Search FQXi


If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest


Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
read/discusswinners

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discusswinners

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

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

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

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

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

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
read/discusswinners

Forum Home
Introduction
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help
RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Jonathan Dickau: on 5/19/20 at 0:37am UTC, wrote Peace, Brother JJD

George Gantz: on 5/18/20 at 22:41pm UTC, wrote Thanks, Jonathon - There is so much that can be said about Mandelbrot Set -...

Jonathan Dickau: on 5/18/20 at 22:15pm UTC, wrote Good to read your work again George... As always, you have made me think. ...

George Gantz: on 5/18/20 at 10:51am UTC, wrote Thanks, Jeff. I will! Regards - George

George Gantz: on 5/18/20 at 10:50am UTC, wrote Noson - Thank you. I am humbled by your kind remarks. BTW this is my...

Jeffrey Schmitz: on 5/18/20 at 5:38am UTC, wrote Dear George, Using twelfth century poem as the framework for your essay is...

Noson Yanofsky: on 5/18/20 at 3:08am UTC, wrote Dear George, What a beautiful essay. I love the analysis of the poem also....

George Gantz: on 5/17/20 at 17:24pm UTC, wrote Thanks Rick - good luck! - George


RECENT FORUM POSTS

Brian: "From the Nature abstract cited: "There is no theoretical reason to expect..." in Time to Think

Georgina Woodward: "Sorry, what a pigs ear I've made of that attempt to elucidate. Got muddled..." in Answering Mermin’s...

Stefan Weckbach: "John, "An electron is like a 2sphere, there is no cowlick, the hairs on..." in Answering Mermin’s...

Steve Dufourny: "Hi Jonathan, thanks for developing , I am understanding. I consider like..." in Towards the unification...

Jonathan Dickau: "It all fits together Steve... The optimal case for close-packing of..." in Towards the unification...

Steve Dufourny: "it is the meaning of my intuitive equation, E=m(c^2+Xl^2)+ Y with X a..." in The Effects of Inertial...

Steve Dufourny: "What I tell in resume is that for a good explaination of the..." in The Effects of Inertial...


RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

Time to Think
Philosopher Jenann Ismael invokes the thermodynamic arrow of time to explain how human intelligence emerged through culture.

Lockdown Lab Life
Grounded physicists are exploring the use of online and virtual-reality conferencing, and AI-controlled experiments, to maintain social distancing. Post-pandemic, these positive innovations could make science more accessible and environmentally-friendly.

Is Causality Fundamental?
Untangling how the human perception of cause-and-effect might arise from quantum physics, may help us understand the limits and the potential of AI.

Building Agency in the Biology Lab
Physicists are using optogenetics techniques to make a rudimentary agent, from cellular components, which can convert measurements into actions using light.

Think Quantum to Build Better AI
Investigating how quantum memory storage could aid machine learning and how quantum interactions with the environment may have played a role in evolution.


FQXi FORUM
October 29, 2020

CATEGORY: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest (2019-2020) [back]
TOPIC: The Door That Has No Key by George Gantz [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author George Gantz wrote on Apr. 20, 2020 @ 10:38 GMT
Essay Abstract

There are many layers to our understanding of the world. There are things that are immediate to our senses, which we know (or think we know). There are models we construct to explain, and which correspond with, the physical world that we sense, observe and measure. There are mathematical concepts we imagine that can be seen to be true in-and-of-themselves. But, over the last century, advances in science and mathematics have revealed many things we would like to know that we do not. Some have been proven to be impossible to know. FQXi has asked us to explore these limits in our ability to understand the world. How are these limits related and what do they mean? This essay addresses that challenge by exploring features that the physical world and mathematics share with consciousness. Self-reference, entanglement and purposeful agency are key features of autonoetic (self-knowing) consciousness. They are also found in physical and mathematical systems and are manifest at the limits of knowledge that FQXi is exploring. These autonoetic features serve as gatekeepers limiting our understanding of the world we live in, but they also make living in this world so marvelously interesting and beautiful.

Author Bio

George Gantz is a 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, and in 2017 he created Spiral Inquiry, An Exploration of Science, Faith, and Philosophy. George is a Fellow of the RSA and Board Member of Long Now Boston. His FQXi essays include: The Tip of the Spear (2014, 4th place), The Hole at the Center of Creation (2015), The How and the Why of Emergence and Intention (2016) and Faith is Fundamental (2017).

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share


David Brown wrote on Apr. 20, 2020 @ 13:28 GMT
"... How does the physical world give rise to consciousness minds ... How can minds perceive mathematical truth ..." Consider 3 beliefs: (1) Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology — on the basis of overwhelming empirical evidence. (2) Nature is finite and digital. (3) Infinity is a semi-theological concept. Now consider 3 questions: (a) Can mathematical beliefs be entirely divorced from theological beliefs? (b) Can empirical beliefs be entirely independent of ethical beliefs? (c) Are Peano Arithmetic and Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory relevant to theology?

Gödel's ontological proof, Wikipedia

Religious view of Isaac Newton

Consider a minimalist definition of a monotheistic God: God is the unique Supreme Being with an infinite mind. If the hypothetical God had a finite mind then why would such a God be different in principle from mammals and birds?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on Apr. 20, 2020 @ 22:26 GMT
Hi David - I would say all yes! All yes!

I read your essay and had a struggle with it. Here's where I ended up:

For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line

And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,

Of all that one should care to fathom, I

was never deep in anything but--Wine.

It's COVID cocktail hour. Cheers! - George

Bookmark and Share


Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Apr. 21, 2020 @ 04:26 GMT
Dear George Gantz.

Thank you for giving a beautiful essay explaining the fundamental views of Godel Turing etc., with a smooth nice flow. Well you are a retired person like me, thinking of Science Philosophy............

I am working on Dynamic Universe Model for the last 40 years and got many results many predictions came true. I have few questions about Godel. This law is applicable to Quantum Mechanics, but will this law be applicable to COSMOLOGY.......?????.........

I never encountered any such a problem in Dynamic Universe Model in the Last 40 years, all the the other conditions mentioned in that statement are applicable ok

I hope you will have a CRITICAL examination of my essay... "A properly deciding, Computing and Predicting new theory’s Philosophy".....

Best Regards

=snp

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on Apr. 21, 2020 @ 21:01 GMT
M. Gupta -

Thanks for your comment. Yes, Godel apples to any consistent theory that has sufficient complexity to express arithmetic, which a cosmological model would have to be.

I have read your essay and found it offers some good advice but no explanation I could follow for what the "Dynamic Universe Model" actually is. In English, the acronym is somewhat unfortunate.

This comes to mind:

Would you that spangle of Existence spend

About THE SECRET--quick about it, Friend!

A Hair perhaps divides the False from True--

And upon what, prithee, may life depend?

Regards - George

Bookmark and Share


Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 21, 2020 @ 05:36 GMT
Hi George, I particularly like your introduced the "three worlds" and your comparison with lines from a verse of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. I think that worked very well and revived my interest, that carried me 'effortlessly' to the end. A satisfying read.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on Apr. 21, 2020 @ 21:10 GMT
Thanks, Georgina -

I also enjoyed reading your essay and found the elephant allusions to be quite hilarious. I also found it quite unpredictable, which will stand it in good stead in this contest.

I was unable to find any elephants in the Rubaiyat for you, but I did find a lion:

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep

The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:

And Bahram, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass

Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

Peace - George

Bookmark and Share


Branko L Zivlak wrote on May. 3, 2020 @ 07:49 GMT
Dear George Gantz

Continued from my forum.

I appreciate the optimism in your essay.

(1) - “Why do mathematical laws apply to the physical world;”

My short answer is –discovered mathematics.

(2) How does the physical world give rise to conscious minds;

My short answer is - like everything else through mathematics and closer through the driving forces of attraction and repulsion.

(3) How can those minds perceive mathematical truths.

My short answer is - Using your time to understand the greats of 18th and 19th century philosophy of nature.

Mathematics is “unreasonably effective in the natural sciences ..

I disagree, math is reasonably effective in the natural sciences ..

I appreciate your conclusions and I can add that I see the universe in three frames:

1 - Exp (i * pi) - which is a known quantum physics

2 - Exp (2 * pi) - which is my original discovery and expresses matter and radiation

3 - I do not know so far.

“Yet they are fundamentally interconnected and behave as a whole.”

I call my theory: The unity of the whole and the parts.

Regards,

Branko

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 3, 2020 @ 11:40 GMT
Branko -

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your enthusiasm.

I did enjoy your essay and its commitment to the standardization of dimensionless units as a solution to much of the confusion in the understanding of science. At the same time, you assiduously avoid dealing with the confounding issues at the heart of this essay contest - incompleteness, undecidability and non computability. All of which, by the way, do relate to the tangles you allude to regarding infinity.

XXIX. Into this Universe, and Why not knowing

Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;

And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,

I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.

Best - George

Bookmark and Share


Branko L Zivlak wrote on May. 3, 2020 @ 18:15 GMT
Dear George

If we have 100% of the problem and we can solve 95% with 5% power and rest 5% with 95% power we first choose to solve the more productive part.

So - incompleteness, undecidability and non computability didn't bother me to come up with predictive formulas at the end of my essay.

Regards,

Branko

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 6, 2020 @ 20:36 GMT
Branko -

There are problems worth solving to the 90% level, and the 95% level, etc - particularly the challenges of prediction or estimation. And then there are problems for which and answer must be 100% or it is no answer at all. This contest is, I think, focused on these.

Best - George

Bookmark and Share


James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 13, 2020 @ 23:15 GMT
George,

An essay full of wisdom that does justice to the ambiguities and challenges of the topic imposed on us. The many challenges and mysteries we face have the time limit of humankind's existence on this planet, the period of consciousness we have to solve these problems. I also speak of the capabilities of the autonoetic consciousness you speak of regarding the thought experiments of Einstein and how such cognitive abilities, coupled with quantum computing could enable us to solve our problems if there is no limit set by our early demise. I'm surprised so few ratings for a superior essay. Mine is your 4th. Hope you have time to read mine: https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3396.

Jim Hoover

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Author George Gantz wrote on May. 14, 2020 @ 00:33 GMT
Thanks, Jim. I will do so. I appreciate your kind remarks and a new score!

For you -

Come fill the cup, and in the fires of Spring,

The Winter garment of repentance fling,

The bird of time has but a little way

To flutter, and lo, the bird is on the wing.

Cheers - George

Bookmark and Share

James Lee Hoover replied on May. 14, 2020 @ 04:40 GMT
George,

Nice words, but worthy of a 4?

Jim

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

James Lee Hoover replied on May. 14, 2020 @ 04:50 GMT
George,

Someone bombed you with a 5th rating. My 4th rating left you with a 6.8.

Jim

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author George Gantz replied on May. 14, 2020 @ 10:57 GMT
Hi Jim - I try not to pay attention to the ratings and simply tell it like it is. The scores I give are consistent with how I read the relative merits of each essay in responding to the FQXi challenge.

Regards - George

Bookmark and Share


Alan M. Kadin wrote on May. 15, 2020 @ 15:08 GMT
Dear Mr. Gantz,

Your essay is clear and interesting. You focus on the role of human consciousness as a self-recognizing agent, using a term “autonoetic” that I was not familiar with.

In my own essay, ”The Uncertain Future of Physics and Computing”, I take the novel view that consciousness is due to specific computational architectures in the brain, and that the internal sense of consciousness provides direct clues to the structure of these architectures. The key aspect is that neural networks may be configured to match patterns not only in space, but also in time. Recognition of temporal correlations provides the basis for recognizing agency and the self, which is the core of consciousness.

I further argue that these can be emulated by artificial neural networks of the not-too-distant future. I might envision an autonomous vehicle with a level of consciousness comparable to a horse, for example.

Alan Kadin

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 15, 2020 @ 19:31 GMT
Alan - Thanks for the kind words. I agree conscious states are likely to exhibit a sophisticated computational architecture in the brain (both space and time), but I also think this will fail to answer the philosophical questions - including the Penrose mysteries and the tangled conundrums of Turing and Godel - these will remain unanswered until the end of time (so to speak).

I will read your essay next!

-George

What, without asking, hither hurried whence.

And, without asking, whither hurried hence?

Ah, contrite heaven endowed us with the vine

To drug the memory of that insolence!

Bookmark and Share


Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on May. 16, 2020 @ 10:59 GMT
Dear George,

Glad to read your work again.

I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very glad that you are not thinking in abstract patterns.

"This essay addresses that challenge by exploring features that the physical world and mathematics share with consciousness. Self-reference, entanglement and purposeful agency are key features of autonoetic (self-knowing) consciousness. They are also found in physical and mathematical systems and are manifest at the limits of knowledge that FQXi is exploring. These autonoetic features serve as gatekeepers limiting our understanding of the world we live in, but they also make living in this world so marvelously interesting and beautiful".

While the discussion lasted, I wrote an article: “Practical guidance on calculating resonant frequencies at four levels of diagnosis and inactivation of COVID-19 coronavirus”, due to the high relevance of this topic. The work is based on the practical solution of problems in quantum mechanics, presented in the essay FQXi 2019-2020 “Universal quantum laws of the universe to solve the problems of unsolvability, computability and unpredictability”.

I hope that my modest results of work will provide you with information for thought.

Warm Regards, `

Vladimir

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 16, 2020 @ 12:25 GMT
Thank you Vladimir - nice to see you again, as well!

I will head over to read your essay - yes COVID is certainly a preoccupation for us right now. I believe that an entangled, purposeful and self-referential world argues for greater compassion, empathy and action to alleviate suffering than fear, anger and selfishness.

Cheers - George

Bookmark and Share


Irek Defee wrote on May. 16, 2020 @ 13:53 GMT
Dear George,

Thank you for reading my essay, you really grasped its essence which I tell you is rare and remarkable. But my lesson from it is that I have to expand it greatly to present concepts with utmost clarity.

Your essay is well written and obviously it touches absolutely fundamental problems. When looking into the relation between consciousness, physics and mathematics I see consciousness as total enigma. We know much more about physics and mathematics which makes that it is very hard to connect all these three areas.

I also looked into your 2015 essay, I see now what you mean by hole in the center of creation. About paradoxes I suggest reading brilliant essay by Hippolyte Dourdent here.

Personally my taste is not to refer to any religion since this is very subjective topic as there are so many of them, some claim Asian religions grasp aspects of consciousness better than others and that would mean cultural bias is entering our thinking which does not sound good.

I wish you to continue you fruitful investigations.

Br,

Irek

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 16, 2020 @ 17:06 GMT
Thanks Irek -

Yes, consciousness is an enigma - and so is the relationship between math and physics and the foundations of each.

Yes, my 2015 essay took a step too far in highlighting a particular religious tradition. At the same time, the theological roots of all religious traditions provide context for humans to fathom the unfathomable. These FQXi questions take us to core beliefs and suppositions that have been addressed poetically or mythologically in the various traditions. Science may have helped free us from empirically unfounded and irrational dogmas inherited from religious traditions - but on the frontiers it has come face-to-face with its own. That was the subject of my 2017 FQXi essay - Faith is Fundamental.... https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3045

Cheers - George

Bookmark and Share


Bala Subramanian wrote on May. 17, 2020 @ 12:35 GMT
The door that has no key, as well as walls without any doors of predigital linguistic perceptions have effectively been transformed to the frame work of mathematical, self noetic and physical as you have outlined. All three of those as well have been further condensed to Minkowski spacetime, ad Sitter and Ad Sitter. In my view the self and the non-self effectively permeate the realities for the foreseeable future.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 17, 2020 @ 13:52 GMT
Bela - Thanks for the comment. Yes,. One could say that the self and the non-self are staring at each other - and both are blind. Omar Kayyam has a verse that reaches to that:

Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind

The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find

A lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,

As from Without--"THE ME WITHIN THEE BLIND!" XXXIV

Cheers - George

Bookmark and Share


Member Rick Searle wrote on May. 17, 2020 @ 17:10 GMT
Hello George,

I greatly enjoyed how you applied the poem of Omar Khayyam to the problem of the limits of knowledge.

This line in particular:

“Self-reference leads inevitably to the limit of incompleteness. Entanglement implies that the whole cannot be understood solely through an understanding of its parts. Additionally, since we are ourselves entangled in the world, we can never truly observe the whole.”

I believe with all of my heart.

Best of luck in the contest!

Rick Searle

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 17, 2020 @ 17:24 GMT
Thanks Rick - good luck! - George

Bookmark and Share


Member Noson S. Yanofsky wrote on May. 18, 2020 @ 03:08 GMT
Dear George,

What a beautiful essay. I love the analysis of the poem also.

My favorite line: "I recommend that we embrace the idea that these limits are not flaws in the system –they are features. The limits of incompleteness, entanglement and agency enable complexity, evolution and free will. They make the world and life interesting."

Beautiful!

Thank you!

Noson

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 18, 2020 @ 10:50 GMT
Noson - Thank you. I am humbled by your kind remarks. BTW this is my favorite "matheamtical" quatrain from the Rubaiyat - not very good advice but just fun:

"LVI. For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line

And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,

Of all that one should care to fathom, I

was never deep in anything but--Wine."

Best - George

Bookmark and Share


Jeffrey Michael Schmitz wrote on May. 18, 2020 @ 05:38 GMT
Dear George,

Using twelfth century poem as the framework for your essay is a bold move, but it worked well. You humanized as well as explained concepts. Placing intelligence on a high mysterious pillar is opposite to the direction I took, but it does fit with your theme. Overall one of the best essays I have read.

I would like to know what you think of my essay. The rating of my essay puts me out of contention, so you can look at it after voting has closed.

Sincerely,

Jeff Schmitz

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Author George Gantz wrote on May. 18, 2020 @ 10:51 GMT
Thanks, Jeff. I will!

Regards - George

Bookmark and Share


Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 18, 2020 @ 22:15 GMT
Good to read your work again George...

As always, you have made me think. But in fact; your essay weaves together a number of things I've been thinking a lot about - both on and off the contest forum. In some sense the Mandelbrot Set is a 'door that has no key' because the only way to see it is to try one spot after another to find out where it converges.

One can actually calculate precise locations for a handful of spots by hand. But the Galois method tops out before you get very far, and won't even give you an outline. On the other hand; the Mandelbrot Set is like a key or index to a large family of Julia Sets.

I enjoyed the way you wove in the three levels from Penrose connected to the three levels of metacognition from Metcalfe and Son, and then concluded with 'entangled, purposeful, and self-referential.' I could say a lot more, but I'm hoping to read more essays before the bell. You get high marks from me.

Best of Luck,

Jonathan

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Author George Gantz replied on May. 18, 2020 @ 22:41 GMT
Thanks, Jonathon - There is so much that can be said about Mandelbrot Set - an infinite number of things if you had the time. ?

Peace - George

Bookmark and Share

Jonathan J. Dickau replied on May. 19, 2020 @ 00:37 GMT
Peace, Brother

JJD

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.