Quote of the Day: Mathematics

 

“Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country.” David Hilbert

Years ago, when I put this quote on the wall of my classroom, I never imagined it might one day be challenged. However, wokeness has even infected mathematics, with some people claiming that insisting facts such as 2 + 2 = 4 is a sign of white supremacy: “Math proficiency is white supremacy,” proclaims Deborah Lowenberg Ball, a mathematics professor and former dean of the University of Michigan School of Education.

In the latest episode of the EdFix Podcast, Ball complains that math is a “harbor for whiteness” and “the very nature of the knowledge and who’s produced it, and what has counted as mathematics is itself dominated by whiteness and racism.” (https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/09/the-folly-of-woke-math/)

I can’t think of a better way to make sure minority children are disadvantaged than to deny them a good education.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The number of times that we tell black children they are inferior because whites dominate any field is infuriating. It’s the most racist of comments I can imagine.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Math is so much worse than Whiteness and Racism.

    Math posits AND demonstrates the existence of absolute truth. And it really is the only discipline that actually succeeds in that. Science, engineering, the arts all have enough relativity to demonstrate lack of clarity, or there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or that subjectivity reigns supreme.

    Math, though, always has a right answer, whether you know how to find it or not, whether you like it or not.

    • #2
  3. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    The “math is white” idea is bizarre!   Counting is universal across all cultures.  Algebra was invented by a Persian.  The important concept and symbology for zero was created in Mesopotamia and independently by the Mayans long before being adopted by “white” peoples.   The decimal system was invented in north Africa.   People seem to confuse the race of people that write books in English with the origins of ideas.

    • #3
  4. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    I took a look at the Wikipedia page for Deborah Lowenberg Ball. As far as I can tell, she has no degree in mathematics. She has a B.A. degree in French and a Ph.D. in Education. She taught in elementary schools for 17 years before returning to school. A quick look at her CV shows an M.A. in “Teacher Education.” She is a Professor of Education, not Mathematics.

    Looks like most of her research is in mathematics education, which is not mathematics.

    The statements attributed to her in the OP are exactly what one would expect from a person with her background. A product of “Education Schools” turned SJW with a specialty in destroying STEM.

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Fractad:

    I can’t think of a better way to make sure minority children are disadvantaged than to deny them a good education.

    I really believe that is the point to most DEI stuff.  To deny minority children a good education.

    • #5
  6. B. W. Wooster Member
    B. W. Wooster
    @HenryV

    It’s all fun and games until a concrete truck has to go across a bridge or a hurricane comes on shore. Facts are stubborn things – and so is physics.  

    • #6
  7. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Thanks for your quote! I didn’t know who David Hilbert was, so I looked him up. His  Wikipedia page alone is an education. I can tell that it would be a lot of work to even begin to understand his work and contributions to math and society.

    Known for

    Hilbert’s basis theorem
    Hilbert’s Nullstellensatz
    Hilbert’s axioms
    Hilbert’s problems
    Hilbert’s program
    Einstein–Hilbert action
    Hilbert space
    Hilbert system
    Epsilon calculus

    It seems pretty likely that people like Deborah Ball push their DEI ideas rather than actually contending with intellectually challenging concepts because DEI is easier. I’m hardly the first person to point out that the criticism of dead white men as racist conveniently excuses students (and teachers) from having to read difficult books or contend with difficult mathematical theories.

    *****

    This post is a part of the Quote of the Day project at Ricochet. Please signup here.

    • #7
  8. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    “There is no “black mind” or “white mind”, no “white male of knowing”, there is only one truth, and we find it through the scientific method.”

    –Gad Saad

    • #8
  9. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    2+2 will equal whatever your DEI advisor feels today. The answer can vary.  

     

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Math is rape.   Inserting numbers into the natural order is rape.

    We have the means to save the environment, house everybody, provide free health care, and end poverty until somebody uses numbers to invent fiscal limitations which is just like slavery.

    Calculus is like knowing which fork to use at a fancy dinner or a fraternity class ring–just a way to exclude BIPOC individuals from access.

     

     

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fractad: In the latest episode of the EdFix Podcast, Ball complains that math is a “harbor for whiteness” and “the very nature of the knowledge and who’s produced it, and what has counted as mathematics is itself dominated by whiteness and racism.” (https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/09/the-folly-of-woke-math/)

    If September 2021 is the latest episode, that means this stuff might have died a well-deserved death already.

    Thank you for posting a link to the actual transcript.  It might be a sign of whiteness and racism for them to have posted words one can actually see and examine, but I’ll accept the risk to my social credit score.    

    • #11
  12. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Yeonmi Park on how Professors teach math. (very short snippet)

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/EH8LePfVW6E?t=2&feature=share

    • #12
  13. Fractad Coolidge
    Fractad
    @TWert

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Yeonmi Park on how Professors teach math. (very short snippet)

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/EH8LePfVW6E?t=2&feature=share

    Wow, thanks for sharing. I wonder what would happen if every educator in America had to spend at least one month in North Korea before getting a job teaching!

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fractad (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Yeonmi Park on how Professors teach math. (very short snippet)

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/EH8LePfVW6E?t=2&feature=share

    Wow, thanks for sharing. I wonder what would happen if every educator in America had to spend at least one month in North Korea before getting a job teaching!

    Would we have to let all of them return?

    • #14
  15. Internet's Hank Contributor
    Internet's Hank
    @HankRhody

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    Thanks for your quote! I didn’t know who David Hilbert was, so I looked him up.

    I could count him king of infinite dimensional vector space, and still bound for a nuthouse.

    That right there? That was a very erudite joke. I’m stopping to explain it even though explaining ruins jokes because if you were actually amused by it then there’s something wrong with you.

    First off, it’s a butchered line from Hamlet. Act 2, Scene 2, in his conversations with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I know; I looked it up so I could butcher it properly.

    Secondly, Hilbert researched something called Infinite Dimensional vector spaces. He did so because he wanted to bury his nose in a type of mathematics that would never be relevant to Physics. Then along came the Quantum Mechanic P.A.M. Dirac, who said “that’s just the thing I need!” I learned about Hilbert and his spaces in a physics class.

    Now as to why it’s funny … sorry, I’ve lost it entirely now.

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The number of times that we tell black children they are inferior because whites dominate any field is infuriating. It’s the most racist of comments I can imagine.

    Who tells anyone this?

    In my view, people who present empirical evidence of race differences in intelligence, and demonstrate empirically that this is a plausible explanation for differences in average group outcomes, are unfairly criticized as “telling black children that they are inferior.”  This is a simplistic and inaccurate way of characterizing the facts about race differences in IQ.

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    The result is refusal to face the facts, and marginalization of those telling the truth.

    I will add one caveat.  The state of so-called scientific knowledge is not fixed.  Theories change, new evidence emerges, and prior conclusions can turn out to be incorrect.  The best and most recent empirical work that I’ve seen suggests that heredity explains about 75% of the racial difference in IQ.  This is an increase from the estimate of about 50% stated in The Bell Curve.

    • #16
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Fractad: I can’t think of a better way to make sure minority children are disadvantaged than to deny them a good education.

    Which minority children would those be?  Orientals?

    Obviously, in our country, you are referring to black children.  At least, I infer that you are.  I understand that when making a virtue-signaling post like this, it’s difficult to avoid the use of euphemism, which necessarily introduces ambiguity into your point.

    Factually, I think that with respect to blacks in America, your point is fundamentally incorrect.  As far as I’ve seen, empirical study indicates that about 75% of the race difference in IQ between blacks and whites is the result of heredity.

    There’s an IQ researcher named Richard Haier who, in an interview by Lex Friedman, said that it would be better if the black-white IQ gap was genetic or otherwise biological, because he thought that this might be correctable in some way.  As I recall, he didn’t offer many details about how this would be done.  His thought was simply that if a difference is rooted in physical biology, there might be medical treatments that would eliminate the difference.

    I was skeptical of this, and it struck me as a bit of scientific hubris, though I saw his point to some extent.  Imagine that scientists could develop an “IQ pill” that would raise the intelligence of those with lower cognitive ability.  As glasses, contacts, and surgery can correct vision problems, perhaps there is a medical solution for lower intelligence.  It is interesting to consider the possibility that it might be easier to change biology than to change culture.

    For the record, I do agree with the basic argument of the OP, if stated in a clearer and more humble way.  I think that discouraging black students from studying math by telling them that it is “racist” is likely to make a bad situation even worse with respect to mathematical ability in adulthood.

    • #17
  18. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Internet's Hank (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    Thanks for your quote! I didn’t know who David Hilbert was, so I looked him up.

    I could count him king of infinite dimensional vector space, and still bound for a nuthouse.

    That right there? That was a very erudite joke. I’m stopping to explain it even though explaining ruins jokes because if you were actually amused by it then there’s something wrong with you.

    First off, it’s a butchered line from Hamlet. Act 2, Scene 2, in his conversations with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I know; I looked it up so I could butcher it properly.

    Secondly, Hilbert researched something called Infinite Dimensional vector spaces. He did so because he wanted to bury his nose in a type of mathematics that would never be relevant to Physics. Then along came the Quantum Mechanic P.A.M. Dirac, who said “that’s just the thing I need!” I learned about Hilbert and his spaces in a physics class.

    Now as to why it’s funny … sorry, I’ve lost it entirely now.

    To me I sound just like you. We must have inherited it from a common ancestor.

    Cheers,

    Cousin Mark

    • #18
  19. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Internet's Hank (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    Thanks for your quote! I didn’t know who David Hilbert was, so I looked him up.

    I could count him king of infinite dimensional vector space, and still bound for a nuthouse.

    That right there? That was a very erudite joke. I’m stopping to explain it even though explaining ruins jokes because if you were actually amused by it then there’s something wrong with you.

    First off, it’s a butchered line from Hamlet. Act 2, Scene 2, in his conversations with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I know; I looked it up so I could butcher it properly.

    Secondly, Hilbert researched something called Infinite Dimensional vector spaces. He did so because he wanted to bury his nose in a type of mathematics that would never be relevant to Physics. Then along came the Quantum Mechanic P.A.M. Dirac, who said “that’s just the thing I need!” I learned about Hilbert and his spaces in a physics class.

    Now as to why it’s funny … sorry, I’ve lost it entirely now.

    I thought it was funny and it goes quite nicely with a trend going around that those we thought of supremely high intelligence seem to have gone off their rockers lately.

    You just said it with more highly intelligent inside references :p

    • #19
  20. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    In my view, people who present empirical evidence of race differences in intelligence, and demonstrate empirically that this is a plausible explanation for differences in average group outcomes, are unfairly criticized as “telling black children that they are inferior.”  This is a simplistic and inaccurate way of characterizing the facts about race differences in IQ.

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    You bring it up this very sensitive topic in a jerky say so you get alot of pushback. Again I ask, how do you talk to the people in your church? 

    • #20
  21. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Fractad: I can’t think of a better way to make sure minority children are disadvantaged than to deny them a good education.

    Which minority children would those be? Orientals?

    Obviously, in our country, you are referring to black children. At least, I infer that you are. I understand that when making a virtue-signaling post like this, it’s difficult to avoid the use of euphemism, which necessarily introduces ambiguity into your point.

    Factually, I think that with respect to blacks in America, your point is fundamentally incorrect. As far as I’ve seen, empirical study indicates that about 75% of the race difference in IQ between blacks and whites is the result of heredity.

    There’s an IQ researcher named Richard Haier who, in an interview by Lex Friedman, said that it would be better if the black-white IQ gap was genetic or otherwise biological, because he thought that this might be correctable in some way. As I recall, he didn’t offer many details about how this would be done. His thought was simply that if a difference is rooted in physical biology, there might be medical treatments that would eliminate the difference.

    I was skeptical of this, and it struck me as a bit of scientific hubris, though I saw his point to some extent. Imagine that scientists could develop an “IQ pill” that would raise the intelligence of those with lower cognitive ability. As glasses, contacts, and surgery can correct vision problems, perhaps there is a medical solution for lower intelligence. It is interesting to consider the possibility that it might be easier to change biology than to change culture.

    For the record, I do agree with the basic argument of the OP, if stated in a clearer and more humble way. I think that discouraging black students from studying math by telling them that it is “racist” is likely to make a bad situation even worse with respect to mathematical ability in adulthood.

    I think a major part of IQ and educational success requires stability. This used to be very much a cornerstone of education theory, hence programs for free food and lunch to help provide “stability” to a child’s life. Wrong-headed, but there’s the origin.

    I’m quite irritated by the dominant attitude in rejecting IQ science that demonstrates IQ differences by race. This is a huge deal and the rejection of this has informed education policy, resulting in our matriculation of certifiable idiots that require parents at post-graduate job interviews.

    Acknowledging IQ differences doesn’t mean we shoe-horn black kids into courses and paths for IQ people as if their skin color determines their quality of intelligence. It means having DIFFERENT OPTIONS for kids to self-select and not using the numbers of black kids choosing those options as proof of racist education policy in a school.

    We want those (white, black, Hispanic, oriental, Jew) with lower IQs to develop basic and specialized skills within their reach that can PROVIDE for a stable life even with no college degree. And we want those (white, black, Hispanic, oriental, Jew) with high IQs to develop higher skills that can lead to professional work and research through a college education.

    What has happened was the following:

    – vocational/college tracks are racist because more blacks are put in vocational tracks… let’s get rid of vocational track

    – colleges are racist because they accept more non-blacks – let’s look at “life enrichment” criteria

    – SATs are racist because more blacks fail them – let’s make them easier

    – more blacks have a difficult time with grammar and spelling – let’s declare Ebonics a language and stop teaching it

    – more blacks don’t do well in higher math, declare it racist and don’t teach it

    The result is EVERYONE is just as stupid as the bottom of the bell curve and no one (not even blacks at the top of the bell curve) are allowed to succeed.

    If you did it the way you were supposed to, you’d see the number of blacks on college tracks INCREASE over time because economic and familial stability contribute to academic success… and also, potentially, IQ. But that’s not what we are doing and it is a tragic disaster that is failing our entire society.

    • #21
  22. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Do y’all remember hearing that books are racist? There was an epidemic in dominant black schools where textbooks were being destroyed and lost at much higher rates than other districts, and more money was being poured into replacing them. So textbooks were removed from ALL schools.

    Its crap like that that is why our young people have such pathetic education.

    • #22
  23. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    In my view, people who present empirical evidence of race differences in intelligence, and demonstrate empirically that this is a plausible explanation for differences in average group outcomes, are unfairly criticized as “telling black children that they are inferior.” This is a simplistic and inaccurate way of characterizing the facts about race differences in IQ.

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    You bring it up this very sensitive topic in a jerky say so you get alot of pushback. Again I ask, how do you talk to the people in your church?

    There can be two failures when dealing with sensitive subjects:

    1) Just state facts with no emotion. Facts don’t care about your feelings (the jerk)

    2) So much wishy-washiness you say nothing at all useful (the politician)

    It takes a jerk with charisma and a politician with a streak of the jerk to manage to communicate sensitive subjects in those ways. Ben Shapiro apparently has charisma and Jerry doesn’t.

    • #23
  24. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    In my view, people who present empirical evidence of race differences in intelligence, and demonstrate empirically that this is a plausible explanation for differences in average group outcomes, are unfairly criticized as “telling black children that they are inferior.” This is a simplistic and inaccurate way of characterizing the facts about race differences in IQ.

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    You bring it up this very sensitive topic in a jerky say so you get alot of pushback. Again I ask, how do you talk to the people in your church?

    There can be two failures when dealing with sensitive subjects:

    1) Just state facts with no emotion. Facts don’t care about your feelings (the jerk)

    2) So much wishy-washiness you say nothing at all useful (the politician)

    It takes a jerk with charisma and a politician with a streak of the jerk to manage to communicate sensitive subjects in those ways. Ben Shapiro apparently has charisma and Jerry doesn’t.

    There are some autistic folks on Ricochet who state facts without caring about feelings but do so without insulting or playing the victim. The late great John Walker of Saturday night science was that kind of guy. Jerry’s line of,

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    is very jerk like as it attacks Susan who in fact did not vilify people who believe in I.Q. differences between the races.

    To John Walker’s great credit he was so interested and so in love with science and the great mysteries of the physical world he earned a pass for not thinking about the normies feelings. Jerry is a lawyer so thinking about how normies and other lawyers think and feel tends to be a big part of his job so I think he intentionally insults people out of some misanthropy or some disorder that seeks confrontation.

    At least that’s my take.

    • #24
  25. Fractad Coolidge
    Fractad
    @TWert

    Internet's Hank (View Comment):
    First off, it’s a butchered line from Hamlet. Act 2, Scene 2, in his conversations with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I know; I looked it up so I could butcher it properly.

    I put that quote up on my classroom wall as well!

     

     

    • #25
  26. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    In my view, people who present empirical evidence of race differences in intelligence, and demonstrate empirically that this is a plausible explanation for differences in average group outcomes, are unfairly criticized as “telling black children that they are inferior.” This is a simplistic and inaccurate way of characterizing the facts about race differences in IQ.

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    You bring it up this very sensitive topic in a jerky say so you get alot of pushback. Again I ask, how do you talk to the people in your church?

    There can be two failures when dealing with sensitive subjects:

    1) Just state facts with no emotion. Facts don’t care about your feelings (the jerk)

    2) So much wishy-washiness you say nothing at all useful (the politician)

    It takes a jerk with charisma and a politician with a streak of the jerk to manage to communicate sensitive subjects in those ways. Ben Shapiro apparently has charisma and Jerry doesn’t.

    There are some autistic folks on Ricochet who state facts without caring about feelings but do so without insulting or playing the victim. The late great John Walker of Saturday night science was that kind of guy. Jerry’s line of,

    This then leads to the type of demonization and vilification that we see in your comment, Susan.

    is very jerk like as it attacks Susan who in fact did not vilify people who believe in I.Q. differences between the races.

    To John Walker’s great credit he was so interested and so in love with science and the great mysteries of the physical world he earned a pass for not thinking about the normies feelings. Jerry is a lawyer so thinking about how normies and other lawyers think and feel tends to be a big part of his job so I think he intentionally insults people out of some misanthropy or some disorder that seeks confrontation.

    At least that’s my take.

    Maybe after a decade of reading Vox Day, Jerry’s brand of straight forward factualizing is not nearly as shocking. I think the majority of people here would do well to just not assume any emotion when reading Jerry’s comments. Its just a run down of facts as he sees them.

    And he isn’t wrong that the way IQ has been treated leads to vilification and demonization of people who do believe IQ is biological. I’ve seen it often enough. And while SQ might not be intentionally vilifying anyone in her comment, she is putting forth a statement that is used to demonize people who see IQ as biological. Because that literally is what acknowledging biological IQ is. It is saying that there exists more people in the black demographic with a lower IQ than people in the white demographic. To sum that up, you could use the words superior and inferior.

    So yes, SQ’s comment is actually saying that acting like black people are inferior to white people is detestable. And some amount of looking at IQ demographics involves making such a statement, maybe not in those exact words.

    Just as we might say that Jews outnumbering other demographics in certain fields means they are superior in the skills critical to those fields than other demographics. Or saying that blacks dominating in sports is because they are superior in the skills necessary to succed in that field.

    And yet pointing out that some groups must be inferior to other groups in those contexts isn’t nearly as despicable as acknowledging that blacks have a disadvantage where measured IQ is concerned. Whites do, too, relative to other demographics. 

    • #26
  27. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Stina (View Comment):

    Math is so much worse than Whiteness and Racism.

    Math posits AND demonstrates the existence of absolute truth. And it really is the only discipline that actually succeeds in that. Science, engineering, the arts all have enough relativity to demonstrate lack of clarity, or there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or that subjectivity reigns supreme.

    Math, though, always has a right answer, whether you know how to find it or not, whether you like it or not.

    Not true. See Godel’s incompleteness theorems. Any axiomatic system of second order logic will contain provable true theories that are contradictory, and the only way this can be avoided is to start with an infinite number of axioms. On the other hand, Godel’s incompleteness theorems imply that we can confirm the truth of propositions we cannot formally prove. This, Gödel affirmed, indicates that human consciousness is trans finite (or transcendent) and cannot be superseded by such thinks as AI. The scientific and mathematical worlds have never fully come to grips with Godel’s Theorems (intentionally so). They bring a type of fuzziness to math just as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle does to physics or the Church-Turing halting hypothesis does to computer theory. Or as the Axiom of Choice does to Zermelo-Fraenkel  logic.
    Your statement applies only to first order logical systems, such as Euclid’s geometry.

    • #27
  28. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Math is so much worse than Whiteness and Racism.

    Math posits AND demonstrates the existence of absolute truth. And it really is the only discipline that actually succeeds in that. Science, engineering, the arts all have enough relativity to demonstrate lack of clarity, or there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or that subjectivity reigns supreme.

    Math, though, always has a right answer, whether you know how to find it or not, whether you like it or not.

    Not true. See Godel’s incompleteness theorems. Any axiomatic system of second order logic will contain provable true theories that are contradictory, and the only way this can be avoided is to start with an infinite number of axioms. On the other hand, Godel’s incompleteness theorems imply that we can confirm the truth of propositions we cannot formally prove. This, Gödel affirmed, indicates that human consciousness is trans finite (or transcendent) and cannot be superseded by such thinks as AI. The scientific and mathematical worlds have never fully come to grips with Godel’s Theorems (intentionally so). They bring a type of fuzziness to math just as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle does to physics or the Church-Turing halting hypothesis does to computer theory. Or as the Axiom of Choice does to Zermelo-Fraenkel logic.
    Your statement applies only to first order logical systems, such as Euclid’s geometry.

    Does my condition – whether you know how to find it or not – not support that?

    I understand there’s always going to be criteria or variables we cannot identify when you reach certain levels of the scientific and mathematical dimensions. That doesn’t imply non-existence. It implies an inability to identify. Chaotic Systems seek to create predictable systems where unidentifiable variables exist and account for them without having to explicitly handle them… this sounds like a similar deal.

    Yeah, I’m likely being simplistic here, because I only have a BA in math, not a Ph.D. And I’m not even particularly great with what I have.

    • #28
  29. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Math is so much worse than Whiteness and Racism.

    Math posits AND demonstrates the existence of absolute truth. And it really is the only discipline that actually succeeds in that. Science, engineering, the arts all have enough relativity to demonstrate lack of clarity, or there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or that subjectivity reigns supreme.

    Math, though, always has a right answer, whether you know how to find it or not, whether you like it or not.

    Not true. See Godel’s incompleteness theorems. Any axiomatic system of second order logic will contain provable true theories that are contradictory, and the only way this can be avoided is to start with an infinite number of axioms. On the other hand, Godel’s incompleteness theorems imply that we can confirm the truth of propositions we cannot formally prove. This, Gödel affirmed, indicates that human consciousness is trans finite (or transcendent) and cannot be superseded by such thinks as AI. The scientific and mathematical worlds have never fully come to grips with Godel’s Theorems (intentionally so). They bring a type of fuzziness to math just as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle does to physics or the Church-Turing halting hypothesis does to computer theory. Or as the Axiom of Choice does to Zermelo-Fraenkel logic.
    Your statement applies only to first order logical systems, such as Euclid’s geometry.

    And the OldBathos axiom that one cannot be a famous mathematician or logician until one publishes something sufficiently abstruse about the inevitability of contradiction and the overall pointlessness of the enterprise itself. 

    You can’t really know (define/calculate…) that which you think you know unless you understand that the act of knowing it (a) misrepresents the phenomenon/quantity/symbolic entity…; (b) changes the phenomenon/quantity/symbolic entity a and/or (c) is just wrong.  An exercise for the student is to construct a proof of the preceding and make up an appropriate German word for the idea.

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  30. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Stina (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Math is so much worse than Whiteness and Racism.

    Math posits AND demonstrates the existence of absolute truth. And it really is the only discipline that actually succeeds in that. Science, engineering, the arts all have enough relativity to demonstrate lack of clarity, or there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or that subjectivity reigns supreme.

    Math, though, always has a right answer, whether you know how to find it or not, whether you like it or not.

    Not true. See Godel’s incompleteness theorems. Any axiomatic system of second order logic will contain provable true theories that are contradictory, and the only way this can be avoided is to start with an infinite number of axioms. On the other hand, Godel’s incompleteness theorems imply that we can confirm the truth of propositions we cannot formally prove. This, Gödel affirmed, indicates that human consciousness is trans finite (or transcendent) and cannot be superseded by such thinks as AI. The scientific and mathematical worlds have never fully come to grips with Godel’s Theorems (intentionally so). They bring a type of fuzziness to math just as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle does to physics or the Church-Turing halting hypothesis does to computer theory. Or as the Axiom of Choice does to Zermelo-Fraenkel logic.
    Your statement applies only to first order logical systems, such as Euclid’s geometry.

    Does my condition – whether you know how to find it or not – not support that?

    I understand there’s always going to be criteria or variables we cannot identify when you reach certain levels of the scientific and mathematical dimensions. That doesn’t imply non-existence. It implies an inability to identify. Chaotic Systems seek to create predictable systems where unidentifiable variables exist and account for them without having to explicitly handle them… this sounds like a similar deal.

    Yeah, I’m likely being simplistic here, because I only have a BA in math, not a Ph.D. And I’m not even particularly great with what I have.

    The statement, Whether you know how to find it or not, can imply more than one thing:  That there is proof that hasn’t been found, that could be found, and some creative genius may be able to find it. Or that it is provable that a proposition cannot be formally proved. Godel’s theorems affirmed that any logical system is Incomplete, that is, will ultimately contradict itself. So we now know that, in any axiomatic system with a finite number of axioms, you will get self contradiction. It’s like trying to decide the validity of the statement of a Creatn that “All Cretans are liars”, or Russell’s paradox: Is the set of all sets that are not members of themselves a member of itself? 

    It’s the difference between saying “We don’t know how to prove it” versus saying “It is not provable”. So your statement gets us almost there. But it doesn’t fit with the assertion that math always gives an answer. From a personal standpoint, I believed that math was the path to Truth when I was young, until I ran into Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems in my sanrio year of college. I made the mistake that Jon vonNeumann made when he heard Godel present his theorems:  “The jig is up”. von Neumann was wrong, and I was wrong. In my case, lacking the insouciance, genius,  and insight of von Neumann, I collapsed into a state of deep depression, gave up my dreams of becoming a mathematical physicist, and to the future detriment of many, went to medical school. Now, given the very sorry state of physics, including mathematical physics, I am more appreciative of my change in direction, although I was then, and remain now some 50 years later, poorly suited to the practice of medicine (which I am still practicing).  You are actually more educated in math than am I. My BS is in Chemistry. Not even a minor in Math, though I did take more math courses than required for my Chemistry degree, which is how I ran into (collided with?) Godel. . 

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