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jlar16
April 16th, 2008, 07:11 AM
math...

I find it amazing how much credence and legitimacy that we give to the science of mathematics...Sure math has given us alot of things (nuclear fission, flight, electron microscopes, etc)..but how much effect does it have on humans and human behavior specifically? The only real effect of math is to give us results of elections and statistical analysis in opinion polls. Other than statistics, mathematics is not very important. It cannot deal with ambiguities, complex interactive systems and instabilities. There is also a problem of translations. Math cannot translate happiness for instance. Shifting relationships cannot be calculated. Math's solution to this problem is to deal with probabilities instead of finding absolute precision.

Descartes (who invented Cartesian coordinates) was once told the story of how Archimedes was said to use the rays of the sun to set fire to Roman warships. Since Descartes was a mathematician he worked out that this would require a concave mirror with a large diameter. Since this was clearly beyond the technical skills of that time it seemed to him that the story was not true and just a myth. Fifty years later a rich Frenchman carried out the experiment successfully using bronze shields....so the mathematics of Descartes were correct but the assumptions and starting knowledge weren't.

Mathematics creates models of how we think that the world works. Econometric models are believed to predict the future outcomes of economic activity. The problem is that these models take into account only our current assumptions and perceptions. Past increases in interests rates might have a different effect than future increases and so on...This means that since our mathematical models are tied to current assumptions they must be valueless.

There is not way to translate human affairs into the certainty of mathematics...therefore all math is just a fabrication and is ultimately useless and pointless.

sudikics
April 16th, 2008, 12:15 PM
There is not way to translate human affairs into the certainty of mathematics...therefore all math is just a fabrication and is ultimately useless and pointless.
That's quite a large declaration, jlar, and I don't agree in the slightest. Take logic: we use it to determine when to leave for work, who killed the victim, which phone plan to use, if someone is lying or not....

The list goes on. Also, don't forget that math is a broad topic, covering Riemannian landscapes (which most likely have no use in the everyday world) to counting, which is used every day.

jlar, if math is so useless, I challange you to stop using any form of math for one day. None. No logic, no counting, no nothing. In other words....

jlar, I challange you to spend a day...as an avid Young Earth Creationist. :icon_lol:

bouchie
April 16th, 2008, 02:17 PM
I think there is a middle ground here for jlar and scikidus.

jlar: math is important for everyday life. You use math to figure out how much money to give ($20>$16.99), to count and to figure how much gas you have left in your car. The calculations aren't always precise, but they don't have to be. We use mathematical principles for everyday affairs.

The example involving Descartes illustrates a fact of life: there's mathematical theory and then there's human will.

This is where I address scikidus. Math cannot describe humanity to its fullest extent. Logic and math can be used to some extent to describe us, but in the end, since mathematics requires some degree of confidence, it will never describe us to the fullest because there are just too many unknowns. Psychology is attempting to explain us and it is providing valuable insight.

[jlar16=quote]There is not way to translate human affairs into the certainty of mathematics...therefore all math is just a fabrication and is ultimately useless and pointless.[/quote] Now there's a non-sequitor. Mathematics may not be able to comprehend human affairs, but it does not follow from that math is a fabrication. It is required for us to understand the word - a a priori structure in Kantian terms. Otherwise, how would we understand something as simple as plularity. Moving up in complexity, how would we have created the wheel? It's a geometric figure.

Math is involved at all times - however, we don't always use formulas.

can someone convert centimeters into lightyears? :icon_razz: That's a really small number isn't?

sudikics
April 16th, 2008, 02:28 PM
can someone convert centimeters into lightyears? :icon_razz:
Google can. (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=1+centimeter+in+light+years)
This is where I address scikidus. Math cannot describe humanity to its fullest extent. Logic and math can be used to some extent to describe us, but in the end, since mathematics requires some degree of confidence, it will never describe us to the fullest because there are just too many unknowns. Psychology is attempting to explain us and it is providing valuable insight.
You're right. Math cannot descirbe humanity fully. But
1. it cannot not describe parts of humanity, and
2. it isn't useless,
as jlar inferred.[/quote]

bouchie
April 16th, 2008, 02:34 PM
You're right. Math cannot descirbe humanity fully. But
1. it cannot not describe parts of humanity, and
2. it isn't useless,
as jlar inferred.

I agree with you on both points. I thought I made that clear before...oh well.

And don't forget folks: math is also in music. It doesn't involve calculus, but knowing some math helps with acoustics and remembering what chord should be played next.

jlar16
April 17th, 2008, 02:07 AM
I still stand by my originally quote and I don’t think that it is being properly answered.
Originally Said by jlar16
There is no way to translate human affairs into the certainty of mathematics...therefore all math is just a fabrication and is ultimately useless and pointless.

Math is a constructed system, it has its own real truths. However we cannot take these truths to apply to all aspects of humanity. Also I think that the field of mathematics is digressing. Specialization is increase and this means compartmentalization. There is a growing inability to look across all fields of mathematics as a result and this is one fault of the current system. The other fault of math IMO is the fault in translation. Like I said we can’t translate “justice” or happiness into symbols suitable to mathematics. What about relationships that constantly shift?...we can’t define shifting relationships because math requires precision.
Another thing math cannot help us with is the principle of synchronicity (see Jungian psychology). How do we calculate acasual combination of events? Nature acts independently of our own laws. While Kammerer tried to formulate a mathematical theorem for this phenomenon (law of seriality) he ultimately failed. He saw the problems of applying mathematics to this in the end never attempted a quantitative evaluation of seriality.

Also, even if our math is sound, if our starting assumptions are not than we will arrive at the wrong answer.

skikidus:
Take logic: we use it to determine when to leave for work, who killed the victim, which phone plan to use, if someone is lying or not....

Logic does have a place but there are also a lot of shortcomings…see my thread on Google as Zero-Hold. Also we are talking about mathematics specifically, not logic in general.

skikidus:
The list goes on. Also, don't forget that math is a broad topic, covering Riemannian landscapes (which most likely have no use in the everyday world) to counting, which is used every day.

look, I am not saying “let’s do away with math”..I just think that it gets a little bit too much credit and humans rely on it a little bit too much. Math seems to hold the answers to everything, everything that it cannot answer is swept under the carpet never to be understood because by trying to understand it we would shatter the artificial truths that we have already created…and this scares us. So my argument that math has little direct effect on human affairs is still correct because of the difficulty of translation and because of the limited nature of math.

skikidus
jlar, if math is so useless, I challange you to stop using any form of math for one day. None. No logic, no counting, no nothing. In other words....
my brain doesn’t use math every day because mathematical theories are artificial concepts. It calculates according to the principles of nature. Logic does not equal math. Math is a subset of logic.

skikidus
jlar, I challange you to spend a day...as an avid Young Earth Creationist.

I might try this one…

bouchie:
jlar: math is important for everyday life. You use math to figure out how much money to give ($20>$16.99), to count and to figure how much gas you have left in your car. The calculations aren't always precise, but they don't have to be. We use mathematical principles for everyday affairs.

I am talking about human affairs like happiness…not using money at the grocery store. Money is an artificial concept that falls under the purview of mathematics by necessity. This is how the economy runs. It isn’t “good” or “bad” and I am not saying that adding up grocery prices is a bad thing. I am just saying that we over-rely on math in other areas. I do agree though that there is a middle way.

bouchie:
The example involving Descartes illustrates a fact of life: there's mathematical theory and then there's human will.
Not sure how you are applying this example…but I told that story to illustrate that even though our mathematical theories might be 100% right they will fail unless starting assumptions, concepts, and knowledge are correct.

bouchie
Now there's a non-sequitor. Mathematics may not be able to comprehend human affairs, but it does not follow from that math is a fabrication. It is required for us to understand the word - a a priori structure in Kantian terms. Otherwise, how would we understand something as simple as plularity. Moving up in complexity, how would we have created the wheel? It's a geometric figure.
My problem with math is that it now has become a solidified structural framework. In ancient days new theories were being submitted all of the time and understanding of math could radically change from year to year as new insights were discovered. We have now become locked in our current framework of mathematical laws that new insights cannot be discovered. For instance synchronicity is dismissed by this logic even though it can be verified. How can we move up in complexity when the theorems of math are so rigid? How do we discover new geometric figures that were first explored by alchemists of old in their search of soul-matter?

Math is involved at all times - however, we don't always use formulas.

There is not good, there is no evil…but we must not put all of our progress chips in the mathematics pile. Remember that until the development of chaos theory math could only deal with linear systems and only a few special cases of non-linear ones.

tagnostic:
I don't want math
to apply to human behaviour
(it would take the fun out of it)
I have written before about the evolution of language and how eventually we will get rid of ordinary language. Perhaps in the future instead of using words like “happiness”we might be measuring the chemical changes in our bodies….but even if we could do this the interaction between consciousness and body chemicals would be extremely complicated…

sudikics
April 17th, 2008, 02:42 AM
I still stand by my originally quote and I don’t think that it is being properly answered.
And we will stand by our points.
Math is a constructed system, it has its own real truths.
Yes.
However we cannot take these truths to apply to all aspects of humanity.
Never said they could. But that doesn't make math totally useless.
Also I think that the field of mathematics is digressing.
Er, OK. Thanks for sharing.
Specialization is increase and this means compartmentalization. There is a growing inability to look across all fields of mathematics as a result and this is one fault of the current system.
We're talking about if math ca be applied to humanity. This has no relevance. Again, thanks for sharing. Do you intend to propose a better system than math? :icon_lol:
The other fault of math IMO is the fault in translation. Like I said we can’t translate “justice” or happiness into symbols suitable to mathematics. What? Huh? No one's trying to translate justice into math. And if anyone is, tey might as well translate justice into modeling clay.
What about relationships that constantly shift?...we can’t define shifting relationships because math requires precision.
Another thing math cannot help us with is the principle of synchronicity (see Jungian psychology). How do we calculate acasual combination of events? Nature acts independently of our own laws. While Kammerer tried to formulate a mathematical theorem for this phenomenon (law of seriality) he ultimately failed. He saw the problems of applying mathematics to this in the end never attempted a quantitative evaluation of seriality.
Oh, I see. You're trying to give examples of where math doesn't apply.

Maht doesn't apply. you're right. Math cannot fully explain humans. But that does not render math useless, as you seemed to be stating in your first post.
Also, even if our math is sound, if our starting assumptions are not than we will arrive at the wrong answer.
Same with everything else.
Logic does have a place but there are also a lot of shortcomings…see my thread on Google as Zero-Hold. Also we are talking about mathematics specifically, not logic in general.
Logic is a subset of mathematics.
look, I am not saying “let’s do away with math”.
Well it certainly sounded like that.
I just think that it gets a little bit too much credit and humans rely on it a little bit too much.
Why? What's so bad about using math?
Math seems to hold the answers to everything,
Well, a lot of things. Try using it sometimes.
everything that it cannot answer is swept under the carpet never to be understood because by trying to understand it we would shatter the artificial truths that we have already created…
What? Where do you get this stuff? We keep working on it.
and this scares us.
Speak for yourself.
So my argument that math has little direct effect on human affairs is still correct because of the difficulty of translation and because of the limited nature of math.
Nope. Not at all. Should I go to the movie, even though my parents told me not to do so? Tryi figuring that out, WITHOUT logic.
my brain doesn’t use math every day because mathematical theories are artificial concepts.
Do you what time it is when you have to go to work? Do you make any decisions during the day?
It calculates according to the principles of nature. Logic does not equal math. Math is a subset of logic.
NO. Logic is a subset of math.
I might try this one…
Try drooling, it helps. :icon_lol:
I am talking about human affairs like happiness…not using money at the grocery store. Money is an artificial concept that falls under the purview of mathematics by necessity. This is how the economy runs. It isn’t “good” or “bad” and I am not saying that adding up grocery prices is a bad thing. I am just saying that we over-rely on math in other areas. I do agree though that there is a middle way.
Then stop generalizing to include all human activity.
Not sure how you are applying this example…but I told that story to illustrate that even though our mathematical theories might be 100% right they will fail unless starting assumptions, concepts, and knowledge are correct.

My problem with math is that it now has become a solidified structural framework. In ancient days new theories were being submitted all of the time and understanding of math could radically change from year to year as new insights were discovered. We have now become locked in our current framework of mathematical laws that new insights cannot be discovered. For instance synchronicity is dismissed by this logic even though it can be verified. How can we move up in complexity when the theorems of math are so rigid? How do we discover new geometric figures that were first explored by alchemists of old in their search of soul-matter?

Math is involved at all times - however, we don't always use formulas.

There is not good, there is no evil…but we must not put all of our progress chips in the mathematics pile. Remember that until the development of chaos theory math could only deal with linear systems and only a few special cases of non-linear ones.


I have written before about the evolution of language and how eventually we will get rid of ordinary language. Perhaps in the future instead of using words like “happiness”we might be measuring the chemical changes in our bodies….but even if we could do this the interaction between consciousness and body chemicals would be extremely complicated…
I won't answer the rest. Basically, you need to review your understanding of what math is, jlar, and what constitutes usefulness.

jlar16
April 17th, 2008, 03:50 AM
now this is a post that doesn't deserve a response...

but dude seriously, try reading my post.

Did I say we should get rid of math? No.
but we must not put all of our progress chips in the mathematics pile.

did I say it was bad? No.
It isn’t “good” or “bad” and I am not saying that adding up grocery prices is a bad thing. I am just saying that we over-rely on math in other areas.

Am I going to invent a new field of logic to replace math? No.

said by skikidus:
Basically, you need to review your understanding of what math is, jlar, and what constitutes usefulness
don't be a jackass
I am starting a conversation...if it isn't useful or interesting in your opinion don't respond.

sudikics
April 17th, 2008, 12:38 PM
Alright. First, I'd like to say that I'm sorry. I had a rather stressful day yesterday, this kinda put me over the edge. I stil completely disagree with you, I think math doesn't play a large enough role in society, but I'm all for continuing. Oh, and by the way, you can quote people by writing:
your text here
Which looks like:
your text here
Hope that helps. :)

Perhaps we can pick it up from here:
we must not put all of our progress chips in the mathematics pile. Remember that until the development of chaos theory math could only deal with linear systems and only a few special cases of non-linear ones.
Math cannot be wrong as long as its axioms hold true. Those axioms have been rigorously tested. Math can't let us down. Until, that is, Godel's work starts playing a role, but that's not for a while.

jlar16
April 17th, 2008, 01:20 PM
thanks and don't worry about it. We all have our bad days...
thanks for the posting advice too, that will be helpful...how do I put in the hyperlinks in the quote though?

I will continue the math conversation later, I'm a little tired of answering Wallsy's post.

Be prepared for a meta-criticism of logic and table-topic thinking though. Whether math is a subset of logic or logic a subset a math, they are definitely interconnected.

bouchie
April 17th, 2008, 03:36 PM
Math is a constructed system, it has its own real truths. However we cannot take these truths to apply to all aspects of humanity....The other fault of math IMO is the fault in translation. Like I said we can’t translate “justice” or happiness into symbols suitable to mathematics. What about utilitarianism? Does that not satisfy the translation requirement? Or is it incomplete? If it is incomplete, why do you use it as a framework in the "Shut down Guantanamo" thread?
What about relationships that constantly shift?...we can’t define shifting relationships because math requires precision. On the mathematics requiring precision: statistics works with confidence intervals, "19 out of 20" and imprecision. Statistics is a branch of mathematics that operates under imprecision. Now, before you go saying that this is a branch of math and does not apply to the whole, let me say that your general statement of mathematics requires precision cannot be true if the statement of statistics is true.

Another thing math cannot help us with is the principle of synchronicity (see Jungian psychology). How do we calculate acasual combination of events? Nature acts independently of our own laws. While Kammerer tried to formulate a mathematical theorem for this phenomenon (law of seriality) he ultimately failed. He saw the problems of applying mathematics to this in the end never attempted a quantitative evaluation of seriality. Seeing as I know nothing about the principal of synchronicity, I cannot comment here.

Also, even if our math is sound, if our starting assumptions are not than we will arrive at the wrong answer. Agreed. Think economics :D

Plus, let me explain my human will thing. I may read too much into your example to get this, but somethings mathematics dictates something is impossible, but human will defies that impossibility.

look, I am not saying “let’s do away with math”..I just think that it gets a little bit too much credit and humans rely on it a little bit too much. But you said math is useless and you've also shown that you use a utilitarian framework. If a utilitarian found something to be useless (read: worthless, valueless), then they would discard it. Hence why some people think you are saying 'let's do away with math.'

Math seems to hold the answers to everything, everything that it cannot answer is swept under the carpet never to be understood because by trying to understand it we would shatter the artificial truths that we have already created…and this scares us. Oh my Google! Replace 'math' with 'religion' and you get:

"Religion seems to hold the answers to everything, everything that it cannot answer is swept under the carpet never to be understood because by trying to understand it we would shatter the artificial truths that we have already created…and this scares us." Don't know what this means yet, but man is that scary.

my brain doesn’t use math every day because mathematical theories are artificial concepts. It calculates according to the principles of nature. Can't some of the principles of nature, the ones that affect us daily, be expressed mathematically?

Logic does not equal math. Math is a subset of logic. I'll let you and sciky debate this one, mainly because I'm unsure which of you is right.

Not sure how you are applying this example…but I told that story to illustrate that even though our mathematical theories might be 100% right they will fail unless starting assumptions, concepts, and knowledge are correct. Actually, if you think about, Descartes' math was wrong because he did not factor in the properties of the technology of the time. But, this could be related to the sectioning-off of different types of maths and sciences you mentioned at the beginning and not necessarily.

I have written before about the evolution of language and how eventually we will get rid of ordinary language. Perhaps in the future instead of using words like “happiness”we might be measuring the chemical changes in our bodies….but even if we could do this the interaction between consciousness and body chemicals would be extremely complicated… So we would be using mathematical principles to determine happiness? And in the future? Don't we measure chemical changes in the body now?

sudikics
April 17th, 2008, 03:42 PM
how do I put in the hyperlinks in the quote though?
Er, I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Do you mean the little arrow that leads to the post? In that case, get that posts's 5-digit code (click on the number on the upper-right side of the post and look in the URL) and write:
text
That resembles how I quoted you at the top of this post.

If you want to make text into a hyperlink, highlight the tex and click the little world symbol. Type in the URL address. and you have a link.

jlar16
April 18th, 2008, 05:59 AM
i forfeit this thread, I don't really care about math....CoG is taking too much time recently too..

Wallsy
April 19th, 2008, 07:00 AM
I find it amazing how much credence and legitimacy that we give to the science of mathematics.

Mathematics is not a science.


how much effect does it have on humans and human behavior specifically?

None. Maths is a tool for measuring and representing things, not a cause of anything.


Other than statistics, mathematics is not very important.

Utterly incorrect. Mathematics is an essential part of physics, which is the science of understanding the fundamental underlying principles on which the universe runs.

Further, advances in pure mathematics have led to important discoveries in numerous fields.


It cannot deal with ambiguities, complex interactive systems and instabilities.

Actually, it can.


Descartes (who invented Cartesian coordinates) was once told the story of how Archimedes was said to use the rays of the sun to set fire to Roman warships. Since Descartes was a mathematician he worked out that this would require a concave mirror with a large diameter. Since this was clearly beyond the technical skills of that time it seemed to him that the story was not true and just a myth. Fifty years later a rich Frenchman carried out the experiment successfully using bronze shields....so the mathematics of Descartes were correct but the assumptions and starting knowledge weren't.

And if you try to work out 5+5 on a calculator but accidentally hit × instead of plus it'll say 25, not 10, but the calculator still gave the correct answer to the question it was asked. You can't expect to ask the wrong question and get the right answer, no matter how you're attempting to answer it.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." - Charles Babbage.


This means that since our mathematical models are tied to current assumptions they must be valueless.

No, it means that they can't be entirely accurate. They can still give useful information.


There is not way to translate human affairs into the certainty of mathematics...therefore all math is just a fabrication and is ultimately useless and pointless.

Conclusions must logically follow from premises. Try to keep that in mind, please.


Nature acts independently of our own laws.

Scientific "laws" are not rules, they're descriptions of observed behaviour. Things don't fall down because of the law of gravity, the law of gravity is a description of the process that causes things to fall.


see my thread on Google as Zero-Hold.

The thread in which you quoted something and in doing so showed your own inability to grasp the concept it was trying to convey…


Math seems to hold the answers to everything, everything that it cannot answer is swept under the carpet never to be understood because by trying to understand it we would shatter the artificial truths that we have already created…

Er, no. Mathematics doesn't explain anything any more than a ruler or a set of scales explains anything. It's just a tool used to measure, represent and predict. It doesn't do anything in itself, it's all in how it's used.


my brain doesn’t use math every day because mathematical theories are artificial concepts. It calculates according to the principles of nature.

Your barin doesn't work because of mathematics any more than things fall down because of the theory of gravity, but mathematics can be used to describe the way in which your brain works.


In ancient days new theories were being submitted all of the time and understanding of math could radically change from year to year as new insights were discovered. We have now become locked in our current framework of mathematical laws that new insights cannot be discovered.

This is entirely incorrect. A friend of mine is studying pure maths and is currently working on solving an as-yet unsolved problem. This is happening all over the world and is producing advances in every field of science.


Remember that until the development of chaos theory math could only deal with linear systems and only a few special cases of non-linear ones.

You're underming your own point by giving evidence of advances in mathematics making it a more useful tool over time.


CoG is taking too much time recently too..

Try being more concise and repeating yourself less.


Wallsy.

Tsar Phalanxia
April 19th, 2008, 02:10 PM
Bloody Hell! There's a Math thread!
Math is the true universal language. Wherever you go on the planet, nay, the universe, 1+1=2. Y=X^2 is a trough. In that sense, it is far more universal than Esperanto, Brainfuck or Music.

Iconoclast
May 6th, 2008, 12:32 PM
I joined the CoG yesterday, and did not yet have the time to read all the posts you piled in here since 2 years. I skimmed through the hate mails sections and had a good insight ( and a good laught :D ) of how engaged you are at shattering dusty unquestionned reglious crap and induce people to think on their own.
I then skipped directly to this section, and eventually read this thread to find out that some of you are having the same blind faith into mathematics as the zealous guys of the hatemails section have into their religion.

I personnaly quite agree with jlar16's questionning concerning the Worth and Significance of mathematics on Humanity. I agree, as you highlight, that mathematics do apply at our local human scale which is kind of normal as they were developped by human to serve our purpose and to back up our local physical theories ( which, we already now, fail to scale ). But we have no proof that mathematics do apply at a global scale. The current whole corpus of mathematics could as well be completely flawed, reveal incapable to follow ( or even hinder ) the evolution of physics, and finally stands as nothing more than a locally acceptable approximation of the essence of things.


Math cannot be wrong as long as its axioms hold true. Those axioms have been rigorously tested. Math can't let us down. Until, that is, Godel's work starts playing a role, but that's not for a while.

That sounds to me like saying Christianism cannot be wrong as long as it follows the holy words of God that lie in the Bible. The Bible authenticity have been rigorously established. Apocryph gospels start playing a role, but that's not for a while ( so let's put them back under the carpet! ).
But maybe the bible is not anymore fit to our level of knowledge. And maybe the set of axioms we are using is somehow inapropriate. What if the simple idea that there should be a finite set of underlying axioms was a complete illusion?

In one hand, human likes symbolic and discrete stuff, we are basing most of our calculations on a discrete set of symbolic items, the intetegers, that relates to each other by the mean of a couple of basic operations, which results in an infinite emmental cheese, with prime numbers appearing like close-to-random holes where smaller factors failed to generate a number to stuff the space. We have clear, understandable-by-a-6-year-old rules to tell where there is going be cheese, but no clear and easily computable rule to be sure of where there isn't gonna be... That really sucks!
Most people are incapable to think of integers in a base other than 10, solely because we happen to have 10 fingers.. Mathematics would probably be very different if humans were born with a random number of fingers...

On the other hand, we rely on magical-voodoo-charm-constants such as Pi or Euler's constant, that happen to be singular numbers the odd shape of which we just cannot explain, but we don't really bother about that either..

I really don't have the feeling current mathematics is something very much representative of the Essence of Things.. I don't want to believe the Essence of Things is such a disapointing heterogeneous patchwork full of holes with major pieces holding to each other by one mere very much unlikely thread, and that only a few bald veteran mathematicians can pretend to understand fully :icon_confused:

Thankfully, the Great and Allmighty Google is not far, and there will come a time where She will play a central role to clean the mess.

Iconoclast ( waiting for maths.google.com )

sudikics
May 6th, 2008, 12:35 PM
That sounds to me like saying Christianism cannot be wrong as long as it follows the holy words of God that lie in the Bible. The Bible authenticity have been rigorously established. Apocryph gospels start playing a role, but that's not for a while ( so let's put them back under the carpet! ).
But maybe the bible is not anymore fit to our level of knowledge. And maybe the set of axioms we are using is somehow inapropriate. What if the simple idea that there should be a finite set of underlying axioms was a complete illusion?
Christianity is completely true, as long as your axioms are that the Bible is 100% true and that it is he word of God.

Under more reasonable axioms, involving logic, reason, scientific method, we come to the conclusion that Christianity is bullshit.

But uncer their axioms, it is 100% correct.

Dr Goofy Mofo
May 6th, 2008, 01:20 PM
You could have made your point in a line or 2.. because days like this are offtened ruined with to many words! Yes, you are correct I blind faith in math may be wrong but math is mostly theory or scientifically proven. I have a blind faith in nothing but rubber duckies who fly!

tagnostic
May 6th, 2008, 03:46 PM
welcome to the CoG

you jump right in,
hehehe

nobody was saying
'math' is the only way of describing/modeling the universe
it is a convenient method to use in a hell of alot of situations
which doesn't preclude/exclude other 'languages' to do the same
emotion, the 5 (normally recognized) senses, vocal language/expression
the list goes on
but you cannot dismiss math out of hand
it is the best we've got at the moment
if you have a better alternative
show me the way

big fun

welcome again
:D

Iconoclast
May 6th, 2008, 04:14 PM
Christianity is completely true, as long as your axioms are that the Bible is 100% true and that it is he word of God.

Under more reasonable axioms, involving logic, reason, scientific method, we come to the conclusion that Christianity is bullshit.

But uncer their axioms, it is 100% correct.

Failing to prove that an assertion is true does not prove the assertion false.
The fact that Bible is not a proof that Christianity is the right path does not make you in any better position to prove your claim that christianity is bullshit.
The same "reasonable" axioms, plus statistics about actual human beliefs, : the probability you be right over 1 billion humans, would give you very unlikely right about Christianity being plain bullshit, and I guess even Google would sort your claim as irrelevant.

But anyway, the question was not about Christianity but about mathematics. I took this example as your reasoning is in no way different from the reasoning of believers defending their religion. You take the fact it is correct as a working hypothesis, which leads you into circular logic.

bouchie
May 6th, 2008, 06:13 PM
Failing to prove that an assertion is true does not prove the assertion false.
The fact that Bible is not a proof that Christianity is the right path does not make you in any better position to prove your claim that christianity is bullshit. Let's see...if we look at Christianity from the organized perspective: Christianity is based on the Bible (word of God, Jesus in written form). The Bible is full of contradictions and myth, which pretty much makes it bullshit (if not an outright fiction). If the foundation crumbles, the tower will fall. So, the Bible is bullshit, therefore, Christianity is bullshit. I'd say sciky is in a good position to say Christianity is bullshit.

Now, if you want to go with selective teachings of the Bible (ignoring the ones like 'homosexuality is evil' and only listening to 'love thy neighbor'), then it would make it harder to say that Christianity is bullshit. However, at this point you are no longer basing your path on the whole Bible, therefore, not coming to grips with the whole of Christianity (the good and the bad). In that case, is it the path of Christianity you follow, or the one you make?

The same "reasonable" axioms, plus statistics about actual human beliefs, : the probability you be right over 1 billion humans, would give you very unlikely right about Christianity being plain bullshit, and I guess even Google would sort your claim as irrelevant. Why does this sound like the fallacy ad populace? (sp?)

But anyway, the question was not about Christianity but about mathematics. I took this example as your reasoning is in no way different from the reasoning of believers defending their religion. You take the fact it is correct as a working hypothesis, which leads you into circular logic. So far, the axioms (foundations) of mathematics have been demonstrated time and time again to be true. Some are even tautological. The foundations of Christianity (the Bible) has shown several contradictions in itself and through scientific and historical evidence. The difference: mathematicians have proof, Christians don't. Now, the ultimate claim of Christians (there is a God), has yet to be disproven. However, the evidence that they present doesn't not help their case, so it's understandable that we are skeptical. Mathematicians on the other hand have solid proof about the veracity of their axioms and their views on the nature of things, therefore, we listen to them. And if any new proof comes along to suggest that the old axioms are wrong, then we adapt to it.

Btw, jlar's main point before was the translation problem. He felt that math was being used to calculate things such as justice and happiness. Which is kind of ironic because he appeared to be a utilitarian. Anyway, he thought mathematics was trying to quantify something that it shouldn't or even can't. I agree with him on this one, however, I don't know any mathematician who believes this can truly be done.

sudikics
May 6th, 2008, 07:56 PM
You could have made your point in a line or 2.. because days like this are offtened ruined with to many words! Yes, you are correct I blind faith in math may be wrong but math is mostly theory or scientifically proven. I have a blind faith in nothing but rubber duckies who fly!
You do not have blind faith in math. You have blind faith in math's axioms. And that isn't even really blind faith, because we have a lot of evidence that they are correct.
Failing to prove that an assertion is true does not prove the assertion false.
The fact that Bible is not a proof that Christianity is the right path does not make you in any better position to prove your claim that christianity is bullshit.
The same "reasonable" axioms, plus statistics about actual human beliefs, : the probability you be right over 1 billion humans, would give you very unlikely right about Christianity being plain bullshit, and I guess even Google would sort your claim as irrelevant.
Er, no. That would be true, assuming that all notions are created equally. The only source for Christianity is the Bible. If your axiom is that the Bible is true, it follows that Christianity is correct. If that isn't your axiom, then you should side with the side with far more evidence that isnb't based on one contradictory book.
But anyway, the question was not about Christianity but about mathematics. I took this example as your reasoning is in no way different from the reasoning of believers defending their religion. You take the fact it is correct as a working hypothesis, which leads you into circular logic.
I never took sides. I said that with certain axioms, you get one thing, with other axioms, you get something else.

If my axiom is that I am always right, then I say that tunas are now to be shaped like boxes.
However, they don't seem to be shaped like that. Oh well.

Iconoclast
May 7th, 2008, 04:30 PM
Let's see...if we look at Christianity from the organized perspective: Christianity is based on the Bible (word of God, Jesus in written form).

First your starting hypothesis are false.

"Christianity is based on Bible" => No, Christianity is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ, that were transmitted partly as an oral tradition, partly as a set of third-party-only writings that are nowadays known as "new testament".

What we call the Bible, it is the collection of both the texts of the "old testament" which belong to Judaism, and the "new testament" which belong to Christianism.
Old testament has very little to do with actual christianism but rather is a batch of old stories, legends, moral laws, engineering stuff, health recommandations... There is no evidence that the persons who gathered these texts put any wisdom into trying to tell appart the real dogma from the tales or even from the unrelated stuff. Most christian do not put much credit into this part of the Bible.
As of the new testament, it is a mere and incomplete reflect of the teaching of Jesus Christ, greatly distorted by time and by the subjectivity and partial understanding of the evangelists. Do you think Eistein's relativity theories would be looking that cristal-clear nowadays if he had taught it two thousand years ago to a handful of backwarded farmers? No doubt Christ taught them the absolute minimum there is to know, and his followers robbed it in tons of candy-like marvellous stories to help it stick until today... That was clever, and it worked!
As a result, Bible and Christianity have a common core subset which is the teaching of Christ. But it is a complete mistake to think they equiv. diamonds can be found in the most crude kind of ore, but that does not mean that crude ore equivs to diamonds...

"Jesus in written form" => Wha! God serialiazation? Biblic prose is was the (verbose) ancester of XML...

The Bible is full of contradictions and myth, which pretty much makes it bullshit (if not an outright fiction).
Ok, with all due respect to the moving and precious cultural legacy there is in it, I agree with the fact a lot of it is pure condractions and myths eligible to be called "bullshit" by someone who does hold the same respect as I do to ancient things.

If the foundation crumbles, the tower will fall. So, the Bible is bullshit, therefore, Christianity is bullshit. I'd say sciky is in a good position to say Christianity is bullshit.

What a beautiful example of sophism...
Even if taking the ( unproven ) hypothesis that "Bible is complete bulshit" holds true,
the reasonning in "Bible belongs to Christianity, Bible is bulshit, so Christianity is bulshit"
is the same as in "A cat is a mamal, a dog is not a cat, so dogs are not mamals... "

The very same can be told about Mathematics in fact..
Arithmetic belongs to mathematics, there are breaches in the completeness of arithmetic as proven by Godel, so the foundations are not sound, the tower will fall, therefore Arithmetic is bullshit, so Mathematics are bullshit.

I understand you guys are taking it seriously to make a realistic parody of other religions, and that Sophism used to be a very common kind of reasonning used by religions to deceive the fools, but please update a bit. No serious Christian in our century is using that anymore, nor believing God is big beardy guy sitting in the sky, and making creatures with clay ;)
Beware not to look more backwarded than the believers you mock...

Now, if you want to go with selective teachings of the Bible (ignoring the ones like 'homosexuality is evil' and only listening to 'love thy neighbor'), then it would make it harder to say that Christianity is bullshit. However, at this point you are no longer basing your path on the whole Bible, therefore, not coming to grips with the whole of Christianity (the good and the bad). In that case, is it the path of Christianity you follow, or the one you make?
This confirms that you are confusing "Christianity" with "The trend among activist Christians of following blindly every detail of the Bible". The apostles were the first christians, but they did not have the Bible. They had the original version of the Christ in stereo. Being Christian is a matter of intuitive understanding and having faith in the underlying principle.
Being incapable to tell the message from the noise is not being Christian, it calls behing stupid!

bouchie
May 7th, 2008, 05:30 PM
First your starting hypothesis are false. Depends on who I'm arguing with. ;)

"Christianity is based on Bible" => No, Christianity is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ, that were transmitted partly as an oral tradition, partly as a set of third-party-only writings that are nowadays known as "new testament". Aren't most of those oral teachings now codifed into scrpiture? Granted, I might be susbstituting Catholicism for the whole of Christianity.

No doubt Christ taught them the absolute minimum there is to know, and his followers robbed it in tons of candy-like marvellous stories to help it stick until today... That was clever, and it worked! No way of knowing this. Perhaps he told them the whole truth, it's just that they got confused and interpreted what he said differently. If Jesus was who he was, he wouldn't have lied, even by omission. Besides, what would be considered the minimum?

As a result, Bible and Christianity have a common core subset which is the teaching of Christ. But it is a complete mistake to think they equiv. diamonds can be found in the most crude kind of ore, but that does not mean that crude ore equivs to diamonds... Jut hope those diamonds aren't zirconia (fake diamonds).

Ok, with all due respect to the moving and precious cultural legacy there is in it, I agree with the fact a lot of it is pure condractions and myths eligible to be called "bullshit" by someone who does hold the same respect as I do to ancient things. Hey, we've agreed on something. Let's see what els we can agree on.

What a beautiful example of sophism...
Even if taking the ( unproven ) hypothesis that "Bible is complete bulshit" holds true,
the reasonning in "Bible belongs to Christianity, Bible is bulshit, so Christianity is bulshit"
is the same as in "A cat is a mamal, a dog is not a cat, so dogs are not mamals... " Umm...no, it's not. I'm taking the Bible to be an axiom with Christianity to be the theory based on the axiom. If the axiom is false, so is the theory.

Your example is wrong because you've drawn a general conclusion (dogs are not mammals) from two particular premises (a cat and a dog). Now, the same can be said about my argument, but if you read above, you'll see why that's not the case.

The very same can be told about Mathematics in fact..
Arithmetic belongs to mathematics, there are breaches in the completeness of arithmetic as proven by Godel, so the foundations are not sound, the tower will fall, therefore Arithmetic is bullshit, so Mathematics are bullshit. Not entirely, because 'bullshit' and 'incomplete' mean different things. I see what you're saying and the reasoning is right, just wrong terms. If you want to conclude that 'mathematics is incomplete', then there's no problem. We have another thread about bullshit. Check that one out.

I understand you guys are taking it seriously to make a realistic parody of other religions, and that Sophism used to be a very common kind of reasonning used by religions to deceive the fools, but please update a bit. No serious Christian in our century is using that anymore, nor believing God is big beardy guy sitting in the sky, and making creatures with clay ;) I think there would be some that would argue about the definition of serious Christian.

Being Christian is a matter of intuitive understanding and having faith in the underlying principle.
Being incapable to tell the message from the noise is not being Christian, it calls behing stupid! If you feel that I've given you a hard time, it's not out of disrespect. Especially after that quote.

I don't know the finer details about the history of Christianity and where the teachings came from and what not. Someone like Lord Jereth would know that.

But this debate is about the worth of mathematics. You, Icon, feel that math is...well, if not worthless, at least it should not be on the pedastal that it is. I think math is very useful and quite a beautiful system. However, seeing as human knowledge is far from being complete, we can't say for sure if math is complete or the best system. However, it is the best, working system we have currently.

jlar's whole point was to try to break the mould and get us to think about things differently. However, he fails substantially in that mission, in that he wants us to take his side of the debate. And he wants this so much that he is stubborn in accepting other people's points of views, wheter they be mainstream or some other alternative. Ironically, he is set in breaking the mould.

I think though that you agree with jlar's mission: to break the mould and try to see things differently. I do too, however, I am comfortable with the mathematical system currently in place.

Does it extend into human affairs? It tries to (utility as a measurement of happiness) but it shouldn't and will ultimately fail I believe.

Your quip about being too far backwards was noted. These arguments are usually used against people whom you also criticize. They won't work against you, as you're mind is too open. Well done.

Just do me a favor. Several people have said this to jlar. I'll say it to you: work on the grammar and spelling. Nobody's perfect, I know. But you get my point I hope.

Cheers,

Tsar Phalanxia
May 7th, 2008, 07:18 PM
I've done things like that. I ALWAYS forget how to do the quadratics! >=(

Wallsy
May 8th, 2008, 01:33 PM
I then skipped directly to this section, and eventually read this thread to find out that some of you are having the same blind faith into mathematics as the zealous guys of the hatemails section have into their religion.

Except that maths says absolutely nothing about reality. Maths is not a science or a belief system, it's just a tool for measuring things.


The current whole corpus of mathematics could as well be completely flawed, reveal incapable to follow ( or even hinder ) the evolution of physics, and finally stands as nothing more than a locally acceptable approximation of the essence of things.

If I understand your gibberish correctly, you seem to think that maths is a model of the universe. It's not. It's a tool that can be used to model the universe. It's not a thing in itself, just a way of doing things.


That sounds to me like saying Christianism cannot be wrong as long as it follows the holy words of God that lie in the Bible.

The Bible is cited by Christians as evidence of the workings of the universe. Maths is not cited as evidence of the workings of the universe, it's just a tool for modelling, measuring and comparing the evidence.


Most people are incapable to think of integers in a base other than 10, solely because we happen to have 10 fingers.. Mathematics would probably be very different if humans were born with a random number of fingers...

No, mathematics works the same regardless of what base you use. In base 10 6+6=12, in base 8 6+6=14, but these are just different ways of writing the same thing. In either case, what you're really saying is ||| ||| added to ||| ||| gives you ||| ||| ||| |||.


On the other hand, we rely on magical-voodoo-charm-constants such as Pi

There's nothing magical about it. It's just the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean geometry. How you represent it is irrelevant and won't change the properties of actual circles.


I don't want to believe the Essence of Things is such a disapointing heterogeneous patchwork full of holes with major pieces holding to each other by one mere very much unlikely thread, and that only a few bald veteran mathematicians can pretend to understand fully

So something can only be true if you think it's nice?


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 9th, 2008, 07:58 PM
Something Wallsy said made me thing of this:

Is math intuitive or discoverable?

My thoughts are in circles with this one.

sudikics
May 9th, 2008, 10:19 PM
Well, the relaionships are already there, so I'd say that they are discovered. But intuition is also used...perhaps we need a new phrase? ;)

tagnostic
May 11th, 2008, 01:07 PM
Well, the relaionships are already there, so I'd say that they are discovered. But intuition is also used...perhaps we need a new phrase? ;)

intuitive learning?
or
learntuitive?

would that be
the anti to
the willful suspension of belief?

Wallsy
May 12th, 2008, 01:26 PM
Is math intuitive or discoverable?

What do you mean?


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 12th, 2008, 03:10 PM
What do you mean?


Wallsy.

Sorry, my bad. Totally the wrong word.

I meant "is math discoverable or invented?"

That should make far more sense.

Wallsy
May 13th, 2008, 01:12 PM
I meant "is math discoverable or invented?"

Both. The basic rules are invented, but the complex interactions of those rules are discovered.


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 13th, 2008, 01:22 PM
Both. The basic rules are invented, but the complex interactions of those rules are discovered.


Wallsy.

If something is discovered, it is found in nature. If something is invented, it comes from our heads. If the basic rules come from out head, wouldn't their interactions take place in the same place; in other words, wouldn't the interactions also be invented?

Wallsy
May 13th, 2008, 01:56 PM
If something is discovered, it is found in nature. If something is invented, it comes from our heads.

Define "nature" in such a way as to exclude the human mind.


If the basic rules come from out head, wouldn't their interactions take place in the same place; in other words, wouldn't the interactions also be invented?

I would define an invention as an as-yet unforseen use for a thing. A discovery as the finding of a new thing. If a caveman finds a rock, that's a discovery. If he decides to hit someone with it, that's invention.

This is what I mean when I say that the basic rules of maths are invented but the complex interactions of those rules are discovered. Maths is not something that existed and was found, it's a use for numbers (which, in the sense that one can see that four rocks is more than three rocks and less than five, even without mathematics, always existed), but once the system has been invented, all the interactions exist because no new rules will ever enter the system, so finding them is an act of discovery.


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 13th, 2008, 02:20 PM
This is going to be tough because I personally think that nature is dependent on the human mind and that everything is an invention of the mind (which makes me realize that I'm being silly/somewhat contradictory in another thread but anyway...)

To satisfy the conditions of this argument:

Nature: What is not conditioned by the human mind. Objective - in the philosophical sense of that word.

A discovery then would be finding something outside of the mind, while an invention is something created in the mind.

Do these new definitions make more sense? If they do, does this change your answer? Why or why not?

-۞-
May 13th, 2008, 07:42 PM
I think the opening argument is a classic "x isn't everything therefore it is nothing" fallacy.
Does anyone know if there is an offical name for that fallacy?

I get it at work sometimes. Someone finds some small fault in something perfectly usable and then tries to construct some half-baked argument that they want nothing until they have everything but they'll never get everything so we should cut our losses at nothing.

rzm61
May 13th, 2008, 09:18 PM
If he decides to hit someone with it, that's invention.


No, that's assault brotha!

sam the moderately wize
May 14th, 2008, 08:14 AM
I see many of you have got entirely the wrong end of the stick in this debate. Mathematics IS NOT a science. Sciences are progressive affairs; nothing can be proven, nothing is sacred, everything can and will be rewritten eventually. There is nothing that is certain.

In maths, once something is proven, it is proven forever. Maths is based around a series of AXIOMS, statements that cannot be disproven, from which all other areas of maths are derived. Once something is mathematically proven, it really is proven. It lacks the progressivity that characterises a science.

To understand maths, it is necessary to treat is as an entirely separate area to the sciences.

sam the moderately wize
May 14th, 2008, 08:17 AM
Also, anything created by humans, including areas of maths, counts as an invention. Especially calculus and trigonometry.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 14th, 2008, 12:54 PM
Hmmm....Trigonometry...*Drools*
Dear Yhwh, did I just say that? Eugh...

Wallsy
May 14th, 2008, 01:43 PM
Nature: What is not conditioned by the human mind. Objective - in the philosophical sense of that word.

A discovery then would be finding something outside of the mind, while an invention is something created in the mind.

Do these new definitions make more sense?

Sorry, no. I don't understand your definition of nature.


I think the opening argument is a classic "x isn't everything therefore it is nothing" fallacy.
Does anyone know if there is an offical name for that fallacy?

Black-orwhite fallacy (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/eitheror.html).


Also, anything created by humans, including areas of maths, counts as an invention.

So, are other animals incapable of invention? Why? What makes humans so special that our creations are inventions, but when another animal (or a computer or an alien) does it, it's not?


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 14th, 2008, 02:42 PM
I see many of you have got entirely the wrong end of the stick in this debate. Mathematics IS NOT a science. Sciences are progressive affairs; nothing can be proven, nothing is sacred, everything can and will be rewritten eventually. There is nothing that is certain. Umm...it is a science, as it follows the scientific method, with the caveat being that it starts from proofs, not observation.

Also, from dictionary.com, there is a definition that states that science is "a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws."

Now, math can be an art as well if we consider that an art is a set of principles and/or methods that govern how a craft or branch of learning is done.

So, math is a little bit of both.

It lacks the progressivity that characterises a science. Really? Cartesian space, Newton's derivatives, integrals, set theory in the late 1800s, Russel's paradoxes, Godel's incompleteness theorem, non-Euclidean geometry (whenever that was developed formally). Sounds like progress and competing theories in mathematics - just like the sciences!

To understand maths, it is necessary to treat is as an entirely separate area to the sciences. Hmm...I didn't think so. I understood derivatives a lot better with the acceleating trains questions.

Sorry, no. I don't understand your definition of nature. Wow, that was a great reply Wallsy. Would you like an explanation of my definition? It would help if you explained what you don't understand about my definition so that I may be able to explain it you.







So, are other animals incapable of invention? Why? What makes humans so special that our creations are inventions, but when another animal (or a computer or an alien) does it, it's not?


Wallsy.
How does a computer invent something? :icon_confused:

Edit:
Sorry Rimmer, didn't see your post at first. I understand what you're saying. What I'm trying to figure out if the hypothesis and predictions are merely human constructs or if they are discoverable? I had a point to this, but like most of my good ideas, I decided to see it through and have found some complexities in it that I did not see before. Bugger.

tagnostic
May 14th, 2008, 03:41 PM
'I can it explain it
to you,
I can't comprehend it
for you.'

Mayor(at the time) E. Koch

Wallsy
May 15th, 2008, 01:44 PM
Umm...it is a science, as it follows the scientific method, with the caveat being that it starts from proofs, not observation.

That caveat is exactly what makes it not a science. Science is entirely based on the observation of evidence.


Also, from dictionary.com, there is a definition that states that science is "a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws."

There are various meanings to the word "science", and which one you use depends on context. But if you use the scientific definition of science, maths is not a science.


Now, math can be an art as well if we consider that an art is a set of principles and/or methods that govern how a craft or branch of learning is done.

Well, art can be defined as pretty much anything, so I can't argue there.


Really? Cartesian space, Newton's derivatives, integrals, set theory in the late 1800s, Russel's paradoxes, Godel's incompleteness theorem, non-Euclidean geometry (whenever that was developed formally). Sounds like progress and competing theories in mathematics - just like the sciences!

But they're not competing. When something is mathematically proved, it's proved forever. There can be no competing theory because you already have the answer. For example, when it was proved that the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter is alwyso the same value (pi), it was proved. No one will ever challenge that, because it's a fact.


Would you like an explanation of my definition?

Yes, please.


It would help if you explained what you don't understand about my definition so that I may be able to explain it you.

All of it. Perhaps it would help if you paraphrased and/or went over it in greater depth.


How does a computer invent something?

Computers are used to construct better electronic components. The required parameters are fed into the program and it tests various configurations in a semi-random way to find the most efficient. Now, the person who wrote the program certainly didn't invent the component, the person who fed in the requirements didn't invent it, so all that leaves is the computer.

Is thht invention or is it something else? A new thing was certainly produced that had never existed before to fulfill a certain function, so if it's not an invention, what is it? And if it is an invention, who invented it?


Wallsy.

bouchie
May 15th, 2008, 02:43 PM
That caveat is exactly what makes it not a science. Science is entirely based on the observation of evidence. But it follows the scientific method and by some definitions, it can be called a science. Let's go with 'math has scientific elements to it'.

Well, art can be defined as pretty much anything, so I can't argue there....well, that's a first.

But they're not competing. When something is mathematically proved, it's proved forever. There can be no competing theory because you already have the answer. For example, when it was proved that the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter is alwyso the same value (pi), it was proved. No one will ever challenge that, because it's a fact. I thought there was another system of geometry. It's possible my source or interpretation of the info is wrong.

All of it. Perhaps it would help if you paraphrased and/or went over it in greater depth.

I mispoke before when I used 'objective' before. I did not use in a correct way (and that's by my standards). In philosophy (regardless of branch really) a lot of discussion revolves around the subject and the object. The subject is an observer, while the object is the thing observed. What the relationship between the two is an issue still going on from the subjective/idealist position where there is no such as an object because everything is all made up in the subject's head to the objective/realist position where there is a distinction between subject and object.

I lean more to the idealist side, but for the purposes of this discussion, when I talk about nature, I talk about it from the realist perspective, that there is a distinction between the observers (humans) and nature (the observed). When I said it 'what is not conditioned by the human mind', I was trying to describe something that exists outside of our minds, outside the subject's thoughts.

So, when I ask if math is in nature, I mean to ask is it something that can be found outside of the human mind, something that is an object. If it is, it is discoverable. If it isn't, then it is invented. If it's both, I'd like an explanation for that (or for any of the cases actually).

I hope that clarifies my definition. If not, I'll start a new thread and try to explain the philosophical definitions of subjectivity and objectivity there (even though I'm no expert on that topic).

Computers are used to construct better electronic components. The required parameters are fed into the program and it tests various configurations in a semi-random way to find the most efficient. Now, the person who wrote the program certainly didn't invent the component, the person who fed in the requirements didn't invent it, so all that leaves is the computer. No, the computer here is a tool that you use to create something new. By your logic, a hammer and saw build a table, not the person.

Is thht invention or is it something else? A new thing was certainly produced that had never existed before to fulfill a certain function, so if it's not an invention, what is it? And if it is an invention, who invented it? It is invention, but as I said before, the computer is a tool. The inventor is the person that fed the parameters into the computer.

Wallsy
May 16th, 2008, 03:57 PM
But it follows the scientific method and by some definitions, it can be called a science. Let's go with 'math has scientific elements to it'.

What it comes down to is this: Science is based on evidence. Maths is based on axioms, not evidence. Therefore, maths is not science. QED.


I thought there was another system of geometry.

Certainly you can have non-euclidean geometry, but it's not a competing theory. The two co-exist quite happily.


when I talk about nature, I talk about it from the realist perspective, that there is a distinction between the observers (humans) and nature (the observed).



So, when I ask if math is in nature, I mean to ask is it something that can be found outside of the human mind, something that is an object. If it is, it is discoverable. If it isn't, then it is invented. If it's both, I'd like an explanation for that (or for any of the cases actually).

Maths doesn't exist. It is not something that can be observed. However, once the axioms have been defined, you can make observations about the implications of those axioms. Does this help?


No, the computer here is a tool that you use to create something new. By your logic, a hammer and saw build a table, not the person.

There is a distinction. When you use a hammer or saw, the tool does exactly what you tell it to and no more. When you tell a computer "design the best possible component that meets this specification", you don't know what the end result will be. Your instructions are not precise. If they were, there'd be no point in having the program.


It is invention, but as I said before, the computer is a tool. The inventor is the person that fed the parameters into the computer.

So, if someone asks you to design a component meeting certain criteria, and you do so, did you invent it or did they? If they feed those same criteria into a program that designs it, does the answer change? Either way, they do exactly the same thing.


Wallsy.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 16th, 2008, 05:58 PM
I got my maths exam on Monday=/
Test out these papers if you want.
Damn it, I need to be able to post attachments. Help plz Loki!

bouchie
May 16th, 2008, 07:18 PM
What it comes down to is this: Science is based on evidence. Maths is based on axioms, not evidence. Therefore, maths is not science. QED. Very well. I'll give you that.

Certainly you can have non-euclidean geometry, but it's not a competing theory. The two co-exist quite happily. I wasn't sure about that. Thanks for the info.

Maths doesn't exist. It is not something that can be observed. However, once the axioms have been defined, you can make observations about the implications of those axioms. Does this help? Okay, that makes sense. Although you should be careful, because you say 'math is not something that is observed' but then you say the implications of its axioms are observable. Are the implications of the axioms not a part of mathematics? I hope you see why: you've made an all-inclusive statement about math but then say an instance of mathematics has the property that you math does not have. Therefore, the implications of the axioms are either not a part of mathematics or you're general statement is not entirely accurate. I think that's a pretty reasonable conclusion to draw.

There is a distinction. When you use a hammer or saw, the tool does exactly what you tell it to and no more. When you tell a computer "design the best possible component that meets this specification", you don't know what the end result will be. Your instructions are not precise. If they were, there'd be no point in having the program. Yes, but the computer has been programmed or is using a program that was designed by somebody else to take your parameters and perform certain operations on it. The computer then is actually doing it exactly what it's being told to do. You, the inventor, just didn't tell it everything it had to consider. Somone else created the program you're using - just like someone else invented the hammer you use to build a table. So, the computer is still a tool.

So, if someone asks you to design a component meeting certain criteria, and you do so, did you invent it or did they? If they feed those same criteria into a program that designs it, does the answer change? Either way, they do exactly the same thing. I would give credit to the guy who actually builds the thing, but it's entirely possible that the person who commissioned the work will steal the spotlight from them. And the answer changes because the computer is constrained by the programs being used, whereas the person is not.

I'm suddenly reminded, however, of a Star Trek: TNG episode where the little, hover-capable robots being used were able to build tools based on the situation they were in. Although the robots were programmed, the program was so sophisticated that everybody credited the robots for inventing the tools. However, later on, Data would defend the robots because they exhibited self-awareness, fear of death and self-sacrifice.

The example here shows an important distinction, I think, for your example Wallsy: we do not view computers as free-agents, or even alive. It is considered a tool to be used. Therefore, the person inputing the parameters is credited as the inventor as the new eletrical compnent because they are the free-agent. If the computer was a free agent, I would agree with your stance. But seeing as it doesn't, I cannot agree with it.

Now that I think about, in the case of the two people I would, technically, credit both people - the one who gives the parameters and the one who builds it. However, most people will credit the builder of the invention, not the idea guy.


Wallsy.[/quote]

Wallsy
May 17th, 2008, 03:11 PM
you say 'math is not something that is observed' but then you say the implications of its axioms are observable. Are the implications of the axioms not a part of mathematics?

No, they're not. Mathematics is the axioms. The implications of those axioms are applications of mathematics, not mathematics itself.


Yes, but the computer has been programmed or is using a program that was designed by somebody else to take your parameters and perform certain operations on it.

But no one, not even the programmer, knows what operations will be performed. At the most basic level, they do, just as we know, at the most basic level, what a molecule of water will do in a given situation. But when you introduce a complex chain of events, the results are unpredictible.


the answer changes because the computer is constrained by the programs being used, whereas the person is not.

How are they not? Are you not subject to the laws of physics? Your brain can only do what it's construction allows it to do. As with the computer program, it's too complex to predict the results, but that doesn't make it any less constrained.


we do not view computers as free-agents, or even alive.

What has life to do with it?


the person inputing the parameters is credited as the inventor

That's extremely debatable. They're certainly allowed to take out a patent on it, but that right isn't restricted to inventors. Businesses, for example, certainly can't invent anything, but the can hold patents.


If the computer was a free agent, I would agree with your stance.

If you are employed by someone to design a component, you are not acting as a free agent but as an agent of that person.


Now that I think about, in the case of the two people I would, technically, credit both people - the one who gives the parameters and the one who builds it.

But one of them only gave product specifications. They didn't invent anything. They simply did the equivilent of saying "build me a car that costs less to build and run than any currently on the market." There are no instructions there on how to go about it, just specifications for thi finished product.


Wallsy.

-۞-
May 17th, 2008, 04:34 PM
Black-orwhite fallacy (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/eitheror.html).



I am indebted to me learned friend.
Thanks mate. It is definitely a 'false dilemma' AKA black-or-white fallacy.

I do think it is a common sub-form - "Something isn't perfect so it is rubbish" but it is certainly a false dilemma.
Ideas don't need to contain a comprehensive model of the entire universe to be good.

sam the moderately wize
May 23rd, 2008, 09:01 AM
In reply to my detractors:

1. Part of the scientific method is constant reconstruction and testing, so maths does not follow it.

2. I said that anything created by humans was an invention, not that all inventions were created by humans. Aliens, animals and computers can all invent stuff.

sam the moderately wize
May 23rd, 2008, 09:07 AM
Also, Netonian dynamics is under question from several physicists, and is looking to be entirely thrown out. It was effectively replaced by the slightly more accurate theory of relativity anyway.

All the other areas of science, even the ones that seem infalliable, are potentially under threat; nothing is sacred, not even einstein. Even the big bang theory has come into question with the 'finger of god' red shift results that are increasingly posing a problem for astronomers.

Maths, on the other hand, is impossible to disprove and holds 'sacred' truths, such as euclid's axioms (yes, I am aware of non-euclidean geometry. The existence of this does not injure my argument).

Tsar Phalanxia
May 23rd, 2008, 06:11 PM
1. Part of the scientific method is constant reconstruction and testing, so maths does not follow it.

Maths does not need it. Once you have an algebraic law, it follows that for ever, unless there are exceptions to the law which will have a reason. Science reconstructs and tests to prove that something is true; Science is about the results, not the method. Maths is the same.

2. I said that anything created by humans was an invention, not that all inventions were created by humans. Aliens, animals and computers can all invent stuff.
Oh shit, you've brought up that Animal Intelligence thing again...

bouchie
May 23rd, 2008, 07:53 PM
In reply to my detractors:

1. Part of the scientific method is constant reconstruction and testing, so maths does not follow it.

2. I said that anything created by humans was an invention, not that all inventions were created by humans. Aliens, animals and computers can all invent stuff. Umm...you're a little late, ya? Wallsy already replied. And I agree with him on math not being a science. I was also reminded that science is a body of hypotheses that have yet to be proven false. Math does not fall under that definition, therefore it is not a science. On the rest, I can't formulate a good enough counter-argument at the moment (either I have no time to think of one or the argument has enough power behind it to withstand rebuttal).

I can agree with the animals thing (otters using rocks to break open shells for food for example). Computers is still up the air, as I think the debate going on between Wallsy and me is using two different notions of agency. However, I could be wrong on that and need more time to think on it.

As for aliens: their existence is not definitive. How can you attribute invention to something that we cannot say even exists?

Tsar Phalanxia
May 23rd, 2008, 08:00 PM
Uh, Bouchie, don't mean to be a dick, but did you even read my post?

bouchie
May 23rd, 2008, 08:43 PM
Uh, Bouchie, don't mean to be a dick, but did you even read my post? Umm...no. Didn't even see it actually...that's weird.

Wallsy
May 26th, 2008, 07:29 AM
Science is about the results, not the method. Maths is the same.

Wrong on both counts. Science is the method. Science is a way of testing things, not a goal or a truth. Maths is a set of axioms. It's not "about" anything, it's just a set of rules.


Wallsy.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 26th, 2008, 09:12 AM
Wrong on both counts. Science is the method. Science is a way of testing things, not a goal or a truth. Maths is a set of axioms. It's not "about" anything, it's just a set of rules.


Wallsy.
So the chase is more exhilarating than the catch huh? Scientists have a goal, which is to prove their hypothesis right or wrong. The process of doing this is "science". Also, the very, how can I say this, profession, seeking out the truth, and the acquisition of the truth is "science". Science has two definitions,, but the line between them is blurred.

bouchie
May 26th, 2008, 05:39 PM
So the chase is more exhilarating than the catch huh? Scientists have a goal, which is to prove their hypothesis right or wrong. The process of doing this is "science". Also, the very, how can I say this, profession, seeking out the truth, and the acquisition of the truth is "science". Science has two definitions,, but the line between them is blurred. Actually, that can be considered as one definition. Science is the process to find explanations for the workings of the universe. The process is essential to science, as it provides sufficient support for the results produced. If you don't follow the method, the results can easily be skewed to lend support to a personal bias which may or may not be true. The scientific method is (generally) the best method to provide unbiased results. If we didn't have that, we could, potentially, have the "God of the gaps" theory finding a lot of evidence in nature. :(

thisisajesussite
May 28th, 2008, 12:06 AM
So the chase is more exhilarating than the catch huh? Scientists have a goal, which is to prove their hypothesis right or wrong. The process of doing this is "science". Also, the very, how can I say this, profession, seeking out the truth, and the acquisition of the truth is "science". Science has two definitions,, but the line between them is blurred.

science is as science does

Wallsy
May 30th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Scientists have a goal

Scientists have goals. Discover what caused life to exist, discover a ucre for cancer, etc. Science is the method by which they work toward these goals, and it has no iherent goal. It's just a way to do things.


Also, the very, how can I say this, profession, seeking out the truth, and the acquisition of the truth is "science".

Scientist don't seek the truth. It's impossibly to know anything as a fact, you can only theorise. Scientists try to eliminate possibilities, not find the definitive truth.


Wallsy.

rzm61
May 30th, 2008, 02:54 PM
Scientist don't seek the truth. It's impossibly to know anything as a fact, you can only theorise. Scientists try to eliminate possibilities, not find the definitive truth.





If they didn't want the "definitive truth" or even a little bit of the truth, why would they try to eliminate possibilities?

bouchie
May 30th, 2008, 03:22 PM
If they didn't want the "definitive truth" or even a little bit of the truth, why would they try to eliminate possibilities? To simplify the explanation. Science is, for better or for worse, based on the assumption that the universe can be explained in rational terms. That's why they look for simple explanations and eliminate possibilities that are indeed wrong, so as to be able to explain what is going on.

I now wish that I could remember the brief exchange I had with Lawerence Krauss. My question was (I think) if science is moving toward some goal. He replied that science is moving forward into infinity and that there was no answer.

Right, I was asking if scientific progress was circular in Kuhnian sense. He didn't agree.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 31st, 2008, 09:00 AM
Scientists have goals. Discover what caused life to exist, discover a ucre for cancer, etc. Science is the method by which they work toward these goals, and it has no iherent goal. It's just a way to do things.


That's what I said. I said that
Also, the very, how can I say this, profession, seeking out the truth, and the acquisition of the truth is "science".

Scientist don't seek the truth. It's impossibly to know anything as a fact, you can only theorise. Scientists try to eliminate possibilities, not find the definitive truth.
Yes, it is. For example, it is a fact that the Earth is circular (Yes, I know not perfectly, thanks to centrifugal forces, but ignore that for the sake of the argument It makes typing easier for me). We know that the Earth circular, the only exception to this is if we live in a simulation, and the Earth doesn't exist, so it can't be circular.

Wallsy
June 2nd, 2008, 03:08 PM
If they didn't want the "definitive truth" or even a little bit of the truth, why would they try to eliminate possibilities?

To get closer to the truth. Think of it as a mathematical limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limit_(mathematics)). Say the the truth = 1. We'll get closer and closer to it, 0.998, 0.999, 0.9991 etc. but we'll never reach it. The best we can say is that we're not as wrong as we were before.


For example, it is a fact that the Earth is circular (Yes, I know not perfectly, thanks to centrifugal forces, but ignore that for the sake of the argument It makes typing easier for me).

We can't ignore that because it's key to the whole argument. We know, basically, what shape the Earth is and why, but we'll never get to the point where we know exactly, because ass accurate as we get we can always get more accurate. First you have molecules, then you have atoms, then you have subatomic particles and so on. We can't tell where it ends, if anywhere, and no matter how much we know we can never be sure that there's no more to discover, because you can't measure what isn't there.

And then you have to account for the fact that our measurements could later be proved to have been flawed. At the mement, there's such strong evidence for the Earth being basically round that you'd sound like a crazy person (http://www.timecube.com/) if you argued against it, but that doesn't mean that something hasn't been fooling us all this time.


Wallsy.

sam the moderately wize
June 2nd, 2008, 03:17 PM
To get closer to the truth. Think of it as a mathematical limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limit_(mathematics)). Say the the truth = 1. We'll get closer and closer to it, 0.998, 0.999, 0.9991 etc. but we'll never reach it. The best we can say is that we're not as wrong as we were before.

Didn't someone say that Truth was whatever was agreed on by a reasonable body of learned people? One of the great philosophers? I like that idea...

rzm61
June 2nd, 2008, 03:31 PM
To get closer to the truth. Think of it as a mathematical limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limit_(mathematics)). Say the the truth = 1. We'll get closer and closer to it, 0.998, 0.999, 0.9991 etc. but we'll never reach it. The best we can say is that we're not as wrong as we were before.


That's a pretty good analogy there Wallsy.
Kudos on this post. :D

Wallsy
June 2nd, 2008, 03:39 PM
Didn't someone say that Truth was whatever was agreed on by a reasonable body of learned people? One of the great philosophers? I like that idea...

Who defines "reasonable" and "learned"? I'm sure the cardinals of the Catholic church believe that they're both of those things, so is it true that Jahweh/Jesus created the universe?


Wallsy.

tagnostic
June 2nd, 2008, 04:11 PM
Didn't someone say that Truth was whatever was agreed on by a reasonable body of learned people? One of the great philosophers? I like that idea...

i've never met a 'learned' body of people
who's judgement i trusted
more than my own

ie: every sitting group of politicians
be they congress, the senate or parliment

Tsar Phalanxia
June 2nd, 2008, 07:34 PM
. At the mement, there's such strong evidence for the Earth being basically round that you'd sound like a crazy person (http://www.timecube.com/) if you argued against it, but that doesn't mean that something hasn't been fooling us all this time.


*Whip Crack* I'm surprised you didn't join in the glorious crusade against TPMN. Arguing the B.S. he was spewing out seemed right up your alley.

sudikics
June 2nd, 2008, 09:28 PM
I second the motion. Although he's gone now, Wallsy, why don'you take a look at that thread? I'm interested to hear your approach to his non-logic.

Wallsy
June 3rd, 2008, 09:37 AM
I second the motion. Although he's gone now, Wallsy, why don'you take a look at that thread? I'm interested to hear your approach to his non-logic.

What thread?


Wallsy.

Tsar Phalanxia
June 3rd, 2008, 08:30 PM
The first guy who posted is pretty sound. But TPMN, is a shitbag =/

tagnostic
January 26th, 2009, 03:33 PM
ka bump (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=naked-singularities&ec=su_nakedsingularity)

sudikics
January 28th, 2009, 04:21 PM
I don't really see why this required bumping this thread, but oh well. Neat article.

tagnostic
January 28th, 2009, 06:08 PM
hehehe
cuz there's enough
new threads out there
and 90% of the old ones
that were applicable I would
have had to double post on cuz
most of them i was the last poster
:icon_lol: