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.

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.