Tony and I are in an ongoing carpool discussion about the duality of the mind and the physical universe, as it relates to information theory, and the logical conclusions thereof. I thought it might be helpful to write down my thoughts on the the subject of this duality.
The physical universe is, by the standards of physical law, self sustaining. (This standard is not, of course, what I believe to be a complete world-view, which includes an active and present God sustaining creation at all points, but by this I mean that these physical laws, as far as they go, are probably enough to account for a complete closed system.) The universe obeys physical law. The subject of the origin of these laws does not need to enter this argument, only that they are observed to be a thorough and complete description of "what the universe does."
The human mind, however, is a complete oddity in this scheme. If the universe were truly such a closed system then we would have no basis to believe that consciousness (and with it morality) were any more than an illusion. What we observe introspectively is an absolute reality of the mind. No person can live as though they were an unconscious machine. Without delving deeply into a philosophic quagmire, the practical absurdity of man as a physical law abiding machine should be, if we are at all honest with ourselves, totally apparent. Likewise, even in our age of moral and intellectual relativism, not even the most die-hard naturalist (in this case, someone who believes that the physical universe is in fact a closed system) cannot live as if they had no absolute moral foundation.
So it seems that we cannot get rid of this oddity in the universe: the mind. If we accept this, it is helpful to examine how the mind differs from the physical universe. The mind, of course, differs from the material world in its immateriality. Thought does not have weight nor does it occupy space. The mind is rational, whereas the universe is a network of cause and effect chains. The mind is moral. It has laws and imperatives that do not and cannot apply to the physical world.
The real question is how these two exclusive entities interact. My thoughts are that the human mind invades the closed physical system of the universe through the human brain. The brain is a conduit, so to speak, or a transducer. When our brains are damaged or not functioning at their peaks (e.g. when we're tired, hungry, fatigued, intoxicated, etc.) it is not the mind that is disabled, but the brains transitive functions. The only way that the brain affects the mind is in our ability to analyze the physical universe through our senses. Our brains respond physically to physical stimuli, and the mind captures these stimuli and translates them into information.
Information is, in my system, totally mental. No information exists apart from the mind. The physical universe is real. It is an absolute. It exists. Information concerning it, though, is not woven into its independent and closed existence, but rather is woven into this separate and adjacent reality of the mind.
Through this understanding, and only by these conclusions, I find ideas such as PCs that will one day become sentient, and the universe containing proto-conscious tendencies that are substantiated in the human brain to be incomplete and incompatible with reality. There are wonderful and coherent conclusions to which my system will lead (not the least of which is the relation of our mind-over-matter duality to Biblical miracles,) but these ideas are certainly excluded.