Tom Stonier was a biologist and information theorist who argued that information is not simply a construct of human minds, but should be recognized as a third part of the physical universe alongside matter and energy. He called for an "information physics," which would ground a "general theory of information," converting knowledge engineering and software production into a science. He wrote:
Information exists. It does not need to be perceived to exist. It does not need to be understood to exist. It requires no intelligence to interpret it [to exist]. It does not have to have meaning to exist. It exists.Stonier saw correctly that "not only is information not a uniquely human attribute, but information processing is not either."
Biological systems have been processing information since their origin. One could, in fact, interpret the entire evolutionary history of living systems in terms of their ability to create ever more efficient means of preserving and processing relevant information. It was this evolution of information systems which led to ever more complex, differentiated forms of organisation.He proposed three theorems of information physics, relating to the connection between information and organization (his boldface):
Stonier recognized that although entropy may be increasing throughout the universe, so is information (p.53). He was not able to explain the physics of how this is happening, that entropy reductions are localized to information structures, while the accompanying entropy increases needed to satisfy the Second Law of Thermodynamics are radiated or convected away from the local regions of "negative entropy" to places in the universe where particle motions are totally disorganized - the "motions that we call heat," as Ludwig Boltzmann said. Stonier says that information may force modification of the Third Law of Thermodynamics, but he does not discuss the much more important "apparent" violation of the Second Law. He mistakenly thought that the universe was headed toward a state in which all matter and energy have been converted into pure information (perhaps inspired by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's "omega point" and "noösphere" of pure thought). Stonier imagined that particles of information might exist that he called infons, traveling faster than the speed of light (p.126).