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Current Essay Contest

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fnd.

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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
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fnd.

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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January 23, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention? by Abdullah Naeem Malik [refresh]
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Author Abdullah Naeem Malik wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 17:16 GMT
Essay Abstract

The notion that mathematics is an art is extended to touch cultural influence, giving rise to an analogy between memes and mathematical axioms. This results in the argument that mathematical axioms and hence mathematical laws are susceptible to human biases as regards to their aims and intentions.

Author Bio


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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 08:49 GMT
Dear Malik,

Thank you for the nice essay on “ "

Your starting sentences, “It has recently been calculated[1] that when the universe began, random gravitational waves were created by fluctuations of the inflation field”, probably need some rethinking…. If there is no Bigbang then there will not be any gravitational waves, is that so…? Novae and Supernovae also give...

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Author Abdullah Naeem Malik replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 21:53 GMT
I don't know that much physics. I have a background in pure mathematics. Pardon my ignorance. Even if I did, my position would still have been essentially nihilistic. Think of it this way. Suppose I'm going at a party. I might have some knowledge about its time, theme, host, social norms etc and decide to wear, say black. I turn up at the party and see people wearing a spectrum of colours. Some people have a shade that's black.

These people might have had similar knowledge to what I did and ended up with this decision. Others didn't.

What was this knowledge? Science? Let's stretch a slippery slope: is this our impression of the world?

That's what I call random. The data is random and we see some pattern because we want to. Are we reinforcing our biases when we're passing degrees? When we let people think clearly? Tell them this axiom or that?

Yehuda Atai wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 08:42 GMT
Dear Malik

I read the article and it continues to raise questions... regarding the random effects of phenomena. I could not see in it an attempt to answer the contest question, but to question the question!

Though, it is a nice attempt. So you have a conatus, will, desire, intent, although the arbitrary mindless mathematical laws.

Have a great weekend

yehuda atai

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Author Abdullah Naeem Malik replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 21:59 GMT
For me, the question was intensely personal and inherently subjective. I don't think there would've been a satisfying answer and that the question was just begging for further questions in order to break it down to precisely what it is we're looking for.. whatever it is! I don't think there is something out there. Perhaps it's my mood these days that's placed me into such heresy lol

Thank you for your comment and thank you for reading my essay.

Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 01:31 GMT
Hi Abdullah,

This is one of the best essays in the contest. And it is woefully ignored. Your bio information is missing. I suspect you are very modest. Let me pull out a bit of your essay:

"To show that humans reify (make real) deep human experience, it is enough to note that each student might be inspired by a dfferent assignment and perhaps take up a different line of research to become a mathematical physicist, an industrial analyst, a helping hand for data of, say, environmentalists or simply a person who likes to scribble on and on and has a romance with symbols and their associated ideas."

At the end you say: "one must appeal to Wittgenstein: -Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.-

I suspect that many of the essayists in this contest have ever heard of Wittgenstein.

High marks to you, from a very snarky lover of the physical world.

Don Limuti

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