Value is Conserved

I have long been intrigued by the conservation laws. Conservation of energy, momentum, charge, and so forth all seem to point to a more basic conservation, of which they are all instances. I was therefore interested to read in Bill Dembski’s latest book, Being as Communion: A Metaphysics of Information, his discussion of Conservation of Information in search routines. He has apparently demonstrated (I have not read the demonstrations, which appear in the technical literature he cites in the book) that increasing the likelihood of a successful search – i.e., a search that has an object and finds it – over and above the walk of a blind drunkard who is not looking for anything in particular may be accomplished only through additional investment of information in the search routine. This can be done in a number of ways: by a more comprehensive specification of the configuration of the object, or by adding a feedback circuit to the algorithm, or by adding strange attractors to the configuration space (so that the environment of the search itself embodies more information) or some other similar measure. But any such improvements of search efficiency – of the likelihood of success – come at a cost of their own: it takes information to inform the search. At best, then, informed search will cost just as much as blind search, and cannot cost less. But then also if the information added to the routine is not essentially perfect – free of noise and error – then the addition will cost more information than it saves: the overall cost of the search, plus the cost of the search for the improvements to that search, will exceed the cost of random wandering about the configuration space.

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Onward, Christian Bloggers

Bruce Charlton worried a few days ago whether the languishing readership of the orthosphere, or Neoreaction generally, means that these schools of thought might be over and done with. Bonald has expressed similar concerns.

I think not. The tinder has not yet caught our spark. That does not mean it never will. Either we are all simply wrong about the way the world is, or else, sooner or later, one way or another, the fire will come. Why not keep striking the flint, in patient expectation?

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Apologetical Weapons: Benison

Anyone who has spent time at one of the more established Christian or theist blogs will have experienced the angry atheist troll, who makes his first appearance in any comment thread spitting bitter bile and frothing at the mouth with rage, hurling contemptuous insults and heaping scorn on the other participants. Nothing can so quickly cause an edifying thread to devolve to a wrestling match in the gutter, with lots of hissing and scratching. It’s unseemly.

This happened a fair bit over at Throne & Altar, bonald’s site (which, if you are interested in the Orthospherical weltanschauung, you should definitely check out – he has a precious trove of writings posted over there, many of which have been formative for Christian Reaction). Not that bonald attracted a lot of trolls because he deserved it; on the contrary, it seems to me that there is a direct relation between the importance and seriousness of a theist site and the number of trolls it must suffer (which, if right, must mean either that Orthosphere is neither serious nor important enough to bother with, or that we are just too new to have been noticed yet; or probably both). A couple months ago I suggested over there that we should always respond to such folks with blessings:

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Basic Readings on the Web

This is an incomplete list, and based largely on what I’ve personally found enlightening or interesting (I’ve even taken the liberty of including some of my own writings), so feel free to suggest additions.

On Liberalism and Modernity

On Conservatism and Tradition

On Particular Issues

On the Orthosphere