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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Lorraine Ford: on 1/22/17 at 22:48pm UTC, wrote Re Goals: “There are un-pleasurable, even painful aspects to pursuing...

Lorraine Ford: on 1/21/17 at 1:03am UTC, wrote This is my comment on H Chris Ransford’s essay “Where the Question...

Ted Erikson: on 1/20/17 at 18:20pm UTC, wrote Is anyone aware of a geometric model or mechanism for "panpsychism"? In...

Jose Koshy: on 1/16/17 at 6:27am UTC, wrote Georgina, That is a correct description: "the structure has the potential...

Georgina Woodward: on 1/15/17 at 11:18am UTC, wrote Jose, thanks for your explanation. I get it. I think that the word...

Jose Koshy: on 1/15/17 at 10:31am UTC, wrote Georgina, The structure includes everything either as a whole or as parts....

Georgina Woodward: on 1/14/17 at 9:08am UTC, wrote I think from the end of your paragraph you are in agreement with that,but...

Georgina Woodward: on 1/14/17 at 8:50am UTC, wrote Hi Jose, You wrote "That is, if you start from the scratch and build a...


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FQXi BLOGS
January 23, 2017

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: FQXi Essay Contest 2016: Wandering Towards a Goal [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 2, 2016 @ 17:46 GMT
In physics we tend to stick to asking what happened, how did it happen? We like to describe, usually in minute details. We like to use the smallest possible components, “building blocks”, “unit cells".

But there are other ways to think about physical reality. We can ask why did it happen? Was there a reason, or a reason it seems to have a reason? We can go beyond describing and try to explain, motivate. We can see beyond parts and think in terms of systems and wholes.

This shift in thought brings us to the next $40,000 FQXi essay contest, brought to you with our partners at The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation!

This year’s theme is: Wandering Towards a GoalHow can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intentions?

One way to think of physics is as a set of mathematical laws of dynamics. These laws provide predictions by carrying conditions at one moment of time inexorably into the future. But many phenomena admit another description – sometimes a vastly more useful one – in terms of long-term, large-scale goals, aims, and intentions.

The motion of the most basic particle can be described by the action of forces moment by moment or as the attempt to extremize an action integral, calculated over the particle’s entire path throughout time. Many-body systems can seem hopelessly complex when looked at in terms of their constituents' detailed dynamic motions, but neatly elegant when viewed as attempting to minimize energy or maximize entropy. Living systems efficiently organize their simplest components with the intricate aims of survival, reproduction, and other biological ends; and intelligent systems can employ a panoply of physical effects to accomplish many flexibly chosen goals.

How does this work? How do goal-oriented systems arise, and how do they exist and function in a world that we can describe in terms of goal-free mathematical evolution?

Relevant essays might address questions such as:

* How did physical systems that pursue the goal of reproduction arise from an a-biological world?

* What general features — like information processing, computation, learning, complexity thresholds, and/or departures from equilibrium — allow (or proscribe) agency?

* How are goals (versus accomplishments) linked to “arrows of time”?

* What separates systems that are intelligent from those that are not? Can we measure this separation objectively and without requiring reference to humans?

* What is the relationship between causality – the explanation of events in terms of causes – and teleology – the explanation of events in terms of purposes?

* Is goal-oriented behavior a physical or cosmic trend, an accident or an imperative?

We are accepting entries from now until March 3, 2017, with winners announced in June. The contest rules will operate as in past contests. Please read the contest pages for instructions and full rules.

The contest is open to anyone, so please share this info with everyone. Good luck and good writing!

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H. G. wrote on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 11:16 GMT
I don’t want to be negative but I don’t understand FQXi. Why does they think that “top thinkers in foundational questions” will send in an essay? Because they love competition and want to win and cash? That cannot be serious.

Research in the field of the foundations of physics/mathematics is perhaps one of the most earnest human activities. So it is correct to state that an essay have to be technically correct and rigorously argued. Nevertheless, the essay is limited to a stunning 9 pages so this “identification of top thinkers” isn’t serious. Personally I asked the FQXi administrator to delete my essay (bit from it) after a couple of days when I realized myself these inconsequences.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 12:17 GMT
Hi H.G.,

Have you seen this What makes us feel good about our work? - Dan Ariely It shows that for tasks requiring mental effort monetary reward is a poor motivator.

Longer than 9 pages wouldn't be manageable for peer review.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 12:40 GMT
Hi Georgina, H.G.,

I don't understand why You wanted to delete your work Mr HG,like I am curious ,I have seen the essays and I don't find.Could You post it or tell me what was this essay,please.

Regards

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre replied on Dec. 5, 2016 @ 17:55 GMT
H.G.:

The reason we're optimistic that top thinkers will submit essays is that they keep doing so! We've had a large number of essay submissions by many many FQXi members (who are highly regarded scientists) as well as lots from farther afield. Although an essay contest is not the place to fully explicate a large or highly technical piece of research, we've found that it's a great context for people to explore and think through ideas and get a lot of attention and feedback on them. The top essays tend to be very good and very interesting, but if you don't want to participate that's certainly your prerogative!

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H. G. wrote on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 15:22 GMT
@Steve Dufourney,

The contents of the old essay are not important. I only tried to explain that it is – in my opinion - impossible to get “fresh” insights in the foundations of physics/mathematics with the help of a contest (with limitations). I don’t blame FQXi for organizing contests, I only doubt the effectiveness "to find top thinkers in foundational questions”. Anyway, you can find some of the descriptions of the old essay at https://ephys.blogspot.com (post 03 till 12).

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 15:58 GMT
Thanks for sharing H G I am going to look at your papper ,if I can it is dufourny without e :),

about the contest, it is short indeed but it is always interesting to see the works of different thinkers in a total transparence.FQXI makes a wonderful jobs in fact.

Regards

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 16:09 GMT
Maybe, H. G. stands for Henk Grimm. The latter's blog does neither reveal to me Henk's qualification nor due effort to question work by others including my own.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 17:06 GMT
Dear Mr Grimm,

I have seen several posts you seem to like the sphere ,I am happy.:) They turn so they are these sphères after all.Do you know My humble theory of spherisation with quantum 3D sphères and cosmological 3D sphres Inside an universal 3D sphere in spherisation optimisation of matter energy.Here are my tow correlated équations E=mc²+ml² and mlosV=constant don't hesitate to ask details I will answer with pleasure.

Regards

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 17:25 GMT
May I suggest that FQXi change the topic of the essay contest? The following quotations clearly show that the foundational problems of physics are quite far away from teleology:

"That lecture, by the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski, established a new arena for the presentation of physics, a new vision of the nature of reality redefining the mathematics of existence. The lecture was...

view entire post


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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 17:38 GMT
Pentcho,

I'll give you points for hutzpah:-)

Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 18:08 GMT
Hi,

Space does exist it seems to me.Only matter and energy exist.This dark matter and the spherical volumes at all scales imply that this space disappear when we consider a specific serie ,universal of spherical volumes.The central BH being the biggest volume and correlated particles produced the smallest.

Regards

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 18:21 GMT
Pentcho,

Spacetime stands for teleology. "God doesn't play dice". Einstein didn't object when Popper compared him with Parmenides.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 8, 2016 @ 16:15 GMT
Deduction: The Only Method in Theoretical Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Math can do a lot of things for you, but in the end it's merely a device to derive consequences from assumptions."

Yes, deducing consequences from assumptions, or, more precisely, conclusions from premises, is the only reasonable method in theoretical physics. Any theory, if it is truly a theory and not an...

view entire post


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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 8, 2016 @ 20:14 GMT
Pentcho,

I'm looking forward to your essay. I've already submitted mine although I will NOT count myself among those "top minds" and "top thinkers" that Anthony Aguirre mentions:-)

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Jose P. Koshy replied on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 06:01 GMT
Pentcho,

What Einstein said is correct, if we read it out of context.

"If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous; and if the clock at A is moved with the velocity v along the line AB to B, then on its arrival at B the two clocks no longer synchronize, but the clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B by tv^2/2c^2 (up to magnitudes of fourth and higher order), t being the time occupied in the journey from A to B."

Any device to measure time uses some kind of inside motion as a standard to which the measured time is compared. This inside motion of the clock, even if it is a 'very accurate atomic clock', is affected by the motion of the clock as a whole. But this phenomenon is now being wrongly explained as time dilation.

In my hypothesis, G is proportional to square of the speed (a body at absolute rest has zero G), and so the lagging of clock depends on its speed.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 07:27 GMT
Only if absolute rest means no motion of B relative to A then it makes sense to me. Jose, how do you define speed?

++++

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 03:55 GMT
Thank you for this essay topic.

It will be interesting to ponder and to read other peoples's ideas on the subject.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 16:50 GMT
Deduction: The Only Method in Theoretical Physics (2)

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Every theory needs assumptions. The problem isn't the existence of assumptions, the problem is the lack of clarity about what exactly is assumed and what follows from what."

Correct. Many problems of theoretical physics will be solved if each theory is obligatorily presented as a list of valid arguments, and each argument in the list as clearly stated premises and a conclusion. For instance:

Argument number 8

Premise 1: ...

Premise 2: ...

Premise 3: ...

Conclusion: ...

Any premise is either an initial assumption (postulate, axiom) or a conclusion already deduced in previous arguments. Arguments in the list are constantly checked for validity.

When the theory is presented in this way, its truthfulness is guaranteed if the initial assumptions (postulates, axioms) are true. If some initial assumption turns out to be false, the conclusions deduced from it are removed from the theory.

Pentcho Valev

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Efthimios Harokopos replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 18:43 GMT
I believe that deduction does not offer any new knowledge. Induction offers a law subject to probability. It is abduction that offer the possibility of new knowledge (a hypothesis)

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 12, 2016 @ 18:20 GMT
There is an article in Nature suggesting that LIGO's gravitational waves topple, rather than confirm, general relativity. In my comments on the article I am much more radical - gravitational waves do not exist and general relativity is an empirical concoction, not a deductive theory:

Zeeya Merali: "LIGO black hole echoes hint at general-relativity breakdown"

Pentcho Valev

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Dec. 13, 2016 @ 12:15 GMT
Despite the experimental imperfection and some attempt at cooking up data, what the experimenters in the Advanced LIGO experiment claim, i.e. a rhythmic shortening and elongation of two lines, one at Livinston, Louisiana, the other at Hanford, Washington, both in the United States of America already hints that a line has discrete and non-continuos features. The claim is that the two 4km lines lengthened and shortened rhythmically by about 10-18m.

First is that if a line can alternately shorten and lengthen then it is a physical thing, and not merely a relational concept. Einstein in several parts of his theory follows Mach and relies on space as a relational concept and not something real. Although in his 1920 Leiden address he recanted somewhat and said a line can have physical qualities.

Second is that a line containing an infinite number of points cannot be physically lengthened or shortened because infinity cannot be added to or subtracted from. Only in finite geometry can a line be logically added to and subtracted from.

This being so, Einstein himself already hints at general relativity breakdown without travelling to the edge of black holes. He is quoted to have said in 1954, "I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics".

Regards,

Akinbo

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Steve Agnew replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 04:27 GMT
Oh for goodness sake...give them at least a chance. Any reasonable theory of gravity has to have waves since no reasonable theory of graviy supposes that there be instantaneous action.

Gravity waves are not therefore unexpected and it is kind of silly to argue against them. There are many problems with general relativity by gravity waves simply are not an issue...

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 11:02 GMT
Despite ingenious attempts to use math and words to obscure what Advanced LIGO PRIMARILY purports to measure, what was actually measured is change in the magnitude of a line. Whether this is due to gravity waves or black holes colliding far away is very very SECONDARY and a matter of conjecture. And the chosen method of measuring the changes in length is by how long light takes to traverse the 4km distance.

They were not measuring space-time either. What they put forward as their result is alternate changes in length between (4km + 10-18m) and (4km - 10-18m).

"...a modified Michelson interferometer (see Fig. 3) that measures gravitational-wave strain as a difference in length of its orthogonal arms. Each arm is formed by two mirrors, acting as test masses, separated by (...) 4 km. A passing gravitational wave effectively alters the arm lengths.." - abstracted with a discerning eye from from Physical Review Letters

All in italics is conjecture. Only what is in bold is primary because difference/ variation in length can arise from many causes. A line that can be subjected to strain by whatever cause is not dead, but very much alive and must therefore have physical qualities and not merely be a relational concept or fiction. This alone contradicts the relationist and supports the substantivalist view of space. Can a fictitious object be subjected to strain?

Akinbo

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Amrit Srecko Sorli wrote on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 19:17 GMT
we know all that already

read my book

Advanced Relativity.

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John S Minkowski wrote on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 04:31 GMT
The Common Knowledge Game gives the Big Bang and Black Holes credibility. As in investing analysis, 'bracketing' prevents insiders of the mainstream view from going outside the box. That is why WMAP, Planck, and now Ligo are propagated in the Media to perpetuate the Common Knowledge Game, not to mention Higgs, etc.

The real question is whether we are in a Neo-Ptolemystical age, where most of the models fit, except at the edges (of extremely small or large)!

John S Minkowski

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Helmut Hansen replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 05:01 GMT
Dear John,

can you explain your last statement, concerning cosmological models that do not fit at the edges of extremely small or extremely large? Can you give an example? Actually there is an empirical fact referring to the edges of the universe which cannot be explained by modern cosmology. It's in a way a sort of anomaly.

H. Hansen

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John S Minkowski replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 14:04 GMT
H.H. Perhaps you could provide your own anomalous example. I am only an amateur, but doesn't the ubiquitous use of the term 'singularity' answer the question? Apparently, we have a singularity at the center of a Schwarzschild diameter and another at the center of the 'Big Bang'. These two singularities appear to be opposites. Crothers and Mersini-Houghton have written about the mathematics of black holes, and each find that the singularity does not exist! Hope that answers your question. J.M.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 15:08 GMT
Hello to both of you,

It is complex when we consider the main cause,the uniqueness if I can say,quant or cosm.The interprétations of singularities are complex.It dépends of how we consider the singularity.The mathematical universe for example of max Tegmark considers mathematical singularities with mathematical codes.I beleive that these works are relevant for the convergences.Now we can...

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Ted Erikson wrote on Dec. 17, 2016 @ 17:38 GMT
Perhaps too far off base, but does this essay assignmentsinvoke the possible use of the word, "panpsychism"?

A model that incorporates the use of measured, calculable, or predictable values is needed. The extremes of geometrical "activities" (surface to volume ratios) for spheres and tetrahedrons as used by the ancients suggests a means of attack to define such a premise..

Yes or no?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 17, 2016 @ 21:12 GMT
Hello Mr Erikson,

Spinoza d say that after all we were, we are ,we shall be .....bodies and souls....we die eletromagnetically, not gravitationally in logic :) eternally yours so :)

Regards

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 18, 2016 @ 13:03 GMT
Jonh and Tom but where are you Jedis ?

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re castel wrote on Dec. 24, 2016 @ 02:02 GMT
I am posting this just in case you are interested in new perspectives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btk-_WuvAAI

this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

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sherman loran jenkins replied on Dec. 24, 2016 @ 07:21 GMT
Pick up your purple robe at the red castle and straight ahead to Heaven's Gate.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 15:45 GMT
Essay topic is very challenging. Seems to be taking a long time to get the first batch of essays posted.

I wish a happy and safe New Year to All.

Best regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 16:31 GMT
I wish you also a happy new year Gary and to all.

Happy also to see you again.Have you news from Tom and John?

Regards

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 17:34 GMT
To you also Steve. No. I have no news of Tom or John.

My Mom passed on in Sept and I have been handling things for the estate and traveling a lot to get the house ready for sale. Unfortunately, I have not practiced guitar or piano in several months.

I had an essay already written that roughly fits into the essay topic so I submitted that weeks ago. This is a very difficult topic I think.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 18:56 GMT
I am sorry.Sincere condolences.I know that it is difficult, I have lost my mom also 3 years ago and my father 21 years ago.I have even problems with the house and the debts, I am going to loose it like I am without job actually.

Indeed it is very vast topic.I will read the essays,I wait, I like in fact :)

Take care and regards Gary

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 1, 2017 @ 09:20 GMT
Happy New year Steve, all the best, Georgina

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Jan. 1, 2017 @ 15:17 GMT
I would like to discuss and to submit an article on this topic, by assuming the nature of inertial fundamental matters in one-dimension. In this regard I invite different standpoints and arguments.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 9, 2017 @ 19:47 GMT
Can you please say a little more to explain what you are thinking?

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Jose P. Koshy wrote on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 11:26 GMT
Hello,

I do not know why so much time is taken for posting the first lot of essays. Is there any shortage of Participants?

Anyway I have submitted my Essay arguing that the 'Cosmos strives to attain self-realization through intelligent beings'.

Jose P Koshy

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 12:26 GMT
Hi Jose, entries are being accepted until March 3rd. I think it is a topic that I would like to take some more time thinking about before writing.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 12:44 GMT
Jose,

In the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the Contest page, it mentions that they won't post any essays until they have a batch of 5-10 available to post. They probably have not had many essay submissions thus far. This is a very difficult topic in my opinion.

I have also submitted an essay ... so, that makes at least two:-)

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 13:03 GMT
Hi all,

It is beautiful topic ,it is not easy and so vast.

Regards

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Ted Erikson wrote on Jan. 20, 2017 @ 18:20 GMT
Is anyone aware of a geometric model or mechanism for "panpsychism"? In particular, the use of the fact that an inscribed sphere in a regular tetrahedron, having equal surface to volume ratios, is an excellent basis for equilibrium at zero entropy production, i.e. any change implies changing "activities" of spherical mass to tetrahedral energy...

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 21, 2017 @ 01:03 GMT
This is my comment on H Chris Ransford’s essay “Where the Question Leads” (seemingly he didn’t like my severe criticism of his essay, and deleted it):

H Chris Ransford,

Your essay claims that “a fruit fly, intent on finding its next meal, is hardly endowed with free will.” But your essay demonstrates so very little empathy for life on earth, that I’m tempted to think that you might be a zombie robot from another galaxy.

In these FQXi male-dominated essay contests, your essay is an example of typically-male faulty reasoning and conclusions:

“Although some still hold this assumption as controversial, the evidence that the universe is indeed purely mathematical is overwhelming.”

“Should our known universe be in fact, as is likely, a tiny subcomponent of a much wider, infinite multiverse…”

“…it is entirely possible that you were born out of a chain of events from within a multi-layered infinite pool of possibilities, of a higher aleph metric than the low-ranking metric of a merely geometrically infinite universe.”

My conclusion is that this essay is totally out of touch with reality.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 22, 2017 @ 22:48 GMT
Re Goals:

“There are un-pleasurable, even painful aspects to pursuing most goals, and so we must be clever about what we choose to go after. To go wherever desire and pleasure whisk us is to fall into the trap of chasing things we want in the immediate moment but may care nothing about in the longer term. Zooming out on our lives, it is fascinating to see that both our goals, and the ways in which we set out to achieve them, so often go unexamined. Why do we want what we want?

“…That he ever thought he could achieve perfection, without setbacks, without respites, Franklin admitted, was his gravest error. He had been naïve. And prideful. Only decades later, while writing his autobiography, did he realise that his goals could not be attained just by trying hard, by going at them again and again, without rest or leaving a place for pleasure: ‘the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous was not sufficient to prevent our slipping.’ He saw that pursuing his truest goals would take more than pure desire. It would also take reason. It would take a plan.”

From When it’s good to be bad, by Cody Delistraty, https://aeon.co/essays/the-road-to-excellence-is-paved-with-
a-few-lapses-on-the-way

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