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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 2/28/17 at 1:09am UTC, wrote Dear Andrew, I very much enjoyed the vividly rebellious spirit of your...

Jose Koshy: on 2/13/17 at 12:22pm UTC, wrote Andrew R. Scott, I read your essay. You have posed a question: What...

James Hoover: on 2/13/17 at 2:58am UTC, wrote Andrew, I can understand the frustration you feel in dealing with the...

Harry Ricker III: on 2/12/17 at 0:01am UTC, wrote Hi Andrew, I was not at all unsure what was meant by the essay topic that...

John-Erik Persson: on 2/10/17 at 17:54pm UTC, wrote Andrew Thanks for this enjoyable article. I like the fact that you focus...

Joe Fisher: on 2/7/17 at 16:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Scott, Please excuse me for I do not wish to be too critical of...

George Kirakosyan: on 2/6/17 at 10:35am UTC, wrote Dear Gupta! (copy) Many thanks for your great opinion. I am just happy to...

Lawrence Crowell: on 2/6/17 at 2:14am UTC, wrote While my essay takes a very different approach by making the default...


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FQXi FORUM
February 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Mathematically Mysterious by Andrew R. Scott [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 5.5; Public = 4.9


Author Andrew R. Scott wrote on Feb. 3, 2017 @ 21:12 GMT
Essay Abstract

There are so many unjustified assumptions in the question it is barely worth considering - at least not without first addressing and questioning these assumptions. Honesty and humility in the face of our ultimate ignorance is more appropriate than the common pretence that we may be able to resolve such issues. We do not know what consciousness is, hence we are hardly in a position to consider what aspects of nature, whether mathematical or not, may give rise to it and the aims and intentions it may create. We are lost in a universe that we will never properly understand, and this brief entry makes a probably futile attempt to persuade readers with an inflated view of the power of science of this bleak and ultimate truth.

Author Bio

Andrew R. Scott is a long-established science writer, author of books translated into many languages and a large number of articles published by such outlets as Nature, New Scientist, Chemistry World, several national newspapers and many more. He has a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge University and a BSc in biochemistry from Edinburgh University. He also publishes fiction and memoir as Andrew MacLaren-Scott. Further details and samples of work are available on http://andrewrscott.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://andrewmaclarenscott.blogspot.co.uk/

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 4, 2017 @ 04:42 GMT
Hi, Andrew R. Scott,

Good essay on the basis of the formation of question it self. Though it is not answering the EQXi question.

By the way what is consciousness...

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Author Andrew R. Scott replied on Feb. 4, 2017 @ 11:26 GMT
Thanks. I am glad you are enjoyed it. I suggest I am answering the question, for any response to a question is an answer, even if it is "I don't know". I rather suspect that none of the essays here will answer the question in the sense of providing a solution, although I have not read them all yet, so perhaps somewhere I will find one that reveals how mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention, but I doubt it. Andrew




Biswaranjan Dikshit wrote on Feb. 4, 2017 @ 18:45 GMT
Hi, you seem to loose hope that science will ever be successful in understanding life, consciousness, intentions etc. But, science is a quest of truth. If life and consciousness truly exist in nature, why can't we prove it? Of course, we will have to include these subjects in the scope of modern scientific research.

A preliminary step towards a mathematical approach on 'will' or consciousness can be found in my submitted essay titled "Theoretical proof of biased will of nature as the origin of quantum mechanical results".

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Author Andrew R. Scott replied on Feb. 4, 2017 @ 19:48 GMT
I agree we should include all these subjects in the scope of scientific research, but we should always be clear about the distinction between descriptions and correlations and ultimate explanations. And we should be open to the possible limitations of what we may be able to discern, rather than expecting that we should necessarily be able to understand everything. If we, as mere parts of the universe, were capable of understanding everything about it, that would be rather remarkable. But of course, we should try to get as far as we can, and we are doing quite well. I will take a look at your essay.



Joe Fisher replied on Feb. 7, 2017 @ 16:51 GMT
Dear Dr. Scott,

Please excuse me for I do not wish to be too critical of your fine essay.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

One real visible Universe must have only one reality. Simple natural reality has nothing to do with any abstract complex musings about imaginary invisible “inflated view of the power of science of this bleak and ultimate truth.”

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Don C Foster wrote on Feb. 4, 2017 @ 22:38 GMT
Hi there,

You might like Dan Bruiger's essay. I thought he dealt with the ambiguities of the question pretty thoroughly Not exactly well posed.

Regards, Don

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Feb. 5, 2017 @ 06:56 GMT
Dear Andrew

I can only applaud your true remarks, as we are obligated do not deceiving ourselves, before teaching something to others!

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Author Andrew R. Scott replied on Feb. 5, 2017 @ 10:19 GMT
Thanks George




Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 6, 2017 @ 02:14 GMT
While my essay takes a very different approach by making the default assumption of "mindless math = physical principles," yours poses the counter question of what is meant by the relationship of math to the world. We know it works well, but it is mysterious as Wigner pointed out in his "Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics."

LC

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Feb. 6, 2017 @ 10:35 GMT
Dear Gupta! (copy)

Many thanks for your great opinion.

I am just happy to see that we are not alone in our views!

Maybe in any time people will be realized that the way of natural thinking is more preferable in science than any beautiful creativity! Now I am starting to study your work (with pleasure!) I will tell you about it after some time.

I suggest you to read M-r Andrew Scott’s article where I find very costly remarks!

With best wishes!

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 17:54 GMT
Andrew

Thanks for this enjoyable article. I like the fact that you focus on the importance of knowing what we know and not know, and also the distinction between description and explanation.

John-Erik Persson

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Harry Hamlin Ricker III wrote on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 00:01 GMT
Hi Andrew, I was not at all unsure what was meant by the essay topic that was selected. You did a pretty good job of analyzing the issues involved in answering the topic question. I however, am pretty sure that the question was posed within the context of the viewpoint that goes back to the Pythagorean idea that nature is mathematics. That idea has many faults, and I tried to address them from the viewpoint of the so called scientific method. I see you took a different approach. Many of the issues that you raise are complementary to the issues that I addressed. I concluded that the scientific tools, as currently used, are inadequate to address the problem posed. So it is an ill posed problem as it stands. I did try to suggest alternative ways of dealing with the question, which is a fundamental question. I don't think that it really falls into the purview of science, and can not be answered by science, as it is really a question in philosophy.

I suggested that it is a problem that doesn't fit into the box that science tried to fit it into. So we have to find a different approach, since the tools of science are not suited to the solution of the problem that they posed.

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 13, 2017 @ 02:58 GMT
Andrew,

I can understand the frustration you feel in dealing with the topic and as a non-scientist by training and experience, my concept of mindless was non-scientific. In retirement I'm hooked on science.

However, my comments went like this: Such laws are not mindless as the non-scientific definition of requiring no mental effort, but mindless in the sense of being only a neutral mathematical description of an observed phenomenon. Thus, there is no mindfulness to such laws. They do not dictate an aim but can boost efforts to rationally explain observed phenomenon in the course of humankind’s endeavors.

I went to Aristotle for concept of goals and discovery and the scientific process in methodology for discovery and mindless laws.

Jim Hoover

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Jose P. Koshy wrote on Feb. 13, 2017 @ 12:22 GMT
Andrew R. Scott,

I read your essay. You have posed a question: What exactly are mathematical laws? In my opinion, the basic law (rule) of mathematics is the law of addition. 1+1 is always equal to 2. The rest of the mathematical laws follow from this. There are no separate mathematical laws for physics. In interactions, bodies have to follow mathematical laws.

I agree with you regarding quanta. Matter is grainy; and so space, time, and everything connected with matter are quantised. I propose that the 'fundamental unit' of matter always remain in 'motion', which is a mathematical relation connecting space and time. Because of motion, matter always remain changing, and the changes follow mathematical laws.

Jose P Koshy

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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 01:09 GMT
Dear Andrew,

I very much enjoyed the vividly rebellious spirit of your essay, although I do not fully share your points. In particular, I do not see any reflection on the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” (Wigner), whose ‘unreasonableness’ points to the fact that it goes much farther than ability to count units. What I especially like in your text is your pointing to the mystery as the terminus of all explanations. I am very interested to see your comments to my essay.

Regards, Alexey Burov.

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