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Current Essay Contest

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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


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

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

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

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

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

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

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February 22, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: The Arrow of Entropy by Gene H Barbee [refresh]
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Author Gene H Barbee wrote on Feb. 14, 2017 @ 16:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

The FQXI question is how does physics relate to direction, aims and intentions? It asks whether there a uniform theme to nature that suggests its goals? The arrow of entropy (information) is fundamental to these questions, especially in biological systems. The idea that nature originates as a series of separations is an old idea, for example, recall that Genesis contains the words “So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the ... as Genesis 1:7 ends with the phrase 'from the water above it [the expanse]'. Separation of some information from other information is a theme throughout nature. Separations determine the information level and its direction but important properties are maintained and are thought to be initial conditions.

Author Bio

Independent researcher with lifelong interest in physics and cosmology. Author of many papers archived in vixra. Recent papers on the cosmic web, dark matter and dark energy. Participant in 3 essay contests. Avid tennis player and family oriented.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 15, 2017 @ 15:53 GMT

Great essay. Nicely set out and written, and right on topic. You also identify a number of key concepts and your depth of knowledge in optics/photonics allows great insights which you follow through coherently and logically. In particular the importance of 'separations' (so important boundary states) also;

'It indicates that quantum level interactions are operational in the eye and brain.'

'There are repetitive patterns throughout nature that suggest many levels of organization'

I found yours fitted together with my own almost perfectly, agreeing entirely on the fundamentals but each also covering different areas and aspects.

One subtly difference may be in QM, that I reject it's interpretive weirdness and identify a classical way it's distributions can be explained and applied. However as we fully agree on the application I suspect there's no inconsistency. Please give me your view on that after reading it.

Very well done.


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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 22, 2017 @ 22:21 GMT

Thanks for your nice comments on my string. It's great to have someone with professional expertise in the field agree with important new rationalisations.

From your 2.7 score it looks like yours has been trolled just like mine. I think it should be prohibited to apply any low score without posting a comment. It also seems a little sad for the case of proper science vs theoretical metaphysics. I think my essays hypothesis ref poor thinking methods is being proved here! I'm applying your top score now.

Best of luck.


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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 15, 2017 @ 17:21 GMT
Dear Researcher Barbee,

Please excuse me for I do not wish to be too critical of your fine essay and I do hope that it fairs well in the competition.

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

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

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

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 16:28 GMT
Dear Researcher Barbee,

Perhaps if you better understood my predicament, you might be a little more sympathetic toward me. I contend that the Creation of the Universe by an invisible God never took place. This means that all of the Popes who have ever lived were wrong. The Catholic Church has always attempted to execute heretics and destry their writing. I am not pasting my insistence that “The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.” on my fellow essayists’ in order to try to win a monetary prize. I am doing it for self-preservation.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 02:10 GMT
Gene Barbee,

As I recall, we agree on the big picture, with perhaps a different view of specific details. You summarized so many key points of my essay in one paragraph that I feel guilty for using nine pages! You asked for my thoughts. Here goes...

You are concerned about the word consciousness; which is used in many, often conflicting, ways. For this reason I define it very...

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Author Gene H Barbee wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 15:09 GMT
I appreciate your thoughtful reply. The small difference we have could be semantics. Let me ask you about "structural change". In your view are we inside or outside the system? My view is that we are latecomers that earn our limited view through eons of evolution. We are beginning to understand nature and clues are that we are inside the system are that nature allows life and harshly promotes development. Is structural change contact with consciousness?

I have a concern about cosmology that I will take off line if you don't mind.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 19, 2017 @ 11:05 GMT

Good essay on Entropy with a touch of Genesis 1:7 …” So God made the expanse and separated the water”…. Nice

Your words….., “A network has nodes and branches. There is a probability for each branch and it is known that neural networks have feedback loops that adjust the probabilities based on expectations (similar to fuzzy logic).”…. are nice.

I got a small doubt… a single molecule may not have any neural network…

You are a cosmologist also, probably you can have a look at my essay also…

Best wishes…………….


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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on Feb. 20, 2017 @ 02:20 GMT
Hi Gene Barbee,

Thank you for the interest on my essay, thank you very much for taking time to comment on my essay. Hope you will discuss about it there itself

… Your words….Those that won the argument pointed to the uniform distribution of Helium4 and residual Deuterium, Li7, etc.

…… Reply….. That is not correct, they won’t contribute to the mass; as...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 23:06 GMT

Where light comes from relative to our position is information. Certainly dark matter and dark energy and black holes are only assumed replicas that we assume are or are composed of what we know: matter. I speculate that dark matter might be a byproduct of normal matter in my essay. Your caution about "perfect replica" is not always well-taken.

I speak of pointing the arrow of time backwards with our viewing of the cosmos.

It would seem that nature is a network with high information that implies intent, as you say.


Hope you have time to read my essay.

Jim Hoover

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James Lee Hoover replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 05:06 GMT

The contest is drawing to an end, and I plan to review those I've read and am not sure that I rated. Yours I did on 4/3. Short memory.

Hope you enjoyed the interchange of ideas as much as I did and still do.

Jim Hoover

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 22:33 GMT
Interesting essay Gene,

A lot of good points, though I'm not sure all the connecting details were filled in, so it makes the reader read between the lines a bit. Still an enjoyable read and mostly on topic. The visual mechanism / QM connection was not tight, good evidence is not proof and the connection could have been highlighted better. I like the theme of separations which is often overlooked. I'm investigating how this relates to anti-associative terms in non-associative algebras. More comparing of notes when there is time.

All the Best,


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Author Gene H Barbee wrote on Apr. 9, 2017 @ 22:53 GMT

Good to hear from you. Thanks for the comments and feedback. I struggle to get points across and it will eventually "do my work in" if I can't correct it. I read your essay. As usual, your writing is very fluid and understandable. I need someone with your writing ability to help. It also appears that you spend a lot of time reading and absorbing content. This is a great attribute and made your essay meaningful.

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nish gau wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 18:39 GMT
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