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Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

  1. Jun 3, 2003 #1
    Because about 50% of people here in Physics Forum (including even some mentors) don't understand origin of math and keep parroting that math is human descriptive construct (see results of poll), I found educational to point to theory which could unearth deepest layer of reality: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0007E95C-9597-1DC9-AF71809EC588EEDF&pageNumber=1&catID=2

    According to this math (which is the only one to unite GR with QM), not only all matter around us, but space and time themselves are just products of math (of geometry, to be more accurate).

    This theory deals with metricless objects (Penrose spinors) and quantizying them obtains space and time, gravity and matter.

    So, Mentat - what do you say now?

    Just acknowledge that the hurdles you posted about mathematics were a result of your layman misunderstanding of mathematics and of its origin.

    Laymann "logic" is useless in understanding nature. Math is the key.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2003
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  3. Jun 3, 2003 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Alexander, it's just a theory so far. You can crow when and if it proves out against all that messy unmathematical experimental data.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2003 #3
    I will let you go this one time, on making a statement so dead wrong, because of ignorance. I have studied nothing so much as Theories of Everything (which all attempt to unify GR with QM, and do an excellent job at it, should they be proven correct), and this is definitely not the only, nor the most effecient (IMO), theory.

    Why should I do that? Remember, I'm not posting against mathematics. I think one is truly unlucky if they haven't seen the beauty of mathematics' descriptive power. However, I do not believe that something abstract can cause the physical Universe to behave a certain way. I have no reason to believe this, and your put-downs aren't helping your side of the argument at all.

    Yes, math is the key to understanding nature. Why is it that you admit this now, after I have gone through so much trouble to explain to you that that is math's job (not to cause the Universe, but to understand it)?
     
  5. Jun 3, 2003 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    We all read that article when it came out. There was an entire thread dedicated to it. It does nothing to prove your point, and the Hurdles that Mentat and I pointed out remain.

    The theory says nothing of the kind. The from the fundamental mathematical objects of the theory, you get mathematical representations of the forces of nature. Again, the Hurdles against your idealism remain.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

    Scientists do not use math because of its descriptive power. No point - there already is a language for that job.

    Scientists use math because of its PREDICTIVE and EXPLANATORY power.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

    Only in rich imagination of some people who don't understand the origin of math (see my many posts about origin of logic and math).
     
  8. Jun 3, 2003 #7

    Tom Mattson

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    Re: Re: Re: Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

    You seem to think that "math as a description" and "math as a predictor" are mutually exclusive. Of course, that is false. We can not only describe physical states with math, but we can also describe their time evolution with math. Given those two things together, it is easy to see how mathematics can be said to simultaneously describe and predict.

    In any case, it is patently false to say that "Scientists do not use math because of its descriptive power".

    This scientist certainly disagrees:

    Moreover, they (edit: mathematical equations) often permit an unexpectedly close and accurate description of the phenomena in these connections. Secondly, just because of this circumstance, and because we do not understand the reasons of their usefulness, we cannot know whether a theory formulated in terms of mathematical concepts is uniquely appropriate. We are in a position similar to that of a man who was provided with a bunch of keys and who, having to open several doors in succession, always hit on the right key on the first or second trial. He became skeptical concerning the uniqueness of the coordination between keys and doors.
    --Eugene Wigner, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

    Instead of telling Mentat how little he knows of math and physics, or of telling him what scientists do and do not think, or of telling him your unfounded assertions over and over, why don't you just address his arguments head on? You have yet to do that even a single time. Come on, either address the arguments or admit that you can't.
     
  9. Jun 3, 2003 #8

    Tom Mattson

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    Re: Re: Re: Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

    The only person who doesn't understand the origin of math here is you. Mathematics comes from the minds of mathematicians, and mathematical theories of nature come from the minds of theoretical physicists. The Hurdles all center around your failure to recognize that.

    Since no one has ever observed a mathematical object with their senses or with an instrument, it is safe to say that such objects are in the categories of abstract (mental) objects. To say that all states are mathematical states is to say that all states reside in the mind, which is idealism.
     
  10. Jun 4, 2003 #9
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics.

    Yes, this is another serious point, that I have tried to point out to Alexander: His belief denies the existence of an objective Universe (seperate from subjective abstracts), and is thus non-scientific - as Science is based on the assumption that there is an objective Universe.
     
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