Whateverman wrote:Since we can only be aware of information when we have symbols to identify and express it with, any system could have an infinite amount of information, as there'd be an infinite number of ways of expressing the patterns it contains.
Information is only definable/quantifiable when it can be deciphered? So information becomes a subjective thing?
I think so, yes.
"Information" must exist in the form of a pattern; something which can be decoded to provide understanding. Cognitivie scientists have long-known that the human brain is wired for pattern recognition
, such that we even tend to find them where they do not exist
. There are plenty of references on this, but I'm gonna hafta leave it up to you to do further searching.
Information can exist regardless of our abilities to recognize it, but until we have the symbology with which it can be detected, it remains "hidden". A string of characters can be interpreted to mean multiple things, so how do we qualify & quantify the amount of information it contains? The interpretation of Scripture is a good example - how many meanings can be attached to a single passage? What if there are languages yet to be invented which derive other novel meanings?
The real problem here, one which everyone except the fundies recognize, is that "information" isn't defined very well. The ratio of a circle's radius to its area is 3.141593... in base 10 numerology
. The ratio is different in binary; it happens to be 10.11111110111111011001... What's the base 10 value of pi, written in binary, but interpreted in base 3 numerology? I think it's 12.220121110022 (<-- I don't know where the decimal point belongs!)
A string of characters can be interpreted differently, and the interpretations do not have to agree. While this doesn't mean (practically) that every string can have an "infinite" number of meanings, it certainly implies that meaning must be linked specifically with the method used to derive it.And this means that the amount and kind of information in a thing is relative. Perhaps subjective too.