RE: Seely's Views 2

From: Glenn Morton <glennmorton@entouch.net>
Date: Sat Sep 04 2004 - 13:46:04 EDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
> [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
> Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 10:51 AM

> This is relevant if 1:1 is understood as God's 1st creative
> act because then it wasn't in time & thus wasn't part of history.

That doesn't make sense to me. Physics believes that the universe came
from the inflaton field of Guth (at least a sub-set of physicists say
so.) This Higgs field exists apart from the unvierse and thus exists
before time. Physics, and certain physicists, would lead one to
believe that this real in the history of the universe and it is before
time was created, at least the time coordinate we use. If there are
other coordinates of time, this Higgs field can exist prior to the
formation of the universe in the Big Bang. I see nothing which would
rule that out if one replaced the Higgs field by God.

>
> > > I.e., I'm not arguing here that you're wrong but just that your
> > > charge that others (including myself) are inconsistent - doesn't
> > > hold up.
> >
> > Then answer the questions I put to Don Winterstein today.
> I am a bit
> > surprised that no one but Roger has address the noisy communication
> > channel theorem, I took note of yesterday.
>
> I think your whole attempt to use information theory here
> misfires because "information theory" in the technical sense
> is not about the _truth_ of the information.

Then you miss the entire point. It is true that information theory
doesn't determine the truth of the message being communicated, but it
does measure the fidelity with which the message (regardless of its
truth) is communicated. And that is all I have spoken of is the fidelity
of the transmission. When the channel gets too noisy, there is no
fidelity in the communication. It doesn't matter if you try to
communicate the random hiss of radio noise from interstellar space,
there will be no resemblance of the received message to the transmitted
message IF the channel is too noisy.

Now, I assume God is trying to communicate truth. If he isn't there is
a deeper problem and that is for another debate. But regardless of what
God is transmitting be it big fish stories, the truth about creation,
information theory says that if the channel is noisy, it won't be
received. So your objection simply is not relevant to the issue I have
raised. No where did I say that information theory measured truth. God
could tell a bald faced lie and not have that received either in a
channel that is too noisy. Accommodation, ala Seely, makes the channel
appear very very noisy IF one assumes that God is communicating truth,
which is a binary system.

Think of Clinton and his lies. He told lies when the truth would do.
How do you know when Clinton is telling the truth and when he is not?
That is a noisy channel every bit as much as a channel in which I can't
tell if a 1 or a 0 was transmitted. Why? In a noisy channel one loses
trust that he knows with fidelity what was sent. In your noisy channel
one loses trust that he can tell what is accommodation and what isn't.

And I noticed George, that you didn't answer the questions I asked of
Don. Why is it that that list of questions simply is never answered?
We always go off on other tangets.

1. Why does accommodation only apply to JudeoChristianity?
2. Why do we know that accomodational revelations have stopped?
3. How do I tell what is and isn't accommodation other than my personal
feelings of what is and isn't?
4. Where in the Scripture (indeed any scripture from any religion) does
it say God accommodates? (Paul's examples in his book are not
satisfactory for me--the case of divorce)
5. What is truth and is it possible to attain it under this shifting
sand epistemology?

And the final question I asked was:

6. And why exactly should I then automatically assume that God's
intention was as you describe it? Just because I might be wrong doesn't
automaticaly make you correct. The whole thing might be farce. This is
another question I would like to see addressed and actually answered.

 The supposed
> "noise" in Gen.1 (e.g.) isn't noise. It is part of what is
> communicated - the aspects of ancient cosmology which are
> used to express the truths that God created the universe,
> that creation is good &c.

It becomes noise when it comes to deciphering what is and isn't true.
Did I receive a 1 or a 0? Did I receive truth or falsehood? And as
Shannon notes, when you have a distorted signal, there is nothing one
can do on the receiving end to correct the errors.

I think you also miss a subtlety in Shannon's theory. A signal can be
of any duration and require as many bits as is necessary. One can
arrange these signals hierarchically if one wants. A dot in Morse code
consists of a line closure for a unit of time and then an open line for
the same time. A dash is 3 time units of closure. (Shannon 1948).
Signals don't have to have the same time or same digital size. Saying
"Grass is green" can be represented as a single signal of God to us that
grass is really green. God could send a message that "the crocodile
created New York City and now lives in the sewers). That statement is
also a single signal.

If one assumes that God is truth (and I think this is at the heart of
the disagreement) God won't deceive mankind. He won't lie. There is an
argument against the YECs that if the universe is 6000 years old, then
God decieved us. Anyone who believes in the accommodationist theory,
has no moral or ethical right to use that argument against the YECs.
God, by accommodating, is deceiving. He is sending messages which are
false.

Now going back to the communications theory, I assume God won't lie. If
he does, then he is a very Clintonesque God. A truthful god will try to
send only truthful statements, i.e. all 1's. But if we receive 0's
(false statements), then there is a problem.

But, if as I think the accommodationist view requires, God is sending
0's as well as 1's, then I have no way to interpret or correct the
received message without a correction circuit. And there is none of
those with God.

Or again, I'll repeat my hoary
> example of Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. It
> communicated exactly what Jesus wanted to communicate - the
> answer to the question "Who is my neighbor."

And I will repeat my equally long in the tooth response, that that is
clearly in a different setting than is Genesis 1:1. It isn't the report
of what a preacher said, at least as far as we are told. And given
human nature, and the many examples of Germans helping Jews in WWII (the
White Rose society which lead to the death of most of their members; the
Serbs who came to the defense of the Croats in former Yugoslavia etc).

 & the question
> of whether or not the events in the story ever took place are
> completely irrelevant to the accuracy of his communication.

Not if one treats (and it is a valid way of treating the situation) the
entire parable as a single signal of many bits long. Go look at the
channel capacity theorem to see that. Now the channel capacity theorem
is C = lim(t-> infinity) Log N(t)/t where t is the duration of the
signal and N(t) is the number of allowed signals of duration t. When t
goes to infinity, you have an infinitly long single signal. That means
that the entire parable might be treated as a single signal as far as
info theory is concerned. When I send an A to you, across this computer
network, I am not sending a single bit of information. I am sending lots
of bits. The signal for the A has duration.

Teletype systems have 32 symbols of equal duration. Current computers
in an ascii 8-bit word, have the possibility of 256 equal duration
symbols but if you use a parity bit in the 8-bit word, then the max is
128 characters, which is why the ascii code has only 128 symbols. I
think this is the proper history. That parity bit is to determine the
truth or falsity of the communication--i.e. its fidelity. We have no
parity bit with God. So if you start telling me that he is sending
false messages, I have no way to know which is true and which is false.

> I.e., the signal to noise ratio, in the sense that is
> important, is exactly the same whether Jesus took that story
> off the front page of the Jericho Tribune or made it up out
> of whole cloth. OTOH Ham's book _Evolution - The Lie_
> transmits just what he wanted to say, though perhaps with
> some typos &c. In the sense of information theory, the book
> transmits the information very accurately. Nevertheless, it
> contains a great deal that is false.

Depends on how you define the information and maybe this is a way to
actually treat genetic information in genes. As far as reproducing the
characters Ham's book does a remarkable fidelitous job. If one treats
Ham's book as I did above, then Ham is sending 0's and 1's but the
receivers, the laity, thinks they are receiving only 1's. With God I
think it is terrible theology to have God send us a bunch of
intermittent 0's. This god is every bit as big a deciever as the god of
the YECs who deceives the world by making the world appear very old when
in fact it is very young. What is the difference between these two
deceptive Gods? Which should I trust more?
Received on Sat Sep 4 14:04:53 2004

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