Evolution (2)

Salinas17 at aol.com Salinas17 at aol.com
Mon Jun 6 19:51:57 UTC 2005

In a message dated 6/6/05 12:02:27 PM, mark at polymathix.com writes:
<< If I thought that physics enjoyed mathematical purity and Cartesian
vacuity in a way that biology does not, I'd say that physics was seriously on the
wrong track. >>

Quick note -- I wouldn't worry too much about putting physics back on the
"right track."  That particular discipline doesn't seem particularly in need of
any desperate self-correction -- at least, as far as predictive power goes, it
seems to be very powerful.

What's very important to remember here is that science is not -- as a matter
of methodology -- out to "prove" mathematical realism.  What it is is an
assumption -- an umbrella hypothesis about the way the world works.  The
methodological imperative is not realism but proof.  If the day after tomorrow, the
assumption of realism collapses, then scientific methodology would be the first
one to know it.

Regarding the evolution of language, the same analysis looks in a mirror
right back at itself.  That form of language we call mathematics (or science) did
not take the shape it has arbitrarily.  It was the contingencies of our world
with us in it that shaped it.  If the rules were different, language would be
different, our brains would be different and we would be different.  This does
not mean that these laws rule everywhere and always.  But it does mean that
they are all we have at present to go by.

Steve Long

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