Steve Meyer, Signature in the cell:
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, there have been two basic pictures of ultimate reality among Western intellectuals, what the Germans call a Weltanschuung, or worldview. According to one worldview, mind is the primary or ultimate reality. On this view, material reality either issues from a preexisting mind, or it is shaped by a preexistent intelligence, or both. Mind, not matter, is, therefore, the prime or ultimate reality—the entity from which everything else comes, or at least the entity with the capacity to shape the material world. Plato, Aristotle, the Roman Stoics, Jewish philosophers such as Moses Maimonides, and Christian philosophers such as St. Thomas Aquinas each held some version of this perspective.7 Most of the founders of modern science during the period historians of science call the scientific revolution (1300–1700) also held this mind-first view of reality. Many of these early modern scientists thought that their studies of nature confirmed this view by providing evidence, in Sir Isaac Newton’s words, of “an intelligent and powerful Being” behind it all.8 This view of reality is often called idealism to indicate that ideas come first and matter comes later. Theism is the version of idealism that holds that God is the source of the ideas that gave rise to and shaped the material world.
Our reality is ultimately made up of information. 1
Information (and not matter or energy) is the building block on which everything is constructed. 1
Information can be used to explain the origin and behavior of microscopic interactions such as energy and matter. As pointed out by Deutsch and Wheeler, however, whatever candidate is proposed for the fundamental building block of the Universe, it still needs to explain its ‘own’ ultimate origin too. In other words, the question of everything from nothing, creation ex nihilo, is key. So if, as I claim, information is this common thread, the question of creation ex nihilo reduces to explaining how some information arises out of no information.
The big question, of course, is how much can we connect – is it feasible that there is one ultimate law, one master magician’s trick, that describes the whole Universe? Within this discourse, surely the most exciting and fundamental question of all has to be: why is there a reality at all and where does it come from? In other words, before we can even speak about why things are connected, we need to ask ourselves why things exist in the first place. The notion of ‘information’ gives us the answer to both questions. Information is a far more fundamental quantity in the Universe than matter or energy. If we look at reality in terms of ‘bits of information’, it is interesting that both the existence of reality and its inherent connectivity become completely transparent.
Towards an Informationist Post-Metaphysic 6
I see matter as described by the Standard Model of Physics as a kind of epiphenomenon arising out of an informational substrate. I call this theory “informationism” to distinguish it from materialism.
Are we living in a hologram? 5
The idea that we live in a holographic universe is very real. With the invention of quantum computers, physicists should soon be able to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. So, what does it mean that we live in a holographic universe generated by some kind of quantum computer? It means that the Universe was created by an intelligent creator, and therefore it was not created by accident. In other words, the Prime Creator exists!
Forget Space-Time: Information May Create the Cosmos 2 May 23, 2015
What are the basic building blocks of the cosmos? Atoms, particles, mass energy? Quantum mechanics, forces, fields? Space and time — space-time? Tiny strings with many dimensions?
A new candidate is "information," which some scientists claim is the foundation of reality. The late distinguished physicist John Archibald Wheeler characterized the idea as "It from bit" — "it" referring to all the stuff of the universe and "bit" meaning information.
Davies, director of BEYOND:
"Historically, matter has been at the bottom of the explanatory chain, and information has been a sort of secondary derivative of it," Davies said. Now, he added, "there's increasing interest among at least a small group of physicists to turn this upside down and say, maybe at rock bottom, the universe is about information and information processing, and it's matter that emerges as a secondary concept.
The universe written in binary
Seth Lloyd, an MIT professor specializing in quantum information, defends this idea by likening the universe to a computer, "a physical system that breaks up information into bits, and flips those bits in a systematic fashion."
He explained that electrons have spins, which are described by the laws of quantum mechanics. Electrons can take only two distinguishable values: spinning up or spinning down — the same binary characters as computer bits. So, at rock bottom, Lloyd said, the universe consists of information; every elementary particle carries information.
"So, what is the universe?" Lloyd asked. "The universe is a physical system that contains and processes information in a systematic fashion and that can do everything a computer can do."
To Lloyd, information is not just a way of appreciating or approximating how the universe works, but the literal, most fundamental way it actually works. He sees the universe not like a computer as an explanatory metaphor; it really is a computer as scientific fact. As such, he claims that all changes in the universe are "computations."
The claim is monumental.
Physicist Stephen Wolfram, founder of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, calls information "the most prominent thing of our times" and posits that "simple rules… generate what we see in nature." He described "an ultimate representation of the universe" in terms of "simple rules," which "govern fundamentally" and are "best conceptualized in terms of computation."
The Biocentric Universe Theory: Life Creates Time, Space, and the Cosmos Itself 3
Even the most fundamental elements of physical reality, space and time, strongly support a biocentric basis for the cosmos.
According to biocentrism, time does not exist independently of the life that notices it.
Imagine that you are watching a film of an archery tournament. An archer shoots and the arrow flies. The camera follows the arrow’s trajectory from the archer’s bow toward the target. Suddenly the projector stops on a single frame of a stilled arrow. You stare at the image of an arrow in midflight. The pause in the film enables you to know the position of the arrow with great accuracy, but you have lost all information about its momentum. In that frame it is going nowhere; its path and velocity are no longer known. Such fuzziness brings us back to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which describes how measuring the location of a subatomic particle inherently blurs its momentum and vice versa.
All of this makes perfect sense from a biocentric perspective. Everything we perceive is actively and repeatedly being reconstructed inside our heads in an organized whirl of information. Time in this sense can be defined as the summation of spatial states occurring inside the mind. So what is real? If the next mental image is different from the last, then it is different, period. We can award that change with the word time, but that does not mean there is an actual invisible matrix in which changes occur. That is just our own way of making sense of things. We watch our loved ones age and die and assume that an external entity called time is responsible for the crime.
There is a peculiar intangibility to space, as well. We cannot pick it up and bring it to the laboratory. Like time, space is neither physical nor fundamentally real in our view. Rather, it is a mode of interpretation and understanding. It is part of an animal’s mental software that molds sensations into multidimensional objects.
Most of us still think like Newton, regarding space as sort of a vast container that has no walls. But our notion of space is false. Shall we count the ways? 1. Distances between objects mutate depending on conditions like gravity and velocity, as described by Einstein’s relativity, so that there is no absolute distance between anything and anything else. 2. Empty space, as described by quantum mechanics, is in fact not empty but full of potential particles and fields. 3. Quantum theory even casts doubt on the notion that distant objects are truly separated, since entangled particles can act in unison even if separated by the width of a galaxy.
INFORMATION– CONSCIOUSNESS–REALITY James B. Glattfelder page 531
The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. Physicists sometimes take some aspects of the universe as fundamental building blocks: space and time and mass. They postulate fundamental laws governing them, like the laws of gravity or of quantum mechanics. These fundamental properties and laws aren’t explained in terms of anything more basic. Rather, they’re taken as primitive, and you build up the world from there. Now sometimes, the list of fundamentals expands. In the 19th century, Maxwell figured out that you can’t explain electromagnetic phenomena in terms of the existing fundamentals—space, time, mass, Newton’s laws—so he postulated fundamental laws of electromagnetism and postulated electric charge as a fundamental element that those laws govern. I think that’s the situation we’re in with consciousness. If you can’t explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals—space, time, mass, charge—then as a matter of logic, you need to expand the list. The natural thing to do is to postulate consciousness itself as something fundamental, a fundamental building block of nature. This doesn’t mean you suddenly can’t do science with it. This opens up the way for you to do science with it. […]
A deeper motivation comes from the idea that perhaps the most simple and powerful way to find fundamental laws connecting consciousness to physical processing is to link consciousness to information. Wherever there’s information processing, there’s consciousness. Complex information processing, like in a human, complex consciousness. Simple information processing, simple consciousness.
Physicists and philosophers have often observed that physics is curiously abstract. It describes the structure of reality using a bunch of equations, but it doesn’t tell us about the reality that underlies it. As Stephen Hawking puts it, what puts the fire into the equations? That’s what physics really is ultimately doing, describing the flux of consciousness. On this view, it’s consciousness that puts the fire into the equations.
1. DECODING REALITY THE UNIVERSE AS QUANTUM INFORMATION VLATKO VEDRAL
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