45 thoughts on “Complexity Explorer

  1. Richardthughes: The “all information is physical” video was insightful

    Actually, Seth Lloyd has long been known for saying that everything physical is information. He’s about as simpatico a physicist as any “intelligent design” metaphysicist could hope to find.

  2. Mung,

    Think you might take some time out from your munging ministry to sharpen the saw?

    The jibe is really not directed at you personally, but at you as the nexus of TSZ. It genuinely distresses me to see people devote the time they do to arguing (and arguing about arguing), while giving no signs over the years (and years) that they’ve spent any real effort on educating themselves.

    There is no excuse for anyone who spends a lot of time on TSZ to skip this tutorial.

    Even though I already know most, if not all, of what Lloyd will cover, it seems only fair that I should set an example. I promise to work through the entire tutorial myself.

  3. The very first point in these supposed tutorials is pointless. Something like “Information is difference that makes a difference. What does this mean? Nobody knows…” And this is supposed to convince me that the guy has something relevant to tell me about information?

    Information in information theory is meaningless. Information without a meaning is uninformative, i.e. it’s not information. Meaning is not physical. If it were physical, then everybody would receive the same understanding from a given text, just like everybody receives the same calories from a spoon of porridge. But it does not work this way.

    The right name for information in information theory is data. Data can be measured in bits, not information.

    By the way, fascination with complexity is awkwardly Paley-esque.

  4. Erik: Data can be measured in bits, not information.

    As I once said to Lizzie, a great deal of confusion about “information” can be avoided by using the word data wherever it makes sense. I’ve already said that several times to Seth Lloyd, though of course without any expectation that he’ll ever hear me. (Actually, I doubt I have anything to say that he hasn’t heard before.)

    I’m willing to deal with an ID-friendly perspective on information. That’s vastly preferable to dealing with mouthy ignorance.

  5. Richardthughes,

    Perhaps I’ve gotten Lloyd wrong, but I think he’s saying that, as we process only measurements, and do not access things in themselves, there really is nothing but information. I understand that, as an operational truth, but can’t go with the notion that there’s not really something that we’re measuring.

    Have to leave it at that. This will be my last comment for a while — pressing family business.

  6. Tom English: It genuinely distresses me to see people devote the time they do to arguing (and arguing about arguing), while giving no signs over the years (and years) that they’ve spent any real effort on educating themselves.

    I know! But what with all the know-it-alls here at TSZ who needs to learn anything? Besides, that sort of misses the point of trolling, doesn’t it?

    Not that it really matters to you or anyone else who already has their mind made up but I have little doubt that I’ve done more reading on information and information theory than the vast majority of posters here at TSZ.

    I’ll probably watch the videos just to see if there’s anything I haven’t already heard before. Even though I hate science.

  7. How is the tutorial funded? The tutorial is funded by the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and by donations from users.

    Say it isn’t so Richardthughes!

  8. Mung: This is so obviously not the case. Planet Petrushka.

    I promise to judge you by what you read, except I don’t know what it is. And you can’t tell me without writing it, but then I’d be judging you based on what you write. It’s a conundrum.

  9. Flint: I promise to judge you by what you read, except I don’t know what it is. And you can’t tell me without writing it, but then I’d be judging you based on what you write. It’s a conundrum.

    It’s even worse than that. You’d be judging me based on what you read.

    But who appointed you my judge?

  10. Mung: It’s even worse than that. You’d be judging me based on what you read.

    But who appointed you my judge?

    You did, of course. We all judge one another by what we read here, we can’t help it.

  11. So it didn’t take long to find out things I already knew or suspected.

    Measuring Information Bits

    In the first video Seth Lloyd informs us that he is there to inform us about information and information theory.

    That right there should provide a clue.

    A fundamental, but a somehow forgotten fact, is that information is always information about something.

    The Mathematical Theory of Information

    But instead Lloyd quote Bateson:

    information is a difference that makes a difference

    Then promptly confesses “I have no idea what this means.”

    Off to a rousing start.

    We can measure energy. Is that how we know what energy is?

    We can also measure information. Is that how we know what information is?

    I invite anyone to watch that first video and tell us what information is.

  12. Mung: So it didn’t take long to find out things I already knew or suspected.

    I guess all those biology books you read are paying off!

    Remind me, do you actually support ID?

  13. Mung: Not that it really matters to you or anyone else who already has their mind made up but I have little doubt that I’ve done more reading on information and information theory than the vast majority of posters here at TSZ.

    And yet you seem unable to progress ID with that knowledge. That is, assuming you are actually an ID supporter that is. Are you?

  14. Richardthughes: Clearly not for you then Mung, he’s not as advanced as you.

    Please let us know where he tells us what information is. Contribute something other than a link to a video for a change.

  15. Mung’s first contribution to this thread:

    Mung: Darn, I thought maybe it would have the code for a GA.

      

    Watch it or don’t, Mung. I’m not going to spoon feed it to you. Your pissyness is hilarious, though.

  16. Richardthughes: Your pissyness is hilarious, though.

    Sure. Let’s pretend that when I act like an ass it’s not related to anything some other ass wrote.

    You won’t spoon feed me because you’ve got nothing of any nutritional value. I didn’t even ask you to tell us what information is. I only asked that you show us where Seth Lloyd tells us what information is. You’ve got the videos. You can produce or you can’t.

    How do we know we are measuring information?

    It’s ok if you don’t know.

  17. Pissy Mung is hilarious. Even when you try and help him (teaching about distributions or skew, for example) his mouth puckers like a cat’s ass and he just gets more upset. You stay as you are, sunshine – a great advert for ID, complicit with Barry in his lies.

  18. Mung,

    No. The concept of Barry purse refers to him owning your testicles, the fact that you know he published public messages he does not believe but you lack the moral character to stand up to him.

  19. Just wanted to interrupt this amusing flame fest to (reluctantly) admit that I agree with Erik and Mung about deficiencies in the first couple of vids. (Unlike Mung and perhaps many others here) I have NOT read very much on this subject, so you can take my response for what it’s worth. But, IMHO, the instructor has not made clear what information is, what a bit is, that he understands the difference between something’s being physical and the effect of something having to be physical for us to have knowledge of that that thing, etc, etc. I mean, I respect his credentials and I like his hair, but I’m still utterly in the dark about what he’s talking about..He refers to the 0s and 1s being bits and also refers to the “difference between 0s and 1s” being bits. I don’t know, e.g., if such differences are thought to be identical to the difference between heads and tails if both such differences equal one bit or if they remain essentially different in spite of that quantitative identity.

    As you see, I haven’t learned much. I’ll watch a couple more, but I’m not sanguine.

  20. walto,

    I’ve only gotten through four videos. I promise that I will stick with it, and will (in my own sweet time) discuss whatever you want.

    Not to defend Lloyd, I will say that the ID movement has primed everyone to expect philosophy of information in place of information theory. Lloyd gives the appearance of going into philosophy, but he’s really just ad libbing fluff that I can sorta, kinda, almost relate to what I’ve seen him say elsewhere. I still hope to see an accessible introduction to the basics of Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication. If Lloyd does a good job of that, then I’ll forgive him the lame intro.

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