More questions for Gpuccio: biological or non-biological functional information?

Jumping in to comment and request a clarification.

One of the UD commentors objected that @swamidass’s example (stars) was not semantic information, and according to ID author Wolfgang Johannsen, “semantic information is an exclusive feature of biological evolution.” @gpuccio asked for non-biological examples of Functional Information, and those responses have dominated the recent discussion.

@Gpuccio: I do not mean to pin you to someone else’s definitions, only to better understand your request. In asking for examples of non-biological FI, are you asking for something you deem non-existent by definition?

If yes, then the probability used to calculate FI is conditional on that definition, and I don’t think it has been clearly stated (or there wouldn’t be so much argument over examples).


Thanks for brining this up, @Dan_Eastwood. I was wondering this as well. In addition, I was wondering where in the estimation of probabilistic resources in the biosphere that @gpuccio presented here was “semantic information”. I don’t see this sort of thing anywhere in the pertinent table. Which makes me wonder - is the crew at UD a bit uninformed on this subject? Or is this yet another inconsistency that @gpuccio might help us understand.


This is just the labyrinth ID information theory. We have gone down this path before, many times. Computations, like those used for FI, are based on information theory. “Semantic information” however, is not the focus of information theory.

So either they are misapplying information theory, or they have invented personal meanings for these technical terms.


Everything about this discussion points to unstated assumptions. – I’ll get back to you about the semantic 8 to question.

I’m voting for both.


@gpuccio The question about the semantic argument was mine, and thank you for responding. Since I’m not one of the main participants my comment got moved, then moved again, finally landing in this new thread.

I did not see any assumptions requiring semantic information (SI), but some of your claims suggest unstated assumptions, and SI would fit in that gap.

However, I still think your definition of FI is inadequate to your purpose. I see nothing that excludes non-biological sources. AND, given the extensive disagreement over examples, I’m not the only one thinking this. The appearance is that non-biological FI has been defined out of existence without adequate justification.