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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 18 2014, 12:47 PM   #151
Metryq
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

^ Using math to prove math. Kinda circular, don't you think?

Are you arguing that conclusions in "theoretical" physics cannot be wrong if math proves it? The problem I see is the translation to and from math. Ptolemy and Kepler both used math to plot the orbits of the planets. Despite the conflict between the models, are you saying they were both correct? That must be the case, since they were reverse engineering god.

I'm not making a philosophical or theological argument here. Not all of math is as simple as counting jelly beans, but even that simple act requires that we define our terms.
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Old May 18 2014, 01:43 PM   #152
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Metryq wrote: View Post
I'm not making a philosophical or theological argument here.
Well, I was making one. Math describes the patterns in the universe. If the universe were different, math would be different as well.

You can write programs that put basic logic, laws of nature, causality, whatever upside down and back to front. So for any "being" inside that program, the programmed universe would work according to that weird logic. So if those beings were to describe how their universe worked, they would come up with a different math. And they would not be able to understand the real world/outside world math their outside creator/programmer used.


Are you arguing that conclusions in "theoretical" physics cannot be wrong if math proves it? The problem I see is the translation to and from math. Ptolemy and Kepler both used math to plot the orbits of the planets. Despite the conflict between the models, are you saying they were both correct?
Not sure were you're going with this. They used the same math on different models, didn't they? They had different assumptions and thus conflicting results, but they used the same language to describe their models. Kepler didn't go "I'm going to use a math where 1*2 = 3 do describe planet orbits", while Ptolemy went "I'm using math where 1*2 = 4 to make my calculations".

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Old May 18 2014, 02:36 PM   #153
Timelord Victorious
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

But saying 2 is just short hand for 1 and another 1.
Same as 4 is just short hand for 1 and another 1 and another 1 and another 1.

The same goes for all math. It's just definitions and labels.

Even in another universe jus 1 would not be more than just 1 because that's how we defined it.
Same as a bachelor won't be married in whatever universe.
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Old May 18 2014, 03:05 PM   #154
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

Timelord Victorious wrote: View Post
But saying 2 is just short hand for 1 and another 1.
Same as 4 is just short hand for 1 and another 1 and another 1 and another 1.

The same goes for all math. It's just definitions and labels.

Even in another universe jus 1 would not be more than just 1 because that's how we defined it.
Same as a bachelor won't be married in whatever universe.
Yes, because in our universe, there's sequence or linear causality. It's purely philosophical, but other universes could be totally different, to the degree where we simply couldn't comprehend it. We are not capable of thinking outside THIS box.

Unless our universe is really the ONLY way possible.
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Old May 18 2014, 07:05 PM   #155
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Math describes the patterns in the universe.
Yes, "describes" the patterns because math is a language with formalized structure to make it a precision tool. But math is not the patterns of the universe itself. That is what I meant when I said that math is not "truth."

That was also the intent of my Ptolemy and Kepler analogy—they both used math to model the universe. Both believed the universe to be mathematically perfect, and Kepler had the courage to question his own convictions when data from Tycho was stubbornly uncooperative. How could either of them be wrong if math was used to get the answer?

We may be missing each other due to imperfections in another language. The following article is food for thought. (Please note that the author is an electrical engineer, not a "theoretical" physicist):

The Reasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics
By DEREK ABBOTT
(PDF)

So for any "being" inside that program, the programmed universe would work according to that weird logic. So if those beings were to describe how their universe worked, they would come up with a different math.
Ah, "they would come up with a different math," meaning math is a language and not some Pythagorean "truth" embedded in the "fabric of the universe," to use a Greene-ism.

The above statement suggests that you believe the universe is "intelligently designed" software, or maybe a hologram. Perhaps it is. But "we don't know" is a more accurate answer.

One of my gripes with many mainstream theories is the presentation of conjecture as fact. Such as, the universe had a beginning, exploding out of nothingness and creating space itself. Or the notion of superposed states of being—also known as alternate universes—derived from quantum mechanics. In the latter example, there is no way to test such an idea. Schrödinger's cat was intended as a parody of the multiverse idea, yet many actually use the analogy to teach the concepts of QM. "The cat is both alive and dead at the same time, until someone opens the box thus sending a particle backward in time to establish the observed state of the cat."

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Old May 19 2014, 06:05 PM   #156
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

To the extent mathematics is an abstraction of physical reality, the relationships it reveals between our physical laws owe more to the truth of those laws than to mathematics itself.

Things like Euler's identity are beautifully simple because they show the interconnectedness of our physical laws, for instance.
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Old May 19 2014, 06:25 PM   #157
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
If there is a god that created the universe, he also created the laws of nature after which the universe works. He invented math, defined all forces, etc... I wonder why religious fundamentalists are afraid of the thought of understanding those laws their god created.
That doesn't make sense, does it?

I am a believer in God and Creation. I enjoy learning about scientific discoveries because it helps me appreciate the awe - inspiring wisdom of the Creator.
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Old May 19 2014, 06:32 PM   #158
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Re: 51% of Americans don't accept the Big Bang theory

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Metryq wrote: View Post
I'm not making a philosophical or theological argument here.
Well, I was making one. Math describes the patterns in the universe. If the universe were different, math would be different as well.
Metryq is pointing out, correctly, that math does not always ACCURATELY describe patterns in the universe, and in many cases it merely approximates it. The universe is what it is, and the underlying mathematics of theoretical physics is merely an attempt to describe it.

You can write programs that put basic logic, laws of nature, causality, whatever upside down and back to front. So for any "being" inside that program, the programmed universe would work according to that weird logic. So if those beings were to describe how their universe worked, they would come up with a different math.
And again, they might come up with a different math just by virtue of BEING WRONG. There is a difference between a mathematical description of reality and reality itself.
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