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
>> 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
>> 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
> and can be run backwards and forwards in a sense, from what we can
> determine. Change is not something that is unapproachable to
> or inherently metaphysical...many branches of mathematics (analytical
> calculus, for one) are solely purposed for descriptions of change.
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
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:
rising sea levels
runaway greenhouse warming
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
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
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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