Is mathematics an effective way to describe the world?
20130904 0:00
From: Deskarati
Mathematics has been called the language of the universe. Scientists and engineers often speak of the elegance of mathematics when describing physical reality, citing examples such as π, E=mc2, and even something as simple as using abstract integers to count realworld objects. Yet while these examples demonstrate how useful math can be for us, does it mean that the physical world naturally follows the rules of mathematics as its “mother tongue,” and that this mathematics has its own existence that is out there waiting to be discovered? This point of view on the nature of the relationship between mathematics and the physical world is called Platonism, but not everyone agrees with it.
Derek Abbott, Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at The University of Adelaide in Australia, has written a perspective piece to be published in the Proceedings of the IEEE in which he argues that mathematical Platonism is an inaccurate view of reality. Instead, he argues for the opposing viewpoint, the nonPlatonist notion that mathematics is a product of the human imagination that we tailor to describe reality.
This argument is not new. In fact, Abbott estimates (through his own experiences, in an admittedly nonscientific survey) that while 80% of mathematicians lean toward a Platonist view, engineers by and large are nonPlatonist. Physicists tend to be “closeted nonPlatonists,” he says, meaning they often appear Platonist in public. But when pressed in private, he says he can “often extract a nonPlatonist confession.”
So if mathematicians, engineers, and physicists can all manage to perform their work despite differences in opinion on this philosophical subject, why does the true nature of mathematics in its relation to the physical world really matter? The reason, Abbott says, is that because when you recognize that math is just a mental construct—just an approximation of reality that has its frailties and limitations and that will break down at some point because perfect mathematical forms do not exist in the physical universe—then you can see how ineffective math is.
And that is Abbott’s main point (and most controversial one): that mathematics is not exceptionally good at describing reality, and definitely not the “miracle” that some scientists have marveled at.
[...]
Read the full article at: deskarati.com
Related Articles The Science and Math of Origami
Mary, Queen of Maths, and Chaos Theory
Researchers Try to Improve Math Skills With Electrical Zaps to the Brain
Sacred Geometry & Vedic Mathematics
Maths overtakes the speed of light
College Dropout Becomes Mathematical Genius After Severe Beating
Beauty of Mathematics
Vortex Based Mathematics
Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations
Latest News from our Front Page

Aurora Shooting Victim Parents Face $200K Court Fees, Bankruptcy, After Failing to Sue Ammo Dealers
20150801 2:17
The 2012 Colorado Theater Shooting still doesn’t add up…
Media character and ‘Shooter’ James Holmes in court in 20122013.
In 2014, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, the mother and stepfather of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Redfield Ghawi, tried to sue the ammo companies they believe supplied shooter James Holmes with his ammunition, body armor and other items. They bleived that the online retailer BulkAmmo.com had sold Holmes ... 
FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigating Confederate Flags at MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church
20150801 2:21
According to the Atlanta Police Department, two White men left four small Confederate Battle Flags outside MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta … and get this, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene investigating the incident.
Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his agency was working with federal authorities and they have not determined what charges might be ... 
Democratic National Committee Chair Wasserman Schultz Canâ€™t Explain Difference Between Democrat Party and Socialism
20150801 2:08
Things got very awkward today when Chris Matthews asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz what the difference was between the modern Democratic Party and Socialism.
We havenâ€™t seen that dazed look since Rachel Dolezal was busted as a fraud.
Wasserman Schultz was speechless.
Completely stumped.
Couldnâ€™t answer.
Then changed the subject.
Because we all know there is no difference between todayâ€™s Democrat Party and the radical ... 
Catching on slow: Yet Another Study Show Cellphone Radiation Cause Cancer
20150801 1:44
The scientists were right — your cell phone can give you cancer.
There have long been whispers of a cancer connection from your cell — and a new study backs up the claims.
"These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health," study author Igor Yakymenko said.
Yakymenko’s metastudy — basically a study of ... 
Trump Goes #Cuckservative on Immigration
20150801 1:28
For weeks, the media have trumpeted the supposed death of the Trump campaign. First, they claimed, Trump’s campaign imploded on launch thanks to his comments about illegal immigration. Then they claimed that Trump was finished because of his slap at Senator’s (RAZ) war service. But neither of those comments alienated Trump’s base – he’s maintained his seven point lead over ... 
More News » 


