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From: Joe Dees
> >I think Grant's comment is particularly useful here. If we can interpret
> >ink blots and clouds as having particular meanings, then evidently we're
> >capable of generating information in our minds even when the things
> >we're apprehending contain no information themselves. We might
> >imagine that the meaning is actually located in the ink blot or the
> >but it's clearly in our minds. And if that's the case, then why can't
> >same be true of books and computer screens?
> Because unlike clouds and Rorshach blots, information is intentionally
encoded by meaning-bestowing others in books and email posts (such as this
one). Just find a cloud or Rorshach blot that disagrees with you.
Interesting how you start your response with "Because," as if what follows
in any way addresses my point. It's an unconscious rhetorical trick, much
like your habit of starting sentences with "Actually..."
To summarize, there are three kinds of form: material, abstract, and living.
Material forms have no intrinsic identity. Rocks, dust, and clouds are just
random agglomerations of matter to which we apply labels for our own
convenience. Artifacts, going all the way back to hand axes, are formed
according to our abstract ideas, but the ideas themselves don't inhere to
the objects, which are strictly chemical structures. Material forms are
made of matter, while abstract forms (i.e. information) are made of
imagination. The two shall never meet. While we habitually project our
abstractions onto our technological creations, in reality these objects
contain nothing but molecules in various configurations.
This is not the case with organisms. What defines living things, from
bacteria on up, is that their material constituents are intrinsically
formed. The matter of the organism is directly identified with its form.
Death is simply the disconnection of body from that which continually
informs it. Creationism misunderstands life by treating organisms as
machines whose form has been imposed onto them according to the abstract
idea of a "Creator." Neo-Darwinism retains this myth in the guise of
physicalism. Instead of being imposed by divine intelligence, organic form
is imposed through a combination of random and environmental forces.
Since only organisms contain intrinsic form, to project our abstract forms
onto simple, physical objects, as if they literally contained this
information, is to engage in a kind of animism.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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