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William Dembski on what “information” is

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As addressed in his new book, Being as Communion. Which, if you are an American, you have about five days to still get at the US$22.95 price here. Later, it is whatever the Brit handlers (Ashgate) demand.

What concept could be more fundamental to intelligent design theory than “information”? None, but what exactly does the word mean in the context that we use it? William Dembski explains.

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It would appear that there must be something that underlies change in material objects, else how are we to make sense of the concept? There can be numerous material instantiations of the same form, so it can't be the form that makes these different instantiations different, that would not make sense. Aquinas didn't call it prime matter for nothing. Mung
Dick Yes - that's about it, as information is a product of intelligence. Interestingly there's more stress on the relationship/equivalence between "information" and "matter", perhaps because "materialism" is the metaphysical system being critiqued. So his slogan is "information all the way down", meaning the structure of the universe. He argues for matter itself being informational and, as far as parsimony goes, redundant to science, and probably metaphysics. Nevertheless, he is relaxed about about the idea of matter being a real entity (throwing a crust to the Aristotelians) as long as information is sen as primary - he even admits that to an extent his "information only" stance is polemic, to encourage us to examine the issue thoughtfully. Perhaps what may be surprising and interesting to some is his broad interpretation of what constitutes intelligence, and therefore "mind". I suspect one of the biggest shakeups the book will give to ID people is its treatment of teleology inherent in nature as both a reality and a legitimate target of ID study: in that way there is common ground with non-materialists like Thomas Nagel and other atheist thinkers. Jon Garvey
I'm interested in seeing the ontological hierarchy Dembski endorses in the book. I read somewhere that he regards information as being the fundamental substance in the universe, but information, I'd suppose, lies downstream of mind, so it'd seem that mind is fundamental. I'm sure he addresses this in his book, though, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Dick
A Paradigm Shift in the Making: William Dembski's Revolutionary Breakthrough - Mary Poplin - September 24, 2014 Excerpt: We are delighted to welcome Professor Mary Simpson Poplin as a new contributor to ENV. What follows is Dr. Poplin's Foreword to William Dembski's forthcoming book, Being as Communion:,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/a_paradigm_shif090051.html Of note: I respect Mary Poplin very much from her talks on Mother Teresa, on the Veritas Forum, that I have seen. bornagain77
Ashgate let the book out over here a month earlier, so I've read it. Some excellent food for thought in it - I'd go so far as to call it an important book. I've started a series of review blogs commencing around here. Jon Garvey
Heya News, Under Books of interest, consider adding Manfred Eigen's latest. If someone in Seattle wants to have a look first let me know. Mung
I'm interested in seeing where Dembski takes this. At first glance I have to disagree with him. If information is the realization of potential, then potential is the "primary stuff", not information. Shades of Aquinas! A Paradigm Shift in the Making: William Dembski's Revolutionary Breakthrough Also of note, he seems to say that Shannon's concept of information is correct, which is something Shannon denied! Mung

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