The Science of it All

Information vs materialism part 3

data_vs_info

All right, we have discussed the five “Universal Rules of Information” (in part one-where we took a side trip to distinguish between material and non-material entities). We then used those rules to enumerate four “Scientific Laws of Information” (and we needed to define an ‘intelligent sender’) in part two. The fourth law: “Universal information can only be produced by an intelligent sender” is so complex that we will break it down into four easier to understand sections and get a working grasp of it in this part three of Information vs Materialism.

SLI-4a: Every code is based upon a mutual agreement between sender and receiver

The essential characteristic of a code symbol (which uses characters) is that it was at one point in time freely defined. By definition the set of symbols so created represents all allowed symbols. They are structured in such a way as to fulfil their designated purpose (e.g. musical symbols must be able to describe the duration and pitch of the notes; chemical symbols must be able to designate all the elements). An observed signal may give the impression that it is composed of symbols, but if it can be shown that the signal is a physical or chemical property of the system then the fundamental “free mutual agreement” attribute is missing and the signal is not a symbol according to our definition.[1]

SLI-4b: There is no new universal information without an intelligent sender

The process of the formation of new information (as opposed to simply copied information) always depends upon intelligence and free will. A sequence of characters are selected from an available, freely defined set of symbols such that the resulting string of characters represents all five levels of information. Since this cannot be achieved by a random process, there must always be an intelligent sender. One important aspect of this is the application of will, so that we may also say: Information cannot be created without a will.

SLI-4c: Every information transmission chain can be traced back to an intelligent sender[2]

It is useful to distinguish here between the original and the intermediate sender. We mean by the original sender the author of the information, and that must always be an individual equipped with intelligence and a will. After the original sender there may be a sequence of links transmitting the information. The last link in the chain might be mistaken for the originator of the message but it is only apparently the sender, this is the intermediate sender (but it is not the original one!).

The original sender is often not visible: in many cases, the author of the information is not or no longer visible. It is not in contradiction to the requirement of observability when the author of historical documents is no longer visible—in such a case, the author was observable once upon a time.

The actual (intermediate) sender may not be an individual: we could gain the impression that, in systems with machine-aided intermediate links, that the last observed member is the sender: The user of an X-Box can only trace the game they are using back to the computer programmer—but the computer is only the intermediate sender; the original sender (the programmer) is nowhere to be seen. The internet-surfer sees all kinds of information on his screen, but his home computer is not the original sender, but rather someone who is perhaps at other end of the world has thought out the information and put it on the internet. It is by no means different in the case of the DNA molecule. The genetic information is read off a material substrate, but this substrate is not the original sender; rather, it is only the intermediate sender.

It may seem obvious that the last member of the chain is the sender because it seems to be the only discernible possibility. But it is never the case in a system with multiple links that the last member is the original sender or rather the author of the information—it is just the intermediate sender. This intermediate sender may not be an individual, but rather only part of a machine that was created by an intelligence. Individuals can pass on information they have received and in doing so act as intermediate senders. However, they are in actuality only intermediate senders if they do not modify the information. If an intermediate changes the information, they will be considered the original sender of a NEW piece of information. Even in the special case where the information was not transmitted via intermediaries, the author may remain invisible. We find in Egyptian tombs or on the obelisks numerous hieroglyphic texts, but the authors are nowhere to be found. No one would conclude that there had been no author.

SLI-4d: Attributing meaning to a set of symbols is an intellectual process requiring intelligence

We have now defined the five rules (statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics) at which universal information operates. Using SLI-4d we can make the following general observation: these five aspects are relevant for both the sender and the receiver.

Origin of information: SLI-4d describes our experience of how any information comes into being. Firstly, we draw on a set of symbols (characters) that have been defined according to SLI-4a. Then we use one symbol after another from the set to create units of information (e.g. words, sentences). The sender has knowledge of the language he is using and he knows which symbols he needs in order to create his intended meaning.

The connection between any given symbol and meaning is not originally determined by laws of physics or energy. For example, there is nothing physically about the three letters “d, o, g” that necessarily originally caused it to be associated with man’s much loved pet. The fact that there are other meanings for the letters such as “god” demonstrates that the association between a word and its meaning is mental rather than physical or energetic. In other words, the original generation of information is an intellectual process.

We can make three remarks that have fundamental significance:

Remark R1: Technical and biological machines can store, transmit, decode and translate information without understanding the meaning and purpose.

Remark R2: Information is the non-material basis for all technological systems and for all biological systems.

There are numerous systems that do not possess their own intelligence, but can transfer or store information or steer processes. Some such systems are inanimate (e.g. networked computers, process controls in a chemical factory, automatic production lines, car auto-wash, robots); others are animate (e.g. cell processes controlled by information, bee waggle dance).

It is important to recognize that biological information differs from humanly generated information in three essential ways: 1) In living systems we find the highest known information density. 2) The programs in living systems obviously exhibit an extremely high degree of sophistication. No scientist can explain the program that produces an insect that looks like a withered leaf. No biologist understands the secret of an orchid blossom that is formed and coloured like a female wasp. We are able to think, feel, desire, believe and hope. We can handle a complex thing such as language, but we are eons away from understanding the information control process that develop the brain in the embryo. Biological information displays a sophistication that is unparalleled in human information. 3) No matter how ingenious human inventions and programs may be, it is always possible for others to understand the underlying ideas. For example, during World War II, the English succeeded, after considerable effort, in understanding completely the German “Enigma” coding machine, which had fallen into their hands. From then on, it was possible to decode German radio messages. However, most of the ingenious ideas and programs we find in living organisms is at best only partly understood by us at all. To make an exact replica of even the simplest protein has been impossible.

Remark R3: The storage and transmission of information requires a material medium.

Imagine a piece of information written on a sandy beach. Now the tide comes in and wipes the beach clean. The information has vanished, even though all the particles of sand are still present. The sand in this case was the necessary material medium but the information was represented by the particular arrangement of the letters written in the sand. And this arrangement did not come about by chance—it had a mental origin. The same information could have been stored/transmitted in Indian smoke signals through the arrangement of puffs of smoke, or in a computer’s memory through magnetized domains. One could even line up an array of massive rocks into a Morse code pattern. So, the amount or type of matter upon which the information resides is not the issue. Even though information requires a material substrate for storage/transmission, information is not a property of matter. In the same way, the information in living things resides on the DNA molecule. But it is no more an inherent property of the physics and chemistry of DNA than the blackboard’s message was an intrinsic property of chalk.

Finally we have reached a conclusion (but keep hanging around because I will mention many of the false representations that the evillutionists provide to try to obfuscate the issue). So I conclude after this three part study: All these four laws of nature about information have arisen from observations in the real world. None of them has been falsified by way of an observable process or experiment.

The grand theory of atheistic evolution must attribute the origin of all information ultimately to the interaction of matter and energy, without reference to an intelligent or conscious source. A central claim of atheistic evolution must therefore be that the macro-evolutionary processes that generate biological information are fundamentally different from all other known information-generating processes. However, the natural laws described here apply equally in animate and inanimate systems and demonstrate this claim to be both false and absurd.

[1] By contrast, the triplet code carried on DNA can easily be shown to meet the criterion of being freely chosen in the sense of being arbitrary. In other words, there is no physical/chemical reason why the biomachinery of cells has to assign to the triplet GAC, for instance, the meaning of the amino acid “leucine”. In fact, in some yeast species it is translated as “serine”? This underscores the point—since the code is not the inevitable outcome of the physics and chemistry of the system, it was at some prior time freely chosen

[2] Intelligent Source always refers to an individual who is equipped with a will and consciousness. It is not in contradiction to SLI-4c if the author of the information cannot always be specifically identified, but, rather, sometimes only identified generally, as in the following examples: texts in Egyptian Pharaoh’s tombs (Egyptians), historical documents (unknown author), secret radio messages (the military), computer viruses in the internet (criminals), graffiti (graffiti artists), information in biological systems (creator).

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