03 April 2007

Information V

Dr C is, I'm happy to say, back with the latest (fifth) episode of his Some thoughts on information set.

As with the previous parts, I have to confess to being enthralled. While part of me can't wait for the final revelation of how all of this, and specifically the digital nature of information transmission, "has a real world prediction about free will", I am certainly both enjoying and learning from the ride.

I'm no biologist. My line of work keeps me in the "informed layman" category, but while most (not all) of the bits here are in my mental attic I am realising as I read how woefully little I have done with them. It's a bit like having spent years buying up bulk lots of Ikea flat pack furniture, but doing nothing with it - then suddenly along comes somebody with the right screw driver and hex key, who assembles a coherent room full of it for me. Wonderful.

Without for one moment abandoning my own commitment to nondeist evolution as the most plausible explanation of my existence at this keyboard, as I follow Dr C's guided tour I very well understand why believers feel that it must have been made by a creator. After all, imagine that you found these mechanisms in what you knew for certain to be an alien artefact - would you not be stunned and awed by the level of complexity and sheer ingenuity involved? I know I would. It's awe inspiring - and the same evolution which put me here also gave me a tremendous capacity for awe.

All this and literature too. I've never been a whole hearted fan of either Kierkegaard or Hegel when it comes to the application of Aristotelian either/or principles to human life and choice ... but suspect that Dr C may be about to prompt a revisiting of the question. And after a quick search, I discover that The Stars My Destination is what I know as Alfred Bester's Tiger! Tiger! - which has, in itself, much to say about free will or the absence thereof.

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