Take the Money and Run...

October 6, 2004 at 2:55 PM

So, I conjured up (translation: used Google to find) A great article ("Mathematics: Is God Silent?" - part 1 - part 2 - part 3) about the nature of mathematics. It is a very interesting application of the Christian presupposationalist view.

Reading Cornelius Van Til has been rather helpful. Even though I haven't started any of his works aimed at flushing out epistemology, the little he has touched on (which is actually not that little at all) in The Doctrine of Scripture has been incredibly helpful in my INFO 300 class. We've been discussing the nature of Information: what is information? what isn't information? how is information received?, created?, et cetera. The discussion became (and rather quickly, I might add) one of epistemology, although no one really acknowledged this development verbally.

One of the things that Van Til has hammered out nearly ad nauseum is the result of "scientific" methods which rely on the human mind as sole interpreter (or even as valid, unaided interpreter) of facts--such systems result in a logical bind. These "scientists" are committed to the idea that anything can be, if the evidence permits it. They are also committed to the idea that there can in no way be a behind-the-scenes organizing factor like the Christian God illustrated in the Bible. One the one hand, the world of science is wholly open--but reliance on this openness presupposes that the world is closed to the possibility of the Christian God.

Applying these principles to information and information science is a small transformation. One theory of information ("information-as-thing") views everything as a piece of information, given the right context. This view is presented hand-in-hand with the picture of a scientist examining facts of the world and being informed; the potential to inform indicates that an item is information. This definition, however, assumes that the informing takes place in the context of man as chief predicator. Interaction occurs between man and the informing object alone; there is no boundary on what might be discovered. Man, therefore, can be informed of anything without limit--the Open Universe.

The problem arises when we look at what this view assumes. In such a universe, anything can be discovered--anything except man being dependant on God, anything except man thinking God's thoughts after him. An information scientist who operates under these guidelines assumes that the universe is wholly open (he may learn anything from any object) and that the universe is wholly closed (he may never learn that he is totally dependent on God for knowledge). Whew.