Joined: Sep. 2009
|Quote (Kristine @ Nov. 10 2011,09:27)|
|The whole issue of this thread is, information increases by itself. With that, the ID crowd takes issue, because they practically worship information as if it were "meaning," and they cannot see how anything meaningful happens by itself.|
It does not, because information is not "meaning." Too much information becomes noise, just as noise is itself information.
I agree with your point, Kristine, though I don't know if the ID crowd so much worships information/meaning as merely relies upon it as a way to confound the rubes. It's a great concept for creating "noise" (ha!), but I'm pretty sure that most of IDers know it's just a distraction and doesn't actually impact evolutionary theory one way or the other.
|"Meaning" is an abstract concept that exists only in our heads. The universe neither has nor does not have "meaning." I would even correct Carl Sagan's assertion that the universe is "indifferent," for that implies the ability to be otherwise. Many people have great difficulty conceiving of a completely impersonal existence, let alone it giving rise to beings who have subjective, personal experiences (which we also wrongly worship as the pinnacle of experience).|
I agree. I see this as basically that same argument for the assumption of "purpose" that creationists use try support their conviction of intent. It's just a redo of the argument that the purpose of the hand is to grasp and hold things since that's what it's clearly good at. The fact that some folks can use their hands to walk, swim, punch, count, smother, etc doesn't register. Similarly they claim that the purpose of wings is obviously flight, ignoring of course that there are a variety of winged organisms that don't use those features for flight. In any event, it seems to mean that the assumption of meaning in the information argument is no different.
|That is why I love Alien the most of all of the franchise - the sequels managed only to diminish the creature's terrifying nature. In Alien, the creature represented pure survival, mere existence - beautiful in itself (much of Alien is beautiful, right down to the musical score), whereas later it simply became another "devil." (I admit, though, that I have not seen Alien Resurrection.)|
I'm going to interject another film reference here - The Oxford Murders, which had so much potential but garbled the mathematics (and Wittgenstein's philosophy). John Hurt's characters asks in the beginning of the movie, in response to a Dembskiesque defense from Elijah Wood on the "mathematical harmony" of the universe and the "hidden meaning" of numbers, "Where is the 'beauty and harmony' of cancer?"
I would have said that perhaps cancer is beautiful to itself, in its exuberant life, although "beauty" is a human-contrived definition, too. (I recently lost a relative to cancer, so I am not trying to be callous here.) That something can be both beautiful and deadly (thus "ugly") is personified only by the Devil/Satan/Lucifer to many people, particularly citizens of the United States. So, when we ask them to see nature in as both beautiful but not necessarily good, guess what conclusions they draw? It must be evil, in an absolute sense! And being thus evil, it must be meaningless, or rather the random injustice meted out by the "natural" consequences of human sin and disobedience. (Oh yes, people like Dembski and Behe consider our punishment for our sins to be natural, because nature is a created thing in the first place.)
As human beings, we fall naturally into dualistic thinking. The whole issue of "information" gets twisted into information = meaning = goodness and
noise = randomness = evil.
This is the whole problem: noise cannot contribute information! It's "bad," whereas information is good, and goodness comes only from God. You see? And so they don't even know (or at least they pretend not to understand) the definition of information as Shannon used it, or as Dawkins uses it, etc.
Nicely put, though I submit that a good number of IDs like the information/meaning argument simply because it implies intention.
Of course I find a variety of deadly/strange things beautiful myself. For example, I think spiders are quite beautiful, particularly Argiopes:
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed. Bilbo
The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis