On 06/12/2008, at 12:59 PM, A. Wolf wrote:

>> Can mathematics describe an EVOLVING universe as accurately as it can
>> describe a static one? Newton's laws and Einstein's relativity and  
>> all
>> the subtle variants on these help to do so. Bruno's comp hyp seems to
>> address an 'eternal' if not somewhat static reality that might even  
>> be
>> taken as 'transcendental'.
>> Who is dealing with the CHANGING nature of the universe?
> I don't think "change" is any different from a static model with extra
> dimensionality.  At least in our universe, time is tightly tied to  
> space,
> and can be run backwards and forwards in a sense, from what we can
> determine.  Change is not something that is unapproachable to  
> mathematics,
> or inherently metaphysical...many branches of mathematics (analytical
> calculus, for one) are solely purposed for descriptions of change.
> Anna

I can certainly agree with you on all of that, Anna. In a way this is  
not what I am talking about. True - If maths could not predict change,  
then the armaments industry for one would never have arisen. Flight  
would never have become possible. Getting a satellite into orbit would  
be a fantasy not to mention the whole uncertain certainty of quantum  
probability measurement

Math will usually cope with change when we assume a static background  
against which to measure something evolving. Some fields of math will  
even predict behaviour where no absolute background is assumed. We are  
getting better and better by the day at this kind of thing.

I guess what I am on about is a bit closer to the 80s idea of "chaos"  
- something that is inherently unpredictable; at least if you adopt  
the stance of always launching your prediction from a single present -  
the one you happen to find yourself in.

What I am asking is: can we RELY on mathematical reasoning to predict  
future outcomes with precision? Isn't this kind of like an act of  
faith? If we could perfectly model where things are heading then  
please tell me why all the BTSOAPs of the dismal science of the  
economics world could not arrange a more stable financial future for  
us than the one we are currently moving into?

If mathematical modelling of alternative futures is so efficient

Why is it that we can now see the inevitability of:

water wars
rising sea levels
economic stagflation
food shortages/riots
runaway greenhouse warming
endemic terrorism
the catastrophic reduction of biodiversity

to name but a few glowing futures ahead of us at this time. You cannot  
blame the politicians for everything. It is no use telling me that the  
politicians and the people in power are not listening to the number  
crunchers and that short term gain, political expediency and human  
greed are to blame.

Problem solvers often complain that they have worked out ideal  
solutions but that no one will use the solutions. They complain that  
they have solved the problem brilliantly with their modelling but that  
the person or entity who has to carry through the solution refuses to  
do so.

If this is the case, they have not solved the problem at all.

Isolated problems are not real problems. Real problems include not  
only the specified problem situation but also the "person situation"  
which includes the people who have to accept and act on the solution.  
It may be better to have a suboptimal solution which everyone will  
accept rather than an optimal solution which no one will accept.

Why for example, is humanity wasting its intellectual energy on this  
ridiculous argument about who or what is responsible for global  
warming? As if it would make any form of difference to the situation  
if someone were to "win" the argument. As David Deutsch said in his  
2005 TED Talk, it was probably too late to do anything about it by the  
mid 70s of last century. We should be doing everything in our power to  
plan for living on a warmer planet. So what if Nature throws up these  
things - so what if mankind has buggered the planet - we still have to  
cope with the outcome! Just because I am right and you are wrong (or  
vice versa) does not make the problem go away. Humans seem to  
endlessly want to fidget about with logical argument because they  
believe (with Socrates) that all you have to do is remove all logical  
error, then what you are left with must be the truth.

The "truth" is simply where our thinking ran out of puff. Something  
may well be academically "correct" (it takes two hours for two men to  
dig a hole five feet deep, so 10 men will dig a hole 25 feet deep over  
the same period) - but the simple fact is it probably WILL NOT TURN  
OUT THAT WAY!!!!!! (in the real, evolving, changing chaotically  
unpredictable universe)

A car is driving down the highway. The car comes to a halt, having run  
out of gas. The people inside get out and dance about and congratulate  
each other on "having arrived at the destination".

Truth is like that.



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