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Further Reading

SCIENCE: Column

Data Basic II

Is Information, Not Matter, the Foundation of Life?

by Denyse O’Leary

Why does it matter if information rules? Because the higher descends to the lower, but the lower does not ascend to the higher, as old authors say.

Yes, it is an old principle, possibly with a new meaning today. Information tends to travel down. That is one of its characteristics.

Article originally appeared in
Salvo 27

But our culture has forgotten this.

Last time, we asked why information rules. We noted that, for one thing, it cannot be reduced to matter. But there is more to know. It can be transmitted immaterially across media as well. You cannot transmit a brick immaterially anywhere. But you can strip information of all matter and transmit it across material nature.

I could phone and tell you that the Giants won the World Series again, or send you an email or write you a letter offering the same information. Or I could appear on a radio or TV show talking about it.

It's true that I would be using various material media, which offer a variety of options for conveying the information, but the information itself is not material. Nor does it even depend on me. I am either a reliable or unreliable transmitter, and that is all you need to know.

What we write or say is often represented digitally in a binary code of 1's and 0's, which is designed to optimize transmission between media, so that it doesn't take all day to download a message. But what does that fact tell us? The information about who won the World Series is actually communicated from one mind to another. It means nothing to the 1's and 0's, but it may mean a lot to the two minds.

But there are questions that mean a lot to all of us. How did the universe come to exist? How did life or the human race or—and this is the biggie—the human mind come to exist? 

Why are you reading this? Why do you understand what you are reading, when your cat is just lying on a couch listening for the sound of a can opener?

Materialism insists that your mind and his are on a continuum. There is no evidence that that is true. It is an assumption unsupported by evidence, like other key materialist theories.

Four Big Problems

Cosmos, Life, Man, and Mind:These are the four big frontier problems in science that materialism is powerless to solve. Only an immaterialist theory like information science can help.

Take the origin of the universe. Some of us are astounded by theories built around holograms or multiverses, which sound like they were dreamed up by teens on probation, being seriously put forth to explain the origin of our universe. We haven't been to the moon in forty years, and all current theories seem designed to show how everything just sorta happened, whereas the early astronauts read Genesis in space. Why aren't we allowed to ask what difference this change in our culture has made?

And what have materialist origin-of-life theories produced other than a word salad of incompatible claims, all aimed at supposing that life just sorta happened? Or unsourced claims that life originated according to some kind of natural law? But no one ever states that law. It isn't even clear that we could figure the matter out. If the origin of life is history, the information could just be lost. So why can't that possibility be discussed?

The human race? I spent years studying human evolution and cannot find a materialist claim about our origins that is not ridiculous. And even those with a surface plausibility are not actually backed by evidence.

Just figuring out why we walk on two legs has proven too much, never mind why your unrelated neighbors might be praying for you, or why you wonder whether they are, or why you think their religion is wrong and want to confront them about it.

We must have been meant to be here. Otherwise, the current situation does not make any sense. Does any animal care about global warming? Don't they just live and die? Yet you might be greeted one frigid morning by a group of neighbors carrying picket signs demanding that something be done about it, while you are busy shoveling snow. Your neighbors believe there is a crisis, based not on what they are experiencing, but on information they have heard.

As for the human mind, if there is one subject on which science has expended its absolutely worst resources, it is evolutionary psychology (the effort to conflate chimpanzee and human psychology), which is the drainpipe of science. It ignores the value of the ability to apprehend information. It also denies the immaterial world, preferring myths about what ancestral humans supposedly did—but did they?

Evolutionary psychology sounds like a long series of bad novels no one would publish because only tenured drones would even consider reading them. For instance, we invented music by snarling at the moon? If snarling was okay, why did we invent music anyway? Oh, and chimpanzees have religion, did you know? And police. (Some of us thought they had enough troubles.)

Live with It?

When or how will the nonsense ever end?

I'm a journalist who only got interested in science because of Dolly the cloned sheep (she created a hoo-hah in 1996), and I told my editors of the day, who were concerned, that I would try to start a science news desk. They graciously accepted the offer.

At the time, I thought my job would be to figure out how to explain to Christians how they should learn to live with materialism, but it turned out that my job was to explain how materialism has thoroughly corrupted science.

We still haven't got an explanation for the human mind. We still haven't got any useful scientific answer as to why you are reading this, while your cat, who is not remotely capable of concerning himself with these questions, is only interested in the sound of the can opener. Not always a welcome message.

But why has it become so hard even to ask the question? 


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Morality as Story: The False Charity of Modern Journalism by Rebekah Curtis

Can We Talk?: It Is Crucial That We Put Our Minds to Contentious Issues by James M. Kushiner

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