Does mathematics really exist in nature or is math just a human construct?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by pluto2, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    Your comments from 3+ years ago doesn't appear to have been responded to by any of the Wikipedia editors, nor has it slowed down the use by those editors of the Weasel Words markup, nor has it altered or destroyed the meaning of the Weasel Words encyclopedia entry (as opposed to the backend editor's guide that I cited). You have confused the list of words with the definition (both in the encyclopedia and the editor's guide) which requires one to analyze the use of the words.
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Right. They model nature quite accurately in flat spacetime, but not in curved. Thus the model is only accurate within its limitations.
    There's no such thing as "Keplerian math." There is math in Keplerian laws, but that doesn't mean it's Keplerian math.

    You may disagree with the Unabomber's Manifesto, for example, and believe that it is wrong. That's fine. It would not be logical to therefore say that English is wrong since his manifesto was written in English. (The English itself might be incorrect, of course - it might contain spelling and syntax errors just as any equation can contain errors.)
    Sure. You can see a visual expression of Fibonacci's Sequence in any number of natural forms, from the shell of a nautilus to the head of a sunflower. If you were to go back in history and kill Fibonacci, those forms would not change in the slightest - because the mathematical principles that underly his sequence are not of human construction, they are inherent in nature.
    See above. Math exists all around us; we merely fit it with structure and names.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You have simply repeated the same thing.

    Show it. Define it.
     
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  7. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, I wrote that comment about Weasel Words about 13 years ago, and their policy did change for the better as a result. The policy prior to that made no sense at all, and some editors were very abusive of the term. By its very nature, an encyclopedia is a encyclical work, as self-referential as a dictionary. Given that limitation, it can never really be an all-encompassing compendium of complete knowledge about anything.

    It was turning into a sports almanac and a world atlas as well, something that is beyond the scope of most traditional encyclopedic texts.

    By the way, I had high hopes to see sciforum's encyclopedia turn into something useful along the lines of the excellent technical articles in wikipedia. With all of the talent here, I would have expected better than I saw last time I looked at it. Lots of "Weasel Words" there, LOL If that's the best we can do, we should probably just drop it.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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  9. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    The human mind also came from nature didn't it? All of the rest of math came from there, and that's about as natural as it gets.
     
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  10. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Look at fractals, for example.

    If Cantor, Julia, or Mandelbrot were never born that doesn't mean fractals wouldn't exist.
     
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  11. brucep Valued Senior Member

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    Nice post. Even when I was reading my first book on calculus I felt like I was making a great discovery. I wonder what Newton felt like?
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    That logic can be applied to anything, since anything can be defined by math.

    The issue is not whether things exist, but whether mathematics exists.
     
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    OK, I found it on Jeff's Lunchbreak:

    http://www.jefflewis.net/blog/2009/10/origin_of_arabic_numerals_was_1.html

    Man. that IS obscure. It's also wrong. Turns out all of this, which went viral some time after I read it, was shown to be completely wrong.

    SO, I have no INTEGRITY now because the GD Internet is full of disinformation, and I just happened to miss an insignificant piece like this? That is only true if I pass it on, and in abundance. I haven't. Now that I understand it was wrong, I certainly won't.

    One of my excellent math teachers (and an award winning one at that) also told us that the Babylonians invented zero. This was in a day you couldn't google to find out anything, because the internet did not yet exist. They evidently had a placeholder symbol, but no zero. This is nit-picking. No big deal. Everything else he taught us was fine.

    I thought I had also read that in George Gamow's One Two Three Infinity at a young age, but alas, the .pdf text of it available online is not searchable.

    In EVERY OTHER SYMBOLIC HUMAN LANGUAGE WRITTEN OR SPOKEN ON EARTH, "Mom" and "Dad" or "Papa" or Mama" or some variation of it is among the first words heard, spoken, written or read. So why is it a stretch to believe, perhaps the symbols the 400 BC Indian/Hindus came up with, eventually adopted by the Arab world, were not similarly transfixed on familial relationships? So much so, that they may have incorporated into the first few symbols of numerical significance?

    You simply have a deficit of imagination if you think this might not be a possibility, rpenner. Mathematics is first and foremost a LANGUAGE, and uses the symbols that are the tools of a finite mind, just like all of the other human languages.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    As I just mentioned, lots of things in nature can be described with formulae. My planetary orbit is another one, showing the same thing.

    How are the objects that you post mathematics? They grow the way they grow, because of forces and chemistry.

    You are describing nature using math. Sunflowers were not always golden spirals; they evolved that way. So, when their seeds were random, did nature have a math that it used to grow them? Did it switch to a different formula one day? No, the form evolved, from one to another, incrementally, over thousands of generations. Did nature use math for random seed distribution for a while, and then for a few thousand generations, use a blending of two formulae, until the sunflower followed the golden form, when nature dispensed with the old version? Can you have an intermediate formula, halfway between two formulae?

    Or is nature simply reacting, organically, incrementally, to the forces involved?

    The forces and elements know nothing of the Golden Mean. Nothing at all. They grow one micrometer at a time, according to local physics. These molecules produce this material, which gets deposited, The process grows at a molecular level, a shape results,

    but ...

    the forces of physics know as much about mathematics as raptors know about evolving wings to be able to fly.

    or are you all Intelligent Design proponents too?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  15. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    The real world exists with fuzzy numbers?
     
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Numbers are a human invention.
     
  17. The God Valued Senior Member

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    If maths is reality, then do we as human beings have the sole right over it? IMO, no.

    The universal constant say the speed of light is a number, it changes if we change my numeral base, a circle may look like ellipse if viewed from a different angle, the observation of reality can be mathematically differently expressed depending on the observer state also (his motion etc)...so it indicates that maths is a convenient representation as developed by human beings for explaining the observed reality...maths as such is not a reality. On the other hand nature is not random, whatever we observe and in whatever way nature manifests, can be expressed in words and figures, probably thats due to intelligence in human beings....How & what makes nature manifests itself so regularly (fractals etc), in such welldefined manner is a mystery.
     
  18. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    No, you didn't. You found a repetition of the claim that the digits we use are intended to have the same number of angles as the numbers they represent. That is not your claim from post #16.
    Correct.
    Wrong. You lack integrity because you care more about making claims than checking that you are not adding to the disinformation. You are so bad at checking claims, you don't even seem to be able to remember which claims you made, because in posts #23 and #50 you provided a total of 5 sources, none of which supported your claim as to the origin of the digit 1 in Arabic or Western notation. "Phallic in origin" is not supported by Jeff's Lunchbreak nor the disingenuous folk etymology that he created the page to debunk.

    In fact, Jeff's comment at http://www.jefflewis.net/blog/2009/10/origin_of_arabic_numerals_was_1.html#comment-390864 indicates he supports the origin of digits 1,2,3 that I supplied in post #17 -- these digits are modified from tally marks.
    That's not surprising since his research in 2009 and 2011 parallels the research I did for post #17.
     
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  19. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    I am sure there is such a thing as sacred geometry. So there i agree maths does play a role, outside of humans.
     
  20. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Sacred?
     
  21. river

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    Mathematics really does exist in nature. Mathematics describes the dynamics of an object within its self and the dynamics with the interaction with other like and unlike objects.

    And the representation of these dynamics and object(s) is done symbolically. Numbers , letters and specific drawn shapes.

    Mathematics is not a Human contruct ; but its parameters are.

    For instance ; a centimeter can be equal to anything another advanced beings measurement; no matter the nomenclature; of that being.

    In the end mathematics does really exist; mathematics just isn't the cause of any existence or dynamics of any objects or object.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  22. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    If someone is reading things casually, as I was when I read the material on jeff's lunch break, it is a different situation than if you are a lawyer preparing a legal brief, or a credentialed theoretician preparing a paper for review by peers. I wasn't constantly assessing its veracity.

    I understand you perfectly. You don't seem to be able to read or write informally. It's an occupational hazard, like a professional musician listening to music for enjoyment, or a bus or a truck driver taking a road trip in which they have to drive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  23. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Symmetry is everywhere you look in nature, and the development of mathematics has followed this pattern of nature closely.

    http://www.slideshare.net/friendary/mathematics-in-nature

    It is the basis for some of the most powerful mathematics used in both gauge physics and in the theory of relativity, not to mention the force pairs due to bosons in the Standard Model.

    It was the basis for the development of SUSY also, but it seems this was might have been a wrong turn. You can't force a symmetry in nature that doesn't fit into any of our preconceived ideas about symmetry or beauty. Nature is whatever it is, and some of the most important symmetries are not obvious or even beautiful ones. Predator and prey are only one example. We don't usually think of life and death as a beautiful symmetry, but it is there, even if it seems for the most part to be an unbalanced one.

    There are important symmetries that govern the physics and mathematics of periodic events, and the filling of electron shells in atomic structure, even though the periodic table of elements which derives from this process is lacking in overall physically and aesthetically pleasing symmetries. But like the cycle of life and death, it is undeniably periodic, as you might expect of something wavelike or governed by the laws of probability or both.

    Nature exploits probabilities to implement evolution, without which you would not even be capable of understanding the simplest nuance if the ideas I am presenting here. A very large amount of less cognitively optimized life unceremoniously died so that this would eventually be possible. Now do you see the beauty of that plan? Mathematics has even described the evolutionary clock in some considerable detail. Beautiful.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
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