Thursday, September 18, 2014

Magical thinking

Is the relationship between math and physics descriptive or prescriptive? I view math as a language used to describe what I see and as a theory (or a set of theories) of patterns. At one time people thought that gods had secret names.  If you knew the name you could call up a god to do your bidding. Abracadabra. Open sesame.  Today some people think mathematical "rules" force nature to be some way, behave in some way. I think this is magical thinking.  I take math to be descriptive.  A language. It works well because we created it for this very purpose (e.g. calculus). And I think its still only an approximate description at that.

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