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Steve Agnew: on 2/27/17 at 3:44am UTC, wrote Some say the world began in fire Some say in ice From what I've tasted of...

Natesh Ganesh: on 2/22/17 at 3:44am UTC, wrote Dear Hoover, I really enjoyed your essay and thought it was very important...

John-Erik Persson: on 2/18/17 at 22:29pm UTC, wrote James Thanks for this interesting essay. It was very great to hear about...

Avtar Singh: on 2/17/17 at 19:47pm UTC, wrote Jim: Yes, I did rate your essay. Thanks Avtar

Avtar Singh: on 2/17/17 at 18:26pm UTC, wrote Dear Jim: Thank you so much for your kind consideration and valuable feed...

Anonymous: on 2/17/17 at 17:42pm UTC, wrote Hi Jim: Thanks for reading my essay and thoughtful comments.I would...

Edwin Klingman: on 2/17/17 at 6:11am UTC, wrote James Lee Hoover, An informative and easy to read essay. You note that...

Paul Butler: on 2/10/17 at 22:51pm UTC, wrote Your comment on my paper’s page: Paul, We posit some of the same...


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February 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice by James Lee Hoover [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 5.6; Public = 5.6

Author James Lee Hoover wrote on Jan. 31, 2017 @ 16:16 GMT
Essay Abstract

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice (quoting Robert Frost). If entropy holds true for the universe, it will be ice, and it will be a natural goal, one shared by all living and inanimate things, according to a new theory by physicist, Jeremy England. Beyond this “mindless” law for humans are goals and endeavors that touch on life’s origins and life’s meaning.

Author Bio

James Hoover is retired from the Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, California, working as a systems engineer. His career in aerospace stretches back over twenty years and involves cost analysis, cost modeling and logistics research. In that span of years he has taught college courses in education, economics, computer science and English. Before his aerospace career, he taught high school. He recently published a science fiction novel called Extraordinary Visitors and publishes essays on university websites regarding his scientific interests. His personal interests include studies in particle physics, cosmology and interplanetary technology. He has advanced degrees in Economics and English.

Download Essay PDF File

Harry Hamlin Ricker III wrote on Jan. 31, 2017 @ 18:31 GMT
Hi, While the topic of the essay contest was wandering towards a goal, this essay seems to have interpreted that literally as it seems to wander and not arrive at a clear objective.

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Author James Lee Hoover replied on Jan. 31, 2017 @ 19:11 GMT
Thank you, Harry, for taking time to look at my essay. I would seriously be interested in how you would wander toward a coherent solution to the puzzle. Perhaps I lack the ability to clearly state the tie of mathematical laws to humankind's drift toward coherent goals and meaning, or perhaps that drift itself lacks the coherence the aim of this essay seeks. Again, I appreciate your interest.

John C Hodge wrote on Jan. 31, 2017 @ 18:53 GMT
James Lee Hoover

You thinking is impressive. The section 3 Emergence of Life in my entry seems to be along the lines you are following. You seem to have thought about things in which I'm interested.

I have written papers on cosmology and suggested a TOE. Summaries an be viewed at

particularly the video on CMB temperature because it talks about your topic and how life's increasing rate of entropy can be maintained - neither fire nor ice.

The videos are easier. The papers are referenced if you want the math heavy versions.

Perhaps you could comment on the STOE model.

Where do you publish? Links?


John Hodge

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Jack Hamilton James wrote on Jan. 31, 2017 @ 22:03 GMT
Given the title, I didn't expect to enjoy this essay but I actually thought it was a neat account of higher level unfoldings rarely discussed. Teleology is the 'explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes', so in one sense talk of entropy as something we derive purpose from is controversial in as much as its controversial to derive purpose and actions from evolution. But here I think the causal elements of entropy that may explain our actions, outside of the purposes we conceive in our head, is interesting. Thanks for submitting.

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Jack Hamilton James replied on Feb. 2, 2017 @ 02:42 GMT
Thank you James for your kind comment on my essay getting to the pointy end of this contest question. I certainly found your entry particularly interesting at the level at which it addressed the question though, and found it quite unique, which reinforces the value of having contests like these.

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John C Hodge wrote on Feb. 1, 2017 @ 05:32 GMT
James Lee Hoover

Thanks for responding in my essay.

The "How the Universe works" videos are the currently accepted model. The trouble is these models (GR and QM) are inconsistent and each has many observational anomalies. Some of the anomalies are described in only ad hoc additions. The STOE corresponds to both cosmology and the small of light. It has made 3 predictions about the pioneer anomaly and the theory predicted the result of an experiment in photon diffraction. It has also explained many observation anomalies. Physics philosophy suggest the STOE to be a candidate for a replacement model.


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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 3, 2017 @ 01:32 GMT
Good Essay sir, you started with “Does mindless mathematical law rule the universe, entropy bringing the universe’s end in ice, as energy diminishes and is no longer dissipated – a heat death in trillions of years? “……………… ended with” Still, goals of open-minded, intelligent creatures must invest all ventures with facts and contingencies: for example, what affect does an1.8 billion light-years across supervoid have on a cosmologist’s views and are thermodynamic systems in question open, closed or isolated?”

So some questions for further analysis…..

What will happen to all the energy dissipated by all energy sources in the Universe...

Will that energy go infinities of space in the Universe....?

What about enthalpy of the system?

Is it an open Universe you are proposing.... ?

Will the Universe required to have an end …

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 9, 2017 @ 00:23 GMT
It is my thinking that what makes this possible is an open world. In my entry I outline a quantum form of open universe. It is similar to Prigogine who argued for open thermodynamics.

As for fire or ice, in the long run it is ice. The universe will exponentially expand to become ever colder and dark. Already we are in the dying out phase of stellar formation. Stellar formation is about 10% what it was 10 billion years ago. It will be 10% reduced in another 10 billion years. Already this galaxy is populated by about 60% (as I recall) red dwarfs, and in 10 billion years that will be over 90%. These stars will endure for 100s of billions to trillions of years. These will form the last embers and dying sparks.

In the short run we will die from fire. The sun will heat up and Earth will in a billion or two billion years become Venus #2. In 5-6 years the sun will swell up and potentially burn the Earth up.

Your essay was good. Cheers LC

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Paul N Butler wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 22:51 GMT
Your comment on my paper’s page:


We posit some of the same mysteries, issues and questions but I tend to leave nature in the realm of a process we are left with and God in the realm of faith to embody what we can't seem to fathom. Entropy is a natural process which seems to govern the animate and inanimate -- the tiny and the colossal.

An interesting read.


view entire post

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 06:11 GMT
James Lee Hoover,

An informative and easy to read essay. You note that "the most pervasive natural force permeating all aspects of human experience is entropy. It perhaps has the largest impact on why the universe works and why it supports life." In this sense it is interesting that Lee Smolin* pointed out that

" Gravity subverts ideas about thermodynamics ... gravitationally bound systems are anti-thermodynamic."

*See my 2013 FQXi essay: Gravity and the Nature of Information

In this sense I found England's idea that entropy drives matter to acquire life-like physical properties interesting, but self-replication to support the goal of dissipating ever more energy is a big step. I'll study his paper.

You say "our pursuit of goals depends on the contextual occasions of life", which is compatible with neural-pathway-based dependence in my essay.

And your statement: "our bodies contain the stuff of the universe, elements born and reborn – sometimes, animate; sometimes in animate." brings to mind the Santayana quote I mentioned elsewhere:

"All of our sorrow is real, but the atoms of which we are made are indifferent."

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 17:42 GMT
Hi Jim:

Thanks for reading my essay and thoughtful comments.I would greatly appreciate it if you could please provide your valuable rating to my essay.

I very much enjoyed reading your paper as well. Your paper asks the important questions and addresses all the key goals, purposes of human life beyond the mere survival of species on this planet earth. The mainstream science has to go a long way to see beyond the inanimate matter and biological-only evolution to recognize deeper cosmic and universal realities. I am particularly impressed by your expressed thoughts in your paper -

"So we use these piecemeal guides of mathematical laws, hoping, like a piece of life’s puzzle, we can put them all together into a universal whole. We wonder about ourselves, a living, breathing scalar example of universal things that live and die, achieving this cycle on a much smaller and less cosmic scale than a galaxy, composed of stars, planets, black holes, and gases, or the entire universe."

The key theme of my paper is to provide a quantitative scientific model to address the above with empirical evidence and test-ability in future.

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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Avtar Singh replied on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 18:26 GMT
Dear Jim:

Thank you so much for your kind consideration and valuable feed back on my essay. I appreciate it deeply.

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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Avtar Singh replied on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 19:47 GMT

Yes, I did rate your essay.



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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 22:29 GMT

Thanks for this interesting essay. It was very great to hear about Englands ideas of a relation between the second law of thermodynamics and self reproduction. A nice essay.

Regards __________________ John-Erik

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Natesh Ganesh wrote on Feb. 22, 2017 @ 03:44 GMT
Dear Hoover,

I really enjoyed your essay and thought it was very important that you discussed England's dissipation driven adaptation which I think is a very insightful step forward in the right direction. If you have time, check out my essay. You might find the section "An Argument from Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics" in my submission "Intention is Physical" interesting. I show how the emergence of intention and purpose, can be combined with England's idea for adaptation under one single set of idea. Thanks.


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Steve Agnew wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 03:44 GMT
Some say the world began in fire

Some say in ice

From what I've tasted of desire

There are many who would favor fire

But if the world would begin yet twice

I think that ice

Would also surely suffice...

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