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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

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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 5/19/20 at 7:47am UTC, wrote Dear Nancy walters, Thank you for your nice reply here as well as on my...

nancy walters: on 5/19/20 at 2:51am UTC, wrote Hi, I agree with you in that a predictable universe is safer. I do look at...

Pavel Poluian: on 5/15/20 at 5:16am UTC, wrote Dear C.C. Walters! We think your essay is great! We chose 10 points for...

sherman jenkins: on 5/14/20 at 16:09pm UTC, wrote Nancy, A new era dawns.  Old questions become quaint and historical.  Is...

Michael muteru: on 5/6/20 at 8:50am UTC, wrote Dear Nancy.very elaborate essay,rated you highly for a start. Beauty lies...

John Vastola: on 5/5/20 at 18:54pm UTC, wrote Nice essay, C.C.! I think you make an excellent point with just a few...

Yutaka Shikano: on 5/4/20 at 16:41pm UTC, wrote Dear Nancy, You wrote "Unpredictability is the essence of life.". Is...

Lachlan Cresswell: on 4/28/20 at 13:19pm UTC, wrote Dear Nancy, I enjoyed your short essay and agree with you. I do not like...


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FQXi FORUM
September 17, 2021

CATEGORY: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest (2019-2020) [back]
TOPIC: Life, the Universe and Time: Who Would Want to Live in a Predictable Universe Anyway? by C.C. Walters [refresh]
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Author nancy walters wrote on Apr. 25, 2020 @ 17:47 GMT
Essay Abstract

Unpredictability, Undecidability and Uncomputability more accurately describe the universe, time and life, than the idea of a predictable universe ever could.

Author Bio

A bored layperson enjoying speculating on life, the universe and time.

Download Essay PDF File

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Apr. 27, 2020 @ 05:50 GMT
Dear nancy walters,

In your shor essay you brought out another perspective of life... Then you want to live a unpredictable universe, where no one knows when some bad event may happen always in fear. It can be war or some form attack....

Dont you feel a peaceful and predictable universe is better???

By-the-way have a look at my essay A properly deciding, Computing and Predicting new theory’s Philosophy in your perspective please

Best

=snp

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Author nancy walters replied on May. 19, 2020 @ 02:51 GMT
Hi, I agree with you in that a predictable universe is safer. I do look at weather reports often. I'm very grateful to know if it will rain tomorrow, or to know if an astroid is heading our way, or to know if a tsunami is heading our way. Predictability is valued.

However my point is that it is not absolute. Predictability is based on probability. A 40% chance of rain tomorrow tells you the odds are it will not rain. But it could. Our universe is predictable to a point. But it's that point that keeps it from being predictable, computable and decided. There is always an unknown factor that can disrupt the system.

cc walters

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on May. 19, 2020 @ 07:47 GMT
Dear Nancy walters,

Thank you for your nice reply here as well as on my essay. Please readmy reply there. There i touched both of your points of view there and here

Hope you will rate my essay too...

Best

=snp

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Luca Valeri wrote on Apr. 27, 2020 @ 18:25 GMT
Dear C.C Walters

I totally agree with you. I would never like to live in a predictable universe. Must be a horror.

And yet, the laws we know are more or less deterministic. Not everything can happen in the universe. There are some boundary given by the laws of nature. It is puzzling, why there is so much unpredictability in our live despite the laws. Complexity, not knowing the initial conditions, quantum randomness, all these answers seems not really satisfactory.

So how comes so much is unpredictable having deterministic laws? Or vice versa how are laws possible, if the is so much unpredictability around?

Best

Luca

Please visit my essay

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Lachlan Cresswell wrote on Apr. 28, 2020 @ 13:19 GMT
Dear Nancy,

I enjoyed your short essay and agree with you.

I do not like the idea of a deterministic universe, and I argue in my essay “Wandering towards a ‘Theory of Everything’, that it is free will that makes the difference. I also discuss presentism, which you also touch on.

Good luck with your essay.

Lockie

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Yutaka Shikano wrote on May. 4, 2020 @ 16:41 GMT
Dear Nancy,

You wrote "Unpredictability is the essence of life.". Is there any scientific evidence? I think that more supportive evidences are needed for the support to your essay or standpoint.

Best wishes,

Yutaka

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John Joseph Vastola wrote on May. 5, 2020 @ 18:54 GMT
Nice essay, C.C.! I think you make an excellent point with just a few simple words: "Who would have it any other way?"

The fact that there is some balance between predictability (the Sun rises and sets every day, the seasons come and go at regular intervals, rocks don't just spontaneously turn into elephants) and unpredictability (you never quite know where life will take you next, and you can't exactly predict what other people will think or do) is precisely what makes life tolerable, in my view. Would you really want to know the future if all your future actions were predetermined, and there was nothing you could do to change them? I wouldn't. Life is better with the uncertainty of tomorrow.

In a way, I guess, it's nice that the conclusion of lots of high-minded sciency arguments matches the common sense view that we can't exactly know what tomorrow holds.

John

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Michael muteru wrote on May. 6, 2020 @ 08:50 GMT
Dear Nancy.very elaborate essay,rated you highly for a start. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.Does selection bias have a role in our understanding of the universe at all scales ?please read/ rate here https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3525.Thanks.All the best in the contest.

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sherman loran jenkins wrote on May. 14, 2020 @ 16:09 GMT
Nancy, A new era dawns.  Old questions become quaint and historical.  Is the whole community ready?  Or is physical reality too dangerous for our collective understanding at this time? 

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Pavel Vadimovich Poluian wrote on May. 15, 2020 @ 05:16 GMT
Dear C.C. Walters!

We think your essay is great! We chose 10 points for it.

Truly yours,

Pavel Poluian and Dmitry Lichargin,

Siberian Federal University.

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