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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Turing was harassed by the police. He did not kill himself because of mathematics.
    Alan Turing was harassed by the police because they thought, as a homosexual he was security risk. And he was convicted of a homosexual offence and forced to take drugs to castrate him.

    However at the same time he was also working on the death of pure mathematics, as bequeathed to him by Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann and Kurt Gödel.

    And Alan's contribution was to try to avoid the incompleteness theorems on the computer he designed. Alan tried to make his computer conscious as a way of avoiding the death of pure mathematics. And this is where we get the Turing Test of 1950. But he failed, as everyone has failed since. He then injected an apple with cyanide and took a bite.

    But what is interesting is that the four of them, Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing, all working on the same paradox, met a similar fate. They were rejected by their peers. They were subjected to ad hominem attacks and went mad or committed suicide or both.

    This is the untold drama of pure mathematics.

    This is Shakespearean in scope spanning two centuries with plenty of bodies on stage falling to a lethal paradox of pure mathematics.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    A blind alley is not an end.
    Of course this is what Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing thought. And it drove them mad. And it drove them to suicide.

    But look around you - billions upon billions of people can't accept the death of God, so why would you think pure mathematicians would accept the death of pure mathematics? Far better to kill the messenger.

    We killed our first messenger Socrates. And we killed our second messenger Jesus. And so how natural to kill our third messengers from pure mathematics.

  3. #43

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    Mathematics is imaginary but useful...just like many other human constructs.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Mathematics is imaginary but useful...just like many other human constructs.
    Yes, it is true that Applied Mathematics are useful but Pure Mathematics is useless and that is its glory.

    Pure Mathematics is done for its own sake. Pure Mathematics is done for intrinsic reasons.

    Pure Mathematics is like music or art. It's what makes us human and free.

    No other animal does Pure Mathematics, just us.

    Pure Mathematics enables the mind to fly, but sometimes like Icarus we fly too close to the sun and fall.

    It would be sensible to confine ourselves to what is useful. It would be sensible to confine ourselves to what is safe. But then we would be confined.

    But we don't have to worry, for hundreds of millions confine themselves to following Lindsay Lohan and almost no one follows the lives of Pure Mathematicians. In fact it is obvious that many on this site didn't even know Pure Mathematics existed and keep on confusing it with Applied Mathematics.

    So we remain impoverished and confined with Lindsay Lohan and all we want to know is her type.

  5. #45

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    Anything can be done for the pure joy of it, even so-called "applied" mathematics.

    The line is not so clear. What used to be pure mathematics, often becomes applied.

    The undecidability problems have become quite useful in compiler theory, for instance...and topology quite useful in applications of general relativity.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    The line is not so clear. What used to be pure mathematics, often becomes applied.
    that's why i'm a little skeptical of the word "useless" to describe theory. sometimes an idea leads to the means by which to apply the idea concretely; if that's so then it's pretty "useful". though i don't see why abstractions must become concrete in order to be useful.
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  7. #47
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    The death of Pure Mathematics throws light on the death of God.

    For although we take it for granted that believers want to hear the voice of God in the Bible or the Koran or in apparitions, we don't seem to acknowledge that agnostics, atheists and sceptics also want to hear the voice of God in Pure Mathematics.

    And with God and Pure Mathematics dead, we have only one question left - why do we universally long for the voice of God?

    And the answer is given in the book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", which says that we did actually and literally hear the voice of God in our bicameral mind, but with the breakdown of the bicameral mind, we had to seek the voice of God in holy books and pure mathematics.

    So not so long ago God was as close to us as ourselves, as close as whiteness is to snow, and with the breakdown of the bicameral mind, God fell literally silent. But we long for intimacy with God. We long once again to hear the voice of God.

    But all we are left with is our longing.

    This was expressed by Robert Lax, a friend of the catholic contemplative, Thomas Merton, in his poem, "The Port Was Longing", from the early sixties -

    The port
    was longing

    the port
    was longing

    not for
    this ship

    not for
    that ship

    not for
    this ship

    not for
    that ship

    the port
    was longing

    the port
    was longing

    not for
    this sea

    not for
    that sea

    not for
    this sea

    not for
    that sea

    the port
    was longing

    the port
    was longing

    not for
    this &

    not for
    that

    not for
    this &

    not for
    that

    the port
    was longing

    the port
    was longing

    not for
    this &

    not for
    that

  8. #48
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    Pure Math is to NT as Idealism is to NF. Theres always something to learn from purity and idealism and the application is normally a middle ground. So the further you push the boundaries the further you extend the middle ground. The boundaries can seem to be a waste of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by stringstheory View Post
    that's why i'm a little skeptical of the word "useless" to describe theory. sometimes an idea leads to the means by which to apply the idea concretely; if that's so then it's pretty "useful". though i don't see why abstractions must become concrete in order to be useful.
    In my mind thats what concrete is. Concrete is application. Its what makes theory real.
    Im out, its been fun

  9. #49
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poki View Post
    Complexity beyond our comprehension is not related directly to if something has certainty or not. The acknowledgement that the universe has no certainty though is admiting that its to complicated to understand...it is a turning point in a mans life when he accepts defeat.
    Who needs certainty? (There could be NP bias here )

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    One possible course of action is to become accustomed to paradox and cognitive dissonance. But this is too much for children to bear, and so we teach them fairy stories such as we understand the world through mathematics.
    Why does reading about cognitive dissonance and paradox make me happy? I mean, really I get quite excited by the thought of math not being completely understood.

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Victor. Interesting topic, although I'm not sure I understand what's so earth-shattering.

    Mathematics does not describe existence perfectly, theories in general do not describe reality perfectly. Of course, we can approach reality/the world/the universe by viewing it from different angles, through different senses, perspectives, theories, etc., but we will always be gaining new information, adjusting the model appropriately. And each model is limited, though perhaps in different ways.

    Maybe I missed the whole point of it though...?
    Totally with Gromit. Agree perfectly. I guess I would be really bored if we ever actually understood everything about a topic. I would far rather find out a current model is flawed and there is still more stuff left to discover. Yeah!!! I get to play more!!! Victor this whole thread has actually brightened my day!

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Who needs certainty? (There could be NP bias here )
    Certainty is useful, but nearly always boring.

    Sometimes, however, such "boring" things are what let us sleep quietly at night.

    Why does reading about cognitive dissonance and paradox make me happy? I mean, really I get quite excited by the thought of math not being completely understood.
    Heh, just read about how math slowly became to be what it is, today. There will always be aspects which are not very well understood, because there are an infinity of ways to expand the topic. Just make up a rule about how numbers behave, and explore the rule. It doesn't have to be "true" or "real," just self-consistent and logical. E.g., "What if we could take the square root of a negative number? What would happen?"

    Totally with Gromit. Agree perfectly. I guess I would be really bored if we ever actually understood everything about a topic. I would far rather find out a current model is flawed and there is still more stuff left to discover. Yeah!!! I get to play more!!! Victor this whole thread has actually brightened my day!
    Of course our current models are flawed. If they weren't, then the models would be identical to reality. A model which is identical to reality turns out not to be very useful.

    No, such models, whether mathematical or otherwise, don't describe the world, precisely, though it is tempting to think so.

    But they do describe the world.

    I used to tell my students that Newton's "Laws" were better thought of as "descriptions." They aren't edicts. They aren't "true," necessarily. But they are very close to the truth, even after dealing with Einstein and Maxwell.

    A description doesn't have to be 100% accurate. It merely has to be useful.

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