Most of the infinite set of possibilities are caused by objects which have a great deal of knowledge. People are the most significant feature of the universe, because we have an unlimited capacity to create explanatory knowledge and compare it to the truth by criticizing it. Human beings are the only people we know. The humanities are about us.
Lex sacra inscribed on a stone block in the outside wall of the stadion at Delphi: “Do not bring wine out from the stadion. If anyone does bring it out, let that person propitiate and appease the god for whom it was mixed. Let that person also pay five drachmas of which half goes to his accuser.”
Note in the Phokian dialect the preposition ἐξ simplifies to ἐς before a consonant. Readers familiar with Attic-Ionic εἰς/ἐς might make the mistake that the injunction was against people who take wine into the stadion.
Most information, if it were instantiated in some physical object, would not have the property that when it acts on something it is conserved. So, for example, a book with a misprint, in the following edition of the book, the misprint is corrected; if the book is a good book, then the version without misprints is capable of surviving. So, it’s rather like genes: regions of DNA which are junk DNA, which are not used for anything, are just information, and the rest are genes. Similarly, most information does not consist of knowledge, because it doesn’t satisfy the fundamental property of a constructor, that it can produce something and then be able to reproduce it again, without limit.
David Deutsch on distinguishing information and knowledge.
It is indeed very strange, but I think inescapable, that human beings—or rather people, creative entities—have a special place in nature, because the overwhelming majority of processes that are possible are possible only when people are involved. This is a break with the Galilean tradition, which said that there’s nothing important about people; but in fact the thing that is important about people is the very thing that back 400 years ago was important to deny about people: that is, people are not supernatural, they’re part of the physical world, and they’re the most important part of the physical world. I’ve focused in my talk about what people can do (that is, almost everything requires people to do), but there’s also the converse question, what can the world make people do, that is, how would you predict the behavior of human beings? Well, if you think about scientists performing experiments and celebrating when they succeed and make a discovery and so on, you couldn’t predict the set of all such things unless you knew all the laws of physics. So human beings, uniquely, are entities which you can’t predict the behavior of without knowing everything about the universe.
What Darwin showed us was that the mechanism of natural selection can, in principle, simulate the actions of the Creator, and His purpose and design, and that it can also simulate rational human action directed towards a purpose or aim.
The soap bubble consists of two subsystems which are both clouds and which control each other: without the air, the soapy film would collapse, and we should have only a drop of soapy water. Without the soapy film, the air would be uncontrolled: it would diffuse, ceasing to exist as a system. Thus the control is mutual; it is plastic, and of a feed-back character. Yet it is possible to make a distinction between the controlled system (the air) and the controlling system (the film): the enclosed air is not only more cloudy than the enclosing film, but it also ceases to be a physical (self-interacting) system if the film is removed. As against this, the film, after the removal of air, will form a droplet which, though of a different shape, may still be said to be a physical system.