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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Sylvain Poirier: on 5/4/15 at 17:42pm UTC, wrote I have neither circular logic nor wrong attitude, I just bring some precise...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 5/3/15 at 20:11pm UTC, wrote You adopted two mistakes, Sylvain: circular logic and wrong attitude. ...

Sylvain Poirier: on 5/3/15 at 20:10pm UTC, wrote As for the question whether the known laws constitute a logical possibility...

Sylvain Poirier: on 5/3/15 at 10:01am UTC, wrote On your reply to 1. I agree that your argument on the infinite variability...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/30/15 at 19:16pm UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, It is a special pleasure to answer your interesting...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/30/15 at 9:24am UTC, wrote As I said I appreciate the general ideas of your essay, as a logical...

Neil Bates: on 4/27/15 at 0:52am UTC, wrote Dear Eckard, Of course we must accept what observation shows us,...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/26/15 at 13:02pm UTC, wrote Dear Eckard, It’s great to see that our essay evokes interest to such...


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FQXi FORUM
September 23, 2017

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: GENESIS OF A PYTHAGOREAN UNIVERSE by Alexey and Lev Burov [refresh]
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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Feb. 25, 2015 @ 15:20 GMT
Essay Abstract

Wide range, high precision and simplicity of the fundamental laws of nature rule out the possibility for them to be randomly generated or selected. Therefore purpose is present in their selecton.

Author Bio

Alexey Burov, PhD, is a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (USA). He has numerous publications in professional journals, and he also is an organizer of Fermi Society of Philosophy and the Russian Chicago Philosophy Forum. Lev Burov is an amateur philosopher and a software developer, focusing on work with start-up firms, currently, Scientific Humanities of San Fransisco, CA.

Download Essay PDF File




John C Hodge wrote on Feb. 25, 2015 @ 16:39 GMT
A universe of nested, negative feedback loops would result in the required universe of fine-tuned constants and physical laws. Because feedback loops are another explanation, the use of ``…the only…”” is not supported.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 03:31 GMT
Without an engineer, any feedback is a part of the laws of nature. With or without them, the question of the fine tuning remains the same, John.




Efthimios Harokopos wrote on Feb. 25, 2015 @ 17:15 GMT
Well-written essay with some good references. Maybe the following statement needs a bit more clarification. To be honest I do not udnerstand it and it may be because it is beyond my grasp:

" In other words, the existence of the Platonic world of elegant mathematical forms structuring the physical world is scientifically confirmed, and the accuracy of this confirmation is many orders of magnitude better than that of any specific statement of physics."

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 03:45 GMT
Dear Efthimios, thanks for your good words.

As we are showing in the essay, the laws of nature, described by beautiful mathematical forms, do exist objectively, as a logical structure of the universe. They are comprehensible only as elements of the mathematical world, or, at least, a sufficiently big part of it. It means that the mathematical world do exist as a special reality, the Platonic world. That's it.




Demond Adams wrote on Feb. 25, 2015 @ 18:58 GMT
Dear Alexey,

Thank you for posting an interesting essay. You presented many questions I believe we should further consider in the discussion of discovering a unified theory describing nature.



The fact the universal laws were well constituted, established, and in practice billions of years before humans were cognitively/consciously capable of developing symbols to describe...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 04:06 GMT
Dear Demond, thanks for your attention to our essay.

A part of it is to show that "self-evident, self-explanatory, and independent of any other supportive methods" unified theory (taking "theory" in scientific sense) cannot exist.

Regards,

Alexey Burov.




adel sadeq wrote on Feb. 25, 2015 @ 20:26 GMT
Dear Alexey,

Your essay is something of a mystery. You spent 80% proving that there is one universe. Then telling us the obvious that the laws of nature is mathematical. Then you suddenly switch and say it is all mysterious. In what way it clarifies the relation between mathematics and reality.

Thanks

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Sujatha Jagannathan wrote on Feb. 26, 2015 @ 16:59 GMT
You're a true fundamentalist.

Best regards,

Miss. Sujatha Jagannathan

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 04:10 GMT
Dear Sujatha,

In a sense, this is true :)

I am taking the fundamental science as the most fundamental fact.

Thanks for your wit remark!

Alexey.




Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Mar. 1, 2015 @ 17:18 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I read with great interest your essay. I think we are going in the same direction. You write and bring important conclusion A.Vilenkin: "Because the logical structure of our universe can not be explained by chaos, and because it can not explain itself, we are left with only one possible explanation remaining, that it was conceived and realized by a mind. A. Vilenkin prefers to formulate this apparently inevitable conclusion about the cosmic Mind as a question: "... the laws should be" there "even prior to the universe itself. Does this mean that the laws are not mere descriptions of reality and can have an independent existence of their own? In the absence of space, time and matter, what tablets could they be written upon? The laws are expressed in the form of mathematical equations. If the medium of mathematics is the mind, does this mean that mind should predate the universe? "

As for the "Penrose triangle", I believe that his model of "three worlds" - a splitting of the triune world. Cosmogony of Pythagoras as the unity of the "limit" and "infinite" (thesis and antithesis) give access to the three-pronged synthetic structure, based on the absolute state of matter. The concept of "structure" in Russian - a structure that is «s-troe-nie», give a direct hint to build generating structure of the Universe as a "three in one", the measure of being whole, primordial structure of harmony generating "unity" and "plurality".

Kind regards,

Vladimir

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 1, 2015 @ 20:37 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

thank you for your interest and good words in the address of our essay.

In fact, Vilenkin expressed the old Platonic vision, the realism. Then Linde questioned about a possibility for the laws, with all their simplicity/elegance, still to be anthropically selected. What we tried to show in our essay, is that this Linde hypothesis by no means can be true. For that, we counted those orders of magnitude gap between the anthropic requirements and the accuracy of the elegant laws of nature.

The Penrose Triunity is a good idea to contemplate about possibility of burbakian "La Structure mere". Apparently, they are not compatible, are they?



Vladimir Rogozhin replied on Mar. 3, 2015 @ 13:37 GMT
Okkam's razor has to be very sharp. But I am sure that the unified basis of knowledge can be constructed only on the simplest triangle is "a heavenly triangle" of Plato which sum of invariants represent both structures of the physical world and mathematical structures ("les stuctures mere"), modern and future, still the unknown.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 15:19 GMT
I do not see what would be a thought, the mental world, in that sort of basis of knowledge, Vladimir. Don't you consider a creative thought as a mathematical structure or physical phenomenon, do you?




susanne kayser-schillegger wrote on Mar. 2, 2015 @ 03:16 GMT
Dear Dr. Burov,

your philosophical essay is so full of good ideas that it is easy to loose track of them. It would have helped if you added some examples where math has led physics astray.

Your descriptions of Pythagorean truth are excellent. No wonder that the Pythagoreans were for hundreds of years a secret society that had to meet in lonely caves.

Please continue your quest for truth

Best

Lutz

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 3, 2015 @ 02:36 GMT
Dear Lutz,

Thank you for your encouraging words in our address! Your suggestion to "add some examples where math has led physics astray" could give a new extremely interesting essay. At the moment, I'd like to mention just one important case in this respect. Perhaps, you know this story, but still I wish to mention it here for the sake of your wonderful question.

Copernicus was convinced that the planet orbits must be nothing but circles, as the most perfect, most symmetric among figures, corresponding to the symmetry of the Sun's attraction. The idea was beautiful, reasonable,—and still wrong. As a result, Copernicus was forced to introduce his own epicycles, and his heliocentric system was not as beautiful as he expected. Most likely that was why he held over with the publication. It required a genius of Kepler to solve this problem and to prove the heliocentric idea is correct. This was one of the most dramatic moments in the history of science, I am sure. Seeing the failure of Copernicus, Kepler still believed in the beautiful mathematics underlying the world. As well as Copernicus, he was Pythagorean/Platonic, but his field of search of the mathematical beauty in the sky was wider, and he was heavenly rewarded!

Many thanks and all the best,

Alexey Burov.




Frank H Makinson wrote on Mar. 4, 2015 @ 05:48 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

As I noted in a reply to a statement about my essay, The Geometric Core of Spacetime, various mathematical types were created to solve a problem. We do not know which problem many of them were originally developed to solve, but this is not mysterious, we simply have incomplete information.

My essay is about simple geometry and how it can be used to identify specific characteristics of a physical law. You were much bolder in your title stating we have a Pythagorean Universe. I cannot prove that we have a Pythagorean Universe, but I did demonstrate a Pythagorean link to one of the physical laws of the universe.

What is mysterious is that our essays are juxtapositioned next to each other, as though they were meant to support each other.

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Lev Burov replied on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 01:54 GMT
Dear Frank,

Thank you for your comment. I have read your essay. What we mean by our universe being Pythagorean is reflected in "Starting with Pythagoras, it was a matter of faith for sparse groups of few people and lonely individuals that 'fundamental laws of nature are described by beautiful equations.'"

It's not the fact that the laws of nature are expressed by mathematics that's most mysterious, but that they're "rather simple in presentation and extremely rich in consequences," and that the Pythagoreans somehow knew that!

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George Gantz wrote on Mar. 5, 2015 @ 23:43 GMT
Alexey and Lev -

Thanks for the excellent essay! I was delighted to read a strong defense against the prevailing metaphysical winds of physicalism and reductionism so evident in most essays. I, too, find mathematical order to be a fundamental organizing principle quite apart from the action of the physical world itself. Moreover, those positions cannot address what I refer to as "The Hole at the Center of Creation" - only consciousness and purpose can provide the answer. As you say: "Since the laws of our universe are not picked randomly, they can only be purposefully chosen."

Thanks for a great essay and good luck in the contest. - George Gantz

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 10, 2015 @ 05:24 GMT
Dear George,

It's delightful to get so inspirational response as yours! Scientism, a deadly shadow of science, is indeed so prevalent in this contest, that it makes a special pleasure to be recognized by a likeminded thinker. Good luck to you too, dear friend!

Alexey.




Sylvain Poirier wrote on Mar. 17, 2015 @ 21:26 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Congratulations ! I found your essay to be among the few best in this contest. I already rated it 10 last week (but did not take the time to comment it then). I find it terrible to see that the best essays get so low rates, while nonsensical ones are rated among the highest, because the majority of authors here giving ratings are ignorant about science and the wonders of physical theories and they will only approve views that please their ignorance.

Please don't give these materialists the honor of having their position called "Scientism", as if their attitude was anyhow a scientific one. I just wrote an exposition of the conflict of ideologies in this contest, where I classify you among scientists, and the materialists in the opposite category of obscurantists. I also put there a list of essays I found most interesting, so as to help the authors of intelligent essays to find each other.

You are welcome to comment here my page, so that we can reach a sort of agreed view, such as completing the list of best essays (I will keep exploring essays, so I may update this list later).

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 18, 2015 @ 13:59 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Thank you for your high esteem of our submission.

I’d like to present a somewhat different point of view on the usage of the term scientism. It was coined by Hayek and defined as a misapplication of the scientific paradigm toward humanities. Later the definition was broadened to an absolutization of science to be the most fundamental knowledge. This absolutization can not be scientific because the claim that “science is the the most fundamental knowledge” is no longer a scientific but a metaphysical one.

In this manner, scientism is no longer a scientific attitude, to use your phrase, but a “deadly shadow of science,” to use Alexey’s. Seen this way, it doesn’t seem to matter whether one is an accomplished scientist or someone who can’t prove the Pythagorean theorem; as long as one is convinced of the omnipotence of a scientific explanation, one is under the irrational spell of our scientistic zeitgeist.

Alexey has made a series of lectures devoted to the subject, titled Faith of Fundamental Science, which I think you could appreciate. I recommend watching the latest one: Value of Fundamental Science, which is a sort of summary of scientism and that which it is a shadow of.

Thanks also for your careful review and organization of the other essays, it will certainly help us not to miss the important ones, including yours.

Lev



Sylvain Poirier replied on Mar. 19, 2015 @ 20:03 GMT
About this use of the term "scientism", I want to distinguish between what a term should mean, i.e. when it is the best term to name a real concept that deserves to be considered, vs. what it may accidentally happen to mean at a given time, due to its misuse.

Actually, while I consider consciousness as fundamentally non-algorithmic, I still consider the scientific method (as inspired from...

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Sylvain Poirier replied on Mar. 19, 2015 @ 23:14 GMT
All right I just read your slides "Value of Fundamental Science" and I noticed that you have nothing to say here beyond what I'm used to : all your opposition to "scientism" remains contained in the bubble of obscurantist Christian propaganda which you just blindly admitted, without any care of reality check. That is, pretty much what I would classify in the category "Religion" of my table, thus in the column of obscurantism. Do you not know how terrible can be this Christian anti-scientism propaganda that can even turn physicists into idiots ?

To understand what is wrong with this propaganda, I would recommend, first my criticism of essentialism, then, well, much of my anti-spirituality site, but also things by other authors, I would particularly recommend Fundamental misconceptions of science and Greta Christina's Atheists and anger article and video. Would you also ignore that science refuted the Biblical story ?

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Apr. 1, 2015 @ 00:57 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I really enjoyed your essay, and it helped further my own thought processes about the consequences of Tegmark's Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. I liked the identification you make between the totality of mathematical forms and "some sort of mind, but a mind totally indifferent to the forms it contains".

I like the way you frame the issue of "chaosogenesis" within the context of "fine-tuning":

"Does the universe indeed have no clear signature excluding any possibility of it having been randomly selected from the totality of all possible structures?"

Your distinction between "minimal observers" and "cosmic observers" is interesting: our world indeed seems "theoretizable", and I agree with you that if we can show that the laws of our universe are much, much more regular than the "minimally stable" laws that could support our kind of observers, it would seriously undermine the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (or make it necessary to think about possible selection factors that make universes with regular laws have a higher "measure" than universes with fluctuating laws). Your arguments convinced me (contrary to what I state in my essay) that the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (in its simplest form) does make predictions, and can be considered a scientific hypothesis.

I agree with you when you say that "chaosogenesis, being limited only by the anthropic principle, is the only option for a completely scientific solution to the problem of cosmogenesis". You say that chaos and mind are opposites, but maybe Ultimate Mind, being the sum of all modes of existence, contains by itself zero information, and is somehow equivalent to Ultimate Chaos...

In my opinion, your essay is one of the most thought provoking in this contest, and I hope your make it to the finals. Good luck!

Marc

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 1, 2015 @ 03:08 GMT
Dear Mark,

First of all, many thanks for such an inspiring response!

Your pondering about a deep relation between Ultimate Mind and Ultimate Chaos reminded me the first lines of the Hegelian "Science of Logic":

"Pure Being and Pure Nothing are the same, and yet absolutely distinct from each other. This contradiction is resolved by their immediate vanishing, one into the other. The resultant movement, called Becoming, takes the form of reciprocal Coming-to-Be and Ceasing-to-Be."

The Ultimate Mind is not just a "sum of all modes of existence", but rather an inexpressible potentiality of being, where each constituent is granted its own special significance, whereas chaos grants no significance to anything. An example of such significance, as we underlined in the article, is theoretizablilty of the laws of nature.

I'd like to also note that, in contrast to our article, you are reserving some uncertainty as to the theoretizability of the Universe, saying that it only seems to be. We are pointing it out as a fact.

As to the "possible selection factors", I'd like to stress here as well, that such a factor cannot be just one more law, as for example the law of measure you mentioned. In that case the question of John A. Wheeler would remain unanswered. That selection can only be based on something above all the laws.

Alexey




Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 3, 2015 @ 16:29 GMT
Dear Dr. Burov,

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 Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 02:32 GMT
Dear Joe,

I am considering your post as a warning for myself. Thanks.




Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 21:25 GMT
Alexey & Lev,

Excellent essay.

It seems, though, that we are on opposite sides of Max Tegmark's hypothesis -- though for much the same reasons. To explain:

You approach chaos theory as if it were dependent on the disorder of random events. In fact, though, chaos is deterministic -- and while I agree with you that on any particular scale of activity, chaotic behavior is "limitless and structureless," in a hub-connected network in which local information is distributed laterally (theory of multi-scale variety ~ Bar-Yam), rather than hierarchically, self-organized global order is evident.

We agree fully on the important point: randomness is not a fundamental property of the universe.

Highest mark from me, and I hope you get a chance to visit my essay.

Best,

Tom

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 01:22 GMT
Dear Tom,

Many thanks for your highest mark, which is especially impressive in view of our disagreements. It is very generous from your side indeed. I agree with you that in a sense Tegmark's Multiverse IV is determinisitic. What is random in his picture is our incarnation in this specific universe. With his 'mathematical democracy' hypothesis, everybody might find himself in any anthropic universe with the same probability. Since this conclusion contradicts to our (humanity) success as cosmic observers, we conclude that his multiverse hypothesis is refuted.

Many thanks and all the best,

Alexey.




adel sadeq wrote on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 22:22 GMT
Hi Alexey,

Several years ago I came up with my theory without knowing about Tegmark and upon checking the net(I couldn't believe what I have discovered) by googling "reality math" the search came up with MUH. I was so exited, contacted Tegmark and he replied favorably. However since, I have developed my theory and have arrived at many results BUT he refuses to comment. I think he is either not convinced of my system or the results look too grand and he does not want to be associated with a "crackpot".

Checking your Bio I see that you are a physicist with programming background and you believe in MUH. You should be the perfect candidate for reviewing my theory. Please do not get discouraged by the claims, spend some reasonable time running some of the simulations, I hope you will see that I am not making up the results, the results are just coming out of the simulations and I have no control as such.

It is also interesting that my theory is similar to Armin's in this contest but he still has hard time connecting both of us, understandably so.

Maybe you have browsed my essay but I hope you spend more time on it, I think toy will like it, in general at least.Any comment is appreciated.

“Reality is nothing but a mathematical structure, literally”

Thanks and good luck

P.S. please read some of the first comments in my thread for more information on running the programs. the running times are indicated on the programming pages which you can go to by clicking on the "program links" at the end of the sections.

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adel sadeq replied on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 22:31 GMT
I hope that Lev will help in the running of the simulations. Thaks Lev.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 02:49 GMT
Dear Adel,

I cannot say that I believe in MUH of Tegmark. On the contrary, in our essay we refute it. However, I still appreciate his 'mathematical democracy' as a clear and distinctive way to explain the origin of the laws of nature in scientific manner. I will have a look at your essay and write you in return.

All the best and good luck!

Alexey.



adel sadeq replied on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 20:38 GMT
Dear Alexey,

I was hoping you and Lev find explicit mistakes in my system in the spirit of the contest. But of course I do understand if you do not find the time or the inclination.

Thanks and good luck to you.

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 12:18 GMT
Dear Alexy and Lev.

Your paper is well argued. I will admit to being very agnostic about these sorts of ideas. In particular I am very agnostic about Tegmark’s hypothesis, which seems not mathematically provable, nor scientifically testable. Even string theory is only at best indirectly testable, but Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis seems impossible to test.

A...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 18:11 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

Thank you so much for your generous compliments to our essay. As you see, we are showing there how Tegmark's MUH is refuted on the scientific ground. Yes, it goes against the dominating opinion of the community of cosmologists (and your own), that the full-blown MUH is unfalsifiable, but our refutation looks very solid for me.

About your 'couple of points'. First, your distinction of WAP and SAP fully agree with the conventional one, as I may judge. It isn't clear to me what point you were trying to make about them. Second, we use the word "chaos" in its ancient meaning, as we stress it when this word is used the first time, pointing there to Platonic philosophy. This meaning sometimes is expressed by such words as "nothingness" or "nothing". This formless entity, chaos/nothingness, is a source of pure accidental, random, causeless factors. It has little to do with the mathematical concept of "dynamical chaos" you mention, which assumes certain mathematical forms already given.

Your ideas about "the soul of mathematics" sound very interesting to me, and I would very much wish to discuss them with you in much more detail than this specific place and occasion allows. You know how to find my email. Please be assured that I would highly value communication with you on these and other questions.

All the best,

Alexey.




Anonymous wrote on Apr. 12, 2015 @ 18:05 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

Thank you so much for your generous compliments to our essay. As you see, we are showing there how Tegmark's MUH is refuted on the scientific ground. Yes, it goes against the dominating opinion of the community of cosmologists (and your own), that the full-blown MUH is unfalsifiable, but our refutation looks very solid for me.

About your 'couple of points'. First, your distinction of WAP and SAP fully agree with the conventional one, as I may judge. It isn't clear to me what point you were trying to make about them. Second, we use the word "chaos" in its ancient meaning, as we stress it when this word is used the first time, pointing there to Platonic philosophy. This meaning sometimes is expressed by such words as "nothingness" or "nothing". This formless entity, chaos/nothingness, is a source of pure accidental, random, causeless factors. It has little to do with the mathematical concept of "dynamical chaos" you mention, which assumes certain mathematical forms already given.

Your ideas about "the soul of mathematics" sound very interesting to me, and I would very much wish to discuss them with you in much more detail than this specific place and occasion allows. You know how to find my email. Please be assured that I would highly value communication with you on these and other questions.

All the best,

Alexey.

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Member Noson S. Yanofsky wrote on Apr. 13, 2015 @ 04:48 GMT
Dear Alexy and Lev,

Thank you for an interesting essay.

You write that there is no reason for the rules to be selected. In my essay I explain why some of the rules related to some of the phenomena are, in fact, selected.

Thanks,

Noson

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 13, 2015 @ 23:47 GMT
Dear Noson,

Thanks for the compliment to our essay.

We never say that "there is no reason for the rules to be selected". As you may read in our abstract, we rule out "the possibility for them to be randomly generated or selected". In fact, we are refuting the full-blown MUH of Tegmark on the grounds of the mathematical elegance, large scale and high precision of the already discovered laws of nature.

You are saying that in your essay you "explain why some of the rules related to some of the phenomena are, in fact, selected." Your essay stresses the role of symmetry both for physics and mathematics. This is true, of course, but this truth tells nothing to the question why the laws of nature are symmetric and logically simple. Your essay does not even ask this question.

Regards,

Alexey.




Sylvain Poirier wrote on Apr. 13, 2015 @ 20:44 GMT
Dear Alexy and Lev, I keep reviewing other essays, expanding my list of the best essays I found, and now I would like to recommend you the essay Was there a choice? by William Nelson, which I found to have interesting common topics with your own, even if their reasoning is different.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 13, 2015 @ 21:22 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Thank you so much for your contest reviews and reading advices. I really appreciate your help.

Alexey.




Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Apr. 15, 2015 @ 03:45 GMT
Even though the argumentation of the essay is clear, we find that many have a difficulty understanding it. Alexey has presented it at the Society of Philosophy in Fermi National Laboratory and recorded it on video. Slides and video are available here. Comments and questions are welcome there as well.

Lev




Peter Martin Punin wrote on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 13:05 GMT
Dear Alexey,

Dear Lev,

I have carefully read your essay and I agree completely, with your chain of reasoning and all details.

First of all, we never underline sufficiently that the mere presence of laws of natures taking mathematical forms does not explain anything. Within papers or discussions belonging to this contest, we can often read that mathematical truths are deducted from physical experience. But this, as you notice it rightly, does not explain how/why natural phenomena “behave” in the way that their “behavior” matches given laws. Hence there must be “something” doing that physical phenomena “behave” “law like” and not anyhow.

I particularly appreciate your proof framework: On the one hand, the configuration of natural constants compatible with the emergence of life characterizes already itself by a probability infinitely close to zero. On the other hand, the finesse of fine the tuned universe is not fine enough to allow any experimental justification of phenomena satisfying WAP conditions. So, instead of formulating far-fetched hypotheses, it is better to see in more-than-fine-tuned-universe related phenomena the confirmation of this Pythagorean/Platonic faith which in turn had guided the approach of many physicists being at the origin of modern and contemporary physics.

Your essay is courageous, very clear, well written and documented. I have just given it the highest rating.

I would like to stay in contact with you even after the end of the contest to continue exchanges of ideas, knowing that there is still a lot of work in this domain.

Good luck, best regards,

Peter

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 17:30 GMT
Dear Peter,

I am glad to see your agreement with our essay; many thanks for its highest rating! My email can be found from my bio, so please write me any time you like to discuss something.

Good luck and cheers,

Alexey.




Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 20:38 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my essay. As you indicated, I agree with your view that chaosogenesis (to use your term) must be rejected. Let me try to advance the discussion by mentioning three points.

First, about the argument (on page 7 left column): “Because the logical structure of our universe cannot be explained by chaos, and because it...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 23:57 GMT
Dear Laurence,

Without any exaggeration, you gave us one of the most profound responses we ever had for this text. Thank you so much for your deep attention, and, of course, for your high rating of the essay. Below I am giving our response to your points.

1. “What about another alternative, namely, that the logical structure and indeed the existence of our universe cannot be...

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Laurence Hitterdale replied on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 17:14 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I think the three points which we are discussing here are related. I find particularly insightful your criticism of indifference or chaos as the ultimate ground for existence. The way you formulate the issue is helpful to me, and I tend to believe your opinions and arguments are correct. As you state, many contemporary writers maintain in one way or another that chaos is the ontological foundation. Until I read your discussion, I had not interpreted Tegmark’s theory this way, but you are right about his position. More importantly, I think you are also right that the chaosogenesis or primal-indifference view contradicts current knowledge in physics. On this comments page for your essay, you include a link to some of your presentations at the Fermi Society of Philosophy. I have not studied that material yet, but I look forward to following your work there and perhaps in other writings and presentations also.

Sincerely,

Laurence Hitterdale

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 19:18 GMT
Dear Laurence,

They definitely are related, and it seems their relation in this discussion is centered on the opposition of significance and indifference. That significance is a fundamental quality of being has been discussed by many philosophers and mystics in various ways. As you know the Good was the terminus for Plato, and what is “good” but a synonym of significance, especially in this context? To take this a bit further, I think that the mistake many contemporary authors make ultimately reduces to this philosophical contradiction: they are trying to deduce significance, meaning from the insignificant – the absurd.

Alexey has presented a series of historical lectures for the Fermi society, which are the core of his work there. Those links should save you some time in digging through the material. You are also very welcome to discuss the lectures on the society’s blog-space, and we are very excited to hear your philosophical ideas there.

Kind Regards,

Lev




Neil Bates wrote on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 01:10 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Very good essay. To repeat my reactions for the sake of readers here: The writing was excellent, in the sense of being both technically apt as well as readable to a general literate audience (it reminds me of Penrose's writings, and in outlook as well.) I think you have an acute grasp of conceptual foundations and issues (like, the problem of existential asymmetry for...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 03:17 GMT
Dear Neil,

Thanks again for your thought–provoking and multi-dimensional comment. Your comparison of our text to Penrose’ is deeply flattering. Your note that “there are many more possible messy worlds than orderly ones, a problem noted about David Lewis' modal realism.” invites me to underline that our essay, refuting Tegmark’s multiverse, refutes Lewis’ one even more. We write:

“Our universe is special not only because it is populated by living and conscious beings but also because it is theoretizable by means of elegant mathematical forms, both rather simple in presentation and extremely rich in consequences. To allow life and consciousness, the mathematical structure of laws has to be complex enough so as to be able to generate rich families of material structures. From the other side, the laws have to be simple enough to be discoverable by the appearing conscious beings. To satisfy both conditions, the laws must be just right. The laws of nature are fine-tuned not only with respect to the anthropic principle but to be discoverable as well. In other words, the Universe is fine–tuned with respect to what can be called as the Cosmic Anthropic Principle: its laws are purposefully chosen for the universe to be cosmically observed.”

Cheers,

Alexey.




Aleksandar Mikovic wrote on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 08:42 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

It was a great feeling when I discovered that you share the same ideas on metaphysics. I enjoyed reading your essay and gave it a high grade. I have a couple of comments, which can be thought of as suggestions for a further research.

The Godel theorems in logic imply that there is no a TOE, which has a profound implications for a platonic metaphysics. This fact...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 12:52 GMT
Dear Aleksandar,

Thank you for your very interesting comments and the high grade. However, something has gone wrong with your vote, and instead of a high rating, we’ve received from you a very low one, a 1. We’ve documented our ratings and vote counts before and after your vote, so this discrepancy is definitely the case. Perhaps the easiest way to correct it would be for you to contact administration, or if you want I can do that for you. For that you can send me an email to levburov@gmail.com, which I can then forward on with the request.

Kind Regards,

Lev



Neil Bates replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 13:06 GMT
I think the same thing might have happened to me. I admit I didn't check that carefully, but my score surprisingly went down after a compliment, so it might have. Is FQXi Admin checking on this?

BTW, I usually don't say much about particular ratings, or even if I already rated an essay or not, just to stay out of those concerns. I don't mind hearing from others, I just want to keep my own talk of it to a minimum. I do think, that anyone giving a low rating (3 or less) should explain or discuss first and not just take a drive-by potshot.

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Neil Bates replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 21:30 GMT
I just thought of something that may cause confusion about voting, if it's based on looking at comment times (may or may not be relevant to the above worries in particular.) The comment times are shown in GMT, which someone looking may forget to take into account (like, when trying to compare favorable comment with rating change.) Just passing it on FWIW. Actually, I want to see some kind of post-verification so voters can be more sure, and that's something political voters need more of too.

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Peter Martin Punin wrote on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 10:26 GMT
Dear Alexey,

I cannot find your email adress in your author bio; perhaps it had been suppressed by organisators.

Here is my own personnal adress:

peter.punin@wanadoo.fr

Please could you just return a blanc mail to this adress to establish contact?

On the other hand I have consulted the home page of the Fermi Society of Philosophy. Is there a possibility to join it not only on forum discussions but as an active member?

Best regards

Peter

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Neil Bates replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 13:02 GMT
The Burovs asked me also, to write to their email. Note to them and all: my email address is at the top of my essay.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 19:21 GMT
Dear Peter, dear Neil,

I just sent an email to the both of you from my personal account fi******t@gmail.com

Thanks and cheers,

Alexey.




James Lee Hoover wrote on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 15:33 GMT
Alexey and Lev,

This is a very impressive essay. Your analysis of "order-from-chaos -- explanations is quite incisive with a laser focus. For example, Tegmark's "totality of mathematical forms," you immediately focus on deficiencies and logic of the view, questioning the unity of "these forms."

I avoid the profundities of explaining the why and how of thinking and try to connect the mind, math and physics in the stellar achievements of science showing their successful connections in quantum biology, mapping DNA and trying to simulate the BB: http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2345

Thanks for your clear and crisp writing and an erudite analysis of important scientific thinkers.

Jim

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 19:38 GMT
Dear Jim,

Many thanks for your generous compliments! You are catching the very core of our approach, when pointing to our "questioning the unity of "these forms."" To give some reasonable comments on your essay, I have to read it with sufficient attendance and think a bit after that :). I'll try.

Cheers,

Alexey.




Cristinel Stoica wrote on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 10:45 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I found great depth in your essay and good argumentation. It’s a very interesting idea that the source of order in the universe cannot be limited to the fine tuning of the constants but must be extended to a “right choice of the fundamental principles of physical laws”. Another striking point that you make is the distinction between the types of observers and the theoretizability of the world. My main take away from your essay is the uniqueness of the laws. Another very interesting exercise you make is the deduction of the consequences of noise in a universe with semi-stable laws of nature.

Cheers,

Cristi

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 16:08 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Thank you so much! It is a true pleasure to be highly appreciated by one of the experts!

You underline that your “main take away from your essay is the uniqueness of the laws.” I cannot help but quote our related conclusion:

“Our universe is special not only because it is populated by living and conscious beings but also because it is theoretizable by means of elegant mathematical forms, both rather simple in presentation and extremely rich in consequences. To allow life and consciousness, the mathematical structure of laws has to be complex enough so as to be able to generate rich families of material structures. From the other side, the laws have to be simple enough to be discoverable by the appearing conscious beings. To satisfy both conditions, the laws must be just right. The laws of nature are fine-tuned not only with respect to the anthropic principle but to be discoverable as well. In other words, the Universe is fine–tuned with respect to what can be called as the Cosmic Anthropic Principle: its laws are purposefully chosen for the universe to be cosmically observed.”

Maybe, our laws are not unique, but they definitely belong to a very special and narrow set of mathematical structures, much more narrow than Tegmark’s multiverse suggests. In other words, our laws are truly beautiful in that deep meaning of mathematical beauty which was professed by Pythagoreans of all times, from Pythagoras and Euclid to Kepler and Newton and to Einstein and Dirac.

In that light your statement that, “Mathematics is already there, eternal and unchanging. What we invent is the discovery of mathematics,” is revealed as having an even deeper meaning than it may at first seem.

Cheers and good luck,

Alexey and Lev




Mohammed M. Khalil wrote on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 15:57 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

An absolutely brilliant essay. I agree with you in many points such as your opinion on Tegmark's hypothesis. I especially liked the section "The condition of Elegance". Your essay deserves the highest rating. I would be glad to take your opinion in my essay.

Best regards and good luck in the contest.

Mohammed

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 16:04 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Thank you so much! It is a true pleasure to be highly appreciated by one of the experts!

You underline that your “main take away from your essay is the uniqueness of the laws.” I cannot help but quote our related conclusion:

“Our universe is special not only because it is populated by living and conscious beings but also because it is theoretizable by means of elegant mathematical forms, both rather simple in presentation and extremely rich in consequences. To allow life and consciousness, the mathematical structure of laws has to be complex enough so as to be able to generate rich families of material structures. From the other side, the laws have to be simple enough to be discoverable by the appearing conscious beings. To satisfy both conditions, the laws must be just right. The laws of nature are fine-tuned not only with respect to the anthropic principle but to be discoverable as well. In other words, the Universe is fine–tuned with respect to what can be called as the Cosmic Anthropic Principle: its laws are purposefully chosen for the universe to be cosmically observed.”

Maybe, our laws are not unique, but they definitely belong to a very special and narrow set of mathematical structures, much more narrow than Tegmark’s multiverse suggests. In other words, our laws are truly beautiful in that deep meaning of mathematical beauty which was professed by Pythagoreans of all times, from Pythagoras and Euclid to Kepler and Newton and to Einstein and Dirac.

In that light your statement that, “Mathematics is already there, eternal and unchanging. What we invent is the discovery of mathematics,” is revealed as having an even deeper meaning than it may at first seem.

Cheers and good luck,

Alexey and Lev



Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 16:10 GMT
Dear Mohammed,

My apologies for a mis-post. I'm working on my answer to you.

Cheers,

Alexey



Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 17:41 GMT
Dear Mohammed,

Your compliments are especially important for me, since we disagree in our answers to the Wigner’s question. Your high rating shows a valuable and rare ability to estimate an approach contradictory to your own. Thank you so much! As you stress in your abstract, you “try to explain the reason for this effectiveness based on the view that mathematics is invented.” Our point is that such invention would not be possible without very special objective properties of our universe:

“Such a special universe deserves a proper term, and we do not see a better choice than to call it Cosmos or to qualify it as Pythagorean, in honor of the first prophet of theoretical cognition, who coined such important words as cosmos (order), philosophy (love of wisdom), and theory (contemplation).”

Gratefully accepting your compliments, I still wish to mention that we do not think that we just expressed an “opinion on Tegmark’s hypothesis”. I think we clearly refuted it on the scientific ground.

In the time remaining, I’ll try to read your essay attentively and let you know what else will come in my mind.

Good luck in the contest and cheers,

Alexey.




Steven P Sax wrote on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 21:46 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Your essay presents a very intriguing philosophical argument backed by empirical considerations and I appreciate that. I like how you went deeper into the analysis of the anthropic principle and ascertained tests for MUH (Mathematical Universe Hypothesis) using the fine tuning and accuracy of fundamental constants. My essay, though focusing on other topics, also discusses checks on MUH in light self-referential considerations. Your narrative is very well written, and I also appreciated the historical context. I particularly liked the balance you formulated in developing the Cosmic Anthropic Principle "to allow life and consciousness,... To satisfy both conditions, the laws must be just right. The laws of nature are fine-tuned not only with respect to the anthropic principle but to be discoverable as well." I also discuss anthropic ideas relating causality and consciousness. I've seen different perspectives on these issues, and your essay is an excellent contribution to this very interesting forum topic. I rate it very highly.

Please take a moment to read and rate my essay as well. Although are focuses may be different, I think we both overlap in ways that are supportive.

Best regards,

Steve Sax

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 22:04 GMT
Dear Steven,

It is a special pleasure to meet somebody you never new appreciating your philosophy! Thank you so much for your compliments and, of course, for the high rating. In the time remaining I'll try to read your essay and respond.

Cheers and good luck!

Alexey.




Eckard Blumschein wrote on Apr. 26, 2015 @ 05:15 GMT
Dear Burovs,

While I don't feel obliged to comment on mysticism, I would just like to ask you whether the following utterance is correct:

"all great theories, from Copernicus, Kepler and Newton to Einstein and Dirac happened as guesses on the grounds of some fundamentally simple ideas like symmetry, conserva:on, or equivalence."

I am rather aware of the Church having caused Copernicus to revise the calendar which led him to reinvent an ancient observation, etc.

The Pythagorean guess "anything is number" has proven wrong by the discovery of incommensurables.

For such reasons, I would like to defend the role of observation and reasoning instead of putting unwarranted questions that didn't prove useful. Engineers have first to look for a relevant problem and then to describe the elements of how their invention may solve it. What problem do those like you intend solving, and is there any idea how to succeed?

Of course, Otto de Guericke dealt speculatively with the problem of what is holding the world together. Steam engine and electricity arose from the experiments that he created.

Can you tell me likewise convincing results from the belief in purpose and soul?

Darwin's approach didn't rest on religious belief in a mystic purpose.

While the consistency of theories in physics can be checked to some extent by experiments, guesses in mathematics may be confirmed if they are logically flawless and useful. I consider set theory failing both.

Sincerely,

Eckard Blumschein

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Neil Bates replied on Apr. 27, 2015 @ 00:52 GMT
Dear Eckard,

Of course we must accept what observation shows us, but meanwhile: we need a guiding intuition about what to look for, how to look, what to expect etc. These intuitions might be wrong and needing of later revision, but there's nothing wrong with trying them out.

Purpose and soul: "Purpose" is hard to get a handle on, but thinking the universe is geared to the development and usability of intelligence, motivates even thinking it is lawful in the first place, etc. And soul? It's IMHO not not a religious concept. If there is something more "whole" about a person than momentary fluctuations and passing on of memories and typical patterns of though, then we can more easily justify the basic rational philosophy of choices based on "your self" still being there in the future. My brain changes around, my mental contents do too, what then persists into successive years, to validate ordinary economic-type utilitarian reasoning? We take that for granted, but study of philosophical paradoxes about Star-Trek style duplications (what if the original is not destroyed, who is "the real you" etc?) shows that we need a deeper concept of self than just sheer continuity of process in a body.

I am not saying that process violates physical law or should be taken as it is revealed in religious claims (and they conflict yet claim to be absolutes to be taken for granted - neither science nor rational philosophies can work like that) - but nature then, has to make some kind of more-than-sum-of-parts out of us, for our future planning to be intelligible. And yes, quantum issues of wholeness and interrelation could well play a role in that (especially after the find that it does play a role in photosynthesis and even the sense of smell.)

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Apr. 26, 2015 @ 13:02 GMT
Dear Eckard,

It’s great to see that our essay evokes interest to such fundamental questions. It seems, though, that yours are best answered by the fathers of science themselves. You can of course do your own research, but there is quite a body of respected scholarly work on the subject in existence. Alexey has created a series of lectures that through quotations of the aforementioned scientists reveals the story and content of the Pythagorean faith, which makes up the core of fundamental science.

Also I highly recommend books by Kitty Ferguson, a historian of science who is also a consultant and biographer of Steven Hawking. The Fire in the Equations and The Music of Pythagoras are engaging and accurate narratives on this topic.

Kind Regards,

Lev Burov




Sylvain Poirier wrote on Apr. 30, 2015 @ 09:24 GMT
As I said I appreciate the general ideas of your essay, as a logical argument against some widespread conceptions, but still I have remarks. That is, what does the landscape of logically possible laws of physics, look like. Of course as you explained we can abstractly consider any ugly arbitrary law as a "possible law", and in this vast chaotic landscape of "possible laws", find many possibilities...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 30, 2015 @ 19:16 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

It is a special pleasure to answer your interesting questions as a way to express our gratitude for your numerous posts motivating people to read our essay.

I see two important issues in your post above.

1. “they [the laws] are not so much modifiable in the small details of their consequences without destroying all their mathematical coherence.”, also “a...

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Sylvain Poirier replied on May. 3, 2015 @ 10:01 GMT
On your reply to 1. I agree that your argument on the infinite variability of the laws seems perfectly logical and even necessary, but only from the viewpoint of those who reason like science philosophers (who discuss and understand science like children understand war by playing with plastic soldiers) developing their naive expectations about the panorama of logically conceivable laws of physics,...

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Sylvain Poirier replied on May. 3, 2015 @ 20:10 GMT
As for the question whether the known laws constitute a logical possibility at all, there is for example in Tim Maudlin's interview (that I quoted in my review): "Properly speaking, there is no such thing as “quantum theory” (...) What is called “interpreting quantum theory” is really a matter of constructing clear and precise physical theories that return these same predictions, or...

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