- Tapa blanda: 240 páginas
- Editor: Routledge; Edición: 1 (11 de septiembre de 2014)
- Colección: Routledge Science and Religion Series
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0754638588
- ISBN-13: 978-0754638582
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- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº329.192 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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Being as Communion: A Metaphysics of Information (Routledge Science and Religion Series) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 11 sep 2014
Descripción del producto
'This is a clear, fresh, stimulating, and provocative book. I enjoyed reading it, and recommend it to anyone who would like to think more deeply about information, evolution and creativity.'Rupert Sheldrake, University of Cambridge, UK'Being as Communion is a masterpiece. Dembski's treatment of information is deep, rich and staggeringly original, gathering together many different threads from theology, philosophy and science. In an intellectual world that prizes outrageous proposals, Dembski modestly seeks to turn the world upside down by making the case that information is more fundamental than matter or energy. He thereby illuminates the primacy of mind in the cosmos. This book is a fresh and significant threat to materialist imperialism.'Mark Fitzmaurice, General Medical Practitioner, Sydney, Australia
Reseña del editor
For a thing to be real, it must be able to communicate with other things. If this is so, then the problem of being receives a straightforward resolution: to be is to be in communion. So the fundamental science, indeed the science that needs to underwrite all other sciences, is a theory of communication. Within such a theory of communication the proper object of study becomes not isolated particles but the information that passes between entities. In Being as Communion philosopher and mathematician William Dembski provides a non-technical overview of his work on information. Dembski attempts to make good on the promise of John Wheeler, Paul Davies, and others that information is poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of reality. With profound implications for theology and metaphysics, Being as Communion develops a relational ontology that is at once congenial to science and open to teleology in nature. All those interested in the intersections of theology, philosophy and science should read this book.Ver Descripción del producto
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Dembski writes clearly and concisely about a notion that is turning out to be one of the key questions in modern scientific inquiry: the nature and origin of information. Dembski develops the notion that information precedes material existence, and exposes the impotence of reductionist materialism. Most people are surprised to learn that modern science confirms this perspective.
Although reductionist materialism has reigned as the dominant paradigm for most of my scientific career, its inability to treat something non-material (information) makes it increasingly unsuitable for addressing the real questions. Consequently, we are in the midst of a significant scientific paradigm shift.
We somehow thought that if we could sequence human DNA we would understand how it worked. If we knew which neurons fired (and when) we could understand the mind. If we learned what all the fundamental particles were we would understood the laws of physics. Not so. The questions only get bigger and the puzzles more challenging. Orders of magnitude bigger...and they require non-material answers.
For example, it does not help me to understand a Legos creation by disassembling it. I could study the physical properties of Legos building blocks my entire career and never understand the Legos creation assembled by my child. The meaning and purpose is not contained within the constituents. These are found in the non-material information communicated by their arrangement. A reductionist approach will not provide the answers I seek.
In "Being As Communion," Dembski explores and develops the notion that everything that exists is the consequence of information, which is then subsequently in communication with everything else. When one thinks about it, this *must* be true even from a merely physical perspective: every particle in the universe is feeling the effect of every other particle (e.g. gravity). But what is the essence and origin of this communication?
At the core of this discussion is the notion of information. Information is not material, yet it is real. This notion is new to many folks, so allow me to illustrate:
a) The words and ideas I am communicating and you are reading here are *not* the electrons causing the image nor the photons your retina is collecting. The information flows from my mind to my computer to the internet... to your screen to your retina to your mind;
b) A painting is *not* merely the canvass and the oils, rather the ideas and beauty which transcend it;
c) The essence and purpose of DNA is *not* the chemical constituents, rather the information conveyed in their arrangement;
d) The universe is *not* the stuff of matter (e.g. protons, electrons), rather the material expression of a set of ideas (the laws of physics).
In The Grand Design Hawking essentially admits this: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." Information (a non-material law) precedes and causes material existence. But is information nothing? Of course not. But it is also non-material.
Thus, to Dembski, information is more fundamental than material, and information gives rise to material existence. But what is the source of that information? Does it serve any purpose?
Dembski describes "Being As Communion" as the third in a series, where his earlier books develop and refine key notions of intelligent design (Dembski is one of the preeminent thinkers in the ID discussion). (The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction and Decision Theory),No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence). Thus, given his world view, we can anticipate where Dembski's personal paradigm is going with all this. Purposeful Intelligence leads to information, which leads to material existence, which leads to "Being as Communion." A stimulating view with which I agree. "In the beginning was the Word." (John 1)
Of course, this is not a new discussion. Throughout history (Plato, Aristotle, Descartes) there have been many rigorous expressions of dualism (there are two types of existence: form and matter). What's fun is seeing modern science come back around to this philosophical admission after so many years of attempted pure materialism. In his rebuttal of reductionist materialism, Dembski incorporates much of our newest scientific understanding.
Dembski's critics often make the mistake of writing off his scientific and philosophical ideas because of his religious world view. Do not accept this marginalization. Dembski is no lightweight! He has multiple degrees from respected institutions, he's done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy. He also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996.
Because of their religious world view, you wouldn't write off the scientific ideas of Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, da Vinci, Descartes, Boyle, Pascal, Kepler, Maxwell, Faraday.... Now, would you? If you enjoy honest metaphysical inquiry, I encourage you to give Dembski a read.
The main idea is the communication and more to the point, information, is foundational "stuff" in the universe. If this sounds unintuitive...well that is what the book is for. His point about drilling down into ever tiny particles which we cannot see and which we only can infer information about them brings this home. Now that Higgs Boson has been discovered we need to look for what it is made up of: X and Y particles. However, that is not likely as the accelerator needed to do it will be the size of the solar system.
This is the kind of book that opens new thinking much as Einstein's theory of relativity opened close to century ago.
In "Being as Communion" Dembski goes on the offensive. he argues that life, and evolution to the complexity observed on the present Earth, not only was unlikely in the absence of information input from the outside, but in fact impossible without it. He spends a lot of time bringing the reader to an understanding of information in perfect accord with how today's scientists, engineers, and mathematicians understand it. I think he puts too much ontological emphasis on information, but his point that information must be at least logically antecedent to physical expressions of it is well made. He builds his case methodically and in an easy going style that brings the reader painlessly through the process. He pays special attention to the impossibility of purely materialistic Darwinian mechanism (mutation/recombination coupled with selection) achieving the results we witness on Earth. Survival to reproduction (the core of Darwinian selection) is not a target with which a blind search (mutation, the core Darwinian driver) can assemble complexity. Dembski uses both computer simulations and empirical research (in biology) that demonstrate this. If inter-generational survival is the only goal then the most successful lifeforms would become as simple as possible consistent with reproduction. Why? Because those lifeforms would utilize the least possible energy in their reproductive process. They would easily out reproduce everything else and block the development of anything more complex. Dembski covers a lot of ground building these arguments. Personally I find very few places where his assumptions bear challenge. Given his starting points I find no flaw in his arguments and he is a very good writer. Even dyed-in-the-wool materialists will find this book among the most extensive and systematic statements of "the other side". If Dembski is right and information is both (a) the key to life and evolution and (b) behaves as he describes, then one simply cannot get out at the end that which wasn't put there at the beginning or somewhere along the way.
Dembski still leaves room open as to the exact nature of the designing influence (could be aliens). He is more explicit about his own preferences as compared to the first two books, but his particular preferences aren't entailed by his arguments. His contribution to philosophy is unmistakable here. Future challenges to his claims, that is rejoinders from the materialist-Darwinian side, will have to account for these arguments. This will be especially tough given that as goes his core thread here, the properties of information are the same properties well understood by the scientific community. In this book Dembski infers perfectly reasonable consequences of those properties not yet grasped by most of the science or philosophy communities.