Dear Howard,

Thank you for leading a very interesting discussion! Beyond my earlier
comments, I just wanted to add what I believe is a minority opinion among
the FIS group.

I believe that information possesses both epistemic and ontic features.
Many opinions have been expressed concerning the former, and they are all
well-considered. I, however, wish to put in a word concerning the latter:

>From an epistemic viewpoint, information can be considered in abstraction
from any particular material manifestation. It is possible, however, to
regard information as inhering in any physical structure or configuration
of processes *without* any reference to communication theory, e.g.,
sender, receiver, coding, alphabet, etc. For example, the structure of a
network of processes possesses a *measurable* degree of *self-referenced*
information <>, which
can be calculated without any connections to communication. The mutual
information inhering in such a configuration is a measure of the
constraints extant in the structure (Stan Salthe) and has been termed
"enformation" by John Collier

That having been said, Bob Logan is correct, any measurement of said
information/enformation is perforce relative according to the whims of the
one performing the measurement. This is actually a complementary
consequence of the Third Law of thermodynamics.

Most look upon enformation as an adumbrated form of what they see as the
full concept of information, but it has proved a rather useful tool in
evaluating structures.

Again, thanks for the Ooomph you have imparted to us! :)

The best,
Bob U.

> 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).
> 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,
> writes:
> Thanks  Howard. Please, at your convenience send the concluding comments
> to
> the fis  list.
> _______________________________________________
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