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Yehuda Atai: on 3/22/17 at 20:15pm UTC, wrote Hi James, Interesting article, and I agree with the observation that all...

Jeffrey Schmitz: on 3/20/17 at 22:22pm UTC, wrote Jim, I teach and there are a few students, who might ask questions or just...

Christian Corda: on 3/20/17 at 10:19am UTC, wrote Hi Jim, Nice Essay which approaches the topics of the Essay Contest in a...

Stefan Keppeler: on 3/19/17 at 20:50pm UTC, wrote Dear Jim, throwing in Jeremy England's ideas adds a nice twist. Maybe they...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 3/18/17 at 10:33am UTC, wrote Hi JLH, Hope you will spend some more time on Dynamic Universe Model, I...

George Kirakosyan: on 3/18/17 at 5:33am UTC, wrote I see here are many partisans targeted to you, also...

George Kirakosyan: on 3/18/17 at 5:00am UTC, wrote Dear James, Thank you for attention on my work. I appreciate your support!...

Rick Searle: on 3/13/17 at 0:35am UTC, wrote Hello James, Yours are always one of the essays I look forward to most in...


Philip Gibbs: "Everybody in the top 50 at least has been repeatedly 1-bombed. It affects..." in FQXi Essay Contest 2016:...

Sagar sai: "Existing without the answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out..." in Time in Physics & Entropy...

Sagar sai: "Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I..." in Time in Physics & Entropy...

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March 23, 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 = 5.1; Public = 5.3

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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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 12:12 GMT
Hi James

Well written and pertinent essay again. I've always has issues with entropy as it falls apart with the 're-ionization' we've found and in any recycling model, which is what I've shown wide evidence supports more consistently than the so called 'Concordance' Model. That means it would be increasing 'ice' before going through the hottest 'fire' (a quasar) before the next iteration, so even 'end' may not be the right concept!

However I like England's approach, and yours to discussing it. In particular I agree and have written about matter being condensed by shear (first discussed by the present Royal Astronomer in quasar jets in the 1960's). Did you know that the galaxy mass function has grown significantly over the last 12bn years?! I assign that to the fresh NEW matter condensed and mixed in with each re-ionization ('recycling').

Very nice essay, interesting and high up the bunch I think.

Best of luck


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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 04:47 GMT
Thanks for the ping Jim..

Too tired to comment intelligently now, but I read your essay.

Comments tomorrow, most likely.



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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 05:38 GMT
I'll start anew here..

I liked your essay, but I didn't know about England's work until reading it. The premise as stated seems a bit too simplistic, but a generalization of that idea could explain a lot. It tends to be the non-linear aspects of entropy that drive life's adaptation, Jim, because life tries to actively exploit the niches which are boundary regions, places of higher fractal dimension (roughness) and so on. The irregular regions are a haven for living creatures, because they provide a significant gradient over a short interval.

What most people don't realize is that non-linear entropy, and non-linear electrodynamics for that matter, creates islands of order amid the chaos - or rather regimes of order that alternate with chaotic states. To a degree; one can equate converging and diverging regions with purely real vs complex or hyper-complex states with terms that anti-commute or anti-associate as part of the equation. Anyhow; life exploits that to survive, finding a region where a proper mix of order and chaos prevails.

Did you know that if you overlay a bifurcation diagram on the Mandelbrot Set, it has a branching point every place the Set folds back on itself. But the really cool part is that the islands of order in the chaotic regions of the bifurcation map correspond precisely with the mini-Mandelbrots in the tail region of M. There is a place where all the trajectories seem to be drawn to converge at one point, and this location is called a Misiurewicz point. That place is of special interest to me, and is currently a subject of research. Would you believe a BEC formation quantum critical point and a Black Hole event horizon?

Of course; that explains the supervoid too.

All the Best,


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Author James Lee Hoover replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 06:30 GMT
Do you mean that the effects of the Mandelbrot set could explain a supervoid, exhibiting images of elaborate and infinitely complicated boundaries of progressively ever-finer recursive details at increasing magnifications -- thus the supervoid?


Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 14:59 GMT
More so this..

The Mandelbrot Set is maximally asymmetric. It is the very embodiment of broken symmetry, where one end behaves as a source and the other as a sink. All the variations appearing at the cusp are extinguished at the tail, where vibration stops and absolute zero temperature is modeled at (-2, 0i). The cusp and the tail point in the same direction. The supervoid has a location in M near (-1.25, 0i), where a bulb opens up as a projection of the 'main' disc.

The spot I'm most interested in is at about (-1.543689, 0i), which is a Misiurewicz point. This is the spot described in my last post.

Warm Regards,


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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 15:13 GMT
This is elaborated here..

A little Math problem..



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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 10:44 GMT
Dear Jim Hoover,

Thank you for reading my essay and for your comments. I am posting my reply here also.

The Novae and Super Novae (Exploding stars) produce many elements and even new flavours of neutrinos. These things are covered in another paper. Here page length limitation is there. I could not cover many points. To give a basic idea about Dynamic Universe...

view entire post

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Ines Samengo wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 11:19 GMT
Hi, James, I enjoyed your nicely written essay. And the emphasis in England's theory, I truly think the clue to the question is around these ideas.

> Do the forces of energy given off by plasma, a fourth stage of matter, in fact, about 99% of normal matter in the universe, replicate and restructure in the form of dark matter?

Wow, interesting conjecture!

Thanks! ines.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 22:01 GMT
Dear James Lee Hoover,

Hope you will spend some more time on Dynamic Universe Model...

Best Regards


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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 10:33 GMT

Hope you will spend some more time on Dynamic Universe Model,

I want you to ask you to please have a look at my essay, where ……………reproduction of Galaxies in the Universe is described. Dynamic Universe Model is another mathematical model for Universe. Its mathematics show that the movement of masses will be having a purpose or goal, Different Galaxies will be born...

view entire post

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 16:07 GMT
Dear James Lee,

Thank you for the lessons I learned from your essay.

Indeed survival (and procreation) is for living agants the most important thing, but beside of that we are also worrying about the WHY, one of the reasons of this contest.

You had a very clear goal in your work : The goal of the Universe our reality.

In my perception it is "outside" our emergent reality that we have to search for the WHY.

I hope that you will find some time to read/comment and rate my essay "The Purpose of Life. (I rated your essay a 7).

Best regards and awaiting your comment

Wilhelmus de Wilde

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 08:40 GMT
This dissipation driven adaptation idea is a fascinating topic. It is hard to see how life can be organising itself in order to dissipate heat more effectively. After all, a dark rock sitting in the sunshine dissipates heat very well. However Jeremy England's calculations seem to suggest that the idea is right.

This seems to leave open the question of what physical mechanism is making this happen. Thermodynamics says that entropy must increase but is there a law of thermodynamics that says a system will adapt to do it more efficiently? How can this be shown in general terms rather than just by examples?

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 19:37 GMT
Dear James,

Very interesting essay, high dialectic and deep ontology of the "LifeWorld" (E.Husserl). This is what is needed today to overcome the total crisis of understanding in science and society. Successes in the Сontest! Sincerely, Vladimir

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 00:49 GMT
Dear Jim

I enjoyed your essay - its quiet tone and range, and its being refreshingly well-written and also on-topic (unlike mine) contributed to that. I tried to read England's paper following your endorsement, but it was too technical for my immediate understanding. I would like to see his simulations. I get the feeling it describes how local causal molecular interactions can evolve into self-replicating living cells via a faster route than thought possible.

As to dark matter In my Beautiful Universe Model dark energy and matter may be simply due to the internal pressure of mutually repulsive Universal lattice nodes.



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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 06:01 GMT
Hi James,

A very creative essay. For your idea collection I consider dark energy and dark matter the source of gravity (and it mostly fits with GR). See

In this contest you go for the endgame of fire or ice! An intellectual adventure.

Thank you for your essay,

Don Limuti

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 21:07 GMT
Dear Jim!

I invite you to familiarize yourself with New Cartesian Physic

I appreciate your essay. You spent a lot of effort to write it.

If you believed in the principle of identity of space and matter of Descartes, then your essay would be even better.

I wish to see your criticism on the New Cartesian Physic, the founder of which I call myself.

The concept of moving space-matter helped me:

- The uncertainty principle Heisenberg to make the principle of definiteness of points of space-matter;

- Open the law of the constancy of the flow of forces through a closed surface is the sphere of space-matter;

- Open the law of universal attraction of Lorentz;

- Give the formula for the pressure of the Universe;

- To give a definition of gravitational mass as the flow vector of the centrifugal acceleration across the surface of the corpuscles, etc.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential in understanding the world. To show this potential in his essay I gave The way of The materialist explanation of the paranormal and the supernatural . Visit my essay and you will find something in it about New Cartesian Physic. Note my statement that our brain creates an image of the outside world no inside, and in external space. Hope you rate my essay as high as I am yours. I am waiting your post.


Dizhechko Boris

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Rick Searle wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 00:35 GMT
Hello James,

Yours are always one of the essays I look forward to most in these contests, and I certainly enjoyed your latest.

Although I took a more literary approach than you my essay discussed Jeremy England and the Second Law as well. Please check it out when you get the chance.

Best of luck,

Rick Searle

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 05:00 GMT
Dear James,

Thank you for attention on my work. I appreciate your support!

Coming to your essay I will just emphasize some points that you says: "Such laws are not mindless ..." Then you says "they not dictate the aim ...". This almost is enough to me to understand your vision on the contest question. Then you goes a little on side and you linked the aim with the entropy. This I can welcome only (I think not me only!) because the connection of the entropy with system organisation it should be obvious to everybody. And, the purposefulness cannot be without organisation. So, this also is nice!

But let me just tell you friendly that I am a little bit sceptical to dark matter. If you will ask my advice here then I will say - It will better to wait until we understand the physical essence of gravity phenomena, the elementary particles etc. I mean, it maybe that time we just will see that the ''dark matter" becomes not so necessary!

And, in the common sense your essay are one of nice works in the contest. So, I can wish you success only!

Best regards

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George Kirakosyan replied on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 05:33 GMT
I see here are many partisans targeted to you, also...

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Stefan Keppeler wrote on Mar. 19, 2017 @ 20:50 GMT
Dear Jim, throwing in Jeremy England's ideas adds a nice twist. Maybe they will eventually make our seemingly exceptional situation appear as less unlikely than we thought it was. Cheers, Stefan

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Christian Corda wrote on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 10:19 GMT
Hi Jim,

Nice Essay which approaches the topics of the Essay Contest in a very original way. I had fun in read it. Thus, you deserves a high score that I am going to give you. Good luck in the Contest.

Cheers, Ch.

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Jeffrey Michael Schmitz wrote on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 22:22 GMT

I teach and there are a few students, who might ask questions or just look interested, which make waking up and driving to class worth the effort; I feel that way when reading your essay. You have humanized the general topics of life, entropy and the state of the universe.

A few notes: the oceans are more of a heat sink with the sun being a heat source. “Organisms are intrinsically bound to increase in complexity through evolution.” There must have been a period early in the history of life where complexity increased, but after that, life mostly tended to the simplest state with a few exceptions (like us).

Best of luck,


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Yehuda Atai wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 20:15 GMT
Hi James,

Interesting article, and I agree with the observation that all self-organizations from a grain of sand to galaxies are striving to keep the dynamic equilibrium in optimization relative to their state in the environment.

In my philosophical essay "we are together, therefore I am", I explain how it is possible to ratify reality and how the self-organization' from sub particle to a human to galaxies maintain their self-organization.

Thanks again

Yehuda Atai

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