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Can life’s mysteries really be solved by claims about hidden webs of information?

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The Demon in the Machine

Cosmologist Paul Davies won an award last year for a book that was an attempt that left “more questions than clean-cut answers” (Physics World):

How about, for example:

➤ Information: Unlike matter and energy, information is immaterial. “ It exists, among other things, as a relationship between realized and unrealized possibilities.” Information governs.

➤ Origin of life: Life forms are overwhelmingly full of information and theories as to how that got started are really not very good. “There are few bigger — or harder — questions to tackle in science than the question of how life arose.” (Quanta, 2015) Nothing has changed since then.

➤ Consciousness. We are, for example, told that:

To discover what makes us self-aware, researchers from around the world are going head-to-head in a grand competition to determine where consciousness really comes from…

News, “But do hidden webs of information really solve life’s mysteries?” at Mind Matters News

All the real problems occur at the boundaries, which means that they are not contained by anything.

Here is a direct quote. “The unifying concept that underlies this transformation is information, not in its prosaic everyday sense but as an abstract quantity which, like energy, has the ability to animate matter.” Energy can animate matter? That is a theme in Frankenstein; energy animating matter. Belfast
The books subtitle is “How hidden webs of information are solving the mystery of life.” which suggests the book deals with the origin of life. But in the very preface is this, “ I take as my starting point a series of famous lectures entitled ‘What is Life?’ by the great quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger, delivered three generations ago, addressing a question that Darwin dodged. However, I think we are now on the threshold of answering Schrödinger’s question, and the answer will usher in a whole new era of science.” I THINK we are now on the THRESHOLD ???? Wow! How positive! Then this, still in the preface, “ Scientists are just beginning to understand the power of information as a cause...” Just beginning? I’ll read further to see what experiment shows how a material rock acquires information and let you know. Belfast
None of these questions NEED to be tackled. None of them will result in solving any real problems. They're interesting, but not worth spending forcibly acquired tax money. Information has been narrowly quantified by Shannon in a way that solved one particular problem, so it doesn't need to be handled any further. Origin of life, like consciousness, is simply untestable and unanswerable. polistra

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