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Re: Paleontology is science, not art
(I'm not one of those people who believe that because something is true in
math it must be true in reality.)
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
>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
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?