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

David McFadzean (
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 12:07:14 -0600

At 08:26 PM 9/18/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:

>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.

I agree but I'm still confused about one point. Say you
are examining two systems, one living and one non-living,
at the level of chemistry. You say that at that level it
is just chemistry, but can't you tell the difference
between them?

>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.

Does the form need content, ie. a substrate? There needs
to be something that is arranged somehow, right? (Again,
not disagreeing, just clarifying.)

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus