RE: virus: Belief and Knowledge (was: The truth about faith)

Robin Faichney (
Thu, 18 Sep 1997 20:26:01 +0100

> From: David McFadzean[]
> At 09:49 AM 9/16/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:
> >Nope, sorry! There's no difference between information dynamics
> >and physical dynamics, these are just difference takes on the
> OK, I finished reading your chapter and I think I understand
> where you are coming from. If matter and energy are not essentially
> different than (objective) information, then there is no difference
> between the dynamics.
> >same thing. It's just that, with more complex systems, the
> >informational (or formal, in the broad sense) view becomes more
> >useful.
> True, but when the formal stance become more useful, doesn't that
> indicate a difference in kind in the dynamics of the underlying
> system? I'm thinking here of something along the lines of a
> phase transition like Wolfram's categories of cellular automata
> dynamics: static, periodic, random and chaotic.
Good question. What I should have said, is not that it's a
matter of complexity, but it's a matter of level of description
or explanation. "Life" only means something at a certain
level -- below that level, there's just chemistry, and below
that, just physics. All levels are, *in principle*, equally
real/valid/whatever, but in any given context some will be
more useful than others. <Life> is a highly useful meme
at the levels at which humans are designed to operate.

But we'd got on to talking about information and matter.
That's not a matter of levels, or not in the same sense.
"Information" is, in a way, just a longer word for "form",
where that's distinguished from "content", so the
relationship between information and matter is the same
as that between form and content.