Intelligent Design

Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems

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My latest paper, “Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems” was released today at BIO-Complexity. The paper itself is somewhat math-heavy, so I thought I would give UD readers a short overview of the basic ideas.

This paper is focused around the question of “random mutations” vs. “directed mutations”. Most people aren’t aware of this, but, more and more, biologists are finding mutations which are decidedly not random, but directed by a cell’s internal machinery. For those interested in more background information, see this video.

However, skeptics often simply dismiss the arguments for directed mutation. In Larry Moran’s case (and I find this response to be typical), he agreed with the basic facts, but refused to concede that it was directed. Despite the fact that the mutation spectrum aligned directly with the near-term needs of the organism, Moran couldn’t allow himself to say that the mutation was directed.

To the rescue comes Robert Marks and William Dembski, with Active Information. Active Information has been used to analyze non-biological “evolutionary” systems for the existence of information repositories guiding their evolution. I decided to apply that same technique to biology.

The core of the technique is this. The No Free Lunch theorem states that, loosely, that there is no general search mechanism that is optimal for all possible search spaces. More specifically for our purposes, it says that a “random search” is actually equivalent to the time of the expected outcome of any particular search process, as long as the search process is not *designed* to match the search space.

Therefore, whether or not an organism’s mutations are random, the expected speed of success of the organism’s mutation system should be equivalent to a random search, unless the search system is specifically designed to match the selective pressures it will face. Therefore, whether or not mutations are random, the effects of truly random mutations will give us an expected value for the success of any given non-designed search.

We can experimentally model random mutations in a number of ways. There is a bit of a problem, though, in that it is near-impossible to turn off an organism’s internal mutation system without causing other problems. Therefore, the paper presents a way, mathematically, to separate out the effects of the random mutations vs. the internally-generated mutations.

So, once we have determined the efficacy of random mutations, this gives us an expected value for the efficacy of the organism’s internally-generated mutations, if the mutational system is not designed. If the mutational system is significantly more directed towards beneficial outcomes than the expectation, then we have justification to believe that there is some sort of orienting mechanism at play which is causing mutations to be aligned with the needs of the organism (i.e., there is design in the mutational mechanisms).

Note that the product of such a study is not purely for speculative purposes. There are real, practical reasons to want to know this. First of all, it takes a lot of resources (time and material) to analyze mutational mechanisms in organisms. This represents a large risk of resources if we don’t know that there is a mechanism to find. Using Active Information, we can measure how much information the cell is contributing to its evolution, and, if it is significant, this justifies the expenditure of resources to determine the mechanism.

Additionally, we can start to treat evolutionary potential as a phenotype. That is, different organisms may have different evolutionary capabilities. Knowing what these capabilities are require the ability to measure them, which is what Active Information provides. Additionally, once they are known, these can be used for bio-engineering when evolutionary potential is a necessary component. For instance, for cleaning up waste, it would be important to know which organisms are more likely to evolve the ability to eat that particular kind of waste.

Anyway, I hope you all take the time to read the paper, and I am curious as to your comments!

14 Replies to “Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Good work johnnyb,

    Lenski’s e-coli – Random vs. Directed mutations:
    Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems – Jonathan Bartlett – April 2020
    Excerpt Page 10: Therefore, E. coli contributes approximately 12.4 additional bits of information towards the search for the Cit+ mutation when under selection.
    https://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2020.2/BIO-C.2020.2

    And johnnyb, while establishing the fact that the vast majority of mutations are indeed directed, not random, is a very important step in falsifying the Darwinian presupposition about random mutations, for me the bigger fish to catch and fry has always been falsifying the primary claim from Darwinian materialists that information, in and of itself, is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. That is to say, for me the bigger fish to catch and fry has been to establish the physical reality of information, i.e. that information is an independent entity that is separate from matter and energy and is therefore not merely ’emergent’ from a material basis as is held within the foundational presuppositions of the Darwinist’s reductive materialistic framework.

    For primary example, Rolf Landauer himself maintained that the information in a computer is ‘physical’.,,,

    “Information is Physical” – 1991
    Rolf Landauer (February 4, 1927 – April 28, 1999)
    http://physicstoday.scitation......3/1.881299

    Although Landauer said “Information is Physical”, Landauer was not implying that information has a independent reality separate from matter and energy, but he was actually implying that information is physical simply because it is inevitably inscribed on a physical medium. In fact, Landauer said that Roger Penrose’s contention that information has an existence independent of matter and energy was a quote unquote ‘quaint notion’.

    Information is a Physical Entity – Rolf Landauer
    Excerpt: Information is inevitably inscribed in a physical medium. It is not an abstract entity. It can be denoted by a hole in a punched card, by the orientation of a nuclear spin, or by the pulses transmitted by a neuron. The quaint notion that information has an existence independent of its physical manifestation is still seriously advocated [6],,,
    [6] R. Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf

    “Those devices (computers) can yield only approximations to a structure (of information) that has a deep and “computer independent” existence of its own.” –
    Roger Penrose – The Emperor’s New Mind – Pg 147

    This same belief that ‘Information is inevitably inscribed in a physical medium. It is not an abstract entity’ that is separate from matter and energy is a foundational presupposition of Darwinian thought.

    Perhaps the simplest way to establish the physical, independent, reality of ‘abstract’ information, a physical reality that is separate from matter and energy, and to thus falsify the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution, is with quantum teleportation: As the faollowing article states “the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.”

    Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World – September 19, 2016
    Excerpt: Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world.
    Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”,,,
    This isn’t teleportation in the “Star Trek” sense — the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......-HqWNEoDtR

    To go further, in the following 2010 experimental realization of Maxwell’s demon thought experiment, it was demonstrated that knowledge of a particle’s location and/or position converts information into energy.

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    And as the following 2010 article stated about the preceding experiment, “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,”

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    Moreover, this following 2011 paper goes even further and states that “an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,”

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 1, 2011
    Excerpt: The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the bits to be deleted may be known. When the memory content is known, it should be possible to delete the bits in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to re-create them. It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    And as the following 2017 article states: James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    What is so interesting about finding “entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”, is that the information content that is found to be in a simple one cell bacterium, when working from the thermodynamic perspective, is found to be around 10 to the 12 bits,,,

    Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

    ,,, Which is the equivalent of about 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. ‘In comparison,,, the largest libraries in the world,, have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”
    – R. C. Wysong – The Creation-evolution Controversy

    And thus since Bacterial cells are about 10 times smaller than most plant and animal cells.

    Size Comparisons of Bacteria, Amoeba, Animal & Plant Cells
    Excerpt: Bacterial cells are very small – about 10 times smaller than most plant and animal cells.
    https://education.seattlepi.com/size-comparisons-bacteria-amoeba-animal-plant-cells-4966.html

    And since there are conservatively estimated to be around 30 trillion cells within the average human body,

    Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body – 2016
    Abstract: Reported values in the literature on the number of cells in the body differ by orders of magnitude and are very seldom supported by any measurements or calculations. Here, we integrate the most up-to-date information on the number of human and bacterial cells in the body. We estimate the total number of bacteria in the 70 kg “reference man” to be 3.8·10^13. For human cells, we identify the dominant role of the hematopoietic lineage to the total count (?90%) and revise past estimates to 3.0·10^13 human cells. Our analysis also updates the widely-cited 10:1 ratio, showing that the number of bacteria in the body is actually of the same order as the number of human cells, and their total mass is about 0.2 kg.
    https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533

    Then that gives us a rough ballpark estimate of around 300 trillion times 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Or about 300 trillion times the information content contained within the books of all the largest libraries in the world.

    Needless to say, that is a massive amount of positional information.

    As the following article states, the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    On top of that we can add the fairly recent findings that demonstrate that quantum information is ubiquitous within biology. For example, as Dr Reiper remarks in the following video, “practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it.”

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    The interesting thing about quantum information is that it is experimentally shown to “non-local” as well as “conserved”.

    As the following paper entitled “Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory” stated, ““Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    And as the following article states, “In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.”

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following article, the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://www.disclose.tv/leading-scientists-say-consciousness-cannot-die-it-goes-back-to-the-universe-315604

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    And in conclusion, Intelligent Design, and a direct inference to God as the Intelligence behind life, (via the non-locality of quantum information and/or the non-locality of quantum entanglement within biological molecules), has, for all intents and purposes, finally achieved experimental confirmation.

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Evos still use a dipstick

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    BA – those are all interesting uses of information. I’m mixed on how far those will bring us. There could be something there. I generally use more practical notions of information just because they are more accessible.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Practical is good, JohnnyB. Thank you for your contributions.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    johnnyb,

    I generally use more practical notions of information just because they are more accessible.

    I don’t know how more ‘practical’ you can be in science than providing empirical proof for the physical reality of immaterial information.

    Empirical proof holds primacy in science over mathematical models!,,,, ALWAYS has the last word!

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    So, when I read a book, what is this physical “stuff” that is being transferred to my mind? Does the book get lighter after I have read it?. If information is instantiated durably in some immaterial medium why do I need a book at all?

    What is the empirical evidence for the information the dendrochronologist derives from tree-rings other than what he says he has learned from studying them?

    What definition(s) of evidence are in play here?

  8. 8
    PaoloV says:

    Bill Dembski interviewed in this video @11:30
    https://youtu.be/Uxr2VMhY1dg

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky at 7 asks

    So, when I read a book, what is this physical “stuff” that is being transferred to my mind? Does the book get lighter after I have read it?

    To ask “Does the book get lighter after I have read it?” is to misunderstand the physical relationship between information and matter/energy.

    First and foremost, information is immaterial. We can inscribe information on an almost endless variety of material substrates, using on almost endless variety of different languages, and yet the meaning of the information never changes between the material substrates as long as the information is faithfully encoded and decoded on the almost endless variety of material substrates. In other words, there is something profoundly immaterial about information that refuses to be reduced to materialistic descriptions..

    As George Williams pointed out, “Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes…”

    “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
    George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist – “A Package of Information”
    https://books.google.com/books?id=V3x1YPgvOJcC&pg=PA43

    And as George Ellis pointed out, information is a ‘top down’ “higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves.”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation,,,
    Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).,,,
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.,,,
    The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    In other words, it is the ability of the immaterial mind to have knowledge of a particle’s position, and to then arrange that particle’s position in relation to other particles, that allows us to impart immaterial information into material substrates. To repeat what George Ellis stated, information is a ‘top down’ “higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves.”

    And indeed, as was pointed out previously, it has now been demonstrated that knowledge of a particle’s location and/or position converts information into energy.

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    And as the following 2010 article stated about the preceding experiment, “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,”

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    Shoot, the recent experimental realizations of the ‘Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment go even further than that. Quote-unquote, “James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    And to get a bit more technical, but hopefully not too technical, classical sequential information is now shown to be a subset of quantum information,,,,

    Image: Classical information is a subset of quantum information
    https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf00101/images/figure1.gif

    ,,, classical sequential information is now shown to be a subset of quantum information by the following method. Specifically, “when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. ”

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 1, 2011
    Excerpt: The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the bits to be deleted may be known. When the memory content is known, it should be possible to delete the bits in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to re-create them. It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    The fact that classical sequential information is a subset of quantum information is further driven home by the relation of quantum information to sequential information in DNA. As Dr Reiper remarks in the following video, “practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it.”

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    Thus we now have many lines of empirical evidence, (particularly from quantum information theory and from the recent experimental realization of Maxwell’s demon thought experiment), establishing the fact that information, regardless of the fact that it is immaterial, is, none-the less, physically real and that it has, of all things, a ‘thermodynamic content’ that can be imparted, in a ‘top-down’ manner. onto material substrates.

    As far as empirical science is concerned, these experiments establishing the physical reality of immaterial information are direct empirical falsifications of the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, Presuppositions that hold immaterial information, (and mind), to be merely emergent from some material basis.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Of supplemental note: Seversky goes on to ask,

    If information is instantiated durably in some immaterial medium why do I need a book at all?

    This is an interesting question. One might be predisposed to believe, as Seversky does, that information can’t possibly exist for us personally unless the information is physically represented in our brain somewhere. Yet, contrary to what some people may be predisposed to believe, and as Pim van Lommel points out in the following article, “extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,”

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.
    https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Research/vonlommel_skeptic_response.htm

    Thus contrary to what Seversky wants to believe beforehand, no one can seem to find exactly where the ‘memory banks’ are located in the brain.

    Of related note to the fact that no one can seem to find exactly where memories are stored in our brain, it is also interesting to point out that in many deep ‘Near-Death Experiences”, many people go through a ‘life review’ in which their entire life, every detail of it, (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life), is gone over in the presence of God:

    Around the 20 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, thought, deed, and action, of a person’s life (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life) is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uDA4RgHolw

  11. 11
    ET says:

    In 1997 “Not By Chance” by DR Lee Spetner was published. It was his answer to “The Blind Watchmaker”. In it he presented his “non-random evolutionary hypothesis” which had “built-in responses to environmental cues” as its main mechanism. In his next book he expanded on that a little more, saying that organisms were given the information required to adapt and evolve.

    This makes sense that if organisms were intelligently designed that they were intelligently designed with the ability to adapt and evolve. It wouldn’t make any sense to go through all of the trouble to intelligently design the earth and its inhabitants but then leave everything else to contingent serendipity.

    Just to be clear- Dr Spetner does not say that all mutations are so directed. He understands that mistakes do happen

  12. 12
    jawa says:

    JohnnyB
    Very insightful article on a fascinating topic. I highly appreciate it.

  13. 13
    jawa says:

    BA77,
    Thanks for your always very informative comments.

  14. 14
    OLV says:

    JohnnyB,

    The genetic code has attracted celebrity-level media attention since it was discovered.
    However, aren’t there other biological codes?
    Do they qualify under this topic “Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems”?
    For example,

    The bioelectric code: An ancient computational medium for dynamic control of growth and form

    What determines large-scale anatomy? DNA does not directly specify geometrical arrangements of tissues and organs, and a process of encoding and decoding for morphogenesis is required. Moreover, many species can regenerate and remodel their structure despite drastic injury. The ability to obtain the correct target morphology from a diversity of initial conditions reveals that the morphogenetic code implements a rich system of pattern-homeostatic processes. Here, we describe an important mechanism by which cellular networks implement pattern regulation and plasticitybioelectricity. All cells, not only nerves and muscles, produce and sense electrical signals; in vivo, these processes form bioelectric circuits that harness individual cell behaviors toward specific anatomical endpoints. We review emerging progress in reading and re-writing anatomical information encoded in bioelectrical states, and discuss the approaches to this problem from the perspectives of information theory, dynamical systems, and computational neuroscience. Cracking the bioelectric code will enable much-improved control over biological patterning, advancing basic evolutionary developmental biology as well as enabling numerous applications in regenerative medicine and synthetic bioengineering.

    L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channel CaV1.2 regulates chondrogenesis during limb development

    Membrane potential is the difference in electric potential between the inside and outside of a cell. Cells can alter their m been well studied in a variety of settings, including as a mechanism of coding and tranembrane potential through modulating ion channels and pumps. The role of membrane potential hassmitting information in neurons. However, far less is known about the role of regulated membrane potential in other contexts, such as in cell fate decisions during embryonic morphogenesis. We show a critical role for membrane depolarization in triggering chondrogenesis during limb development, mediated through the opening of a voltage-gated Ca2+ channel, CaV1.2, which in turn activates expression of downstream genes, expanding our knowledge of the role bioelectric signals play in development.

    the mechanistic regulation of Sox9 expression by NFAT may be widely conserved in biological events

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