Re: virus: Nature of Information

Sodom (
Wed, 15 Oct 1997 14:22:24 -0400

Robin Faichney wrote:

> > From: Dave K-P[]
> >
> > 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.
> >
> Was it you who said this recently? If not, it's an
> interesting duplication of error. I didn't understand
> what was meant last time, but now I do. "Chaos"
> has two meanings, one older and less formal, the
> other newer and more strict. You are confusing
> them. Only on the older meaning are "chaotic"
> and "random" synonymous. On the newer one,
> *apparently* random patterns have been
> discovered to be determined by relatively simple
> equations, but in this case chaotic != random,
> and this discovery says nothing about the
> possibility of genuinely random phenomena.
> And furthermore, even if there were none such,
> the point being made here would not be affected:
> the definition of "pattern" would remain the same,
> even though every information stream turned out
> to contain some. So without randomness:
> patterning is that which allows the compression
> of information. (Where compression is
> distinguished from any gain in info carrying
> capacity provided by other means, such as the
> use of context.)
> > >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.
> >
> I understand and sympathise with the point you're
> making here, but I *don't* think that on the most
> useful definition of information, which I take to be
> the technical one, it is like sound in that sense.
> Even in the case of sound, the answer to that old
> question depends on exactly what you mean by
> the word: airborne vibrations or subjective
> sensation. It is only that ambiguity that makes
> the question interesting. (That and its
> resonance with deeper-seated issues regarding
> subjectivity and objectivity in general.)
> But now you've raised that issue (and on second
> thoughts), this could explain the difference of
> opinion about patterns. To make the analogy
> with the case of sound, those of us who say
> patterns are "out there" are thinking of them as
> being like airborne vibrations, while those who
> say they are only "in here", see them as like
> subjective sensations. Both, of course, being
> correct within their own terms of reference.
> No?
> Thanks, Dave!
> Robin

Right on Robin,
Your last paragraph sums up the conclusion I recently came to.
Patterns are both internal and external. I also came to the conclusion
that since the brain lacks the ability to be "exact" that the pattern in
our heads, that "matches" a pattern out there are basically just similar
enough for us to use it. The more complex the pattern, the more likely
it is to be confused with another pattern. Whatcha think?

Bill Roh
i have seen the light, I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT - similar yet different
patterns that exist out there