In “Reconstructing physics: The universe is information,” quantum physicists David Deutsch and Chiara Marletto tell us that the universe is information after all:
WHEN we consider some of the most striking phenomena permitted by the laws of physics – from human reasoning to computer technologies and the replication of genes – we find that information plays a central role. But, on the face of it, information is profoundly different from the basic entities that physical sciences use to describe reality. Neither quantum mechanics nor general relativity, the most fundamental theories in physics, provide a meaning for information or even a way of measuring it. And it has a “counterfactual” character: a message cannot carry information unless a different message is also possible.
Statements about information, they say, were long considered second class, but they have now come up with a “constructor theory” to change that.
The article is paywalled, but this is from behind the wall:
Ever since Galileo and Newton, this has been that the physical world is explained in terms of its state (describing everything that is there) and deterministic laws of motion (describing how the state changes with time). Only one outcome can result from a given initial state, so there is no room for anything else to be possible. Information cannot be expressed that way, because of its counterfactual character. It requires a new mode of explanation, one provided by our constructor theory. Its basic claim is that all laws of physics can be expressed entirely in terms of statements of which tasks – ie physical transformations – are possible and which impossible, and why.
A friend writes to say this idea as such isn’t news: Gitt, Compton, and Fernandez addressed these questions in Without Excuse (2011), outlining in detail the laws of information and its properties.
Probably no solution to problems of evolution will work if information is ignored. But that would mean dumping current materialism (and Darwin).
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