Re: virus: Rationality

Tim Rhodes (
Sat, 1 Mar 1997 11:24:59 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997, Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:

> While *signals* can be transmitted
> (sent from one place to another), *meaning* cannot. Meaning can only be
> reconstructed from signals, and is not contained within them.

Genes carry a blueprint for the construction of a physical trait and not
the /qualities/ of that trait. We, nevertheless say that gene number X
causes this trait. It is useful and accurate to say that "X is the gene
for X-trait" even though we know the process in more complicated than
that. At the same time, however, it is /not/ any more complicated than
that. It is the nature of metasystems to resolve themselves into simpler
forms in order to hold increasing complexity. This is the phenomena of
emergence. The dimension of information is one such emergent system. It
makes no more sense to tie yourself to the details of the nature of
"transmission" than it does to fret the details of the interaction of
various organic and inorganic molecules when your goal is baking a loaf of
bread. If you are consistent with the rules of one metasystem you are,
without exception, consistent with all the rules of all the systems upon
whose shoulders that metasystem stands. It does no disservice, therefore,
to say that the signals /contain/ meaning.

Prof. Tim