from the book: Information, and the Nature of reality, page 21:
Davies suggests that instead of taking mathematics to be primary, followed by physics and then information, the picture should be inverted in our explanatory scheme, so that we find the conceptual hierarchy: information → laws of physics → matter.
Lloyd uses the concept of quantum information science as the basis for an entire world view, declaring that the universe as a whole is a gigantic quantum computer. In other words, nature processes quantum information whenever a physical system evolves.
In the seventeenth century, clockwork was the most impressive technology, and Newton described a deterministic clockwork universe, with time as an infinitely precise parameter that gauged all cosmic change. In the nineteenth century the steam engine replaced clockwork as the technological icon of the age and, sure enough, Clausius, von Helmholtz, Boltzmann, and Maxwell described the universe as a gigantic entropy-generating heat engine, sliding inexorably to a cosmic heat death. Today, the quantum computer serves the corresponding role. Each metaphor has brought its own valuable insights; those deriving from the quantum computation model of the universe are only just being explored.
Today, the cell is treated as a supercomputer –an information-processing and -replicating system of extraordinary fidelity. biological information is not only instructional but also has to do with ‘valued’ or ‘significant’ information. What is a gene, after all, but a set of coded instructions for a molecular system to carry out a task?
The philosophical theologians Keith Ward and John F. Haught explore novel ways for understanding God as the source of information for a self-developing world. Ward argues for what he calls a supreme informational principle of the universe, without which the combination of the lawfulness of the world and its inherent value would be inexplicable. Such informational code for construction of an actual universe logically precedes material configurations by containing the set of all mathematically possible states, plus a selective principle of evaluation that gives preference to the actual world that we inhabit. Ward suggests that this primary ontological reality may be identified with God, especially if the given laws of nature can be seen as providing space for qualities such as goodness and intrinsic value. Haught argues that information must walk the razor’s edge between redundancy (too much order) and noise (too much contingency). It is this felicitous blend of order and novelty that transforms the universe from a mere physical system into a narrative of information processing. While reminding us that all ‘God language’ must be regarded as analogical, he argues that the concept of God as an informational principle at work in the entire cosmic process is far richer than the idea of a designer God at the edge of the universe.
While emphasizing the logical space of all nature (Ward) and the evolutionary unfolding thereof (Haught), both draw on contemporary scientific accounts of nature that accord with, or even suggest, a divine reality with world-transforming capacities.
Michael Welker argue that the new scientific perspectives of matter and information summarized in this volume give fresh impetus to a reinterpretation of important strands of the Biblical traditions. Gregersen shows how the New Testament concept of a ‘divine Logos becoming flesh’ (John 1:14) has structural similarities to the ancient Stoic notion of Logos as a fundamental organizing principle of the universe, and should not prematurely be interpreted in a Platonic vein. The Johannine vision of divine Logos being coextensive with the world of matter may be sustained and further elucidated in the context of present-day concepts of matter and information, where the co-presence of order and difference is also emphasized.