Re: The Guardian on Information

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Sun Jun 24 2001 - 14:10:13 BST

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    Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 14:10:13 +0100
    Subject: Re: The Guardian on Information
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    In-Reply-To: <[]>; from on Fri, Jun 22, 2001 at 04:10:45PM -0400
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Fri, Jun 22, 2001 at 04:10:45PM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
    > On 06/22/01 15:48, Robin Faichney said this-
    > >Think "structure". Information theory in physics is the treatment of
    > >structure as an element in itself.
    > Structure is _still_ a product of _process_.
    > The shape of a termite mound, a snowflake- the only 'information' or
    > 'structure' required is the determinants of the process.

    I think you meant "determinands". But see below.

    > Time and material were required to arrive at this process, but the only
    > information there or anywhere else is the invention of an observing
    > entity, namely us.
    > Perhaps it's semantics.

    Of course it's semantics. Because communications theory a la Shannon
    and thermodynamics have some abstract concepts and math in common, it
    was found convenient to use the term "information" in thermodynamics.
    Disputes about what information "really" is are meaningless. All it
    "really" is, is a word.

    > But even asking 'structure' to be required seems
    > erroneous to me.

    Process determines high level structure, but the process is simultaneously
    determined by low level structure.

    I don't yet fully understand it myself -- nobody does. But I'm betting
    that Dan Dennett, Murray Gell-Mann and David Hull, along with countless
    physicists, eventually turn out to be on the "right" side. (I.e. a
    practically universal consensus is reached that treating physical
    structure as information is more useful than not.)

    Robin Faichney
    Inside Information -- -- "a prime source of meta-memes"

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