Friday, July 07, 2006

George Gilder is a sad joke...

The unfortunately non-intoxicated Timothy Leary of the tech boom is now pontificating on "intelligent" "design." And is more muddled than the high priest of d-lysergic acid diethylmide-25 ever was...

After Wealth & Poverty, my work focused on the subject of human creativity as epitomized by science and technology and embodied in computers and communications. At the forefront of this field is a discipline called information theory. Largely invented in 1948 by Claude Shannon of MIT, it rigorously explained digital computation and transmission by zero-one, or off-on, codes called “bits.” Shannon defined information as unexpected bits, or “news,” and calculated its passage over a “channel” by elaborate logarithmic rules. That channel could be a wire or another other path across a distance of space, or it could be a transfer of information across a span of time, as in evolution.

Crucial in information theory was the separation of content from conduit — information from the vehicle that transports it. It takes a low-entropy (predictable) carrier to bear high-entropy (unpredictable) messages. A blank sheet of paper is a better vessel for a new message than one already covered with writing. In my book Telecosm (2000), I showed that the most predictable available information carriers were the regular waves of the electromagnetic spectrum and prophesied that all digital information would ultimately flow over it in some way. Whether across time (evolution) or across space (communication), information could not be borne by chemical processes alone, because these processes merged or blended the medium and the message, leaving the data illegible at the other end.

"Regular waves?" "Elaborate logarithmic rules?" No communication engineer knows wtf you're talking about George. You simply haven't a clue what real communication engineers do or study.

One more quote:

The failure of purely physical theories to describe or explain information reflects Shannon’s concept of entropy and his measure of “news.” Information is defined by its independence from physical determination: If it is determined, it is predictable and thus by definition not information. Yet Darwinian science seemed to be reducing all nature to material causes.

First, there's no such thing as "Darwinian science," there's evolutionary biology. Secondly, there is simply no reason why "physical theories" should explain what's random, other than to say they generate random processes. That's why we have structured probability theory the way it is, because we cannot talk about it otherwise.

Gilder, like the rest of his ilk at the "Discovery Institute" is a phony.

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