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Author Topic:   Our perfect place in the heavens..
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1580 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 48 of 53 (38021)
04-25-2003 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by John
04-25-2003 8:56 AM


I think he's confusing the model with the reality.
Math may describe the universe we observe, but I don't think that means that the universe itself has some kind of underlying mathematical structure. Math is just a tool and doesn't exist outside of our heads. It's just another kind of language.

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 Message 47 by John, posted 04-25-2003 8:56 AM John has replied

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1580 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 51 of 53 (38033)
04-25-2003 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Cryptic
04-25-2003 2:41 PM


Yes, I did mean that literally. And I am a girl. Math is an international and universal language.
Sorry for the assumption. I try to watch for sexist language but it creeps in nonetheless.
As for math, the universal language... I don't know about that. A number of cultures never developed math, simply because their languages have no numbers. As I recall australian aboriginals only have the numbers "one" and "many".
As Godel proved, all math is ultimately number theory. Obviously you have to have numbers in order to have math. The utility of numbers is undisputed, but there's no reason to assume numbers are a fundamental constraint on reality or have any existence beyond our culture.
Math, as an axiomatic system, is simply a game of symbol shuffling according to transformational rules. Given number theory you could reconstruct all math from a set of simple rules about the relationships of certain symbols. There's nothing about those symbols that require that they have a real-world referent. I.e. numbers behave the same whether or not they're counting something.

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