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March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Decoding the "Intelligence" of the Universe by Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira [refresh]
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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 17:00 GMT
Essay Abstract

Starting with a non-anthropomorphic definition of intelligence, this essay leads to the conclusion that the critical property driving the universe away from chaos is the tendency for particles to connect to each other, forming associations with new properties and as big as possible. The intrinsic relationship with processes of intelligence, both inorganic and organic, is explained. Considering a model for Earth’s past temperature that fits isotope and biological data, it is shown that such a tendency and the consequent processes of intelligence led to the formation of molecules like DNA and to a much better understanding of life evolution. Given that thermodynamics concerns only systems with non-connecting particles, a theory on systems with connecting particles seems to be of utmost importance to explain the evolution of systems, from the inorganic ones to human societies.

Author Bio

I was very young when I started my quest to understand the universe; later, as a teenager, I concluded that I had to focus on foundational questions. This is a life-long project, and requires a specific methodology. By weighty reasons, I decided to choose Engineering as my profession, instead of Physics, and to do my research autonomously.The draft papers I published in arXiv and viXra deserved several complimentary emails, mainly from mathematicians. I have also been invited to present a contribution for a book by the main Portuguese science publisher.

Download Essay PDF File

Helder Lines Velez wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:01 GMT
Indeed we are short of a theoretical framework to empower the analysis of systems of complex interconnected particles/components. ThermoDynamics is good for star's interior and kinetic collisions but is not adequate for the real complex world.

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 22:05 GMT
I think that such a theory on the properties of systems with connecting particles is one of the two theories required to model the evolution of the universe in all its aspects – life included. They represent a new frontier.

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 17:07 GMT
Dear Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

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 perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 12:36 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher

You start with a finding: all our eyes see from the outside world is surface. Ok. Then I was expecting that you developed the reasoning, go beyond what eyes can see. But I did not find that. The universe is not just what we see, or touch, or ear or taste or smell. Our senses gave us an initial information and our aim is to find what is behind that. That is what allows us to predict how systems evolve; and when we predict it correctly, we assume that to a certain extent we have approached the reality.

Therefore, here you present your starting point; now I would like to see the continuation.

Best regards

Alfredo Oliveira

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 06:27 GMT
Dear Alfredo Oliveira,

Thank you for your gracious remarks. You note that our essays complement each other, and I agree that each overlaps in ways that expand the topic. You discern 'intelligence' in the universe, and begin by clarifying the concept of intelligence. Whereas I define intelligence as consciousness plus logic, you exclude consciousness and define intelligence as "the ability...

view entire post

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 11:44 GMT
Dear Edwin Klingman

You perfectly summarized the essential points of my analysis with that clarity that seems to be a distinctive characteristic of your work.

I excluded consciousness from the quest because I concluded that trying to explain consciousness from basic matter properties is like trying to explain the entanglement of particles from those properties. Furthermore, during...

view entire post

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 15:00 GMT
Nice essay Oliveira,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent for eg.,

Therefore, there is a huge capacity in nature for generating associations of particles with new properties. And we can go beyond molecules and think that even a human society is an association of particles potentially able to continuously acquire new properties.

Thus, the universe is a giant H generator!...

view entire post

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Willy K wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 05:51 GMT
Hi Oliveira

I like the definition you have proposed for intelligence, “the ability to solve a new problem”. It is somewhat similar to the definition of Legg and Hutter (2007) which is presented in Mohapatra’s essay (Informational Unification) submitted on this forum, “Intelligence measures an agent’s ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments”.

The objective measure I have arrived at for separating intelligent systems is rather different. I have constructed a model for extrinsic intelligence (Constitutional nation state) and use that to arrive at the objective measure. The measure proposes to check whether the system has a capacity to ‘nurture’ the root elements of the system. I could be wrong on this, but I think this measure is generic enough that it just might be applicable across multiple types of intelligent systems.

It is also interesting that you speak of ‘quantification’ of intelligence. My model offers that as well if you look at the first para in the last page. However, I did not develop the concept further as the essay’s guidelines wanted only an objective measure for separating systems that were intelligent.

Warm Regards, Willy

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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 03:37 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

I like your essay for its attempt to formulate and answer some big questions. Although I do not consider your answers convincing, they are interesting, and this is already important. Below I am sharing with you some ideas which came to my mind while reading your essay.


"...just one function that we can ascribe to Intelligence: the ability to solve a new problem, i.e., one with no solution stored in the database of the mind or obtainable from a source accessible to the mind. "

It looks as a circular logic to me, since not only "mind" and "problem", but "database" already imply "intelligence".


"A Hypotheses Generation (the random paths) and a Selection procedure (the paths that do not lead out of the maze are rejected). "

This reminds me similar schemes of Poincare and Compton, see e.g.


"Is nature able to generate by itself something with new properties? The answer is yes, of course."

This I do not understand. How can you know that with certainty? If you said that you believe in that, I would understand; however, if you wanted to claim it obvious, I would disagree.


"From the above it seems that the key for the apparent intelligence of the universe is the tendency of particles to form ever larger stable associations, each of them with specific properties. "

The problem is that these long molecules are not just long, but they are specially ordered, and the order is important. They are like long meaningful texts, not just like long arbitrary sequence of letters.

Well, I think, I would rather stop here, with a hope that my remarks sound not quite unreasonable for you and at least a bit helpful. As I already said, I appreciate your efforts to truth and your feeling of mystery, so I give your essay rather high score.

All the best,

Alexey Burov.

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 12:07 GMT
Dear Alexei

Thank you very much for your comments and your vote. Your doubts are certainly the ones of others and your comments give me the possibility of clarifying important aspects. A Portuguese writer said “Do not affirm the error of a truth before changing its context. Unless it gives you joy to be stoned.” Unhappily, the short size of this essay has limited my capacity of changing...

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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 04:22 GMT
Hi Alfredo,

On my first reading of your essay, I passed it by, because I could not figure out what it was about. On my second pass ( a few weeks latter), I find it quite good. Here is what I agree with:

A purely material explanation was here presented for the appearance of molecules like DNA. However, when we consider more complex systems, namely life, we can no longer explain the illusion of a goal by simple mathematics.

Your essay is excellent, I think the abstract confused me. Question for you: Do you think "global warming" is just a minor glitch in the scheme of things? Please answer on my blog and while there take a look at my essay.

Thanks for your essay,

Don Limuti

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 19:38 GMT
Dear Don Limuti

Thanks for your comment and king words about my essay!

In this adventure for understanding the universe, there are steps we can aim to do, and others that we are still too ignorant to even try. In my essay I describe some important steps – for instance, concerning life, for the first time it is presented an explanation for the formation of molecules of the kind of the DNA with no obvious drawbacks; and also an explanation for how life evolved from the link between climate and proteins. This link is so strong that one can predict the main occurrences in life evolution. In the viXra paper that I mention, there are much more about it.

These, however, are just simple aspects of life. A cell is something of utmost complexity. I think that the amount of information required to build one of our cells is much more than the one required to build a human from the cell. And I do not even know whether life is just the result of the properties of matter – nor me, nor anyone, although some seem sure that it is not, and others that it is.

I will answer your question in my comment to your essay, as asked.

Thanks again for your kind attention to my essay.

All the best

Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira

Don Limuti replied on Mar. 26, 2017 @ 04:45 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

Thanks for your reply...much appreciated.

I was very interested in your graph showing the earth's temperature on a monotonic decline since the beginning. And there was speculation in at least one of the essays in this contest that the world will end in ice.

Since this is such a "hot" topic these days I wanted to get your thoughts on the question: Is our concern about global warming just a temporary condition, and the cooling will start again?

This was not part of the contest...just curious.


Don Limuti

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Don Limuti replied on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 00:06 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

I did get your comment on global warming! And yes please send me more info.

Also, thanks for visiting my website...and your favorable remarks.

My email can be found on my site in the about the author section. It is


Don Limuti

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 16:44 GMT

A very good essay, well written with a good proposition, logical argument, and even a few dinosaurs! (which beats my tiger!). I agree most all, indeed employ similar concepts in a different way, with different scale 'layers' of your; "ever larger stable associations, each of them with specific properties".

I also agree and think it well expressed that; " we can solve a problem if we have a generator of hypotheses able to generate the solution and a selection procedure independent of the generator of hypotheses." Which I see as equivalent to the 'feedback loops' I discuss.

I even like your title, as I find 'decoding' the noise in an information channel allows us to derive intelligence (I discussed with the IQbit in the 'It from Bit' essay) I also now identify a classic QM solution so if you do get to read mine don't try to rush through it!

One question; Do you see gravity as the fundamental force promoting the ever larger connections between entities?

If you disagree with my suggested analysis it seems we have a number of parallels. I also found nothing I disagreed with, and it was a pleasant read.

Best of luck in the contest.


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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 22:06 GMT
Dear Alfredo Oliveira,

There many fascinating threads in this contest. Another thread dealt with "the unreasonable effectiveness" of math for physics, and you made some excellent points which I quote below.

I have addressed Wigner's quote in my ref.5. The key physical fact underlying our metaphysical reasoning is that the universe behaves logically. This can be exemplified by the...

view entire post

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 22:02 GMT
Dear Edwin

I thank you your kind words. A real surprise to me!.

What you mention is fascinating. An exercise that I did when young was to answer the following question: what are the possible mechanical physical laws? That gave me important insights on why they are as they are.

I commented your essay in the respective page. Really interesting your work!

All the best!


Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 22:20 GMT
Dear All

On my essay I did not made clear what I think about consciousness; it seems that there is also some misunderstanding in relation to what I say in relation to the origin of life. I see now that it is important to clarify these aspects.

I am an empiricist; I strictly follow Descartes method. I question every piece of knowledge, every experimental result. My knowledge is...

view entire post

Edward Kneller wrote on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 17:37 GMT

Thank you for the interesting essay. You address some key topics in the broad history of the evolution of life and intelligence. The supporting data is also interesting and well presented.

One of the themes in your paper is the connectedness of particles, and you specifically state on page 3: ‘there is a huge capacity in nature for generating associations of particles with new properties.’

Therefore, you might be interested in my essay, The Cosmic Odyssey of Matter, which describes a framework for how components connect to build larger precision formations.

I would appreciate your comments should you have a few minutes to review my essay.

Regards, Ed Kneller

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 01:43 GMT
Dear Edward

I thank you for having commented my essay because otherwise I would probably not see your essay! We both scoped the same property of matter. You propose a systematization of the process of the evolution of the organization of the matter that clarifies it and helps in the analysis. I see it in a more continuous way, a permanent tendency for getting connected; and I do not exclude any force from the process, from gravity to social feelings, all forming structures with a degree of precision that is variable but if you scale the structures in correspondence with the range of action of the forces, that variability is not so great – so I think. But that is just my point of view, I am not thinking that is better than yours. Undoubtedly your approach is rich and enlightening. One of the essays that interested me the most so far.



James Lee Hoover wrote on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 17:19 GMT

An impressive arguments that covers new ground and a new approach. You assemble your reasoning like an engineer with a scientific quest, therefore the quest for what drives the universe's evolution away from chaos. In a general way I mention the human tendency toward order before entropy cuts it short in death.

I like your humility in not claiming to solve the problem but helping to lead to a solution, which we all should do in helping "to solve a new problem," thus showing intelligence w/o arrogance.

"Intelligence .. is a function of the number of new properties acquired by the system per time unit" may sound like a simple statement but is something many of us don't frame in our mind, like an engineering measurement.

The characteristics of system of interconnecting elements and the "evolvability" of systems and relationships with energy sounds like the theory I mention by Jeremy England regarding entropy.

Quite an interesting and clearly drawn essay, worthy of high marks, Alfredo.

Hope you get a chance to comment on mine.

Jim Hoover

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James Lee Hoover replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 17:44 GMT

Since it nears the end, I have been returning to essays I have read to see if I've rated them and discovered I rated yours on April 4th.Bad accounting and short memory.

Hope you have enjoyed the interchange of ideas as much as I have.

Jim Hoover

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 18:18 GMT
Dear James

Thank you for your kind appreciation of my essay, where you spot important points of it. I did not forget to see yours, but only now I can do it - still in time! I am quite curious about it. I will leave in your blog my commentary about your essay.

All the best.


Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 15:52 GMT

This was a very interesting read. Many thanks.

You begin by defining intelligence as the ability to solve a new problem. I agree. So did my college professors since they would always present new problems on the exams:-)

You also propose as a metric the rate at which new solutions can be created. This is also good. And you give this a physical meaning in the form of...

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James A Putnam wrote on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 01:11 GMT
Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira,

Thank you for reading my essay and leaving your comments. As you know the rating system is strategic in spite of the guidelines. I have read your good essay. I will come back to it after the contest ends this Friday at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. I will be posting all my ratings for essays in the last few minutes of the contest. There is an obvious over supply of one's available. Since each voter has just one vote per essay, that supply reflects a concerted effort on the part of a body of voters, not necessarily essay contributors. What will run out for them is time. I hope by waiting that my votes for others might count. Good luck to you.

James Putnam

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 15:03 GMT

Thanks for commenting on mine. I hadn't rated yours so doing so now.

very best


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Willy K wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 05:29 GMT
Hi Alfredo

I just realized that although we had interacted quite a bit, I had not rated your essay so far. Am correcting that oversight now. I rate you very highly indeed, at '9'. I think it is well deserved considering how insightful and fine your essay is.

Best, Willy

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 07:49 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

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Helder Lines Velez wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 17:49 GMT

Your essay is very interesting because it shows that we can have a Young Sun physics removing the Snowball Earth problem which is very problematic to the origin of Life.

It shows a surprise for many that the evolution of the cosmos is not condemned by the second thermodynamic law but instead it depends on the properties of the complex systems like Life and Human societies.

I'm surprised that no one noticed your statment that the space expansion can be explained by the decrease of the units of measure, i.e. the atom. It solves a big problem in cosmology: how to return to the strict rationalist viewpoints respected by all great physicists of the past.

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Author Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Apr. 9, 2017 @ 21:13 GMT
Dear Helder

Thanks for your kind words.

There are two reason for no one having mentioned my statement about the possibility of the time decrease of the atom; one is that it was not the focus of the essay or of the contest; the other is the same that has prevented everybody to consider it: mind models the external world in relation to us, i.e., assuming us as the reference, invariant. It is difficult to us to reason assuming that we (our units) are not invariant. But the truth is that the atom varies with motion, field and time; and I do not know whether it varies also with position because I have not analyzed it yet. Because our models are only relative to our units, the result is a space that expands and the concept of space time. Once we consider the dependence of units with motion, field and time, then the resulting model has invariant space and no interconnection between length and time (no "spacetime"). And also "no magic"...

But you know, in my essay I mention another thing much more important that the time decrease of the atom! Nobody noted it also; do you know what is it?



Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 8, 2017 @ 04:08 GMT
Well Alfredo,

Believe it or not, but it looks like you are #40 ... you might be in the finals. It is a little complicated though because FQXi members are automatically finalists ... but you did well for your first effort. I seem to be #32. I might also make the finals.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 17, 2017 @ 15:09 GMT
Hello Mr Oliveira,

Congratulations for your essay.I liked the evolutive point of vue.Like I rank all since the age of 17 I am 41 years old.I have classed animals I like the evolution.I don't know if you know Lamarck but I like his work about the free will and the intuition.It is different tan Darwin that I like also.In fact both are relevant but not sufficient.The paramters of mutations and adaptation of evolution are numerous.We are still at the begining.I beleive also that this Quntum gravitation also could help but we are not there still unfortunately.

The process of evolution ,these codes and informations of evolution are complex and the emergence of consciousness and intelligence are results of this complexification of mass.We can mimate an intelligence with algorythms, not a soul correlated with the ghravitation in logic.But of course we are in the philosophy there isn't it ? :)

Best from Belgium

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Helder Lines Velez wrote on Apr. 21, 2017 @ 22:17 GMT
Dear Alfredo :

It must be the Event !!!

"..caused by an event that happened several times (many times indeed, although with consequences of variable intensity) and that will very likely happen again in the future – it is a recurrent event. What event is that? "

No one asked more info about the Event, a worldwide life changer.

Best regards


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