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*To*: <Dinogeorge@aol.com>, <dinosaur@usc.edu>*Subject*: Re: Paleontology is science, not art*From*: "philidor11" <philidor11@snet.net>*Date*: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 08:10:03 -0400*References*: <63.46af360.262e672a@aol.com>*Reply-to*: philidor11@snet.net*Sender*: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu

I said: (I'm not one of those people who believe that because something is true in math it must be true in reality.) You responded: So you're saying that, say, one plus one equals two may not necessarily be true in reality? Exactly where would you say that math breaks down? I accidentally sent a draft (getting e-mails into and out of the Draft file in Outlook Express is more difficult than it should be); I was going to defer exactly this question to you in the final version. Still, I expected you to reply that first, there is no addition occurring in nature. What does one or two mean to any species but us? Math is an abstraction, a way or organizing material initially based on real world observations. >From there, in a second step, 'verified' abstractions (getting one apple and another apple does in fact give you two apples) get combined logically to the point where you are producing a result which can be considered 'true' only because the assumptions used have been verified. The result can be considered true based on the assumption that there is a single possible way to combine verified abstractions to produce an unverified abstraction. The third step is to combine unverified abstractions to produce a new conclusion which is really distant from any possible observations. Because Honored Person White used physics as an example, let's take string theory. Has anyone ever seen a string? Is there any way to prove this theory as compared with an alternative theory on the basis of observations? Could you begin a statement 'String theory is true if and only if...' (insert a real-world observation)? Could you begin a statement 'String theory is the only possible way to explain...' (insert real-world observation)? You would be better able to distinguish levels of abstraction than I, but I expect that the weakness of math as a means of discovery is the assumption that iron-clad single solution logical rules can be found. Where someone might say 'Only this solution can be true because only this solution produces satisfactory equations', you have a closed logical system. To me, that's where you hit leap of faith territory. How'd I do?

**References**:**Re: Paleontology is science, not art***From:*Dinogeorge@aol.com

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