Search FQXi

If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

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.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

Previous Contests

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

Forum Home
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help

Terry Padden: on 11/7/09 at 3:20am UTC, wrote Final Comments: 1. Thanks to all who posted comments on my essay,...

Edwin Klingman: on 11/5/09 at 4:41am UTC, wrote Dear Terry, That was an assessment, not a criticism, and probably should...

Terry Padden: on 11/5/09 at 0:56am UTC, wrote Edwin I am not sure what you mean by stating that I "did not appreciate...

Edwin Klingman: on 11/4/09 at 23:45pm UTC, wrote Dear Terry Padden, I believe that your essay is valuable. It was certainly...

Steve Dufourny: on 11/4/09 at 11:34am UTC, wrote Dear Terry, Sorry for this confusion ,I don't understand what I have made...

Anonymous: on 11/3/09 at 22:47pm UTC, wrote Tom I have no problem with your first sentence. I confirmed that in my...

Terry Padden: on 11/3/09 at 21:56pm UTC, wrote Cher Steve Parce que mon francais est tres mauvais je ne suis pas...

Steve Dufourny: on 11/3/09 at 10:58am UTC, wrote Chers H T Ray, J'ai lu ce fil parce que j'aime les idées de M....


Joe Fisher: "Dear Steve, Please try to understand that infinite surface am not a..." in Watching the Observers

Steve Agnew: "Supposing the universe is infinite is simply another way of supposing the..." in Watching the Observers

kurt stocklmeir: "spring constant of time and space is not linear - this influences a lot of..." in Alternative Models of...

Kevin Adams: "Very interesting theme! Thanks a lot for this information. I just going to..." in Multiversal Journeys —...

Colin Richardson: ""According to quantum mechanics, a vacuum isn't empty at all. It's actually..." in Manipulating the Quantum...

Lorraine Ford: "Dear Rajiv, I have already addressed your 3 points, but I will put it to..." in FQXi Essay Contest 2016:...

Peter Morgan: "An e-mail sent to me by Springer Nature today tells me that because I am at..." in Manipulating the Quantum...

munized ward: "Variety exists inside all populaces of life forms. This happens somewhat in..." in Natural Selection in...

click titles to read articles

Watching the Observers
Accounting for quantum fuzziness could help us measure space and time—and the cosmos—more accurately.

Bohemian Reality: Searching for a Quantum Connection to Consciousness
Is there are sweet spot where artificial intelligence systems could have the maximum amount of consciousness while retaining powerful quantum properties?

Quantum Replicants: Should future androids dream of quantum sheep?
To build the ultimate artificial mimics of real life systems, we may need to use quantum memory.

Painting a QBist Picture of Reality
A radical interpretation of physics makes quantum theory more personal.

The Spacetime Revolutionary
Carlo Rovelli describes how black holes may transition to "white holes," according to loop quantum gravity, a radical rewrite of fundamental physics.

June 24, 2017

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: Ultimately, in Physics the Rational shall become Reasonable! by Terry Padden [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 2, 2009 @ 17:01 GMT
Essay Abstract

Science should be our reservoir of useful knowable truths about our existence. Despite its phenomenal successes, Wigner and Feynman confirmed that mathematical physics is now unreasonable and incomprehensible. The absence of correspondence with reality renders post classical physics void of meaning. Hence, philosophically dubious; and socially dangerous. Basic deficiencies of physics in which reason and rationality conflict are identified. They have not been obstacles to progress; they have facilitated it. I argue they are symptoms of fundamental flaws, and cumulative progress is no longer the way forward. A rethinking of basic concepts is advocated, especially for mathematics. An ultimate science is envisaged which is reasonable and rational. Some augurs for it are noted. It will mandate one real comprehensible dynamic universe with 3 spatial dimensions and a transient "Now" of Time. En passant, the immediate challenge for science is identified.

Author Bio

Terry Padden somehow acquired a gentleman's first in engineering during an enjoyably excessively extended irresponsible youth in Liverpool. Thereafter a life of domestic bliss was complemented by a career as a commercial adventurer. He is now a gentleman of leisure. He lives on a sub-tropical island in the South Pacific; his own non Hilbertian paradise. During his daily walks to nearby cliffs and deserted beaches he ponders the universe. He does not accept the answer is 43.

The essay PDF file has been removed at the request of the author.

Ben Baten wrote on Oct. 2, 2009 @ 22:56 GMT
Dear Terry-

Thank you for your provoking essay. I must say that it is one of the best summaries that I have come across of the diversity of opinions and inconsistencies that exist in current physics. Clearly, something has gone astray in physics since the beginning of the 1900s. This 'something' is formalization, lacking a connection to reality. You can also deduce this from many of the...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Philip Vos Fellman wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 00:41 GMT
Dear Terry:

What a fine, thoughtful essay! Without inflicting the overt pain of category theory (that's a kind of John Baez/Jeffrey Morton in-joke) you get straight to the epistemological heart of the matter which explains why physical ontology so persistently unwinds in both ill-stated and well-stated theory. A beautiful invocation of "problem of consciousness", central to natural philosophy but avoided by most post 1911 philosophers. This is a "deep" explanation of Smolin's "The Trouble with Physics". A good view of the arrows up/arrows down problem in reductionism vs. emergence and a thought provoking inquiry as to why both interpretation and unification of quantum mechanics has so far proven intractable. Bravo!

Phil Fellman

report post as inappropriate

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 14:14 GMT
Dear Terry,

I would like to add my Bravo too even if I disagree in a few details.

Did I got you correctly? "Mathematical entities should all have physical correlates" and "abstract entities such as complex numbers are the supreme reality". Really?

Why did you ascribe the impossibility to resolve a line into points to G. Cantor?

It was already stated by Spinoza, and it follows from Euclid's definition of a point together with Peirce's definition of continuum. Why must physics exclusively deal with points at all?

Why do you not take into account the possibility that there are very basic mistakes in mathematics and its use in physics as I tried to indicate in my two essays and my manuscript M290 ?

Couldn't QM be easily understood as partially wrong.

Do you agree that theory should not entirely ignore the experience of those who performed practical work as did Al Schwartz too?



report post as inappropriate

Stephen Brenner wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 14:51 GMT
Hi Terry,

I could really relate to your quote from Wheeler:

" Surely someday, we can believe, we will grasp the central idea of it all as so simple, so beautiful, so compelling that we will say to each other, ' Oh, how could it have been otherwise! How could we all have been blind for so long!' "

Inevitably, some Alexander will come by and cut through the Gordian knot that physics has become in the last century. And then, hopefully, we'll even have some relevance to our own lives as well.


report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 22:22 GMT

I did not intend to be provocative, but it tends to be part of the house style hereabouts. I intended to be thoughtful. I only became aware of the competition a week before closing. I am hoping for some responses to my 10 points.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 22:31 GMT

Thanks for your comments. Although as you noted there is no overt category theory, I should point out that although my theme was derived from Wigner and Feynman, my argument threads are derived from Newton, Bohr, Godel, and in ironic vein Saunders Mac Lane. I do hope any category theorists around here will pick up on that thread.

As regards the Godel thread, many other essays confirm the incompleteness of mathematics in that its foundations do not provide explicitly for Cognition or Information. Until it does how can any science be reasonable ? I suggest there are other more mundane missing things.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 22:51 GMT

1. When I wrote (a) that "Mathematical entities should all have physical correlates" I misused the word "physical". I should have written "real' and put that in a "possible worlds" context.: (b) and that "abstract entities such as complex numbers are the supreme reality" this was not expressing my view. It is one of the logical but unreasonable conclusions of the current structure of, and therefore the standard view in, mathematical science whether expressed or implied- one I strongly disagree with - because it is an inevitable part of mathematical science.

2. I used Cantor (a) because his work is THE foundation of mathematics according to mathematicians; and (b) his diagonal argument is a proof we all know and accept (?).

3. RE Points, Why indeed ?

4. I am not sure what you mean by basic mistakes. I assume for convenience that all the mathematics we have is logically correct, that is all.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 3, 2009 @ 22:55 GMT

I don't think we should encourage would be Alexanders because (a) they don't need any, (b) they tend to cause a lot of pain & suffering to those dependent on and loyal to existing power structures, and (c) there is a lot of mess left behind when they move on.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 06:45 GMT

Excuse me for not providing a complete response to your post - I had to respond to a higher authority.

5. I am not sure what you mean by by understanding QM os being partly wrong. I think that QM is 100% empirically correct. Therefore it is reasonable. This is not a problem for realists. Most of what we experience is probabilistic. For me the problem is that we don't have a 100% rational formalism. We have 2 rational pieces that don't fit well together. Why waste time trying to understand it before we have the proper formalism. I spend most of my life, so does everyone, accepting and dealing with things we don't understand - other people. For physicists of course there is a job to be done. Find the right formalism - not an interpretation of the wrong formalism.

6. All useful theories must fit experiments i.e. empirical reality. How someone arrives at the best theory is an individual thing. I have followed the Uncle Al saga for many years. I look forward to a denouement. I agree someone should look. It won't be me. If you want people to do things for you Dale Carnegie is the standard authority. Otherwise you have to make it happen yourself. Uncle Al knows that, and it seems to be happening - but a lot more slowly than he or spectators like me would like. That's normal.

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 5, 2009 @ 14:00 GMT
Dear Terry,

What about your higher authority, my wife needs me too.

You wrote:

1. When I wrote (a) that "Mathematical entities should all have physical correlates" I misused the word "physical". I should have written "real' and put that in a "possible worlds" context.:

-- I do not know negative people in reality, they merely occur as a result of an abstract formalism....

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 6, 2009 @ 02:33 GMT

I think the best way I can explain here my distinction is that it is a "Levels" issue. One of my essay points is that Mathematics is / should be generally applicable throughout science (including psychology, sociology, etc.) not just in physics. These sciences deal with reality just as much as physics. In physics I am happy to confine mathematics to "physical" correlates. Possibly Reductionists will not see the relevance of the distinction. I am not a reductionist - another point of my essay.

PS Re Negative People (1) you are very fortunate if you don't come across them; or (2) how would you mathematically code the distinction between the two states of that cat ?

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 7, 2009 @ 15:00 GMT
Dear Terry,

As an engineer who understands much more from physiology than from physics of particles, I can tell you for sure that application of mathematics to auditory function is definitely a series of notoriously inappropriate models, at least so far.

What about negative people, even the most nasty ones are entities without a sign. Everyone should have just one positive vote.

Did you not understand how I commented on the distinction between life and dead?

I blamed mathematics not to be humble enough as to understand the message of Buridan's ass and accept that discrete and continuous complement each other.

Perhaps many physicists here consider EPR just unnecessarily dramatized. I contempt those who feel safe behind allegedly rigorous formalism while on the other hand unable to grasp that real numbers only differ from rational ones if they are really real, i.e., irreal.

Follow this reasoning and understand that in principle there is nothing tangible between past and future. Only in practice there are gradual transitions between alive and dead, non-pregnant and pregnant, etc. Reciprocals of zero-crossings, i.e. poles are irrational. Integral transforms are inevitably linked with transitions from rational to irrational. For your convenience:



report post as inappropriate

Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Oct. 7, 2009 @ 21:06 GMT
Hi Terry. You stated:

"Physically sensations are independent of our mental descriptions."

This is the main reason that physics is so far off track, along with lack of common sense.

1. Thoughts and emotions are differentiated feelings. By involving the mid-range of feeling between thought and sense, dreams make thought more like sensory experience in general. The reduction in the range and extensiveness of feeling during dreams is why there is less memory and thought therein.

2. In keeping with the fact that dreams make thought more like sensory experience in general (including gravity and electromagnetism/light), the ability of thought to describe or reconfigure sense is ultimately dependent upon the extent to which thought is similar to sense. Thoughts are relatively shifting and variable. Likewise, dream vision is relatively shifting and variable. The interactive aspect of being and experience limits the understanding, as it allows for our growth.

My essay is the second listed.

report post as inappropriate

Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 8, 2009 @ 09:42 GMT
Hi dear Mr Terry Padden,

I like a lot your pragamatic essay where the rationality dances with the logic in the song of prime and naturals numbers .

The imaginaries lost in the ocean of the uncertainty for a complexification bad uderstood .

Only the reality and its fundamentals laws are essentials .

A specific dynamic .

You say

Perhaps their axioms are questionable;....

Very well said ,those simple words resume all .

all is said even axiom must be fundamental ,the hypothesis thus are on the good road evidently.


Best Regards


report post as inappropriate

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 10, 2009 @ 11:38 GMT
Dear Terry,

Elsewhere you told us to be not convinced about quantum computers because you are sharing Laughlin's reservation. Could you please explain this?



report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 10, 2009 @ 23:31 GMT
Eckard, Frank, Steve

Thanks for your comments of 5, 7, and 8 Oct.

Eckard (re 10 Oct.)

No point me repeating what Laughlin has written in a widely available (in English) popular science book.

See Chapter 6 of "A Different Universe" pages 64-65 of the Basic Books edition 2005.

(Assuming you know New York culture) Laughlin rates believers in the viability of Quantum Computers as ideal customers for anyone selling the Brooklyn Bridge; or as T P Barnum put it "There's one born every minute !"

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 15, 2009 @ 12:48 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thank you for replying to my question concerning a Laughlin, maybe the same Laughlin who dealt with time frequency representation. No, I do not understand what selling the Brooklyn bridge means. I merely guess that he referred to a gut feeling.

The reason for me to doubt is a coincidence between my distrust in Schroedinger's reaction to EPR and the obvious failure to fulfill promises. Likewise I doubt that aleph_2 is reasonable for two reasons: It has never found an application despite of acceptance by virtually all mathematicians, and I got aware that the putative evidence provided by Cantor and Zermelo is not tenable.

Presumably the last seemingly independent book on the matter was written by Christian Betsch in 1925 and won 1,000,000.00 Reichsmark which was a lot of money after the end of inflation. It pretended to seriously deal with Vaihinger's theory of the "AS IF" in a manner that did not hurt Fraenkel.



report post as inappropriate

Steven Oostdijk wrote on Oct. 16, 2009 @ 16:45 GMT
Dear Terry,

Congratulations with your essay. I think I agree with the guts of it, but I also think the line of reasoning shoots itself in the foot sometimes.

For instance you mention: "Science must be rational, therefore eventually mathematical". How can you both claim that physics is poisoned with an overkill of unexplained(aka. unreasonable) math while at the same time claim that ultimately science should be ruled by math? Math will always be hopelessly inadequate to describe science for a.o. reasons that mathematical dimensions or numbers are not physical dimensions or numbers and that it is descriptive, aka. post-fact. This fallacy is shown in your statement "a continuum is a sequence of points". The mathematical point has no physical meaning as anything physical needs extension, let alone that it could be a sequence of points which implies structure without energy. It is also shown by the statement 'complex numbers are the supreme reality", no they are not reality, they are just two dimensions trying to pose as one. Then you also conclude "Proper science must use advanced mathematics", which says it all.

Still I agree with many of your other remarks. I really like "Post classical physics fails at its primary task: explanation". That's just a great observation.

Finally I like to conclude with the remark: it is not that "everything is made of atoms", it should be: "everything is made of photons".

Good luck with the contest!

Steven Oostdijk

report post as inappropriate

Arjen Dijksman wrote on Oct. 17, 2009 @ 20:35 GMT
Dear Terry,

Your essay is really meaningful. Thanks for your voice of reason. I am totally in line with "True science requires the rational to become reasonable". Whenever I'm confronted with a mathematical formulation, I need a reasonable picture from everyday life. This implies that for some of the unreasonables you mention, I personally developed reasonable pictures (for example complex numbers). Your essay is full of interesting sentences. Would you mind if I quote some on my twitter profile or on my blog?



report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 01:45 GMT

1. A tourist in New York who would buy the Brooklyn Bridge from someone in the street would also buy the Eiffel Tower when in Paris or the Brandenburg Gate when in Berlin. Laughlin equates believers in Quantum Computing to such tourists. Buying London Bridge is a different category - and we don't want to get into Category Theory do we ?

2. I think your concerns about the Alephs are well founded, in a technical sense.

3. Arjen Dijksman (top rating essay) has his own theory of matter on his web page that is a bit more recent. He lives in Paris. Be careful if he wants to sell you anything. I did not buy his theory.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 02:14 GMT

Thanks for your comments.

I am not happy with the way you quote me. Someone coming to this discussion who has not read my essay could easily get the impression that those quotes express my opinion. They do not. They are part of my argument against such views. Re your second paragraph:

1. When I used the phrase "complex numbers are the supreme reality" I was NOT expressing that as a truth. I was noting that it was a natural consequence of our existing science. A consequence that I deprecate and one that needs correcting - which is the point of my essay. You do the same with the phrase " a continuum is a sequence of points".

PLEASE if you are going to quote anyone make sure you get the context and the meaning correct.

2. I express a view that we need to be both reasonable and rational but that they are different and recently too much emphasis has been on the rational = mathematical side. Even so we cannot do without the mathematical; nor should we want to. Many difficult problems can only be solved by extremely sophisticated mathematics. Without it many stupid ideas gain credence. The internet is knee deep in them. Our best protection from them is our rationality, our mathematics and logic. I want to strengthen these.

You want to abandon them. You want to eliminate the rational or absorb it within the reasonable with the reasonable in control. That would be worse than the rational being in control. What is reasonable is relative. My reason is a long way from yours; but we all live in the same world.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 02:21 GMT

Thanks for your comments. They are very much appreciated. Your fair minded, open, and decent approach to this competition sets a standard all entrants should try to emulate. I confess to not having reached the standard you set.

RE Quoting Me. The competition is in a public arena, the internet, so anything goes as far as quoting etc. is concerned. I am much happier being quoted by you than others I can think of.

Arjen Dijksman wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 20:25 GMT

"Physics deals with empirical reality. It must be reasonable. It has no option for that is its purpose" is tweeted.

I appreciate your positive words. Contests and forums like this one are great. They are unlike anything I've known before (usenet, physicsforums ... ). We need each other to advance, so the discussions are constructive.

When you write "I doubt that mathematics as developed since Pythagoras is truly error free?", do you have precise ideas where the errors are hiding? This problem has also occupied my mind (not as much as QM), especially concerning the relation of surfaces and roots.

report post as inappropriate

J.C.N. Smith wrote on Oct. 18, 2009 @ 22:29 GMT
Mr. Padden,

I've now read your essay twice, and I applaud your call for a physics which is both rational and reasonable. When things (whether physics or other things) become irrational and/or unreasonable it's then clearly time, in my opinion, to stop and re-think them from the ground up.

In his book 'The Trouble With Physics,' Lee Smolin wrote, "More and more, I have the feeling that quantum theory and general relativity are both deeply wrong about the nature of time. It is not enough to combine them. There is a deeper problem, perhaps going back to the origin of physics." (p. 256) I'm convinced that Smolin is exactly correct in this assessment, and I've written an essay on the nature of time which I believe you'll find is both rational and reasonable and which ties in with the Smolin's comment. If you can find or make time to read it, the essay may be found here. Your comments on it are of course invited. (I also have an essay in this competition, but the essay at the link just given offers a broader look at the topic, especially as it applies to Smolin's comment.)


report post as inappropriate

J.C.N. Smith wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 14:38 GMT
Please accept my apologies for the horrible appearance of the website for which I provided the link in my previous post. Google, in its infinite wisdom, has "migrated" my essay from Google Pages (where it had a reasonably pleasant appearance) to its new home at Google Sites, where it has taken on the look of a ransom note cut and pasted from a newspaper. I'm even now trying to learn how to improve this new, far less than ideal situation. Thanks in advance for your forbearance in dealing with the current strange look. The words, though perhaps unsightly in their superficial appearance on the page, remain as written.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:53 GMT
Deart Terry Padden,

Thanks for a wonderful and most enjoyable essay. If I may, I'd like to address it in terms of What, Why, How, etc. and then look at your ten points.


The problem you so beautifully and competently describe is exacerbated by two facts:

1) The last major particle physics occurred about 1975.

2) The law of 'Publish or Perish' was not repealed about 1975 (or since).

Several essays quote Korzybski's "the map is not the territory". But when physicists run out of new territory to map, they simply switch to making more *ornate* maps of the old territory. After a while this becomes pathological, and the Platonists even begin to claim that the most ornate maps actually create territory. Others simply imagine new territory, and, as I have pointed out, then publish papers on "postulated, but never seen, phenomena" used to explain other "postulated but never seen phenomena".

And institutional control of the mountain is based on "throw rocks down on new climbers", which is very effective at keeping new thinking from getting inside the gates.

You ask, "Is mathematical physics meaningful?" When it serves only to provide more ornate maps, NO! But for much of the last century it served to identify the inhabitants of the particle zoo, beginning in 1900 with the alpha, beta, and gamma rays. This was done by smashing particles from minus infinity and looking at them at plus infinity. Unfortunately, that meant that particles looked like "points". It worked, but the best scheme for doing this was symmetry groups, allowing matric transformations, and quantum field methodologies.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:54 GMT

But if we know all the particles (I predict no new particles at LHC - no Higgs, no axion, no SUSY, no right handed neutrinos, nothing but resonances, if that) then the tools of discovery are of limited utility, and are not suited to analyzing the non-point particles and their interactions, but as another essayist points out, we always fight the last war, and point particles and symmetry groups "bin berry berry gud to me".

Nevertheless, FQXI has opened the gates a crack, realizing that, even if some crackpots sneak in, the net result will be fresh thinking. God bless 'em.

Mathematical physics isn't really at fault. With no new territory it's inevitable that physicists opt for more ornate maps. The problem is that current concepts of physics are wrong, and this leaves many gaps and mysteries which are filled with "postulated but never seen phenomena".

How do we know that the physics is wrong? As one of your commenters noted, using a "sheet over an irregular shape", the curve fitting procedures "work" over specific regions, but nothing works over the complete domain. When half a dozen or so nuclear models or lattice-QCD models, drastically different from each other, all provide the same level of accuracy, we have a problem! If one model was correct, it should be head and shoulders above the rest.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:55 GMT

When did things go wrong? I've made the case that it was in 1929, when Rutherford's proposal of a 'magnetic-like' nuclear force was too early for data and so Yukawa's 'electric-like' force, with muon mistaken for pion, was 'locked in' for the next 80 years. Of course, lattice-QCD has evolved to 'magnetic-like' flux tubes, but only from an 'electric' base, which is still the core of QCD. In 2007 Wilczek admitted that Yukawa doesn't work at hard-core distances.

But the tools, by 1950, demanded 'fields' (see Goldstein "Classical Mechanics"). The tools were designed to handle "invented" fields, so physicists invented fields. As time went on every new problem was met with an invented field: Higgs, axions, particles, ghosts, inflatons, dark energy, quintessence -- field after field, pulled out of thin air. Why? Because that's what the QFT tools demanded! And it's what current generations of physicists know how to do!

It's reached the point of absurdity. Physicists don't even know which fields are real! None of the fields have actually been seen--they are just abstractions, but as David Mermin recently pointed out, physicists are in the habit of mistaking their abstractions for reality.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:57 GMT

So how do we solve this problem? It sounds silly to say that the way out is a new field, but that's what I'm saying. In 2006 I reached the conclusion that one more physical field was needed and began working out the consequences. A year later I found out that Martin Tajmar was actually measuring the field and obtaining numbers that matched mine. Tajmar doesn't even know of my interpretation of the field, but his results do reinforce my theory and, unlike the other fields discussed above, this field has been seen (ie, measured)!

Moreover, as I worked through the consequences of this new field, I found that it explained many phenomena that the other fields could not, so I began to "delete" the other postulated fields because they were no longer needed to explain anything.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:58 GMT

Now here's the kicker. After years of working on the problem, I finally convinced myself that consciousness was best understood as a field. Not a mathematical field but a real physical field, like gravity. My essay outlines the approach and references detailed explanations.

Was I crazy? Roger Penrose and others have insisted that physics must eventually address consciousness, but even philosophers are advised to "get tenure first", and in the grant-driven academy, even this may not be enough to justify expressing an opinion about the physical relevance of consciousness. Yet, a dozen or so essays (most from non-institutional authors) actually address consciousness, awareness, or free will.

So Terry, when I re-read your essay, not only did I agree with almost all of your points, but you specifically find that:

1) fields are reasonable

2) the absence of Mind from physics is irrational and unreasonable.

If you're serious about that, and I assume that you are, I invite you to study my essay and associated comments.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 21:59 GMT

You asked for and I promised commentary on your 10 points, so here goes:

1) Relations between bodies are mediated through extended fields. Velocity is a local property of a global field, not of a particle. YES, and the C-field explains conservation of momentum, otherwise mysterious and an axiom only.

2) Fields are reasonable. They exist. Magnets prove that. YES

3) The absence of Mind from physics is irrational and unreasonable YES!

4) Dark matter and energy --are two more fields obviated by the C-field.

5) Emergent phenomena -- Reductionists are dead wrong!

6) Hermeneutics of QM -- C-field offers a new interpretation of QM.

7) Interaction -- the consciousness field interacts with mass (and vice versa)

8) Platonist math -- NO! (see "Automatic Theory of Physics" and comments here)

9) Math effective -- YES science must be rational, hence mathematics.

10) Space and time -- YES with the essential nature of time -- the NOW!

You state that the problem is in the mathematics. Not so. The problem is in the physical abstractions that have arisen. There is no amount of mathematics that can remedy incorrect physical concepts. Conversely, if the concepts are correct, then relatively simple (classical fields) math is sufficient.

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 19, 2009 @ 22:01 GMT

Who is the arbiter? You clearly state that "Experience is physically real. It actually happens to our bodies. We experience 3 dimensions and 'Now'---"

This is exactly where I begin my essay, with the insistence that physics must be based on our own experience, not someone else's irrational, unreasonable abstraction, of which there are many to choose from today.

Terry, please study my essay. You'll find it rational and reasonable. And then you might like to peruse the essays and comments on:

Stefan Weckbach

Jonathan J. Dickau

James Arthur Putnam

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 07:23 GMT

1. Re tweeting of quotes. I think what you have quoted will be completely misunderstood in relation to my essay. Perhaps you misunderstood it ? The key point of my essay was to articulate the distinction between the Reasonable & the Rational. As the essay points out, normally the difference is unrecognised and the two terms are used as synonyms. As Ian Durham's essay points out, clear articulation is one of the foundations of effective science. Anyone reading that tweet who has not read my essay will read it on the usual undifferentiated basis and probably think "ho hum, so what, of course !" It is only the conflict between Reasonable and Rational that gives my essay, or the tweet, any meaning. Tweeting Reasonable without tweeting Rational in opposition can't work. That is completely missing from the tweet - but it does not matter. Life goes on.

2. I think you have misunderstood my reference to Pythagoras in the essay. I advocate applying an archaeological analysis to all of science and its foundations. Pythagoras takes us back to 500 BC and the Greek philosophers and the beginnings of western science. It provides a scale for the task. The other scaling parameter is that we need a formalism that can encompass Emergence and eventually Consciousness - which implies the ability to deal with the unconscious !. To address foundations one needs to go beyond maths to logic, philosophy, and - my starting point - language. The distinction between Reasonable and Rational was very consciously chosen as a Title for the essay. I have found what for me are significant weaknesses throughout science. In maths many are (logically) pre-Pythagoras; e.g. i believe the Laws of basic Arithmetic are deficient, and distrust the Real line (I doubt Real numbers, and am uneasy about Rational ones). That, as i mention in the essay, gives me problems with the limits approach to Calculus etc.

I am trying to step back and come up with an approach that may enable a better framework that encompasses the whole of science - which is what we need - including cognitive science. It will keep me busy for some time. I now have a "monster' post to respond to. At least it discusses my 10 basic points which is what I wanted from the competition.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 09:35 GMT
J.C. N.

Thanks for your comments

I am trying to read all essays here and respond to all posts, so I won't have time to read any other stuff for some time, but I'll try to get round to yours. I always ignore ransom notes so there should be no problem.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 09:56 GMT

Thanks for your comments - and such a detailed comment. I can only provide a summary response to your points.

1. I think the 4 colour Map theorem raises fundamental issues.

2. In relation to strategic control of mountain fortresses I must refer you to General Wolf whose victory at Quebec created the modern world by winning North America for the British. When told his proposal to attack by climbing the cliffs at the rear would never work because the climb was "impossible" , he replied " and that is why we are going to attack that way !"

3. Mermin is always worth reading. Could you give me a reference to that quote.

4. The last thing i need is another interpretation of QM - unless it is the last one.

5. The only way "abstractions' can be expressed is through the formalism (Maths & Logic & Philosophy etc.) so we may be talking about the same thing, approximately.

6. I'll have another read of your essay when I get time.

T H Ray wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 11:59 GMT
Terry, you wrote:

"Perhaps even physicists will become Naive Realists. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps not ! "

Perhaps, though I think not. As Jacob Bronowski said, "All science is the search for unity in hidden likenesses." If it weren't hidden, it wouldn't be interesting. Metaphysical realism is the better bet.

Though I disagree with the premise, your essay was fun to read.


report post as inappropriate

Arjen Dijksman wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 13:43 GMT

1. A quote is a quote, a sentence often with a broad application. When I select quotes, I have different criteria such as "Does it have a general truth", "Will it be appreciated by my twitter public", "Does it fit in the limited 140 chars", etc. For the interested reader, I always provide the context through a link. Fyi, the link was accessed at least 50 times (see shortened link with a '-' attached), from readers that were not satisfied with a "So what?". Why don't you tweet your answer? It'll be a pleasure for me to retweet it.

2. You know, I need examples. Writing that we need an archaeological analysis to all of science is nicely said (and surely correct), but with what problem can I begin today? I also have a problem with the limits approach of calculus. It is a very imprecise approach, especially when you go from curved lines to straight lines and back again. But as you said "Another day, another argument".



report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 22:54 GMT
Dear Terry Padden,

Not sure how to respond to the 4 color map comment. Can you be more specific.

Sometimes attacking the "impossible" way pays off big. Usually not.

Quote is from Mermin's "Reference Frame" column in May 2009 issue of "Physics Today". I think you'll enjoy that column.

Of course I hope it's the last QM interpretation. Comments on Weckbach and Dickau and my essay pages expand on this.

The "abstractions" issue is also discussed in other comments.

I appreciate your re-reading the essay. As stated in my lengthy comments, your key points:

1) fields are reasonable

2) the absence of Mind from physics is irrational and unreasonable.

are addressed by my essay and associated comments. I look forward to any comments you might make, here or on my page.

Thanks again for an excellent essay,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 20, 2009 @ 23:19 GMT

1. I know nothing about tweets and their 140 character limits - I found it very difficult fitting within a 27,500 character limit; and I know nothing about blogs. I am too old, therefore too short of time, to learn. I hate wasting time learning new technologies - especially software as it means adjusting to the way someone else (the programmer) thinks about things. I don't find that easy.

Relax about the quotes and tweets. I am happy for you to just do what you enjoy doing. Don't think twice about my comments. I am just a bit obsessive about linguistics, e.g. Reason v Rationality..

2. I started trying to understand things many years ago. Life has brought many delays and frustrations which have been beneficial as, over time, I believe I am achieving greater clarity and a more encompassing vision. I am now trying to get my thoughts into an effective order. One day (the proverbial "soon") I hope to have them in publishable, i.e. serial, form. I expect that document to have lots and lots of examples from all of science. May be others will find useful starting points (things they don't like or don't understand) in that. If they don't it won't matter. It will be just my own old fashioned blog.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 00:19 GMT

Thanks for your comments. Mission accomplished. The objective was to write something that was "fun to read" Some responses.

1. I understand Metaphysics to be the study of existence / existents. I recognise two basic forms of existence: the abstract / mental / platoist; and the physical / materialistic / experiential. We study the first form of Metaphysics rationally; the second form of Metaphysics we encounter reasonably - vide my essay. Naively I regard any thing that we can experience as really existing and part of the second form of Metaphysics. I call it Naive Realism. It is the reasonable part of Metaphysics.

It seems to me that your type of Metaphysics is inchoate (and has been for 2500 years), and leads to much of the confusion I encounter in philosophic works. Philosphers, like physicists and mathematicians, need to do better. However, this is not necessarily a philosophic problem; more a linguistic one - syntactical not semantic.

2. I am not sure what you regard as my premise. My implicit reasonable premise in the context of this competition is that any advocacy of "Naive Realism" is inviting rejection from professional physicists, mathematicians, and most philosophers. Other scientists deal with it daily so may be more receptive. It also invites rejection from crazy amateurs with their latest greatest theory that without any empirical support solves all the problems of phsyics, even all of science. Some individuals manage to be both professional and crazy. The worst of these are essays containing lots of fashionable words and phrases but are devoid of other than mystical content. One essay of 9 pages has 3 pages of wordy "Conclusions" but no conclusion.

The anticipated emotional rejection shows up in the evaluations of my essay - which in the context of this competition is unquestionably a first class essay. Half (more than expected) of my ratings are very high and i get corresponding complimentary comments. Half are extremely low - but NO comments. Not one refutation of any of my 10 points. Very interesting but predictable from a psychological and sociological perspective.

There was no expectation that the FQXI community of professional physicists would welcome Naive Realism at all. Why should they ? It is largely irrelevant for them. Hence no such premise. I think you are mistaking some stylistic flourishes of the essay for premises. The only explicit rational premise was that everyone I know, except me, normally confuses the Rational & the Reasonable - even, as i noted, the OED ! Hence the title, which is were the premise always should be.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 00:23 GMT

Thanks for the Mermin reference.

Re 4 Colour Maps. The proof of this theorem and of FLT suggest to any reasonable person that there is something wrong with maths; and specifically with our formalisms for maps and simple equations, don't you think ?

George Schoenfelder wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 02:44 GMT
Dear Terry Padden,

You wrote what needed to be said and you said it excellently. Congratulations on both counts.

For brevity I will only comment on your point 3. I quote you, and then my comments follow immediately.

“3. Brain & Mind:” The mind is what brains do. Brains do what proteins do (If you have a problem here read the second paragraph in my essays section 2, page...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 02:53 GMT

I'm not sure how exactly to answer your question. Math is so big and so fuzzy,and has gone off in so many directions that I can't keep track of them all. My answer is more to the point that the major problems with physics are not due to any (almost certainly existing) problems with math, but are almost wholly due to misconceptions of physics. If my theory is true, physicists have been missing one of the four most important fields. How have they gotten around this? With the dozens of fields they have invented to solve the problems of new phenomena that have arisen over the last century. They've done heroic work, but they need to have three colors and eight gluons just to hold quarks together. These eleven parameters naturally curve-fit to match (to within a percent or so) the actual physical data, but it predicts nothing and complicates things enormously. Whereas, QED, based on two *real* fields, reaches one dozen place accuracy. And no, it's not because things are just too complicated. For an alternative that not only explains things put makes predictions, see "The Chromodynamics War". It's an unorthodox format, because this is the real world, but it will still make sense long after Higgs and SUSY are long forgotten.

Perhaps, perhaps, when the Higgs fails to show up, and SUSY, etc, then some brave physicist, somewhere, may ask, "have we been going about it all wrong?" Perhaps.

But the problem, I insist, is more in physics than in mathematics.

As for Naive Realism, Jonathan Dickau and I have just placed five or six long comments on my essay page that I think relate to Naive Realism. I would be very interested to have your opinion.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 04:06 GMT

Thanks for your comments.

Re point 3: We differ about Brains and Minds and Computers and QM etc.. That is OK. My essay is only diagnostic as to the cause of problems in science. The conclusions it expresses and judgements it makes are merely my opinions. I make no claims as to having solved any problems; other than trying to clarify what I see as confusion stemming from poor use of language.

I think we need to remember that the essays are (supposed to be) about Ultimate Possibilities - not immediate issues nor already developed answers.

If I understand your comments you believe you have produced a solution. I am not the judge of that, but my view is that producing a solution is one thing; selling your solution is another, and much more difficult. I am not a buyer of solutions. I am still trying to understand.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 04:12 GMT

No need to answer the question about maps; it was rhetorical. I am happy for you to define the problem your way, as physical, for you. It would not do for us all to agree. I just see things differently. Vive la difference.

T H Ray wrote on Oct. 21, 2009 @ 13:49 GMT
Hi Terry,

You wrote in part "I think you are mistaking some stylistic flourishes of the essay for premises. The only explicit rational premise was that everyone I know, except me, normally confuses the Rational & the Reasonable - even, as i noted, the OED ! Hence the title, which is were the premise always should be."

I appreciate the distinction between reasonable and rational. I agree that it is a distinction with a difference. However, your premise that science has to be reasonable is what I disagree with.

Science is, in fact, a wholly rationalist enterprise.

In your opening paragraph, all the models mentioned that you declared "unreasonable" are quite acceptable to mathematicians and physicists, as you know. We don't operate by the standard of reason; we operate by the standard of correspondence between theory and result. As Von Neumann is reputed to have said, "One doesn't understand (a mathematical method) gets used to it!"

Science as a whole does not promise understanding. Science promises knowledge for its own sake. That is not necessarily reasonable (in fact, most of our objective knowledge is counterintuitive); it is, however, rational.


report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 22, 2009 @ 23:59 GMT

I very much appreciate - and enjoy - your response. Another reminder for me that one cannot be too careful when using natural language to express precise notions - which is why lazy minds prefer artificial languages like maths. When communicating I tend to be too spontaneous and end up in all kinds of contradictions.

My reply was on the basis that i thought you were suggesting...

view entire post

George Schoenfelder wrote on Oct. 23, 2009 @ 19:33 GMT
Dear Terry Padden,

You must admit that my reply to your quoted statement below was not that bad.

“(3)…the things that produce all our science, our Minds [brains], don't exist for science.” I beg to differ. The brain’s a priory associative learning method is founded in changing itself by trial and error as science does. In this way science did not come out of the blue. Instead the tools of science have been evolving mutation by mutation for a very long time. Thus, the brain is a good place for science, because it literally grows associatively via gene-expressed proteins throughout adulthood.

After all, all science results from brain activity. Yes?

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

George Schoenfelder

report post as inappropriate

T H Ray wrote on Oct. 23, 2009 @ 20:17 GMT

Being of the lazy mind persuasion has its virtues. First, let me make the point that every mathematical statement has a counterpart in natural language, though in most cases it would be exceedingly tedious and impractical to translate.

Second, science is demonstrably rational, not reasonable. (Quantum mechanics is perhaps the most dramatic example.)

You wrote, "You are limiting science to facts that correspond to mathematical theory - where empirical Reason and logical Rationality coincide. I have to say this is could not be more wrong. You are limiting yourself to the known explicable sub-space of science."

In that limit lies objective knowledge. If the facts do not correspond to mathematical theory, to what should they correspond? Your personal belief? Facts have no meaning of themselves; one constructs a theory in order to explain them. An example is the discovery of cosmic background radiation (Penzias and Mitchell). The signals mean nothing in the absence of Big Bang theory. (And in fact, this empirical support for Big Bang helped kill the once equally respected Steady State theory.)

You wrote, "The reasonable validation or otherwise of rationally predicted but as yet unobserved phenomena is the sub-space of science I label "Rational but (as yet) Unreasonable". It is part of science for most scientists I encounter - but not you ?"

What does "rationally predicted" mean? I suppose you are referring to theories, like special and general relativity, that we call "mathematically complete." That is, developed from first principles and closed in their judgments. However, theories do not have to be mathematically complete--particle phenomena were explained a posteriori and quantum mechanics is still not mathematically complete.

Science needs no reason, no justification. See David Miller's Critical Rationalism: a Restatement and Defence. Particularly the cleverly titled chapter 3, "A critique of good reasons." (Critical Rationalism is the formal name for Karl Popper's philosophy.)

Science is all theory and result. It just doesn't matter where the theory comes from--the competition for a "crazy enough" theory to capture the crazy world around us is fierce, and inspiration abounds everywhere one looks. One thing is certain, though: a falsifiable theory does not come from one's belief, philosophy or what just seems reasonable. It comes from those lazy mathematics.


report post as inappropriate

J.C.N. Smith wrote on Oct. 24, 2009 @ 16:04 GMT
Mr. Padden,

You wrote, "I am trying to read all essays here and respond to all posts, so I won't have time to read any other stuff for some time, but I'll try to get round to yours. I always ignore ransom notes so there should be no problem."

Not wanting my essay to be ignored, I've spared no time, trouble, or expense to rectify the deplorable technical difficulties which conspired to give it the appearance of a ransom note. Should you ever have a few moments to look at it, you'll find an aesthetically more tolerable version of the essay here. I'd of course welcome your thoughts on it.


report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 25, 2009 @ 00:12 GMT

In case there is some misunderstanding let me clarify. You used the term"ransom note" in relation to the appearence of your essay. I tried to say that the appearance, whether or not ransom note like or not, did not matter to me - the content does.

Whether I get to reread something is constrained as a simple linear function of time - after all as you know there are no short cuts through time. My first priority is to respond to comments on my essay; my second to any discussions I am engaged in on other essays; my third to some still unread essays. Re reading has a low priority. These priorities are all biased by my own special interests, which are eclectic and dynamic.

I assume all authors have made their best efforts. I am extremely reluctant to go outside the officially published versions (e.g. I refuse to read 3 extra external pages denoted as part of the last entry published.)

J.C.N. Smith wrote on Oct. 25, 2009 @ 01:29 GMT
Mr. Padden,

We have no disagreement or misunderstanding here; I was simply updating my earlier post about the previous deplorable condition of the essay.


report post as inappropriate

Don Limuti ( wrote on Oct. 27, 2009 @ 20:10 GMT

I liked your essay very much.

Three dimensions and a now are very reasonable.

Don L.

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 29, 2009 @ 06:49 GMT

In the context of Brains / Minds i narrow the use of "science" to denote the hard sciences (i.e. excluding the behavioural ones). Non behavioural science is materialistic and currently excludes "the MInd" from science as being non physical.

I believe the Mind is real and separate from the Brain. I am a Dualist - but not a Cartesian Dualist.

So I don't agree with you that the Brain produces science. I think the Mind does, as noted in my essay.

The behavioural sciences accept the notion of Mind but tend to relegate it to Brain function. Thus mostly they are monistic materialists. Unlike me.

This takes us into deep philosophical waters that i don't have time to explore .

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 29, 2009 @ 07:18 GMT

The allusion to "lazy" minds was intended as self reference, not a response. I am exceptionally lazy of mind and find even mathematical language laborious. This competition has forced me to try to explain myself - with variable success. Some responses - but i think I am getting repetitive::

1. You wrote "If the facts do not correspond to mathematical theory, to what should they correspond? Your personal belief? Facts have no meaning of themselves; one constructs a theory in order to explain them. An example is the discovery of cosmic background radiation (Penzias and Mitchell). The signals mean nothing in the absence of Big Bang theory. (And in fact, this empirical support for Big Bang helped kill the once equally respected Steady State theory.)"

But there were 2 nows. The first when the experiment was conducted. The second when the better theory was promulgated. Where we seem to disagree is that I consider scientific experiments and the data they produce as being Reasonably part of science. i.e. scientific.

I accept that until a satisfactory theory emerges the explanation/interpretation of the data is subjective - but the data is not. The existence of the data is the scientific fact - not its interpretation.

You do not accept the, or any experiment as being part of science. Except retrospectively ?

Moreover the experimental data persists, e.g the Perihelion of Mercury. Theories don't, e.g Newton replaced by Relativity.

2. also "What does "rationally predicted" mean? I suppose you are referring to theories, like special and general relativity, that we call "mathematically complete."

I know nothing of Mathematically Complete. I mean something like Maxwell's E-M Theory that unifiied Electricity & Magnetism. It rationally predicted E-M waves that had never been envisaged never mind observed. Later the waves were found - again 2 nows. The prediction of them before they were found was for me Rational science.

Again, you do not accept this.

We differ. I have given 10 points supporting my argument. The essays by Norman Cook, and Ted Jacobson, and others provide other points in support. Not one of the specific points has yet been refuted as "unscientific" - except possibly by me where they are both unreasonable and irrational.

And all of them by you on principle ?.

You seem to think I am arguing against mathematics. Not true. I want more mathematics - but more effective mathematics - not less.

Peter Jackson wrote on Oct. 29, 2009 @ 16:54 GMT
I rechecked the math, it's 42 Terry.

I'd like a bit less math, and I think I've proven why.

Do you think a billion Doppler formulaes floating around out in space will manage to effect the Blue Shift we get when the planet is approaching the source?

Do we not think that, althought the math describes it accurately, perhaps some physical process also needs to happen?

If you do, which I think you do Terry, you're half way to working out what's wrong with physics and what the solution is. If you go to (via my own essay 'Perfect Symmetry' if you wish) you'll find the other half to ponder on the beach.

I thought your score was a bit too low. It's now a bit better.

Best Wishes

Peter Jackson

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 29, 2009 @ 22:09 GMT

Thanks for your comments and support. The essay was intended to be enjoyable, and therefore interesting - one of the competition criteria, above all else.

You cannot claim priority for your discovery of 42. It was discovered some years ago by a renowned British scientist, Douglas Adams during his experiments on Cosmology - see "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

I was never happy with his conclusions, so I determined to to find a more satisfactory answer using, as one must in science today, advanced mathematics. I tried to make the universe 43 but my sums never work out. I now have a Theory of Inflation that takes me far beyond 43. I am up to 71 but things are still not quite right. May be if I get to 72 I can get it to work. Then I'll have 2 cubed x 3 squared which is sort of symmetrical - which should please you.

After all, 42 is not a prime number. If he and you were right that would mean the universe is always at sixes and sevens !. Wait a minute, perhaps; oh no !

As for being (only ?) 1/2 right, are you trying to tell me gently that I am 1/2 wrong ? I can't accept that. It is completely out of the question. Surely I can only be 6/13 or 7/13 right / wrong - and that would destroy the symmetry.

George Schoenfelder wrote on Oct. 30, 2009 @ 00:44 GMT

Thank you for addressing my question.

Despite the fact that the mind—whatever it is here on earth—does not function without physical oxygen, it seems you missed my point that the adult brain in fact physically changes based on what it associatively learns from action and experiment. Likewise, the physical experiments of physics change based on what physics associatively learns from action and experiment. It would seem straightforward that they work in concert, and thus, the brain is indeed a good place for science. Furthermore, physics would be hard pressed without oxygen.

You said, “our Minds, don’t exist for science.” If not to learn from its mistakes, what in your opinion are mind and brain for? What am I missing?


George Schoenfelder

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 30, 2009 @ 03:26 GMT

Remember my essay is written to try to identify what the problem is. It does not presume to offer answers. It is interesting that you bring in Associativity. Some other essays of interest feature non-associative mathematics. The issue of Associativity is very intriguing.

Possibly we are making different distinctions between Mind & Brain. As we don't know what the Mind is, that is highly probable. I am happy for it, whatever it is, to be as dependent on Oxygen etc. as everything else about us. The Brain / Mind issue reminds me of the notorious regress in QM when trying to decide where the boundary should be drawn between evolving quantum states and classical observations.

Author Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 30, 2009 @ 09:57 GMT

Thanks for your comments. I am pleased that you liked my essay. I like your summary - very apt.

T H Ray wrote on Nov. 1, 2009 @ 15:11 GMT

You seem to think my view is outside mainstream science. A quick review of every juried journal in the physical sciences informs one that all published science is nothing more than theory supported by (observed and/or mathematical) results.

That is how science is practiced, independent of what one thinks science is, or should be. It is an entirely rationalist enterprise.

There are not (which in fact would contradict Aristotle's logical premise of noncontradiction) two "nows" demarcating experiment (result) and theory. Even though language and its meaning are independent, these converge in time.

I am sorry that I did not adequately communicate the definition of "mathematically complete." I don't think I can do any better with it.

Your desire for more effective mathematics is in the process of being satisfied every day, by researchers developing new methods to handle more imaginative questions. Einstein's widely misunderstood comment, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," in fact addresses this very point. We do not get more science and more mathematics by imagining limits (contrary to the topic of this contest).

The questions do not have to be reasonable.


report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Nov. 2, 2009 @ 03:29 GMT

As i suggested last time round we are probably going in circles - a normal sign of a basic disagreement.

1. You wrote "You seem to think my view is outside mainstream science."

This suggest you have not read, or misunderstood my essay. I don't think that. I submitted my essay on the basis that, regrettably, you are correct ! In my essay I wrote "Is to be rational to be reasonable ? ... snip ... For any reasonable person the answer is "yes". Just check the usage; yours or anyone else's - except mine. For I choose to answer the question rationally."

The fact is science, and society, even the OED as I pointed out, have not yet made this distinction. I have. It is a small correction I am initiating to a problem that plagues all discourse including science. It is a small contribution from me to resolving the problem - part of a new paradigm, if you will excuse the hyperbole.

I am not surprised that you, and no doubt many others, should take the mainstream position. We disagree. That I may be plowing a lone furrow was foreshadowed in the quotes at the end of my essay.

2. RE Mathematically complete: I doubt there was anything unclear about what you wrote. For me it was irrelevant. I don't have time to consider what it means fundamentally, and whether I (would) find that meaning acceptable.

3. You write "Your desire for more effective mathematics is in the process of being satisfied every day,"

Again, this suggests you have not read or have misunderstood my essay. Again we agree. In my essay, and in my posts on several essays here, I fully acknowledge this - but call it the "Progressive" approach to fundamental problems = More of the Same. I express the view that this cannot work - Ultimately - for fundamental problems.

In my essay I wrote "Continuing down the established paths to the future exacerbates the problem. Perhaps the way forward is regressive, not progressive. Of course progressives cannot accept that premise. Given that the progressives are all eminently credentialed, perhaps I should respect their judgment and await their likely success. I can't. So I won't."

Your response is the one I predicted in my essay. My essay outlines what i mean by a "Regressive" approach.

4. I am not sure what you mean by "imagining limits" - who, what, where, when, these limits ?

T H Ray wrote on Nov. 2, 2009 @ 10:27 GMT

The root of our disagreement is your interpretation of rationalism. No, it is not rational to be reasonable. Reason based on experience is contrary to rationalism in which theory is primary to the interpretation of experience. I.e., scientific results are not interpreted by experience but by theory. To suggest that it should be otherwise is to abandon the quest for objective knowledge. We would sacrifice reach, for that which is within easy grasp.


report post as inappropriate

Steve Dufourny wrote on Nov. 3, 2009 @ 10:58 GMT
Chers H T Ray,

J'ai lu ce fil parce que j'aime les idées de M. Klingman. Ainsi, j'ai lu threads wih beaucoup d'intérêt.

Dans votre dernier post vous dire

"Non, ce n'est pas rationnel d'être raisonnable»

Je ne comprends pas votre point de vue sur l'objectivité. En fait, tous doivent être raisonnables et dans correlagtion avec notre conscience universelle.

Les expériences, les théories, les extrapolations, les résultats doivent toujours être corrélée à cette loi universelle.

Le rationalisme et l'universalisme sont les mêmes cher TH Ray, l'objectivité sera toujours l'objectivité de l'.

Ee quête de la vérité dans cette ligne de raisonnement est donc le meilleur parce qu'il est universel.

There are two kinds of maths ,reals or imaginaries .There is one kind of physic ,real and objective .All is there ,the reasonable thus is to be in the physicality and its laws without imaginaries .There the subjectivity is less than the objectivity .

The physics need rationalism indeed and it is well like that in fact ,simply .

Best Regards


report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Nov. 3, 2009 @ 21:56 GMT
Cher Steve

Parce que mon francais est tres mauvais je ne suis pas certainement si vous et moi sont en accord, mais merci beaucoup votre pensees tres bon.

Bon chance avec votre campaignements

Anonymous wrote on Nov. 3, 2009 @ 22:47 GMT

I have no problem with your first sentence. I confirmed that in my essay and in my previous response. It is one of the reasons I wrote my essay. So it is a bit superfluous. However it does endorse my view, as

1. A Rational view of a disagreement is that they are two sided. Best expressed in the phrase "We disagree about whatever."

2. A Reasonable view is that if you are party to a disagreement then you are right and your antagonist is wrong.

3. It is politics not science to rely on majority opinion to determine which, if either or both, is correct.

NB See Point No. 1 of my essay about the Relativity of Motion for confirmation that it is normal standard authoritative science to use subjective = relative assumptions, such as "This particle is the Stationary one". This is Reasonable but irrational. You seem to want to call this subjective not relative. Be my guest, but I am now repeating what i wrote in the essay.

The confusion of objectivity with absolute and subjectivity with relative is common throughout science at all levels - I can provide references. You seem to share this. It is one of my targets.

The authentication and exegesis of the sayings of Einstein is too demanding a study for me of the lazy mind; but i am capable of misunderstanding myself, never mind anyone else.

Reason based on (scientifically validated) experience is NOT NECESSARILY contrary to (our current best scientfic) Rational Theory - but when it is the task of the scientist is to fix the misalignment.

Fixing it can happen in one of two ways (or a mixture).

A. Using existing foundations = Progressive; i.e. Either the data is changed by better experiements; or the Theory is changed for a better theory.

B. Change the Foundations - whatever they are ? = Regressive, possibly.

Last time round the loop ?

report post as inappropriate

Steve Dufourny wrote on Nov. 4, 2009 @ 11:34 GMT
Dear Terry,

Sorry for this confusion ,I don't understand what I have made in fact with this post .Sorry .There it is serious ,it's the firtst time with this kind of confusion with French and english .Furthermore a confusion about the first name ,oh my god .

Here is the post in english only hihiih .

Dear T H Ray,

In your last post you say

No, it is not rational to be reasonable.

I don't understand your point of vue about the objectivity.

In fact ,all must be reasonable and in correlation with our universal consciousness.

The experiments ,the theories,the extrapolations,the results must always be correlated to this universal law .

The rationalism and the universalism are the same dear T H Ray,thus the objectivity will be always the objectivity ,and the reason is objectively objective.

The quest of the truth in this line of reasoning is thus the best because that is universal simply and pragmatically .

There are two kinds of maths ,reals or imaginaries .

There is one kind of physic ,real and objective .All is there ,the reasonable thus is to be in the physicality and its laws without imaginaries .There the subjectivity is less than the objectivity .

The physics need rationalism indeed and it is well like that in fact ,simply .

Best Regards


report post as inappropriate

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Nov. 4, 2009 @ 23:45 GMT
Dear Terry Padden,

I believe that your essay is valuable. It was certainly entertaining. As I remarked, it lays the path and emphazises both the need for fields and for consciousness in physics. I do not agree that the problem lies in math, but in the concepts of the fields that we currently employ.

Your previous response to me indicated that you did not appreciate my essay, and of course there's no obligation to do so.

I have responded on my page to a comment from Narendra Nath. It is an extended comment and one that you may find interesting. I continue to believe that your essay is suggestive of the solutions outlined in my essay.

Thank you for your comments and exchanges in this forum. I have enjoyed all of them immensely.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Nov. 5, 2009 @ 00:56 GMT

I am not sure what you mean by stating that I "did not appreciate your essay". I read all the essays once. I only read yours once because of lack of time. Which also meant that i do not have time to read tidied up versions or supporting papers for any essay.

A few, about 4, I read twice because of responses to my posts on their sites. These few were ones that have some resonance with my own. As an essay I thought yours quite good; but it was too adventurous for me. As you can gather from my essay I do not think we have the tools yet to treat consciousness scientifically. You do. So we are on different wavelengths.

We need to be on the same wavelength In order to properly appreciate anything. Which means, I suppose, that I am not really the right audience to fully appreciate your essay. I wish you all the best and whatever encouragement I can spare.

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Nov. 5, 2009 @ 04:41 GMT
Dear Terry,

That was an assessment, not a criticism, and probably should have been left unstated. I merely had hoped, with the points stated in your essay that you would find more to appreciate in mine. Not a big deal. I have not yet read all of the essays but still find yours very enjoyable and on target.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Author Terry Padden wrote on Nov. 7, 2009 @ 03:20 GMT
Final Comments:

1. Thanks to all who posted comments on my essay, especially Tom for a spirited discussion.

2. My modal rating was "1". Yet all posts were very positive.

3. My essay contained 10 specific points. Not one has been refuted here. Absent are genuine critical comments or refutations from those providing the "1" rating - which for me is the most disappointing part of the process.

4. Thanks to FQXI for the opportunity to participate and air some prejudices; and to the support staff, especially Brendan, for tolerating and responding positively to my questions.

As this is an essay contest I take leave of it with a postscript to my essay, which will be included in subsequent versions, from Sir Roger Penrose,

""In my view the conscious brain does not act according to classical physics. It doesn't even act according to conventional quantum mechanics. It acts according to a theory we don't yet have. This is being a bit big-headed, but I think it's a little bit like William Harvey's discovery of the circulation of blood. He worked out that it had to circulate, but the veins and arteries just peter out, so how could the blood get through from one to the other? And he said, "Well, it must be tiny little tubes there, and we can't see them, but they must be there." Nobody believed it for some time. So I"m still hoping to find something like that - some structure that preserves coherence, because I believe it ought to be there."

That's all for now folks.

Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.