virus: Nature of Information

Dave K-P (
Sun, 12 Oct 1997 10:00:55 -0400

At 11:32 AM 10/12/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:

>An information stream contains a pattern if and only if
>it can be compressed and reexpanded without loss,
>otherwise it is random. (See Dennett's "Real Patterns"
>in the Journal of Philosophy 1991, though he gets it
>from someone else, whose details I don't recall right
>now, but can get if required.)

Hrm, this calls for a re-reading of Chaos. As far as I can recall,
however, there is no such thing as "completely random". That what we call
chaotic, is really so complexly ordered that there is no _perceptable_
pattern by the observer. I'm not sure what this means for the discussion,
coming in at the tail end, but it is something to think about.

>I guess maybe what we're really arguing about is the
>nature of information: does it exist "out there",
>independently of us, or is it only in our minds. I go
>along with the information theorists, physicists, etc,
>and say it's out there, though, of course, the
>argument is at least partly about definitions, as
>seemingly always.

Perhaps it was someone on this list, perhaps not, who said that if a tree
falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it makes a compression
of air waves... that it is out there, but it takes two to tango.