Re: [asa] EIC (Evolutionar[il]y Informed Christian)

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Sun Dec 14 2008 - 22:18:40 EST

Greg wrote:
"That said, I think it only fair to say how important such thinkers as Daniel Bell, Manuel Castells, and most importantly imo, Marshall McLuhan are to our understanding of 'information.' These thinkers include intelligence 'by nature' or 'by the character of' being human-social thinkers. Claude Shannon may be a significant figure for some people with his mathematical theory of communication and information for others (cough, sputter) William Dembski. But these two both pale in comparison to any of the three names listed above with respect to understanding our present *environment* in an 'information-electronic age.' Sometimes when discussing information the cart is easily put before the horse."

Information and how we use it are indeed important to our society. And for once I would agree with you that the sociological understanding of the importance of information and its impact to our lives is paramount. But let's not make a category error here and try to compare Shannon's contributions with those of Bell, McLuhan, etc. To say that one pales with respect to the other confuses the categories within which each is speaking. The latter speak of the role of information in our culture while Shannon and his successors speak of the technical definition and characteristics of information. Landauer was perhaps the most influential, after Shannon, in understanding the technical nature of information and he helped move information theory into the realm of physics. That study has mainly been interested in quantum information in the last couple of decades with Charles Bennett and Peter Shor being among the leaders. All that technical stuff has little direct impact on society and that's why I agree with you that the social sciences are of far more practical value here. But when it comes to assessing the accuracy of the ID claims of whether or not DNA represents information, the societal studies are of little assistance and we need the technical insight.

Randy

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Received on Sun Dec 14 22:19:17 2008

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