# mathematics and matter

Discussion in 'Alternative Theories' started by birch, Mar 2, 2016.

1. ### birchValued Senior Member

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Aren't they two separate dimensions? You can apply mathematics to define matter but math stands alone entirely theoretical. So can mathematics be defined as psuedoscience, non-existing and imaginary?

3. ### originIn a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect.Valued Senior Member

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No they are not. Neither one is a dimension.
Mathematics is neither pseudoscience nor science. Mathematic can and is used by science to quantify events and things. Mathematics are required to construct bridges, cars, computers and basically every device that you have, so I would hardly say that it is nonexisting.

There is mathematics that is purely theoretical but even that is not even in the direction of pseudoscience because mathematics is logical and can be replicated by otherss.

5. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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I think the term you are seeking is abstract. Mathematics can be done in purely abstract form, with no correlation with the physical world.

Edont Knoff likes this.

7. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Mathematics is no more pseudoscience than French or Philosophy. Pseudoscience does not mean "everything other than science", nor does it mean "everything abstract".

I've always viewed mathematics as a highly developed form of quantitative logic, though I would not claim that that is a recognised definition of it. As such, it is one of the tools used in science, notably in the physical sciences. But mathematics is not science, since "science" is really short for "natural science" which means knowledge of the natural world and much of maths is entirely abstract and no necessary bearing on the natural world.

(P.S. It is possible that Write4U may butt in at this point with his or her notions about mathematics and nature, with which I profoundly disagree

.)

8. ### wellwisherBannedBanned

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I look at math as a tool that useful for construction in science and engineering. But a tool should not be confused with the buildings of science, even though it is needed for the construction.

As an analogy, the hammer is a tool. If all I had was a hammer, then what I can build will be limited by the hammer. I can drive nails and pry thing apart, but I cannot screw things together. To do this I would need other tools, allowing a more rounded construction project.

One objection I have with the statistical math tool, is although this is a very useful tool, the constraints of the tool are often used to define what you can build. It assumes all you have is hammer in your tool box, therefore if you cannot pound or pry, you cannot move forward. There are other tools that go beyond the hammer, but these are taboo, so the tool can lead the carpenter.

I always come back to this example, because it bottlenecks math, if one looks at math as more than a tool. Consider division by a fraction, such as 1 divided by 1/2 =2. If I have 1 gallon of gas and divide by 1/2 I have two gallons of gas. This math violates energy conservation, unless the very operation of dividing by a fraction uses energy and needs all type of logistical support to apply this energy to make gas. The amount of energy and logistics will be different if I start with a gallon of alcohol, gas, or even one chicken. Yet when we divide by fractions, we don't add any energy balance or outline the scaffolding. We divide by a fraction in special relativity; v/c, but do no energy balance. This is OK for a tool, since the tool can be engineered on its own and does not have to be part of the house, even if needed to build the house.

Many tools are needed and can be useful for construction, but a tool is not the house. But after the house is done, the tool can be taken away by the carpenter and the house can still stand. If we can't take away the tool, something is wrong. They may have used the hammer to shim up a wall that will sag; needs an unapplied energy balance.

9. ### originIn a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect.Valued Senior Member

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Agreed.

Agreed.

Statistics is a useful and in fact vital tool in science and engineering. The incorrect use of statistics is not the fault of statistics it is the fault of the person employing them. In your hammer analogy smashing you thumb is not the hammers fault.

You 'run off the rails' here unfortunately!
Dividing a gallon of gas by 1/2 does not violate anything, it is simply an odd way of multiplying 1 gallon of gas by 2, which is of course another way of saying you are adding 1 + 1 gallons of gas.

$\frac{1}{\frac{1}{2}} = 1 \times2 = 1 +1$

10. ### YazataValued Senior Member

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Yes, I think so.

'To define matter'? Maybe in theoretical physics, but not in real life. Matter is that solid stuff that rocks and walls are made of. (Our human bodies too.) So I think that human beings have a common-sense idea of matter that in no way is dependent on mathematics.

Most of it seems to be a logically consistent system of relationships.

It certainly creates problems for the more doctrinaire kind of materialist.

I don't think that anyone really knows what kind of being and reality mathematics has. And nobody really knows why physical reality seems to behave in accordance with mathematical principles. Those are difficult metaphysical questions and are among the larger remaining mysteries.

11. ### birchValued Senior Member

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This is another paradox and another dimension. On one level it does operate according to logic yet we can be illogical even creating illogical outcomes. Math does not hinder that either. It applies on one level and yet not on another.

12. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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Of course we do.

Just one example: the area of a sphere 2AUs in radius is 4 times that of a sphere 1AU in radius. That s why the amount of solar radiation and the force of gravity drops off as 1/r^2.
There are uncountable other similar examples involving every branch of science.

Physical reality is a result of a large but not unlimited set of natural behaviors in a given situation such as astrophysics. As long as we use math that describes these behaviors, or create mathematical languages where we don't have a description yet, our math can do a good job of describing the natural world.

13. ### river

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What do mean here?

Explain why you think the mathematics comes before any physical manifestation ; of any object ?

14. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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You have altered Yazata's words.

Explain why you think that Yazata's post says anything about mathematics "coming before" anything?

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Good luck!

16. ### river

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The implication Yazata's statement is that mathematics governs physical reality.

Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
17. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Er, no. The statement says that mathematics can describe it.

And in fact, mathematics often only describes an idealised model, that approximately replicates how reality seems to behave.

Rpenner has previously put it well: "The map is not the territory".

Last edited: Mar 21, 2016