Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Truth Behind Math

So after posting my new found idea that math sucks, I got into a small debate with james4life who believes math is perfect.  Clearly, my argument went, math can be wrong because I used it correctly and it didn't work.  It was pretty innocent but I wanted to get into a bit of a more theoretical debate on math.  

I logged on to soulseek with my alias dropthesky and went in search for answers.  This is what ensued.  Disclaimer the following is a debate about things I have absolutely no specialization in.  So if you know more than me, learn me some.

[15:10][dropthesky] wayooooo
[15:10][dropthesky] who is smart in there?
[15:10][refract] git yer hair did
[15:10][refract] hey who here gets their nails done?
[15:10][diy!] SLSK IS NOT DYING
[15:10][diy!] oops
[15:10][diy!] slsk is not dying
[15:11][dropthesky] who said it is?
[15:11][Hex Rex] i did
[15:11][dropthesky] hex rex is correct
[15:11][dropthesky] diy! is wrong
[15:11][dropthesky] next
[15:11][Hex Rex] thank you
[15:11][Hex Rex] haha
[15:11][diy!] who the hell are you?
[15:12][dropthesky] i have a better question for you
[15:12][dropthesky] can math be wrong?
[15:12][dropthesky] my friend says math is never wrong
[15:12][dropthesky] but i tend to disagree
[15:12][dropthesky] and think math is subject to errors
[15:13][dropthesky] im not talking about the calculations
[15:13][Hex Rex] the application of math is subject to errors
[15:13][dropthesky] im talking about the forumulas that are assumed correct
[15:13][Hex Rex] but not the fundamental theorems
[15:13][dropthesky] right Hex rex im not talking about the application
[15:13][dropthesky] im talking about theories or formulas assumed true
[15:14][Hex Rex] how can the area of a square not be base * height
[15:14][dropthesky] okay not that basic
[15:14][diy!] this is getting too real.
[15:14][dropthesky] im talking a bit more advanced here
[15:14][Hex Rex] like what
[15:14][dropthesky] im taling about the math behind nuclear fusion
[15:15][Hex Rex] please elaborate
[15:15][dropthesky] i can't get into too many details
[15:15][dropthesky] but my argument hinges on this:
[15:16][dropthesky] math is the acute observation of the natural world, but is subject to all the errors of human observation
[15:16][dropthesky] to err is human
[15:16][dropthesky] my friend says math is not created by humans but just interpreted by humans, as in the math already exists
[15:17][Hex Rex] you probably mean the physics behind it
[15:17][Hex Rex] math transcands the natural world
[15:17][Hex Rex] pure math that is
[15:17][Hex Rex] 1+1=2 is a truth that exists outside of any material reality
[15:20][dropthesky] i disagree
[15:20][dropthesky] 1+1=2 is defined because of the natural world
[15:21][dropthesky] without this world and the rules the govern it, the math would cease to exist not the other way around
[15:21][Hex Rex] again
[15:22][Hex Rex] you're thinking of physics
[15:23][dropthesky] why do you say im thinking of physics instead of pure math?
[15:24][diy!] 1+1= 11
[15:25][Hex Rex] because the laws of physics as we now know them came about in a completely random way after the big bang
[15:25][Hex Rex] which implies that the laws of physics would cease to exist if this universe ceased to exist
[15:27][dropthesky] thats an interesting point hex rex
[15:27][dropthesky] so you're saying that if the material world came about in a different way then the one we know today
[15:27][dropthesky] and the physics were different

[break lost it (sadface)]
(basically Hex Rex said math governs physics, and that math is existence)

[15:36][Hex Rex] ontology superceds physics
[15:36][dropthesky] what is existance but the physical world?
[15:37][2drunk2jerkoff] ideas exist
[15:37][2drunk2jerkoff] you don't need to be tangible to exist
[15:37][dropthesky] ideas don't have any mathematical presence
[15:38][2drunk2jerkoff] math itself is an idea idiot
[15:38][dropthesky] negative
[15:38][2drunk2jerkoff] how is math not an idea?
[15:39][dropthesky] ok ill tackle that
[15:39][dropthesky] first what is an idea?
[15:39][2drunk2jerkoff] what's not an idea?
[15:39][dropthesky] things
[15:39][dropthesky] things are not ideas
[15:40][dropthesky] things have physical presence and can (for the most part) be defined with how they react with the world
[15:40][2drunk2jerkoff] lol
[15:40][Hex Rex] existance is the supreme rule governing an everchanging physical world 
[15:40][2drunk2jerkoff] existence is relative jerkoff. noit even worth arguing about
[15:41][2drunk2jerkoff] you could be some mold growing in the jungle with visions of grandeur for all you know
[15:41][Hex Rex] only the perception of existance is relative
[15:41][2drunk2jerkoff] but existence is defined by your perceptions
[15:42][vomit jukebox] omg you guys are so existential
[15:42][2drunk2jerkoff] how do you kjnow something really exists?
[15:42][2drunk2jerkoff] \you can touch it?
[15:42][dropthesky] i agree with that last statement
[15:42][Hex Rex] to deny the reality of existance would be to deny the reality of truth
[15:42][2drunk2jerkoff] that's just a signal from your nerves telling your brain that you're touching something
[15:42][vomit jukebox] YOU'RE BLOWIN  MY MIND
[15:42][2drunk2jerkoff] maybe your brain is making it up
[15:42][dropthesky] only the perception is relative, existance is 1 non exitance 0 like you said
[15:42][glorfin] you should occupy your minds with the small and trivial matters
[15:42][dropthesky] governed by the physical world
[15:43][2drunk2jerkoff] lol binary
[15:43][2drunk2jerkoff] what a douchebag
[15:43][Hex Rex] the fact that you're receiving signals in the first place proves that existance is real and not just relative
[15:43][2drunk2jerkoff] leave it to the geek to relate it to computers
[15:43][Hex Rex] thus only the perception of existance is relative
[15:43][2drunk2jerkoff] i think therefore i am... understand it
[15:44][Hex Rex] to deny existance as an objective truth would be to deny the concept of truth itself
[15:44][Hex Rex] and you cannot logically deny the existance of truth
[15:44][2drunk2jerkoff] what is truth?
[15:44][2drunk2jerkoff] history books? 1+1=2?
[15:44][2drunk2jerkoff] there is and there is not
[15:44][Hex Rex] you cannot know what truth is
[15:44][2drunk2jerkoff] that's all there is to it
[15:45][Hex Rex] you can only know that it exists
[15:45][dropthesky] hex rex im totally with you
[15:45][dropthesky] truth is inherent
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] truth is an idea made up by a human being
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] you think animals know truth exists?
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] no
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] they just exist and go on their merry ways
[15:45][Hex Rex] that would imply that existance is an idea made up by a human being 
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] it is
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] that's what i'm saying
[15:45][dropthesky] the question is this then...
[15:45][dropthesky] is truth static?  I think you would say it is
[15:45][2drunk2jerkoff] i think therefore i am
[15:46][dropthesky] or is truth dynamic 
[15:46][2drunk2jerkoff] this reality is a construct of my mind just like yours is related to your mind
[15:46][2drunk2jerkoff] reality is different for everyone
[15:46][2drunk2jerkoff] just because something exists for you doesn't mean it does for everyone else
[15:47][Hex Rex] perceptions of reality are different for everyone.
[15:47][2drunk2jerkoff] and reality is defined by your perceptions
[15:47][Hex Rex] a reality we can never know
[15:48][Hex Rex] other than that it exists
[15:47][dropthesky] i just thought of this  
[15:47][dropthesky] lets take what 2drunk said
[15:48][dropthesky] he said ideas exist
[15:48][2drunk2jerkoff] it doesn't prove anything
[15:48][Neikos] perception proves nothing.
[15:48][dropthesky] i agree ideas exist
[15:48][dropthesky] but they have no mathematical presence
[15:48][dropthesky] i said that earlier
[15:48][2drunk2jerkoff] mathematics is just an idea
[15:48][2drunk2jerkoff] it's how we percieve certain things to work
[15:48][Hex Rex] ideas are based on perceptions and perceptions are based on interactions with reality
[15:48][dropthesky] if you link the two, you realize they don't have a mathematical presence
[15:49][dropthesky] because they also have no physical presence
[15:49][dropthesky] showing again that physics governs math
[15:49][Hex Rex] therefore, an idea cannot exist without the presence of reality
[15:49][Neikos] well applied mathematics are NOT an idea
[15:49][dropthesky] we can think of reality as god if you will
[15:50][Neikos] Reality is just an idea.
[15:50][dropthesky] it always existed
[15:50][dropthesky] it never did not exist
[15:50][dropthesky] reality always equals 1
[15:51][Hex Rex] but an idea cannot exist by itself
[15:51][Hex Rex] an idea must be produced
[15:51][Hex Rex] and is thus a function of reality
[15:51][Hex Rex] dependent on reality
[15:53][dropthesky] let me take a second and analize what you're saying
[15:53][dropthesky] this is what im gathering
[15:55][dropthesky] you are saying what we experience is only an idea
[15:55][dropthesky] merely a perception of reality
[15:55][dropthesky] this includes the physical world and the rules inherent with it
[15:56][dropthesky] but truth still governs that, and math and truth are the same thing?
[15:56][2drunk2jerkoff] math isn't truth
[15:57][dropthesky] im asking hex rex if that is what he is saying
[15:57][2drunk2jerkoff] if math is truth then what is chaos?
[15:57][dropthesky] well i think i would argue chaos doesn't exist
[15:57][dropthesky] things just are
[15:58][dropthesky] chaos is a term coined for events we don't understand
[15:58][dropthesky] or we think is chaotic
[15:58][2drunk2jerkoff] but it's still a part of math
[15:59][2drunk2jerkoff] lol
[15:59][2drunk2jerkoff] math isn't truth because we've defined math.
[15:59][2drunk2jerkoff] how many mathematical theories have turned out to be wrong even after they work?
[15:59][Hex Rex] 2drunk- none
[16:00][Hex Rex] you're thinking of physics theories 2drunk
[16:00][2drunk2jerkoff] NONE?
[16:00][2drunk2jerkoff] wasn't einstein proved wrong?
[16:00][Hex Rex] einstein was doing physics
[16:00][Hex Rex] not math
[16:00][2drunk2jerkoff] well
[16:00][2drunk2jerkoff] i guess it was physics
[16:00][glorfin] einstein was kool but i dont know wat he wuz on about
[16:00][Hex Rex] yup
[16:00][Neikos] einstein was really bad @ maths.
[16:00][2drunk2jerkoff] but physics is governed by mathematical theories
[16:00][Hex Rex] i ipointed that out to drop earlier 2drunk
[16:01][dropthesky] right but im not sure i agree with that hex
[16:01][Hex Rex] physics are explained by math not governed by it
[16:01][Neikos] No.
[16:01][Neikos] psysics uses maths.
[16:01][dropthesky] math is derived from physics
[16:01][2drunk2jerkoff] everything when it comes down to it is governed by some sort of math. except for the perception of existence and reality
[16:02][Hex Rex] teh laws of physics are the way they are today by chance
[16:02][glorfin] nine times table is easy
[16:02][Hex Rex] in another universe with a different set of physical laws
[16:02][2drunk2jerkoff] but those laws can be manipulated using math
[16:02][Hex Rex] we could still use math to understand those laws
[16:02][dropthesky] and the math exists by that chance
[16:02][dropthesky] the math would be completely different if physics turned out to be something else
[16:03][Hex Rex] drop- how so?
[16:03][Neikos] in the other universe maybe some phenomenons are not the same.
[16:03][Neikos] so there is nothing maths can explain.
[16:03][dropthesky] neikos exactly my point
[16:04][dropthesky] in another universe i think the math would change to accomodate the truth of the universe
[16:04][Hex Rex] yeah but you can still understand those phenomenons using math that is based on the same arithmetic:  1+1=2
[16:04][Neikos] psysics ->describe a phenomenon , maths help this description.
[16:04][2drunk2jerkoff] but you would have to understand the universe to contemplate the math behind it
[16:06][dropthesky] its been fun dudes
[16:06][dropthesky] hex rex 2drunk
[16:06][2drunk2jerkoff] yeah thanks for the headache drop
[16:07][dropthesky] ive had enough, interesting ideas 
[16:07][dropthesky] a blog about nothing
[16:07][dropthesky] but its hella funny

So there you have it.  Did it take me long to colour code that?  Yes.


simply.steph said...

agreed with neiko in the convo, math and physics are just descriptions and a way of articulation. Physics is just a description of content and processes of a phenomena. Math can be used to illustrate a theory in a way words fall short. well kudos to you and the colour coding, now i'm going to go eat some eggo waffles. Reading all that had me really hungry.

penelope said...

Lol this is insane! I hate math; And Physics; ESP! When those stupid formulas kick in; Grr. OWELL; I'm over that now((:

Instead; I'm stuck with business and tourism stuff. And LAW. LAW is as BAD as. Math. LOL


Oh myyyyy, math is the devil.

Thanks for the comment deary;)

Anonymous said...

hex rex is an idiot. the laws of physics are only known to us through theory and formula. The formulae are mathematically stated. physics "in itself" is not intelligible without an underlying theory. any physicist knows this.

jamesforlife said...

That's what he is saying. That physics is governed by math. And the basis of his argument (and mine) is that math is an entity that is not governed by anything. Where ever you are, two objects will always be two objects. Even if you use a different term to describe that fact.

The Illest Bent Handstyle said...

Stop confusing yourselves on the physics angle. When you realize that humans observe the way the material world works, and base our laws on those observations, than its impossible to argue that those laws are 100% guaranteed because our own observations are flawed. And therefore the formulae we create are possibly riddled with errors we have not discovered yet.

Gerjay said...

I 100% agree with Hex Rex. Math is the concrete language by which anything can be described. It is the application of math that allows for EVERYTHING.

People talking about perception on reality, fail to realize that our perception of reality is just us observing the environment around us in a way that is most beneficial to our survival, nothing more. There is a reason new science believes that dogs smell in 'colours' and that bats hear 'colours' much like the humans who are considered mentally disabled and are able to smell or hear colour as part of their natural cognitive function.

Math is the underlying 'truth' if you want to call it that but I'd much rather just call it math. Two is two no matter how you look at it, so long as you're speaking on a purely conceptual level. 3 will never be evenly divisible by 2 and the whole concept of dividing by 0 is outrageous, but if you wanted to know where math is currently wrong you should look at dividing something by 0.

ANYWAYS, math was not made to model the natural world, it was to model the conceptual foundations of anything. If you say 1+1=2 is too basic then there's a problem, because all math is founded in logic stemming from this one truth. It is not modeled from the real world, every other science is. Any math that we can understand is perfect and applicable to any universe in any situation.

The exceptions would be in new math, where the concepts are NOT understandable because the human mind does not deal well with the idea of chaos. Accepting that the fundamental laws of math, physics or anything else INCLUDE randomness in their formulas is nearly impossible for the human brain to comprehend. I'd argue this is because comprehending randomness is far from important to our survival and would actually harm us if we thought that sitting in one place could 0.0000001% of the time allow for a chicken to walk up to us, cook itself and feed itself to us. That's a little extreme but its along the lines of why our brains only comprehend the concrete reality and not the random.

Rant over, point is, if its math the human brain can comprehend I think it is applicable to the universe but if it is math where models need to be used to account for randomness I think that this is where the human brain cannot possibly comprehend and therefore cannot be accepted as 'concrete fundamental math'.