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

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Thu, 18 Sep 1997 14:11:49 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 18 Sep 1997, Robin Faichney wrote:

> > 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.
> Robin

This is a really good post; I'll be keeping it around to think about for a
while. I think this matter of thinking at a level most appropriate to the
aspect of the subject in question is something I need to get straighter in
my own mind. If I can do so, I think I will be better able to articulate
the relationships I see among Art, Religion, Science, and Magic.