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“Debugging the Universe”

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Quantum information science is an arcane field that delves into the role of information in the physical world. Among the questions it asks are: What are the ultimate capabilities for storing, transmitting and manipulating information? Can radically new computers be developed by drawing upon quantum mechanics, the physics of the extremely small? And, is the universe itself some kind of computer, and if so what does this mean?

The field’s cosmic implications are explored by two new books with similar titles. Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos gives the perspective of Seth Lloyd, an MIT professor of mechanical engineering who has been a pioneer of quantum computing. Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, from Our Brains to Black Holes is by science journalist Charles Seife.


I am still not certain whether these two books argue for or against ID. On the bottom of the link Dr. Dembski himself posted, authors and commenters alike strongly speak against their work supporting Intelligent Design. It's interesting, however, that Dr. Dembski seems to be seeing promise in their work ,and also thinks highly of the authors and their credentials. Well, I guess I'll have to read the books to find out... :) Phed
“The universe is indeed a massive computer” And unlike Windows hasn't yet had to be rebooted! It's really "Stellar" engineering, you might say. (A little play on worlds there. HA HA. Get it? "Stellar?" "Worlds?" ) (OK, I'm done.) Red Reader
"The universe is indeed a massive computer" Actually, that was just Earth/Humans which was designed to compute the question while the computer that provided the answer was Deep Thought. Patrick
The universe-as-computer concept may also play into the current strife about intelligent design.
Heck yeah. Barrow and Tipler's universe is essentially a super-computer. It is interesting that the other pioneer of quantum computing, David Deutch believes Barrow and Tipler's ideas are fundamentally plausible. I posted on their work at : Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987) The Journal of Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals where Albert Voie had his paper Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent referenced another article in that same journal: Computational Universes Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 25(4), 845-859 (2005
Suspicions that the world might be some sort of a machine or algorithm existing “in the mind” of some symbolic number cruncher have lingered from antiquity. Although popular at times, the most radical forms of this idea never reached mainstream. Modern developments in physics and computer science have lent support to the thesis
For that matter, this is yet another ID-sympathetic paper! Salvador scordova
The universe is indeed a massive computer, and, according to the book "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" the answer is "42", but no one remembers the question. :-) MikeG
The universe-as-computer concept may also play into the current strife about intelligent design. It might be argued that a computer implies a programmer. However, this may be taking the analogy too far. What the universe is computing, in Lloyd's picture, is not some external output but rather its own behavior. And a very large portion of its computing power seems to be tied up in such behavior as random collisions of atoms.
What a way to spin this. This actually favors ID. If the majority of the computational resources are wasted, it reduces the amount of probabilistic resources.
"monkeys typing on computers can produce simple code that would generate a wide variety of outputs."
I'd like to see that. (Is he trying to make monkeys out of Stephen Wolfram et al?)
Elsewhere, Seife uses terminology that is likely to create confusion. He posits a possible "law of conservation of information," without noting that Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski has used the same wording to propose a different law. Seife is referring to [blah blah blah]. All of which has nothing to do with Dembski's claim that organisms contain information that could not have been produced naturally.
Transparent, intellectually dishonest obfuscation. j

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