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Re: WAS-- Re: Hanson 2006, Mortimer, Baeker response

don ohmes wrote:
> ????-- Just curious here. If math is "not science" (I assume you mean "not 
> one of the scientific disciplines"), what do you call it? And why?

I could see how mathematics could be considered unscientific to a
degree. Science attempts to describe (and occasionally explain)
real-world phenomena. Mathematics deals with purely abstract conceptual
notions. Mathematics does not replicate (let alone precisely describe)
real-world phenomena, since real systems aren't comprised of abstract
numbers. Instead, mathematics attempts to approximate real systems (with
varying degrees of success) based on both observations and assumptions
(often more assumptions than observations). I think the biggest failing
of mathematics is that in order for it to be of any use in the 'real
world', it has to reduce real-world phenomena into numbers. Numbers, of
course, don't exist in any real way, so any attempt to quantify
something real is more an approximation (no matter how accurate) than a
true quantification. In the absence of a better system, however, we're
pretty much stuck with mathematics (and its approximations).


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs