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Old February 27th, 2013, 07:55 AM   #1
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The relationship between Math and Nature


Why are numbers (which are constructs of the human mind) so incredibly powerful for the description of nature? What is the relationship of these things to each other?
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Old February 27th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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Because we live in the matrix?

Seriously, this is a fascinating topic. I have seen good documentaries on this topic and it is amazing. I will try and find it.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 02:37 AM   #3

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Never heard of Descartes, eh?

Aw, I'm jesting a bit with you. Mathematics is not a construct, but a means of understanding the workings of the physical universe. 2+2=4, does it not? Expand this simple notion and it becomes understandable how we can send a robot to Mars, which is a moving target. It's all mathematical calculations, based on empirical observation, not mental constructs.

For centuries philosophers have pondered how the human mind understands reality. They actually made quite a mess of things, starting with Descartes. Those who attempt to claim that mental constructs are our understanding of reality are making the same old mistakes Descartes, Kant, Hegel and others made. They are the ways by which we understand reality.

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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:13 AM   #4

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Never heard of Descartes, eh?

Aw, I'm jesting a bit with you. Mathematics is not a construct, but a means of understanding the workings of the physical universe. 2+2=4, does it not? Expand this simple notion and it becomes understandable how we can send a robot to Mars, which is a moving target. It's all mathematical calculations, based on empirical observation, not mental constructs.

For centuries philosophers have pondered how the human mind understands reality. They actually made quite a mess of things, starting with Descartes. Those who attempt to claim that mental constructs are our understanding of reality are making the same old mistakes Descartes, Kant, Hegel and others made. They are the ways by which we understand reality.
Nice sum up.

I'd say mathematics is the language of the nature. It is there all the time, embedded in the workings of nature. We discover mathematical patterns, rather than inventing.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 04:13 AM   #5

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Math is a system of abstractions based on rational observation of reality.

1 object put next to an other object makes a system of 2 objects. This is how we perceive reality, so that in math it's .... 1 + 1 = 2.

Math is interconnected with nature, simply because it's the abstract way human mind evaluates nature. It begun with the necessity to count. The necessity to count is a natural necessity, connected with reality of nature.

How many trees are there in that forest? Since I need a lot of trees to build a fleet ... I need to evaluate the available resources of the "natural system" called "forest".
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Old March 1st, 2013, 04:31 AM   #6
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Why are numbers (which are constructs of the human mind) so incredibly powerful for the description of nature? What is the relationship of these things to each other?
I remember reading that the Fibonacci, sequence is found in nature. The number of petals on a plant, turns of a stem will b a Fibonacci number, There is The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
I have wondred why different cultures used diifferent base numbers. The Babylonians used a base 60
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Old March 1st, 2013, 05:06 AM   #7

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Different cultures use also different languages ... that is to say different words to describe the same object.

Apple

In Italian is "mela"
In German is "Apfel"

and so on ...

Counting systems can be different too [also measurement systems and this is evident today if we think to Anglo-Saxon measures], but the core of math is about operations, processes, not numerical bases.

It doesn't matter the number base you use [well, less complicated it is more easy will be a computation: computers use a 2-base counting system ... 0 and 1], a multiplication will be always a multiplication working in the same way.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 05:08 AM   #8

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Nice sum up.

I'd say mathematics is the language of the nature. It is there all the time, embedded in the workings of nature. We discover mathematical patterns, rather than inventing.
Another nice sum up.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 05:33 AM   #9

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Another nice sum up.
Thanks for that....
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Old March 1st, 2013, 11:40 PM   #10

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Nice sum up.

I'd say mathematics is the language of the nature. It is there all the time, embedded in the workings of nature. We discover mathematical patterns, rather than inventing.
Cool. I'm more into an (attempted) understanding of human beings than nature, but in regard to mathematics and nature, heck, Descartes went head over heels on this matter. Which reminds me of an old joke:

A guy goes to confession and tells the priest, "I don't believe in the Bible anymore." The priest say, "OK." The guy says, "I don't believe I have an immortal soul, either." The priest says, "OK, what do you believe?" The guy says, "And I don't believe in God either, or heaven, or hell, or -" The priest interrupts him and says,"Hey, you keep telling me what you don't believe. Tell me what you do believe." The guy thinks for a minute. He says, "I believe 2+2=4." The priest says, "OK. Live up to that."

It's a cool OP question. Nature, or the natural, physical world, does have a mathematical consistency which we are able to identfy though, as with the guy in the confessional, it may be just a basic minimum understanding (and quantum physics might seem a bit nutty at times. Heck, I once had a pet cat who always seemed capable of being in two places at the same time when he was awake. Whenever I thought he was in one spot, I'd find him somewhere else!) But mathematics is certainly not a mental construct.
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