Math is one attempt among many to describe the universe.

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Mind Over Matter, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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  3. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    What on Earth do you mean?
     
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  5. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    I mean mathematics, strictly speaking, has no meaning. (From the point of view of first-order logic, nothing has meaning except in its relation to other things.) It does assume the truth of logical axioms and rules of inference (although so-called intuitionists do not accept the Law of the Excluded Middle); it also posits its own axioms (technically, the "nonlogical" axioms of the theory). The latter are not necessarily realized in, well, reality, although often there are such manifestations. Science, on the other hand, makes use of mathematical models of reality; these models are not reality itself, but merely approximations of reality (although they might be "isomorphic", that is structurally indistiguishable from reality, but this is probably idealistic).
     
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  7. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Not at all. Axioms and rules of inference are defined for the mathematical system to which they're applied. Under what model of "truth" do you consider there to be an assumption of truth?
    Mathematical models are mathematical models, that's all. That they can generate useful predictions concerning expected observations, under certain interpretations, doesn't amount to them being "approximations of reality".
    I still dont understand what this thread is about.
     
  8. Telemachus Rex Protesting Mod Stupidity Registered Senior Member

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    It sounds like Mind Over Matter simply doesn't like the conclusions that mathematics (which is itself but a branch of logic) might lead us too, so he prefers to diminish the role of its strict logic in favor of other systems of finding truth.

    It reminds me of Diderot, who wrote:

    "Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: 'My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly.' The stranger is a theologian."

    Math is not an attempt to describe the universe. Math is a system of abstraction and analysis that can be applied to describing the universe. Don't hate it just because it's more successful at it that the systems you prefer.
     
  9. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    Yes - mathematics is a language, or set of languages, devised to explain and describe various realities about the universe.

    Of course I don't hate it. The success of science is largely due to mathematical precision - which implies that mathematics and the material universe are inextricably related. Mathematics is based on logic which is not a set of arbitrary axioms and rules but truths about the material reality:

    http://users.ugent.be/~frvandun/Texts/Logica/logic.htm

    Logic and mathematics are mental constructs but without material things they wouldn't exist!
     
  10. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Please state clearly what you mean and demonstrate the implication.
     
  11. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    The sentence is clear as water...
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Yup, and as useful as "Chickens are one species of bird among many".
    What's your POINT?
     
  13. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    No it's not. What do you mean by "mathematics and the material universe are inextricably related" and how is this implied by the success of science?
     
  14. Jack1941 Registered Member

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    Math is a good tool. But it can be used to define a relationship that has no relationship to reality. In the hands of someone that cannot differentiate between the two realms he will surely make statements that extend far beyond reality. It is therefore not a good tool to use in an attempt establish the truth or validity of a concept.
     
  15. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    what is the relationship of the sentence?
     
  16. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    If mathematics were no more than an intellectual game like chess with arbitrary rules there is no obvious reason why it should be such a powerful tool for science. Is it a sheer coincidence that the Poisson distribution reflects the probability of events occurring in a specific period of time?
     
  17. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Quite, the claimed implication isn't obvious. That's why I've asked you to spell it out.
    Asking me a question is not demonstrating an implication.
     
  18. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    Since science needs mathematical precision to be successful mathematical quantities and proportions must be essential features of physical reality - and not arbitrarily superimposed. Numbers are not fictions but facts.
    The fact that the Poisson distribution reflects so effectively the probability of events occurring in a specific period of time is convincing evidence that it is not an arbitrarily superimposed mathematical game.
     
  19. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Which, as far as I can tell, amounts to saying that we can measure things. If that's what you mean by "mathematics and the material universe are inextricably related", your expression is misleading and histrionic.
    Which doesn't amount to an implication, all it amounts to is psychological justification for a personal belief. I dont share your belief, unless all you're saying is that we can measure things.
     
  20. river

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    true
     
  21. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    Your reaction is misleading and histrionic because it's not what I mean! Mathematics is far more than measurement...
    Do you know anyone who rejects that belief? All knowledge is based on personal beliefs!
     
  22. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Go on then, tell me about it.
    Asking questions is not demonstrating implications. Last chance on this, what is the implication? Spell out the argument.
    Bullshit. And irrelevant.
     
  23. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    I don't have discussions with persons who are discourteous ("Go on tell me about it....Last chance.... Spell out the argument."

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    False!

    It's obviously far too complicated...

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