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Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Thomas Ray: on 7/28/17 at 13:09pm UTC, wrote Lorraine, "This summary-level information does not logically...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/28/17 at 4:17am UTC, wrote Lorraine, physics isn't about how biological organisms function, that...

Lorraine Ford: on 7/28/17 at 2:44am UTC, wrote Georgina, According to physics, characteristics do not simply “occur”....

Lorraine Ford: on 7/28/17 at 2:17am UTC, wrote Jonathan, According to physics, what we call “human choice” doesn’t...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/28/17 at 1:13am UTC, wrote I don't think so Lorraine. Characteristics can occur which are either...

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Lorraine Ford: on 7/28/17 at 0:30am UTC, wrote Tom, As you know, King Canute’s tides are fully explainable by known...

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FQXi BLOGS
July 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Wandering Towards a Goal: Winners Announcement [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT
We asked the question: how do mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intentions. So how does it happen? Well, we’re not going to just tell you the answer. You’ll have to read it for yourself — in our winning essays, which we are now happy to announce!

We have an unusual outcome this time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the contest question turns out to be rather controversial, with not just the essayists but also the panelists holding quite diverging views. Despite a lot of effort and good-faith attempts to find common ground, in the end the jury was deadlocked along several dimensions. In the end they decided the fairest representation of their collective opinions would be — a tie for first (and second) place. In fact, a 3-way tie.

Sharing the top spot are the entries from Larissa Albantakis (A Tale of Two Animats), Carlo Rovelli (Meaning and Intentionality = Information + Evolution), and Jochen Szangolies (Von Neumann Minds). The panel elected to pool the prize money for the top 3 spots, a total of $20,000, and split it evenly. Thus each of our 3 top winners will receive $6,666.

Visit our page of winners to also see our third and fourth prize winners, and find links to each winning essay. Also awarded was a special “community choice” award for the entry from George Ellis (Wandering Towards a Goal), which was well liked by many and, thanks to George’s involvement, had high levels of community engagement and forum interaction, which is a lot of what makes these contests worthwhile.

We look forward to our next contest, which we hope to announce soon.

Thanks to our sponsors, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, for making it possible. We also thank our diligent review panel. And last of all, we give great thanks to all of our entrants — we appreciate the effort you put into writing the entries, as well as reading and discussing them. We hope you will join us again for the next one.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 17:31 GMT
Congratulations to all the winners! Well done! I see that Dr. Ellis has 321 posts in his forum. That is certainly a large number and it appears to be the largest of any of the forums. That certainly merits special consideration. I would like to point out another aspect of community interaction. Dr. Ellis made postings in very few forums other than his own. Dr. Klingman made postings in many forums that would otherwise receive little attention.

Congratulations to the Winners and Best Regards to All,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 21:20 GMT
A mystical religious belief has infected the physics community, a belief in magic and miracles. This is the belief in “emergence”, the belief that new laws, algorithms, new deterministic powers over physical matter, can naturally “emerge” from an existing deterministic system of numb, dumb particles.

For 50 years, complexity/”emergence” research has produced nothing but philosophical waffle and hopeful spin. But now physicists have caught the disease, the belief in mystery, miracles and magic, despite the fact that there can never be a theoretical model whereby new equations could naturally emerge from an existing equation-ruled deterministic system of numb, dumb particles. In fact, equations are always added to a model system, from outside the system, they never emerge from a model system.

The physicists’ new prize-winning belief in miracles sits oddly with the fact that a multitude of physicists and philosophers have recently toured the world evangelising the idea that underlying reality is a purely deterministic system of numb, dumb particles.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 22:16 GMT
I would have politely congratulated the winners, but it's truth that matters, not who wins contests.

It’s clear that in reality new rules (representable as laws/equations and algorithms) do emerge as you progress from particles to atoms, atoms to molecules, and molecules to living things. But deterministic “mindless mathematical laws” cannot themselves emerge/evolve, they cannot give rise to anything, let alone “give rise to aims and intentions”: so “mindless mathematical laws” cannot be the foundations of reality.

Instead, it is what causes/creates these rules, including initial-numeric-values-for-variables rules, that are the foundations of reality. The options are: miracles/ magic; or a “God”; but the only feasible option is that particles, atoms and molecules are not quite the numb, dumb entities that they have been assumed to be.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 6, 2017 @ 23:27 GMT
It seems that law-of-nature rules have power over reality: new rules are new powers over reality.

One way to understand new rules is as new categories of information. A new equation-rule is a new category of information (i.e. a new equation variable) expressed in terms of relationships between existing categories of information (i.e. existing equation variables).

Another type of new rule is that which assigns a new numeric value to an existing variable: i.e. a discontinuity of numeric values occurs.

New algorithm-rules (e.g. the theoretical Markov brain models) are different because algorithms “sit above” equations. The basis for algorithm-rules exists in the universe because it seems clear that law-of-nature equation-rules must exist in the following way: Law1 AND Law2 AND Law3…..

Consciousness is awareness of rules i.e. awareness of categories of information; “free will” is the creation of new rules: both consciousness and “free will” are an inherent part of a rule-based system; neither consciousness nor “free will” can “emerge” from a rule-based system; i.e. “aims and intentions” cannot naturally “emerge” from a rule-based system.

Would anyone like to dispute what I have said? I would be glad if anyone could explain why they think that what I have said above is absolute nonsense.

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 20:58 GMT
As always an excellent contest.

Great questions with great answers.

Thank you to all those have partecipated in the perfect organization.

I, and others, look forward to the next contest.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 21:40 GMT
Congratulations to the winners. I haven't read all of the winning essays but have enjoyed the ones I have. The page of winners link is useful for accessing them easily, thanks for that. I read another this morning.

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Don Limuti wrote on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 02:35 GMT
Hi Brendan,

A most interesting contest that I enjoyed competing in. My intention was to win ....Oh well at least I think I gave some of the judges a little challenge.

1. Larissa Albantakis took first prize. You got it right!

2. Carlo Rovelli also took first prise, in spite of the fact that he did not respond to posts, and was not active in the contest. I cannot avoid the implication that he had an (unfair?) advantage because he is a notable personality in physics and friend of Max Tegmark.

3. Lorraine Ford should have been awarded a special prize for being the devil's advocate, and pointing out how physics is turning into religion. You do not believe in the multiverse, it's a sin not to! She really did add a lot of spice to the contest.

4. The judging panel deserves a lot of praise. If I were asked to be a panel member (heaven forbid) I would have screamed and run away as fast as I could. They did a very good job.

What ya got in store for the next contest?

Don Limuti

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 22:51 GMT
Thanks for the thought Don :-)

I guess I’m just trying to say that we (and other living things etc.) are not strangers/foreigners to the universe: collectively, we are reality, we are the universe. I.e. laws-of-nature rule the universe, but we (particles, atoms, molecules, living things) made the rules, and continue to make localised rules (within the context of existing rules). :-)

Carlo Rovelli and other physicists and philosophers (except the Qbists like Christopher Fuchs [1]), evangelise a view of reality whereby we are 100% victims of law-of-nature rules: not a good message to people facing tough problems e.g. climate change.

Cheers,

Lorraine

1. Notwithstanding Bohr, the Reasons for QBism, Christopher A. Fuchs, https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.03483v1 ; QBism: Quantum Theory as a Hero's Handbook, Christopher A. Fuchs & Blake C. Stacey, https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.07308

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 23:50 GMT
P.S.

Re "make the planet great again":

France plans to ban all gasoline or diesel cars to "make the planet great again" [1].

Physicists like Carlo Rovelli or Sabine Hossenfelder would like you to believe that such a plan was the inevitable outcome of deterministic laws-of-nature and/or randomness operating since the beginning of time. They would in effect tell you that people don't have the law-of-nature-lawful power to act to make a difference to reality: they say that it's only "mindless mathematical laws" and/or randomness that acts !

Lorraine :-)

1. https://www.treehugger.com/cars/m-hulot-declares-all-traffic
-france-will-be-electric-2040.html

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Heinrich Luediger wrote on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 11:10 GMT
Lorraine,

The rule or algorithm at the root of reality is problematic. First, it collides with free will, because the rule is positive (take civil law as an example). Positive law, however, is a matter of taste; max. speed on highways is 75 mph in the US and not limited in Germany. Conversely, the ownership of guns is strictly regulated in Germany, but free in the US. Second, the rule collides with what is called the infinite depth of human experience, in other words, no ‘blue screen’ – never. This is why humans can survive in never previously experienced situations and environments - in which (positive!) machine learning must (and always will) terribly fail. Third, already Wittgenstein had noticed that a rule and following that rule cannot possibly be the same thing, for otherwise that rule would not be accessible to debate. All these problems evaporate as soon as the rule is conceived of negatively, namely, as a prohibition or (in physics) as a conservation law, symmetry or invariance, with the immediate effect of becoming universally applicable. That is, what we call human rule-based behavior is not a matter of LOGIC at all, because LOGIC builds on identity, i.e. is positive and hence not universal.

The universe, I would like to think, APPEARS regular for the reason of invariances. Hence it follows: no observer, no universe!

H.H.J.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 14:38 GMT
Heinrich,

I am saying that "free will" (= "choice", = creativity) is the creation of a new law-of-nature-lawful rule, a rule that has actual power over physical reality. E.g. a rule that you could mathematically represent as the assignment of a new numeric value to an existing variable i.e. there is a quantum discontinuity of numeric value for a local fundamental-level variable representing physical reality. "Free will" is the creation of a new law-of-nature-lawful rule.

Reality is a deterministic system based on rules. It is clear that the emergence of atoms from particles; molecules from atoms; and living things from molecules requires new rules. I am saying that new rules can never naturally emerge from a deterministic rule-based system: the FQXi essayists who suggest that new rules, or anything new, can naturally emerge from a deterministic rule-based system of numb, dumb particles believe in magic and miracles.

Fact: rules have to be "added" to a system, they never ever emerge from a system. I am saying that it is things (particles, atoms, molecules and living things) that have the ability to create rules, and it is things that have created all initial-numeric-value rules, and law-of-nature rules in the universe-system. Rules did not emerge by magic, or by miracles, or due to the intervention of a "God".

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 14, 2017 @ 23:34 GMT
Physics latest absurd caper is indoctrinating babies [1] – not to believe in a God that will punish you if you are naughty – but to believe that their every little action is 100% dictated by iron-clad laws-of-nature and/or mindless randomness. Physics wants babies and little children to believe that they are always completely strait-jacketed, they are not free to navigate towards a goal, not free to find creative solutions to tough problems like climate change. Because physics says that reality is such that only mindless laws-of-nature and mindless randomness have power over reality – people themselves can never have any power over reality. This is a stupendously stupid message to indoctrinate little children with, but it just shows the lost, decadent state of physics, a physics that believes that we human beings are strangers in our own universe.

1. https://csferrie.com/2016/11/19/quantum-physics-for-babies

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 01:48 GMT
Re “wandering towards a goal” of mitigating climate change and halting further species extinction:

This is how physics envisages climate change mitigation, and the species extinction crisis, will be handled:

1. The whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness, on a universe-wide scale, will automatically handle all situations.

2. Under the influence of point 1 (above) particles have automatically self-assembled into higher-level entities that: A) have automatically acquired the consciousness that climate change and species extinction is happening; B) have automatically acquired the ability to imagine that they can act to mitigate climate change and halt further species extinction, even though its only point 1 (above) that is happening.

That’s it. That’s how physics envisages climate change mitigation, and the species extinction crisis, will be handled: automatically and spontaneously.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 21:56 GMT
In other words, physics is saying that there is nothing that human beings can do about climate change and the species extinction crisis: what will be will be; the laws-of-nature and randomness will determine what happens (though people might deceive themselves into thinking that they have the power to affect physical reality).

President Donald Trump mightn’t believe in climate change, but Trump-counterpart physics firmly believes that nothing can be done about it. They are a lovely couple.

When will the aging adolescent boys of politics and physics grow up?

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 08:29 GMT
Congratulations to the winners. This was a challenging topic which led to a very diverse response. I learnt a lot from writing my essay, the comments from the community and from many of the other essays, including those that did not win or get rated highly.

Thank you to the organisers and sponsors for the unique opportunity for everyone to participate. I can't believe we are approaching the 10th year of these contests and I look forward to the next round.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 00:15 GMT
Physics has a dirty secret to hide that it doesn’t want the nice people of the world to know about:

Physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis, because physics doesn’t believe that human beings have any power whatsoever to affect physical reality.

Physics believes that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

When will physics and physicists grow up? When will physics and physicists confront and deal with the nature of the real world, the world where people and living things have the power to affect physical reality? (But a chair, a car, a robot or a billiard ball doesn’t have the power to affect physical reality: at most, these objects merely augment or extend human power.) This power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless lawful power is inherent to things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT
Lorraine,

Can you articulate a testable hypothesis? If so, what is it? I will interpret silence to mean "No".

You might not like the patriarchy of old, dead, white guys but that patriarchy has made it to the moon and the planets. And built some pretty cool stuff.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 01:55 GMT
Gary,

I can see that you fail to understand what I'm talking about.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 02:58 GMT
So Gary,

Another way to put it would be to say that physics has a philosophy about the nature of reality. Shock! Horror! Yes, physics has a philosophy about the nature of reality which assumes e.g.:

Mindless particles, atoms and molecules; “mindless mathematical laws” [1]; “emergence” of new rules/laws from an existing deterministic universe-system of mindless particles; human beings and other living things have no power whatsoever to affect physical reality – it is merely the action of the “laws” and “randomness”.

I’m saying that physics’ philosophy about the nature of reality doesn’t stack up.

1. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 07:47 GMT
Objective is defeated if "Mechanics of Computer Virus" is ignored.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 19, 2017 @ 23:57 GMT
Gary,

Obviously, plenty of people are happy to believe in an emasculated version of “free will”, where what they do has no power to make any difference whatsoever to reality, e.g. the climate of the planet.

Physics and philosophy believe in this emasculated version of “free will”: they believe that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level law-of-nature rules plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people don’t have the power to make rules.

A free will that has the power to make a difference to reality is clearly logically impossible in such a scenario. That is why physics and philosophy say that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

If you are happy to believe that you are emasculated, that what you do has no power to make any difference whatsoever to reality, then go for it!

But a free will that has the power to make a difference to reality requires a change in philosophy about the nature of reality, not a change in the rules (the rules are the only bit that experiments can work with). The change in philosophy is that things (particles, atoms, molecules, and thereby, living things ) are the source of rules; things have the power to make rules.

Lorraine

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 20, 2017 @ 02:32 GMT
Lorraine,

What experiment do you propose? This is a simple question. If you have no answer then you are not performing science.

I'm not trying to be an a##. I am simply stating a fact. I have free will. I also live in a universe where objects are governed by physical law. I can kick a rock off the top of a cliff and it falls. That does not mean I will choose to jump.

So what is your experiment? BTW, JF does not have an experimental test either.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 20, 2017 @ 23:44 GMT
Gary,

20th century physics has shown that the universe is only understandable in terms of (what are called) “observers”, where observers are clearly irreducible entities, primitives of the universe-system. There can be no experiment to prove that an observer exists: it has been inferred that “an observer” must exist. Your rigid, outdated, view that everything is provable by experiment is wrong: clearly there are crucially important parts of reality that are not representable via mathematical equations – i.e. they can only be inferred.

The particle itself is not representable as a mathematical equation: it is only information about the particle, e.g. mass, that is symbolically representable in terms of a relationship (i.e. a mathematical equation).

I’m saying that “free will”/ “choice”/ creativity is the creation of a new relationship/ rule. The resultant rule can be symbolically represented as a mathematical equation, but the creativity/ cause of the rule is not itself representable as a mathematical equation: it can only be inferred.

Physics and philosophy, and you, can only ever deduce an emasculated version of free will, because of the failure to consider the cause of the rules that determine the structure of the universe-system.

Physics is unnaturally silent about climate change and the species extinction crisis because physics’ view of reality is that people have no causal power over reality whatsoever i.e. no power to make rules.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 21, 2017 @ 03:16 GMT
Lorraine,

This is the most clear and unambiguous post you have made on the subject. Many thanks. Unfortunately, as with Joe Fisher - Realist, this is also where we part company.

Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 02:05 GMT
Lorraine,

Allow me to offer one final thought. I ate a large supper today. That tends to make me sleepy. Nature was telling me to take a nap and for a few minutes I did in fact lie down to nap. Then I decided to get up, go upstairs, and practice piano.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 14:38 GMT
Dear Cristi, Georgina,

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis.

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics doesn’t believe that human beings have any power whatsoever to affect physical reality.

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics believes that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

When will physics and physicists confront and deal with the nature of the real world, the world where people and living things have the power to affect physical reality?

This power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless some degree of lawful power, i.e. limited ability to create one-off local rules, is already inherent in things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

Regards,

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 14:42 GMT
Cristi,

You say: “But if there is any shred of free-will within the constraints of the physical laws, we use it as much as we can”. But you have not conjectured about how such a system could work.

You are seemingly describing a system where there was “possibility”, i.e. room to move, within the limits of existing laws-of-nature, and where living things actually had the power to make these moves.

Why is it that physics will conjecture about multiverses, but not conjecture about something a little closer to the lived reality of human beings?

Regards,

Lorraine

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 17:46 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Did I ever said to you anything about climate change?

All I said to you was that from my personal experience most physicists believe in free-will, and even those who don't, they still exercise it as if they actually believe.

You were worried that everyone here believes in mindless determinism and that we can't change things, and I showed you otherwise. That's all. Then, instead of being happy that your worries were unfounded and that they believe we can change things, you moved to a completely different topic as if this was we were talking about, and you talk as if I said that "physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis". How can you put in my mouth things I never said and are remote from anything I said just like this?

From what I know, there is a wide consensus among scientists that climate change is caused by humans.

How do you even know about climate change if not from scientists?

And about free-will, I don't know to explain you if and how it works, but I exercise it like anyone else. We don't have an objective proof of if and how it works, but I think this can be part of what I called in my essay "subjective science". But your idea that you can't use it without having a theory about it is like saying that before understanding biology we couldn't breath.

Scientists are doing their best to find solutions to the climate change problem using the best knowledge they have about the laws of nature, so I think you are being unfair.

If you are able to decree a local physical law to solve the climate change problem, please do so, we would be grateful.

Best wishes,

Cristi

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

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 22:59 GMT
Hi to both of you,

Hope you are well.I believe strongly that we can solve thse mainb problems with concrete gloabal solutions. The climate is a result of our past industiralisation more this and that.The adaptation becomes the main essential for the well of all.It is too late and we must prevent.The actual reality is like it is and we must inbd solutions to improve and save this planet.We can save it in imrpoving the main foundamentals permitting to reAch these points of equilibriums.The first is to imp^rove this global ecology and the grounds. We know that this climate is a reality and that our ecology is on a bad road;We know also that it lacks jobs and a lot of harmonisations.The solutions exist and we have the keys in hands.The hour is serious and we must act by adapted sciences;The composting at big global scale and the vegetal multiplication more the hamronisation of cosystems become an essential?The jobs , water, food, energy must be correlated.It seems foundamental and so important considering our universal logic and its laws.We cannot live without harmonised ecosystems and their foundamentals interactions.The most important is to balance"this palnet after all.

Best

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 24, 2017 @ 23:15 GMT
In November 2017, world leaders will gather for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. This vitally important conference exists because of the knowledge that human beings have power over reality (i.e. human beings have caused climate change), and the conference is predicated on the conviction that human beings have power over reality (i.e. human beings can act to avert climate change).

So why are the theories of physics, and the assumptions of physics, formulated in such a way that makes human power over reality an impossibility???

Bear in mind that physicists have deliberately engineered theories like the MWI [1], with their associated mathematical equations, in an attempt to account for quantum phenomena. And physicists have dreamed up the existence of a hypothetical entity called “the wave function”, with its associated mathematics, in an attempt to account for these quantum phenomena.

So why do physicists not attempt to hypothesise a theoretical basis for, or an interpretation of reality that accounts for, living things’ power over reality?

Answer: Such a theory would offend physics’ deeply entrenched beliefs that only abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [2] and “randomness” have power over physical reality. Clearly, such a power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless some degree of lawful power is already inherent in things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

1. The Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics

2. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 14:24 GMT
"So why are the theories of physics, and the assumptions of physics, formulated in such a way that makes human power over reality an impossibility???"

Because that is not a scientifically formulated question.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 14:58 GMT
Tom.

Obviously, you are part of the oppressive patriarchy. Next you'll be expecting a testable hypothesis:-)

I am beginning to think that sanity is losing the war.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 17:28 GMT
Gary.

I ceded the war--and my sanity--to Lorraine a while ago. :-)

Best,

Tom

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 22:48 GMT
Physics, in its arrogance, disagrees with the wisdom of the people of the world. Physics says that people have no measure of power over reality: i.e. that people cannot have contributed to climate change, and that people cannot act to avert climate change.

Physics says that nothing but abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [1] and “randomness” have power over physical reality

Physics seems to have forgotten that all theories of reality, even physics theories of reality, are created by human beings: they are only valid if they stand up to scrutiny. Physics idea that people have no measure of power over reality doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

1. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 26, 2017 @ 22:56 GMT
Doubting Thomas Ray [1], and Gary Simpson, founding member of PHALLUS [2], and Georgina Woodward [3], seem to think that a reality in which human beings have genuine power over nature is impossible.

The idea of genuine power over nature contrasts with: 1) the idea that people merely deceive themselves into thinking that they personally have the power to affect physical reality; or 2) a vague, unarticulated assumption that matter (human beings) with genuine power over nature could “emerge” from matter (particles) without power over nature.

But if reality is such that human beings do not have a measure of genuine power over nature then it cannot be said that people have contributed to climate change, or that people can act to avert climate change. If reality is such that that nothing but abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [4] and “randomness” have genuine power over physical reality, then under no circumstances can this power over physical reality miraculously “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings.

So I contend that some degree of lawful power is already inherent in things i.e. particles, atoms, molecules and living things: at the beginning of the universe things had the power to create laws-of-nature (we represent the results with equations); but more importantly, nowadays things have the power to, in effect, re-initialise variable numeric values (we can represent the result of a quantum event with a new initial-value equation representing a one-off local “selected” outcome for one of the system variables).

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 26, 2017 @ 22:57 GMT
References:

1. “I ceded the war--and my sanity--to Lorraine a while ago”, Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 17:28 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

2. “I must take exception to your flagrant man-hatred. As a founding member of the Physics History And Logic League of the United States, I will firmly state that the members of PHALLUS are committed to finding the physical truth of the physical universe. We search far and wide for the straight truth by using all the tools at our disposal. Sadly, all who wish to join PHALLUS cannot do so as we do have rigid requirements”, Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 03:44 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2694

3. “i don't have power over reality”, Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 02:25 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

4. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 27, 2017 @ 00:14 GMT
Lorraine, power over nature and power over reality don't seem to have the same meaning to me. Certainly human beings can have power over the perception of reality by others by control of information. It is the art of magicians and craft of propagandists. Bending of light rays around an object can cloak it. Animals that use mimicry rely on providing information that will mislead a predator. Animals that use camouflage do so avoiding detection. If instead of perception you mean foundational reality I think we have to work within the constraints and possibilities. Technology though alters what those constraints and possibilities are. It is evident that people have altered materials and states of matter and combined and constructed, to do things previously impossible. We can work with material reality in new ways, to the benefit or detriment of natural systems.

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

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 27, 2017 @ 00:51 GMT
Lorraine, I think that the notion of linear cause and effect at a singular scale limits our perception of how events unfold. In a linear causal sequence only "significant" known knowns are included and a lot is left out. It seems that there are multiple influences and scales of influence. Evidence for the possibility of producing different outcomes is the conscious ability to come to decisions. For that ability to evolve it should have a survival advantage, otherwise there would be no cost benefit. Consciously thinking organisms would be at a significant energy cost disadvantage if it did not have any benefit. In that case, all actions could be automatic as in simple life forms, life support functions, reflexes and much of our motor activity, saving energy.That is not what we see.

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