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Our team has been working since the 1980's when Wallace H Provost Jr, released the first "Open Textbook" and started the Open Courseware revolution.
Professor Wally was the first volunteer professor and co founder of Free Open University where techniques for effective massively scalable education were perfected.
By Wallace Provost.
I am a philosopher. Therefore I have no private access to knowledge. While reasoning must begins with knowledge, that knowledge must always be derived from something other than reasoning. Since I was trained in the philosophy of science, I turned to those who are committed to the scientific method for the knowledge I have applied my reasoning power to. Within the papers provided on this site you will find hundreds of references to over a hundred scientists, sociologists, and philosophers that I turned to for the facts I was using. Again, reasoning must begin with knowledge. To paraphrase Aristotle, valid reasoning from known facts results in a demonstration of the wisdom behind the bare facts and that is what I call understanding.
I have already explained my position on science and knowledge in the most successful of my published papers, "Science as Paradigmatic complexity." If you have questions I refer you to that paper which is available on this site. However, though I have spent the last forty years, half of my lifetime, developing what you find here, I have become painfully aware that not all wisdom can be found through science alone.
The work you find here leads to the conclusion that there are two forces that have led to the ultimate emergence of everything that exists in the universe. Evolution, or the tendency of open systems to organize complexly, and Entropy, the tendency of closed systems to lose organization. Through the first anything that is possible to exist will have an opportunity to. The second guarantees that nothing will last forever.
I would be happy to debate the papers that lead to this conclusion here openly. But what I need help for at this point is finding the answer to a conundrum this conclusion has brought up. While everything that is, that has been, and that will be can be developed through these two forces alone, all that says is that the universe is both rational and natural. But there are some things that can exist that should not.
When I was a boy my grandfather raised Dahlias. At first he also raised bees but then he did away with those and would tent and cross pollinate the blooms himself. He had about a three acre lot on the corner of North and James streets dedicated to this project and I can remember traffic on North Street slowing to a walk when they were in bloom. No one was allowed to pick the flowers. Once his brother cut some and brought them to the Eastern States Exposition where they took all the blue ribbons. My grandfather was angry. He threw the ribbons in the trash
My grandfather did nothing unnatural; he did not change the rules of evolution and entropy. But his work, his caring, made a very great difference in the flower garden. If there is some force that makes a difference between what could have been and what was, what can be and what will be. Outside the actions of man himself, that is, we should be able to find empirical evidence for this force. Since Science seems to have failed me I am asking for the readers of this page to look into their own experiences and tell me of their experiences of when their world was changed by outside forces, no matter where they came from. Post them here where we can all think about them.
William James, one of my favorite Philosophers and one of the greatest American Philosophers, was a strong advocate of hard determinism derived from his background in science. He was also strongly religious. He said that inspite of the hard deterministic sense of the universe there had to be what he called a "loose fit." "Freedom and the Burden of Responsibility" examines the structure of the universe from the point of view of "Complex Organization." In doing so it shows while the laws of the universe are absolutely deterministic, the sense of the universe is not. The future of the universe is determined as much by what can be as is it by what must be. AS such it may not be the outcome of blind physical forces. What do you think? Let me know.