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TOPIC: FQXi Essay Contest 2016: Wandering Towards a Goal [refresh]

FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 2, 2016 @ 17:46 GMT
In physics we tend to stick to asking what happened, how did it happen? We like to describe, usually in minute details. We like to use the smallest possible components, “building blocks”, “unit cells".

But there are other ways to think about physical reality. We can ask why did it happen? Was there a reason, or a reason it seems to have a reason? We can go beyond describing and try to explain, motivate. We can see beyond parts and think in terms of systems and wholes.

This shift in thought brings us to the next \$40,000 FQXi essay contest, brought to you with our partners at The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation!

This year’s theme is: Wandering Towards a GoalHow can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intentions?

One way to think of physics is as a set of mathematical laws of dynamics. These laws provide predictions by carrying conditions at one moment of time inexorably into the future. But many phenomena admit another description – sometimes a vastly more useful one – in terms of long-term, large-scale goals, aims, and intentions.

The motion of the most basic particle can be described by the action of forces moment by moment or as the attempt to extremize an action integral, calculated over the particle’s entire path throughout time. Many-body systems can seem hopelessly complex when looked at in terms of their constituents' detailed dynamic motions, but neatly elegant when viewed as attempting to minimize energy or maximize entropy. Living systems efficiently organize their simplest components with the intricate aims of survival, reproduction, and other biological ends; and intelligent systems can employ a panoply of physical effects to accomplish many flexibly chosen goals.

How does this work? How do goal-oriented systems arise, and how do they exist and function in a world that we can describe in terms of goal-free mathematical evolution?

Relevant essays might address questions such as:

* How did physical systems that pursue the goal of reproduction arise from an a-biological world?

* What general features — like information processing, computation, learning, complexity thresholds, and/or departures from equilibrium — allow (or proscribe) agency?

* How are goals (versus accomplishments) linked to “arrows of time”?

* What separates systems that are intelligent from those that are not? Can we measure this separation objectively and without requiring reference to humans?

* What is the relationship between causality – the explanation of events in terms of causes – and teleology – the explanation of events in terms of purposes?

* Is goal-oriented behavior a physical or cosmic trend, an accident or an imperative?

We are accepting entries from now until March 3, 2017, with winners announced in June. The contest rules will operate as in past contests. Please read the contest pages for instructions and full rules.

The contest is open to anyone, so please share this info with everyone. Good luck and good writing!

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H. G. wrote on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 11:16 GMT
I don’t want to be negative but I don’t understand FQXi. Why does they think that “top thinkers in foundational questions” will send in an essay? Because they love competition and want to win and cash? That cannot be serious.

Research in the field of the foundations of physics/mathematics is perhaps one of the most earnest human activities. So it is correct to state that an essay have to be technically correct and rigorously argued. Nevertheless, the essay is limited to a stunning 9 pages so this “identification of top thinkers” isn’t serious. Personally I asked the FQXi administrator to delete my essay (bit from it) after a couple of days when I realized myself these inconsequences.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 12:17 GMT
Hi H.G.,

Have you seen this What makes us feel good about our work? - Dan Ariely It shows that for tasks requiring mental effort monetary reward is a poor motivator.

Longer than 9 pages wouldn't be manageable for peer review.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 12:40 GMT
Hi Georgina, H.G.,

I don't understand why You wanted to delete your work Mr HG,like I am curious ,I have seen the essays and I don't find.Could You post it or tell me what was this essay,please.

Regards

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre replied on Dec. 5, 2016 @ 17:55 GMT
H.G.:

The reason we're optimistic that top thinkers will submit essays is that they keep doing so! We've had a large number of essay submissions by many many FQXi members (who are highly regarded scientists) as well as lots from farther afield. Although an essay contest is not the place to fully explicate a large or highly technical piece of research, we've found that it's a great context for people to explore and think through ideas and get a lot of attention and feedback on them. The top essays tend to be very good and very interesting, but if you don't want to participate that's certainly your prerogative!

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H. G. wrote on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 15:22 GMT
@Steve Dufourney,

The contents of the old essay are not important. I only tried to explain that it is – in my opinion - impossible to get “fresh” insights in the foundations of physics/mathematics with the help of a contest (with limitations). I don’t blame FQXi for organizing contests, I only doubt the effectiveness "to find top thinkers in foundational questions”. Anyway, you can find some of the descriptions of the old essay at https://ephys.blogspot.com (post 03 till 12).

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 15:58 GMT
Thanks for sharing H G I am going to look at your papper ,if I can it is dufourny without e :),

about the contest, it is short indeed but it is always interesting to see the works of different thinkers in a total transparence.FQXI makes a wonderful jobs in fact.

Regards

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 16:09 GMT
Maybe, H. G. stands for Henk Grimm. The latter's blog does neither reveal to me Henk's qualification nor due effort to question work by others including my own.

++++

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 3, 2016 @ 17:06 GMT
Dear Mr Grimm,

I have seen several posts you seem to like the sphere ,I am happy.:) They turn so they are these sphères after all.Do you know My humble theory of spherisation with quantum 3D sphères and cosmological 3D sphres Inside an universal 3D sphere in spherisation optimisation of matter energy.Here are my tow correlated équations E=mc²+ml² and mlosV=constant don't hesitate to ask details I will answer with pleasure.

Regards

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 17:25 GMT
May I suggest that FQXi change the topic of the essay contest? The following quotations clearly show that the foundational problems of physics are quite far away from teleology:

"That lecture, by the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski, established a new arena for the presentation of physics, a new vision of the nature of reality redefining the mathematics of existence. The lecture was...

view entire post

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 17:38 GMT
Pentcho,

I'll give you points for hutzpah:-)

Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 18:08 GMT
Hi,

Space does exist it seems to me.Only matter and energy exist.This dark matter and the spherical volumes at all scales imply that this space disappear when we consider a specific serie ,universal of spherical volumes.The central BH being the biggest volume and correlated particles produced the smallest.

Regards

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 7, 2016 @ 18:21 GMT
Pentcho,

Spacetime stands for teleology. "God doesn't play dice". Einstein didn't object when Popper compared him with Parmenides.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 8, 2016 @ 16:15 GMT
Deduction: The Only Method in Theoretical Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Math can do a lot of things for you, but in the end it's merely a device to derive consequences from assumptions."

Yes, deducing consequences from assumptions, or, more precisely, conclusions from premises, is the only reasonable method in theoretical physics. Any theory, if it is truly a theory and not an...

view entire post

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 8, 2016 @ 20:14 GMT
Pentcho,

I'm looking forward to your essay. I've already submitted mine although I will NOT count myself among those "top minds" and "top thinkers" that Anthony Aguirre mentions:-)

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Jose P. Koshy replied on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 06:01 GMT
Pentcho,

What Einstein said is correct, if we read it out of context.

"If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous; and if the clock at A is moved with the velocity v along the line AB to B, then on its arrival at B the two clocks no longer synchronize, but the clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B by tv^2/2c^2 (up to magnitudes of fourth and higher order), t being the time occupied in the journey from A to B."

Any device to measure time uses some kind of inside motion as a standard to which the measured time is compared. This inside motion of the clock, even if it is a 'very accurate atomic clock', is affected by the motion of the clock as a whole. But this phenomenon is now being wrongly explained as time dilation.

In my hypothesis, G is proportional to square of the speed (a body at absolute rest has zero G), and so the lagging of clock depends on its speed.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 07:27 GMT
Only if absolute rest means no motion of B relative to A then it makes sense to me. Jose, how do you define speed?

++++

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 03:55 GMT
Thank you for this essay topic.

It will be interesting to ponder and to read other peoples's ideas on the subject.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 10, 2016 @ 16:50 GMT
Deduction: The Only Method in Theoretical Physics (2)

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Every theory needs assumptions. The problem isn't the existence of assumptions, the problem is the lack of clarity about what exactly is assumed and what follows from what."

Correct. Many problems of theoretical physics will be solved if each theory is obligatorily presented as a list of valid arguments, and each argument in the list as clearly stated premises and a conclusion. For instance:

Argument number 8

Premise 1: ...

Premise 2: ...

Premise 3: ...

Conclusion: ...

Any premise is either an initial assumption (postulate, axiom) or a conclusion already deduced in previous arguments. Arguments in the list are constantly checked for validity.

When the theory is presented in this way, its truthfulness is guaranteed if the initial assumptions (postulates, axioms) are true. If some initial assumption turns out to be false, the conclusions deduced from it are removed from the theory.

Pentcho Valev

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Efthimios Harokopos replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 18:43 GMT
I believe that deduction does not offer any new knowledge. Induction offers a law subject to probability. It is abduction that offer the possibility of new knowledge (a hypothesis)

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 12, 2016 @ 18:20 GMT
There is an article in Nature suggesting that LIGO's gravitational waves topple, rather than confirm, general relativity. In my comments on the article I am much more radical - gravitational waves do not exist and general relativity is an empirical concoction, not a deductive theory:

Zeeya Merali: "LIGO black hole echoes hint at general-relativity breakdown"

Pentcho Valev

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Dec. 13, 2016 @ 12:15 GMT
Despite the experimental imperfection and some attempt at cooking up data, what the experimenters in the Advanced LIGO experiment claim, i.e. a rhythmic shortening and elongation of two lines, one at Livinston, Louisiana, the other at Hanford, Washington, both in the United States of America already hints that a line has discrete and non-continuos features. The claim is that the two 4km lines lengthened and shortened rhythmically by about 10-18m.

First is that if a line can alternately shorten and lengthen then it is a physical thing, and not merely a relational concept. Einstein in several parts of his theory follows Mach and relies on space as a relational concept and not something real. Although in his 1920 Leiden address he recanted somewhat and said a line can have physical qualities.

Second is that a line containing an infinite number of points cannot be physically lengthened or shortened because infinity cannot be added to or subtracted from. Only in finite geometry can a line be logically added to and subtracted from.

This being so, Einstein himself already hints at general relativity breakdown without travelling to the edge of black holes. He is quoted to have said in 1954, "I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics".

Regards,

Akinbo

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Steve Agnew replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 04:27 GMT
Oh for goodness sake...give them at least a chance. Any reasonable theory of gravity has to have waves since no reasonable theory of graviy supposes that there be instantaneous action.

Gravity waves are not therefore unexpected and it is kind of silly to argue against them. There are many problems with general relativity by gravity waves simply are not an issue...

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 11:02 GMT
Despite ingenious attempts to use math and words to obscure what Advanced LIGO PRIMARILY purports to measure, what was actually measured is change in the magnitude of a line. Whether this is due to gravity waves or black holes colliding far away is very very SECONDARY and a matter of conjecture. And the chosen method of measuring the changes in length is by how long light takes to traverse the 4km distance.

They were not measuring space-time either. What they put forward as their result is alternate changes in length between (4km + 10-18m) and (4km - 10-18m).

"...a modified Michelson interferometer (see Fig. 3) that measures gravitational-wave strain as a difference in length of its orthogonal arms. Each arm is formed by two mirrors, acting as test masses, separated by (...) 4 km. A passing gravitational wave effectively alters the arm lengths.." - abstracted with a discerning eye from from Physical Review Letters

All in italics is conjecture. Only what is in bold is primary because difference/ variation in length can arise from many causes. A line that can be subjected to strain by whatever cause is not dead, but very much alive and must therefore have physical qualities and not merely be a relational concept or fiction. This alone contradicts the relationist and supports the substantivalist view of space. Can a fictitious object be subjected to strain?

Akinbo

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Amrit Srecko Sorli wrote on Dec. 14, 2016 @ 19:17 GMT

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John S Minkowski wrote on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 04:31 GMT
The Common Knowledge Game gives the Big Bang and Black Holes credibility. As in investing analysis, 'bracketing' prevents insiders of the mainstream view from going outside the box. That is why WMAP, Planck, and now Ligo are propagated in the Media to perpetuate the Common Knowledge Game, not to mention Higgs, etc.

The real question is whether we are in a Neo-Ptolemystical age, where most of the models fit, except at the edges (of extremely small or large)!

John S Minkowski

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Helmut Hansen replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 05:01 GMT
Dear John,

can you explain your last statement, concerning cosmological models that do not fit at the edges of extremely small or extremely large? Can you give an example? Actually there is an empirical fact referring to the edges of the universe which cannot be explained by modern cosmology. It's in a way a sort of anomaly.

H. Hansen

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John S Minkowski replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 14:04 GMT
H.H. Perhaps you could provide your own anomalous example. I am only an amateur, but doesn't the ubiquitous use of the term 'singularity' answer the question? Apparently, we have a singularity at the center of a Schwarzschild diameter and another at the center of the 'Big Bang'. These two singularities appear to be opposites. Crothers and Mersini-Houghton have written about the mathematics of black holes, and each find that the singularity does not exist! Hope that answers your question. J.M.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 15, 2016 @ 15:08 GMT
Hello to both of you,

It is complex when we consider the main cause,the uniqueness if I can say,quant or cosm.The interprétations of singularities are complex.It dépends of how we consider the singularity.The mathematical universe for example of max Tegmark considers mathematical singularities with mathematical codes.I beleive that these works are relevant for the convergences.Now we can...

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Ted Erikson wrote on Dec. 17, 2016 @ 17:38 GMT
Perhaps too far off base, but does this essay assignmentsinvoke the possible use of the word, "panpsychism"?

A model that incorporates the use of measured, calculable, or predictable values is needed. The extremes of geometrical "activities" (surface to volume ratios) for spheres and tetrahedrons as used by the ancients suggests a means of attack to define such a premise..

Yes or no?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 17, 2016 @ 21:12 GMT
Hello Mr Erikson,

Spinoza d say that after all we were, we are ,we shall be .....bodies and souls....we die eletromagnetically, not gravitationally in logic :) eternally yours so :)

Regards

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 18, 2016 @ 13:03 GMT
Jonh and Tom but where are you Jedis ?

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re castel wrote on Dec. 24, 2016 @ 02:02 GMT
I am posting this just in case you are interested in new perspectives.

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

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sherman loran jenkins replied on Dec. 24, 2016 @ 07:21 GMT
Pick up your purple robe at the red castle and straight ahead to Heaven's Gate.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 15:45 GMT
Essay topic is very challenging. Seems to be taking a long time to get the first batch of essays posted.

I wish a happy and safe New Year to All.

Best regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 16:31 GMT
I wish you also a happy new year Gary and to all.

Happy also to see you again.Have you news from Tom and John?

Regards

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 17:34 GMT
To you also Steve. No. I have no news of Tom or John.

My Mom passed on in Sept and I have been handling things for the estate and traveling a lot to get the house ready for sale. Unfortunately, I have not practiced guitar or piano in several months.

I had an essay already written that roughly fits into the essay topic so I submitted that weeks ago. This is a very difficult topic I think.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Dec. 31, 2016 @ 18:56 GMT
I am sorry.Sincere condolences.I know that it is difficult, I have lost my mom also 3 years ago and my father 21 years ago.I have even problems with the house and the debts, I am going to loose it like I am without job actually.

Indeed it is very vast topic.I will read the essays,I wait, I like in fact :)

Take care and regards Gary

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 1, 2017 @ 09:20 GMT
Happy New year Steve, all the best, Georgina

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Jan. 1, 2017 @ 15:17 GMT
I would like to discuss and to submit an article on this topic, by assuming the nature of inertial fundamental matters in one-dimension. In this regard I invite different standpoints and arguments.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 9, 2017 @ 19:47 GMT
Can you please say a little more to explain what you are thinking?

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Jose P. Koshy wrote on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 11:26 GMT
Hello,

I do not know why so much time is taken for posting the first lot of essays. Is there any shortage of Participants?

Anyway I have submitted my Essay arguing that the 'Cosmos strives to attain self-realization through intelligent beings'.

Jose P Koshy

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 12:26 GMT
Hi Jose, entries are being accepted until March 3rd. I think it is a topic that I would like to take some more time thinking about before writing.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 12:44 GMT
Jose,

In the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the Contest page, it mentions that they won't post any essays until they have a batch of 5-10 available to post. They probably have not had many essay submissions thus far. This is a very difficult topic in my opinion.

I have also submitted an essay ... so, that makes at least two:-)

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 8, 2017 @ 13:03 GMT
Hi all,

It is beautiful topic ,it is not easy and so vast.

Regards

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Ted Erikson wrote on Jan. 20, 2017 @ 18:20 GMT
Is anyone aware of a geometric model or mechanism for "panpsychism"? In particular, the use of the fact that an inscribed sphere in a regular tetrahedron, having equal surface to volume ratios, is an excellent basis for equilibrium at zero entropy production, i.e. any change implies changing "activities" of spherical mass to tetrahedral energy...

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 22, 2017 @ 22:48 GMT
Re Goals:

“There are un-pleasurable, even painful aspects to pursuing most goals, and so we must be clever about what we choose to go after. To go wherever desire and pleasure whisk us is to fall into the trap of chasing things we want in the immediate moment but may care nothing about in the longer term. Zooming out on our lives, it is fascinating to see that both our goals, and the ways in which we set out to achieve them, so often go unexamined. Why do we want what we want?

“…That he ever thought he could achieve perfection, without setbacks, without respites, Franklin admitted, was his gravest error. He had been naïve. And prideful. Only decades later, while writing his autobiography, did he realise that his goals could not be attained just by trying hard, by going at them again and again, without rest or leaving a place for pleasure: ‘the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous was not sufficient to prevent our slipping.’ He saw that pursuing his truest goals would take more than pure desire. It would also take reason. It would take a plan.”

a-few-lapses-on-the-way

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Jan. 25, 2017 @ 03:06 GMT

The essay contest is roughly half over. I hate to say it, but IMHO this essay contest is not going well thus far. If I were the folks at FQXi, I would be very disappointed. Hopefully, more of those top thinkers will participate soon.

Even if you don't think you are a top thinker (hey, I'm not for sure) it is worth participating. You just never know how your thoughts might affect someone else who might then affect someone else ...

I am hoping for more essays and for more participation by authors ....

Best Regards and Good Luck to All.

Gary Simpson

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Jan. 25, 2017 @ 13:17 GMT
Hello,

As I see all here in FQXI are scientist and good researcher.I have read some of the article and essay but gained many knowledge.But since here are all universities student and scientist, Would it be taken good if a high school student(as I am one) submit essays on FQXI and share some ideas, though I am not fully aware of most of the Physics and Maths theories.As I was informed about this platform by Steve Dufourny and I found it quite interesting for learning and sharing views.Can I get some suggestions?

Ajay Pokhrel

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

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 25, 2017 @ 23:41 GMT
Ajay, you are mistaken if you think that all who post comments and submit essays here are scientists and good researchers. If you are able to put together a coherent, sensible argument, relevant to physics, in English I would be very happy to read what you have written and attempt to offer feedback and constructive criticism if I am able. I like the idea of learning, sharing and developing ideas that is allowed here. It would be great if you have some ideas that fit the current essay competition that you would like to present there. There isn't an age limit as far as I know.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 01:05 GMT
Ajay,

Welcome. Georgina is absolutely correct. FQXi does have a number of genuine scientists working at the institute, but most of the people on the forum are not truly scientists. The level of skill and knowledge ranges from respectable amateur to absolute crackpot. There is room for all ...

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 19:31 GMT
Hi Ajay, Gary,Georgina,

I agree also.What I find relevant is this transparence.It is even foundamental for the sharing of ideas. The most important after all is to learn the good works and sort the pseudo sciences.You know Ajay ,in the sciencesz community,even the Professional ,it exists serious thinkers and others who are not relevant.For example me who is a simple nursery man for plants and flowers,I have seen Professional who didn't understand what is really the relativity and the entropical principle.It is ironical even.Sometimes I am surprised by the extrapolations of some thinkers.You know the most important is to be rational.And also make the difference with the hypotheisis in the works of people and the postulates utilised.I have seen also that many scientists were good in engineerings or in computing but they confound the generality.It is odd in fact.The problem is more complex that you can imagine dear Jedis.:)but it is the life.Love sciences, never stop to learn,always search answers.

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Harry Hamlin Ricker III wrote on Feb. 2, 2017 @ 23:22 GMT
Here is my review of the some of the essays

http://www.naturalphilosophy.org/site/harryricker/2017/02/02
/fqxi-essay-contest-2017-review/

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Feb. 15, 2017 @ 12:23 GMT
Hi Brendan , I'd like to include a table of information and a diagram with word labels on it in the body of my essay. Can you please tell me if the words in the table and diagram are to be included in the character count limit. I'm hoping they might not as I have a lot that i'd like to say in the rest of the essay and I think the table and diagram add to the arguments. They aren't really technical extras that could be supplemental. Please let me know , as I may have to decide what I must leave out if their characters are included. Thanks, Georgina.

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on Feb. 21, 2017 @ 14:57 GMT
Dear Brendan,

I just have a little doubt about the rating of some participants.

It seems that there some authors that are spreading the rating 1 without even having read the specific essay. I was warned before by another author, if you have a high rating be prepared to receive a 1 ratings.

Of course everybody is free toas he wants, and it happens to any particpant but after all the positive critics in my thread it was incomprehensible that tha 1 rating was a real one, a three or four if you don't agree is acceptable I think, but a 1 mena that the essay is absolute out of order.

Plus that the rating came without any critisism on the thread.

So I am n advocate that if you give arating give also the reason why.

thank you

Wilhelmus

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton replied on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 08:12 GMT
there are a number of rating systems that are more effective than the "popular consensus" which has been demonstrated time and time again to be extremely damaging and at best ineffective. the largest and longest-running system of moderation, which is based on the principle of random selection amongst readers (i.e. you may NOT just choose yourself to be a moderator of comments), includes...

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 25, 2017 @ 22:27 GMT
Somebody is not scoring fairly. I opened Jarmo Makela's paper this morning. I read it again opened up the contest area to score it. His paper had been with score = 6.5 with two votes and was down to 5.3. Somebody gave this a score of 3. Folks, this paper deserves more than that. Even if you disagree with the conclusion of a paper if it is well enough written it deserves a reasonable score, such as at least 5. The arguments in Jarmo's paper are clear, they are crafted in a creative way as a dialogue and this deserves a score of 5 or above.

I have seen other cases here of "one bombing" that seems to occur in a blanket fashion. There seem to be some who have a desire to blanket attack papers with some hope of bringing theirs up. Sure if a paper is really poor then score it accordingly, but no more of this nonsense of "one-bombing."

cheers LC

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Ted Christopher wrote on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 16:44 GMT
I see some concerns about the scoring here. My essay's score dropped from 9 to 6 overnight apparently due to a 3 score. My essay simply raises basic questions about the current vision of life, and it does it through accepted phenomena and the missing heritability problem. If someone bothers to read the essay they will find minimal speculation and plenty of relevance to the contest goal. I doubt that the 3 scorer bothered to read my essay and moreover think that this kind of score nuking is probably pretty widespread.

Critical scorers should inform their scoring with explanatory comments.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 18:08 GMT
Ted,

You statement regarding your score does not make any sense. You presently have an average of 6.5 with two votes. One of those votes is mine and it was not a 9 or a 3. In fact, since I know the score I gave you, I also know the other score ... and it was not a 9 or a 3 either.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 18:48 GMT
Ted,

BTW, it is the community vote that matters ... not the public vote. Looking at your score again, I see that you were probably referencing your public vote rather than your community vote ... my bad.

Regards.

Gary Simpson

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 17:59 GMT
All,

Members of the community continue to attempt to apply game-theory to scoring ... that's fine with me as I really do not care. I only mention this since I have received a score of one and two scores of two. What is notable is that my average score reached a value of 7 and was then hit with a 2 and a 1. This brought the average down to a 5.6. My score then rose to a 6.1 and was PROMPTLY rated with a 2 to push it down to 5.7.

Perhaps this is coincidence or perhaps not ...

Having stated this, I will also state that I have scored two essays with a 1 ... and they both deserved it. I would have given one of them a zero or a negative score if that was possible. I read both essays and interacted with the authors. I have also scored many essays with a 10. There have been several essays that I would have given a 10 except they were already at or near the top of the rankings ... so they got a 7 or an 8. There have been a few cases where I have given a high score knowing that someone else was going to give it a 1.

I would suggest that if scoring is something that truly bothers people, then do not post a running average of peoples' scores. Then people will have to vote on essays without knowing where the essays are ranked at the time of their votes. The votes would then be tabulated AFTER the voting ends.

Best Regards and Good Luck to All,

Gary Simpson

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Ajay Pokhrel replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 15:18 GMT
Hello Gary,

What is the topic of your essay, could you mention it? I am curious to read your essay.

As you have mentioned about scores, for me it's only starting phase and I have my first essay submitted to FQXI which is now in the rating of 4.3 and I guess most of the authors are ignoring my essay "Our Numerical Universe" because I am just a high school kid. But scoring does not matters to me as I want to thank FQXI for providing such opportunity to share my ideas and further I will improve.

Best Regards

Ajay

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 16:18 GMT
Hello Ajay,

The title of my essay is "Five Part Harmony". I would be delighted for you to read it and ask questions. I will answer as clearly as I am able.

Also, I will have a look at your essay "Our Numerical Universe".

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 15:57 GMT
Hello,

I have just submitted my essay on topic "Our Numerical Universe" and as I am a high school student, it might happen that my essay is not as competitive as others. So, what if my essay is rejected? Can anyone tell me about the possibility?

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

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 03:09 GMT
Just seen it in the list. So that's a good start. I'll have a read.

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 08:00 GMT
hi, ok so my essay is submitted, and i am reviewing the various submissions and asking questions and providing feedback.

the thing is, i am having extraordinary difficulty identifying submissions that answer the actual question, or a variant thereof, or answers any of the sub-questions such as "what separates intelligent systems from those that are not?"

i've encountered one essay which challenges the contest's validity (as being "too early), which is, at the present time, the only essay yet encountered after reviewing about 10 so far, that seems to clearly acknowledge the questions. http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2833

have i missed something important, here? surely i must have made a mistake, and would appreciate some help and clarification.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 09:15 GMT
Hi Luke, I have tried to answer all of the questions FQXi asked as well as i could in the allotted character limit. I would be very happy if you read it.

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 10:54 GMT
ah! thank you georgina. duly noted, and read - some questions raised for you as well. if i may clarify, i am not seeing anyone starting with a pre-existing definition of intelligence, mind or consciousness, nor deriving one during the course of their essay and logically confirming it and that it answers the primary essay's question. apologies but i have to include your essay in that, much as i enjoyed reading it.

i honestly have to admit to being really very surprised and slightly concerned. once i have thought of a way to make it clear i will post a series of questions (along the lines of, "what definitions of intelligence, mind or consciousness is your essay working from or deriving, and how do you use them to answer the essay's core question") for people to consider responding to.

if anyone has any suggestions as to how to go about doing that in a respectful but clear way i would be most grateful to hear them.

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Karl H Coryat replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 21:47 GMT
Hi Luke, I agree with you about a lack of focus in a lot of the essays. I invite you to check out mine. It proposes a physical definition of intentionality and applies that definition to various systems, not only advanced biological ones -- many people assume, I think unjustly, that intentionality is limited to them, and I argue why it isn't. Enjoy!

-Karl Coryat

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Saibal Mitra wrote on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 22:42 GMT
Instead of the current rating system, one should implement a referee system where each participant is given a new anonymous referee login and is asked to evaluate a number of assigned essays (say 3 essays). The referee reports will be visible to everyone, so that may then generate discussions. Obviously the author him/herself is likely to respond to the reports. The reports plus all the discussions can then be used to rate the essays much better.

To force compliance, one can impose the rule that all authors must submit the 3 referee reports by some deadline. Failure to do so will mean that their own essay will be removed from the contest.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 02:22 GMT
This would be tough to implement..

Lots of Physics journals have a hard time finding qualified reviewers for many of the papers they receive. I get more referee requests than I can field personally, and my qualifications are not adequate for some papers I am asked to review. Is every reviewer honest about what they are qualified to weigh in on? And do the really qualified folks have the time for something like an FQXi contest - even with compensation? From what I've seen, most professional scientists have a lot of work already, and they work very hard to make progress happen. This may make your suggestion impractical.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 02:35 GMT
In the current setting..

It would be very difficult to match up all of the essays entered, with reviewers qualified to respond to the content offered fairly. I am seeing a lot of very low scores being given, for essays that are decently well-written. I won't automatically punish an author for views I don't believe in. So while I might give well-written but deficient papers a 4 or 5 at a minimum; I have seen rounds of 1 scores being awarded to large numbers of papers in rapid fashion.

I guess I'm saying I would not want one of the people giving out 1 scores as one of my assigned reviewers. And it would be hard to make it fair, the way you describe it.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Saibal Mitra replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 22:26 GMT
I agree that it would require some effort, but it would be much better compared to the way things work now. Also, consider the fact that you can see the current score. If I want to rate an essay that I think deserves an 8 and I see that it is currently rated at 6 with one vote, then this puts pressure on me to vote 10 to "set the score right", but this would be an improper thing to do, because the person who voted 6 should have just as influence as I.

If I vote 10 because I think it should be at 8, I'm effectively casting two votes, one vote is mine and the other is changing the 6 of the previous voter into an 8. So, the current vote average should not be made visible, and perhaps the rating choices should be reduced to only 0 = "poor", 1 = "mediocre", and 2 = "good" at least in the first round. There will be far more consensus about essays rated as good being good, and essays that are rated poor indeed being poor than about ratings like 7 or 9.

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Bishal Banjara wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 16:07 GMT
hello to everyone!!

anyone help me to take my essay out from this contest but I want to shift it to thread discussion...please!!

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 21:14 GMT
Hi Bishal, email Brendan Foster (see contact tab on FQXi main site home page) explaining your decision. You will be able to put your essay as a link or attachment on the Alternative models page ( inside Ultimate reality) on the Forums part of the site.

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Bishal Banjara wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 05:54 GMT
hi Georgina,

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT
Hello everyone,

I was curious to ask one question:

DO the founder of the FQXI visit FQXI and read the essays of the contest? thouh, it is not a very relevant but I asked because I was curious that if Professor Tegmark or Guth visit the FQXI or not...

Best regards to everyone

Ajay

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 20:41 GMT
Hi Ajay,

Max weighs in from time to time, mainly where his work is being discussed. I have not seen Alan post on the forum, but Anthony Aguirre often makes an appearance, to set the record straight about some point or other. Other FQXi members have been known to post on the forum, and other scientists every so often.

There are no guarantees they will read what you say, but chances are good that someone well-informed will comment - and the experts will appear from time to time.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Neil Bates wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 02:15 GMT
My essay for this contest is now on the board at Is Quantum Magic Behind Life, Mind, and Rational Machinery? I normally wouldn't come here to simply announce it's there, but I want to make the point that my essay this time is only half the usual full length, and it should be easier to read than most of my previous efforts. No spectacular revelations claimed either, just a rundown of how I think QM enables complex life and thinking. Also I am determined to be more laid back this year and to minimize fretting or griping about the voting system per se (although I do have a basic constructive suggestion about it, and reserve the right to decry bad practice) - and especially stay away from who is or isn't getting noticed or should be, etc. Cheers.

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

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 03:42 GMT
Brendan,

My Mozilla Firefox browser was updated today to the latest version, and now when I try to login to FQXi, I get a “a grey lock icon with a red strike-through in the address bar” , and the following message: “This connection is not secure. Logins entered here could be compromised”. !!!

It further says that “Firefox will display a grey lock icon with a red strike-through in the address bar, when a login page you’re viewing does not have a secure connection. This is to inform you that if you enter your password it could be stolen by eavesdroppers and attackers.” !!!

Brendan, could you please make sure that our FQXi connections are secure, and that our logins cannot be compromised?

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Neil Bates wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 14:32 GMT
Some anonymous coward just "1-bombed" me (known from previous rating being a 5.0 and then going to 3.0 after one more vote) without leaving any feedback about how in Earth I could deserve that low a rating. Yeah I wasn't going to fret much about the voting method ... but this hurts everyone and is bad practice by those using their voting privilege so I will ask this: first a plea to everyone that you should be willing to explain bad votes. You can still be anonymous but at least leave a credible explanation. Also, is anything being done about 1-bombers, to at least limit the damage they can do? Sigh.

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Rene Ahn replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 21:40 GMT
Hi Neil,

If it is any consolation, you are not the only one.

A similar thing happened to a lot of people here, also to me, twice even, I wouldn't expect that in place like this, but I guess there are some participants still wearing diapers.

Good luck anyways,

Rene

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

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Ajay Pokhrel replied on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 07:45 GMT
Hello Neil,

My essay has also less rating because I am just a high school student but once a brilliant mind told me this"hmmm,keep this in mind...some can read the book "War and Peace " and think it's just an adventure story,and some can read the ingredients on a gum wrapper and unravel the secrets of the universe." Rating doesnot show the talent as well.

Best Regards

Ajay

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Neil Bates replied on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 02:26 GMT
Ajay, I think it's great that a High School student entered the contest - until recently I was teaching in High Schools, a favorite course was Chemistry. I'll read your essay in awhile.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 17:33 GMT
Neil,

Don't worry it's not just you, trolling is as rife as ever. I've had at least four 1's so far. I prefer to not score than mark down. I'll make a point of reading yours (I think I was too late doing so last year as I was behind with those who'd read mine, so I owe you!)

I hope you may get to & comment on mine too,

Best

Peter

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Peter Bauch wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 22:06 GMT
With more prize money this year and all the one-bombing this contest reminds me of a Wal-Mart riot.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 04:03 GMT
I've done a little 10 bombing to deny the one bombers an advantage ... it looks like they've changed tactics at least on new essays ... I've gotten 3 ones and 2 twos though.

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William L Stubbs wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 13:55 GMT
Concerning the ratings, perhaps it is expecting too much to have people give a composite rating between 1 and 10. There are several factors to consider and weigh which can lead to identical ratings for different merits. In future competitions, one way to move toward alleviating this problem may be to break the rating into three categories: 1) how relevant is the essay, 2) how though provoking is...

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 03:33 GMT
William,

I think maybe you are missing something ... people don't one bomb because they disagree with some aspect of an essay. They one bomb because it pushes other peoples' scores lower and thereby elevates their own essay. If the contestants are allowed to vote then that will always be the case to some extent.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 04:05 GMT
A greater concern for me is this..

The possibility exists to create an artificial identity, and even to create a machine generated essay to allow for multiple voting privileges. Heck; I have more than one e-mail account, so I could probably get away with public voting two or three times (which I'm pretty sure some folks have done), but I have not worked this angle. On the other hand; I have seen some pretty weird shit as a viXra administrator, including a few instances of fictitious authorship. And this is in addition to folks posting someone else's work under their name, or claiming affiliations and collaborators illegitimately. We have actually seen instances of papers posted by people who do not exist!

I've been wondering if arXiv will catch the paper by Hannah Arendt on moving neighborhoods and Peterson graphs. I think it's highly likely the author is fictitious and the content is machine generated. There it is; arXiv:1203.1900. It was probably uploaded as part of a study, and so far the admins have not discovered it may be bogus, or connects to other bogosity. I've been tracking it since the viXra admins were alerted about another paper of similar authorship, when it was submitted for publication - or so I recall.

It can't happen here, of course.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 04:12 GMT
As I recall..

Hannah Arendt was a WW2 era philosopher, political analyst, and journalist who wrote about some of the atrocities of the Nazis.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 11:39 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

what a world :).I am understanding you.You know I have remarked that indeed some people thought that because they knew the computing, they knew sciences and its generalities.Like if the cyber criminality for example was gratifying.It is ironical these hormons and this vanity and pride if I can say.Like if the frustration implied these comportments of some persons.Sad reality.If them they understand what is the entropical eternal infinite principle, me I am the queen of England Jonathan lol.Don't attach some importance with these things.It exists real universalists and persons understanding what is this universal love.Others no simply .This explains that after all.The relativity is about these social and human comportments.Sad reality of our global earth, this sphere turning around a sphere Inside the sphere ....take care Jonathan and still good luck in this contest also.I liked your papper.

Best

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 14:21 GMT
Thanks Steve..

While we are debating what is universal in the greater reality, we must not forget about the pull of our humanity - and that the limitations of being human motivate some to do what is unethical, in order to gain an advantage. So while good people are obligated to assume good faith, in the absence of other evidence, some others take advantage of this to do harm or gain benefit unfairly. We can only be more mindful while hoping that the FQXi folks have done due diligence to authenticate each author.

Thanks for the reminder there are still people of good faith, and people worthy of being treated that way. I hope there are more of those, in this contest, and fewer of the other guys. From what I have seen; the good guys hold the field here.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 19, 2017 @ 22:19 GMT
Because of the “one bombers”, I have changed my mind about the possibility of the FQXi essay voting system being fair. Clearly, voting is a game to be strategically played.

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James Arnold replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 01:13 GMT
Well, 'tis a game for some, to be unethically played.

I hope the system is smart enough that the '1 bombers' can be tracked down, erased, and disqualified....

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James A Putnam replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 01:52 GMT
Dear Lorraine Ford,

There are fair minded participants who do vote according to the vote guidelines. One who is consistently representative of that practice is Georgina Woodward. I have found it difficult to meet her standard. I think that most experienced participants know that vote downing not only occurs throughout the contest, but, it accelerates very near the end, especially for top...

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 12:14 GMT
Folks,

You can either accept the one-bombing and take no action, or you can respond in some way. If you disapprove of one-bombing and wish to take action then you need a method to deny the one-bombers any advantage. You can accomplish that by 10 bombing those who have been one-bombed or by an across the board one-bomb ... or perhaps a bit of both. In truth, if your objective is to win the contest and you get to vote, then why would anyone ever give anyone else a score of anything other than a one? Of course, if you objective is to advance knowledge then your voting strategy would probably be very different.

The real problem is that contestants get to vote and that is because FQXi does not have the resources to judge fairly 200+ entries. I don't see any likely solution to that problem.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 13:09 GMT
The simple fix is to treat ratings as complex...

Those who approach ratings solely as a measure of quality for essays treat the value given as a Real number, which could (at least in theory) be calculated by using a checklist and enumerating the successes and failures in ideas presented, logical arguments, compelling storytelling, clarity of message, and so on. This is most in keeping with the instructions given by FQXi.

Those who approach ratings solely as a tool to elevate or demote other people's work, regardless of the relative quality, or in order to influence or control the final rankings, treat the value given as a pure Imaginary. By this I mean that the rating these people give is employed to create variations, to push scores up or down at will, that relates more to the desired outcome than any measure at all.

The healthy response, in this case, is to view the ratings as an opportunity to reward people for their good work or strong efforts, but also be willing to use some of the points we are given to adjust for prior unfairness. If I see that a well-written essay is way down in the rankings, I may give that person an extra point or two - beyond what they have earned from quality writing alone. This treats the rating as a Complex number, a strict measure of quality with a push added.

Food for thought!

Regards,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 13:28 GMT
Of course, there is a robust solution..

Allow free choice for all the middle range scores, but require a comment or reason be given whenever a rating below 3 or above 7 is given. If, in order to give an essay a 10, one needed to state something you like about it, and if, in order to give out a 1, people needed to state reasons why they dislike it; this would eliminate ALL usage of ratings as pure Imaginary quantities. That is; punitive voting and unearned rewards given to friends could be ELIMINATED if it was required that reasons be given for all low-ball and high-ball votes.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Donald G Palmer replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 03:26 GMT
I have seen a few comments provided that state how good the essay is, yet the score gets dropped a couple points afterwards.

So I think the comment that people will find a way to 'game the system' is accurate.

It would be great if the best 5-10 essays are actually chosen, although the process involved does not appear to guarantee this (if there are 30 or more FQXi member entries, then no non-member entries can become Finalists).

Being an amateur non-member, I see the odds as being stacked against me to even be a Finalist, especially with the 1-bombing going on.

So I have realized this contest is about writing an essay as a means of crystallizing my thoughts (at a given time), with only a small hope that my ideas will trigger an interesting response from the few people who take the time to really read my essay.

It is also interesting to read other essays (which can trigger interesting thoughts) and, especially interesting, to read author responses to comments on their essay. The dialogue with comments can be quite enlightening, although very time-consuming for the author.

Money can be a great motivator, of willingness to participate as well as to subvert the system.

Maybe a little AI needs to be introduced to compare the rankings with the comments (or lack therof).

Don

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 21, 2017 @ 17:19 GMT
Is it now time to apply the 'suicide bombs' to the 1 bombers discussed last year; Any 1 or 2 without a post (evidence of reading) gets taken off and applied to the bombers own score.

Just an additional rule stating this would be enough to stop it in the first place. I suggest that's done for next year, though just applying it in the next few weeks should be a bigger punishment for cheating!

Mines now had 10 or 11 '1 bombs' so each time it's moves up a few places it moves back down more!(Gary please do 10 bomb mine if you haven't!) Many also judge by how much they agree, which is NOT a criteria! I haven't given any score below 4 (even if I've considered a hypothesis to be wholly wrong).

I'd also agree with Jonathan's alternative for next year. A simple additional rule would remove the problem, so as well as the cheats it seems also somewhat a result of administrative shortcoming!

BRENDAN!! - Response please - any reason why not?

Peter

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 16:54 GMT
On the topic of 1 votes, there are essays that deserve a score of one. There are some essays that are for lack of better words simply abysmal. Given that this should be about I have given out a number of them. Also generally I do not comment why I gave a one, for I am opening myself up for a similar response. As I see it an essay that really deserves a one should get it.

On the other hand I have seen a few days where in looking at essays a whole lot of them have gotten a one. From the top scoring essays on down they have lost total score points or vote average. This happens of course with the introduction of a bunch of new essays, and clearly somebody has carpet bombed with 1-votes. This is not ethical of course, but I have no idea what to do about that. This is one reason why the top essay now, as with past contests, has a score average of around 6.5.

LC

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Neil Bates replied on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 17:04 GMT
Lawrence,

Anonymous commenting could be set up for the specific purpose of explaining a low vote. In any case, I still think that rationing of lower votes is the only way to keep things from being a swamp.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 18:51 GMT
The choice for anonymous commenting is a good idea. A person scoring less than 3 might be required to give a reason for their vote, but if they can do it anonymously that prevents "revenge voting."

LC

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 17:21 GMT
Dear Brendan,

The contest guidelines state:

"Voting collusion or bartering, mass down-voting, and other such forms of 'voter fraud' will not be tolerated, and participants in such will have (all) their votes discarded or in extreme cases their essays disqualified. Entrants should alert FQXi with information if they witness such activities."

My impression is that large-scale down voting is being carried out by some participants, and as suggested in the guidelines, I wish to bring this to your attention. The last four ratings that I have received are 1, 1, 1, 2. This seems deliberate and motivated; there are no comments/posts on my essay to indicate why such low ratings should have been given.

In the posts above, many other participants have reported similar down-voting of their essays. I feel this calls for an investigation and disciplinary action.

My thanks and regards,

Tejinder

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 18:40 GMT
I'm with you Tejinder..

At this point I'm ranked equal with you, down in the 20s or 5.1, when only a week ago both our essays were in the top 10 and I had a score of 6.1. I suspect that at least some of the carpet bombers are fictitious entrants, or folks who entered on a pretense to serve as a proxy for another contestant. As I said above; I've tracked papers by fictitious people on arXiv, after being alerted to a few on viXra, so I have a hard time believing that sort of thing can't happen here.

Arguably; some action should be taken by FQXi.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 18:49 GMT
This goes with other threads along these lines. As with Tejinder I went through a run of low votes. I also noticed that the whole of the upper echelon essays, those with scores of 5 or more, were all down voted on the same day. They all dropped in a single day. This appears to reflect a sort of mass carpet bombing by a single person. This also happened about 3 times as well. Is suspect since there are no more new entries these things may become less prevalent.

LC

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Philip Gibbs replied on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 07:55 GMT
Everybody in the top 50 at least has been repeatedly 1-bombed. It affects everyone the same so the scores still reflect a reasonable ranking. The best defense is for as many people as possible to use their scoring fairly on merit so that the tactical low scoring is washed out. Don't try to compensate where you see low scoring. That only makes the situation worse. Post a comment on your essay encouraging others to use their votes and to vote fairly. Scoring so far is slow compared to other contests.

I think the scoring system as it is now is as good as it can be in practice. I like the openness even if it makes tactical voting more likely. The early contests were less open and that was much worse. There are always a few good essays that don't make the cut but the judges now have discretion to include up to ten extras, which is good.

This contest is a unique opportunity for people of all backgrounds to exchange ideas. The open mutual scoring encourages positive and polite commenting. I participate because the feedback helps me improve my ideas. It does not bother me at all when I do not make the final cut. Let's enjoy the contest for what it is and let the sponsors know that what they are doing is appreciated.

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white smith wrote on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 12:11 GMT
I have gone through your article and came to know about the theme of your essay competition. I had participated in many similar competitions before and this topic seems to be very different and interesting. Thanks for share this.rent an ipad monthly

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 24, 2017 @ 17:15 GMT
To allay any fears..

No animals were harmed, to produce my essay on Putting the Elephants to Work. It's actually about the 'elephants in the room' with quantum gravity researchers, and how non-associative Maths may hold the key to explaining evolutive phenomena, including the emergence of consciousness.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 09:40 GMT
Dear Jonathan, dear all other good people,

I wholehartedly share your intention to protect Elephants. Nonetheless I may understand the few people who feel their agriculture endangered by them. I even consider it a reasonable while not acceptable argument that wolves may protect agriculture against deers.

However, I would like to reveal the argument that wolves deserve protection and have the right to spread everywhere which implies killing deers, sheeps, cows, and so on as emotional on a more or less medieval and ultimately selfish ethical basis.

Aren't we altogether responsible to evolve more reasonable?

With rationality and sympathy,

Eckard Blumschein

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Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 13:39 GMT
Eckard's "good" is not my good; his understanding is not my understanding; his "reasonable" is not my reasonable; his "acceptable" is not my acceptable; his "selfish" is not my selfish; his "ethical" is not my ethical; his "responsible" is not my responsible.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 14:57 GMT
Yes Georgina,

Although we had perhaps a similar Christian education, and I might behave even a bit "greener" than you, I cannot hide that I don't share Wudu's opinion that the progress of science must be stopped.

You certainly know the service offered by Tetzel to ultimately selfish people.

Why shouldn't we live up to our responsibility and condemn those who are urging women to destroy environment by fulfilling their duty and give birth to more children than do the enemies or non-believers? Erdogan recently demanded at least five.

Wolves are so far comparatively harmless although our Prof. Alois Krost disappeared in the US in a territory where wolves and bears live.

I am suggesting to deal with very fundamental questions including the basics of ethics from the only reasonable to all point of view.

About 20 month ago, Angela Merkel had declared she wouldn't like to live in a country that behaves as it necessarily does now. I hope, we will also be open for unemotional exchange.

Eckard

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 26, 2017 @ 00:29 GMT
One of the seemingly few things that Eckard and I seem to agree on is that numbers are not like little rocks or pebbles.

I assume that there is maximal simplicity at the foundations of reality, which cuts out the “reality is a computer simulation” madmen, and the every-possibility-multiverse-algorithm madmen, and every-possible-number-and-equation-Platonic realm madmen. “Mad”...

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 26, 2017 @ 02:24 GMT
Lorraine,

This is a better argument IMHO than what you present in your essay. In fact, my Equation 2 does what you describe to convert between moving reference frames.

One of the first things that engineers learn is how to carry units through calculations. This eventually results in the use of dimensionless groups that are used to extend empirical data.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 04:51 GMT
Lorraine,

Thank you for addressing basics of mathematics. You refer to previous essays of mine where I criticized sets of pebbles. Meanwhile, I am accordingly distinguishing between Galileo's logical notion infinity and Leibniz' and Bernoulli's mathematical one.

Eckard

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Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 22:27 GMT
Eckard,

Re infinity:

I contend that "the number infinity" can be constructed, i.e. it could potentially exist in reality as a relationship between categories which we could represent mathematically, i.e. it can exist as a conscious concept; but it can’t exist as a pebble, a single finished product.

Similarly, "the number that is the square root of minus one" can be constructed, i.e. it could potentially exist in reality as a relationship between categories which we could represent mathematically, i.e. it can exist as a conscious concept; but it can’t exist as a pebble, a single finished product.

I’m arguing for numbers-as-relationships. This is the way to understand the numbers that we use to represent physical reality. Relationships have logical properties and logical consequences (which can also be represented mathematically), where logic always derives from relationship; relationship can never derive from capital "l" Platonic "Logic" - there is no such thing as "Logic" .

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 23:24 GMT
Eckard,

Re ethics:

My impression is that the only thing that ever shook human complacency, self-centredness and hubris is various forms of disaster: personal, financial, ecological, war etc. I’m probably talking about you and me, not just everyone else. Mere words, logic, or ethics rarely ever pricked the bubble of complacency, self-centredness and human hubris.

To ever look beyond one’s own little life, logic, ethics, knowledge and experience is required to evaluate the situation, and to find solutions for problems identified. Then various vested interests in the status quo battle to stop solutions being implemented. Not that the situation is really quite that simple.

Another problem is deluded over-confident illogical men (it’s mainly men): you’ll see plenty of them in this essay contest. They will try to tell you that the machines are going to take over the world, or that the universe itself is in effect a machine, or that the universe is a mathematical space, or that reality is a computer simulation. The latest manifestation is the brave new emergenteers who miraculously make consciousness and free will emerge out of complexity. These are the brave new illogical religions and the new illogical “miracles”.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 03:44 GMT
Lorraine,

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.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 07:06 GMT
Good one Gary!

Regards,

Lorraine

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 10:08 GMT
Gary Simpson,

While PHALLUS is an abreviantion, a phallus is a Willy, a symbol of male fertility. Not just the old Greeks celebrated a phallos cult. Female actors who played male roles were wearing a phallos of leather. I wonder if PHALLUS wasn't aware of this meaning.

I see it a distraction from my serious arguments.

In order to humbly just quote something related from my newspaper of 27.03.2017, I will try a quick translation:

"The word religion has - strictly speaking - a sense only within our society that relates to Christianity. Since Christianity arose, there has always been a balance between secular and religious power. They fought against each other, used each other until enlightenment led to separate playgrounds. And what about Islam? The Islam doesn't have a word for religion. Instead it has been using the word law (in Arab "din"), and the law is the Koran. Nothing may claim validity in excess of Koran, because Koran is a comprehensive system that includes all kind of social rules and power.

There is no state that could exist before "religion" as in Christianity but just one "religion" the invented the state and mergerd with it.

Given you did say today in Saudi-Arabia that the charta of human rights stands above the Koran, you had to face being sentenced because of blasphemy and expect hardest punishment. This is entirely according to the Koran and the Sharia based on it."

My hope for an adult society rests on the women and on a reasonable ethics.

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Rajiv K Singh wrote on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 03:22 GMT
Dear Brendan,

From the participation and submission points of view, the event can be easily classified as success. Even from the perspective of variety in the ideas submitted, it is a success. If these were the sole purposes of running the event, then an expression of congratulation is in order to the event administrators.

Yet, I note the following observation as a participant that...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT
I agree in large measure Rajiv..

I especially like the suggestion that a comment be required of community members, in order to rate the essays of other participants. This would encourage a level of transparency that is absent in the current version. I also stand with Phil to say that the current system works remarkably well, despite its limitations.

But this year I see predatory abuses of the rating system that have escalated to the point of being onerous. The biggest problem is that some ruthless gamers who arguably never read many of the essays they target for demotion encourage retaliatory behavior among other participants. Sometimes I see the bombers as merely trying to level the playing field, by systematically demoting the top 20 essays or whatever, but some such acts display a darker purpose.

I have seen that sometimes the bombers are clever or cunning, in waiting for a comment or rating to be made before delivering their 'payload' to cast blame on other participants who will then be targeted in a cascading fashion. This appears mainly engineered to confuse and sow discontent. I don't support this kind of discordian ethics in any setting, but it is especially out of place here in an academic contest - where scholarly refinement should be the ideal.

On the other hand; I also have observed that there is a systematic pattern with some waves of demotions, where it appears to reflect the individual's choice of which is the correct answer to the essay question - which is partly germane to the intent of the contest organizers - and to the place of origin of the participants - which violates the principles thereof. And I still imagine there are a few bogus essays posted only to give another participant a proxy vote.

So I certainly agree that the bad actors sour the experience for well-meaning people whose work deserves attention.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Rajiv K Singh replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 19:26 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

I found your comment rather enlightening and to some extent humorous, since I could not have guessed so many tricks were possible. But I know, I had been fooled too, by this 'timely execution' coinciding with a comment by someone else. I suppose, finding nifty ways to trick also must have its own fun, though destructive !

In the days of 'data analytics', it is rather easy to catch many such tricks. But it depends on whether Brendan has such tools to counter tricks.

Rajiv

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 04:24 GMT
To Brendan and all the organizers at FQXi,

Like many other essays, my essay gets good ratings once in the while, but everytime it breaches the top 40, it gets downvoted (with 1's or 2's) within hours (just enough to send it back to the middle of the pack) without any post being left on my thread. It is obviously a purely strategic move by unscrupulous contest participants.

I have a suggestion (I don't know if anyone ever thought of something like it) to improve the rating system for the FQXi contests. What if every voter had a pool of, let's say, 40 "thumbs up" or "likes" to distribute among all the essays, and nothing else --- no way to "downvote" any essay. When you read an essay that you JUST KNOW FOR SURE should be in the top 40, you give it a "thumbs up". Near the end, if you have any "thumbs up" left to distribute, you check the essays you read that are left, and you distribute the "thumbs up" that you deem are deserved, but you do not have to distribute all 40. (You cannot distribute more than one "thumbs up" to a given essay.)

A possible refinement to this system would be to be able to "characterize" the "thumbs up" that you give --- "Right on topic!", "Fascinating", "Well argued!", etc... without these characterizations having any importance to the tally --- they would all count as "thumbs up". Another possible refinement would be the possibility to give 2 "thumbs up" to the essays you find absolutely outstanding.

The essays that get the most "thumbs up", as well as any others that the jury deems interesting, would then make the final cut.

Any opinions on such a system?

Marc Séguin

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 05:12 GMT
This idea has some merit Marc..

But since using social media is anathema to me, I find the terminology a bit foreign to the setting intended. In fact; I think it may be true that the simplistic mentality of 'likes' and 'dislikes' is what spawned this problem in the first place. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, all foster an environment where people are scrambling for as many likes as they can garner - deserved or otherwise.

I know there are people who feel they have no chance of winning, so have resorted to abuses of the rating system. And some like Rajiv have become afraid that their good work will not even get noticed enough to move to the top by ratings of people who like them. Have you deliberately sought out low-rated essays you thought might be interesting? I have, and I found a few gems.

In all likelihood; if you were given only 40 likes, you would first read essays by folks you know, colleagues you respect, and so on. My perspective has changed, because I've always had online friends here at FQXi, but over time I've gotten to know more and more professional scientists, including several of those in essay contest. But presenting at conferences is a lot of work and expense for an amateur to undertake - just to get their work seen - so they try to game FQXi instead.

It is a good try, but I can see there are a few flaws or limitations to this idea. I think someone in a thread above did suggest something similar, and I don't know what the response was, but I am responding here and now.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Donald G Palmer replied on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 20:16 GMT
Another thought on possible ways to improve the ratings.

What if a community member must rate essays according to an order rather than a rating. This would make simple calculations of one essay's rating a bit more complex, since it would need to consider the placement of each essay in many ordered lists and the possibility of the lists changing over the course of the review period.

I think it would remove the current abuses.

Don

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 11:41 GMT
Hello everyone,

As I am a high school student and first to participate in contest, most of the participants are ignoring my essay, maybe they think that I am a kid. I just want everyone to look at my essay and give me some suggestions so that I can do some progress and contribution in physics in my future. It does not matter to me if the rating is good or bad, I just want folks to review my essay because I need a proper guidance. Hope you will take this positively:)

My essay:Our Numerical Universe by Ajay Pokhrel

Best Regards

Ajay

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 14:12 GMT
Ajay,

If you think that your essay is being ignored, it is not because you are a kid. Many contestants ignore almost everyone. In my first contest, I received maybe half a dozen comments.

Have you read and commented on other peoples' essays? I read, commented, and scored your essay and invited you to do the same with mine. Thus far, you have not ... no big deal. My observation is that only 30% or so of people whose essays I read and comment upon read and comment upon mine.

There is an old saying ... on the internet, no one knows you're a dog. Maybe you are a young student. Maybe you are a seasoned contestant posing as a young student to get a second code to vote. Down voting and one-bombing is a significant issue in the contest.

So, if you want more activity on your forum, I suggest that you read and comment upon other peoples' essays.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Ajay Pokhrel replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 16:50 GMT
Hello Gary,

Since, I have my exam times very soon I am busy for preparing on that because I have to maintain my scores as well. But I have read some of the essays and commented as well. Thanks for suggestion.

Regards

Ajay

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 16:34 GMT
brendan i have not received a response from you despite contacting you multiple times so am forced reluctantly to escalate this further, both with the foundation as well as with the other contestants.

if you recall you kindly informed me that my essay was over-limit on both pages (10) and number of keystrokes (50,000) after i misunderstood that it was 25,000 keystrokes not 25,000 words. i...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 18:21 GMT
Oh gee whiz...

I wish it was as simple as you desire, so that anything which fits on 10 pages will fly, but I think there are limits for a reason. I also wish I could just say "Use the force Luke!" to make this problem go away, since what you wrote in the longer version looks like it is worth reading, though a bit wordy. However; it is both hard work and a necessary discipline for everyone participating, to stay within a defined limit, because it helps keep things manageable for people to read large numbers of essays. If you want some insight; the criteria for submissions by professional scientists for journal publications or proceedings volumes are very strict.

Imagine having to write an essay where you are allowed 125 words for the abstract, and only 1500 words for the body of the essay. Those are the requirements for the Gravity Research Foundation's contest this year, but somehow I managed through diligently paring down my ideas to the essentials, to have an essay accepted there as well. Since they are all reviewed by experts behind the scenes; I can understand why they need to be especially brief. But I can also understand why you would want more of your words to be seen, in order to better explain what you are talking about, and that this contest is different.

Since the viXra paper has 38780 characters (excluding spaces) in the body of the text; I think Brendan did the right thing to kick it back to you. I don't think it was a matter of file size or compressed file formatting. I am sorry that it caused you distress, and blunted your participation. I have not seen many excessive-length essays myself, and I remind you that end notes are allowed, which can boost the total count without putting the essay body over the limit. Still; I want you to know somebody heard you, though I think the right advice is to persevere despite the limits or unfairness.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 17:33 GMT
dear george,

i've been thinking how to respond to why i feel that whilst your essay is technically correct and extremely well-written, i believe it to be based on a fundamentally-flawed premise. i was wondering how to communicate this in an effective way to both you and the readers, and i believe i may have come up with a way. in the first paragraph you say:

"The key difference...

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Apr. 8, 2017 @ 23:13 GMT
Re some comments made earlier on this thread, complaining about many ratings of 1 and about other strategies to use the rating system for other purposes than to evaluate the essays. I'll suggest a simple way to avoid them in the future contests - a sort of open review which forces us to give honest feedback.

The simplest way to avoid this, already proposed in one form or another, is to automatically accept ratings only accompanied by comments/reviews. But the association between rating and review will be visible only for a short time, since the scores are not dated individually, so this alone I think has no effect.

I think that it would be even better (1) to accept ratings only with reviews, and (2) to highlight the reviews accompanying the ratings, and to display the associated rating in the title of the review. This will make more transparent the justifications for a score, and the honesty and level of understanding of the one giving it. Then add the possibility to up/down vote the review itself, so that you can have a feedback on the comments+scores you give. Maybe award the best reviews, based on the feedback they receive. Or maybe use the scores of the reviews when calculating the final score of each essay somehow, but this seems too complicated.

We can start from this or another proposal, collaborate to put it in a better, simple and clear form, post the final proposal as a comment addressed to FQXi, and then each of us who is interested may reply to the comment with "I agree" or "I disagree".

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Apr. 9, 2017 @ 02:26 GMT
All,

Do you want to know how to do well in this competition ... as imperfect as it may be? Interact with other contestants. I will bet a dollar that Dr. Klingman read and commented upon 75% of the essays or more. And his comments are usually pretty insightful ... meaning that he actually reads and understands what the author has written. All of the entries that are in the top 40 with one exception have 25 or so votes or more ... basically, you must have enough "contest energy" to overcome the drag of the one-bombers. Speaking for myself, I had 38 votes and almost 40% of those were simply down votes without comment. In my mind, I would be justified in one-bombing the entire community. But, I didn't. I have little pity for anyone who did not actively engage the other contestants.

So yes, there are ways to improve the voting. Yes, some people are petty little PoS's. And ... this can still be overcome.

Ask yourself this, would you want the winner to be someone who got only one vote - a ten - at the closing bell but no other votes?

Think very carefully about change. I have made suggestions in other posts.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 9, 2017 @ 06:39 GMT
Dear Cristinel,

your idea is very good in my opinion. But rating the reviews would re-invent the same problem of down-voting, i think. Therefore i would propose a more sophisticated strategy for rating the reviews (i like the idea of rating the reviews): only the judges should be allowed to rate the reviews. This would involve the judge's evaluation in an anonymous way right from the start...

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 00:28 GMT
@Gary: The point of my comment was to improve the way this platform is used. I am happy with my final position, and with the comments, both positive and containing constructive criticism. But seeing that after the beginning of the contest many comments on this thread were about abusing the rating system, I think it is a real problem, so I proposed a solution. Yours is a good suggestion for those who want to know how to better promote their work. Maybe associating the ratings with reviews will also create some tensions, but I think most participants will prefer transparency to strategical rating under anonymity, and will be happy to receive both praise and constructive criticism. You said "Ask yourself this, would you want the winner to be someone who got only one vote - a ten - at the closing bell but no other votes?" And I don't see how this suggestion will lead to this, and how unjustified ratings make the final score more significant.

@Stefan: you said "rating the reviews would re-invent the same problem of down-voting". I hope my (1) and (2) would solve the problem for rating the essays. Adding ratings for reviews is an extra step meant to allow feedback for the reviews as well. Maybe it would reinvent the problem for rating the reviews, but not for rating the essays, an we can still go one step further and ask those second-order ratings to come with a comment. Ideally, "only the judges should be allowed to rate the reviews", but judges have already so many essays to read and rate (maybe this is why we have a community rating), so asking them to also do this for comments is unfeasible. But at least we have some starting ideas, if one really wants to improve this already excellent platform.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 00:11 GMT
Question to All,

Of all the essays posted during the contest, can anyone estimate the fraction or percentage thereof that followed the scientific method?

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 01:12 GMT
Gary,

Ideas about the nature of reality do not necessarily logically flow from “the scientific method”.

This essay contest is for the “Foundational Questions” Institute. Physicists Alexey Burov and George Ellis believe that a Platonic realm explains the otherwise unexplainable foundations of reality, but the Platonic realm idea does not necessarily logically flow from “the scientific method”. Similarly, physicist Cristinel Stoica believes that a multiverse explains difficult-to-explain aspects of reality, but if a multiverse was a necessary consequence of “the scientific method”, then there would be no debate about multiverses.

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 03:27 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Thank you for mentioning my essay, and let me explain a bit its spirit, which is not reflected in your comment. My essay tries to discuss more possible ways to connect the dots given by science*, and to propose that there is a scientific way to refute some of these ways (the tablet of the metalaw), but not which should be accepted. Multiverse, many-worlds, and MUH are only some possible ways to connect some of these dots. But my position is and was that a single mathematical structure yet to be found (the tablet of the law) is enough to describe the objective reality (but probably not the subjective experience). In particular, I advocate that in QM a single world is enough [1, 2]. In my essay I discuss "all mathematical structures" mostly as a pool of possible ways to connect the dots, which will is reduced continuously by experimental results and metatheorems, hopefully until an essentially unique description remains. Also I discuss a form of MUH as a metaphysical hypothesis that may provide a possible answer to the metaphysical question "why is there something rather than nothing". However, I still think we have the problem of selecting that special mathematical structure which describes the laws of our universe. I agree that the MV, MW, and MUH are not 'a necessary consequence of "the scientific method"' at all, and I wrote about this in my previous essay, and in my it from bit essay.

Best regards,

Cristi

__________________________

* Since they are not the dots but ways to connect them, they are speculative hypotheses and don't follow from the scientific method.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 03:41 GMT
I agree with Lorraine Gary..

We were not asked to write something like a research paper for a Physics journal, but instead more like an article in Scientific American that talks about the latest research or the aspirations of researchers in a particular field. So if an author wants to incorporate the scientific method, that's fine, but it is equally valid to write a compelling story, or make an emotional plea to acknowledge the relevant Science, which still satisfies the requirements we were given.

So no. It doesn't have to be a Physics paper, per se, nor does it have to talk about things that can be verified or falsified using the scientific method. Of course; clear logical arguments are important, and if an author takes a stand that does not make sense scientifically, we should know something is bogus. However; what Lorraine say is accurate. With so many speculative answers possible for a question like the one that was posed, it is rather silly to insist that an author follows the scientific method start to finish.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 03:08 GMT
A question to all non-members..

Does the auto-induction rule encourage cheating? I understand that the rule was made to encourage participation among FQXi members by giving them a measure of certainty that they could get into the finals, but it has the opposite effect on everyone else. I am one of those left wondering if I made it, despite the fact my essay was ranked in 20th place - because if all the FQXi members below the 30th position were auto-inducted, the lowest-rated essay to qualify would be Phil Gibbs' entry. And unless an announcement is made, the uncertainty will make my stomach churn (of that I can be certain).

Does FQXi think that the rest of us deserve to know where we stand? The auto-induction removes the certainty that one can earn a place in the finals by writing quality and participation alone, unless one is a member. This is further eroded by the provision that judges may pick 10 more from the lower ranked essays, for reasons known only to them. Experience shows that most of those additional 10 will be professional scientists or science writers who are known to the judges beforehand. It is less evident that those choices were made on the basis of interesting and well-written articles alone.

For what it's worth; I could deal with knowing I am not a finalist more easily than I can with being on the edge - wondering whether I made it - even though I was rated superior to most of the FQXi members in the contest. Again I ask; is that fair? But more pointedly, I ask; do other entrants who are not FQXi members feel that they were cheated out of the opportunity they might otherwise earn, to get into the finals, by auto-induction of members? And if the non-members feel that their opportunity was stolen away, is it reasonable for them to want to steal it back? Could this account for the fact there have been so many 'strategic' votes, including multiple waves of 1-bombs, in this contest?

Regards,

Jonathan

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 05:25 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

i think the auto-induction rule is problematic, because despite being an expert on some field and a member, there are many logical points to consider.

For example the well known metaphysical question "why is there something rather than nothing" could be already answered two thousand years ago. Because 'nothing' cannot exist, it is an impossibility. It has at least one distinct feature, the *potential* to produce something, so cannot be anymore considered as nothing in the traditional sense. One can only argue for something coming out of shere nothing by assuming logics to be totally irrelevant for answering the question. But then we arrive at an answer which is supported by proverbial *nothing* and gives no reliable, scientific answer.

Maybe the auto-induction rule does encourage some cheating, but i think the most part of cheating is due to improper logics combined with fixations on what one has concluded without questioning one's assumptions and then reacting respectively by voting down others. And there are surely many cases where participants do a mass down-vote due to strategical reasons, because all is pretty anonymous here.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 14:28 GMT
Thank you Stefan..

I agree that the auto-induction is not the main problem, because the willingness to cheat is a character issue for the individual, and rules are put in place to help keep things fair. But on balance; it appears that the incidence of strategic voting is far worse than in past years - so there has to be a root cause of this. It could still be true that auto-induction is one such cause.

I agree that cheating comes mainly from improper logics, a fixation on one correct answer (regardless of whether the alternative is given fair consideration), and a reactive response to being displaced. Some of the cheats have been particularly clever this time out, to lie in wait and then pounce once somebody else comments. This creates the appearance that the last author to leave a comment is the culprit - which is often erroneous.

As far as the 'something from nothing' question; I heartily agree that the potential for something to happen invites material form, or is tantamount to existence. It is as though 'empty' spacetime is pregnant with possibilities - so great is its fecundity. But even I was surprised by Arved Huebler's exposition of a mathematical proof from the HoTT program, asserting that is must be true by mathematical induction. I am a constructivist so I insist something must be constructable in order to exist. I think it's pretty wild that 'something from nothing' fits the profile, but I am sure it will be debated for a long time.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 16:19 GMT
Thanks Jonathan. Yes,

"Some of the cheats have been particularly clever this time out, to lie in wait and then pounce once somebody else comments. This creates the appearance that the last author to leave a comment is the culprit - which is often erroneous."

This is nothing to be proud of, but i fear these participants are nonetheless proud of such behaviour. It all simply reflects the state of their minds, furhtermore maybe the state of our 'civilization'.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 03:24 GMT

It would be greatly appreciated if there was some announcement of who made the cut as a finalist. I am at the point of maximum uncertainty, because my essay would be just below the cut line - if all the FQXi members were auto-inducted - but would be guaranteed to be in the finals if even ONE of the member entries was excluded. That is as close as I can get to an answer by figuring, and a careful reading of the rules only makes me more uncertain. It looks like some members, like Garrett Lisi, did not participate much. But I imagine that FQXi will only require a show of good faith by its members, so I will be excluded - along with every non-member below 20th place. If that is so; I would like to be informed.

We all deserve to know where we stand. Can you provide some clarity? And no! Please (!!!) don't respond with "under the new rules, anyone might get in."

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jeffrey Michael Schmitz replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 04:17 GMT
Jonathan,

I know I did not make it.

I also know that the essays I thought would win in past contests never win. I am now watching from the sidelines.

Hope you do well,

Jeff

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 07:47 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

Just wanted to check what exactly you meant by your remark

"It looks like some members, like Garrett Lisi, did not participate much."

If any of the 11 FQXi members whose rating is below 5.5, did not leave a comment on at least five essays, then to my understanding, your essay qualifies for the finals. [This of course is a sufficient but not necessary condition for your essay to qualify].

We will certainly hear from Brendan in the coming days; till then we need to hang in there :-)

Best wishes,

Tejinder

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 13:54 GMT
Thank you Tejinder and also Jeff,

Your thoughtful response is appreciated. It may not matter in the long run, but it does make me anxious not knowing whether I cleared the bar. I certainly will hang in there, because I believe strongly in what FQXi is trying to do. No system is perfect, and I am not worried so much about the fate of my own work. I have had exciting developments in my research the last few months, and the results will speak for themselves once I publish. But high standing in FQXi contests, or a winning essay in the finals, certainly boosts my career opportunities. It has already resulted in a few invitations that would not happen otherwise.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Apr. 11, 2017 @ 20:12 GMT
Not participating this year. FQXI asks very good questions with definite metaphysical ramifications, but they don`t accept metaphysical answers.

In short, they don`t have a clue what FUNDAMENTAL really means.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 12, 2017 @ 04:51 GMT
I'm inclined to agree Marcel-Marie..

Indeed this year's and other essay questions seem to invite a radically metaphysical treatment, rather than a strictly scientific answer. And several of the authors of note have addressed this in varying degrees. But I do find from past experience that FQXi only puts in the winner's circle authors who are not metaphysical in their treatment of the subject matter, perhaps unless they are FQXi members. I took a more standard line "perhaps Math isn't aimless after all" in my paper about 'Elephants.'

I see Ed Klingman on top of the final rankings, and I note that he at least tries to deal with aspects of the topic that border on the metaphysical squarely and honestly. I think he does a good job, for the most part, to give a rounded picture. But I think it's unlikely we will see his excellent essay winning a prize in the end. I touch on metaphysics very lightly in my essay, being careful not to dwell on those issues, so my 20th rank essay is probably more likely to win a prize - if it got into the finals at all.

So I guess you are largely correct.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 01:04 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks for your efforts to analyze the future, i.e., what the FQXi judges will do. You conclude they'll overlook me because I deal with "metaphysical" topics. If mind is metaphysical, perhaps. In my theory the mind is associated with a physical field and interacts physically according to a well-known equation, interacting with local momentum density, in a uniquely well specified way, one which, I believe, yields Lorentz transformation symmetry and obeys Yang-Mills nonlinear symmetry equations, as well as numerous other physical models, Klein-Gordon, Dirac-Kauffmann, etc.

The presentation of a new concept, and the supporting 'documentation' for that concept are not expected to fit into 9 pages. Any assumption that lack of said model documentation implies metaphysical, when contrasted with such fictional structures as Mandelbrot, is a peculiar perspective, but understandable. If you review the current topics on FQXi blogs and forums you will find 'consciousness' at the top of the heap, and I suggest that a physical theory of a momentum-density-induced consciousness field is far less 'metaphysical', than the Platonist's ideas of reality in which physical reality is postulated to derive from mathematical relations, instead of the other way around.

I think you're suggesting that you expect the judges to behold things with your eye. I hope you're wrong, but would not be surprised if you are right. I would suspect it has less to do with metaphysics than with my analysis of some of the narratives representing sacred credos for most establishment physicists.

Let's put it this way: if the purpose of my writing essays was to win prizes, I would write different essays.

Sincerely,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

PS. Speaking of metaphysics, I think Marcel Le Bel wrote the definitive essay in 2009. His treatment of logic is the best I've ever seen.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 04:12 GMT
Thanks greatly Ed,

My thoughts are below. It's interesting how a Physics interpretation of the Human experience is considered more metaphysical today, while a conjecture that the physical world is based on Mathematics is considered theoretical Physics. But we that even radically smart have people like Penrose, when they try to apply Physics theory to consciousness, are raked through the coals mercilessly for having the hubris to assert that it is anything other than the realm of Biology or even Chemistry (which can be explained through reductionist determinism).

It was especially blasphemous for Penrose to invoke Quantum Mechanics, because there is no 'plausible' (read: generally accepted) explanation for a specific mechanism to do so. And besides; even if someone like Ulla Mattfolk can talk about Orch-OR in her essay; doesn't that depend on a theory of quantum gravity that doesn't work? So the fact the 'Life-Sciences' folks want to have a lock on consciousness, but are reductionists, works against you.

And yet; there is so much not explainable in a deterministic framework that bears investigation. My own experience bears witness. I 'stopped the world' and projected above the timelines, in my very first out of body experience. Years later I tried some of what you mention in your essay. I even went to places with no names. Later still I learned that sometimes one must become a master of the mystic arts first, to use what one finds in other realities in service of one's life in this one.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 02:14 GMT
When we do not know the answer to a problem, we tend to assume that such answer is something metaphysical, transcendental, beyond what we can understand. At the measure our knowledge progress, we end up by discovering a logical, understandable answer, which “takes the magic out” of previous explanations – like Newton did. Therefore, we must be aware that this is just a first phase in the discovering process and hold our effort to find a logical and understandable answer.

Many of us think that the theme of present essay cannot be answered scientifically. Yet, my essay is strictly scientific and gives a sound contribution to it. This is still a very small part of the contribution I can give – I focused just in main points and left clues to paths that lead to more answers, in 9 pages I could not do more. Even so, many will think that I must be speculating, and will refuse to accept that I may be correct.

Anyhow, I think that essays like mine show that the theme of the contest is not the result of some kind of metaphysical wandering, as it may seem at first sight, but is the product of a genuine scientific attitude. Of course that a challenge like hist is better faced by someone that has been life long thinking about it. And of course, it is also a lifetime opportunity for someone that has done it. I enjoyed very much to have the opportunity of entering this contest.

All the best

Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 03:35 GMT
Ed you are right, and Alfredo you make sense too..

It is certainly somewhat artificial for me to assert that other people's essays are more metaphysical, when I talk about some of the odder realities of Math and refer to them as invisible elephants. Worse still; I spoke of the universe as mathematical and I did not invoke any of the 'holy names' for protection like Max Tegmark, John...

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 17:33 GMT
To complete the metaphysical circle..

One must admit to the implied choice of unknowns within a framework. Quantum Mechanics results from the assumption that matter and energy are unified, resulting in material objects governed by a wave equation. That is; we see something with blended properties, rather than absolutely distinct and independent objects and/or fields. But the price is to assume that space and time are not unified, but remain separable, so that time and its passage can be assumed as a constant or norm. With this assumption; the familiar properties of quantum-mechanical systems emerge.

Special Relativity makes the incompatible assumption that space and time are unified, so that we have a fabric of spacetime wherein the measure of time and size are somewhat flexible for objects moving relative to each other (at a sizable fraction of the speed of light). Relativity assumes the existence of separable material objects and accounts for energy separately. It simply can't deal with the notion that something can exist in a state somewhere between a purely material object and a wavelike energetic or informational propagation.

The metaphysics (of QM and Relativity) comes in because each system is fixated on holding one point constant, that the other sees as existing along a continuum. Relativity folks treat the materiality of objects as a constant, and Quantum Mechanics folks treat the passage of time as a constant, which forces the core assumption of the other framework to appear metaphysical. In my 2009 essay I tried to explain that part of the reason is that we fail to acknowledge these hidden assumptions and have not gone all the way around the circle of unifying assumptions we can make.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 17:51 GMT
To connect this up with Marcel LeBel's essay,

I should make it plain that each organizing framework, in choosing a unifying principle, also sets out its territory of impossibilities. In QM we see not being able to precisely measure certain properties simultaneously - because a more precise determination of one makes the other indistinct or unobservable. In effect, we can influence the result. But in Relativity, simultaneity itself may be a matter of perspective, as can energetic properties - because our accelerated motions can influence what we see as well.

So what is metaphysical depends on which set of principles appears more natural, in terms of physicality, as this forces certain concepts from the other framework to appear metaphysical in origin.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 19:45 GMT
"So what is metaphysical depends on which set of principles appears more natural, in terms of physicality, as this forces certain concepts from the other framework to appear metaphysical in origin."

This is a nice description of the dilemma. The question is whether this dilemma is merely due to our epistemic limits or due to some ontological truths of the underlying nature as a 'thing in...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 23:39 GMT
Thank you Stefan,

Your insights flesh out many of the points I didn't make, but deserve to be explicated. I think the more we compare notes about things like this, the sooner the deeper answers will become apparent. I'm happy the FQXi forum provides that opportunity.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 22:56 GMT
Jonathan, your description is quite accurate and very important. The “organizing framework” of each theory is usually ignored; yet, its importance is fundamental.

To fully clarify the subject, I would like to say something more about how I understand all the discovery process – I believe that having clear ideas on this matter is essential.

Physical models, describing an...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 23:36 GMT
Thank you Alfredo!

I wanted to get the ball rolling or keep the conversation going. I think Marcel's essay is more about Physics than metaphysics, but pointedly explains how without some discussion of things that appear metaphysical, or why they look that way, we would have no clear perspective on what is real. I like this forum because combining insights like this lets progress be made more swiftly.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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James A Putnam wrote on Apr. 15, 2017 @ 00:49 GMT
JP: Metaphysics: Physically Placed after physics; but, to be taught before physics.

" 4The name of "Metaphysics" was not used by Aristotle; it is generally ascribed to Andronicus of Rhodes (70) B.C.) who collected the works of Aristotle and placed this portion of the writings of the Philosopher after the books of Physics; hence the name Metaphysics ... merely means "after the...

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 17, 2017 @ 13:37 GMT
Physics / Philosophy and FQXi contests

Jonathan, Stefan and James, you are raising a very interesting theme and indeed deeply related with the contest. Let me contribute with my own ideas on the subject (which, of course, are somewhat unusual).

Philosophy is the quest for UNDERSTANDING; Philosophy is mainly an independent quest, freely prosecuted, not a career, not a way of life...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 15:05 GMT
We would all like more understanding Alfredo..

I think this is well-aimed commentary. After FFP11 in Paris, Jaime Keller pulled me aside and asked "Why at a prestigious event featuring Nobel laureates and other top scholars were there so many stupid questions?" Of course; since Jaime started in Chemistry, began asking 'why?' and was led to Physics, then asked 'why?' again and turned to higher Math for answers, he was atypical and unfortunately now is departed. But he also displayed such a depth of knowledge about the arts and artists, when we spent time together in the Musee de Orsay, that I must assume he studied the aesthetics extensively.

My answer to Jaime's question was that we educate young people in ways that are short-sighted by forcefully giving them skills that are in short supply right now, but not training them how to learn more or how to train themselves for the next generation of necessary tasks. More poignantly, the knowledge of how to think clearly and to find answers needs to be imparted early on, and memorization skills should only be stressed after learning skills are imparted with full attention to the subtleties. Of course things like the scientific method need to be taught, but even moreso the spirit of scientific inquiry, that puts a premium on impartial measures.

More later,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 15:15 GMT
I also told Jaime..

A few years earlier; I talked to RPI Chemistry professor John Carter about his teaching experiences and heard him lament that nobody wanted to hear it, when he tried to focus on and explain the fundamentals, but instead prompted him to go on to the next equation or other teachable point they could put in their notes, memorize, or put onto a crib sheet. So part of what College professors must face today is that their students have already been so thoroughly indoctrinated in shortcutting the learning process that there is little hope to go back and impart the basics which should have been given to them at an early age. Go figure.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 15:20 GMT
In case you didn't guess..

I am emphatically agreeing Alfredo, that understanding is the key the we ultimately all seek, whether we are philosophers, physicists, or whatever. We need to learn what is real, at least to the point of understanding, and then we can move up the ladder or scale to more precise knowledge.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 17, 2017 @ 14:58 GMT
Hi Mr Oliveira,

It is an interesting interpretation.I beleive strongly that both can converge the philosophy and the physics and maths also.Let's take Newton,Tesla or Einsteinn, they were fervent thinkers in God.It is probably the reason why they have pondered general équations.We can have faith and in the same time we can respect also our postulates and laws, domains....The methodology so is rational and objective when we respect simply these rationalities if I can say.

The détails are still an other thing than our generalities.It is important also like point of vue.Our maths and physics are not complete and we complete each day the detaisl and generalities of our foundamentals.The most important is to respect our postulates after all, the rest seems vain.An interpretation is an interpretation and an equation is an equation like a result is result.We cannot change our constants and it is well like that simply.A lot of people utilise well the détails and laws, that said they do not sometimes encircle what is really this infinite entropy and the generalities of this matter energy evolution??? is it due to a lack of studies in philosophy and generalities? I don't know ,but in all case it is sompetimes surprising Inside the sciences community.In theoretical physics, for me and it is my choice simply of course,I beleive strongly that it is foundamental this understanding of what is really this infinite energy,that many names God.This potential permits to encircles the evolution of this matter and energy by encodings.God is not a human interpretation, but an eternal infinity that we cannot understand.If we forget this foundamental in the general équations and constants, never we could have this universe.

A human interpretation will be always limited comparated with this entropical potential and its real meaning.

Best Regards

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Apr. 18, 2017 @ 08:34 GMT
FQXi blogs are being bombarded by "Quantum Antigravity"

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 18, 2017 @ 08:57 GMT
Hi Lorraine,

Irritating indeed.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 14:05 GMT
All,

I think that Dr. Klingman's hypothesis regarding a consciousness field has been empirically confirmed.

Here is a link that was provided on the website "The Drudge Report".

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/lsd-first-
evidence-higher-level-consciousness-hallucinogenic-drug-scie
ntists-a7690366.html

The article states that LSD increases the magnetic field within the brain.

The magnetic field aspect of the brain could open up many new avenues of research and implies an EM basis for consciousness and brain activity.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 14:42 GMT
It would be far more helpful...

The article authors did not provide a link to the journal article cited. It is always best before posting at FQXi to find the scientific articles pertaining to any research you care to mention, and there was a specific study involved. That would be this:

Increased spontaneous MEG signal diversity for psychoactive doses of ketamine, LSD and psilocybin

Also recently published on a related topic is this:

Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects

The latter article mainly extends the findings which showed that LSD is sometimes helpful to reduce anxiety, originally for life-threatening illnesses, and now for other stressful situations. I can't attest to its efficacy for that purpose. But I can state that evidence is accumulating that it does trigger a meaningful and measurable response.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 19:07 GMT
Dear Steve Dufourny and all that are concerned with the role of “God”

To be able to find the truth about anything, first we need to put aside all assumptions and wishes and be able to face the “truth” whatever it may be. Then we have to use our Intelligence to conduct the research – this means to understand the characteristics of what we want to research, to chose an appropriate...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 19, 2017 @ 21:31 GMT
Thank you Alfredo..

The most profound advice in this area was from a Rinpoche I heard talking about Mahamudra practice, which is not to be fooled by all the false gods you will meet along the way, nor assume instead that any stage on the path is your destination, because it is easier to fall in a trap that leaves you on the sidelines than to find enlightenment. The Buddhists tend to be very scientific about practices of the mind, but the extensive array of specialized terminology is daunting - even compared to many of the sciences! Among other things not to settle for, we were advised that the cessation of thought is not the goal, nor is bliss, and I should comment here.

I've done a lot of those practices, or have known how for years. I learned at some point, how to immerse myself in bliss and fill my body with it - rising to orgasmic levels in a few seconds - which feels really good, but its value is little more than masturbation. So I understand why Rinpoche advised us not to dwell there, but move forward from that attainment. There is a similar message in Paul Twitchell's book "The Tiger's Fang" where the author must visit then proceed past all of the 'lower' manifestations of God, in order to see the Divine as it is. One must know first the potency and then the falsity of each face of God you encounter - in order to proceed to the next level.

So there is much to learn.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 20, 2017 @ 08:30 GMT
Hello to both of you,

The tree of life Jonathan :) they turn so they are.The resume is the universal love after all.We are part of god,we are Inside this infinity,we are Inside the SPHERE ...:)when we take the time to contemplate the créations like animals, vegetals,minerals...we see the magical evolution and this complexification.The chief orchestra is incredible ......

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 20, 2017 @ 18:11 GMT
Dear Alfredo, Jonathan and Steve,

thanks for pointing to some personal experiences in this forum and also for not being afraid talking about the one term that seems to be prohibited by science, ‘God’.

Science does not like this term, not only because it is in conflict with the scientific method and its established lines of reasoning, but surely because of an additional reason: no...

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Apr. 21, 2017 @ 02:14 GMT
Stefan,

I don’t agree with your seeming notion that human beings are the centre and the whole point of a creation by an absent God-spirit. The logical corollary of this type of view is that white Christian men have a special place ordained by the absent God-spirit. In any case, this is hubris on steroids, besides being illogical.

One doesn’t need weird [1] and unnatural...

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Apr. 21, 2017 @ 04:42 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

I did not know that Wilber is a climate denier. If true, this shows that there are all kinds of weird strategies out there to deny parts of reality. But anyway, i do not think that the problem of evil is a non-existent problem. There may be other planets with other life, and also with free will. My lines of reasoning are independent of whether humans are the centre and the whole point of creation. From my point of view, creation is not a ‘game’, not something experimental which came into being by some idea of a curious child-like free will to explore some self-facilitated ‘paper-machee’ world. Therefore i try to understand it in an alternative manner.

I do not understand what you mean by ‘relatively-wealthy white Christian male human being’. Can you explain in detail why you introduce skin-color and steroids?

If one doesn’t need ‘weird’ and ‘unnatural’ theories to explain reality, this would mean that you can fully explain reality. Otherwise you couldn’t arrive at all at your conclusion that ‘one doesn’t need weird and unnatural theories to explain reality’. Where does this information come from, if indeed present in your consciousness? I therefore ask you to fully explain to me reality. Where does space and time come from? Where does matter come from? What is consciousness and how is it related to the functioning of matter? Is there life after death for human beings? Does a personal God exist? Is reincarnation a fact? Why is there something rather than nothing and from where does it all come from? Where does logics come from? Where does mathematics come from? Where does the shape of a circle and the number Pi come from?

Best wishes,

Stefan Weckbach

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Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 21, 2017 @ 23:55 GMT
Dear Stefan,

Usually the problem of evil is thought of as: “Why would an all-powerful God who controls every skerrick of the universe allow evil to happen”? The answer is that there cannot be an all-powerful God who controls every skerrick of the universe, and there aren’t any laws-of-nature that control every skerrick of the universe either. The answer is that the things of the...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 22, 2017 @ 00:40 GMT
Gee whiz Lorraine,

You have lumped a lot of things together, some perhaps erroneously, so let's tease a few bits away that we can discuss or analyze separately. While some Christian denominations are heavily male dominated, there has been at least some progress for women to enter the ministry and so on. However; with forces on the field like the Taliban and Boko Haram, one can hardly say that the Christian men folk are the worst of the bunch. But it could be that male-centric thought is very common in both streams place of origin. It began somewhat before Jesus (actually Yeshua) lived though; so let me explain.

The Jewish tradition of today is actually a melding of two streams of religious thought from the tribes of Israel in ancient times. One camp believed in an ineffable God that imbued life and preceded form, while the other camp saw the Divine as a kingly figure the Lord of all. Later; a group of Rabbis called the redactors wove the two tales together, to create one fabric out of two traditions, in a way that preserved the poetry of each telling of the tales of each camp. But in most Bibles; you can read in the first five books and easily identify which tradition is preserved by where you read God and Lord in the text. The scholar I heard that from is named Eliesheva.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 22, 2017 @ 01:17 GMT
Creating the good is not the same as opposing evil, Lorraine..

Fighting evil alone can never create the good, and yet good is what must be aspired to in order to displace evil from holding the ruling position. It is not as if any amount of opposition ever could eradicate evil, in part because evil is born from opposition or opponency. What is needed instead is cooperation which will over time replace the evil with something more powerful. Unfortunately; the good is not always something that exists automatically, but sentient beings are capable to create it. In some ways it is our freedom of choice that makes us god-like, but only by using our power to create the good can we actually be divine.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 22, 2017 @ 08:49 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

Even if this evil is dedicated to disappear in time space evolution,I fight it since many years and I must admit that I am tired due to an ocean of problems in belgium and bad persons.It is crazy,I have faith, that helps,I pray always and I pardon also like a christian,but this planet looses its foundamentals and the altruism is forgotten.It is sad because our global potential is incredible correlated with this universal altruism the sister of this universal love ,the brother of this infinite consciousness.The fact to fight the evil and harmonise the systems is essential and foundamental in fact.We are catalysers of God in fact.Some are aware of this truth,others no,perhaps it is time to give the responsabilities in the good hands simply.

Best

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 22, 2017 @ 17:00 GMT
Thanks Steve..

Having love even for those who do evil is good, and it helps to keep us from being turned to the dark side, but at the same time to do what is right is necessary, and sometimes that does mean we need to fight evil. It is the eternal dilemma. The story told in the Bhagavad Gita is about how Arjuna needed to reconcile these points as he was poised to lead an army into battle, knowing he had friends and relatives on both sides, but needing to fight for what is right. Few know this is part of a much larger story, the Mahabharata, which recounts how the battle came to take place and why it was fought. It was about establishing the rule of law.

However; the good vs. evil debate is not solely a matter of religion. Plato devoted a lot of attention to the value of, and how we create, the good - in The Republic (known as Plato's Republic). He considered it to be the highest ideal, but a difficult and elusive thing to have in reality. I think it is too often confused with something else however, as though doing good and creating the good was the same thing as fighting its opposite. Often it is not so clear cut, or even clearly beneficial, and one ends up tilting at windmills or battling ones own shadow, trying to fight evil.

I talked about this some with Pete Seeger, who was well-known for his opposition of the various ills of our time. But he agreed, or emphasized in large measure that we should always be trying to figure out what is better, and do that instead, rather than just trying to take other people's work down. He often said that he was not so much anti-war as pro-peace, and that he did believe in our troops overseas, which is why he kept fighting to bring them home. Some others thought this was convoluted logic, but Pete would argue that it is illogical to put our young men and women in harm's way, if we care about them.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 22, 2017 @ 20:22 GMT
You are welcome,

It is complex when we analyse the whole on earth for example.How must we fight the evil? What are the best solutions to fight the chaos and disorders in fact.By solutions, harmonisations and improvements.Now if we take the war ,of course it is anti universal and against its foundamental principles,how can we consider the war when it is necessary ? It is a big dilemm indeed.You know Jonathan the meaning of the pardon and the real universal love is for me the real secret, that said the responsabilities and acts agianst the evil are different than this meaning cited above.

The evil is a result of evolution because we are Young and that we loose this reptilian brain also and that our consciousness increases.The relevance is that this consciousness permits to decrease the chaos and evil in harmonising.

At this moment I beleive that globally on earth we are psychologically touched because we have Evolved on the bad way.So we are not reasured globally ,like if we were all in depression in fact, a global sad reality where all we are touched because the global system is not harmonious.The evil in this case increases because people suffered and that psychology is odd due to a lack of global solutions.The earth looses its foundamentals due to nunconsciousness and all we are in the same boat.The persons aware of this truth must act before the add of chaotical expoentials. It is now that it must be made .Sometimes I say me but how is it possible to have this global state ,we have the potential to solve so why it is not made ? are they conscious in the high sphères of power to where we go all ??? them also they are going to loose all if nothing is made quickly and revolutionary with a new global system with this liberation of funds and this industrialisation of our solar system.It is that or it is the end and the chaos .

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 26, 2017 @ 03:26 GMT
Dear all concerned with God, faith, climate, and other ideas being put forward...

Being a follower of Descartes method imposes a basic rule: one shall not accept any idea, any statement, even any interpretation of an experiment, without deeply questioning it.

Take the case of climate change. Is seems that many are sure that climate is changing as a consequence of CO2 increase; yet, I...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 26, 2017 @ 07:07 GMT
Hi Mr Oliveira,

I have read the book of Descartes, "discourses about the method" the objectivity like a torch of truth.It is essential in fact for our laws and postulates.That said we can have faith and be rational in the same time respecting this irreversible entropical Arrow of time and increasing mass.This infinite potential can be utilised with rationalism,, objectivity in our reaonings.

About this climate, I beleive strongly that we have Evolved quickly and that the climate is not the problem but the adaptation to this globality yes.We must harmonise this earth.We have in some years since the big industrialisation pollute,desztroy ecosystems,this and that...just because we have Evolved quickly and that we have not taken the good global solutions.

That is why we have this global state, sad and chaotic.Now we must adapt the globality in harmonisaing this ecology, the jobs, the food, the water ,the energy in liberating these funds for our space and solar system.The hour is serious.The climate is a result of our comportments and so an adaptation is foundamental.Descartes d say us that we can with a methodology, logic, rational, adapted,objective solve and optimise.The solutions are scientific methods respecting our foundamentals laws.

Best Regards

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 26, 2017 @ 10:30 GMT
after all "to be" cartesian is essential even for the methodology of improvements of our disorders and chaotical systems on earth.The global problems that we have can be solved with this cartesian solutions.

We have numbers, limits, potentials,problems,....and we have the solutions by adaptation with our environments. The fact to consider that we have this matter and energy tending to infinity permits to understand that we do not lack nor of matter nor energy.We lack a little of universalism and real universal solutions of adaptation.The method ,rational, global, universal, altruist,cartesian can be put into practice if our global consciousness takes its responsabilities simply.

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 01:55 GMT
Dear Steve

You know, many of the problems in human society are just the result of our ignorance about ourselves. We have a complex mind and, differently of what we usually think, it is the unconscious mind that rules our behavior in most of the situations that have consequences. Of course that we think that it is our conscious one that rules, but it is not so; what happens is that the...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 06:33 GMT
Hi Mr Oliveira,

I am understanding.That said I am more optimist.Human comportments evolve also like the consciousness.Freud is relevant because indeed the people are vanitious and envious.But the altruism exists also, it exists real altrists and universalists.The social comportments show us that we have a little of all on earth.And indeed the global system obliges a little even to be egoist if I can say.But we are not programmed like that, we have this universal love in us and we can Wake up this universalism if we act globally in reasuring also this planet.The humanity is not dedicated to disappear because the solutions exist.

That is why you are relevant in telling that the global interest can be a personal interest.If all wins, all is happy, so all is less envious and vanitious and less in the tats of personnal interests.

We are arrived at a moment important where we must act in fact and quickly furthermore for the well of all.

Best Regards

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 07:45 GMT
You know Mr Oliveira,

We speak about our global problems, the human nature, the evil, the unconsciousness,the egoism, this and that but we must not forget that it exists a lot of good things also.A lot of good persons with a real universal love and heart.These persons act for this universalism. Let's take the father pedro at Madagascar for example or others persons on ground.In fact during that many destroy and imply the disorders, others them act in a total altruistic universalism. During that a person destroys a plant or a flower, an other plants a flower.

Best

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 14:35 GMT
The force of humans is to work together in fact on a global project where all has interests. The humans are stronger together in fact in complementarity.The global actual system implies an odd psychology where we go in opposite sense instead to act in correlation with our intrinsic altruistiçc nature.The people when they are reasured and loved are better.The problem, actual is that this globality do not take in fact in hands the life of people all their life.There is a problem in fact globally when we consider the sphères of each beings,animals or vegetals or us the humans, we have Evolved here on earth in a bad way simply and now we must harmonise this.

What a world, what a sad sphere earth but the hope exists also Inside this universal sphere....

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 23:23 GMT
Dear Jonathan

You have presented important ideas and I want now to share with you some of my own ideas/experiences in the same subjects

Concerning learning: most persons in are only concerned with control, not with understanding - control is essential for surviving, while understanding is a time and energy consuming activity with no relevance for survival most of the time; and gave...

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Apr. 27, 2017 @ 23:35 GMT
Dear James Putnam… and all…

Is there anything that we can call “supernatural”?

James argued in a commentary that everything has to be natural by definition – if it exists, it exists in nature. And he his right. However, we can find phenomena that are totally unexpected within our current scientific models of the universe. For instance, the entanglement of particles. This is...

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James A Putnam replied on Apr. 28, 2017 @ 04:57 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

"However, we can find phenomena that are totally unexpected within our current scientific models of the universe. For instance, the entanglement of particles. This is one phenomenon that we succeeded in verifying according to scientific rules, but by now it is as unexplainable as the transmission of though, for instance."

It is unexplanable to those who accept that...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 28, 2017 @ 07:44 GMT
Hi James, Mr Oliveira,

There will be always a rational explaination.The paranormal is not objective and rational and nothing is odd in fact but explainable with our laws and postulates.If it exists a thing that we cannot explain, there will be a rational explaination.Let's take this quantum weakest force,we have unknowns but these unknowns are in the objectivity and are cartesians mathematically and physically speaking.

Regards

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 28, 2017 @ 10:37 GMT
Dear Lorraine and Stefan,

Thanks for placing your thoughts on multitude of value systems, and their mutually non-conforming diversity.

Stefan asks, "Let’s suppose you are right and consciousness ‘emerges’ from what you describe. What is the lesson of it in terms of clarifying the term ‘information’ and its objective meaning as well as its fundamental origin?"

If one is looking for any values of purpose associated with 'information', I would have to say, 'information' is value neutral, and it does not have any purpose to begin with. My definition of 'information' is 'an expression of a relation among objects', which constitutes the basis for notion of self, and self as an experiencer, to evolve. Does it say anything about the fundamental origin? I have maintained, no one knows anything about the origin. Therefore, I maintain humility in my assertions.

Origin can be referred to as a lucky event only as long as we do not know how anything could come into existence. I suppose, Stefan cannot feel lucky, for he knows how. Lorraine cannot feel lucky since nothing needs to originate, energy, physical entities, and consciousness existed for ever. I feel myself at complete loss, and entirely lucky. Minor hope is from random processes, where things may come into and out of existence, where only sustainable chance outcomes may sustain. Sustainability refers to a degree of consistency of rules, which of course, cannot be entirely consistent.

It has been a pleasure engaging you both.

Rajiv

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 28, 2017 @ 18:37 GMT
Dear Rajiv,

thanks also. I am happy that you feel lucky, because i feel it too - not because i know something with certainty, but because i know that i cannot know the fundamentals of every origin with certainty. These are my limits and i assume that we all have the same limits. We are united in this respect, because what i assume to know is not knowledge according to certainty, but...

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