UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE:
CONSERVATION OF INFORMATION:
UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE:
CONSERVATION OF INFORMATION:
By Bill Dembski | revised 2016.11.23 v2.00
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract: Peerless Digital Currency
Context for This Paper
1 Money in a Purely Informational World
2 Problems with Existing Blockchain Currencies
—2.1 Lack of User Control
—2.2 Artificiality of Mining
—2.3 Revenge of Recentralization
—2.4 Cult of Consensus
3 Claiming and Transferring Ownership of Information
—3.1 Cryptographic Encapsulation of Information
—3.2 Transferring Ownership of Encapsulated Value
—3.3 The Public Ledger, Double-Spending, and Transaction Finalization
4 Capsular Ownership and Its Alternatives
—4.2 Official Ownership Registries
—4.3 Money Creation by Banks
—4.4 Local and Underground Economies
5 Sources of Value
—5.1 Intellectual Property
—5.2 Promissory Notes
—5.4 Proof of Hash Work
—5.6 Units of Account
—5.7 Value in a Purely Informational World
6 The Mechanics of Encapsulated Currency
—6.3 Conjunctive or Joint Ownership
—6.4 Disjunctive or Shared Ownership
—6.5 Conditional Ownership
—6.6 Terminated Cash and Permanent Invalidation
—6.7 TTPs, Escrow, Smart Contracts
—6.8 Additional Security
—7.1 Established Data Structures
—7.2 Home-Brew Technology
—7.3 Verification, Search, and Accounting
—7.4 Government Regulation
—7.5 Enforcement of Agreements
—7.6 Taxation and Government Control
—7.7 Security of Private Keys
—7.8 The Way Forward
Epilogue: Radical Decentralization and Freedom
[Read more…] about Peerless: A Radically Decentralized Digital Monetary Framework
Two weeks ago, Sean McDowell interviewed me about the current state of intelligent design as an intellectual project and cultural movement. He and I had written a popular-audience book on ID about a decade ago.
As someone no longer active in the field but still to some extent watching from the sidelines, I gave my impressions in the interview about the successes and failures of the ID movement.
The reaction to that interview was understandably mixed (I was trying to be provocative), but it got me thinking that I really am retired from ID. I no longer work in the area. Moreover, the camaraderie I once experienced with colleagues and friends in the movement has largely dwindled.
I’m not talking about any falling out. It’s simply that my life and interests have moved on. It’s as though ID was a season of my life and that season has passed. Earlier this month (September 10, 2016) I therefore resigned my formal associations with the ID community, including my Discovery Institute fellowship of 20 years.
The one association I’m keeping is with Bob Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab, but I see the work of that lab as more general than intelligent design, focusing on information-theoretic methods that apply widely and which I intend to apply in other contexts, especially to the theory of money and finance.
If miracles happen, why aren’t they more obvious?
If miracles don’t happen, why are we talking about them?
At some point in most people’s lives, the prospect of a miracle becomes important. Times of crises, challenges to religious belief, and questions about how the world works all cause us to ask whether miracles are real and whether they occur with sufficient force and frequency to make a difference in our lives.
In the following survey, a miracle is defined as an event or act that defies ordinary explanation and whose occurrence seems to require some influence or power outside nature. [Read more…] about Miracle Survey (for THE FACES OF MIRACLES)
I had the opportunity at the end of this month (May 2016) to update an interview I did four years ago at TheBestSchools.org:
In the updated interview, I elaborated on my concerns over fundamentalism. Below are the relevant two questions and answers:
TBS: In a debate with Christopher Hitchens in 2010, you cite Boethius in saying that goodness is a problem for the atheist in the same way that evil is a problem for the theist. We would like to hear more about both sides of this interesting observation. First, the problem of evil, which is a main topic of your book The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (B&H Academic, 2009). For the sake of our readers: The “problem of evil” is the apparent incompatibility of evil with the omnipotence and goodness of God. In a nutshell, could you tell us about your personal take on this perennial problem?
WD: My basic line on the problem of evil is the very traditional Christian view that God allows evil temporarily because of the greater good that ultimately results from having allowed it. My entire prepared remarks in the debate with Hitchens are available online. I encourage readers of this interview to look at it. The entire debate is also available here:
What I was dealing with in The End of Christianity is a more narrow problem, namely, how to account for evil within a Christian framework given a reading of Genesis that allows the earth and universe to be billions, rather than merely thousands, of years old. I’m an old-earth creationist, so I accept that the earth and universe are billions of years old. Young-earth creationism, which is the more traditional view, holds that the earth is only thousands of years old.
The reason this divergence between young-earth and old-earth creationists is relevant to the problem of evil is that Christians have traditionally believed that both moral and natural evil are a consequence of the fall of humanity. But natural evil, such as animals killing and parasitizing each other, would predate the arrival of humans on the scene if the earth is old and animal life preceded them. So, how could their suffering be a consequence of human sin and the Fall? My solution is to argue that the Fall had retroactive effects in history (much as the salvation of Christ on the Cross acts not only forward in time to save people now, but also backward in time to save the Old Testament saints).
The book is a piece of speculative theology, and I’m not convinced of all of its details. It’s been interesting, however, to see the reaction in some Christian circles, especially the fundamentalist ones. Ken Ham went ballistic on it, going around the country denouncing me as a heretic, and encouraging people to write to my theological employers to see to it that I get fired for the views I take in it.
At one point in the book, I examine what evolution would look like within the framework I lay out. Now, I’m not an evolutionist. I don’t hold to universal common ancestry. I believe in a real Adam and Eve (i.e., an original human pair) specially created by God apart from primate ancestors. Friends used to joke that my conservativism, both politically and theologically, put me to the right of Attila the Hun. And yet, for merely running the logic of how a retroactive view of the Fall would look from the vantage of Darwinian theory (which I don’t accept), I received email after email calling me a compromiser and someone who has sold out the faith (the emails are really quite remarkable).
There’s a mentality I see prevalent in conservative Christian circles that one can never be quite conservative enough. This got me thinking about fundamentalism and the bane it is. It’s one thing to hold views passionately. It’s another to hold one particular view so dogmatically that all others may not even be discussed, or their logical consequences considered. This worries me about the future of evangelicalism. [Read more…] about Disillusion with Fundamentalism
I usually like to start the workday with reading the lectionary, which includes readings from the Psalter, the Old Testament or Apocrypha, the New Testament (non-Gospels), and the Gospels. Additionally, on some days, there is a brief account of a saint who is celebrated that day along with a prayer remembering that saint (sometimes more than one saint is commemorated on a given day).
The other day, Edward Demby and Henry Delany were commemorated. Here was the prayer that was offered at their inspiration:
Loving God, we offer thanks for the ministries of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, bishops of thy Church who, though limited by segregation, served faithfully to thy honor and glory. Assist us, we pray, to break through the limitations of our own time, that we may minister in obedience to Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I like the phrase “limitations of our own time.” The phrase does not excuse the faults of our time, or of any time for that matter. Indeed, the two men commemorated here can rightly be said to have transcended the limitations of their time. [Read more…] about The Limitations of Our Time