From: Dace (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 28 May 2003 - 17:55:59 GMT
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > > From: "Wade T. Smith" <email@example.com>
> > >
> > > On Sunday, May 25, 2003, at 02:58 PM, Gudmundur wrote:
> > >
> > > > But if it weren't for an existing interpretative context
> > > > (scientists' minds and other paraphernalia) published genes would
> > > > not mean anything to anyone. Similarly, for DNA to convey any
> > > > information there has to be the interpretative environment of the
> > > > cell. So, a more accurate view of information is to see it as
> > > > emerging when some system (scientist, cell, etc.) interprets a
> > > > series of signifiers/signs (DNA, letters, etc.).
> > >
> > > And there it is.
> > This is why the term "information storage" is incoherent.
> Yeah, such things as minds and movies and books and records and
> cd's and tapes and computers and maps and schematics just don't
> make sense, do they?
Right. Except for "minds," which doesn't belong in this list, these things
don't make sense unless someone is there to interpret them. One might say
there's all sorts of information in a 30,000 year old human skull fragment,
but only if a paleoanthropologist examines it. The information arises
solely in the mind of the investigator. It doesn't pre-exist in the bone.
The bone is nothing more than a physical structure. Shannon's theory of
information was really just a theory of structure that becomes information
in the mind of a human interpreter. To use "information" in place of
physical structure is no different than using "meme" in place of cultural
information. If you've already got a perfectly good term, why bring in
another one? Why complicate things and pretend you've created a new science
when you're really just switching an old term with a newfangled one?
Incidentally, this also applies to the notion that memories are recorded in
the brain. The idea here is to understand memory without having to resort
to vague notions of mind and enduring self-identity. We can thus understand
memory entirely according to neurons and synapses. But if information
doesn't exist in strictly physical form and requires interpretation in the
context of a larger system, then there's still no memory encoded in brains.
The larger system, of course, is the mind. Try as you might, you just can't
get around it.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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