[FoRK] Re: Anything to be learned from religion?

James Tauber jtauber
Thu Aug 11 22:25:35 PDT 2005


This is why I've said before on FoRK that "theology isn't science in the
same way mathematics isn't".

(note I said *theology*, not religion).


On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 21:31:11 -0700, "J. Andrew Rogers"
<andrew at ceruleansystems.com> said:
> On 8/11/05 7:04 PM, "Albert Scherbinsky" <albert at softwarepress.com>
> wrote:
> > To the extent that "truth" exists at all, there are
> > different kinds of "truth". Math is "true" by
> > definition. It is an invention of the human mind.
> 
> 
> Eh?  Math is not true by definition, it is 'true' by convention.  It is
> based on an arbitrary set of axioms, and what constitutes that set is not
> even constant (the Axiom of Choice being the textbook example of this). 
> We
> treat math as a pseudo-truth -- and it is astonishingly effective with
> the
> axioms we do typically assume -- but if you look too closely it may fray
> at
> the edges.  There is not one math, there are as many maths as there are
> sets
> of axioms.
> 
> While asserting axioms is bad science, it has one extremely valuable
> property if axioms are chosen carefully:  It allows us to make consistent
> predictions about things we lack the ability to measure empirically.  If
> the
> set of axioms used in a math are good, it will allow remarkably detailed
> predictions of things we've never seen and can barely imagine via a
> mechanical process from those axioms.  That is so valuable when it works
> out
> that it is worth overlooking the fact that there is no intrinsic truth to
> the assumptions used, and we mitigate the potential danger by using as
> few
> axioms as possible.
> 
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> J. Andrew Rogers
> 
> 
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-- 
  James Tauber               http://jtauber.com/
  journeyman of some    http://jtauber.com/blog/



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