BigBango wrote: ↑
November 25th, 2018, 10:20 pm
Gertie wrote: ↑
November 25th, 2018, 7:56 pm
Here you just happened to bring up a personal bugbear of mine - they way people use the word 'information' as if it is an independantly existing...Something, which isn't really defined. I suspect that fuzziness can lead down alleys which would need more justification if using the term 'Information' didn't give a free pass. But I could be wrong, and simply be missing something.
I want to clear that up for you. the only way that our thought, nouns and adjectives etc. get encoded in the physical is by representing those thought things with an agreed upon symbol or written language. When transmitting those symbols to remote places those symbols are converted to agreed upon strings of 0s and 1s. Now as physical things in themselves they don't really stand for what we mean by them anymore (except to another human interpreter). What those symbols do stand for to other physical things is their energy content or entropic state, the pattern repetitions. DNA is such a good example its implicit order is understood by the other entities in the cell and therefore never was produced as a code by humans. In fact it is from very hard work that we have deciphered its code. But despite who created the code or what it might mean, it has a physical energy that determines its entropy as simply a physical system. Shannon used these facts to develop automatic error correctors for communication devices. In the process he proves that coded information follows the 2nd law of thermodynamics and he restated that law in informational terms.
Here's how I see it.
We understand the physics of the relationship between graphite and paper which allows us (conscious critters)
to use those media to transfer symbolic representations of our thoughts, opinions, facts, etc. To transfer information with each other. Likewise we (well some peeps if not me) understand the physics of how computers work, using 0s and 1s as symbolic representations. I could write a load of meaningless content-free nonsense on a piece of paper, the physics would be the same, whether or not I'm communicating information. Likewise in nature we understand the physics of DNA (in principle if not all the details), and how evolutionary fitness plays a part.
In all cases, what actually exists, are the physical processes. All we can point to are physics and forces, we can't put 'information' under a microscope.
And to say for example that DNA 'codes information' is a type of metaphor, using a theoretical model of function and purpose. But it's just stuff and forces doing what they do. The patterns and maths are patterns and maths of stuff and forces, ways of describing how it works. The notion of Information is unnecessary, outside of the ways we like to construct models which bring our own meanings into the picture. It is apparently not intrinsic to the processes themselves.
If we think about Searle's good old Chinese Room, we might metaphorically call what computers do 'information processing', but the process itself has no meaning or understanding, it's just physics. Meaning and understanding, what Searle calls the semantic content rather than the syntactic process, requires a conscious encoder and decoder, a person. Who understands what the symbols represent, their de-coded meaning, and in that way is dealing with information.
Tho as I said, it might be there is something going on more fundamental than our current scientific understanding, which is related to some notion of information, but there it gets speculative.