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Is Mathematical Behavior Necessarily Materialistic

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  • Is Mathematical Behavior Necessarily Materialistic

    Roger Penrose, in both of his books, points out an enduring mystery that is often not thought about all too often: That a majority of (currently known) math does not have any physical counterpart, or put differently, and relevance for making predictions for physical behavior. In other words, we have only used only a small subset of mathematics to make the powerful physical predictions we have in the history of science.

    On the other hand, it seems that most people associate a "materialistic" theory as one that follows physical laws, which are modeled, of course, using math. We know from above, however, that much of math does not describe anything physical.

    Can something exist that is modeled with math but not be physical, in the way we currently use the term? (I think if one could go back in time and tell one of the early Greek scientists that a photon has no mass and does not experience the passage of time they might answer "yes" to this question)

    Other threads on here have discussed the whole deterministic vs. random thing. In addition, a possible third option has been brought up and discussed. It's an area that has yet to be worked out. This is a non-computational theory of "physics". (Again, this is also something suggested by Penrose). Are there other options we haven't thought of yet?

    I guess where I am going with this is here:

    **Is there a subset of mathematics (possibly a non-computational flavor of math) out there that will form a set of laws that some parapsychological (spiritual) phenomenon will follow, but does not necessarily correspond to anything physical, like the behavior of matter? In other words, the effect may not be directly physically measurable, but could be empirically verified via experiments (by possibly measuring indirect physical consequences) where it would seem the effects of the inner experience of the human being would be pivotal!

    **Furthermore, is it possible that by studying the relationships between whatever this new mathematical theory turns out to be and the existing mathematical theories we currently use to explain the behavior of matter (what we normally consider materialistic theories), we can discover how the two "worlds" interface? (Once again, since consciousness seems to be the leading (only?) area where we currently believe the two "worlds" might interface, the inner experience of the human being would be pivotal)

    **In addition, since math would be used to bridge the two worlds, describing one (the physical) fully and the other (the spiritual) probably only partially, would this not show the two worlds are actually not absolute opposites (material vs. immaterial), but rather are related and share certain features along a continuum?

    **If all this came to be, would we still consider science to be a purely materialistic pursuit? Or, would some try to define and extend the definition of "materialistic"

  • #2
    Non-Euclidean geometry

    If parallel lines are extended infinitely do they touch, stay the same distance apart, or diverge? All three answers have valid forms of geometry.

    If you accept that one of these aligns with physical reality, then yes you can have a valid math that does not conform to physical reality.

    Math is a model, in and of itself it does not prove anything.

    Originally posted by Voltaire
    God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by North View Post
      If parallel lines are extended infinitely do they touch, stay the same distance apart, or diverge? All three answers have valid forms of geometry.

      If you accept that one of these aligns with physical reality, then yes you can have a valid math that does not conform to physical reality.
      Well, perfect geometric shapes do not exist in nature. Penrose might argue they exist in a platonic world, which again is assigning math an actual reality that is independent of physicality, imho.

      But, I'm thinking more along the lines of say psi. Let's say we get a mathematical theory of psi. Is it possible that part of this theory will reference a reality beyond the physical?

      So, I guess my question to proponents would be: How far do you think we can take math into things spiritual (including psi, NDEs, etc)? How much of these realms can be modeled mathematically? I myself think probably very little. But, if it can even a little, that could be huge.

      My question to skeptics would be: if we sucessfully modeled something like psi, part of which we find have no physical counterparts (but may indirectly effect the physical through some interface), would you accept that science and math should not solely be materialistic pursuits?

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      • #4
        http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptik...tml#post123640

        Life in B Flat (Science and Spirituality): Amy's NDE

        During her NDE, Amy experienced enhanced mathematical abilities. This is strong evidence in support of the filter model of the brain, which says that the brain does not produce consciousness but only filters non-physical consciousness while we are incarnated. Like a piece of colored glass filters light so that only certain wavelength pass through it, the brain filters out some of the capabilities of consciousness while we are incarnated. When we are freed from the brain after death or during an NDE, we regain all our capabilities including the ability to understand advanced mathematics:
        I want to add that in my life, I have always had a mental block when it came to math. Even the simplest math ideas, starting from the time I was only six years old were difficult for me to approach. I would shut down when anything with numbers was presented to me. So, in my NDE, while being shown such an enormous array of gorgeous mathematical equations and facts... and visual numerical splendor, I was overjoyed at my own ability to thoroughly comprehend all of it. Unfortunately, at my return, I was discouraged to find that I could not relay or bring with me the expansive amount of math understanding and knowledge I'd been so anxious to share with others. I was and still am, in love with numbers. That was a big leap forward!
        Here is more from the same NDE:
        Amy's NDE
        ... one's religion, no matter which they joined or didn't join on earth, was always what was written in their own heart. It was about WHO the person was, not what label they wore or who or what they worshiped or believed in. Your own frequency, tone, mathematical equation and vibration says it all, and you can't tinker with that.

        ...

        I was shown how every single individual through their own free will chooses paths that MATHEMATICALLY take them to the circumstances of their next existence or life. That NOTHING at all sits in accident or chaos. That every single aspect of our lives are ruled by NATURAL Laws that we placed ourSELVES in!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by anonymous View Post
          Thanks anonymous. Good stuff.

          This part was interesting and sure goes against what I said above, lol, as far as math not going real far in describing the spiritual.

          I was shown how every single individual through their own free will chooses paths that MATHEMATICALLY take them to the circumstances of their next existence or life.

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          • #6
            My feeling is that Penrose wanted to avoid even more controversy by even mentioning ψ/non-material world. If you look in the voluminous indices to hist first two books about consciousness, you don't get any reference.

            Because of that, I think he introduced the idea of non-computationl maths as a lame alternative. (I respect RP, so that is not meant as a criticism).

            Devising a mathematical description that is non-computational, would invalidate his Gödel argument, yes, but I can't see how it would explain more of what consciousness actually is.

            I am sure there are mathematical insights to be had from 'out there' - think of Ramanujan - but that isn't the same as expecting consciousness to be fundamentally modelled by math.

            I guess the problem is that if anything really models consciousness, wouldn't it also be conscious? Unlike, say, a climate model, or a model of road traffic flow.

            David

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            • #7
              Well, this is pleasant to see that someone again mentioned the topic of non-computation! I have already written a lot about it, especially on my "Why and how scientism is dangerous for science itself: a logical argument" thread. Look also at my posts on "195. Dr. Mario Beauregard Sees an End to the Era of Biological Robots (Podcast)" thread.

              As one can easily see, I wrote about computation as a form of language. It is important that I always said "computational language", not "mathematical language". Now I wish to explain why.

              I think that pure (not applied) mathematics is not, really, science. It is: a) a special form of metaphysics, along with philosophy, theology and mysticism, one which dedicate itself to study of quantitive aspects of reality (not qualitive ones, like latter three); b) a semiotics of computational language, which study computation as a form of language with its own semantics, syntactics and pragmatics.

              In mainstream thinking, mathematics is usually considered to be the part of science; both science and mathematics must be totally physical and computational. But some unconventional thinkers, like Roger Penrose, question it - as this is a good sign. Such boundary-work can lead us to expansion of mathematics and science beyond its traditional limits (ones that are furiously defended by proponents of scientism). We definitely live in the interesting times.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vortex
                I think that pure (not applied) mathematics is not, really, science. It is: a) a special form of metaphysics, along with philosophy, theology and mysticism, one which dedicate itself to study of quantitive aspects of reality (not qualitive ones, like latter three)
                I agree, since mathematics can "study" "worlds" that don't actually exist.

                ~~ Paul

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by EthanT View Post
                  But, I'm thinking more along the lines of say psi. Let's say we get a mathematical theory of psi. Is it possible that part of this theory will reference a reality beyond the physical?

                  So, I guess my question to proponents would be: How far do you think we can take math into things spiritual (including psi, NDEs, etc)? How much of these realms can be modeled mathematically?
                  Why shouldn't math be used for subjective states?

                  Saints and sages in all spiritual traditions refer to spiritual laws. These laws may include mathematical elements.

                  He who does a good deed will have ten times the amount of blessings, and I God shall give more, but he who does an evil deed will have an equivalent reward of evil, or I shall grant forgiveness. If anyone draws the length of a span near Me, I shall draw the length of a cubit near him, and if anyone draws the length of a cubit near Me, I shall draw the length of a fathom near him. If anyone comes to Me walking I shall come to him at a run, and if anyone meets me with sins of the size of the earth, but has not associated anything with Me, I shall meet him a similar amount of forgiveness.”
                  On a different note, does non-locality refer to the physical realm?

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