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Is false information still information?

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG A friend asks, and one would think the answer is yes.

He had been reading my Data Basic post, “Is Information, Not Matter, the Foundation of Life?” and had noted this:

For example, information is a relationship between realized and unrealized possibilities. It is created by ruling out possibilities. It increases when we increase its resolution. The first six digits tell us that a phone rings in one small region. A unique ten-digit number reaches our friend’s cell.

I think that he is asking, how can false information be part of the foundation of life, which is real?

A couple of thoughts come to mind:

– False information has impact. It causes thing to happen Many life form rely on it. See, for example, the flowers that look like faces

– Intentionally false information (e.g. lies) is probably more complex than correct information because it two streams must be maintained separately: The correct state of affairs and the one intended to mislead.

Indeed, many people don’t lie principally because, after a while, it would becomes too complex. One could get caught running between two worlds …

– If false information is more complex than true information, what does one make of all those insects that look like plants? No matter what Dawkins sneers, they can’t be doing it just step by step.

Now that the Darwin bellowing seems to have died down for a while, let’s think this one out in real world terms. Thoughts?

See also: Data Basic
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Note: Some “flowers that look like faces” may be bred or their photos enhanced. The actual one are amazing enough; one clu is that the mimicry doesn’t typically cater to human perceptions.

5 Replies to “Is false information still information?

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    The moon is made of cheese.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    In diplomacy and military affairs, false information is both common and influential. The entire field of “dis-information” exists because so many decisions might be made based on believable lies.

    In any number of cases, even after the truth becomes known (for example, the Benghazi Affair continues to unravel, but for many people it’s easier to accept the original lies), both the liars and the believers of lies have reasons to suppress the truth. And thus the lies become enshrined in History and become practically impossible to stamp out.

    In both medicine and psychology, false positives are happily accepted because they support the value of the tests. And Wall Street of course lives, or at used to live, on rumors. Rumors are at least SOMETHING to bet on, which is better than no data at all.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Information is not knowledge or equal to truth or successful relevant function.

  4. 4
    mike1962 says:

    Try getting caught providing false information to the police and see what happens.

  5. 5
    tarmaras says:

    The idea of false information is basically the idea of the existence of false meanings. In current materialism this would not be possible, since only atoms exists and they can’t be true or false, they just are. I found this passage from A.Dalela’s essay Numbers, Truth, Morality and God to be relevant to the discussion:

    “Can We Know the Truth?

    There are two kinds of truth—of existence and of content. For example, if a book of fiction exists, the existence of the book is true, but the content of the book is false. In a simple sense, the existence of things does not guarantee the truth of the meaning encoded in them. This fact complicates the search for truth because you don’t know a priori if some book is a work of fiction or fact. If you take the book of fiction to be fact, then you might find contradictions with other facts. How do you decide which book is a work of fiction and which one is a work of facts? You can collect all the books in the world, but you still cannot know which is fact or fiction, unless you start assuming some facts and gradually eliminate all the books that contradict those assumptions. Those assumptions will be your choices.

    We are therefore led to a peculiar problem—truth is not in the verifications but in our choices of axioms. Since we cannot use verification (empirical or rational) to know the truth, we also cannot use them to decide if our choices are correct. We must now find something beyond the empirical and the rational to know the truth.”

    You can read the whole thing here (it’s long):
    http://www.ashishdalela.com/20.....y-and-god/

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