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September 25, 2021

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Wandering Towards a Goal: Winners Announcement [refresh]

FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT
We asked the question: how do mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intentions. So how does it happen? Well, we’re not going to just tell you the answer. You’ll have to read it for yourself — in our winning essays, which we are now happy to announce!

We have an unusual outcome this time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the contest question turns out to be rather controversial, with not just the essayists but also the panelists holding quite diverging views. Despite a lot of effort and good-faith attempts to find common ground, in the end the jury was deadlocked along several dimensions. In the end they decided the fairest representation of their collective opinions would be — a tie for first (and second) place. In fact, a 3-way tie.

Sharing the top spot are the entries from Larissa Albantakis (A Tale of Two Animats), Carlo Rovelli (Meaning and Intentionality = Information + Evolution), and Jochen Szangolies (Von Neumann Minds). The panel elected to pool the prize money for the top 3 spots, a total of \$20,000, and split it evenly. Thus each of our 3 top winners will receive \$6,666.

Visit our page of winners to also see our third and fourth prize winners, and find links to each winning essay. Also awarded was a special “community choice” award for the entry from George Ellis (Wandering Towards a Goal), which was well liked by many and, thanks to George’s involvement, had high levels of community engagement and forum interaction, which is a lot of what makes these contests worthwhile.

We look forward to our next contest, which we hope to announce soon.

Thanks to our sponsors, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, for making it possible. We also thank our diligent review panel. And last of all, we give great thanks to all of our entrants — we appreciate the effort you put into writing the entries, as well as reading and discussing them. We hope you will join us again for the next one.

Gary D. Simpson wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 17:31 GMT
Congratulations to all the winners! Well done! I see that Dr. Ellis has 321 posts in his forum. That is certainly a large number and it appears to be the largest of any of the forums. That certainly merits special consideration. I would like to point out another aspect of community interaction. Dr. Ellis made postings in very few forums other than his own. Dr. Klingman made postings in many forums that would otherwise receive little attention.

Congratulations to the Winners and Best Regards to All,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 4, 2017 @ 21:20 GMT
A mystical religious belief has infected the physics community, a belief in magic and miracles. This is the belief in “emergence”, the belief that new laws, algorithms, new deterministic powers over physical matter, can naturally “emerge” from an existing deterministic system of numb, dumb particles.

For 50 years, complexity/”emergence” research has produced nothing but philosophical waffle and hopeful spin. But now physicists have caught the disease, the belief in mystery, miracles and magic, despite the fact that there can never be a theoretical model whereby new equations could naturally emerge from an existing equation-ruled deterministic system of numb, dumb particles. In fact, equations are always added to a model system, from outside the system, they never emerge from a model system.

The physicists’ new prize-winning belief in miracles sits oddly with the fact that a multitude of physicists and philosophers have recently toured the world evangelising the idea that underlying reality is a purely deterministic system of numb, dumb particles.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 22:16 GMT
I would have politely congratulated the winners, but it's truth that matters, not who wins contests.

It’s clear that in reality new rules (representable as laws/equations and algorithms) do emerge as you progress from particles to atoms, atoms to molecules, and molecules to living things. But deterministic “mindless mathematical laws” cannot themselves emerge/evolve, they cannot give rise to anything, let alone “give rise to aims and intentions”: so “mindless mathematical laws” cannot be the foundations of reality.

Instead, it is what causes/creates these rules, including initial-numeric-values-for-variables rules, that are the foundations of reality. The options are: miracles/ magic; or a “God”; but the only feasible option is that particles, atoms and molecules are not quite the numb, dumb entities that they have been assumed to be.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 6, 2017 @ 23:27 GMT
It seems that law-of-nature rules have power over reality: new rules are new powers over reality.

One way to understand new rules is as new categories of information. A new equation-rule is a new category of information (i.e. a new equation variable) expressed in terms of relationships between existing categories of information (i.e. existing equation variables).

Another type of new rule is that which assigns a new numeric value to an existing variable: i.e. a discontinuity of numeric values occurs.

New algorithm-rules (e.g. the theoretical Markov brain models) are different because algorithms “sit above” equations. The basis for algorithm-rules exists in the universe because it seems clear that law-of-nature equation-rules must exist in the following way: Law1 AND Law2 AND Law3…..

Consciousness is awareness of rules i.e. awareness of categories of information; “free will” is the creation of new rules: both consciousness and “free will” are an inherent part of a rule-based system; neither consciousness nor “free will” can “emerge” from a rule-based system; i.e. “aims and intentions” cannot naturally “emerge” from a rule-based system.

Would anyone like to dispute what I have said? I would be glad if anyone could explain why they think that what I have said above is absolute nonsense.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Sep. 25, 2017 @ 05:32 GMT
Mystical religious beliefs are completely justified. it is the scientific community that got it wrong. A universe from nothing? I have a better explanation if anyone is willing to hear it. It is the simplest explanation to explain where the universe came from. But the results that fall into your lap will be unacceptable to the scientific community.

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 20:58 GMT
As always an excellent contest.

Thank you to all those have partecipated in the perfect organization.

I, and others, look forward to the next contest.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 21:40 GMT
Congratulations to the winners. I haven't read all of the winning essays but have enjoyed the ones I have. The page of winners link is useful for accessing them easily, thanks for that. I read another this morning.

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Don Limuti wrote on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 02:35 GMT
Hi Brendan,

A most interesting contest that I enjoyed competing in. My intention was to win ....Oh well at least I think I gave some of the judges a little challenge.

1. Larissa Albantakis took first prize. You got it right!

2. Carlo Rovelli also took first prise, in spite of the fact that he did not respond to posts, and was not active in the contest. I cannot avoid the implication that he had an (unfair?) advantage because he is a notable personality in physics and friend of Max Tegmark.

3. Lorraine Ford should have been awarded a special prize for being the devil's advocate, and pointing out how physics is turning into religion. You do not believe in the multiverse, it's a sin not to! She really did add a lot of spice to the contest.

4. The judging panel deserves a lot of praise. If I were asked to be a panel member (heaven forbid) I would have screamed and run away as fast as I could. They did a very good job.

What ya got in store for the next contest?

Don Limuti

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 22:51 GMT
Thanks for the thought Don :-)

I guess I’m just trying to say that we (and other living things etc.) are not strangers/foreigners to the universe: collectively, we are reality, we are the universe. I.e. laws-of-nature rule the universe, but we (particles, atoms, molecules, living things) made the rules, and continue to make localised rules (within the context of existing rules). :-)

Carlo Rovelli and other physicists and philosophers (except the Qbists like Christopher Fuchs [1]), evangelise a view of reality whereby we are 100% victims of law-of-nature rules: not a good message to people facing tough problems e.g. climate change.

Cheers,

Lorraine

1. Notwithstanding Bohr, the Reasons for QBism, Christopher A. Fuchs, https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.03483v1 ; QBism: Quantum Theory as a Hero's Handbook, Christopher A. Fuchs & Blake C. Stacey, https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.07308

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 23:50 GMT
P.S.

Re "make the planet great again":

France plans to ban all gasoline or diesel cars to "make the planet great again" [1].

Physicists like Carlo Rovelli or Sabine Hossenfelder would like you to believe that such a plan was the inevitable outcome of deterministic laws-of-nature and/or randomness operating since the beginning of time. They would in effect tell you that people don't have the law-of-nature-lawful power to act to make a difference to reality: they say that it's only "mindless mathematical laws" and/or randomness that acts !

Lorraine :-)

1. https://www.treehugger.com/cars/m-hulot-declares-all-traffic
-france-will-be-electric-2040.html

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Heinrich Luediger wrote on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 11:10 GMT
Lorraine,

The rule or algorithm at the root of reality is problematic. First, it collides with free will, because the rule is positive (take civil law as an example). Positive law, however, is a matter of taste; max. speed on highways is 75 mph in the US and not limited in Germany. Conversely, the ownership of guns is strictly regulated in Germany, but free in the US. Second, the rule collides with what is called the infinite depth of human experience, in other words, no ‘blue screen’ – never. This is why humans can survive in never previously experienced situations and environments - in which (positive!) machine learning must (and always will) terribly fail. Third, already Wittgenstein had noticed that a rule and following that rule cannot possibly be the same thing, for otherwise that rule would not be accessible to debate. All these problems evaporate as soon as the rule is conceived of negatively, namely, as a prohibition or (in physics) as a conservation law, symmetry or invariance, with the immediate effect of becoming universally applicable. That is, what we call human rule-based behavior is not a matter of LOGIC at all, because LOGIC builds on identity, i.e. is positive and hence not universal.

The universe, I would like to think, APPEARS regular for the reason of invariances. Hence it follows: no observer, no universe!

H.H.J.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 14:38 GMT
Heinrich,

I am saying that "free will" (= "choice", = creativity) is the creation of a new law-of-nature-lawful rule, a rule that has actual power over physical reality. E.g. a rule that you could mathematically represent as the assignment of a new numeric value to an existing variable i.e. there is a quantum discontinuity of numeric value for a local fundamental-level variable representing physical reality. "Free will" is the creation of a new law-of-nature-lawful rule.

Reality is a deterministic system based on rules. It is clear that the emergence of atoms from particles; molecules from atoms; and living things from molecules requires new rules. I am saying that new rules can never naturally emerge from a deterministic rule-based system: the FQXi essayists who suggest that new rules, or anything new, can naturally emerge from a deterministic rule-based system of numb, dumb particles believe in magic and miracles.

Fact: rules have to be "added" to a system, they never ever emerge from a system. I am saying that it is things (particles, atoms, molecules and living things) that have the ability to create rules, and it is things that have created all initial-numeric-value rules, and law-of-nature rules in the universe-system. Rules did not emerge by magic, or by miracles, or due to the intervention of a "God".

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 14, 2017 @ 23:34 GMT
Physics latest absurd caper is indoctrinating babies [1] – not to believe in a God that will punish you if you are naughty – but to believe that their every little action is 100% dictated by iron-clad laws-of-nature and/or mindless randomness. Physics wants babies and little children to believe that they are always completely strait-jacketed, they are not free to navigate towards a goal, not free to find creative solutions to tough problems like climate change. Because physics says that reality is such that only mindless laws-of-nature and mindless randomness have power over reality – people themselves can never have any power over reality. This is a stupendously stupid message to indoctrinate little children with, but it just shows the lost, decadent state of physics, a physics that believes that we human beings are strangers in our own universe.

1. https://csferrie.com/2016/11/19/quantum-physics-for-babies

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 01:48 GMT
Re “wandering towards a goal” of mitigating climate change and halting further species extinction:

This is how physics envisages climate change mitigation, and the species extinction crisis, will be handled:

1. The whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness, on a universe-wide scale, will automatically handle all situations.

2. Under the influence of point 1 (above) particles have automatically self-assembled into higher-level entities that: A) have automatically acquired the consciousness that climate change and species extinction is happening; B) have automatically acquired the ability to imagine that they can act to mitigate climate change and halt further species extinction, even though its only point 1 (above) that is happening.

That’s it. That’s how physics envisages climate change mitigation, and the species extinction crisis, will be handled: automatically and spontaneously.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 21:56 GMT
In other words, physics is saying that there is nothing that human beings can do about climate change and the species extinction crisis: what will be will be; the laws-of-nature and randomness will determine what happens (though people might deceive themselves into thinking that they have the power to affect physical reality).

President Donald Trump mightn’t believe in climate change, but Trump-counterpart physics firmly believes that nothing can be done about it. They are a lovely couple.

When will the aging adolescent boys of politics and physics grow up?

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Jul. 16, 2017 @ 08:29 GMT
Congratulations to the winners. This was a challenging topic which led to a very diverse response. I learnt a lot from writing my essay, the comments from the community and from many of the other essays, including those that did not win or get rated highly.

Thank you to the organisers and sponsors for the unique opportunity for everyone to participate. I can't believe we are approaching the 10th year of these contests and I look forward to the next round.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 00:15 GMT
Physics has a dirty secret to hide that it doesn’t want the nice people of the world to know about:

Physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis, because physics doesn’t believe that human beings have any power whatsoever to affect physical reality.

Physics believes that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

When will physics and physicists grow up? When will physics and physicists confront and deal with the nature of the real world, the world where people and living things have the power to affect physical reality? (But a chair, a car, a robot or a billiard ball doesn’t have the power to affect physical reality: at most, these objects merely augment or extend human power.) This power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless lawful power is inherent to things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT
Lorraine,

Can you articulate a testable hypothesis? If so, what is it? I will interpret silence to mean "No".

You might not like the patriarchy of old, dead, white guys but that patriarchy has made it to the moon and the planets. And built some pretty cool stuff.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 01:55 GMT
Gary,

I can see that you fail to understand what I'm talking about.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 02:58 GMT
So Gary,

Another way to put it would be to say that physics has a philosophy about the nature of reality. Shock! Horror! Yes, physics has a philosophy about the nature of reality which assumes e.g.:

Mindless particles, atoms and molecules; “mindless mathematical laws” [1]; “emergence” of new rules/laws from an existing deterministic universe-system of mindless particles; human beings and other living things have no power whatsoever to affect physical reality – it is merely the action of the “laws” and “randomness”.

I’m saying that physics’ philosophy about the nature of reality doesn’t stack up.

1. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Jul. 18, 2017 @ 07:47 GMT
Objective is defeated if "Mechanics of Computer Virus" is ignored.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 19, 2017 @ 23:57 GMT
Gary,

Obviously, plenty of people are happy to believe in an emasculated version of “free will”, where what they do has no power to make any difference whatsoever to reality, e.g. the climate of the planet.

Physics and philosophy believe in this emasculated version of “free will”: they believe that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level law-of-nature rules plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people don’t have the power to make rules.

A free will that has the power to make a difference to reality is clearly logically impossible in such a scenario. That is why physics and philosophy say that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

If you are happy to believe that you are emasculated, that what you do has no power to make any difference whatsoever to reality, then go for it!

But a free will that has the power to make a difference to reality requires a change in philosophy about the nature of reality, not a change in the rules (the rules are the only bit that experiments can work with). The change in philosophy is that things (particles, atoms, molecules, and thereby, living things ) are the source of rules; things have the power to make rules.

Lorraine

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 20, 2017 @ 02:32 GMT
Lorraine,

What experiment do you propose? This is a simple question. If you have no answer then you are not performing science.

I'm not trying to be an a##. I am simply stating a fact. I have free will. I also live in a universe where objects are governed by physical law. I can kick a rock off the top of a cliff and it falls. That does not mean I will choose to jump.

So what is your experiment? BTW, JF does not have an experimental test either.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 20, 2017 @ 23:44 GMT
Gary,

20th century physics has shown that the universe is only understandable in terms of (what are called) “observers”, where observers are clearly irreducible entities, primitives of the universe-system. There can be no experiment to prove that an observer exists: it has been inferred that “an observer” must exist. Your rigid, outdated, view that everything is provable by experiment is wrong: clearly there are crucially important parts of reality that are not representable via mathematical equations – i.e. they can only be inferred.

The particle itself is not representable as a mathematical equation: it is only information about the particle, e.g. mass, that is symbolically representable in terms of a relationship (i.e. a mathematical equation).

I’m saying that “free will”/ “choice”/ creativity is the creation of a new relationship/ rule. The resultant rule can be symbolically represented as a mathematical equation, but the creativity/ cause of the rule is not itself representable as a mathematical equation: it can only be inferred.

Physics and philosophy, and you, can only ever deduce an emasculated version of free will, because of the failure to consider the cause of the rules that determine the structure of the universe-system.

Physics is unnaturally silent about climate change and the species extinction crisis because physics’ view of reality is that people have no causal power over reality whatsoever i.e. no power to make rules.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 21, 2017 @ 03:16 GMT
Lorraine,

This is the most clear and unambiguous post you have made on the subject. Many thanks. Unfortunately, as with Joe Fisher - Realist, this is also where we part company.

Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 02:05 GMT
Lorraine,

Allow me to offer one final thought. I ate a large supper today. That tends to make me sleepy. Nature was telling me to take a nap and for a few minutes I did in fact lie down to nap. Then I decided to get up, go upstairs, and practice piano.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 14:38 GMT
Dear Cristi, Georgina,

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis.

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics doesn’t believe that human beings have any power whatsoever to affect physical reality.

Let’s tell the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn that physics believes that it is only the whims and vagaries of the complex interaction of fundamental-level laws-of-nature plus fundamental-level randomness that determines what happens in the world, and that people deceive themselves if they think that they personally could have any power to affect physical reality.

When will physics and physicists confront and deal with the nature of the real world, the world where people and living things have the power to affect physical reality?

This power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless some degree of lawful power, i.e. limited ability to create one-off local rules, is already inherent in things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

Regards,

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 14:42 GMT
Cristi,

You say: “But if there is any shred of free-will within the constraints of the physical laws, we use it as much as we can”. But you have not conjectured about how such a system could work.

You are seemingly describing a system where there was “possibility”, i.e. room to move, within the limits of existing laws-of-nature, and where living things actually had the power to make these moves.

Why is it that physics will conjecture about multiverses, but not conjecture about something a little closer to the lived reality of human beings?

Regards,

Lorraine

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 17:46 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Did I ever said to you anything about climate change?

All I said to you was that from my personal experience most physicists believe in free-will, and even those who don't, they still exercise it as if they actually believe.

You were worried that everyone here believes in mindless determinism and that we can't change things, and I showed you otherwise. That's all. Then, instead of being happy that your worries were unfounded and that they believe we can change things, you moved to a completely different topic as if this was we were talking about, and you talk as if I said that "physics doesn’t believe that human beings caused climate change and the species extinction crisis, or that human beings can do anything about climate change and the species extinction crisis". How can you put in my mouth things I never said and are remote from anything I said just like this?

From what I know, there is a wide consensus among scientists that climate change is caused by humans.

How do you even know about climate change if not from scientists?

And about free-will, I don't know to explain you if and how it works, but I exercise it like anyone else. We don't have an objective proof of if and how it works, but I think this can be part of what I called in my essay "subjective science". But your idea that you can't use it without having a theory about it is like saying that before understanding biology we couldn't breath.

Scientists are doing their best to find solutions to the climate change problem using the best knowledge they have about the laws of nature, so I think you are being unfair.

If you are able to decree a local physical law to solve the climate change problem, please do so, we would be grateful.

Best wishes,

Cristi

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

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 22:59 GMT
Hi to both of you,

Hope you are well.I believe strongly that we can solve thse mainb problems with concrete gloabal solutions. The climate is a result of our past industiralisation more this and that.The adaptation becomes the main essential for the well of all.It is too late and we must prevent.The actual reality is like it is and we must inbd solutions to improve and save this planet.We can save it in imrpoving the main foundamentals permitting to reAch these points of equilibriums.The first is to imp^rove this global ecology and the grounds. We know that this climate is a reality and that our ecology is on a bad road;We know also that it lacks jobs and a lot of harmonisations.The solutions exist and we have the keys in hands.The hour is serious and we must act by adapted sciences;The composting at big global scale and the vegetal multiplication more the hamronisation of cosystems become an essential?The jobs , water, food, energy must be correlated.It seems foundamental and so important considering our universal logic and its laws.We cannot live without harmonised ecosystems and their foundamentals interactions.The most important is to balance"this palnet after all.

Best

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 24, 2017 @ 23:15 GMT
In November 2017, world leaders will gather for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. This vitally important conference exists because of the knowledge that human beings have power over reality (i.e. human beings have caused climate change), and the conference is predicated on the conviction that human beings have power over reality (i.e. human beings can act to avert climate change).

So why are the theories of physics, and the assumptions of physics, formulated in such a way that makes human power over reality an impossibility???

Bear in mind that physicists have deliberately engineered theories like the MWI [1], with their associated mathematical equations, in an attempt to account for quantum phenomena. And physicists have dreamed up the existence of a hypothetical entity called “the wave function”, with its associated mathematics, in an attempt to account for these quantum phenomena.

So why do physicists not attempt to hypothesise a theoretical basis for, or an interpretation of reality that accounts for, living things’ power over reality?

Answer: Such a theory would offend physics’ deeply entrenched beliefs that only abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [2] and “randomness” have power over physical reality. Clearly, such a power cannot “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings unless some degree of lawful power is already inherent in things: particles, atoms, molecules and living things.

1. The Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics

2. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 14:24 GMT
"So why are the theories of physics, and the assumptions of physics, formulated in such a way that makes human power over reality an impossibility???"

Because that is not a scientifically formulated question.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 14:58 GMT
Tom.

Obviously, you are part of the oppressive patriarchy. Next you'll be expecting a testable hypothesis:-)

I am beginning to think that sanity is losing the war.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 17:28 GMT
Gary.

I ceded the war--and my sanity--to Lorraine a while ago. :-)

Best,

Tom

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 22:48 GMT
Physics, in its arrogance, disagrees with the wisdom of the people of the world. Physics says that people have no measure of power over reality: i.e. that people cannot have contributed to climate change, and that people cannot act to avert climate change.

Physics says that nothing but abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [1] and “randomness” have power over physical reality

Physics seems to have forgotten that all theories of reality, even physics theories of reality, are created by human beings: they are only valid if they stand up to scrutiny. Physics idea that people have no measure of power over reality doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

1. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 26, 2017 @ 22:56 GMT
Doubting Thomas Ray [1], and Gary Simpson, founding member of PHALLUS [2], and Georgina Woodward [3], seem to think that a reality in which human beings have genuine power over nature is impossible.

The idea of genuine power over nature contrasts with: 1) the idea that people merely deceive themselves into thinking that they personally have the power to affect physical reality; or 2) a vague, unarticulated assumption that matter (human beings) with genuine power over nature could “emerge” from matter (particles) without power over nature.

But if reality is such that human beings do not have a measure of genuine power over nature then it cannot be said that people have contributed to climate change, or that people can act to avert climate change. If reality is such that that nothing but abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” [4] and “randomness” have genuine power over physical reality, then under no circumstances can this power over physical reality miraculously “jump” from laws-of-nature to human beings.

So I contend that some degree of lawful power is already inherent in things i.e. particles, atoms, molecules and living things: at the beginning of the universe things had the power to create laws-of-nature (we represent the results with equations); but more importantly, nowadays things have the power to, in effect, re-initialise variable numeric values (we can represent the result of a quantum event with a new initial-value equation representing a one-off local “selected” outcome for one of the system variables).

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 26, 2017 @ 22:57 GMT
References:

1. “I ceded the war--and my sanity--to Lorraine a while ago”, Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 25, 2017 @ 17:28 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

2. “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”, Gary D. Simpson replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 03:44 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2694

3. “i don't have power over reality”, Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 02:25 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

4. FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster, Jul. 4, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2935

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 27, 2017 @ 00:14 GMT
Lorraine, power over nature and power over reality don't seem to have the same meaning to me. Certainly human beings can have power over the perception of reality by others by control of information. It is the art of magicians and craft of propagandists. Bending of light rays around an object can cloak it. Animals that use mimicry rely on providing information that will mislead a predator. Animals that use camouflage do so avoiding detection. If instead of perception you mean foundational reality I think we have to work within the constraints and possibilities. Technology though alters what those constraints and possibilities are. It is evident that people have altered materials and states of matter and combined and constructed, to do things previously impossible. We can work with material reality in new ways, to the benefit or detriment of natural systems.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 27, 2017 @ 00:51 GMT
Lorraine, I think that the notion of linear cause and effect at a singular scale limits our perception of how events unfold. In a linear causal sequence only "significant" known knowns are included and a lot is left out. It seems that there are multiple influences and scales of influence. Evidence for the possibility of producing different outcomes is the conscious ability to come to decisions. For that ability to evolve it should have a survival advantage, otherwise there would be no cost benefit. Consciously thinking organisms would be at a significant energy cost disadvantage if it did not have any benefit. In that case, all actions could be automatic as in simple life forms, life support functions, reflexes and much of our motor activity, saving energy.That is not what we see.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 31, 2017 @ 15:27 GMT
Jonathan,

Physics papers, in science magazines, journals, and arxiv, paint a consistent picture of the way physics and physicists really view reality:

1. Particles (which are tacitly assumed to be utterly numb, dumb and powerless) are totally controlled by

2. Abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and

3. “Randomness”.

Physics says that abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” have total power over reality: i.e. human beings do not have any power over reality. So physics is in effect saying that people cannot have contributed to climate change, and that people cannot act to avert climate change. There is no confusion about what physics is actually saying about the nature of reality.

Roger Penrose’s hypothesis that “only intelligent possibilities emerge”, that “the universe makes intelligent choices”, would mean that you would need to add a point 4 to the above list:

4. The equivalent of a God is making sure that only good things/ “intelligent choices” come out of the above randomness.

But I’m yet to be convinced that the world is all sweetness and light and “intelligent choices”!

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 31, 2017 @ 15:53 GMT
"I’m yet to be convinced that the world is all sweetness and light and 'intelligent choices'!"

'Sweetness and light' or 'numb and dumb'. Those are the only choices?

Guess which one I'm choosing.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 1, 2017 @ 01:33 GMT
Tom,

Seemingly one can’t definitely prove anything about the first principles/initial setup of (what is symbolically representable as) a deterministic mathematical system from “within” that mathematical system. Because the first principles/initial setup is “given”/ “added” to the mathematical system, as if from an external source....

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 1, 2017 @ 01:35 GMT
Tom, Jonathan,

What some physicists say they believe means nothing, unless they have a theory of reality to back up what they believe. The fact is, only the QBist view would seem to back up the assertion that people have power over reality, i.e. that people have contributed to climate change, and that people can act to avert climate change.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 4, 2017 @ 23:00 GMT
Jonathan,

P.S.

Normally, all the numeric values for the variables representing a physical outcome are determined by the “mathematical laws”.

But the “free will” of living things is different. “Free will” has 2 aspects:

1. one or more of the numeric values for the variables representing a physical outcome “jump” to new unpredictable numeric values (“unpredictable” in the sense that no “mathematical law” determined these numeric values for the variables); and

2. the living thing caused each new numeric value for the variables.

Any such discontinuity in numeric value for a variable means that the variable numeric value has been “re-initialised”. This situation can only be represented as the addition of a new initial-value equation (representing the new numeric value for the variable) to a local part of the universe-system.

So the living thing has in effect:

1. created a new rule/equation; and

2. added the new rule to the universe-system.

So “free will” is the same as agency is the same as creativity is the same as human power over reality.

Lorraine

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 7, 2017 @ 23:44 GMT
I need to tease away what is of value here...

Physical outcomes are uniquely determined by physical parameters, in my view, but nature's Physics must adhere to rules we identify as part of Mathematics in order to create shareable or repeatable order within the universe. That outcomes can't be predicted does NOT imply that they are not determined by mathematical laws, however. As I tried to explain in my last FQXi essay; the portion of Math commonly in use by physicists today is only a small portion of what nature employs in her handiwork. I am averse to the view that simple equations are necessarily more fundamental or elementary to Physics, expressed by Simon DeDeo and others.

However; I find it pretty common for folks whose specialty is not theoretical Physics to imagine that what Physics shows us is that the universe IS entirely predictable or fixed. Likewise; it is common for people to view Math as a realm where all numbers do is sit there, while we compare their value. This is true for a surprisingly small portion of the totality of Maths, and this was the main message of my contest essay about elephants. The elephant in the room is that people don't want to deal with a reality where things are floating until they have a determined value, or can jump about unpredictably without needing a level of agency. But that's the Math I've been focusing on in my studies.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 7, 2017 @ 23:55 GMT
Let me clarify more...

While the property of agency can certainly be explained by the introduction of new rules, it does not imply that this is the only explanation. I think you are simply presenting a case consistent with your views, but though you adequately demonstrate it does explain some things, you do not clearly show why this rules out other explanations. It is said that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, so I think your claims that Physics will not admit conscious agency are ill supported.

If it were my job to investigate the quantum origin of consciousness or free will; I would look first in the microcausal realm, or consider variations on what Penrose and others like Stapp have proposed, before I gave much attention to the Quantum Bayesian view. It does not give me a thread to follow, for how to research such things further, as compared to the relevance of microcausal elements in Quantum Physics. So this is where I would put the majority of my emphasis, given the opportunity to research it.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 02:11 GMT
Jonathan,

Lorraine

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Joe Fisher wrote on Aug. 5, 2017 @ 13:33 GMT
Fortunately, every real sensible person does know that Nature must have provided us with the simplest visible physical reality obtainable. The real Universe consists only of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light, All mathematical information am abstract unnatural contrivance.. The only thing all but one of the essayists in this competition produced was more pretentious codswallop about invisible influences.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 02:08 GMT
Sorry Jonathan,

What with all the verbiage, you seem to have (perhaps deliberately?) lost the point of what I was saying:

Physics says that abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” have total power over reality: i.e. human beings do not have any power over reality.

It doesn’t matter if “microcausal interactions” occur, because they are still deterministic: the system is still ruled by abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness”, so it cannot be said that human beings have any power over reality.

So physics is in effect saying that people cannot have contributed to climate change, and that people cannot act to avert climate change.

And there is no confusion about what YOU are saying: you are saying that people cannot have contributed to climate change, and that people cannot act to avert climate change.

Lorraine

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 02:51 GMT
I did not miss a beat...

Simply put, I reject the statement that 'Physics says that abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” have total power over reality.'

You have obviously missed my point, but I will sign off for now and further analyze your response before I reply further. I think it is all about the middle ground between does the wavefunction collapse or not. For the record; I think that Penrose got that part right, and that something microcausal allows consciousness and life to enter the picture in an explicit way. I'm sorry you don't see that. Nor do I think it depends on the specific explanation with microtubules as put forth in the collaboration with Hameroff. There is a more general mechanism.

Bye for now!

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 03:32 GMT
Gee whiz Lorraine!

Let me bring you up to speed. Yes Physics states that interactions are deterministic in the aggregate, but allows individual agents freedom of choice. Yes the laws of Physics state that humans and all others must comply with the cosmological flow of time, and yet they give us each the freedom to craft our own timelines. It is largely a matter of choices, and partly a matter of consciousness having the power to influence probabilities, but there is not a purely deterministic nor a totally free condition to deal with in the universe. Instead; all possibilities arise from a combination of pre-determined and selective or elective elements. Living beings can exploit this boundary region and have more freedom to choose.

Now I am of the opinion that this does give people more power than they realize to effect change. In fact; if we realized how much power we do have, there would already be more progress than we observe, toward keeping the global climate within livable norms for humans, or even toward making the planet closer to the ideal or norm for natural life to prosper. We have a long way to go admittedly, but I know that Science will offer answers, even while bringing other complications as well. By learning more, we will grow more. We can only hope it is fast enough to effect the change that is really needed. But it will not be Physics that makes us unable to create meaningful change.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 13:49 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

Please stop writing about complex abstract codswallop. Please try to understand Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 06:02 GMT
What absolute rubbish Jonathan!

Physics does not "[allow] individual agents freedom of choice". For example the Many Worlds theory of reality allows no freedom of choice: it is all just the actions of the laws. "Microcausal interactions" allows no freedom of choice: it is all just the actions of the laws.

Physics does not specify agents with the power to affect reality: it's not in the physics books, articles and papers, Jonathan, its all "mindless mathematical laws" and "random" outcomes. Jonathan, either you clearly specify agents upfront or you don't, and physics doesn't specify agents.

I'm sorry that you don't see that, and that you have such romantic views about physics.

Lorraine

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 20:53 GMT
In contrast...

I see Physics as full of life, and ripe with possibilities, while seeing the work of most Life Science folks as being hopelessly mired in reductionistic materialism. You have your own peculiar form of romanticism Lorraine, and see hope in things I feel are hopeless. But oddly it is in some of the very things you see as lifeless that I find clear evidence that it is Physics and Math which set the stage for life, and that Biology is only a vehicle for taking what is already present in the abstract - the potential for life - and bringing it to fruition.

One does not have to specify agents up front, if agency itself is already a well-defined attribute. As I see it; the qualities that define us arise as abstractions first and then find expression in material forms. Life could not arise, at all, unless the conditions favorable for life forms were favored by natural law. If the universe was not alive, or not conducive to life, we would not be here. And as I said in my essay; it appears that what is engendered by nature is the evolution of consciousness. The reason you see Physics as lifeless is because you see only the material side of reality as real.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 13:29 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

It is physically impossible for one to see abstract information about “physics being full of life” Each real eye can only see real surface no matter in which direction that real eye looks. Please stop writing about complex abstract codswallop. Please try to understand Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 23:54 GMT
Shockingly, physics does not support the idea that people could have contributed to climate change or that people have the power to act to avert climate change. This is because physics has no agents (like people or living things) or even proto-agents that have power over reality.

Physics says that everything that happens is due to abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness”: only abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” have power over reality. There is no such thing as agency in all of physics, and no possibility that agents with power over reality could “emerge” or “self organise” because deterministic “emergence” and “self organisation” are failed ideas that don’t work without the introduction of new information into the system from an external source.

I notice that all the reactionary old men posting to this blog are out in force, patting each other on the back, united in the idea that human agency could miraculously, deterministically emerge from non-agency. Well I’ve got news for you guys: such a thing has never been shown to occur, and can never be shown to occur because such a thing is logically impossible. I’m saying that agency cannot miraculously jump from something that abstractly exists to living things.

Isn’t it time that physics joined the real world, and noticed that agency exists, i.e. that agents (e.g. human beings) with power over physical reality really do exist?

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 8, 2017 @ 23:56 GMT
“Despite the ubiquity of emergent behaviour there remains no deep understanding of emergence. At each level of complexity, new laws, properties and phenomena arise and herein lies the problem.

Properties describing one level of a complex system do not necessarily explain another level, despite how intrinsically connected the two may be. Understanding the emergence of the structure of molecules does not necessarily allow one to predict the emergence of cellular biology.

… emergence remains one of the grand challenges of science.”

Emergence: the remarkable simplicity of complexity, 1 October 2014, by Andy Martin (Senior lecturer (Physics), University of Melbourne), and Kristian Helmerson (Professor of Physics, Monash University), https://theconversation.com/emergence-the-remarkable-simplic
ity-of-complexity-30973

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 00:45 GMT
" ... deterministic 'emergence' and 'self organisation' are failed ideas that don’t work without the introduction of new information into the system from an external source."

Lorraine, you are working with entirely mistaken notions and therefore make no sense.

Like evolution, self organization is an observed physical phenomenon. As all biology depends on the Darwinian theory and its permutations to give it unity and coherence, self organization also depends on a uniting framework under the broad umbrella of complex systems science.

Emergence describes scale dependent collective behavior within a system network. I am quite taken aback what you quote, as it is well known that emergence is scale dependent; different properties emerge at different scales. I expect that you are quoting him out of context.

At any rate, what you call 'new information' comes to the distributed system in the form of feedback, both positive and negative varieties. Information is conserved.

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John R. Cox replied on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 01:27 GMT
Lorraine,

Old yes, but it has some compensations. :-) jrc

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 15:15 GMT
The “strong emergence” [1] of rules that govern the chemistry of saturated hydrocarbons [2], and the strong emergence of cells and other living things out of atoms and molecules, is clearly a fact.

The problem is that strong emergence cannot be explained theoretically because nothing unexpected ever emerges out of a model deterministic complex system, unless new rules...

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 15:18 GMT
Unfortunately agency is not enough...

Nor can Joe or anyone else have it both ways, by saying that humans have nothing to do with climate change and simultaneously citing various things humans did do, which likely did adversely affect the Earth's climate. The tricky bit is that individual choices can cancel each other out, such that sensibility is dwarfed by the clamor of conflicting...

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John R. Cox replied on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 16:24 GMT
Gotta agree, Jonathan.

It's the political nut that is the toughest one to crack. Populations only listen when their stomachs speak. best - jrc

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 01:52 GMT
Jonathan,

"While we like to say 'things are changing,' the quantum accurate view is that 'changes are thinging' (ref. - Kodish and Kodish)."

And the classical accurate view is that 'changes are changing.' :-) Our experience is continuous.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 9, 2017 @ 23:58 GMT
Jonathan and Tom,

The physics pantheon consists of nothing but abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness”: only abstractly-existing “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” have power over reality.

Physics has no “agents” in its pantheon. So, from the point of view of physics, the emergence of living things is only explainable as (what is called) “weak emergence”. Weak emergence is merely a human summarization of a more complex situation in which nothing but the action and effects of “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” is occurring.

When Jonathan asserts that: “the aggregate of change arises out of a great number of individual choices and actions”, the background to this assertion is his view of a weakly emergent reality in which nothing but the action and effects of “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” is occurring.

In other words, Jonathan’s “choice” is a pseudo-choice because according to him nothing but the action and effects of “mindless mathematical laws” and “randomness” is occurring. Despite his words, Jonathan’s view of reality does not support the idea that people could have contributed to climate change or that people have the power to act to avert climate change.

The fact is that the emergence of complex molecules and living things is an explanatory dilemma for physics because it is clear that new “rules” have emerged, but it is also clear that new rules can never emerge from model deterministic systems, no matter how complex they are.

Lorraine

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 00:38 GMT
If mathematical laws are not mindless...

Then Math allows individuals' true freedom of choice to manifest. Nor is it according to me that 'only the action of mindless laws and randomness are occurring.' I have not used that terminology. Those are your words Lorraine, or your copying from the wording of the essay contest question.

If you choose to believe that Math is mindless, so be it. That doesn't make it true, nor did I ever say it is so. I have asserted instead that Math is a kind of mindfulness, and I can offer examples. So 'mathematical laws' are not mindless, and even if they were; this does not imply they result in totally random output.

If you assert that Physics is defined solely by mindless laws and randomness, you can believe that too, Lorraine. But I have not said it is so, nor do I think it is true. You may remember that I argued against these subjects being mindless or random, in my essay this time. I rather feel that randomness is an illusion, because we can't create a physical system that gives a completely random output.

I have consistently asserted that neither Math nor Physics are devoid of life, but rather are necessary precursors to the emergence of intelligence. If what I am really saying is that Math and Physics are needed for life as we know it to exist; it is not truthful to state the opposite. So you may claim to believe what you will, Lorraine; but please do not make specious claims about my statements - as though I said the opposite of what I really did.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 01:14 GMT
I think you need to read...

The Reflexive Universe by Arthur Young, Lorraine. Or at least read about Young's theory of process, which explicitly explains how emergence naturally proceeds through stages. It is admittedly not a mainstream Physics view, that Young espouses, but neither is my view of Physics totally in line with the mainstream. I tend to follow what is happening at the frontiers of knowledge, where things are still a bit fuzzy, rather than waiting to hear the verdict of the experts. But this work is largely in accord with my research, and it was prominently cited in this year's essay.

One thing you may not be taking into consideration, Lorraine, is that publishers often put pressure on academic authors to frame their ideas in terms which tend to support the mainstream view - even when their results call that view into question. Scientific American published an article by Baez and Huerta entitled "The Strangest Numbers in String Theory" even though they wanted to call it "The Strangest Numbers in the Universe," and though the authors mentioned Strings only peripherally in their original submission. Then of course; Lubos Motl complained afterward that they used the Strings connection erroneously - though it was the editors choice of emphasis, not the authors'.

So what physicists know about reality, in their own minds, does not always come out in the printed article. This is why I talk to scientists in person, and ask pointed questions, rather than just reading what they wrote.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 01:47 GMT
According to Young,

Quantum uncertainty is the root of free will, providing the possibility for things to vary, which can create variation. There is some experimental evidence to support this view. Likewise in the view of Penrose and Hameroff; life exerts a subtle influence which exploits quantum uncertainty in microscale structures to allow quantum uncertainty to be reduced through conscious choice. That is; uncertainty is the possibility to effect change, through the power of choosing that reduces it along specific lines. Thus; the possibility for change is what leads to changes. While we like to say 'things are changing,' the quantum accurate view is that 'changes are thinging' (ref. - Kodish and Kodish).

But on emergence; Young's view (and mine) is that the universe or physical form must attain a certain level of fixity for life forms to arise. There must be a stable base from which to build outward or upward, some dependable configuration of physical forms with the necessary attributes, before the qualities we identify with living things can emerge. First particles, then atoms, before molecules can form. It is really quite an elegant framework, where the degrees of freedom are bound to create the basis for organic chemistry, which as George Ellis also claims is the basic building block for life to be emergent. So there is some overlap with the view of mainstream authors, in Young's work - which is impressive for its time and despite the fact Young's knowledge of advanced Physics and Biology was limited.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Anonymous wrote on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 23:54 GMT
Jonathan,

If you and Tom are not part of a secret Masonic Lodge, then you ought to be. I am dismayed to see that you guys seem to be talking about the equivalent of a “Great Geometer of the Universe”, the “God” of Freemasonry. I.e. you are talking about a universe which is pre-designed [1], and Tom seems to be convinced that no new rules ever occur [2].

I, on the other hand, am talking about the inherent freedom of the universe i.e. the inherent freedom of the things of the universe to create the rules, within the limits of existing rules. I am talking about a universe where people have power over reality, where (collectively and unwittingly) people have actually caused climate change, and where people have the power to do something about climate change.

If you are talking about freedom, then you are talking about agents, but you specify no agents with power over reality.

Lorraine.

1. “The theory of process is first and foremost a contemporary statement of teleology-the study of evidences of design in nature or the idea that natural processes are directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose . . . evolution-the ascent from matter-requires the mastery, control, and use of each of the levels of the fourfold structure inherent in the universe . . . all of the evidence suggests that the theory of process is a precise conceptual map of evolution and a sound theoretical base for a New Age paradigm”.

THE THEORY OF PROCESS 1, by Jack Saloma & Ruth Young, http://www.arthuryoung.com/the1exc.html

2. “But yet you [i.e. Lorraine] believe in 'new rules'”, Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 10, 2017 @ 15:11 GMT

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 11, 2017 @ 00:00 GMT
Since I had the NBN installed, my line keeps on dropping out: above post was from me, Lorraine

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 11, 2017 @ 13:09 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

When that happens copy the comment then report the post as being inappropriate and remove it using the number 42 code. Log in to the FQXI,org site, and then paste the comment and it will appear in your name.

Joe Fisher

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 11, 2017 @ 13:24 GMT
"Tom seems to be convinced that no new rules ever occur"

And you are convinced that conservation laws don't exist. If you think conservation laws are violated -- prove it. You must have learned how to go about making conjectures and proving theorems at university. Stop wasting our time.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 11, 2017 @ 22:43 GMT
Jonathan,

I think your esoteric view of reality is of a “God” external to reality that subjectively experiences/knows and creates everything, and that only certain “highly evolved” human beings can partake of the knowledge and powers of this “God”, e.g. yourself. The aspect of reality that creates and knows is not the same as what is created and known. This seems to be similar to e.g. the male-only Masonic Lodge view of reality, of special species (humans) and special male people at the pinnacle of reality. Male-dominated physics is like this: it’s a view of reality that is almost past it’s “use-by date”.

My “esoteric” view on the other hand is inclusive: “God” is everything (proto-particles to living things): they subjectively experience/know and create everything. The aspect of reality that creates and knows is not the same as what is created and known. What is created and known is relationship i.e. categories i.e. information. This information/relationship is representable by science as equations: “mathematical laws”, variable numerical value equations, and algorithms (mainly in living things). All knowledge/information is an edifice of relationship, “turtles all the way down”, and this is why information/subjective experience is always contextual [1]. Ultimately, subjective experience IS the relationship to the rest of reality; subjective experience is not a representation of a separately-existing reality [1]. Perhaps this is a “feminine” view of reality.

Lorraine

1. This is in contrast to the binary digital view of information, where so-called “information” is merely a symbolic representation of information, and where so-called “information” is always separate from context.

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 12, 2017 @ 12:13 GMT
Dear Lorraine Ford,

Which came first, visible Natural reality, or humanly contrived abstract information about the behavior of invisible atoms?

Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 12, 2017 @ 23:59 GMT
It should be uncontroversial that the aspect of reality that creates and knows is not logically the same as what is created and known.

It is logically necessary that an aspect of reality created [1] what we represent as “mathematical laws” because: no “mathematical law” of nature is logically necessary; the existence of “mathematical laws” is not logically necessary; and the existence of a universe is not logically necessary.

Similarly, it is logically necessary that this aspect of reality must, in some sense, “know” about these “laws”.

But in addition, I’m contending that to create a vibrant universe, as opposed to an abject puppet, it is logically necessary that the aspect of reality that creates and knows is particulate and not God-like.

So I’m saying that agents (i.e. things that have power over reality) are a logically necessary aspect of our universe, and that physics has failed to recognize the existence of agents.

Because physics has failed to recognize the existence of agents: physics can never claim that people have power over reality; physics can never claim that people have the power to contribute to climate change; and physics can never claim that people have the power to do anything about climate change.

1. Create: “Bring (something) into existence”, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/create .

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 13, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

There are no aspects of reality. Nature provided us with the simplest visible reality obtainable. The real visible Universe consists only of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 13, 2017 @ 13:44 GMT
Lorraine,

Though I may be an old man, I am far from reactionary. Among my strongest influences are the aforementioned Bertrand Russell, strongly pro-feminist. Had I only been wise enough to accept his other choice--pacifist--my life would have been much different.

After berating you for cut and paste, I here cut and paste a previous discussion that showed such promise--I took your...

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John R. Cox replied on Aug. 13, 2017 @ 14:26 GMT
Sorry, Tom,

I am lacking enough background that I hadn't recognized the extent my question posed. Poking around, it quickly became obvious that Russell's acumen was such that my innocent curiosity would probably be a good question for a post-grad dissertation subject. Duhhh :-) jrc

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 13, 2017 @ 21:23 GMT
“Within the field of climate science, there is virtually no debate about the basic cause of climate change. The vast majority of researchers long ago determined that human activity — chiefly the burning of fossil fuels — is causing the planet to warm.” [1]

But no matter that climate science is warning people to change their ways or face the climate consequences, because physics does...

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 14, 2017 @ 14:29 GMT
Dear Lorraine Ford,

This is not a social club where friendly members can trade anecdotes. This site has been set up to try to find the answer to the question of what reality am. Now please answer my question: Which came first, visible Natural reality, or humanly contrived abstract information about the behavior of invisible atoms?

Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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iphone support number wrote on Aug. 14, 2017 @ 11:33 GMT
Since I had the NBN installed, my line keeps on dropping out: above post was from me, Lorraine.

iphone Tech Support

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 14, 2017 @ 14:31 GMT
Dear Lorraine Ford,

This is not a social club where friendly members can trade anecdotes. This site has been set up to try to find the answer to the question of what reality am. Now please answer my question: Which came first, visible Natural reality, or humanly contrived abstract information about the behavior of invisible atoms?

Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Aug. 14, 2017 @ 14:52 GMT
"This is not a social club where friendly members can trade anecdotes."

Well, of course it is, Joe. Share an anecdote with us, and be welcome.

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 15, 2017 @ 14:24 GMT
Dear Thomas,

I do not quite know how accurate this information is, however, my father always insisted that you could always lead a horse to water, but your pencil must be lead..

Now that I have shared this anecdote with you, culd one of you answer this question: Which came first, visible Natural reality, or humanly contrived abstract information about the behavior of invisible atoms?

Only Nature could have produced the simplest visible physical condition obtainable. The real Universe consists of one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.. There have never been any invisible atoms. There has never been any invisible space. Infinity is immeasurable.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 15, 2017 @ 23:21 GMT
Tom, Georgina,

The emergence of atoms from particles requires new rules that weren’t there when only particles existed: atoms embody new rules i.e. new information – atoms are not fully deducible from particles even in the simplest case of the hydrogen atom. And anyway, it is mathematically impossible for stable new rules that have power over outcomes in a system to deterministically emerge from the old rules that have power over outcomes in a system.

Similarly, living things and complex molecules are not deducible from simple molecules. The algorithm-like rules that seem to characterize the internal workings of living things are not deducible from non-algorithms.

It is rarely, if ever, mentioned in all the confident talk about “emergence” and “self-organisation” that the theory does not model the “difficult bits” of actual reality.

The theory of “emergence” and “self-organisation” is nothing but belief in miracles. This is because the existence of new rules and new algorithms cannot be explained.

Lorraine

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 16, 2017 @ 01:16 GMT
Lorraine, you have said "algorithm-like"; But is it? Embryo-genesis for example is controlled by the timing and gradient of concentrations of various growth factors at sites of development. The 'messages' giving 'instructions' are chemicals.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 16, 2017 @ 04:13 GMT
Yes Georgina,

You won’t see the atom by looking at a particle, and you won’t see the organism by looking at molecular interactions.

This extra level of “organisational control”/constraint found in atoms and in organisms, that are not found in their component parts, and are not implied by their component parts, is the very issue I’m talking about

Lorraine

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 16, 2017 @ 04:44 GMT
Lorraine, that is called emergence, the very concept you have been arguing against. More complex systems can do things simpler systems can't but what they do doesn't require extra laws of physics.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 08:21 GMT
Georgina,

I’m not looking for “answers” from you. I’m asking you because I’m trying to analyse the tripe (sorry) that you consistently come up with e.g. about “emergence”.

It is significant that you can’t even explain what you mean by “emergence”. I’m not asking for dictionary definitions, I’m asking what you mean by “emergence”. I have repeatedly explained what I mean, but you seem completely unable to describe something that you seem to be quite definite about.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 08:22 GMT
Tom,

I note that you are incapable of explaining or describing the elements of “self-organisation”, which is strange because you seem to have very definite views about this subject.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 08:24 GMT
American AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky got it right in his criticism of emergence entitled The Futility of Emergence:

“"Emergence" is commonly used as an explanation in its own right.

“I have lost track of how many times I have heard people say, "Intelligence is an emergent phenomenon!" as if that explained intelligence. This usage fits all the checklist items for a mysterious answer to a mysterious question. What do you know, after you have said that intelligence is "emergent"? You can make no new predictions. You do not know anything about the behavior of real-world minds that you did not know before. It feels like you believe a new fact, but you don't anticipate any different outcomes. Your curiosity feels sated, but it has not been fed. The hypothesis has no moving parts—there's no detailed internal model to manipulate. Those who proffer the hypothesis of "emergence" confess their ignorance of the internals, and take pride in it; they contrast the science of "emergence" to other sciences merely mundane.

“And even after the answer of "Why? Emergence!" is given, the phenomenon is still a mystery and possesses the same sacred impenetrability it had at the start.”

http://lesswrong.com/lw/iv/the_futility_of_emergenc
e/

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 09:25 GMT
Lorraine 16.2017 23.42 you asked 5 questions. "precisely how would you characterise “emergence”; precisely how would you characterise “more complex systems”; precisely how would you characterise “simpler systems”; precisely how would you characterise a “system”; and precisely how would you characterise what these “more complex systems” can “do”? That seems a lot to ask in one go, and I might be hard pressed to cover it in an essay.

Your "I’m trying to analyse the tripe (sorry) that you consistently come up with e.g. about “emergence”.' is very rude, the apology in it makes no difference as it seems insincere to me. You acknowledge 'tripe' is inappropriate but say it anyway.

I strongly object to you cutting and pasting my comments together so that what I have said is out of context and pasted together into your own misinterpretation of the words meaning. IE "You contend that “. . . that is called emergence. . . More complex systems can do things simpler systems can't but what they do doesn't require extra laws of physics.” [1] You have pasted together two unrelated sentences.

"That is called emergence" was referring to your "This extra level of “organisational control”/constraint found in atoms and in organisms, that are not found in their component parts, and are not implied by their component parts, is the very issue I’m talking about"Lorraine. I object to you dong that to my words and then referencing it as if you are quoting what I actually said. It is wrong and misleading. If you paid attention to the reply in the context it was given you would see that I have said what I consider emergence to be, so your insulting complaint about what I can't or won't do is actually resulting from your own lack of attention to what is being written.

Consider this the end of our conversation. Georgina

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

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 15:16 GMT
Georgina,

No one is disputing that life has somehow emerged out of complex molecules.

But your “emergence” is an explanatory black box; you can’t even describe the kernel of what it is that is supposed to have “emerged”; but that seemingly never made you pause for thought about your ideas about reality.

You ought to be outraged with yourself, not with me.

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 17, 2017 @ 15:18 GMT
Tom,

One must conclude that “self-organisation” can’t explain anything:

You can’t even give an account of how you think that “variety, opportunity and self-limitation” works: you can’t even give an account of your pet theory.

Instead, all you can do is criticise what I say.

Lorraine

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 18, 2017 @ 14:46 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

No visible finite “Multi-cellular organisms have ever “emerged” from single finite invisible cells; No visible finite single-cellular organisms have ever “emerged” from invisible finite molecules; No invisible finite molecules have ever “emerged” from invisible finite atoms; and no invisible finite atoms have ever “emerged” from invisible finite particles.”

Nature made sure that there would only ever be one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that was always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

There is no physical way that the a diverse collection of finite invisible phenomena could operate for a supposed finite duration of time in infinity.

Please trust me on this, I have a science researcher’s identification number.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 18, 2017 @ 01:19 GMT
Multi-cellular organisms have “emerged” from single cells; single-cellular organisms have “emerged” from molecules; molecules have “emerged” from atoms; and atoms have “emerged” from particles.

These particles, atoms, molecules, and cells and other living things are driven by “mathematical laws”, but not 100% driven by “mathematical laws”.

Here’s how I see the reasons why cellular organisms can “emerge” from particles, atoms and molecules, and why these entities are agents that have power over reality, so that human beings have the power to act to avert climate change:

1. Quantum coherence is the basic feature of reality whereby one, or more than one, particle, atom, molecule or cell can act as one entity/agent.

2. Quantum decoherence is the basic feature of reality whereby (what might be represented as) local variable numeric values can be reset to new numeric values BY the entity/agent. This is, actually, the creation of a new rule, a type of law, that has power over reality.

3. Living things are agents that have algorithmic methods of extracting summary information from raw information e.g. out of millions of photon interactions with the eye, the organism can quickly deduce whether a shape is predator or prey. These “algorithms” are also a type of rule/law that is created by the entity: algorithms don’t just “deterministically occur”.

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 18, 2017 @ 14:43 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

No visible finite “Multi-cellular organisms have ever “emerged” from single finite invisible cells; No visible finite single-cellular organisms have ever “emerged” from invisible finite molecules; No invisible finite molecules have ever “emerged” from invisible finite atoms; and no invisible finite atoms have ever “emerged” from invisible finite particles.”

Nature made sure that there would only ever be one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that was always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

There is no physical way that the a diverse collection of finite invisible phenomena could operate for a supposed finite duration of time in infinity.

Please trust me on this, I have a science researcher’s identification number.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 18, 2017 @ 23:44 GMT
Forget about criticizing Trump: most physicists and most of the people that post to the FQXi Community do not believe that human beings have any power over nature at all: they believe that only “mindless mathematical laws” are operating. According to these people, human beings do not have agency: it’s just the “mindless mathematical laws” giving the surface appearance of agency.

So according to most physicists and most of the people that post to the FQXi Community, human beings do not have the power to affect the climate in any way. No doubt many of these people would like to criticize Trump, but in fact they are no different to Trump.

Alone amongst the sciences, physics doesn’t actually believe that anthropogenic climate change is possible.

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Gary D. Simpson replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 01:15 GMT
Lorraine,

I choose not to criticize POTUS DJT. Instead, I choose to support him.

Feel free to rant:-)

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

MAGA

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 02:40 GMT
Gary,

Re: “most of the people that post to the FQXi Community do not believe that human beings have any power over nature at all”:

One of the most blatant and appalling examples of anthropogenic climate change denial was Georgina Woodward's: “i don't have power over reality” [1]. Donald Trump couldn’t have put the anthropogenic climate change denial position better.

Georgina seemed to think that she could somehow “act”, i.e. somehow cause outcomes, without having any power over real physical outcomes. This type of doublethink is more appropriate to George Orwell's 1984.

If, despite her protestations, Georgina Woodward does in fact “have power over reality”, then she is an agent, a type of entity completely unknown to today’s physics.

Isn’t it time that physics woke up to the fact that agents are in inherent part of reality, something that cannot “emerge” from non-agency?

Lorraine

1. Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 22, 2017 @ 02:25 GMT:

“Lorraine, i don't have power over reality. I act within the constraints and possibilities of reality.”

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 02:59 GMT
Lorraine, that is a blatant and appalling example of taking a persons words out of the context in which they were said and using it to seriously misrepresent their views. That is not the way to have a debate about science and its advancement. It is dishonest rhetoric.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 23:27 GMT
Georgina,

Re Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 10:31 GMT:

If you are saying that living things have a genuine, small degree of power over nature, then that is a position that I agree with. The power of a person to choose different biscuits implies that the person has a genuine degree of power over nature, IF you are asserting that this choice is not a mindless-random-choice, and not a deterministic-faux–choice. Only if people have a genuine, small degree of power over nature, can you say that genuine anthropogenic climate change is occurring.

The problem is that this is a momentous assertion because physics has no agents [1], physics only has what Brendan Foster calls “mindless mathematical laws”.

So you’ve got a degree of “mind” as opposed to physics’ lack of mind, you’ve got agents with a degree of power as opposed to physics’ lack of agents, and you’ve got a subjective frame of reference attached to a thing as opposed to physics’ abstract frames of reference.

I’m saying that these 3 aspects cannot “emerge” from their opposites.

Lorraine

1. Agent: “A person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect”, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/agent .

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 20, 2017 @ 13:38 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Why did you think Georgina Woodward wrote: “If you are saying that living things have a genuine, small degree of power over nature, then that is a position that I agree with”?

Nature’s only one single eternal power was to provide the single simplest visible physical construct obtainable.. All visible animate and inanimate phenomena belong to a single infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Joe Fisher wrote on Aug. 20, 2017 @ 14:13 GMT
Dear Thomas Howard Ray,

You wrote: “Let's break this down: "... diverse collection of finite invisible phenomena ..." You're talking about a mixed, countable set of discrete somethings that have measured effects (phenomena) that can't be seen. Have you heard of atoms? Subatomic particles?”

I have never audio taped any of my writing, so whatever information you heard was not furnished by me.

I have read about invisible finite atoms and invisible finite Subatomic particles that supposedly behave in erratic finite different ways during a finite measurable period of time. Real Nature provided one single unified visible infinite surface occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light. You can believe in visible natural reality, or you can believe in humanly contrived literal codswallop about finite invisible phenomena...

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 20, 2017 @ 23:24 GMT
I do believe that Georgina Woodward believes that she is like a pixel in a Mandelbrot set zoom: totally ruled by forces beyond her control, where even the thing she might call “choice” (“[getting] different biscuits for the lunch break” [1]) is a faux-choice because it too is totally ruled by forces beyond her control.

So while Georgina Woodward, and most of the people who post to the FQXi Community, might claim that they believe that today’s climate change is largely caused by human activity, they actually believe that climate change is caused by forces totally beyond their control, because they believe that human activity is totally ruled by forces beyond their control.

Physics, Georgina Woodward, and most of the people who post to the FQXi Community, do not believe that reality is such that human beings actually have agency, where agency is a measure of genuine power over reality. IF reality is such that living things have genuine power over reality, then that’s the nature of reality: that’s physics, that’s something that physics has to account for.

Only in the case that human beings have agency, i.e. a measure of genuine power over reality, can it be claimed that today’s climate change is largely caused by human activity.

1. Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 10:31 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 21, 2017 @ 01:21 GMT
Lorraine, it is strange that you have beliefs about my beliefs that are your own contrived imaginings and nothing to do with my own thoughts. It isn't a reasonable argument to complain about what you think other people think. Other people don't all think like you, or in he way you imagine. Please refrain from using me in your rhetoric. If you don't do that I will report posts mentioning my name or quotes of things I have said taken out of context as inappropriate. I have received no apology for your previous misrepresentation of my opinions. Rather than complain every time it happens I will report the posts as inappropriate, because it is not OK as far as I'm concerned.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 21, 2017 @ 04:51 GMT
Georgina,

When I see inconsistencies in what I think people are saying I will challenge it, and I will quote it.

So I am saying that you are engaging in doublethink with your view about climate change because on the one hand you are saying that you are totally ruled by forces beyond your control (i.e. you have NO power over reality), and on the other hand you seem to believe that climate change could be caused by people who have no actual power over reality.

Either “[getting] different biscuits for the lunch break”[1], or what is called “choice”, is a measure of power over reality, or not. Seemingly you believe it is NOT power over reality.

I must continue to challenge what you say, because you seem to hold 2 opposing views.

Lorraine

1. 'Act within' is not the same as 'have power over'

Example: I can act within an organisation (eg. to get different biscuits for the lunch break.) That does not mean I have power over the organisation.

I hope that shows there is a subtle but important difference. I can do things within reality but don't have power over it. I do not see that as 'doublethink' but clear understanding of personal limitations and the English language.
,

Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 10:31 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 21, 2017 @ 08:03 GMT
Lorraine! I have said nothing to you about the Mandelbrot set, yet you say "I do believe that Georgina Woodward believes that she is like a pixel in a Mandelbrot set zoom: totally ruled by forces beyond her control," You are projecting your own odd ideas onto your imaginings of my thoughts, and then presenting it as an argument. I have never considered myself in that way. Please stop it and try to understand that it is not OK to carry on that way. That is why I have raised my objections. I do not want to converse, I would just like you to respect my wishes to be left out of your rhetoric. Your 'doublethink' accusation was addressed by my reply 19. 2017 10.31 GMT

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