Cornell Conference Informatics Intelligent Design

Open Mike: Cornell OBI Conference—New definition of information proposed: Universal Information

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Biological Information

To facilitate discussion, we are publishing the abstracts of the 24 papers from the Cornell Conference on the Origin of Biological Information here at Uncommon Descent, with cumulative links to previous papers at the bottom of each page.

Here’s a definition of information offered by Werner Gitt, Robert Compton and Jorge Fernandez, Universal Information as asubset of Biological Information:

The Definition of Universal Information

All four attributes described above are necessary to unambiguously distinguish this subset (category) of information. Due to this, the formal definition of Universal Information (UI) stated below incorporates all four of these distinguishing attributes.

A symbolically encoded, abstractly represented message conveying the expected action and the intended purpose.

Now we can appraise the three previously discussed working definitions of information in light of the attributes of Universal Information. More.

Mikes are live.

Note: All conference papers here.

See also: Origin of Biological Information conference: Its goals

Open Mike: Origin of Biological Information conference: Origin of life studies flatlined

Open Mike: Cornell OBI Conference— Can you answer these conundrums about information?

Open Mike: Cornell OBI Conference—Is a new definition of information needed for biology?

5 Replies to “Open Mike: Cornell OBI Conference—New definition of information proposed: Universal Information

  1. 1
    Rude says:

    Doubt I can add anything to the mix, but here goes anyway with some late
    night ruminations.

    If information is defined by truth value–which is the case in human
    language, then how might this apply to design–such as biological design?
    Philosophers have had trouble with truth value, for doesn’t truth pertain to
    reality? If so then how could we communicate? We only know partially and
    provisionally–we don’t know everything absolutely. And so in human
    language propositions (clauses) are true against some perceived context
    which may be real or imaginary (as in science fiction) or, say, theoretical.
    How is it we seem to have little trouble (except when obfuscation is to our
    advantage) confusing these?

    Might there be come connection here to the design specification? If human
    assertions are true or false over against some context, might this correlate
    with function in design, proper fit or appropriateness in a pattern?

    Is it proper to classify information as either design or code? Human
    language, computer programs and DNA consist of coded information.
    Information instantiated in animal bodies, automobiles and eco-systems we
    call design. Does all design begin with code–blueprints, recipes, written
    directions, mental images, etc.? And might there be another
    distinction–observation? Is raw data observed by a sentient being
    information? What do philosophers have to say about qualia? And quantum
    theorists about observation? And need the observer be conscious for the
    collapse of the wave function? Is the reflection of a tree in a pond
    information? Is a photo of the same tree information? Is there a
    difference between observation by a robot and observation by a sentient

    And is a description of a random array information whereas the random array

    Information is complex, be it a code (computer code, human language, DNA…)
    or design (technological or biological). And as such the complexity is in
    some sense linear–it builds as it goes. A code is produced and processed
    in time, from a starting point to a finishing point. Design–technological
    or biological–is created or develops in time.

    In human language the units we call words have meaning but of themselves are
    devoid of information. The minimal unit of information is the clause
    (proposition). The contrast is between being (meaning) and becoming
    (information). I used to tell students (in regard to language) that meaning
    IS and information HAPPENS.

    Is the contrast between meaning and information useful in mathematics?
    Symbols like 1, ?, +, ?, ?, ?, ? have meaning but of themselves are
    devoid of information. Is e^{i?} + 1 = 0 (Euler’s identity) informational?
    Does “4” apart from some context lack information, whereas 2 + 2 = 4 does

    Is the concept of meaning relevant to information theory?

    And might there be some value in factoring time into the mathematics (and/or
    philosophy) of information theory?

    If matter and energy, as also time and space, parse into elemental quanta
    (elementary particles, Planck units, whatever), then what about information?
    Information is measured in bits–but that is the physical aspect of the
    code. Information–at least linguistic information–is ultimately composed
    of meaningful units which are not material. At least that’s how linguists
    see it. Words are themselves complex, composed not just of phonemes but
    also of semantic features that allow us to classify them and integrate them
    into sentences. Are these features finite and universal, or are they simply
    created as we need them?

    My first conference paper was a short foray into trying to answer this
    question for linguists
    ( The
    thought was that semantic features might be fleshed out from grammar, from
    the closed sets of natural languages. Let us examine multitudes of
    languages and see where grammatical distinctions are made and where they are
    blurred, and thus see if some fundamental and finite semantic space might

    If there turns out to be a finite set of universal semantic features behind
    human language, might these also pertain to mathematics and computer science
    and DNA and engineering?

  2. 2
    bpragmatic says:

    This, which was ignored by E. Liddle from another post:

    E. Liddle said:

    “Modelling the expected distribution under some kind of process in which each “draw” is independent from prior “draws” is clearly not a model of Darwinian processes.”

    Bpragmatic responded:

    I don’t believe that in the OOL phase of “evolution”, the laws of physics and chemistry (darwinian processes are beholding to) would be anywhere near as charitable to the material formation requirements as would “independent draws” as you seem to imply with the above statement.

    In fact I would propose that there is a clear cut scientific case for asserting that some sort of guiding intelligence is required to overcome the IMPOSSIBILITY of certain component relationships from developing guideded purely by the laws of physics and chemical reactions.

    Liddles response: NOTHING.

    Why deal with reality questions when you can continue to pull the “discussions” down the rabbit trail to nowhere. Especially when it achieves the personal goals of: ?????

    Lizzy, come clean. You have no clue when it comes to applying your alleged “expertise” regarding probabilities and mathematical conclusions towards requirements of OOL.

    I know that if you don not respond to my statements, it might be because you think you have “bigger fish to fry”. I really dont know. But, if you can respond to this post in a way that scietifically supports your position, I am looking forward to that.

    I hope your sink is clean.

    Another question:
    Can the paid nde propoganda machine come up with some one who can really demonstrate valid arguable positions on these issues?

  3. 3
    DiEb says:

    Hi Denyse,

    I’m quite interested in your post on “BI:NP – A General Theory of Information Cost Incurred by Successful Search”, as I have a couple of questions regarding the article. In fact, I wrote an email to the authors Dembski, Ewert and Marks – perhaps they will show up at a discussion on this site?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    English-German Dictionary

    Dieb {m}

    jacker [Am.] [sl.]
    angeblicher Dieb {m}
    alleged thief
    durchtriebener Dieb {m}
    subtle thief
    gemeiner Dieb {m}
    common thief
    Gentleman-Dieb {m}
    swell mobsman [Br.]
    geständiger Dieb {m}
    avowed thief
    mutmaßlicher Dieb {m}
    alleged thief
    Haltet den Dieb!
    Stop thief!
    einen Dieb einlochen
    to run in a thief
    einen Dieb erwischen
    to catch a thief
    einen Dieb fangen
    to catch a thief
    einen Dieb verfolgen
    to pursue a thief

  5. 5
    DiEb says:

    So what?

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