Re: information transmission

Alex Bennet (
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 20:07:57 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 20:07:57 -0800
From: Alex Bennet <>
Subject: Re: information transmission
In-Reply-To: <>

At 10:34 AM 3/10/99 -0600, you wrote:
>>His [Shannon] theory talks about the unusual behavior of information ...
>My hypothesis that 'information cannot be transmitted' is based on
>Shannon. Shannon uses the term 'information' as a 'state' feature which
>can be quantified as a function of potential randomness. From my reading
>of Shannon, 'information' has nothing to do with context or meaning.
>According to Shannon, one can quantify 'the information in' a token or
>wave sequence via simple physical measurements alone. It is from this
>that my hypothesis starts.
>If, as Shannon suggests, information is something 'in' a token or wave
>sequence, then why do we need the notion of 'information transmission,'
>wouldn't 'token transmission' be more accurate?
>>value can increase when it is selectively shared, that it does not
>>depreciate with use (except maybe over time), and that you can give it away
>>without giving it up.
>This notion of 'giving it away without giving it up' is nicely explained
>by using my hypothesis that information cannot be transmitted.

Exactly ...


This is taken directly from Everett Rogers' book: Communication Technology:
The New Media in Society (Free Press) (1986) but is based on Shannon's
conceptualization (to inform is to give form or shape to something).

>I'm interested in where Shannon wrote this. It certainly is not anywhere
>in his 1948 paper on the mathematics of communication.
>> From Shannon's view,
>>the matter of energy is a transmission (an acoustic wave, etc.) from one
>>place to another, but at the point of "receipt" it is transformed into a
>>different form of matter/energy, i.e. creation of a new form of
>I'm a bit confused by 'the matter of energy.' You seem to suggest my
>'recreation' model by alluding to a 'transformation' upon 'receipt.'

Yes ... that is what I am alluding ... and it very much supports the
recreation model.

>>Getting caught up in this tangent, if I took a piece of "knowledge" and had
>>a million people recreat that knowledge, would the emergent pattern be
>>related to the laws of genetic mutations, i.e., random? Have we any data
>>on the statistical patterns of meme replication? And, while I'm asking,
>>what are the sources of the laws of genetics (physical, chemical, etc.)?
>Good. Very interesting questions.
>As to 'a million people recreating,' I do think genetic logic applicable.
> The opportunity for mutation is obviously high. The new generations are
>subject to selection pressure. Each generation produces successive
>generations. Much more could be said, but this should be enough to
>sketch an answer.
>As to 'statistical patterns,' Aaron has many.
>As to 'the sources of the laws of genetics..', I don't know what you
>mean. Please elaborate.

I refer to what drives genetics, what the concepts are created out of ...
some understanding of what the assumptions are that actually drive the laws
of genetics. For example, genetic mutations (as I understand it -- and I
haven't read anything on it recently) are due to such things as cosmic
rays, or x-rays, etc. which cause distortion ... or a simple example is the
uniqueness of the individual driven by the probability of a given sperm and
egg creating a specific individual with specific characteristics (though
that is changing even as we speak) ... or another way of saying it, an
understanding of what really happens that describes, supports or explains
the phenomena that we call laws, such as genetics.

>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)