First, a few responses. I agree with Hans von Baeyer. Pedro’s kindness is magic. I agree with Gyorgy Darvas that quarks communicate. I also agree with Jerry Chandler. Brute force is not the major mover of history. Values and virtues count. A lot. In fact, a culture organizes itself by calling one way of doing things evil—brute force—and another way of doing things a value and a virtue. Our way is the value and the virtue. The ways of others are brute force and evil. We see cooperation and warmth among us. But only enmity and destruction among them. The brute force is not within groups, where values, virtues, and compassion prevail. It’s between groups. It’s in the pecking order battles between groups. Which means, in answer to Marcus Abundis, yes, groups struggle for position in inter-group hierarchies like chickens in a barnyard. For example, America and China are vying right now for top position in the barnyard of nations. Russia’s in that battle, too. On a lower level, so are Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose proxy war in Syria for pecking order dominance has cost a quarter of a million lives. That’s brute force. Between groups whose citizens are often lovely and loving to each other. Whose citizens are proud of their values and virtues. Now for a final statement. Information exists in a context. That’s not at all surprising. Information is all about context. As the writings of Guenther Witzany hint. And as Ludwig Wittgenstein also suggested. Information is relational. Information does not exist in a vacuum. It connects participants. And it makes things happen. When it’s not connecting participants, it’s not information FIS gets fired up to a high energy level when discussing the definition of information and its relationship to Shannon’s entropic information equation. Alas, these discussions tend to remove the context. And context is what gives information its indispensable ingredient, meaning. There are two basic approaches in science: · the abstract mathematical; · and the observational empirical. Mathematical abstractionists dwell on definitions and equations. Empirical observers gather facts. Darwin was an observational empiricist. I’d like to see more of Darwin’s kind of science in the world of information theory. One of Darwin’s most important contributions was not the concept of natural selection. It was an approach that Darwin got from Kant and from his grandfather Erasmus. That approach? Lay out the history of the cosmos on a timeline and piece together its story. In chronological order. Piece together the saga of how this cosmos has created itself. Including the self-motivated, self-creation of life. Communication plays a vital role in this story. It appears in the first 10(-32) of a second of the cosmos’ existence, when quarks communicated using attraction and repulsion cues. OK, it’s not quite right to call the cues attraction and repulsion cues. When two quarks sized each other up, they interpreted the signals of the strong force differently. If you were a quark, another quark might size you up and promptly speed away. But a quark of a different variety might detect the same signals, find them wildly attractive, and speed in your direction. One quark’s meat was another’s poison, even in that first form of communication in the cosmos. Information is not a stand-alone. Again, it’s contextual. It’s ruled by what Guenther Witzany calls syntax, semantics, and, most important of all, pragmatics. Its meaning comes from where it fits in a bigger picture. Were the signals quarks exchanged information? Not according to many of the definitions in FIS. Some of those definitions say that to be regarded as information, a sender must deliberately signify something symbolically. She must, for example, want to warn you about a poisoned apple. She must put that message in symbols, like the words “poisoned apple,” then convey that signal to a receiver. If she doesn’t want to see you poisoned, she might text you, “watch out for poisoned apples.” I’m not sure whether the definitions extant in FIS demand that you look at her text or not. Much less whether you act on it. In my latest book, The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, I propose a different definition of information. Information is anything a receiver can decode, anything he can decipher. How do you know a receiver has decoded a message? Through the decoder’s actions. If you are a quark and you detect my strong force, you either scoot away or you rush over and join me. You act. If you are a neurosurgeon looking at an mri, you make internal decisions, mental decisions. You don’t move physically. Not at first. But you move mentally. You imagine your scalpel poised over a different spot than you might have picked before seeing the mri. Information is anything a receiver can decode. So starlight reaching planet earth 4.5 billion years ago, nearly half a billion years before the appearance of the first life, was not information. There was no one or no thing that interpreted it, translated it, or acted on it. But starlight in the age of the Babylonians 2,600 years ago was highly informational. Entire teams of scribes and priests spent their lives observing it and interpreting it. Many of their interpretations were detailed bullet points of political and personal advice to the ruler. Was there motion in response to starlight? You bet. Starlight literally moved the troops and policies of empires. And today, when there are tens of thousands of professional astronomers and millions of amateurs with telescopes, all churning out data and emails to each other, the amount of information in starlight has skyrocketed. But, in fact, the actual starlight has not increased. Not a bit. It’s the number of interpreters that’s shot up. And with the interpreters, something else has mushroomed: the information, the interpretation, and the theories along with their supporting or opposing “facts.” The timeline of communication from quarks to empires is crucial. It’s the natural history we need to see the evolution of information. No matter what we define information to be. The timeline of the cosmos is context on the biggest scale. It can make new meaning of facts we scarcely see. It can make more phenomena we experience every day but do not see into, guess what? Information. That’s a timeline I’m working on. Thanks for having me in your group. And thanks for giving me a chance to share thoughts with you. howard ____________ Howard Bloom Author of: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History ("mesmerizing"-The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century ("reassuring and sobering"-The New Yorker), The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism ("A tremendously enjoyable book." James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic), The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates ("Bloom's argument will rock your world." Barbara Ehrenreich), How I Accidentally Started the Sixties ("Wow! Whew! Wild! Wonderful!" Timothy Leary), and The Mohammed Code ("A terrifying book…the best book I've read on Islam." David Swindle, PJ Media). www.howardbloom.net Former Core Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute; Former Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University. Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; Founder, Space Development Steering Committee; Founder: The Group Selection Squad; Founding Board Member: Epic of Evolution Society; Founding Board Member, The Darwin Project; Founder: The Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International Society for Human Ethology, Scientific Advisory Board Member, Lifeboat Foundation; Editorial Board Member, Journal of Space Philosophy; Board member and member of Board of Governors, National Space Society.
In a message dated 2/1/2016 8:46:55 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es writes: Thanks Howard. Please, at your convenience send the concluding comments to the fis list.
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