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It From Bit: What Did John Archibald Wheeler Get Right—and Wrong?

In a chapter in a forthcoming book, William Dembski explores the strengths and weaknesses of Wheeler’s perspective that the universe is, at bottom, information

In his chapter in a forthcoming book, Mind and Matter: Modern Dualism, Idealism and the Empirical Sciences (Discovery Institute Press), information theorist William Dembski looks at the ways physicist John Archibald Wheeler (1911–2008, pictured) changed our understanding of reality. What did Wheeler, an early atomic bomb theorist who coined the terms “black hole” and “wormhole,” get right? What did he get wrong? Wheeler is probably best known for a catchphrase, “it from bit,” introduced in a 1989 paper where he explains, It from bit symbolises the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — at a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that what we call reality arises in the…