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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Jonathan Dickau: on 3/9/18 at 17:27pm UTC, wrote I was hoping you would read this... Sorry I did not get to read your essay...

Jonathan Dickau: on 2/26/18 at 23:36pm UTC, wrote I like this essay a lot George... You hit the nail on the head! Physics...

Steve Dufourny: on 2/25/18 at 11:23am UTC, wrote You are welcome,this weakest force needs to be quantify and the spirals can...

George Gantz: on 2/25/18 at 1:48am UTC, wrote Thanks, Steven. Ah, but microscopes and clocks are so Newtonian - so 19th...

George Gantz: on 2/25/18 at 1:44am UTC, wrote Vladimir - You are so kind, thank you. I have felt since our first meeting...

George Gantz: on 2/25/18 at 1:42am UTC, wrote Thanks Steve - I am buoyed up by the idea of gravity, but caught in spirals...

George Gantz: on 2/25/18 at 1:40am UTC, wrote Thank you Peter for your kind words. As to Bell's conviction (and many of...

Steven Andresen: on 2/23/18 at 12:59pm UTC, wrote Dear George If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...


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FQXi FORUM
October 21, 2018

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Faith is Fundamental by George Gantz [refresh]
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Author George Gantz wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 17:00 GMT
Essay Abstract

Hello to all my FQXi Community friends. I am pleased to join you again this year, and I trust that we will be able once again to learn much from each other. My essay this year is the fourth in a series, and it addresses two themes my earlier essays each touched upon in different ways. First, we need to recognize and accept the fact that a complete empirical description of physical reality is inaccessible to us as reflective participants inside that reality. Second, our perception and investigation of this physical reality through science rests on guiding principles constructed on faith. I highlight some of the shared beliefs that appropriately guide the scientific enterprise, and provide a specific critique of certain common articles of faith that I believe interfere with productive inquiry. My plea is for a broader and more open conversation about the articles of faith that provide the foundation for our understanding of the physical world. My hope is that by doing so we will invite a deeper humility and a greater capacity for the experience of wonder, joy, love, beauty and meaningful participation, including the full and enthusiastic pursuit of science, in this most marvelous world we live in.

Author Bio

George Gantz is a writer, philosopher and retired business executive with a life-long passion for mathematics, science, philosophy and theology. He has a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors Humanities from Stanford University. He created Spiral Inquiry (spiralinquiry.org) and serves on the Board of Promoting an Enduring Peace. He has given presentations and written articles on related topics for a variety of conferences and publications. His essay The Tip of The Spear earned 4th place in the 2014 FQXi essay contest.

Download Essay PDF File

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 21:05 GMT
You always bring us blessings George...

I trust this offering will be worthwhile guidance, as have your last installments. I have added it to my reading bin. I have faith that my essay will appear soon.

All the best,

Jonathan

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 21:44 GMT
Thanks, Jonathan - I look forward to reading your essay as well! - George

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 21:16 GMT
Dear George Gantz,

You titled your essay “Faith is Fundamental.” That Old Time Religion practitioners, and all modern physicists have provided us with the most grotesque lies ever perpetrated about the universe. They insist that the universe had a finite commencement.

Nature produced one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single dimension that am...

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 21:51 GMT
Joe - I think your anger is both unfortunate and misplaced, and your comment reinforces the basic thesis of my essay --- that we all need to undertake a serious self-examination of the articles of faith that we are carrying with us into the inquiry.

Cheers- George

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 23:44 GMT
Dear George Gantz,

I very much enjoyed your essay, and appreciate your perspective, which you summarize nicely: "the unexamined faith is not worth believing." You discuss the articles of faith underlying current physics after first discussing a series of problematic findings. I believe the obvious success of quantum mechanics is compatible with a new (improved) interpretation of...

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 21:53 GMT
Eugene - Thanks, I look forward to reading your essay and finding out who perpetrated what fraud!

Cheers - George

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 16:03 GMT
Dear George Gantz, you wrote a great essay worthy of a winner.

If the believer to ask: "where is your God". He will answer: "In Heaven" so I say that space is the body of God.

He ascended into heaven - this means it went into his body.

The fundamental should be very simple and straightforward. The idea of God is simple and straightforward. The world is one because God is one....

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 21:56 GMT
Thank you Dizhenchko - I will look up your essay. I am a half-fan of Descartes so I'm sure it will be interesting!

Cheers - George

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marc fleury fleury wrote on Jan. 20, 2018 @ 19:43 GMT
I have thoroughly enjoyed this Essay George and not sure why it had the rating of 3 to begin with, possibly due to this defiant use of the word FAITH in it's title.

Thank you for sharing these well organized thoughts.

At some level of the regress you escape rational analysis and the turtles exist outside rational thoughts, we call it magic. http://churchof.space chapter one....

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 21, 2018 @ 03:32 GMT
Marc - I look forward to reading your essay. I quite agree, after counting "turtles all the way down" it certainly seems like magic. But as for feedback loops in deterministic systems - that means they are not deterministic. Nevertheless, I have heard very smart physicists say they believe if we just knew all the initial conditions precisely we would be able to know the entire future...

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Victor Usack wrote on Jan. 22, 2018 @ 00:41 GMT
This one speaks to me above all others. Thank you for writing it. I could easily write a 20 pg response to this 10 pg essay. This is not to say I agree with everything you wrote. I simply choose to believe otherwise, but that is beside the point. The point is that ultimately, the truth involves what we choose to believe. Note that this is a self-referential statement. If it is taken as fact, then...

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 22:11 GMT
Victor - I read your extended comment with great interest. If you have not read them, I'm sure you wold enjoy the works of Lewis Carrol. I do not find the unraveling of realism or reductionism to be upsetting - just very curious and maybe a bit inspiring. As Carroll's character pointed it, it just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. So let's stay curious! And humble, of course. I look...

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Heinrich Luediger wrote on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 16:16 GMT
Dear George,

I think you perfectly captured the scholastic dictum: Credo ut intelligam (I believe so that I may understand). But do you think that anything rational can be said about what underlies understanding and logic?

Heinrich

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 22:17 GMT
Heinrich -

Absolutely, we can talk about "what underlies understanding and logic" rationally, but on the important questions we have to give up the notion of infallibility. The frontiers of empirical knowledge, in my view, point to (but do not prove) truths about the wholeness of reality we experience, and the wise person will follow those pointers in assembling a worldview (faith and...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 20:18 GMT
George,

Great essay with a lot to digest. I cannot help thinking of looking at our galaxy from the inside and the flaws in perception we experience -- BICEPs 2 for example, when reading "By analogy, we exist as conscious observers inside a box. Some of what we are trying to learn could only be observed from outside the box." More generally, we are looking at our universe from the inside...

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Author George Gantz replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 22:20 GMT
Thank you Jim for your kind words. In addition to looking at the universe from the inside, we are also looking at others from the outside. Much of the time we have to guess - best to do so cautiously and with utmost humility.

I look forward to your essay! - George

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Gary Valentine Hansen wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 04:03 GMT
George,

I assume that your statement ‘that faith may be interfering with physics’ alludes to the perceived irreconcilable relationship between faith and reason, by which I am interpreting your interpretation of ‘faith’ as being religious convictions.

But the term ‘faith’ has much wider, generally applicable meanings; that of conviction, trust, reliance, assurance, belief,...

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Author George Gantz wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 01:19 GMT
Gary - Thanks for the comments.

No, I am not using the word "faith" as meaning religious teachings, but in a broader sense: s belief, a conviction, that something is true (or almost certainly true) even when evidence may be weak, scarce, totally theoretical or inaccessible. The philosophical commitment to a choiceless cosmos (reflected in determinism and in the multiverse theory) is an example. Other essays are also quite critical of these and similar ideological commitments and the ferocity with which they are sometimes defended.

On the other hand, if we define "religion" more loosely, in line with what Einstein suggested, then I would agree that articles of faith are indicative of one's religion.

Moreover, I would argue that faith and reason are not irreconcilable - they should be partners in our open inquiry into the foundations of life as well as science.

Thanks - George

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 22:28 GMT
Hi George Gantz

Very good flow of writing … “our perception and investigation of this physical reality through science rests on guiding principles constructed on faith” is correctly said Best wishes to the essay , hope this also will go better than …”Tip of the spear” dear George Gantz

……..….. very nice idea…. I highly appreciate your essay and hope for...

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 14:48 GMT
SNP - Thanks for the comments. I look forward to reading your essay - another among many fascinating and provocative ideas. This contest is quite amazing!

Cheers- George

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Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 4, 2018 @ 04:15 GMT
Hi George,

I find you just amazing! Your writing radiates peace and well being AND provides well thought out content. You give every visitor to your blog something that will help them. In the last essay contest I was grousing about Max Tegmark and how he used the contest to further his own agenda...Your response to me was "sometimes you just have to go for the bait".... I started laughing and am still laughing!

You could have used the word "belief" instead of "faith" in the title of this work and gotten a higher score. But that is not how you work... faith is closer to what is really fundamental.

Thanks for lighting up this contest.

Don Limuti

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 14:55 GMT
Thank you Don - it's nice to hear from you again. I admit it is so challenging to talk about that which is "outside the box" using words, language, ideas and evidence that is "inside the box." Many have tackled the challenge - few have made headway. Aldous Huxley wrote a useful book "Perennial Philosophy" that did a nice job speaking about the shared unspeakable. But the best Wittgentstin could offer was "The world of a happy man is different from that of the unhappy man..." - or something like that. The mystical traditions get the idea - but the language rarely resonates for those outside the tradition....

Wishing you all the best! - George

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 17:41 GMT
George,

Seems to be sparse reviewing and rating in this essay contest. I am revisiting those I have reviewed and see if I have scored them before the deadline approaches. I find that I have scored yours on 1/23. Thanks for your kind words about mine.

Jim Hoover

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 19:18 GMT
Dear George Gantz,

excuse me that I write my comment without blank lines – the fqxi’s formatting system seems to have a bug. I read your essay and must say that you present well-balanced and reasonable arguments to handle the question “what is fundamental?”. Not only are your arguments reasonable intellectually, but they also consider the emotional part of every human being – be it a scientist, philosopher, biologist or otherwise interested reader of the essay contest’s topic. You present valuable and logical arguments, and none of them try to eliminate the very tool with which we can come to our conclusions, namely consciousness. Moreover, it seems to me that you take it as not irrational to conclude from the existence of consciousness that the latter has to play a certain important role for answering the essay contest’s question, since without consciousness, there would be no question. Again, moreover, you value the fact that there are not only self-aware beings, but these beings are also aware of an external reality which surprisingly can be modeled to a certain degree by mathematics. All in all I like your essay very much, since it is out-of-the-box of exclusively arguing only for fitting certain mainstream ideas. It escapes the transformation of physics into another social science, but keeps the psychology, the very causa finalis that drives all participants trying to fathom the depths of existence and its overall meaning. In my opinion your essay is too important to be not under the finalists and I give you my 10 points so it may succeed this purpose and we can see how the judges decide. Since in this forum it may well happen that you are downrated after some good score, I tell you that you are now by 5.9 with 8 ratings and you will be by approximately 6.4 and 9 ratings after my scoring.

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 14:59 GMT
Stefan - Thanks for your kind review and generous score. I decided this year to write for the heart and not the score. The strategy seems to be working. :) It is an interesting set of essays, for sure, but seems to come at a busy time for all of us - so hard to find the time to digest the big ideas represented in this contest!

Cheers - George

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Mozibur Rahman Ullah wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 12:44 GMT
Dear George Gantz,

Congratulations on a thoughtful and perceptive essay. I particularly liked the remark 'the unexamined faith is not worth believing in'!

Best Wishes

Mozibur Ullah

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 15:02 GMT
Thank you Mozibar for reading and commenting on my essay. I will reciprocate in the near future! If a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears, does it make a noise? If an essay is submitted and goes unread, does it make a difference? I admit I am a bit of a glutton for analogy and metaphor - useful tools in talking about what otherwise might be called "mystical."

Cheers - George

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 19:22 GMT
George,

An excellent essay again and great pleasure to read. Thank you. I agree infinity is beyond our understanding and a 'god' in some way seems inevitable if undecidable. Your analysis of all you covered was nicely judged for the level and length here. One of the best again I think.

But did you know John Bell was convinced a classical derivation of QM's prediction WAS possible (but "will astonish") and indeed pointed the way? You may be interested in my essay which suggests you should perhaps have extended your sentence;

"Considerable experimental and intense theoretical efforts have been devoted to the resolution of these issues. These efforts have been unsuccessful." ..with "...to date". A different starting assumption endowing pairs with Maxwell's 4 conjugate states appears astonishingly to overcome the barriers to a classical solution!!

Of course the academic community will fight to Max Plancks last coffin before adopting any such thing! But see also Declan Traill's essay with the computer code and plot consistent with the ontology.

Very well done for yours again.

Best of luck in the judging.

Peter

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 01:40 GMT
Thank you Peter for your kind words. As to Bell's conviction (and many of the essays here) - it is so easy to be misguided by the strength of our convictions. Humility is, ultimately, the only thing that saves us. That, and love.

Cheers - George

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 17:56 GMT
Hello Mr Gantz,

Congratulations for your essay about faith.It is theologically wonderfull.:) God does not play at dices but with sphères :) The aether seems gravitational ....

Best Regards

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 01:42 GMT
Thanks Steve - I am buoyed up by the idea of gravity, but caught in spirals - neither dice nor spheres.

Cheers - George

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 11:23 GMT
You are welcome,this weakest force needs to be quantify and the spirals can help with a kind of fractalisation, but I am insisting :) The sphères and their motions or the geometrical algebras like lie algebras or the Clifford algebras are a better way than these spirals but these spirals can be utilised for this fractalisation of forces in converging.Einstein said that God does not play at dices...., you like I am supposing the fibonacci spiral lol ?

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:35 GMT
Dear George,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

It is so close to me. «our perception and investigation of this physical reality through science rests on guiding principles constructed on faith». «I suggest that faith may be interfering with physics». «What is the cause of the emergent order?» «I have also questioned a number of apparent beliefs that are interfering with our full and open exploration of our world. Among these are the belief sets that I have referred to as physicalism, reductionism and determinism. I have also offered a specific critique of the commitment to randomness and its role in the justification of the multiverse theory».

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 01:44 GMT
Vladimir - You are so kind, thank you. I have felt since our first meeting that our ideas are quite similar and it appears to be even more the case this year.

Sincere regards and best of luck - George

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 12:59 GMT
Dear George

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please?

Beyond my essay’s introduction, I place a microscope on the subjects of universal complexity and natural forces. I do so within context that clock operation is driven by Quantum Mechanical forces (atomic and photonic), while clocks also serve measure...

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Author George Gantz replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 01:48 GMT
Thanks, Steven. Ah, but microscopes and clocks are so Newtonian - so 19th century. I believe we will find that the universal natural energy potential is love. to paraphrase Winger, it is a gift we neither understand nor deserve.

Cheers - George

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 23:36 GMT
I like this essay a lot George...

You hit the nail on the head! Physics is rife with beliefs, and you do a great job of fleshing out how and why they creep in almost everywhere scientists are striving for specificity. I am reminded of the story at the end of the Babylon 5 series. The two questions are "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" where the first leads to the Order principle of the Vorlons and the other leads to the Chaos principle of the Shadows.

People do not realize that faith and beliefs lie in the area of feelings and not thought. Specifically; a belief is nothing more than a feeling of certainty about the truth or falsehood of something. It gets confusing when people think of beliefs as thought forms. I hope you will still get to read my essay. It would be nice if it is before the ratings deadline, because I know you would or will be a fair grader.

It's odd that people don't realize the beliefs in your list don't have to be absolutes either; of course there is randomness, but no agency? Some day; I'd love to co-author an article with you George, talking about how people can create the good, and why this is different from fighting evil.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 9, 2018 @ 17:27 GMT
I was hoping you would read this...

Sorry I did not get to read your essay earlier on, and that your essay did not fare better at the end, but it looks like you left the building before reading my comment. So perhaps I'll reach out by e-mail.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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