Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
May 17, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
Population growth and climate change explained by Hans Rosling: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/video/2013/may/17/population-climate-change-hans-rosling-video
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
Jan -- "God may be a mathematician but language comes from the mammalian brain."


No

Language comes from the soul.

Without the soul there is no brain.

The soul controls the brain.

The soul is the seat of consciousness, intelligence and the source of all the material bodies activities.

The brain is just a lump of flesh that the soul works thru to operate the material body ........
MH2

climber
May 17, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
If there is such a thing as a one, then show it to me. Don't use it as an abstract concept. I mean, it is a concept, isn't it?


Yes. It is a concept. But that is not all it is. If you balk at the concept of 1 penny then I presume you wont agree with other math-related statements. If you don't see what Conway is doing, okay, but I say that Conway has the better case. It isn't so much that math is being used to prove a statement about math, but that logic is being used to put foundations under math. Mathematicians did not worry about foundations for millennia, but that has been fixed.

You can claim that there is no such thing as one, but then you have also claimed that logic won't get you anywhere, so you have nothing to make your case with.



edit for JL

But you are wrong in thinking that ALL people all over the world are good with math and can easily understand it.

I did not make that claim. Mayans had a calendar, astronomy, and arithmetic. Other native americans in what is now the U.S. had only counting.



It's like music, or poetry, and so forth.


No. Discoveries in math were made by early Chinese, Hindus, and Greeks. The similarity in the results would be like Beethoven's 9th or Hamlet's soliloquy turning up independently in China, India, and Greece.

Many people think math is just a thing to learn. In fact, the question of what math is and where it comes from is as mysterious as quantum mechanics and other interpretations of the physical world. We are fortunate that math can be developed without worrying about what it IS. The same approach can be taken in physics. Math and physics are accessible to human consciousness but not direct products of it.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
May 17, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
I can say that out of 6,000+ recorded languages, there are only three different ways of ordering grammar.

This is intriguing and implies that language could be reduced to math formulas. In Spanish you can put the words and phrases in almost any order you want, and I often make weird constructions in English because I'm so used to the freedom of doing that.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 17, 2013 - 02:14pm PT

It's like music, or poetry, and so forth.


No. Discoveries in math were made by early Chinese, Hindus, and Greeks. The similarity in the results would be like Beethoven's 9th or Hamlet's soliloquy turning up independently in China, India, and Greece.


No. You lose your way in assuming that each language is bound by the same rules or criteria, when it fact it is not. The criteria for math is that it originally corresponded to things out there in a tangible, one to one relationship. In that sense, the original math, was constrained to work along lines just as proscribed in China as they were in Fort Worth. Plus we humans are predisposed to organize discrete elements in certain ways, just as water runs down hill. What you are ascribing as a fundamental aspect of reality that was discovered whole and en tact by various differing folk across the globe is in fact an example of people learning how their discursive minds work. Because music and literature is not originally constrained by a numerical relationship to things, but rather to the much more amorphous and ever shifting realms of feelings, intuitions, and so forth, we don't see Hamlet appearing in whole cloth in New Guinea as it first appeared in England.

A more interesting question is what BASE contends - that math is not a language, that is, a symbolic system used to talk about "things" and phenomenon. Verily BASE, what is math? And if math is a thing, and all things are by nature physical, where does said math exist independent of things and consciousness?

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 17, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Mathematicians did not worry about foundations for millennia, but that has been fixed

Well, more or less. For example, the Axiom of Choice is still somewhat controversial. Odd things happen when one studies the foundation of mathematics - I found it best to leave those dilemmas to set theorists and math logicians.

IMO philosophy of mathematics is a quagmire.

In my own area - classical (complex) analysis - most of the foundation stuff was ironed out well over a hundred years ago. Before then there were questions like "does the sequence <0,1,0,1,0...> 'converge' to some number?"


Verily BASE, what is math? And if math is a thing, and all things are by nature physical, where does said math exist independent of things and consciousness?

Oh my God . . . here we go.

;>(
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
May 17, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Lost in Language! ;o) MikeL og Largo sager hele tiden av den grenen de sitter på. Anser seg å gjendrive språklig mening ved hjelp av det samme språk. Stunningly stoopeed and repetitively boring.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 17, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Mh2:

If you like coincidence then you'll Love Joseph Campbell's recognition that the myth of virgin birth occurred in different times and places across the globe unconnected.

Just like mathematics!
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
May 17, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Language comes from the soul.

Without the soul there is no brain.

How can that be? I have no soul yet I can write this post with my brain.

Feel free to have as soul but don't force one one me. I'm more than just a toy built by a superior being for amusement and worship.

Dave
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
^^^^^^^^

I have no soul

Since you have no clue what you are talking about you just made a completely stupid idiotic post.

Most of the time that's what you do here in this thread.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 17, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Math is part of the fabric of the universe. Everything is part of the fabric of the Universe. It is just there, and I don't want to get involved in a number theory pissing match.

Don't you see? Sure, our senses bias us heavily towards the subjective. If you want to understand the mind and intelligence, you must consider the subjective nature of our minds. It is everywhere in our thought and belief.

This subjective nature is a problem. You can pass some information orally through generations, but a point is reached where you must write things down so that you can pass this knowledge on without error. Take the Bible or the Principia as examples. It is easy to see that written language is an advantage, and we have adapted to this by improving language in order to convey ideas or information with greater precision. Although the symbols used in math and physics may be unfamiliar to those who don't understand it, It is a perfect example of how we can get around that problem of subjective experience. Our written language that we are all using right now is another example, but it has its limitations. Some are better at it than others.

I don't think that this is entirely natural. The symbolic language of math and physics is a very new thing in the history of our species. You can use symbols for many things, but we use them primarily to communicate between individuals. If you took a boy raised by wolves, he would be very limited in his ability to communicate, both orally and written.

This is obvious, but in the context of this discussion it is important to understand. Written language is also a symbolic way to share information between individuals, and even cave paintings were used in this way. They carry meaning. The only problem is that you need to be taught how to use symbolic language. We aren't born with this ability.

Humans and other animals learn a lot from each other. Language is probably a good indicator of intelligence.

You can refute this, but in doing so, you are using language in a written form, as a post on the internet. Language itself is very useful, and many creatures use this ability as an evolutionary advantage. It has been shown that some animals can count, for instance.

I don't really care about the is-ness of math or other symbolic language. I could waste my entire life trying to re-invent the wheel.

Sh#t, Even the poor editing of my posts amazes me sometimes. When I do that, I fail in communicating an idea.

What is an idea, anyway? Does it come as a message from God, or is it just a part of the emergence of intelligence in our species from millions of years of evolution?

I am strongly in the emergence camp. Intelligence is an emerged quality which we have simply acquired through adaptation. Evolution. To concentrate on our species is a little foolish. If you consider intelligence, you must compare it to anatomy, and you must use this anatomy to compare us to other species.

If you refuse to acknowledge the brain, then there really isn't much to discuss. You have straight jacketed yourself in a very foolish way.

I'm damn proud of my meat brain.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 17, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
No

Language comes from the soul.

Without the soul there is no brain.

The soul controls the brain.

The soul is the seat of consciousness, intelligence and the source of all the material bodies activities.

The brain is just a lump of flesh that the soul works thru to operate the material body ........


I concur with the sage here, and Largo.

Math is based on our perception of logic. Logic comes from where? Right vs wrong, truth vs. false. The whole grey area thing is liberal bullshit trying to mince words to obtain an agenda.

Right and wrong are absolute. Nuance is a politician BSing you. Repub or Dem.

I guess we have wrought what we have sown. A muddy political system that is just too big and too vague, self-perpetuating it's own existence.

The Founders of this great idea in history are doing face-plants in disgust.
MH2

climber
May 17, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
The criteria for math is that it originally corresponded to things out there in a tangible, one to one relationship.

Glad to hear that you think so. You can show MikeL the number 1.




What you are ascribing as a fundamental aspect of reality that was discovered whole and en tact by various differing folk across the globe is in fact an example of people learning how their discursive minds work.

If so, I would say that it is impressive that people growing up in different cultures at different times find that their discursive minds work alike in such a way.




Because music and literature is not originally constrained by a numerical relationship to things, but rather to the much more amorphous and ever shifting realms of feelings, intuitions, and so forth, we don't see Hamlet appearing in whole cloth in New Guinea as it first appeared in England.

So you agree that math is a more concrete (less shifting) shared reality than music and literature?





If you like coincidence then you'll Love Joseph Campbell's recognition that the myth of virgin birth occurred in different times and places across the globe unconnected.

Just like mathematics!

For coincidence I prefer the way math was used to land vehicles on the Moon and Mars, if in fact the number one does not exist. Given taboos prevalent on Earth, virgin birth stories are not so hard to believe.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 17, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
Verily BASE, what is math? And if math is a thing, and all things are by nature physical, where does said math exist independent of things and consciousness?

Oh my God . . . here we go.


Hey, hold on, John. You can't out that on me. It is BASE and others who are insisting that MATH itself, a numerical representational model, is something that exists as a fundamental aspect of the universe, that it is not a man made representation of physical reality and potentialities, but that the very notation of math existed, and does exist, independent of the minds that produced it.

That is, people didn't discover that physical reality interacted in certain systematic ways that could be modeled by numbers, but rather, physical reality and numbers are the same. Numbers are not derived from the relations of things existing independent of mind, rather numbers themselves EXIST separate from mind. really?

It's only fitting to ask: Where. Where are the stand-alone numbers that all the different races discovered "out there." Not the things the numbers represent, but the numbers themselves.

If the question is absurd, then you have to then look back at the original claim, which I did NOT make.

Lastly, if number were not a language, people would have fashioned the very same names for numbers all over the world, but instead we have a zillion different words for the very same "three," which is how language works.

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 17, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
Hey, hold on, John. You can't out that on me.

My comment had more to do with the continuance of the discussion than with your view, John. But you're a big boy, provocative, a splendid climber, and a gifted writer and as such an appealing target! ;>)

At least once in a career a mathematician ponders the question: Is math discovered (Platonic, out there independent of human thought) or created (a product primarily of mind)?

After a little cogitating most put the question behind them and move on to more important material. I've never dwelled on this conundrum, sensing it has so little to do with anything tangible. Nevertheless, in the process of math research the mathematician frequently creates definitions of abstract mathematical ideas and relationships as he recognizes them. He then investigates them as they open up new areas of understanding. This is both creating and discovering. As to whether these "discoveries" existed before classification and investigation, I rather think they did not but that they come into being as a result of the researcher pulling together various results and analyzing them, recognizing commonalities and reformating the thinking of the particular subject. Calculus developed in bits and pieces, beginning with the ancient Greeks, but it was (the genius of) Newton and Leibnitz - and others - who assembled and packaged these results in a unified format. This pulling together scattered results and seeing their commonalities is immensly important in math research.

And this is what makes math so exciting, like exploring virgin rock towers and faces, discovering/creating new routes, piecing together holds here and there until the whole thing hangs together. The result is a route that has been "proven" true.

And it's this "proven" business that separates math - the queen of the sciences - from other experimental sciences. Ed uses math that "works" but that has not necessarily been proven true according to strict mathematical logic. For instance, Feynman's path integrals.

Sorry about the rambling. Hiked at the lake today in 90 degrees and I'm feeling a little bushed.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 17, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Can anyone tell me what mathematical ideas the Chinese invented that the Greeks and Hindus did not?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 17, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
And regarding Werner's assertion that language comes from the soul. I believe this is connected to the idea in India that Sanskrit is the language of God and the mother tongue of all other human languages. This is a religious belief not a linguistic fact.

it is commonly believed in many religions however, that a particular language is sacred - Catholics and Latin, Arabs and the Koran, some Protestants and the King James version etc. In India, it is claimed that only mantras pronounced in Sanskrit will have certain meditation effects yet these are completely mispronounced by Chinese and Japanese who still manage to get enlightened. Likewise writing systems. I have been told in India you have to visualize Sanskrit letters for certain meditational effects and in Japan certain kanji for the same effects.

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 17, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
John, I agree that piddling about whether numbers existed a priori to us being alive here is in itself a kind of closed loop, but oddly enough it is related to a whole slew of other ideas and notions that are significant existential questions - all having to do with "the map in the territory" stuff. There's also issues so broad that they are hard to get hold of, and yet they are exactly what we'd likely ask if we had some distance and wondered, Hey, what the hell is REALLY going on here?

Take this quote, for instance:

"I would say that it is impressive that people growing up in different cultures at different times find that their discursive minds work alike in such a way."

The person who said that is an avowed materialist and I believe an MD. Therefore he would naturally believe that thinking and consciousness itself was entirely biological artifact. Now isn't it strange that an MD (and most of my family are MDs) who knows perfectly well the uniformity of human bio functionjs (blood pressure, temp., heart beat, etc) can be "impressed" that the human brain would work basically the same across the board? Wouldn't it be odd, say, if the Chinaman reasoned entirely different than the Belgium?
Humans, in the broad stroke, share a lot of continuity, otherwise fields like medicine would have no norms.

Or this: So you agree that math is a more concrete (less shifting) shared reality than music and literature?

It is interesting to ponder the idea that something "less shifting" is therefore more concrete? What I think he means is that something quantifiable feels more real to the discursive mind. But in terms of what is more concrete, it's hard to get more real or immediate than through the experience of terror or joy or sadness or anger, which are all feelings.
This underscores the fact that "real" in terms of our mind is one thing, bit in terms of our direct experience, numbers, say, are as abstract as the moon.

JL
MH2

climber
May 17, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
Whether mathematics is discovered or created is probably too simple a question. I remember that there was a good brief discussion of the issue in the book The Mathematical Experience by Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh. Some mathematicians have a sense that they discover objects in a pre-existing mathematical terrain. Others don't give a hoot as long as they get good ideas. I like jogill's view that new mathematics comes from finding new connections and commonalities.

I see that Wikipedia has an entry on the history of mathematics. That entry states that, "it took human beings at least 45,000 years from the attainment of behavioral modernity and language (generally thought to be a long time before that) to develop mathematics as such."

'Behavioral modernity' is said to be a term used by anthropologists?



If language and the human brain preceded mathematics by that length of time, it took humans awfully long to learn how their discursive minds work:

The criteria for math is that it originally corresponded to things out there in a tangible, one to one relationship. In that sense, the original math, was constrained to work along lines just as proscribed in China as they were in Fort Worth. Plus we humans are predisposed to organize discrete elements in certain ways, just as water runs down hill. What you are ascribing as a fundamental aspect of reality that was discovered whole and en tact by various differing folk across the globe is in fact an example of people learning how their discursive minds work.

Or it took a long time for the water to run down hill.

Numbers and counting are not mathematics.




On early Chinese mathematics:

We have to depend on written records and math probably goes back before the accounts that remain. In China there was a burning of books in 212 BC which may have destroyed important Chinese writings on math. Wikipedia gives the Chinese credit for first use of negative numbers, algebraic geometry, and decimals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_mathematics



Another good synopsis of what is known about early developments in mathematics in various locations:

http://fabpedigree.com/james/grmatm1.htm




edit for the post above:

Wouldn't it be odd, say, if the Chinaman reasoned entirely different than the Belgium?
Humans, in the broad stroke, share a lot of continuity, otherwise fields like medicine would have no norms.


Or turn that around. Would it be strange if the Chinaman reasoned exactly as the Belgian did? Ask Jan. Would it be strange if the same spoken or written language developed in early China and Belgium? It seems that you agree that the question of similarities and their degree is relevant. How much difference does it make to you if the similarities are mathematical or biological?
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 17, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
But if I were to look up in the sky and see one of those suckers coming at me I would take the precaution of seeking cover - just in case!

I forgot to say, Jogill, . . . so would I--and not just in case!


As I re-read your and others' post in response to mine and some of Largo's, what I think I see is something akin to: "if something is just an image or an illusion or has a suspect existence, then nothing matters."

Whoa. Slow down there, cowboy. Don't you think that's a rather large jump to an irrelevant conclusion?

Suspecting that the emperor (whatever) is wearing no clothes tends to force us into a conundrum, and rather than working our way through the conundrum, we have a tendency to hold tight to our beliefs all the more fiercely. (In organizational behavior, we call it "escalated commitment.") We just Can't be groundless or tolerant of ambiguity. Doing so could end up negating all that we've done and all that we are.

Some of us work 8-5 jobs that are deadening. Some of us do things that we feel bad about doing. Some of us have made not the best choices, and now it seems we have to live with them. But better that than to have to admit that we made errors to others--and even to ourselves. We have found ourselves in a place in life, and for one reason or another, we sense doubts as to our meaning and purpose. We're in a quandary.

Think of poor Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. He looks out on two great armies who are about destroy one another, and he wants to give up. He doesn't want to fight or lead his army. Everything looks completely hopeless to him. Nihilism would be an understatement. The Lord Krishna, on the other hand, says: "pick up your bow and lead your people to victory (even though most of your people will be lost). Arjuna, it's your destiny. Be who and what you are."

In the illusion or the drama of your life, you're faced with the same challenge. The world seems to be an imperfect place, there are not enough resources to go around, things don't quite make sense, much of the ground under your feet is unstable and even questionable.

So what? BFD. Get on with it. Be all you are and can be. Touch the core of your heart, mind, and soul, and be authentic, truthful, courageous, and follow your bliss.

You can do all of those things whether you're in the material world or a world of illusion. You never give up on those things that are important.

What things remain whether you are in an illusion or not?


. . . And, there you go, my friends. Now you have a glimpse of what transcends time, space, and consciousness--and certainly objects.


Don't go jumping off the deep end at the first sign of uncertainty or ambiguity. Believe it or not, it's not the end of the world. It might be the end of YOUR world, but that's another story.
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