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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Part II of Do You Believe in Γ0?

The first part of the discussion of applying standard atheist claims to mathematics can be found here.

There is a common atheist theory that religious ideas simply reflect the way we evolved instead of the nature of reality. I see no reason why something that evolved would not reflect reality and it stands to reason that something evolved, something that helps us survive, would be more likely to reflect reality. The opposite assumption was ridiculed by Ayn Rand:

His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears—deluded, because he has a mind—and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them.
Recently, George Lakoff (his nonsense is not limited to politics) has apparently been applying the above theory to mathematics. (I say apparently because Wikipedia is not always reliable):
Lakoff has also claimed that we should remain agnostic about whether math is somehow wrapped up with the very nature of the universe. Early in 2001 Lakoff told the AAAS, "Mathematics may or may not be out there in the world, but there's no way that we scientifically could possibly tell." This is because the structures of scientific knowledge are not "out there" but rather in our brains, based on the details of our anatomy. Therefore, we cannot "tell" that mathematics is "out there" without relying on conceptual metaphors rooted in our biology.
Will he next claim that we cannot tell if light is “out there”?

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