## Is mathematics an opinion?

13 Feb

There has been some discussion lately about logic and the rules of logic as they apply to describing the real world and events contained therein.  I believe this was the focus of study of both Bertrand Russell  and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  If A=B and B=A then by comparison what is C rendered? And if the answer is both A and B, then equal weight has to be given to all propositions thereafter. And thus they remain forever unsolvable and undefined.

Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

### 25 responses to “Is mathematics an opinion?”

1. February 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

If A=B and B=A then by comparison what is C rendered? And if the answer is both A and B, then equal weight has to be given to all propositions thereafter.

Why? If C is truly rendered A and B would that not be quantifiable? As opposed to C rendered = Q and X for instance?

• February 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Math isn’t my strong suit. But I do like Russell and that German guy with the ideas about words.
What I was being coy about was disproving fact. If Fact is interchangeable with opinion, and the proposition that C is in Fact: a fact, then logic dictates that C could (can in the present tense) be falsified. And if this is true, then it has to apply to all propositions of fact, not just C. Or am I mistaken?
Lets square away the mixed feelings about a disruptive guest. Months ago I used having a party as an analogy. Without going into an unnecessary and boring history lesson, lets just say that in order to have even a simple “Hi. How are you?” conversation with anyone in the world, the rules of logic apply. As does civility. People getting heated when “debating” and saying stupid things just goes with the territory. In my opinion. But everyone knows when a line has been crossed, when the expression of one’s point of view turns into something else. I personally feel, that the “something else” was the intent all along.
If someone consistently is both illogical and uncivil, then other than being a masochist or a sadistic monkey torturer, why would you even consider putting yourself in that position? I liken that position to be like which came first, the chicken or the egg? No chicken, no egg no problems!
Tell you what. I’ll put it up for a vote and if it passes, then you set all the parameters.

• February 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I’m relatively poor at math as well. The problem I have is with your supposition that Fact is interchangeable with Opinion, where do you get that? Seems to me that with mathematical problems, Facts or Proofs are about as far away from opinions as you can get. Or are you just tugging my chain? Even in common parlance fact is distinct from opinion although both can be manipulated and combined in endless ways to muddy the differences.

• February 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Well Rusty, I must be a horrible communicator via print. Of course there is a difference between fact and opinion. One of the few absolutes in life is that the 2 will never ever be interchangeable. That’s why I created an unfeeling, uncaring totally oblivious woman to play reality. The same reality from whence facts come and can be measured by. Or as my uncle says “It is what it is.” (Don’t go reading anything into my use of the word woman. Maybe someday if I have a boat I’ll call her Reality.) I was trying to think through a fictitious discussion wherein someone makes a statement. The statement is assumed to be truthful, reliable and verifiable. It should also be subject to being falsified for if cannot be falsified, then that proves it is a fact. That is why I said if A=B and B=A then it is impossible to verify if statement C is a reliable fact. To repeat myself, the predicate is the factuality of A=B and B=A. That the equation is reliable and repeatable. I was merely looking for a way to mathematically disprove the predicate. Subject it to falsification. But we know that logic tells us if we start from the predicate C, the only way to prove if A=B and B=A is to subject the entire formula to falsification. But that would be like measuring something against itself to prove its existence. Or put differently that it exists. And without digressing into the quantum realm, I will ask if the previous makes sense. Russell’s theorem seems applicable. Can the set of all sets be a member of itself?
Here is a real world application. Your cousin Vinny says that tomatoes can be used as a building material. (C) Being a skeptic, you compare that statement to reality (or where facts live in A) in order to prove him wrong. So you subject his statement to falsification. Eureka! Great day in the morning! You are successful in falsifying (disproving) his statement by comparing it to reality. You accomplish this feat by subjecting the tomatoes to the squishing test. Not to mention time consuming research trying to locate this elusive tomato. Sadly you can’t. So you return to cousin Vinny with a smug smile on your face and say no, you are incorrect and here is the proof. Show him that tomatoes lack the physical properties to be used in construction by throwing one at him. After you come to, Vinny says “sorry I hit you but that demonstration is your opinion.” (C)
Now why would I go through this exercise?

• February 14, 2014 at 8:20 am

Here’s why and I quote
Submitted on 2014/02/14 at 6:13 am

“We see opinion substituted for fact at this blog all the time. Your twisted and unrealistic OPINION of conservatives is proof of this.”
Well first of all, it’s on this blog not at it. Normally I wouldn’t be so circumspect about spelling, puncuation, proper word use etc but since you are familiar with a language police person I wanted to make you feel right at home.
As you know, there has been some errr discussion as to whether or not re-open the door for you. You know where I’m at. You also have seen an example of my character and the confidence I have in myself by listening to other people and considering what they are saying. Sort of like being receptive to new and different information. So, in that sense I guess I’m a walking talking duck. My suggestion was to put allowing your participation up to a vote. I said that I would abide by their decision and that they would set the necessary parameters. Thus far no one has taken me up on the idea. But don’t worry, it’s early in the day.
Since you have been dogging this blog, you know that on many occasions I have been very forthcoming to point out that we are a very small group of people. I also have said that I wish we could get more to participate. But it is heartening to learn that we have a sizable following. Close to 2000 people if I am correct. But not knowing much about the participatory/following statics of blogs, 2000 sounds like a lot. Not like some of my favorites mind you, Crooks & Liars, Andrew Sullivan (who has millions) etc but both Cluster and I are pleased that our little idea has been well received. And speaking of my good friend across the deep blue sea, I think it would be terrific if there was at least one more person that is of the “conservative” persuasion. You know, just so he isn’t so lonely. Sob.
So, after reading my hypothesis of diagramming mathematically what the experience of having a “debate” with someone who’s inability to remain focused and logical is like, I want you to explain in very specific, rational, it will make sense terms what exactly you mean by (sic) “your twisted and unrealistic OPINION of conservatives is proof of this”. Please define “your” and it’s application. Be specific when you say “is proof of this”. Proof of what? Please explain how opinion can be twisted and unrealistic. By your own past use of the word, the very nature of opinion, it’s essence is that of being capable of twisting and not being real. Unrealistic. Not based in fact. Falsifiable It is impossible to prove the factuality of opinion. You can disprove aspects of it, but at its core opinion is impervious to logic. It’s a dodge. A one size fits all cop out for a lack of skill and honesty. I’ll bet if you rise to this challenge that it will effect the vote.

• February 14, 2014 at 9:22 am

You are not doing yourself any favors. Apparently you have a raging hard-on for me. I’m trying my best to be sympathetic to how frustrated you are. Unfortunately you will not succeed in goading me into a discussion about anything, other than the past several one sided explanations as to why. And this will be true if and when the members decide a reversal. I think I can speak for all of us here when I say how do you like how your medicine tastes? It’s different when the Goose eats the Gander, isn’t it? And be aware of this. Pay very close attention. If my idea about voting is taken up, and the vote is a yea, if you make any reference to me; whether directly or indirectly, if you acknowledge my existence or are overcome with an uncontrollable impulse to satisfy your personal vendetta against me, as long as I’m associated with this humble blog, you will never be heard from again. I hope I have made myself clear.

2. February 14, 2014 at 10:20 am

There’s some knee-slappin’ god in government goodness join’ on at bfv!

3. February 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

I meant “goin’ on”. Damn autocorrect.

• February 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I must say that I find myself in agreement with her description of our government as a theoretical concept. Like Lennon said, no religion to. I also think she’s setting our boy up to be banned forever. If you are a true voyer, go to The Daily Brimstone. He’s been trying to sling his shit long distance by an attempt to insult and intimidate Sarah. It’s a pathetic sight. BTW, did you know the Dow is up 10000.00 (Ten Thousand) points since our great, grand and glorious supreme leader and all around good guy took office?

• February 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm

All hail the Exalted One! Our Supreme Leader is the shining path to glory and light.

Where does Ama describe our government as a theoretical concept? I must have missed that. By my lights she’s just about the most batshit constitutional literalist I’ve ever encountered.

• February 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

No argument there. At first I thought you said Liberalist. Hahaha. I should have copied what she wrote. I brought this up because (imo) her approach was from an POV where the constitution is non-judgemental and almost uninterested in human affairs. An utopian ideal of purity. I guess that’s why she’s so hostile about emotion. But anyone who emphatically refutes Dominionism or the suggestion of establishing a Theocracy because Christians are so superior and the poor things so beset with being discriminated against, well they are OK in my book. I mean no religion should claim discrimination when their attempts to proselytize to the rest of the world is resisted. “My 1st amendment rights are being denied because you won’t listen to me.”

• February 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm

her approach was from an POV where the constitution is non-judgemental and almost uninterested in human affairs. An utopian ideal of purity.

I see what you mean now. Don’t know if she would agree with your interpretation of how she interprets the constitution, but fuck her. She is commended for pushing back against a moralistic religionist view of the constitution. What is it they say about broken clocks?

• February 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I have to admit I’ve enjoyed the little rumble on B4V. On one side you have Ama; one percenter, business owner, narcissist, and all around nasty person vs the homophobic biggoted, pretend Christian and nastier neo. In many ways this is an example of what is happening to the Republican party nationally. The social conservatives and rebelling against their masters, the one percenters. Good stuff.

I vote to allow Tired to post. i enjoy watcing him get his ass kicked.

4. February 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I also find it hilarious that the first thing neo does after ama kicks his butt is go to what he considers a porn site and start commenting. I guess that’s what all good “Christians” do.

• February 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Well, I don’t know what you mean by the 1%. 1% of what? I don’t think she is a billionaire. Otherwise she’d be advocating that the amount of money you have should entitle you to more votes. You’ve got to admire their brazenness.
As far as our boy, that is a pattern. He did the same thing back in December when he was in a time out. It might have something to do with the research the did on him and what they discovered. Besides his legal name, email address, ISP and physical address as well. And to follow through, yes it is a microcosm of the past few days of activity in the Republican Party. Even though Joe Biden accurately called it when he said there is no Republican Party anymore.
When I have some time tomorrow I plan on writing about it. My focus will be on Ted Cruz and what the recalcitrance he is so proud of caused. Have you ever seen a secret vote when they couldn’t even say out loud the words yea or nay? Someone ought to filibuster his sorry ass back to Canada or Cuba or where ever it is he claims he’s from. His old man too. Judging from his behavior he sure isn’t an American. He’s a stealth senator. An antichrist come to destroy us all! Have you noticed his speaking style and mannerisms? It’s very clipped and angled. He moves in quick straight line bursts. Just like a robot. “Danger Will Robinson, danger! My sensors have indicated an intruder is present”. And his face looks like one of those porcelain clowns. The ones with the sad eyes and perpetual frowns. Maybe he’s constipated? Someone should send him a bottle of Citricel.

• February 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Mitch,
Ama comes from money and married someone with money. She’s not a billionaire but I’m guessing she is worth a lot (horse ranchers are a different breed than cow ranchers.) Notice how upset she gets when someone says anything negative about people with money?

• February 15, 2014 at 7:53 am

I did not know that. Whoop de do. So do I. And I know that there is a measurable tendency for people with money to think they are different or “better” than others. But it’s been my experience that more often than not people with serious multi-generational trust fund last forever money do not become defensive when exposed to or having conversations with those that don’t. And those that do are usually arrogant assholes. To be honest I never noticed that she was defensive about money. I thought she was just naturally an unhappy viscious know-it-all bitch. How does that Aerosmith song go? Eat the rich? Or does that phrase come from the French Revolution?

• February 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Cap,

That’s always been my impression of her. You can’t be that oblivious to the basic concerns of average Americans without a pedigree of deep pockets behind you.

• February 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

Mitch.
In my years of teaching the students I’ve had with the worst entitlement issues were usually those with a lot of money or those with very little. The ones with money knew that daddy would always bail them out regardless of what they did. Those on the other end assumed the government would always bail them out for any bad decisions they made. Understand these are a small minority of the population at large. Ama has always come off as someone with a very high level of entitlement. How dare someone with less money question her opinions.

5. February 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

• February 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Sure, but I’m not allowed to tweet. But I am a pretty fare cook. Get it? Cook food fare.

6. February 15, 2014 at 6:15 am

I have a Ph.D. in mathematics, work as a researcher in the field of stochastic analysis, present my work all over the world, am currently mentoring a Ph.D. student … No math is not an opinion.

• February 15, 2014 at 8:15 am

Wow. 🙂 Good for you. When I get a moment I’d like to ask your opinion about a lot of things. Particle physics fascinates me and I am a big fan of both Russell and Wittgenstein. I know that math is a language. I wish I could speak it better. I know that math is not an opinion. I was being droll. It was a sarcastic, tongue in cheek remark because Tired’s one size fits all retort when presented with facts is “that’s your opinion”. I was trying to prove mathematically that opinion cannot be fact and vice versa but if it is, then that fact would negate, falsify disprove; whatever, itself. Sort of like what god said after talking to Christopher Hitchens. So how do you think I did with my logic and my formula? Being an expert and all. You’ve peaked my curiosity.
I’ll tell you a brief story. I never had any trouble with basic arithmetic. Even Geometry. But when first introduced to Algebra I didn’t get it. And by that I mean from a different universe frame of reference kind of not getting it. When I was told “Find X” I thought X was a real number. I really struggled for yrs with it. Interestingly, Calculus came very easy to me because I understood the purpose it serves as “the language” that describes physics.

• February 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Mitch,
I was playing along as well, knowing your sense of humor and the lack of one on Tired’s part. The problem I had when discussing on B4V is that formal logic is narrow and can say little in everyday life. Instead one has to embed formal logic into a broader system. A great book is “Probability the logic of science” by Jaynes which is available for free online at http://omega.albany.edu:8008/JaynesBook.html

One of the more interesting consequences of Jaynes’ book is the explanation for why more and more information doesn’t imply convergence of opinions on two people who are being consistent.

• February 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Until I clicked on the link I thought you were talking about Julian Jaynes. He wrote The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Sort of like Wittgenstein if he was an Impressionist. Briefly, a triad of awareness, consciousness and language and the interdependence of each to form the other. It’s also about an ancient form of schizophrenia. http://www.julianjaynes.org/bicameralmind.php
Your Jaynes looks facinating as well. I’ll read it in the next few minutes and produce a book report when I’m finished.