Enformationism

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ABSTRACT ATOMS

 

Galileo presents his last thoughts on atom structure. In this hypothesis . . . Atoms are reduced to the mathematical abstraction of points, lacking any dimension, clearly indivisible and uncuttable, but devoid of the shapes that Democritus had envisioned.

—-LeonLederman

  The God Particle

NATURE  of  INFORMATION

 

Now that we know what the term “information” means in various contexts, we’re almost ready to get into the specific usage of the word in the context of the various modern Information Sciences. But those functional definitions still don’t tell us what information is essentially–-what it’s made of. So we need to look more closely at Information as a mundane natural phenomenon.

Most people tend to think of information in terms of the physical container rather than the metaphysical content: books, computers, or text, versus ideas, concepts, or meanings. The dictionary definition uses the terms: knowledge, facts, and data. But "knowledge" is defined as the state of "knowing", which is related to consciousness and awareness. These terms don't seem to be pointing to the physical stuff that we "know", but to the non-physical process or state of understanding---whatever that is. Going a little deeper, Wikipedia says: "Information is the state of a system of interest. Message is the information materialized." But if the concrete message that we perceive with our senses is in a material form, the implication is that abstract information itself must be "materialized" from some non-material or immaterial stuff, or whatever consciousness is.

Until the 20th century there was no imperative need for a more technical definition of Information. But in 1948 Claude Shannon, challenged by telephone and computer technology, had to get more specific in his paradigm-shifting publication, A Mathematical Theory of Communication. In it, Shannon used the term "information entropy" as a measure for the uncertainty in a message, which initiated the scientific field of Information Theory. Yet again, information was defined in terms of a conscious state rather than a material substrate. He borrowed the term "entropy" from the hard science of Thermodynamics, and applied it to the soft science of Communication Theory: referring to the transmission of immaterial ideas via physical processes. The key distinction between Information and Entropy is order or organization.

For my own purposes, I define Information as "the immaterial quality of physical patterns and processes that stimulates meaning in a mind".  So Information is a philosophical, metaphysical notion related to the spooky sphere of consciousness, which empirical science cannot deal with directly. Reductionist scientists in the early 20th century had defined Consciousness, and the information it works with, as an "epi-phenomenon" of physical brain processes. But be advised that the epi-word is an I-don't-know-really-what-it-is pseudo-technical term, like "field" or "state" with a vague, loosely-defined meaning. The implication was that “ultimately it could be reduced to matter, but we don’t know yet know how to do that.”

However, toward the end of the 20th century, particle physicists were still breaking sub-atomic matter into smaller, and more ephemeral, bits of physical fluff such as quarks. When exasperated Quantum theorists tried to put their fingers on electrons, for example, they found them to be hard to pin-down. Whereas mathematicians could define electrons as "dimensionless points of matter" without being embarrassed, theoretical physicists were forced by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to define an electron as a ghostly "cloud of probability". Again, that weird state of consciousness, uncertainty, was applied to something that was assumed to be a fundamental constituent of matter. Eventually, some physicists began to treat electrons, and other sub-atomic “wave/particles”, simply as a locus of Information, in the Shannon sense [16].

In the interest of brevity, I'll leave it up to the curious reader to search for other references to support these assertions. But here are a couple of examples: As mathematician Charles Seife put it in his book, DECODING THE UNIVERSE: "Underneath it all, our universe may be entirely shaped by information". And as Robert Aunger said in THE ELECTRIC MEME: "In fact, it is now believed that information may be the most basic concept in physics---potentially even more important than matter or energy as an organizing principle". Therefore I have concluded that metaphysical Information is THE organizing principle of the universe. [17]

In the 21st century science of Systematics, another term has been coined to fit that same definition : Enformy. So I will use that word primarily in a narrow technical sense to indicate the opposite meaning from Entropy. But the Enformationism thesis intends to show that the stuff we think with, and take for granted, is ordinary and mundane and ubiquitous, rather than something remote & mysterious or applicable only to abstruse philosophical or religious topics. Though Information may be a common fact of life, it’s also unique in the sense that it doesn’t consist of matter or energy like the rest of reality. So what is Information, really? The next section will address that question within the context of this hypothesis. ●

 

 

 

 

 

EMERGENCE OF LIFE

Life may be . . . A joint production between information-storing genetics and energy-transforming thermodynamics.
—-Schneider & Sagan
       Into The Cool
–8–
Hypothesis
LOGICAL CONSTRUCTS

Gell-Mann proposed the existence of what he referred to as mathematical structures . . .logical constructs . . . He called these constructs quarks”.
—-Leon Lederman
       The God Particle
Continued on . . ..
. . . Continued from.