sam-ghandchi Frank Wilczek: Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality
Sam Ghandchi

فرانک ویلچک: اصول: ده کلید به واقعیت

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A few days ago I read a new book by Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, entitled 'Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality.' He says what he proposes is not religious fundamentals and refers to himself as a 'born-again,' but not 'a born-again Christian!' I could care less about all these labels, one way or the other. Basically the book has some interesting information about GPS and also about the universe at the macro and micro scale and even discusses biology too whether the biology on Earth or what could well be found elsewhere in the universe. He reviews the history of science from Newton's time; but does not mention the famous fight of Newton and Leibniz that became like a national war between UK and France at the time, he actually does not mention European rationalists at all, whether Descartes whose name is not mentioned by Frank Wilczek not even once in the book, nor does he mention Spinoza who was a contemporary of Leibniz and the name of Leibniz is not mentioned even once in the book either, although Newton is the center of historical discussions of the book! For Leibniz's ideas that may be interesting with regards to this discussion, readers may want to consult a paper I published years ago entitled 'Leibniz's Monads and Javadi's CPH.' Actually Frank Wilczek tries to discuss 'Why' questions in science, and as we know, science of the last three centuries focused on 'how' questions and not 'why' questions! But as discussed in my recent book 'A Walnut under the Microscope: Science, Religion, Philosophy and Change,' the 'why' questions as addressed in our times by physicists like Ivo van Vulpen, open a new way of looking at everything in the world, whereas in view of this author, what Frank Wilczek offers is basically what the stoics and mystics including Persian Sufism have offered over the centuries. In fact, European rationalism, by rejecting 'Final Cause' in Aristotelian four causes, which was done by Spinoza, who reduced Final Causes to Efficient Causes, made huge advances in the last three centuries, whereas Persian thought suffered because of the opposite outlook when Sufism epitomized a view where Final Causes in Aristotelian philosophy were thought to be primary and derived all else from it! The following passage is from Spinoza's Ethics and may be interesting to read today again after more than 300 years:


"If a stone falls from the roof on somebody's head and kills him, by this method of arguing, they will prove that the stone fell in order to kill the man; for if it had not fallen for this purpose by the will of God, how could so many circumstances (and there are often many coinciding circumstances) have chanced to concur? Perhaps you will reply that the event occurred because the wind was blowing and the man was walking that way. But they will persist in asking why the wind blew...And so they will go on and on asking the causes of causes until you take refuge in the will of God -- that is, the sanctuary of ignorance. [Spinoza, Baruch, Ethics, Part I, Appendix, E&SL, P.60]"


I should note that I do not agree with Spinoza's Fatalistic Necessity either, which was the result of limitations of understanding Time in the science of his era, as discussed in the past, and I support Karl Popper's notion of Indeterministic Universe as discussed by Karl Popper in a book by the same name which is rarely read. Nonetheless, just like Spinoza, I am not an atheist and have written my views about what is referred to as 'God,' long time ago in a paper entitled 'The God and Us!


Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi
January 18, 2021
















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