taken to be nothing more than descriptive statements of how some class of natural entities has always behaved in a given set of circumstances, then: (a) they are utterly powerless to furnish any explanation of teleological norms; (b) we have no way of distinguishing between mere regularities that have always held in the past (e.g. all lumps of gold have a volume of less than 1 cubic kilometer) and scientific laws such as “All lumps of uranium-235 have a volume of less than 1 cubic kilometer.” Both statements may be true, yet scientists consider only the latter statement to be a genuine law (or more precisely, a corollary of a law), as they know that a lump of uranium-235 that large would start a chain reaction.

    Lastly, I would like to point out that the attempt to derive the meaningful information we find in organisms from lower-level “natural processes” is doomed to failure. For even if these natural processes are regarded as prescriptive and not merely descriptive, they are still incapable of generating the vast amount of information encoded in a living cell – or even a protein – without exhausting the probabilistic resources of the observable universe. For a good explanation of why, I’d invite you to have a look at these pages, which relate to work by Dr. David Abel:

    http://www.scitopics.com/Presc.....on_PI.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....-00247.pdf

  64. Barry Arrington

    “a representation of the idea that was once in my head is in your head… Then it was in your head, but not the paper.”

    If as you say “we must conclude that the universe is more than matter and energy, that it is more than mere particles in motion” then the head or the brain does not have information in it. Information is nonmaterial. A Designer for example could be thinking that “a basketball is round and orange” without a head or a brain. In fact while he’s at it he could also be thinking about the whole game of basketball, its obscure rules, outstanding teams, good and bad players without needing a head or a brain and be just fine while doing it.

    It would be more accurate to say “a representation of the idea that was once in my mind is now also in your mind… Then it is in your mind, but not the paper.”

    If the existence of information cannot be reduced to the properties of matter and energy, where did it come from? Where indeed?

    From mind, as mind or consciousness is the bearer of information. Apart from a larger mind (a Designer) nothing is able to explain the popping-up of consciousness elsewhere in the universe and the innate ability to process nonmaterial information.

  65. Upright BiPed #4 & #7

    Saying “material (or matter) is all there is” is self-defeating as information contained in that statement is nonmaterial.

    Information does not requires perception. Not only is it immaterial it is also eternal.

  66. 66

    65

    Of course, I disagree for the reasons I’ve already stated. If you are making a theological statement, then I’ll leave you to it.

  67. #10 warehuff

    While I agree with you that information is multiply realizable on material medium, information continues to exist even when the medium seizes to exist and is indeed as Barry said “independent of the physical properties of the medium on which it is placed.” For example, numbers or truths about them (or truths in general) exist whether or not there is any physical representation of them. Not only is information nonmaterial and realizable in multiple ways but is indestructible. Truth is indestructible.

    information is encoded in… neurons in your brain.

    I would disagree with you here. One might observe neurons firing as I decide to think about the statement “a basketball is round and orange” but nowehere in my brain will you find information about what it means to be round, orange or the disappointment that KU lost. My mind contains that information not the particles.

  68. It is obvious that Shannon Information has nothing to do with these discussions of ID related information. In fact, Shannon Information has nothing to do with information; the content and much of the context is abstracted away and thus renders it irrelevant to ID. Unless you have just returned from a very long vacation absent Wifi hotspots, why bring it up into the mix?

  69. re Frank #67:

    this NDE study by Dr. Pim Van Lommel might interest you:

    A Reply to Shermer
    Medical Evidence for NDEs
    Excerpt: In trying to understand this concept of mutual interaction between the “invisible and not measurable” consciousness, with its enormous amount of information, and our visible, material body it seems wise to compare it with modern worldwide communication.,,,,
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

  70. information continues to exist even when the medium seizes to exist and is indeed as Barry said “independent of the physical properties of the medium on which it is placed.” For example, numbers or truths about them (or truths in general) exist whether or not there is any physical representation of them.

    I take it that “information” is more than just a fact. There are lots of facts, including mathematical truths, that no one yet knows and probably lots that no one will ever know. I assume yo do not count these as information. If you remove current information, including mathematical truths, from all media including people’s brains then it is in exactly the same state. It is just a fact which no one knows and of which there is no record.

  71. Bipedal @ 7:

    “Information requires perception; since it doesn’t exist without it.”

    Isn’t this the ol’ “if I tree falls in the woods and no is around to hear it, does it make a sound” routine?

    Or perhaps the “which came first information or perception” rountine? (chicken or egg)

    So are you saying that the world was really flat until someone percieved it not to be? and then “Poof” it went from flat to round just like that?

    So who was percieving the big bang right before it happened? because according to what you are saying, the ingredients for the big bang could not have even existsed unless otheriwse percieved.

  72. Mr Barfety,

    My mind contains that information not the particles.

    You are asserting what you have to prove.

    Your mind knows “KU lost.” and this true fact is indestructible. If so, what is ‘forgetting’?

  73. 69 bornagain77

    Thank you for the link. NDEs (or out-of-body conscious experiences) and the information gained from having them remain recalcitrant to Naturalism, so intriguing statements such as:

    …it was not in words it was like telepathy or something (Ericka)
    …this was not speech, it was more like telepathy (Jim)
    …he communicated in telepathy (Maria)
    …all this dialogue was by telepathy
    (Alejandra)

    are simply ignored or swept under the rug. A rug shared by both sides of the ID debate as many are afraid to be remembered as crackpots if they mention NDEs. Thanks for bringing them up as they do offer evidence for the immateriality of the entities that process information so effortlessly.

  74. 35 Upright BiPed

    If not, then what exactly brings information into existence?

    Willed induction. That’s what I call it anyway). If E=MC², matter is frozen energy and a free agent when exercising his will could generate energy and freeze it into the form of matter.

  75. Mr BiPed,

    What is meaningful is not contained within their physical properties; it is derived from their usefulness in attaining a function. That is precisely the point.

    OK, but since ‘information’ is such an overloaded term, with people arguing precise scientific vs. casual uses, I think it would be easier to just call this ‘meaning’ rather than information or meaningful information. Now you’re free to try to distinguish meaning from function, and let those folks arguing about information continue to do so! ;)

  76. 39 Allen_MacNeill

    EBers such as Ernst Mayr assert that it [teleology manifest in biology] is an emergent property of natural selection, whereas IDers assert that it comes from an “intelligent designer”

    IDers are familiar with mind by introspection and purpose coming from mind by observation. EBers beg the question when they use words like “emergence.” Emergence is a clear departure from strict physicalism. It’s been said it is magic without a magician.

    playing of a game of chess (regardless of whether one uses a board and pieces).

    Nice illustration. Our remarkable ability to do this points to a simple uncomposed soul able to ponder our next move while consulting the entire set of rules of chess, for fragmented matter could not have this unified conscious experience much less the freedom to act on the information and make a good move.

  77. #74 clarification: willed induction applies to transforming information in physical form such as making a universe or an orange. Not information itself as it is itself nonmaterial.

  78. If not, then what exactly brings information into existence?

    Mind.

  79. It’s interesting that this conversation comes up now, at least for me. I have just been reading a novel called “Blindsight” where the narrator has half a brain, but is enhanced by computers. It explores consciousness and pretty much comes to a materialist’s conclusion. We’re merely meat machines with no free will, no love, joy, God or beauty.

    I’m glad I can come to this forum and see interesting viewpoints on the subject.

  80. In comment #43 Upright Biped asked:

    “Does an of arrangement of nucleobases ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ in DNA mean anything?”

    This is a surprisingly interesting and revealing question. To attempt to answer it, I would first like to put a limit on the question: let us consider the answer if the nucleotide sequence “adenine-cytosine-adenine” is in DNA (i.e. not RNA). If “meaningful” information is necessarily analogical, as I have suggested in comment #39, then the answer to Upright Biped’s question depends upon the circumstances in which the nucleotide sequence ACA is a part. If, for example, this sequence is part of a longer sequence of nucleotides in a longer DNA molecule, then there are several possible answers:

    1) the DNA nucleotide sequence ACA could be located in a single strand of DNA that is suspended in a test tube (i.e. not in a living cell) and is therefore completely biologically inert (i.e. it is not binding to a complementary strand of DNA, nor being replicated, nor transcribed, nor translated

    2) the DNA nucleotide sequence ACA could be hydrogen bonded to the complementary sequence TGT (i.e. “thymine-guanine-thymine”) in another strand of nucleotides that is anti-parallel with it and close enough to form hydrogen bonds between the nitrogenous bases

    3) the DNA nucleotide sequence ACA could be in a strand that is being replicated by DNA polymerase, which will synthesize the complementary sequence TGT in a newly synthesized strand of DNA

    4) the DNA sequence ACA could be in a strand of DNA that is being transcribed by RNA polymerase, which will synthesize the complementary sequence UGU in a newly synthesized strand of RNA

    5) the DNA sequence ACA could be in a strand of DNA that has already been transcribed by RNA polymerase into the complementary sequence UGU in a strand of mRNA that is bound to a ribosome and is being actively translated into an amino acid sequence in a polypeptide

    6) the DNA sequence ACA could be in a strand of DNA that has already been transcribed by RNA polymerase into the complementary sequence UGU in a strand of mRNA that is bound to a ribosome and is being actively translated into an amino acid sequence in a polypeptide inside a living cell, within which the polypeptide has a biological function (i.e. participates in those biochemical reactions that maintain the cell alive/against the depredations of the second law).

    In case #1 the DNA nucleotide sequence ACA has no “meaning”, in that it is not analogically related to anything. It also has no Shannon information nor Kolmogorov information nor Orgel information either, as it is not in the process of being transmitted or compressed, nor is it “specifying” anything.

    In case #2 the DNA nucleotide sequence ACA has no “meaning” because its bonding with its complementary sequence is purely chemical, not analogical. Like the bonding together of water molecules in a snowflake (i.e. the regular crystalline solid form of water), the hydrogen bonding of the nitrogenous bases in complementary DNA sequences is wholly determined by “natural laws”, and is therefore neither analogical nor meaningful.

    Cases 3 and 4 appear to be the same as in case 2; the relationships between the nucleotide sequences and the bonding patterns therein are entirely the result of chemistry, with no analogical nor meaningful information involved.

    However, in cases 5 and 6 we seem to come to a radical discontinuity. In both of these cases, there can be an analogical (and therefore “meaningful”) relationship between the nucleotide sequence ACA in DNA and the corresponding amino acid sequence in a translated polypeptide, either in vitro or in a cell. What makes this difference possible (and what may make it necessary) is the analogical relationship between the nucleotide sequence and the corresponding amino acid sequence (if one exists). If the DNA sequence ACA is located in the template strand of an actively transcribed DNA sequence (i.e. a DNA sequence beginning with a promoter to which RNA polymerase can bind) and furthermore its complementary RNA analog is located in an mRNA molecule following the “start” codon AUG but not following a “stop” codon (either UAA, UAG, or UGA, assuming a three-base reading frame), then that the DNA sequence does indeed contain “meaningful” information: it is encoded in one medium, is translated into another medium, and has a function in the system of which it is a part.

    It is not yet clear from current research whether or not the amino acid that is “translated” from the DNA sequence ACA (i.e. from the mRNA sequence UGU, assuming that the DNA sequence ACA is in a template strand) is necessarily related to that mRNA sequence. That is, we do not know with confidence whether the relationship between mRNA codons and the amino acids for which they code is purely arbitrary (i.e. the result of a “frozen accident”) or if there is some as-yet-undetected necessary (i.e. “natural”) relationship between them.

    What we can say with reasonable assurance is that what distinguishes “meaningful” information from any other kind of information is not the material into which it is encoded, but rather the relationship between the information encoded in one physical medium and its decoded complement in a related physical medium. As Gregory Bateson pointed out many years ago, meaning is entirely in the relationship between material things; it is not the things themselves. Or, as Alfred Korzybski pointed out,

    “The map is not the territory”

    In the same way, meaningful information is not the medium in which it is encoded, transmitted, and decoded.

  81. Information is a pattern that can be carried by different media that retain the essentials elements of the pattern. In Barry’s example, the writing, the brain state that stored the memory, the sound waves that were caused by the vocal cords moving when the sentence was spoken, the stored states of matter on the tapes, are all physical states with properties such as mass, charge, etc. Since Barry is a Platonist, he jumps to the conclusion that there is some ideal, non-material representation of the pattern that exists apart from any of it’s physical manifestation. He also believes in perfect circles, I imagine, and all sorts of Platonic ideals such as Truth, etc.

    In my non-Platonic opinion, this is confusing abstraction with true ontological reality. Does the fact that I can think of an elephant, and recognize elephant-ness in various kinds of animals mean that somehow Elephant exists as a non-material Idea someplace, and the same for every other possible idea? (Does the Platonic unicorn exist even if real ones don’t, because we have the idea of one?)

    Anyway, I think Platonism is wrong in this regard, and adds nothing to our understanding of the world, and that it is wrong to think that somehow Information, as a Platonic ideal, exists without reference to being embodied in some physical representation.

  82. Aleta,
    From your post you seem to not be aware of the fact that transcendent information, or truth, is now shown to run the show of reality in this universe. The last part of this audio has one example of many,,,

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    As well Aleta, you stated you do not believe in “truth”, but would you agree that if truth did exist it would be unchanging? Well we now have examples of transcendent information, universal constants, or truths, arising from no known material basis, which are telling the material of the universe exactly what to be and do in a rock like “unchanging” fashion. And these transcendent truths have done so to the material ever since these “transcendent truths” came into existence at the beginning of the universe; for one example out of over 100;

    Testing Creation Using the Proton to Electron Mass Ratio – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: The bottom line is that the electron to proton mass ratio unquestionably joins the growing list of fundamental constants in physics demonstrated to be constant over the history of the universe.
    http://www.reasons.org/Testing.....nMassRatio

    In fact Aleta, it may be “truthfully” said that the most solid unchanging “things” in a atom are the unchanging universal constants, or unchanging truths, of the universe.

    The fact that as far as we can tell these unchanging transcendent truths came into existence at the big bang directly implies there must be a transcendent truth-giver who ordered there precise “life-enabling values to be exactly as they are.

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007682

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
    http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

    etc..etc..

  83. Bornagain, I’m just fine with the idea that there are facts about the world we can know, and that appear to have been true since the beginning of the universe. That is different than Truth in the Platonic sense, which I don’t believe in. These are different things.
    Also, you write, “The fact that as far as we can tell these unchanging transcendent truths came into existence at the big bang directly implies there must be a transcendent truth-giver who ordered there precise “life-enabling values to be exactly as they are.”
    I don’t agree with that at all. We don’t know why the universe has the structure it does, but there are a number of different possibilities (all totally untestable metaphysical speculations), of which a transcendent creator is but one.

  84. IMO, we can stay completely agnostic toward platonism and still make sense of the subject of this thread.

    Allen and Aleta, you both appear to be stressing that information necessarily requires a material medium and that may be true (another claim about which I am agnostic), however it is still true that the information which is carried by the medium is independent of that medium, as explained originally by Barry.

    You point to the information carried in a sound wave as being the result of vocal cords which do indeed have physical properties. Yet, the specific organization of vibrations necessarily performed by those vocal cords in order to create the information in the sound wave also are not defined by the physical properties of the vocal cords. The same vocal cords can produce a rendition of a famous speech as well as incoherent babbling. The same physical properties produce both groups of sound waves.

    Then, sure, we can track the organization (information) required to produce a vocal rendition of a famous speech back to neurons firing — again physical and measurable material, but also another layer where the organization required to produce the speech is not reduced to the mere material properties of the neurons. In this case, we can have a blob of neurons in a petri dish producing no functional or meaningful information or we can have a tightly orchestrated, highly improbably arranged and mediated group of neurons in a brain generating the aforementioned famous speech.

    But, you complain, the organization of the neurons is dependent on a more fundamental material substrate. But, of course. I don’t deny that. Material is again used to transfer information, but again this layer of information is also not reducible to the material properties of the material used to transfer the information. The organization of DNA and epigenetic information required to guide the generation of a brain is also not defined by the physical properties of the nucleotides used to transfer the information. The same four nucleotides can either produce tar or they can be transcribed and translated in a complex and tightly constrained organization (another layer of information) to produce molecular machines, cellular computation, and intelligence, etc.

    So, although it does seem true that material is required to transfer information, it also appears true that the information is also not defined by or reducible to the physical properties of material, as Barry stated in the original post and I’ve expanded upon in my comment. Another example being how the organization of a computer is not defined by the physical properties of the plastics and metals utilized in the construction of a computer. IE: the laws governing the interaction between metals and plastics (based on the physical properties of those plastics and metals) do not cause computers to form.

    So, it appears that the functional/meaningful information being discussed here is at least as fundamental as the matter and energy which can be utilized to transfer it. This plays directly into the foundational math being developed by Dembski and Marks which naturally flows from the NFLT. The conclusion is that matter, energy and chance do not create highly improbable (beyond UPB) functional/meaningful information. Matter/energy can only transfer this information and chance (not properly confined by previous functional information) degrades function/meaning.

    One more thing ….
    Since intelligence is founded on this functional information and this functional information can indeed be generated by intelligent manipulation of matter and energy, yet this functional organization (information) is not reducible to the physical properties of matter/energy, then it may be that not only is this information fundamentally alongside matter/energy but also intelligence may be fundamental alongside matter/energy.

    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue in this discussion, as school is drawing much of my attention at the time. SO, I will post some of my previous relevant postings on this subject for those who wish to delve a little deeper.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-335312

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-337588

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-341828

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-345511

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-347340

  85. As I said, the information is contained in the pattern – you use the word “organization.” Virtually everything of interest in the world is “not reducible to the material properties” of the constituent parts – it’s the relationships between fundamental entities that creates interesting things.
    But Barry said more than this. He wrote,
    ” We conclude, therefore, that information is not reducible to matter, and it is not reducible to energy, and it is not reducible to a combination of matter and energy.  Yet we know that information exists in the universe.  Therefore, we must conclude that the universe is more than matter and energy, that it is more than mere particles in motion.”
    It is this latter conclusion that is unwarranted. The fact that the patterns of the relationships between simple constituent parts produce things that are more than what the parts can manifest individually, and that those patterns can be passed from one medium to another (i.e., “information”) does not mean “we must conclude that the universe is more than matter and energy.” Barry’s conclusion is wrong, in my opinion.

  86. Well actually Aleta;

    We can infer many things as to “what” caused the big bang.

    1. the source of the big bang had to be transcendent of time-space, matter-energy since time-space, matter energy was brought into being at the big bang.

    2. the only entity that defies time-space and dominates matter energy that we know of in this universe is transcendent information in quantum teleportation and entanglement experiments. (as well a photon is shown to be reducible to “infinite” information.)

    3. thus transcendent infinite information presents itself as the only causally adequate entity to explain the origination of the universe.

    4. the double slit experiment shows that “quantum information waves” will not even collapse to there “uncertain” 3 dimensional material state until a conscious observer is present.

    5 thus it is impossible for 3-D material reality to give rise to the consciousness it is dependent on for its own reality in the first place.

    6 human consciousness is not sufficient within itself to explain the quantum wave collapse with the refutation of the hidden variable argument.

    7. thus a sufficient causally adequate consciousness must precede the quantum information wave collapse apart from human consciousness.

    of further note:

    John 1:1 In the beginning was The Word,,,

  87. 70 Mark Frank

    There are lots of facts, including mathematical truths, that no one yet knows and probably lots that no one will ever know. I assume you do not count these as information.

    I do count these truths as eternal information, meaning these truths are not time bound so I would actually consider the solution to an unsolved theorem truth or information not yet known which nonetheless exists. The truths that say the Earth is round or the Earth is suspended over nothing for example existed prior to being acknowledged. Truth cares not whether it is in material form or not.

  88. Mr Barfety,

    The truths that say the Earth is round or the Earth is suspended over nothing for example existed prior to being acknowledged. Truth cares not whether it is in material form or not.

    “Suspended over nothing”? Suspended from what?

    Is it an eternal truth that “paralel lines never meet”?

  89. 72 Nakashima

    You are asserting what you have to prove.

    I am asserting that nowhere in my brain will you find information about what it means to be round, orange or the disappointment that KU lost. I conclude that because mental facts are not the same as physical facts, i.e. have no shape, are not smaller than, softer than, closer to my left ear, etc., my mind contains that information not the particles.

    Your mind knows “KU lost.” and this true fact is indestructible. If so, what is ‘forgetting’?

    Well Physicalists seem to forget that mental states (e.g., a thought) are of or about something – perhaps the hope that IDists would come to their senses – while physical states do not have this intrinsic and irreducible intentionality. This does not invalidate the fact that information is immaterial and indestructible. Forgetting the information that say, the earth is round does nothing to invalidate its truth. Forgetting that KU lost does not make it go away.

  90. 88 Nakashima

    Is it an eternal truth that “parallel lines never meet”?

    Where does this question reside in your brain or does it? How long is it and how much does it weigh? Is it nearer your left or right ear? Is it larger than the question What will I have for breakfast? Is it parallel to an area of your brain? I am truly curious what a materialist’s answer is to all these questions and the exact physical processes involved in the deciding to answer them.

  91. #87

    I do count these truths as eternal information, meaning these truths are not time bound so I would actually consider the solution to an unsolved theorem truth or information not yet known which nonetheless exists. The truths that say the Earth is round or the Earth is suspended over nothing for example existed prior to being acknowledged. Truth cares not whether it is in material form or not.

    As far I can see you are saying that information is the same as facts. So while the round earth is definitely something material – the fact the earth is round is immaterial information?

  92. 92

    Aleta @85, & all,

    I would agree that some interesting things can arise or “emerge” from an aggregate of material entities. A clock, for example, may tell the observer the time of day only after it is constructed from various mechanical parts (which alone cannot tell time) such as pulleys, springs, cogwheels and pendulums. Likewise, organized material structures (such as an alloyed ferrite-carbon system) arise only after their constituent atoms bond metallically into arrays exhibiting crystal order.

    Information, roughly, is realized through particular arrangements of physical symbols or images relaying some type of “meaning.” This meaning is perceived by the mental faculties (what makes up the mind and intellect) such as self-awareness, rationality, free-will and the ability to arbitrarily devise symbols which all allow us to make reasoned conclusions about the meaning in question. Abstract thought, as it were. Now information is relayed by symbols, which when arranged together produce some language or algebra (whether mathematical or linguistic, it makes no difference). We may derive an understanding/meaning from the information in question only if language and therefore the symbols have the property of truth. They are true if they correctly correspond to the phenomena in question, and if not, we call them false. However, this truth correspondence is not a material property precisely because it is governed by the rules of reason and logic and not by some mechanical or physical necessity arising from the combination of particles of matter. In other words, we do not need the abacus to tell us that 1 and 1 make 2. To hammer this point in, I will not find truth, of any kind, grazing in an open field.

    It seems you would like to suggest that the mind, defined by qualities such as self-awareness, sentience and cognition, the capability for abstract problem solving, self-reflection (the list never ends) – indeed the very idea of “I” and conceptual existence – emerge from the brain much like a mechanical system does (see clock) solely from the combination of “dead” matter, that is, subatomic particles: if the matter comprising the brain is arranged just right, then I’m able to deduce that “I” exist (or is it really “me” at all!?). In this case the brain is the organ of thought, just as information is not only conveyed through a material substrate, but is the material substrate due solely to the pattern/arrangement.

    How is it that by the mere buzzing of atoms – utter reduction to the sub-molecular level – arranged in patterns, can thoughts and imagined concepts arise – how would you measure them? In what physical unit?

    To illustrate my point, I’d like to engage in a thought experiment concerning information which I cannot take credit for.

    Let us suppose I have both a recording device and a written manuscript. Recorded on the tape device, in spoken word (a language you do not understand) is some manner of story you would read in a pulp novel – the subject matter makes no difference. The important thing here is that there are elements to this story that are significant: It starts slow, though some of the characters are rather thrilling and are quite 3-dimensional. There happens to be a rather exciting climax and a surprise ending no unsuspecting person would see coming. Let’s say this pulpy tale is on the whole, quite sad and tragic.

    Now let us suppose that the same exact story is in its written/typed form (obviously as various visual symbols) on the manuscript, also in said dialect.

    Here we have two separate material substrates conveying information. Physically, the tape recorder generates pressurized waves which travel through the air, and the characteristics and properties of these sound waves can be measured. In fact you know all of these characteristics (loudness, amplitude and frequencies of the wave form etc) right down to the minutest detail of how the material phenomena operate. Furthermore, for the written version, you’re able to obtain completely, down to the last particle, data for properties such as mass, page count, and the way the ink is arranged on the page: everything.

    If I know the details of the story inside and out (let’s say it’s my favorite, really), and understand what the information conveyed on both of these two separate substrates means, answer me one simple question:

    How does what you know, lead to what I know? How do the properties you measured (the arrangement and patterns of atoms etc.) lead to that exciting climax, and especially that surprise ending I never saw coming? Is there ANYTHING from that hypothetical data you gathered that can tell you, most importantly, what it actually all means?

    Aleta, Mark, Nakashima, all: I suppose my point is: how is Barry jumping to conclusions if it can be logically deduced that information is not reducible to merely matter in motion? The proposition/premise: “the material is all there is” is itself, in a circular manner, smuggled into the conclusion. At best you can say “all I perceive are material entities” but this, like you accuse Barry of, does not necessarily lead to the aforementioned conclusion, that “material is all there is.” It’s a sort of mantra. There is no empirical process that tells you this – the scientific method surely does not, and it is presumptuous to conclude that it does. It is the axiom of a philosophy, I believe – not science.

    I’m sorry if this seemed incoherent – I had some information in mind.

  93. To HSR: you are right, it is incoherent.

  94. Franck Barfety at 67: “While I agree with you that information is multiply realizable on material medium, information continues to exist even when the medium seizes to exist and is indeed as Barry said “independent of the physical properties of the medium on which it is placed.” For example, numbers or truths about them (or truths in general) exist whether or not there is any physical representation of them.”

    I invite you or anybody else to show me any information that is not embedded in matter.

    Numbers and truths about them are part of the universe’s structure, not information. “Gravity” is not information. You can learn information about gravity, such as Newton’s laws.

    “I would disagree with you here. One might observe neurons firing as I decide to think about the statement “a basketball is round and orange” but nowehere in my brain will you find information about what it means to be round, orange or the disappointment that KU lost. My mind contains that information not the particles.”

    The information about roundness, and orangeness are stored in your memory. Memories seem to be made of a combination of different synapse firing levels and wiring of neurons. New dendrites actually grow and connect to other neurons as you learn things. All of this is material.

    Disappointment is an emotion that is partly neural and partly chemical in nature. That’s also material in nature.

    FB in 76: “Emergence is a clear departure from strict physicalism. It’s been said it is magic without a magician.”

    Two atoms of hydrogen join to a single atom of oxygen to make a molecule of water. The property of “wetness” is an emergent property of large numbers of water molecules. There’s nothing magic or immaterial about wetness or other examples of emergence.

  95. Upright Biped in 55: “The arrangement ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ is meaningful information in the context of DNA, just as the diameter of a pulley is meaningful information in the context of making a water pump. What is meaningful is not contained within their physical properties; it is derived from their usefulness in attaining a function. That is precisely the point. The meaningful information recorded in DNA manipulates and constrains matter resulting in biological function. And as Allen McNeil has shown us, meaningful information requires perception to exist.”

    A better way to phrase that would be to say that the physical size, shape, mass, electrostatic charge and arrangement of the atoms in ‘adenine-cytosine-adenine’ will, if they are embedded in a DNA string and placed into a cell, select a transfer RNA molecule which in turn will add a threonine amino acid to a protein that is being constructed.

    This is occurring right now is almost every cell in your body and requires no perception.

  96. Going back to the last paragraph of the OP:

    “The point is that information may be transmitted on a physical medium, but it is not reducible to the medium on which it is carried, and it is independent of the medium upon which it is carried. Information has no mass. It has no charge. Indeed, it has no property that can be measured by the same means we measure matter and energy.

    That last sentence is wrong. Information is embedded in the arrangement of matter and we can detect these arrangement by the same means that we measure matter with.

    “We conclude, therefore, that information is not reducible to matter, and it is not reducible to energy, and it is not reducible to a combination of matter and energy.”

    But this conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of information and is wrong. Information is reducible to arrangements of matter and energy.

    “Yet we know that information exists in the universe. Therefore, we must conclude that the universe is more than matter and energy, that it is more than mere particles in motion.”

    This conclusion is based on the same error and is also wrong.

  97. warehuff you stated:

    “But this conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of information and is wrong. Information is reducible to arrangements of matter and energy.”

    If you are merely wanting to reference the encrypted information in the DNA which I believe originally came from a mind that ordered those precise arrangements of matter and energy to be as they may, I guess you could be so unforeseen as to conclude this posit of yours (although you would have to actually show matter and energy producing not only the information in the DNA, but the abstract “information code” itself that we find to actually be considered legitimate and plausible scientifically).

    Biophysicist Hubert Yockey determined that natural selection would have to explore 1.40 x 10^70 different genetic codes to discover the optimal universal genetic code that is found in nature. The maximum amount of time available for it to originate is 6.3 x 10^15 seconds. Natural selection would have to evaluate roughly 10^55 codes per second to find the one that is optimal. Put simply, natural selection lacks the time necessary to find the optimal universal genetic code we find in nature. (Fazale Rana, -The Cell’s Design – 2008 – page 177)

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: “A monstrous ravine runs through presumed objective reality. It is the great divide between physicality and formalism. On the one side of this Grand Canyon lies everything that can be explained by the chance and necessity of physicodynamics. On the other side lies those phenomena than can only be explained by formal choice contingency and decision theory—the ability to choose with intent what aspects of ontological being will be preferred, pursued, selected, rearranged, integrated, organized, preserved, and used. Physical dynamics includes spontaneous non linear phenomena, but not our formal applied-science called “non linear dynamics”(i.e. language,information).
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    Life’s Irreducible Structure
    Excerpt: “Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions harnessing the laws of inanimate nature, being themselves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry.” Michael Polanyi – Hungarian polymath – 1968 – Science (Vol. 160. no. 3834, pp. 1308 – 1312)

    The DNA Code – Solid Scientific Proof Of Intelligent Design – Perry Marshall – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060532

    Yet in a grander scope of examining the evidence we find that matter is reducible to energy (e=mc2) and energy is reducible to information:

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport. http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Thus warehuff you are actually stuck with three conundrums instead of one, The first one which you falsely think you have satisfactorily addressed is, Where did the information in DNA come? the second one is, Where did the information for the DNA code itself come from? and thirdly, and what I consider the most interesting question of all, Where did the infinite information come from that created energy-matter in the first place?

  98. Wow, I point out some errors about information in the OP and suddenly I’m stuck with three conundrums about DNA, which I never mentioned!

    Which reminds me, in http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....anglement/, Dr. Quantum sort of misses something very, very important.

    “They put a measuring device by one slit to see which one it [the electron] went through and let it fly. But the quantum world is far more mysterious then they could have imagined. When they observed, the electron went back to behaving like a little marble. It produced a pattern of two bands, not an interference pattern of many. The very act of measuring or observing which slit it went through meant it only went through one, not both. The electron decided to act differently, as though it was aware it was being watched.”

    Dr Quantum says “observed” and “measured” as if those acts could be done passively, but they can’t. To see which slit the electron goes through, the measuring device has to interact with the electron. It either has to bounce something off of it or detect its electric charge or do something else that physically interacts with the electron.

    But whenever you interact with any quantum object, that object has to decohere immediately so it acts like a particle and has a position that can be measured! No consciousness is involved whatsoever, just simple interaction.

    This means that all arguments that consciousness is necessary for this or that quantum whatever are false and every argument built on those claims no longer has any support. I urge everybody to please adjust their arguments accordingly.

    P.S. If you’d like to read a really good book on this, get “Where does the weirdness go? Why quantum mechanics is strange, but not as strange as you think” by David Lindley. You will learn more about quantum mechanics from reading this one book than from watching a hundred apologetic videos.

    I see Amazon is selling used paperback copies for $1.45. PM me with a mailing address and I’ll have one sent to you. P.O. Boxes are fine. In fact, I make this offer to the first ten people who respond, asking only that you actually read the book if I send it to you.

  99. Warehuff you state,

    “Wow, I point out some errors about information in the OP and suddenly I’m stuck with three conundrums about DNA, which I never mentioned!”

    But warehuff you directed stated the following as a unsupported fact:

    “But this conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of information and is wrong. Information is reducible to arrangements of matter and energy.”

    I merely pointed out that your assertion, which is in direct opposition to the OP, is not supported by any scientific evidence whatsoever. i.e. if what you said was actually true should you not falsify Abel’s null hypothesis first?

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    As for your reference to Quantum Mechanics, are you of the “hidden variable crowd? i.e. you must tell me exactly WHY does the wave collapse to its “uncertain” state without the use of “hidden variables” as you are trying to use.

    This following study solidly refutes the “hidden variable” argument that has been used by materialists to try to get around the Theistic implications of this instantaneous “spooky action at a distance” found in quantum mechanics.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for “spooky” forces, as Einstein termed them—forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    further note:

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – very cool video – please note the centrality of the earth in the universe in the video Warefuff
    http://www.youtube.com/v/17jymDn0W6U

    of note: The only way to “geometrically” maintain continuous 3D spherical symmetry of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation within the “3D universe”, from different points of observation in the universe, is for all the “higher dimensional” quantum waves of the universe to collapse to their “uncertain” 3D particle state, universally and instantaneously, for/to each individual observer in the universe. The expanding 4-D space-time of general relativity is grossly insufficient to explain 3D centrality with the CMBR from radically different points of observation in the universe.

    I find it extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its “uncertain” 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that I exist?

    Proverbs 15:3
    The eyes of the LORD are in every place,,,

    This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time “unifying” mathematically (Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and the laws of Quantum Mechanics), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.”

    Yet, this “unification” between what is in essence the “infinite world of Quantum Mechanics” and the “finite world of the space-time of General Relativity” seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....e_is_life/

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

  100. 100

    @ Graham1,

    Oh my, you really got me on that one.

    So, would you care to add anything worthwhile to the discussion, rather than just irrelevant comments from the sidelines? An actual argument would suffice.

  101. boarnagain77, if you don’t believe information is reducible to arrangements of matter and energy, please tell us how the information in Barry’s computer is stored. So far as I know, Barry typed new information into his computer and this information was stored as arrangements of electrical charges in the capacitors in his DRAM memory. That’s how memory works in modern PCs. At past times, that information would have been stored as magnetic charges in small toroids, as the state of vacuum tube flip-flops, as sound waves in a tube of mercury and doubtless other forms which don’t come to mind right now. Information can be stored in many different arrangements of matter and energy, but it does require some sort of matter or energy to exist.

    I’m not talking about hidden variable theories. Last I heard, they were still disproven. I’m talking about basic, well accepted quantum mechanics and something that your Doctor Quantum completely misses. Go to the three minute mark, where he’s shooting individual electrons through a double slit. They form an interference pattern and the Doctor explains it like this: “The single electron leaves as a particle, becomes a wave of potentials, goes through both slits and interferes with itself to hit the wall like a particle.” Weird as it is, this is superposition of wave and particle properties, which is the conventional and generally accepted explanation. But in the next step, the Doctor goes astray.

    At 3:32: “So, they decided to peek and see which slit it actually goes through. They put a measuring device by one slit to see which one it went through and let it fly.” Here he draws the “measuring device” as a mechanical eyeball on a stick, complete with “eyelashes”. He then chuckles and continues: “But the quantum world is far more mysterious than they could have imagined. When they observed, the electron went back to behaving like a little marble. It produced a pattern of two bands, not an interference pattern of many. They very act of measuring (or, observing) which slit it went through meant it only went through one, not both. The electron decided to act differently as though it was aware it was being watched.”

    Here’s the Doctor’s main error. He clearly treats (and draws) the “measuring device” as something passive like an eyeball and draws it as not interfering with the electron as the electron shoots through the slit. This is a physical impossibility. To detect the electron going through the slit, the “measuring device” has to interact with it. But as soon as you interact with the electron in any way, you destroy the quantum superposition and the electron acts like a particle. You can only sustain the superposition of the electron’s wave and particle natures by NOT interfering with it. This is a general rule for quantum mechanics and it’s one of the things that most of these experiments are conducted in a vacuum at temperatures near abolute zero – if you interact with what you’re measuring in any way whatsover, you destroy the superposition you’re trying to measure.

    Doctor Quantum doesn’t seem to know this. He says, “The observer collapsed the wave function simply by observing,” as if “observing” was a passive experience. Later in the video, we’re shown “observers” (in slow motion, so you know it’s real) and examples of quantum superposition (all the bouncing basketballs) vanishing as soon as the observer looks at them. But on the atomic scale, you can’t just look at something, you have to bounce something off of whatever you’re looking at and poof! goes your superposition.

    The interference of the measurement or observation causes the quantum collapse and the observer is not necessary, regardless of what Doctor Quantum (is he really Fred Wolf?) says or believes. Since observers aren’t necessary, all of your arguments that depend on their necessity are invalid. This is explained in many books, but “Where does the weirdness go?” does a particularily good job. My offer of a free copy of this book is genuine. PM me with a mailing address and I’ll send a copy to you. It will improve your argument and you won’t even have to watch commercials for Outback Steakhouse or Kotex Tampons to read it.

  102. Correction: “This is a general rule for quantum mechanics and it’s one of the REASONS that most of these experiments are conducted in a vacuum at temperatures near abolute zero…”

  103. 103

    warehuff >> “if you don’t believe information is reducible to arrangements of matter and energy, please tell us how the information in Barry’s computer is stored.”

    A question:

    Your comment in #101 had a little over 3480 charactors, with 700+ spaces in 6 paragraphs and 707 words. The were a number of complete sentences with nouns, adverbs, and such, forming legible text under the rules of English grammar.

    Do you (honestly) believe that comment #101 owes its existence to (is reducible to) the circuits in your computer?

  104. This thread is on what information is, not where it comes from. Do you disagree that information is material?

  105. warehuff; Information is NOT reducible to matter-energy, but it may be represented by matter-energy. Is ink and paper information? Of course not! Information is its own unique, separate, and individual entity, which is completely transcendent and dominate of any matter-energy basis. Information is always implemented “top down” onto matter-energy, and always from a mind. Never has functional information been shown to “emerge from the “bottom up”. (I noticed you did not touch Abel’s null hypothesis for information generation) These intuitive characteristics of the transcendence and dominance by information over matter-energy, which are usually easily arrived at by most people with common sense, are experimentally shown to be, exactly as is suspected by common sense, in quantum teleportation and entanglement experiments in which information instantaneously tells photons and electrons exactly what to be and do in the experiments regardless of any space and time constraints. i.e. matter-energy NEVER tell information what to be and do.

    Conservation Of Transcendent Information – 2007 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995275

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://www.research.ibm.com/qu.....portation/

    Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract
    Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,,
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....2/5389/706

    Of note: conclusive evidence for the violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics is firmly found in the preceding experiment when coupled with the complete displacement of the infinite transcendent information of “Photon c”:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....cjR0eG1neg

    In extension to the 2007 video, the following video shows quantum teleportation breakthroughs have actually shed light on exactly what, or more precisely on exactly Whom, has created this universe:

    Scientific Evidence For God (Logos) Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995300

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport. http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    It is also interesting to note that we can only “destroy” a photon in these quantum teleportation experiments. No one has “created” a photon as of yet. I firmly believe man shall never do as such, since I hold only God is infinite, and perfect, in information/knowledge.

    further note:

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

  106. Is the arrangement of ink on paper information? Yes.

    If you take the ink and paper away, do you have any information? No.

    Could you try arguing with your own words for a while?

  107. Warehuff, as far as consciousness being integral to wave collapse. Wigner settled this debate a long time ago:

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963

    But in extension to Wigner’s work on the “symmetries” of a local environment, which I pointed out before and you did not address, I pointed out that consciousness is required to explain the spherical symmetry of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) for the entire universe for radically different points of observation in the universe. The 4-D space-time of general relativity is grossly insufficient to maintain such 3-D spherical symmetry from radically different points of observation in the universe. The wave collapse must be universal and instantaneous for each conscious observer in the universe for reality to be as it is.

    It seems you falsely think you have found a “materialistic” solution to the double slit experiment, that did require consciousness, by deluding yourself with some fancy wordplay, and I could make a solid case from the double slit for consciousness and have a list of Nobel’s backing me up in my attack from that angle, but my main attack was not even from the double-slit but was from the symmetries we witness in the universe. i.e. warehuff, In order to remain consistent within your materialistic framework you must not only explain the doubleslit experiment but you must explain the spherical symmetry for CMBR from radically different points of observation in the universe, To do otherwise is to cherry pick and twist evidence to accord to your own philosophical bias which is bad science:

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – very cool video – please note the centrality of the earth in the universe in the video Warefuff
    http://www.youtube.com/v/17jymDn0W6U

    of relevant interest:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....e_is_life/

    Shroud Of Turin’s unique 3-Dimensionality
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8RVPdHMUtc

    “The shroud image is made from tiny fibres that are (each) 1/10th of a human hair. The picture elements are actually randomly distributed like the dots in your newspaper, photograph or magazine photograph. To do this you would need an incredibly accurate atomic laser. This technology does NOT exist (even to this day).” – Kevin Moran – Optical Engineer

    “the closest science can come to explaining how the image of the Man in the Shroud got there is by comparing the situation to a controlled burst of high-intensity radiation similar to the Hiroshima bomb explosion which “printed” images of incinerated people on building walls.”
    Frank Tribbe – Leading Scholar And Author On Shroud Research

    If you are interested warehuff, here is a e-book you can read right now, at no cost, that will clear up many of the materialistic fallacies that you believe in:

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blogspot.com/

  108. re 106 warehuff:

    If you take the ink and paper away, do you have any information? No.

    warehuff; I put this video together a while back that answers your “where did the information go” question.

    Conservation Of Transcendent Information – 2007 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995275

  109. warehuff; this following experiment refutes your materialistic explanation for the double slit experiment:

    Delayed choice quantum eraser
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....tum_eraser

    i.e. The consciousness must be INFORMED with local certainty to cause the wave to become particle.

    We know from the Double slit experiment, with delayed erasure, that the simple fact of a detector is NOT sufficient. If the detector results are erased after detection but before conscious analysis we see the wave form result, instead of the particle result, thereby clearly establishing the centrality of consciousness to the whole experiment.

    i.e. The implication clearly is that consciousness is primary, and detection secondary, to the collapse of the wave function.

  110. #91 Mark Frank

    As far I can see you are saying that information is the same as facts. So while the round earth is definitely something material – the fact the earth is round is immaterial information?

    Correct. A thought, or mental content that can be expressed in a sentence, exists separate from the piece of paper it is written on. It makes no sense to say for example that the thought that the earth is round is the same as the particles that make up the round physical earth.

    There are several states of consciousness that are nonmaterial such as thoughts, beliefs, sensations, desires and endeavorings or acts of freedom. I hold to thousands of beliefs that are not physical right now. They exist though I may not be thinking about them. They are of, or about, something whereas my physical states, i.e. ions, cells, neurons may have negative or positive charge, but aren’t of or about anything.

    In fact the only way you can tell what I am saying is true is by introspectively thinking about it and reminding yourself that you’ve had thoughts, beliefs and so on. Mental facts are not physical. Information is not physical. Information just like consciousness cannot be explained by Naturalism and are recalcitrant facts that cannot be explained by a Naturalist theory. It’s time to jump ship at this point. Or, one can keep on living trying to deny their existence or dismissing them as illusions but as previously pointed out, illusions are states of consciousness and so these truths cannot be avoided or denied. Anthony Flew saw it after being the leading atheist in the past 50 years. I wouldn’t waste a lifetime trying to conform to the establishment for a sense of belonging. Truth. It’s all that matters in the end.

  111. #94 warehuff

    I invite you or anybody else to show me any information that is not embedded in matter.

    Is that statement embedded in matter? I invite you or anyone else to scrutinize synapses, neuronal networks and dentrites and tell me what my breakfast tasted like. Let me know whether it was a disappointing meal or not. You may also tell me the reason I opted for that particular restaurant vs. another.

    Of course you would be at loss and it is not for lack of scientific knowledge. Mental states are just in another realm altogether. A non-physical one. The only way you can know these things is by asking me to tell you.

    “Two atoms of hydrogen join to a single atom of oxygen to make a molecule of water. The property of “wetness” is an emergent property of large numbers of water molecules. There’s nothing magic or immaterial about wetness or other examples of emergence.”

    You are correct to say that there is nothing particularly magical or immaterial about liquidity taken as a degree of viscosity of a collection of water molecules but it is not a good analogy to consciousness and here is why. First, water is nothing more than the group behavior of H20 molecules when they are grouped together in a viscous, loose arrangement. You lower the temperature water becomes ice, you raise it water turns to steam. That’s just physical theory. Second, I don’t equate liquidity with wetness anymore than I equate the color green with a wavelength or my wife’s body heat with warmth. You are trying to establish a correlation between the arrangement of water molecules and wetness which does nothing to say they are the same. Third, mental states are so radically unique that it’s not clear how they could emerge from physical particles bumping into each other. I mentioned this elsewhere but emergence is a name for the problem naturalists face when they add mental properties to their naturalist philosophy, it offer nothing in terms of explanation. If you’re sticking to the particles or a rearrangement of them you would also have a problem with libertarian freedom. I’ll leave you with three quotes:

    Evolutionary theorists have suggested that “conscious intelligence” is an evolved trait, but they have never shown how a nonphysical variation could arise to be selected by physical contingencies of survival. — B. F. Skinner, Harvard University (BF Skinner is listed in one of the top 25 psychologists most frequently cited in the professional psychological journal literature)

    The persistence of the free will problem in philosophy seems to me something of a scandal. After all these centuries of writing about free will, it does not seem to me that we have made very much progress. — John Searle (Freedom and Neurobiology, p.37)

    Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.” — Aristophanes, Greek comedian.

  112. I invite you or anybody else to show me any information that is not embedded in matter.

    I ask above: Is that statement embedded in matter? You might answer a resounding yes. The problem is what is really embedded in matter is your mental content, a thought of yours. Thoughts and monitor pixels that represent them physically (or neuronal activity while you’re having them) are radically different. Think about it.

  113. Franck you might like these:

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....super.html

    and this:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported being able to see during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. In all, 15 of the 21 NDEers and 9 of the 10 OBEers could see during their experience while the remaining participants either claimed that they did not see or were not sure whether or not they had seen.

    Amazing Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    and this:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585

    Removing Half of Brain (Hemispherectomies) Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives – article
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of the child’s memory after removal of half of the brain, either half; and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor.” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining of Johns Hopkins University
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

  114. Franck you probably already know about this NDE but if not:

    The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

  115. sorry to post so much Franck, but here is a poem which is appropriate:

    There Is More – Poem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102086

  116. HouseStreetRoom #92

    thanks for throwing your light upon the matter…

  117. 117

    Franck Barfety @ 116,

    Thank you. Likewise, I’ve enjoyed your contributions here.

    warehuff,

    I would invite you to take part in my thought experiment above in post 92. I’m curious to see if you have an answer to the questions I’d posed.

  118. bornagain77 Thanks for Michael Egnor’s article link.

    The persistence of self-identity through time and part replacement seems to be set aside by physicalists. We are taught that every cell in our bodies are replaced at some point or another but yet we are to identify with our brain matter. There are major problems with this flawed idea. Here is a quick (true) story to illustrate.

    A few days ago, a KCPD Sexual Crime Special Unit Detective and I were having a discussion outside, roughly 30 feet from the front door of the building, about a serial rapist in Kansas City (the poor guy is probably just acting out his evolutionary urges, not sure what all the fuss is about or why the police is making his life so difficult that he has to hide). The detective pointed out that he could roll the walkway between where we were standing and the door and collect the DNA of all the people who walked to that door within the past week, thanks to each individual losing hundreds of thousands of skin cells every hour without being aware of it (his words). Now if say 300 million cells die in the human body every minute and the body goes through part replacement over time ( including neurons?), my question to the detective is this: Is the hunted criminal still held responsible for his crimes if he is found 10 years from now when all the cells in his body have either died or been replaced? Is the state charging the particles or the personal agent responsible for the crime.

  119. Franck Barfety:

    The persistence of self-identity through time and part replacement seems to be set aside by physicalists. We are taught that every cell in our bodies are replaced at some point or another but yet we are to identify with our brain matter. There are major problems with this flawed idea.

    Franck,

    If all of the water molecules in a lake are replaced by new ones, is it still the same lake?

  120. Yes Franck,
    It is really beautiful to realize this isn’t it, in fact I was just in awe of our “real selves” this morning. The real me, or you, or anyone, is not the trillions upon trillions of cells and molecules that are conformed to sustaining the “real” us in this material world. The “real” us which I will call our soul. But the “real” us is a “thought and breath” from the infinite mind and spirit of God almighty”! That thought and breath from God IS THE continuity of our “real” being that gives us that “persistence of self-identity through time” you alluded to. It truly is a wonderful thought to contemplate but best of all it really is the truth for how it really is!

  121. Frank Barfety in 111: ” I invite you or anyone else to scrutinize synapses, neuronal networks and dentrites and tell me what my breakfast tasted like. Let me know whether it was a disappointing meal or not. You may also tell me the reason I opted for that particular restaurant vs. another.”

    An interesting argument. The human brain is the most complex entity we know of with 50 to 100 billion neurons and as many as 1000 trillion synapses, it’s hidden away inside the skull where it’s difficult to get at and you can’t do any experiment on it that would injure or destroy it. Therefore we can’t yet give you the exact location of your memories or thoughts, therefore, “Mental states are just in another realm altogether. A non-physical one.”

    “Mind of the gaps” is the same type of argument as the “God of the gaps” and has the same weakness: gaps in our knowledge don’t prove anything and when the gaps are eventually filled, the claim is falsified.

    I give this one maybe two decades before its conclusively falsified, at the most. In fact, it’s getting really, really hard for anybody watching oxygen use shift from one part of the brain to another as the test subject switches from doing mental math problems to imagining music to even take the “mental states are in another realm” argument seriously.

    For example, I’m sure you’ve heard of the experiment where a person stares at a checkerboard pattern on a screen and a PET scan of the back of the head shows the checkerboard pattern, clear as day. But have you heard of the experiment where the human just imagines a checkerboard and a PET scan shows the pattern appearing in the same place? Pretty good for a disembodied mind. I wonder how it does that.

  122. Franck #110

    Me:
    As far I can see you are saying that information is the same as facts. So while the round earth is definitely something material – the fact the earth is round is immaterial information?

    You:
    Correct. A thought, or mental content that can be expressed in a sentence, exists separate from the piece of paper it is written on. It makes no sense to say for example that the thought that the earth is round is the same as the particles that make up the round physical earth.

    My response:
    This is a different thing. I am not talking about thoughts. A fact is a fact whether anyone has believed it or even considered it or not. You were claiming that mathematical truths were immaterial. Some of those truths have never even occurred to anyone yet. So I come back to my point: does the fact that the earth is round somehow exist independently of the round earth?

  123. warehuff you state:

    “In fact, it’s getting really, really hard for anybody watching oxygen use shift from one part of the brain to another as the test subject switches from doing mental math problems to imagining music to even take the “mental states are in another realm” argument seriously.”

    It is funny you would mention “oxygen use”, for oxygen use actually illuminates something very profound about brain/mind interaction that is very helpful to the Theistic position and very antagonistic to the atheistic position:

    Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
    Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237.full

    THE EFFECT OF MENTAL ARITHMETIC ON CEREBRAL CIRCULATION AND METABOLISM
    Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....4-0127.pdf

    i.e. warehuff, If mind were merely a “secretion” of the material brain as you hold, should not this material basis of our being, which you are so convinced is true, manifest itself with increased oxygen use for increased mental activity? Why in the world should the oxygen use remain “remarkably constant” in the brain despite widely divergent mental activities. The evidence clearly indicates strong support for a “mind” that is separate from the brain.

  124. bornagain77 in 107: Wigner was wrong. An assertion proves nothing, especially when it controverts or ignores established facts, such as those interactions with detectors your video forgets to mention.

    Similarly, your assertion that consciousness is necessary to explain the (near) spherical symmetry of the CMB proves nothing. Those measurements (from only one position in the universe, but let that pass) were made by an unconscious machine.

    I’d like to see you make a solid case in your own words for consciousness being involved in the double slit experiment.

    Please spare us the videos, especially the ones about the Shroud.

    Despite myself, I watched Intelligent Design – Conservation of Transcendent Information. Why did you make a 6:41 video of nothing but words and a few pictures of dead scientists? If you’d written it, I could’ve read it in a fraction of the time.

    Was the Pacabel music necessary to your assertions? That’s all you have there. There is no argument presented. We get a couple of mentions of the First Law of Physics and the curious claim that because a photon traveling at light speed doesn’t experience time, “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality” Is God a photon?

    Then we’re told that because “all known material processes never create energy” and we’re expected to apply the first law to the creation of the universe. Pardon me, but we’re not even talking apples and oranges here. The creation of the universe is nothing like the operation of the universe.

    Then comes what I think is the payload of this video, your “humble opinion” that “transcendent information” tells us where the Big Bang energy came from. Fine. What’s “transcendent information”?

    As far as I can tell from your next remark on quantum teleportion, you’re talking about transmitting a quantum bit. Well, that’s neat and a bit mysterious, but to accomplish the feat you have to send two regular plain ordinary bits of information, at the speed of light or slower, from point a to point b. This is NOT done “instantaneously, completely transcendent of any known underlying material basis or even any known natural law” and until you send those two conventional bits, no teleportion takes place. That’s standard quantum physics. It’s hardly enough to justify any claims for the existence of any gods.

    Then we get your opinion that information is more foundational to reality than energy is and that information is somehow “the only viable candidate” for what created the energy in the Big Bang.

    Then suddenly your opinions become conclusive proof that information is transcendent and dominates any known energy/material combo.

    I think you left a few hundred steps out between your opinion and that conclusive proof.

    That’s all in the first 2:48 and I’m not going to take the time to comment on the rest of the video, except to say that William Thompson’s name is William Thompson, not William Thompson Kelvin and although he didn’t agree with Darwin, he’s also the man who said, “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” and “”I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning”. Prize winning physicists can be wrong too.

  125. HouseStreetRoom: Regarding your problem in 92, suppose you record a story in Finnish (which I don’t understand) and also write it in Finnish.

    You ask, “How does what you know, lead to what I know?” It doesn’t. You’re mistaking information and comprehension. I can detect the raw information in both your spoken and written story, but I can’t comprehend it because I don’t understand Finnish.

    Comprehending your story, in either format, requires additional information – knowledge of written and spoken Finnish – which my brain doesn’t have.

    Barry did his thinking and typing in English, which we all understand, so we can not only detect the information, we can comprehend it.

  126. Warehuff;
    Sorry to see you practice science in such a philosophically biased manner. The evidence I have presented is clear to the main points as postulated by Theism for a transcendent origin of the universe as well as information being transcendent and dominate of matter-energy, as well as consciousness being “primary” to any 3-D material basis. For you to merely ridicule minor flaws here and there, as well as ridicule my “video” method of presentation for some of the facts, all the while ignoring the meatier points of contention I brought up, is not very fair, and alas I will leave it to others with more patience than I to deal with your unreasonableness.

  127. warehuff, of note:
    the caveat of two bits of information having to travel along normal “speed of light” paths for us to “observe” the teleportation is a necessary condition for us to reside in this particular space time framework to begin with, and does not detract from the transcendent information framework that is established by quantum mechanics.

    hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this “timeless” travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework/dimension of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation though the “time not passing”, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework/dimension. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks/dimensions, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus “pure information” is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks/dimensions. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which It resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned). Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless (eternal) reality It inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive. The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal framework/dimension does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework/dimension that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy – Artwork homepage – http://www.artakiane.com/ – Music video – http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4204586

    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is “information”.

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.” John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/Magaz.....fault.aspx

  128. ba77, leaving out the most important step in an experiment is hardly a “minor flaw here and there”. It falsifies the entire experiment and invalidates the conclusion. Consciousness has nothing to do with quantum effects and that kills half your claims.

    I’m not ridiculing your use of videos, but I am complaining about how much time they waste compared to just writing it down and reading it.

    Teleportion doesn’t send any useful information instantaneously. Useable information can’t travel any faster than those two bits and they have to travel at light speed or slower.

    I do agree with you about the important of information. Without information, all you have is a pile of quarks, no protons, neutrons or carbon atoms. Without information, all you have is a pile of carbon atoms, not organisms.

    Without information, the universe would be a cold dead place. That’s one of the reasons it hurts to see so many people misunderstand it.

  129. Warehuff you state:
    “Without information, the universe would be a cold dead place. That’s one of the reasons it hurts to see so many people misunderstand it.”

    You have no idea how true what you just said is and I couldn’t agree with you more.

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