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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
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Sylvain Poirier: on 5/11/15 at 14:40pm UTC, wrote "why not let the memory process in our mind be a normal information storage...

Luca Valeri: on 4/22/15 at 14:05pm UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, Thanks for commenting in my forum. Indeed I think our views...

Gordon Watson: on 4/20/15 at 21:57pm UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, Many thanks for your detailed analyses and exchanges as well...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/19/15 at 20:07pm UTC, wrote Thanks for explanations. But I dismiss as irrelevant the claim that it...

Gordon Watson: on 4/19/15 at 11:57am UTC, wrote Thanks indeed for your helpful and comprehensive reply. I'll continue my...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/19/15 at 8:47am UTC, wrote Thank you for your thoughtful message and interesting questions. ...

Gordon Watson: on 4/19/15 at 5:30am UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, Drawn to your essay by your clear (and often very accurate)...

William Parsons: on 4/14/15 at 16:40pm UTC, wrote Hi Sylvain-- I enjoyed your essay very much. Wow! You covered an immense...


nimit theeraleekul: "Dear friends, In my early post, I said that we could see detail of..." in Weinberg: Why quantum...

nimit theeraleekul: "Dear Administrator, I have tried to make several posts with an attachment,..." in Weinberg: Why quantum...

Gary Simpson: "Pentcho, I did not need the postulates of SR to propose the mechanism. In..." in Alternative Models of...

Pentcho Valev: "Gary, "I can propose a physical mechanism for length contraction" You..." in Alternative Models of...

Robert Martin: "Theories of everything, he contends, can be depicted as those which draw on..." in Theories of Everything,...

Gary Simpson: "Pentcho, I'm not asking for you to comment upon my essay. I am asking you..." in We Are All Connected

Pentcho Valev: "Gary, Einstein deduced his concept of time (spacetime) from two..." in We Are All Connected

Georgina Woodward: "Hi Gerry, I had a quick read through " Towards a new mathematics for..." in The limits of mathematics

click titles to read articles

Bohemian Reality: Searching for a Quantum Connection to Consciousness
Is there are sweet spot where artificial intelligence systems could have the maximum amount of consciousness while retaining powerful quantum properties?

Quantum Replicants: Should future androids dream of quantum sheep?
To build the ultimate artificial mimics of real life systems, we may need to use quantum memory.

Painting a QBist Picture of Reality
A radical interpretation of physics makes quantum theory more personal.

The Spacetime Revolutionary
Carlo Rovelli describes how black holes may transition to "white holes," according to loop quantum gravity, a radical rewrite of fundamental physics.

Riding the Rogue Quantum Waves
Could giant sea swells help explain how the macroscopic world emerges from the quantum microworld? (Image credit: MIT News)

May 24, 2017

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: A Mind/Mathematics Dualistic Foundation of Physical Reality by Sylvain Poirier [refresh]
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Author Sylvain Poirier wrote on Jan. 16, 2015 @ 21:34 GMT
Essay Abstract

In a refined version of Wigner's interpretation of quantum physics, the Universe is explained as a part of the mathematical world (a specific history inside Everett's many-worlds) that is distinguished by the event of being consciously perceived. Physics focuses on the mathematical side of this combination, that is a Platonic mathematical realm slightly less than infinite. Consciousness provides the substance of time and randomness (beyond their mathematical forms as 4th dimension and probability laws).

Author Bio

Sylvain Poirier (Le Havre, France) is fond of mathematics, theoretical physics and philosophy since teenage. Not finding sense in current official science curricula and teaching systems, he left institutions after a math PhD (UJF, Grenoble) and one year teaching as assistant professor of mathematics, to focus on the development of his Web sites, first in French, then in English : offering a new design of the undergraduate foundations of mathematics and physics.

Download Essay PDF File

Harlan Swyers wrote on Jan. 17, 2015 @ 15:41 GMT

I enjoyed reading your paper because it touches on some of the same concepts I have been thinking about. I am particularly interested in your thoughts on algorithms and whether they can or can not explain human behavior. From your paper it suggests you do not believe this is possible, but are we necessarily tied to the motive of the human that leads to the action of a human or the simply the action? The actions are at least observable and measurable, and from that point of view, if we take the sequence of actions in a humans life time, while certainly some patterns exist, is it sufficiently complex to declare it random and interpretable as an algorithm?

Curious as to your thoughts,



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Author Sylvain Poirier wrote on Jan. 17, 2015 @ 21:20 GMT
Hello. I tried to be clear that I speak about the actions, and that they cannot be correctly simulated if the needed stuff (feelings) is not really there behind.

As I also tried to explain, it makes no sense to declare something random in the absolute, but only relatively to a specific framework or "explanation" in which we analyze a file, and only by comparing it to a range of other...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Jan. 18, 2015 @ 03:23 GMT
Dear Sylvain Poirier,

You and I have significant differences in our global understanding of reality, but I admire any serious, informed effort to formulate a theory of everything. And, of course, as we share conscious existence in a complex world, we overlap in many particulars.

I'm glad you feel free to include consciousness as a (the!) major point of your scheme. I do also, but...

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Jan. 18, 2015 @ 20:33 GMT
"I view consciousness as the fundamental essence of the primodial physical field, so local organisms represent high density/complexity but not "addition of a new thing" to a local structure, more a matter of degree."

This is the definition of Panpsychism, it seems. I looked at this concept but I cannot agree with it, as it cannot account for the presence of totally unconscious materials,...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jan. 19, 2015 @ 23:10 GMT
"There is nothing more righteous than a 17-year-old."

You may chronologically be a few years past 17, but not socially. And yet you want to redesign social networks. You say in your essay, "I describe the sketch of such a new social network, but could not find anyone else to care understanding it..." I suspect you will find that someone who has not yet learned the art of polite conversation will have a hard time convincing others that they can or should redesign society. But you're young, and have lots of time to figure out how much you don't know.

Good luck in life, with your attitude you'll need it.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Jan. 20, 2015 @ 07:55 GMT
Quite funny, and, I'd say, usual.

My language is neither that of polite nor impolite conversation, but the language of reason and honesty.

I do as I can to not be impolite, but when people define "politeness" to mean pretending that their view is wise when it clearly isn't, then even though I wish I could do otherwise I cannot escape this dilemma : either being honest, or being...

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Author Sylvain Poirier wrote on Jan. 23, 2015 @ 10:14 GMT
In reply to Eckard Blumschein's "objection to the neglect of the distinction between past and future" as he asked in another thread.

I agree there is indeed such a distinction to make between the past which is fixed and the future which is not determined yet, as I did in my essay.

The problem was to specify the source of this distinction that gives the concept of time its special...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jan. 26, 2015 @ 09:52 GMT
"different aspects of reality"? Doesn't reason compel us to trust in the uniqueness of the reality of just one universe? I cannot blame somebody who is at the beginning of his life in science if he at least pretends trusting in G. Cantor, Einstein, and possibly God. Incidentally, I already distrusted Stalin. To me being a reality is a reasonably conjectured property that we may attribute to the...

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basudeba mishra wrote on Feb. 5, 2015 @ 15:51 GMT
Dear Sir,

We thoroughly enjoyed your excellent essay. Here are certain elaborations of your concepts.

The halting problem (what can/cannot be computed) arises due to a wrong question: “How long are you willing to wait”? We are familiar with irrational numbers, which are mostly non-computable. Yet, we know that they hover around a limited range. We choose as precise a value we...

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Feb. 11, 2015 @ 23:40 GMT
You wrote : The halting problem (what can/cannot be computed) arises due to a wrong question: “How long are you willing to wait”?

This is not a wrong question. At first sight it may look not very serious, like the liar paradox or the Berry paradox, but further examination of the foundations of mathematics shows that it is crucial and cannot be eliminated. Namely, once added up Goedel's...

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Feb. 11, 2015 @ 19:17 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

I have not read your essay but I saw your comment elsewhere and I suspect it would have a geometric flavor. It is therefore a must read for me in the next one or two days. Then intellectual missiles may follow :)



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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 08:39 GMT
I have ideas in geometry indeed and how to use it to understand theoretical physics, but this was not the topic of my essay, as I had more important and on-topic things to put there instead. You can find in my site some of my ideas on geometry and its axiomatization, and how to understand Special Relativity and quantum physics in geometric terms. There are also algebraic aspects of geometry, such as more deeply using duality in linear algebra, seen as a particular case of a much more general concept of duality in algebra involving the concept of polymorphism, and giving a clean introduction to the formalism of tensors. Long ago I also wrote other things on geometry in French (on affine, projective and conformal geometries, and geometries with a constant curvature). Unfortunately, I am still far from completing and cleaning up all things I wish to write on the topic, as I had many other things to write on, such as in the foundations of maths and in philosophy.

Akinbo Ojo wrote on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 09:59 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

I was thinking the focus of your essay would be geometry based on your comments elsewhere. A thought provoking piece destined to do well in the competition.

Just one question based on the essay's focus: Is very, very, very high probability the same as certainty? If not, i.e. if 99.9999% is not 100% then should this not be of some relevance in mathematics and physics?

Is it very, very, very probable that 2 + 3 = 5 or is it a certainty?

When adding 2 and 3 apples together, can any of the apples perish as you go about doing your summation to see what you get?

When adding 2 quantum particles to 3 of same, is it more or less likely the results you will get will be same as for apples? Give this a thought.

All the best in the competition.



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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 18:04 GMT
"Is very, very, very high probability the same as certainty?" : it all depends on context and how accurately we need to discuss. For example in a star, colliding atoms have every time a very low probability of undergoing some nuclear reaction, however there are so many collisions and each reaction releases so much energy that it suffices to provide the power of stars. Similarly, the chance of...

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 15:52 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

your essay contains a number of stimulating ideas, although after a first reading they are still poorly ordered in my mind, leaving me still doubtful about your main intended message. In particular, I find the closing part as more related to the topic of the 2014 Essay Contest (on the future of humanity). I hope I’ll have the time to read it again anyway, to better grasp the flow of your reasoning.

I like very much the idea to start by asking how a non-mathematical world would look like. In this respect, I have a remark on your attributing a low mathematical content to an algorithmic world . My view is that an algorithmic world may well have islands of (deterministic) randomness, mixed with islands of complex but mathematically accessible phenomena (e.g. particle interactions), mixed with very regular structures, easily described in math. So, imaginative tips may help shortcut a non trivial portion of the computation, I believe.

Another point I found very interesting is the responsibility you assign to consciousness to give substance to a part of the mathematical world - I point I also tackle in my essay, although under a totally different, humorous narrative key. Consciousness illuminates a portion of the mathematical world, making it ‘real’. Then, I wonder what is your take on the three interconnected spheres (platonic ideas, material world, consciousness-thought) in the opening chapter of Penrose’s Road to Reality - did you see that? Maybe you could have yourself provided a drawing of that sort, that would have helped summarising your view?

(Penrose presents actually two variants of that figure - I can’t point to the page number unfortunately, since I do not have a copy of the book at hand.)

Best regards


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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Feb. 13, 2015 @ 07:47 GMT
Hello. By "lowly mathematical" I meant "of a low mathematical kind" though it remains 100% mathematical. Moreover, not all algorithmic worlds are equal. Some, like Conway's Game of Life, have a low density of interesting possible behaviors lost in an ocean of chaotic ones, as I once verified by systematically testing hundreds of initial configurations, so that imaginative tips are most often impossible.

Indeed I concentrated here lots of ideas, so it may be hard to follow. It may look clearer reading the longer exposition of my interpretation of quantum physics from which the main ideas here are extracted, and maybe other texts on other aspects (introduction to quantum physics, problems with other interpretations, foundations of maths)

The last part touches last year's contest that I missed as I was busy trying to get people implement my project (but I actually failed to do so). But I stayed here at such a level of generality that I still see it on-topic: rather cosmological and related with the rest of ideas of the essay, without entering the details of how things can work. But for last year I am not sure what I could have explained in 9 pages. Maybe just a few key ideas and cases of functions, longer explained in my site. As a substitute, I undertook in the last few weeks to write a much longer comment on many ideas found in other essays of that contest.

About the relation between the "spheres" of the mathematical, the physical and the conscious, I think I was clear already in the title, and more details are expressed for example by the diagram on page 7.

Sujatha Jagannathan wrote on Feb. 16, 2015 @ 09:24 GMT
"Time and tide waits for none"

is exceptionally perceived and written by you in this work.

Yet the probabilities and questions still remains unanswered.


Miss. Sujatha Jagannathan

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Ted Erikson wrote on Feb. 26, 2015 @ 22:10 GMT
My title, "Duality, the War for Existence:" identifies the "mysterious connection" as panpsychism. My expertise in swimming, geometry, and thermodynamics are merged to construct a model to guide "all wars". It focuses the chaos of my 2012 submission, "To Seek Unknown Shores".

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Ted Erikson wrote on Feb. 26, 2015 @ 22:15 GMT
Sorry, meant to compliment you on considering "panpsychism". Therein is the mysterious connection between "all things" , hidden centrally and only viewed distally.

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Feb. 27, 2015 @ 21:27 GMT
Sorry, while my view may be considered not far from panpsychism, it is different.

I may admit the idea of panpsychism as an a priori possibility, maybe true in other universes, but I do not see it compatible with the facts of our universe, namely the data of quantum physics which admits the presence of material systems that keep quantum superpositions as they are not observed, and are thus totally unconscious. As I explained, I consider the deep nature of such systems as not "material" but mathematical ; still they "are something", in the sense that they occupy space as we usually conceive it, they have mass, undergo physical reactions, etc.

Branko L Zivlak wrote on Mar. 3, 2015 @ 14:20 GMT
Dear Sylvain Poirier,

I suggest three main candidates for the mathematical concept , which seem naturally suited to describe features of the physical world:

bit (it was the subject of the competition FQXi 2013);

exp(x) (You know the unique features of this function);

Euler's identity.

There are other useful functions, but of less importance.

Suitable use of pervious can to describe features of the physical World.

What are your main candidates? If you agree with me, part of the solution can be found in my essay.

Best Regards,

Branko Zivlak

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Mar. 3, 2015 @ 16:57 GMT
The mathematical systems best suited to describe the physical world are well-known. There is no wonder what they are. Much of the competition is already past and now over. Possible candidates were already reviewed, and the ones that best fit were selected and very well verified. They are of course the established theories of physics : as far as we can tell now, they are the theories of General Relativity (with the Least Action Principle), Quantum Field Theory with the Standard Model, and the concept of density operator. Or, to take the main effective theories respectively resulting from them that more directly appear in practice : Newtonian gravitation, electromagnetism and thermodynamics. For more details on these lists, see in my essay, and in my site.

Christine Cordula Dantas wrote on Mar. 18, 2015 @ 13:13 GMT
Dear Sylvain Poirier,

I have replied to your questions on my essay over at my post page. I will read your essay opportunely. Thanks.


Christine Cordula Dantas

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Mar. 20, 2015 @ 10:47 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Very deep analytical essay in the spirit of Cartesian doubt and interesting thoughts about "consciousness" and "law". I think that in order to overcome the "crisis of understanding" in basic science must be a deeper ontology and dialectic in the spirit of Nicholas of Cusa - "coincidence of opposites" and dialectics of "eidos" and "logos". Fundamental knowledge, mathematics and physics, requires a deep ontological justification (basification). In fundamental physics is necessary to introduce an ontological standard justification (basification) along with the empirical standard.

I invite you to see and appreciate my analysis of the philosophical foundations of mathematics and physics, the method of ontological constructing a new basis of knowledge and new unifying paradigm - the basic generating structure, "La Structure mère" as the ontological framework, carcass and foundation of knowledge, the core of which - the ontological (structural, cosmic) memory... I began to read your site.

Kind regards,


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Janko Kokosar wrote on Mar. 22, 2015 @ 13:40 GMT
Dear Sylvain

You have interesting approach toward physics. You do not look all with some physical laws, but every correlation, every information is like a physical law. Thus, all lack of information about uncertainty principle or about chaos, or about entropy are very similar, according to you.

You have a huge web page about quantum consciousness, I will read it more precisely, when it will be enough time.

We agree about panpsychism and about quantum consciousness. Although many scientists think that this is crackpot, Tononi and Koch also agree with this.

We disagree about entangelment at quantum consciousness. As I understand, by you, time arrows are causes of wave function collapse and not entagelment? I need to read you more, but by me, entangelment time means time of decision. What is your motivation for this claim, maybe because entagelment times are very short?

I like your statement, that checking by measurement is necessary, where mathematics is not enough.

My statement that »QG will also tell more about quantum randomness, what can be connected with free will« is not very confirmed intuitively, others are more.

You have very interestiong argumentation of FQXi points with a blog and I hope that this will happen more often by other contestants. A year before I also gave some proposals for more fair estimations.

My new statement in this essay is that consciousness and free will are connected, consciousness does not exist without free will. In prolonged version and in 2013 essay I described also thought Turing experiment on this topic.

We both also find Peter Woit's as an interestiong essay.

I gave comment about U(1) symmetry. Peter Woit.

What is your opinion about U(1) symmetry?

My essay.

Best regards Janko Kokosar

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Mar. 31, 2015 @ 21:18 GMT
The word "entanglement" may be ambiguous. The formalism of quantum physics makes no fundamental distinction between entanglement and classical correlations. Usually, classical correlations are entanglements that macroscopically behave as mere classical correlations due to decoherence (that destroy the practical ability to measure observables not commuting with a specific one). And decoherence is an emergent phenonenon.

In my opinion, wave function collapse is caused by conscious observation (a non-physical condition) which requires decoherence (an emergent condition from physics). And time arrow is a property of consciousness, which causes the time arrow of thermodynamics.

Yes, not only entanglement times (i.e. before decoherence) are very short, but I see the idea of letting decoherence a precondition for observation (or free choice) a more logical way to articulate physics with metaphysics, for the reasons I explained in my site.

See my reply about U(1) symmetry in comment to Peter Woit's essay.

Best regards


Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 31, 2015 @ 15:14 GMT
Dear Professor Poirier,

I thought that your engrossing essay was exceptionally well written and I do hope that it fares well in the competition.

I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING.

All I ask is that you give my essay WHY THE REAL UNIVERSE IS NOT MATHEMATICAL a fair reading and that you allow me to answer any objections you may leave in my comment box about it.

Joe Fisher

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Author Sylvain Poirier wrote on Apr. 2, 2015 @ 15:16 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher,

Sorry for you but I have several reasons to consider the review of other essays a higher priority than yours, and one of them is your ridiculous claim to think that all essays in this competition are exceptionally well written, and that you do hope that they all fare well in the competition.

Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 3, 2015 @ 16:20 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Due to the fact that I think I had a relapse of my Asperger's Disorder, a comment I posted on some of the esteemed essayists sites was woefully contemptuous. The recipients rightfully complained about the inappropriate nature of the comment and the Moderator removed some of them. Unfortunately, the Moderator classified the useful part of the comment as Obnoxious Spam. I have proven that Newton was wrong about abstract gravity, Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about then explosive capability of NOTHING.

You hate that proof. That is your option.


Joe Fisher

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Apr. 3, 2015 @ 19:36 GMT
You cannot have proven anything, since you don't even have a clue about logic.

I don't hate any proof, I just don't have time to waste with pure nonsense.

I cannot take seriously a "proof" that 2+2=5 and I do not consider it worth looking at the details because I have good reasons to know it must be false and worthless, no matter what the details may be. Where is the hate ? Just a reasonable time management. It is clear that you cannot be having a clue at the things you claim to refute. You are trying to make up claims of problems where there is no problem except the problem of your own failures to grasp things that were successfully discovered. That's only your personal problem and science is not concerned. Now that's enough.

Asperger? Haha. To be called so, people ought to be intelligent, which you are not, or maybe a little more than average (yeah I often forget where the average is) but nowhere close to what is need to discuss physics. You already proved quite enough that all your thoughts are nonsense, by the absurdity of you first comments to me. You insulted me and treated me like idiot right from the start, and now you would like me to dedicate work to examine your... nonsense ? And argue with you until when ? Until your majesty is satisfied and convinced that my replies are good enough and that you are convinced ? Are you crazy or what ? Now please go play elsewhere and don't disturb those who have serious stuff to discuss, thanks.

Member Marc Séguin wrote on Apr. 5, 2015 @ 23:01 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Following the conversation we already had on my essay's page, I am now going to comment your essay in detail.

The way I understand it, your system is based on the twin entries at the bottom of your table on page 7: Mathematics and "The Matrix", which encompasses all relevant aspects of "reality" that are not mathematical. That's why you begin your essay by arguing for...

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Apr. 7, 2015 @ 09:18 GMT
Thanks. I just added your essay in the top list of my general review of essays in this contest. Despite our efforts, it seems the ratings (both community and public) remain nonsense as I explained. About "too big to be stored in a computer - do we really know what is the theoretical limit that a computer can achieve ?", I think I already explained. Reminds me of "the unit of distance (meters, m) is specified strictly for decorative purposes" in William T. Parsons essay. But the main point here was, more than an exact measure of this complexity, the fact that the source of this complexity is non-mathematical (unlike anything that this universe can produce, which logically results from its relatively simple physical laws).

The "slightly less than infinite" is explained in p.5 as concerns the physical observation that it goes so (it is a character of quantum physics). Or are you asking for a philosophical motivation why it should be so ?

Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Apr. 10, 2015 @ 19:33 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

One significant feature of your essay is the fact that the two poles of your dualism are mind and mathematics. This is unusual, because, as you are well aware, the two poles for an ontological dualism are generally stated to be physical and mental existence. Without trying to enter into the mind-body problem, I can say that your positioning of mathematics as fundamental is well worth considering.

I find it also important that you bring issues of good and evil into the picture. In your discussion of the problem of evil, you state clearly and concisely a relevant fact when you say, “It is very strange indeed that psychological laws (free will) only physically operate at the level of individual minds.” We are so used to the individuation of consciousness that we do not notice that it is at least logically possible that consciousness in the cosmos might have been organized differently. Moreover, as you say, the world would be a different and better place with either superordinate co-ordination or effective application to smaller-scale details. Nonetheless, as you also indicate, people have to start with the world as it is, not with the world as people might have wished it to be. Probably the main thing for readers to retain from your essay is this emphasis on values, and the call to action to make the world a better place.

Best wishes,

Laurence Hitterdale

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 09:04 GMT
Dear Sylvain

Thank you for extensive explanation of gauge U(1) symmetry in Woit's theme. It will help.

But I am thinking about photons, for instance in the Feynman's book ''QED, the strange theory of light and matter''. Photon's wave function behaves like circular U(1) structure, but at the same time it seems that its circular structure is a consequence of Maxwell's equations. I see this as a quick explanation, why photons are gauge particles. Is this correct and how you say this better?

Best Regards

Janko Kokosar

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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 21:19 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Your essay is one of the very best in this contest: you are touching those levels of the problem, which are not even seen by so many participants. You surely deserve one of the highest ratings and I wish the jury to notice your essay and let it be among the finalists.

Good luck!


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William T. Parsons wrote on Apr. 14, 2015 @ 16:40 GMT
Hi Sylvain--

I enjoyed your essay very much. Wow! You covered an immense amount of ground. Your essay must hold the record for substantive subject areas. In this regard, your Abstract is superb. It clearly and succinctly outlines your position. I especially enjoyed your analysis of the Problem of Evil. In my opinion, your views are spot on.

As to the rating system for this contest, I have no comment ... other than to say that I hope my rating of your essay has pushed it in the right direction!

Best regards,


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Gordon Watson wrote on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 05:30 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Drawn to your essay by your clear (and often very accurate) comments in other places here, your essay then drew me to the "new social network" ideas in your other writings. Especially re trust!

It's in this context that I'd like to address an issue that has applicability to your essay and your trust-forum ideas. An issue that is already troublesome at FQXi; as you have...

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 08:47 GMT
Thank you for your thoughtful message and interesting questions.

"differing as to means" : which ones do you think of ?

"How is it that, in public and semi-public fora, non-science receives so many top rankings ?"

I gave a sketch of explanation in my review of this contest, section "What is obscurantism and why is it so popular in the world". The requirement of...

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Gordon Watson replied on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 11:57 GMT
Thanks indeed for your helpful and comprehensive reply. I'll continue my studies via your links; noting for now only that "morality" gave a 404 error message.

So there follows here my response to your return question, "differing as to means" : which ones do you think of ?

1. As an engineer, and as a carefully-defined common-sense local-realist (see my essay), I see myself as a...

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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 20:07 GMT
Thanks for explanations. But I dismiss as irrelevant the claim that it would be "opinion against opinion". Imagine you meet a child, or a member of a primitive community, who strongly believes that the Earth is flat and steady at the center of the Universe, and that the Sun revolves around it in one day. What can you tell him ? If you try to just report what is scientifically known, he would...

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Luca Valeri wrote on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 14:05 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Thanks for commenting in my forum. Indeed I think our views are very similar. What I do not understand in your essay is the need to introduce two different time structures. If the time structure manifests itself in the irreversibility of thermodynamics, then why not let the memory process in our mind be a normal information storage process? Why introduce non mathematical memory?

Then also in quantum mechanics, why not let a irreversible process let do the reduction of the density matrix? (The collaps, when then one event has been registered is another story).

That's all so far. Hope to have more time soon to read your interesting web site.

Best regards


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Author Sylvain Poirier replied on May. 11, 2015 @ 14:40 GMT
"why not let the memory process in our mind be a normal information storage process ?" Robots can work like this, but our memory is essentially different, in the following way : you can always erase, replace or modify the memory of robots in any way you wish, they will have no way to measure the faithfulness of their memory with respect to what really happened.

On the contrary, what would you think of the claim that some sophisticated robots have just made you up 2 minutes ago together with all your memory of what you are taking as your past life but which never really happened ? Can you refute it ? If your memory was nothing else than a "normal information storage process" then you would not even have a reason to believe that any event that you remember ever really happened, since, what the heck would this claim be supposed to mean anyway ? Only the present would exist ; what the heck would the idea of the past be supposed to be about ? You would only have an arbitrarily modifiable memory to play with.

"why not let a irreversible process do the reduction of the density matrix?" : the practical reduction to a diagonal form is done by the well-known physical process of decoherence, which I include in my view ; then I see the selection of one possible measurement result as done by consciousness (as there is no natural candidate equation for it). Not sure what was your question on this issue.

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