Pesky Implementation Details in Information Theory

Notice the weasel word “might”, as I know that it is a can worms. It is, however, a loophole that an ID advocate MUST close if they are to make use of the Conservation of Information Law, as Dembski does. So your cautions here are bolstering my point.

I agree. Yet this is precisely where Dembski is philosophically resting the claim that intelligence is a unique source of CSI. In his works, this traces back to substance dualism. Minds are not subject to the laws of physics, and exist outside of them, but they affect the physical world. That effect Dembski is equating with injecting information into the physical world, analogous to God’s ability to inject information.

If the world really is reversibly deterministic, and minds exist outside the physical world, then this might be true. However, it still does not mean they can measure this information in any meaningful or useful way.

I’ll just add that for a host of reasons, most of not all realistic simulations are not reversible in practice. While it might be a philosophical truth of the world, it does not actually interact with observations in experiments or simulations.

In the previous post I was just commenting on the physics and am completely detached from the philosophy. I don’t want to be seen as if I’m trying to support ID :rofl:

From this paragraph I think I now understand what the philosophical stakes are. As someone who believes that the physical world is closed (i.e. physics is fully consistent), personally I would reject Dembski’s proposal.

Hmm, here I take the opposite stance: it does not matter if simulations are not reversible, but it is important to see in the real world where irreversibility actually comes from.

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I’m just insisting there is a gap between our best computational models of the world, and the pure mathematical models. Computation (practice) and math (theory) do not align in this case, and it matters.

So how did the Resurrection happen without violating closure?

Of course it matters scientifically, but I don’t think it matters for philosophical questions that rely on the reversibility of the actual world.

No idea.

Well if you are a Christian/Catholic that affirms the bodily Resurrection, and presumably the Miracles of Jesus, I think you are boxed in. At least at times, it would appear the universe is not totally closed.

I am not sure. As God presumably has control of the data on any Cauchy surfaces, if anything atomic rearrangement from a dead state to a living state that still follows the laws of physics are not beyond His abilities. For example, for this specific instance entropy can reduce drastically. This does not violate the 2nd law as it is an isolated case and the 2nd law is statistical.

Edit: I kept forgetting to quote the things I am replying to.

So how does He do this without being simultaneously outside the physical world and able to affect it? Is this not the definition of an open system?

Why would even matter or not anyways?

The consistency of the laws of physics just specify the evolution equation, but does not specify the initial conditions (I hesitate to use the word initial as the data can be specified at any Cauchy surface, but you get the gist). Note that I am not saying this is how God does it, this is just one way it could be done.

It looks like you misunderstand Levin’s proof. It addresses both determinism and randomness.

Rather than debate this, the experimental rebuttal of the proof and/or application is much more salient. As can be seen in the thread on cancer: Swamidass: Computing the Functional Information in Cancer. Perhaps focus on that.

Sure, but to reiterate:

is a category mistake.

You cannot empirically disprove something that has been mathematically proven. You can only empirically disprove mathematical conjectures. So, there is no hope to empirically disprove Levin’s proof. Let’s not use that language for clarity’s sake.

A mathematical proof is about an abstract model. It isn’t about reality.

An experimental rebuttal could demonstrate that the abstract model is an inadequate model of the real world problem. That does not disprove what has been mathematically proven, but it does question the relevance of that mathematical proof.


In that case you have proven it is irrelevant, not proven it is false. Two different things.

Fine. I’ve proven that it is irrelevant or false. Choose your poison.

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You’ve only proven it is irrelevant. Impossible to empirically prove math facts are false. Playing with words like this diminishes trust.

Why are you objecting? I don’t get it. It all comes down to precisely what we mean by MI. The proof about the abstract and immeasurable MI is true, the attempt to equate it with the measurable MI is false, and that means the proofs about the abstract MI are irrelevant.

It seems we likely agree on this, and that is all I am saying.

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Measurable MI requires absolute MI.