> 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.

I think you mean randomness, not chaos.  Chaos theory deals with 
deterministic systems that vary widely in result based on small changes in 
initial starting conditions; these systems are 100% predictable.

> Isn't this kind of like an act of  faith?

No.  Faith isn't based on evidence.  When we use math to model things in 
reality, we do so empirically.  If a distribution doesn't fit after testing 
it, we don't use it to model that set of data, for example.  How we use math 
functionally is different from math itself.

> 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?

The problem with (for example) economic forecasts is not that the 
mathematics is flawed; the math is fine.  It's the data collection that's 
flawed.  We have access to incomplete and imperfect information with which 
to make predictions, so we're occasionally wrong.  That's exactly what 
happened with the banking system in the US, actually...they tried to use 
mathematical models developed on responsible lendees to apply to other 
lendees who were much less likely to pay back the bank, and after a while 
the amount of fail exceeded the ability of banks to handle it.

I think you're forming a straw man of mathematics, because I don't think 
that math does all the things you're suggesting.  Mathematics is not the 
science of fitting math to the natural world, and flaws in the latter don't 
suggest a fundamental incompleteness (Godel aside) to the former.

Anna


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