Question: What is Math?

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#16

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:02 pm

I just wanted to point out that Chuck Norris counted to infinity, twice.

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Re: Question: What is Math?

#17

Post by Byblos » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:20 pm

IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:
IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:.
Do you mind explaining "How is it that using mathematics we can predict the existence of the Higgs boson decades before its actual discovery in reality?"?
Ken is right. Math didn't do anything. Humans did by using it.
And exactly what point are you (or him) trying to convey?

My point, of course, being that we can take an abstract idea or construct that only exists in the human mind (supposedly, according to ken and you if you agree with him) and then turn it around and use it to predict something that is very concrete and part of the reality we live in. Unless you (and him) want to posit that the reality we live in is also a construct of our mind then you and him, my friends, have a yuuuge (a la Trump) duality problem, don't you.
Why so cocky, man?
Anyway, you paraphrased and elaborated what you said in that one sentence. What I am interested in, is that you give exact example for such a prediction because I don't get it.
Huh? I have absolutely no clue why you would even say I was being cocky. Perhaps that's rather a reflection on you.

And I did provide an example, i.e. the Higgs Boson, which was mathematically predicted for decades without confirmation that it actually existed, until such time that it was actually confirmed to exist.
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#18

Post by IceMobster » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:21 pm

Kenny wrote:
Byblos wrote:
IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:.
Do you mind explaining "How is it that using mathematics we can predict the existence of the Higgs boson decades before its actual discovery in reality?"?
Ken is right. Math didn't do anything. Humans did by using it.
And exactly what point are you (or him) trying to convey?

My point, of course, being that we can take an abstract idea or construct that only exists in the human mind (supposedly, according to ken and you if you agree with him) and then turn it around and use it to predict something that is very concrete and part of the reality we live in.
Yes! Mankind has been formulating ideas, plans, systems, and hypothesis, in his mind and using these plans, systems, ideas and hypothesis to invent, construct, predict, and accomplish things in the part of reality we live in. That’s what separates us from the monkeys!

Ken
So you claim that monkeys and humans have the same soul?
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#19

Post by Byblos » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:27 pm

Kenny wrote:
Byblos wrote:
IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:.
Do you mind explaining "How is it that using mathematics we can predict the existence of the Higgs boson decades before its actual discovery in reality?"?
Ken is right. Math didn't do anything. Humans did by using it.
And exactly what point are you (or him) trying to convey?

My point, of course, being that we can take an abstract idea or construct that only exists in the human mind (supposedly, according to ken and you if you agree with him) and then turn it around and use it to predict something that is very concrete and part of the reality we live in.
Yes! Mankind has been formulating ideas, plans, systems, and hypothesis, in his mind and using these plans, systems, ideas and hypothesis to invent, construct, predict, and accomplish things in the part of reality we live in. That’s what separates us from the monkeys!

Ken
Way to go Kenny, yet again managed to wax philosophical while saying nothing of substance. One more time, the question is, Kenny, how is it that a construct that exists only in the minds of humans, can predict and perfectly describe a reality that exists irrespective of the existence of such minds. If humans went extinct tomorrow, or if humans never evolved into rational beings capable of constructing such abstract ideas such as mathematics, would that somehow annihilate the existence of the Higgs Boson? I hope you see that the only logical answer is of course not.

So the question you need to answer still stands, how does an abstract concept that exists only in the mind relate to, describe, and predict physical reality so perfectly?
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#20

Post by Kenny » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:49 pm

Byblos wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Byblos wrote:
IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:.
Do you mind explaining "How is it that using mathematics we can predict the existence of the Higgs boson decades before its actual discovery in reality?"?
Ken is right. Math didn't do anything. Humans did by using it.
And exactly what point are you (or him) trying to convey?

My point, of course, being that we can take an abstract idea or construct that only exists in the human mind (supposedly, according to ken and you if you agree with him) and then turn it around and use it to predict something that is very concrete and part of the reality we live in.
Yes! Mankind has been formulating ideas, plans, systems, and hypothesis, in his mind and using these plans, systems, ideas and hypothesis to invent, construct, predict, and accomplish things in the part of reality we live in. That’s what separates us from the monkeys!

Ken
Way to go Kenny, yet again managed to wax philosophical while saying nothing of substance. One more time, the question is, Kenny, how is it that a construct that exists only in the minds of humans, can predict and perfectly describe a reality that exists irrespective of the existence of such minds. If humans went extinct tomorrow, or if humans never evolved into rational beings capable of constructing such abstract ideas such as mathematics, would that somehow annihilate the existence of the Higgs Boson? I hope you see that the only logical answer is of course not.

So the question you need to answer still stands, how does an abstract concept that exists only in the mind relate to, describe, and predict physical reality so perfectly?
I doubt I know enough about Higgs Boson to give you the type of answer you’re looking for, but let me put it this way; if a formula or system created by a real person is able to be used to predict the trajectory of something real, that doesn’t make the system real, just the person using it. Math would not exist if humans did not invent it.

Ken
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IceMobster (Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:52 pm)
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#21

Post by EssentialSacrifice » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:09 pm

The word math is the human construct, a human definition of all the inner workings of the physical universe, as well as we know it. That same physical universe has been ongoing for 14.299 billion years BEFORE WE EVER GOT HERE. The events of how our universe that can be explained, predicted and repeatable are, at best only defined by us. The inner workings that react and convulse throughout the universe were ongoing and as predictable then as they are now under our definition.

Math is God's road map to us, one of His "clues" to His existence. It's the only thing we have to measure His great distances and time and is the equalizing answer to " I guess it just happens that way" ... y:-?
Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence. -St Augustine

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Re: Question: What is Math?

#22

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:53 pm

Kenny wrote:I doubt I know enough about Higgs Boson to give you the type of answer you’re looking for, but let me put it this way; if a formula or system created by a real person is able to be used to predict the trajectory of something real, that doesn’t make the system real, just the person using it. Math would not exist if humans did not invent it.
Ken, here is an outworking I see of your thinking.

At the foundation of Physics is Math. If humans invent Math, then humans invent Physics.
The Physical World is founded upon Physics which is invented by humans. Humans are finite and not eternal.
Therefore the Physical World is finite and not eternal, merely a mental construct of human mind.
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#23

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:16 pm

And again, Kenny attempts to make an epistemology/ontology distinction . . . I mean, at least he's trying to recognize the difference, even if he's doing it improperly. Do we call that progress or just note the progress of confusion? y:-?
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#24

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:08 pm

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Mrs K (Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:37 pm) • patrick (Thu May 05, 2016 12:38 am)
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#25

Post by Mrs K » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:27 pm

Kenny wrote:Does math exist? Of course not! Math does not exist by itself, it only exist within the context of human thought; yes humans created math.
It isn’t a coincidence that math is based upon the 10 and humans have 10 fingers. If we had 12 fingers math would be completely different. Math no more exist than numbers exist.
Numbers are representative tokens humans imagine to represent things that actually do exist.
Math is a system humans created to calculate these representative tokens that are used to represent things that do exist.
It's as simple as that.

Ken
I think there is confusion with the term "math" because it is being used to describe the number systems (language) we use, as well as concepts/facts we have discovered.

Number systems are obviously made up tokens to describe things that actually exist.
But the "things that actually exist" are the facts/concepts that we are describing.

So, the number of fingers would not change that reality. Those facts/concepts are Mathematical Laws (like Physical Laws). Having 12 fingers (or no fingers) would not change that 2*7=14.

Humans are pretty clever, right? Why would be limit ourselves to a number system based on 10 fingers when we could make up any system we wanted? In fact we have other number system, e.g. binary, but it seems no matter what number system we use 2*7=14 (in whatever system defines it).

So math concepts/facts would not look very different at all... just the math language.
But it would be like comparing the word for "apple" in English, Arabic and Japanese.
Just because the words are written different, they still describe the exact same thing.

Moving on... there are some many beautiful patterns that emerge from our base 10 number system.
e.g.
- that the digits of all multiples of 9 added up to 9
- that the digits of all multiples of 3 add up to either 3, 6, 9 in that order everytime
etc. (basic examples, I know, but just a couple I've noticed doing Math Homework with my 8yo recently)

These things were discovered within this base-10 number system that we used.
Humans did not invent the patterns and then apply them to the number system.
Even those credited with these patterns (e.g. Ulam Spirals) recount them as a "discovery" not a rule that they made up.



But humans seem to be the only living things that seem to be able to marvel and appreciate these patterns.

If the God of the Bible does exist, and Mathematical Laws are one of his creations, it make sense that he would insert things like this in there as one of his ways of showing himself to us humans who he is trying to reach. It's like a non-pushy way for him to say "hey, I am here, check this out." And those that want to ignore him and just claim random/meaningless can, but those that want to see him can appreciate his handiwork.
Last edited by Mrs K on Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#26

Post by Byblos » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:29 pm

The first 20 seconds of the first video gives a compelling answer quoting the nobel physicist Eugene Wigner saying of math: "The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics". And immediately after the narrator commenting that it is something we neither understand nor deserve.

Truer words have seldom been spoken. Thanks BGood.
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Re: Question: What is Math?

#27

Post by Mrs K » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:39 pm

Good videos :)

I am just reposting as embeds for easy watching for others :)






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Re: Question: What is Math?

#28

Post by Kenny » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:02 pm

IceMobster wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Byblos wrote:
IceMobster wrote:
Byblos wrote:.
Do you mind explaining "How is it that using mathematics we can predict the existence of the Higgs boson decades before its actual discovery in reality?"?
Ken is right. Math didn't do anything. Humans did by using it.
And exactly what point are you (or him) trying to convey?

My point, of course, being that we can take an abstract idea or construct that only exists in the human mind (supposedly, according to ken and you if you agree with him) and then turn it around and use it to predict something that is very concrete and part of the reality we live in.
Yes! Mankind has been formulating ideas, plans, systems, and hypothesis, in his mind and using these plans, systems, ideas and hypothesis to invent, construct, predict, and accomplish things in the part of reality we live in. That’s what separates us from the monkeys!

Ken
So you claim that monkeys and humans have the same soul?
Seeing as you are not Christian, what do you mean when you say "soul"?

Ken
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"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Question: What is Math?

#29

Post by Kenny » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:04 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Kenny wrote:I doubt I know enough about Higgs Boson to give you the type of answer you’re looking for, but let me put it this way; if a formula or system created by a real person is able to be used to predict the trajectory of something real, that doesn’t make the system real, just the person using it. Math would not exist if humans did not invent it.
Ken, here is an outworking I see of your thinking.

At the foundation of Physics is Math. If humans invent Math, then humans invent Physics.
The Physical World is founded upon Physics which is invented by humans.
How could the physical world be founded upon physics when it existed prior to physics?

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Question: What is Math?

#30

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:18 pm

Mrs K wrote:
Kenny wrote:Does math exist? Of course not! Math does not exist by itself, it only exist within the context of human thought; yes humans created math.
It isn’t a coincidence that math is based upon the 10 and humans have 10 fingers. If we had 12 fingers math would be completely different. Math no more exist than numbers exist.
Numbers are representative tokens humans imagine to represent things that actually do exist.
Math is a system humans created to calculate these representative tokens that are used to represent things that do exist.
It's as simple as that.

Ken
I think there is confusion with the term "math" because it is being used to describe the number systems (language) we use, as well as concepts/facts we have discovered.

Number systems are obviously made up tokens to describe things that actually exist.
But the "things that actually exist" are the facts/concepts that we are describing.

So, the number of fingers would not change that reality. Those facts/concepts are Mathematical Laws (like Physical Laws). Having 12 fingers (or no fingers) would not change that 2*7=14.

Humans are pretty clever, right? Why would be limit ourselves to a number system based on 10 fingers when we could make up any system we wanted? In fact we have other number system, e.g. binary, but it seems no matter what number system we use 2*7=14 (in whatever system defines it).

So math concepts/facts would not look very different at all... just the math language.
But it would be like comparing the word for "apple" in English, Arabic and Japanese.
Just because the words are written different, they still describe the exact same thing.

Moving on... there are some many beautiful patterns that emerge from our base 10 number system.
e.g.
- that the digits of all multiples of 9 added up to 9
- that the digits of all multiples of 3 add up to either 3, 6, 9 in that order everytime
etc. (basic examples, I know, but just a couple I've noticed doing Math Homework with my 8yo recently)

These things were discovered within this base-10 number system that we used.
Humans did not invent the patterns and then apply them to the number system.
Even those credited with these patterns (e.g. Ulam Spirals) recount them as a "discovery" not a rule that they made up.



But humans seem to be the only living things that seem to be able to marvel and appreciate these patterns.

If the God of the Bible does exist, and Mathematical Laws are one of his creations, it make sense that he would insert things like this in there as one of his ways of showing himself to us humans who he is trying to reach. It's like a non-pushy way for him to say "hey, I am here, check this out." And those that want to ignore him and just claim random/meaningless can, but those that want to see him can appreciate his handiwork.
And that, my friends, is a proper use of the distinction between epistemology and ontology (a bit strictly, between linguistics and ontology, but as linguistics refers to referents (bad pun), and referents ultimately deal with universals, and universals are the subject of knowledge, we get back to a basic ontology/epistemology distinction) :)

Well done, Mrs K. :clap:
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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