An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 27 June 2005

science and religion quotes 5 and 6

Mathematical truth ultimately depends on an irreducible set of assumptions, which are adopted without demonstration. But to qualify as true knowledge, the assumptions require a warrant for their assertion. There is no valid warrant for mathematical knowledge other than demonstration or proof. Therefore the assumptions are beliefs, not knowledge, and remain open to doubt.

Paul Ernest The Philosophy of Mathematics Education (Falmer, Basingstoke 1991) p. 14.

One would normally define a ‘religion’ as a system of ideas that contains statements that cannot be logically or observationally demonstrated. Rather, it rests either wholly or partially upon some articles of faith. Such a definition has the amusing consequence of including all the sciences and systems of thought that we know; Gödel's theorem not only demonstrates that mathematics is a religion, but shows that mathematics is the only religion that can prove itself to be one!

John Barrow The World Within the World (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988) p. 257.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mathematics is a "false religion" it speaks of a purpose yet remains tied to the physical world for its existence "hence" it cannot "be" a true religion, as a true religion is based on faith entirely.

Case in point the simple "2+2=4".. What is tied to the numbers is a "physical" representation of objects (derived from physical observations for accounting purposes)

This link between the numbers and the actual objects it represents is "never" removed and therefore sets up a premise for "assumption" of the representations


Mathematics is not a true religion.

What bothers me is it is "treated" as a religion and the kind of "output" from such a treatment is actually "harming" our children’s imagination.

For instance, you must always "assume" that the 2 represents a 2 and is physically tied by representations to a physical object(s) , you must then "Ignore" the differentiations of each object grouped together (which is why the "X" factor exists), You must also never question the "tools" you use to garner an answer (simply accept them on blind faith)

The only portion that is even "similar" to religion is the acceptance part. But this reduces a child’s mind to a simple "on - off" mentality, deadens their ability to think outside the box, and removes the individuality of the child’s approach to a specific problem.

Mathematics (as it is taught today) reminds me of a film I saw about how we process "meat" ..

We process meat by preventing them from moving around much (herding them into single corrals that do not allow them to turn around or move) we "atrophy" the muscles by this action (weaken the imagination and individuality) and remove any outside stimulus (teach the child to never question the structures they use.