0435: "Purity"

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MysticTerminator
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby MysticTerminator » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:59 am UTC

Salaric wrote:
GuitarFreak wrote:Alt text: On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation.


My god How I agree!! Maths might be the purest, but Physics is sooo much more fun!!


:-\

but ... but ... all the fun things in physics are math anyway!

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Re: I've never posted here before

Postby Bird » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:00 am UTC

The octopus didn't seem to be very happy about it, though... looked a little flustered.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby damned_virus » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:02 am UTC

I believe the alt text was in reference to maths is fantasy and physics is the real deal :P

Hehe

Nice line though!!

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby CaptainJuan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:03 am UTC

pliny wrote:
AstralRunner wrote:
pliny wrote:Now, this is just me, but my mind rejects basing such complex systems about things we consider to prove themselves.


They don't prove themselves, though; they're taken for granted and then mathematicians work out what they would imply. We can't, for instance, actually prove that the axioms of modern mathematics are consistent. Indeed, it is impossible in principle to prove that they are consistent, if they actually are. If they did contain a proof of their own consistency, they would necessarily be inconsistent.

The only way in which the axioms of mathematics are self-evident is in human intuition, and like I said, even that has produced 2 different, mainstream sets of axioms.


So you accept (admit) that the maths are essentially unprovable, and there is no more reason to believe them than Scientology besides "intuition"?


Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pyroman » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:04 am UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:
nekodromeda wrote:I have to wonder- where does CS fall?

And engineering?


Engineering is probably the least pure of them all as it takes all of these fields and applies them. However as an engineering major myself i can take solace in the fact that without engineers there would be no giant trebuchets (of which i have in fact built) or auto targeting kilowatt lasers (of which i want to build). Lets Face it the ability of an engineer to take what all of these separate fields have come up with and apply it to make something awesome makes engineers just that... AWESOME! = )
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby mudge » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:04 am UTC

sk8ingdom wrote:I wonder where computational linguistics and semiotics fall...


FUCK computational linguistics.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby diego5wh » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:06 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:And us Computer Science majors stand off to the side wondering why the rest of you think you're so high and mighty when you can't even find the value of sin for an arbitrary angle.


I think the most common approximation for SIN is using the Taylor series. Those exist long before computer science and are in the field of mathematics. I see CS more like a tool made of “brute force math”, a very useful tool but not as cool as pure math.

I think he should put medicine (perhaps somewhere between biology and chemistry)

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Actually, I seem to recall reading about someone who developed Physics to a respectable level without Maths. I can't remember the details at all, but I'll post again if I refind it


I don’t know if you refer to him but Michael Faraday knew just basic mathematics and he become a really good physicist.

I think Philosophy should go in the base of the comic. It was the beginning of everything (good and bad) but some how it became a little redundant (or we as humans make it that way because of lack of purity)
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby benjhuey » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:07 am UTC

Dang, Randall's looking for a throw down with this one.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby frostyservant » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:08 am UTC

I weep, because political science is largely applied sociology.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:08 am UTC

CaptainJuan wrote:Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.
I'm afraid I think you're missing the point of Occam's Razor. It applies to inductive, not deductive, reasoning: that is, the sort that is used in coming up with scientific hypotheses on the basis of empirical evidence. It has nothing to do with Maths, or how "valid" it is.
diego5wh wrote:I think he should put medicine (perhaps somewhere between biology and chemistry)
Surely Medicine is applied Biology, not the other way around?

And I wasn't talking about Faraday.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Salaric » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:08 am UTC

pliny wrote:
The Rumpled Academic wrote:What is this "pure" nonsense? Numbers are human inventions.


Whoops, I missed this before. Agreed!

The concept of discrete, quantifiable increments would not arise in a universe devoid of discreteness of incrementalness.

It's just convenient for us.


Ah, but is the universe not discrete? if we look at quantum mechanics the answer is : YES! hooray


- And Benjhuey: yes and he got it within seconds :P

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pliny » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:09 am UTC

CaptainJuan wrote:Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.


1. Can't sleep, have been reading (this, and alternative axiomatic set theories).

2. Here's my one axiom: numbers (as discrete, incremental values) do not exist. Given that one single axiom, where am I? Somewhere far-off from mathematics.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby TheHand » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:10 am UTC

Hooray for PURE math!

Maybe not NEW math, but PURE math.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pliny » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:11 am UTC

Salaric wrote:
Ah, but is the universe not discrete? if we look at quantum mechanics the answer is : YES! hooray


I am confused; you mean to say the universe is not discrete, or it is?
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby AstralRunner » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:11 am UTC

Thesea wrote:It is not wrong it is just different from common math. Learn to branch out.


It's your poor communication of history and questionable understanding of how axioms work that bothers me.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby 6453893 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:12 am UTC

Of course, logic is so far right that it doesn't fit in the strip. Maths is just logistics with numbers in it. Go logisticians!

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby CaptainJuan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:12 am UTC

pliny wrote:
CaptainJuan wrote:Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.


1. Can't sleep, have been reading (this, and alternative axiomatic set theories).

2. Here's my one axiom: numbers (as discrete, incremental values) do not exist. Given that one single axiom, where am I? Somewhere far-off from mathematics.



Sssssss. That's a negative axiom, and, while I'm no philosopher, I'm not exactly comfortable with it. Anyway, have fun doing anything useful with that axiom.

Also, yes, the universe is discrete. Planck length and Planck time.

Edit: re-reading the wikipedia article on Ockham's Razor: The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. Your axiom explains no phenomena that I can think of.
Last edited by CaptainJuan on Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby MysticTerminator » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:12 am UTC

pliny wrote:
CaptainJuan wrote:Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.


1. Can't sleep, have been reading (this, and alternative axiomatic set theories).

2. Here's my one axiom: numbers (as discrete, incremental values) do not exist. Given that one single axiom, where am I? Somewhere far-off from mathematics.


not doing math. I don't really understand what you're trying to get at. Yes, there do exist things that are not math. There also exist things that are math. Ok?


btw I believe logistics is somewhat different from logic

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Scigatt » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:13 am UTC

Hmm...you know, string theorists are probably the ones to take this hierarchy most seriously.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:14 am UTC

Salaric wrote:Ah, but is the universe not discrete? if we look at quantum mechanics the answer is : YES! hooray
Not everything about the Universe is discrete.
pliny wrote:Here's my one axiom: numbers (as discrete, incremental values) do not exist. Given that one single axiom, where am I? Somewhere far-off from mathematics.
Axioms have to be stated in a formal language in order to be meaningful, and even then they may not be consistent. Before people realized this, we had things like naive set theory, which allows various paradoxes (e.g. Russell's paradox).

Define precisely what you mean by "number" and "exist". It's harder than you might think.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby MysticTerminator » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:15 am UTC

CaptainJuan wrote:
pliny wrote:
CaptainJuan wrote:Ockham's Razor. To believe that mathematics are a meaningful way to interact with the world requires only that you make a few simple assumptions about the base axioms of your chosen mathematical systems. To believe in, say, Scientology, or literal Biblical inerrancy, or basically any religion or philosophical system, requires far more base assumptions about reality and about the "axioms" that need to be taken on faith. Because math requires fewer assumptions to be made, it is preferred over the rest.


1. Can't sleep, have been reading (this, and alternative axiomatic set theories).

2. Here's my one axiom: numbers (as discrete, incremental values) do not exist. Given that one single axiom, where am I? Somewhere far-off from mathematics.



Sssssss. That's a negative axiom, and, while I'm no philosopher, I'm not exactly comfortable with it. Anyway, have fun doing anything useful with that axiom.

Also, yes, the universe is discrete. Planck length and Planck time.


er, is this discreteness commonly agreed upon or a possibility? I know some quantum mechanics though not a huge amount and it doesn't seem to follow from that, so I'm assuming this must be far deeper -- elucidation, please?

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Salaric » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:16 am UTC

diego5wh wrote:I think Philosophy should go in the base of the comic. It was the beginning of everything (good and bad) but some how it became a little redundant (or we as humans make it that way because of lack of purity)


hmmm no i don't think that philosophy really fits into this scale.. Philosophy is more of a base from which many other fields take parts.. it might beall over the place actually, cause there is no way you can say that philosophy is any of these sciences "applied", more the other way around. Physics and Mathematics are used to describe what we see in the world, what we comprehend - we get this comprehension from philosophy.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pliny » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:16 am UTC

CaptainJuan wrote:Sssssss. That's a negative axiom, and, while I'm no philosopher, I'm not exactly comfortable with it. Anyway, have fun doing anything useful with that axiom.

Also, yes, the universe is discrete. Planck length and Planck time.


1. We are not in any way discussing how useful something is. That is irrelevant to this conversation.

2. Planck length is the length shorter than which we don't understand, not shorter than which does not exist. Same goes for time, which is an illusion anyway.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby CaptainJuan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:17 am UTC

MysticTerminator wrote:er, is this discreteness commonly agreed upon or a possibility? I know some quantum mechanics though not a huge amount and it doesn't seem to follow from that, so I'm assuming this must be far deeper -- elucidation, please?


I'm not a physicist either, lol. I think you'd have to ask Robin S up there to get into the topic a bit more.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Gamche » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:18 am UTC

Okay I have to ask but isn't this graph made by sociologists? I mean who else would be able to interpret society and its structure?

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Salaric » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:21 am UTC

Robin S wrote:
Salaric wrote:Ah, but is the universe not discrete? if we look at quantum mechanics the answer is : YES! hooray
Not everything about the Universe is discrete.


what is not discerete? - if energylevels are, and we have discrete particles, then i find it hard to see what isn't

The only thing i can see would in fact be numbers, though they can be thought of as both discrete and non-discrete - depends on what you mean by discrete.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pliny » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:21 am UTC

Robin S wrote:Define precisely what you mean by "number" and "exist". It's harder than you might think.


I will define "number" as "an arithmetical value, expressed by a word, symbol, or figure, representing a particular quantity and used in counting and making calculations". I will define "exist" as "have objective reality in a manner affecting and altering my observation of the universe". If I had anything less strict for "exist", there would be problems; as it is, there are probably problems anyway.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby pliny » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:23 am UTC

Salaric wrote:what is not discerete? - if energylevels are, and we have discrete particles, then i find it hard to see what isn't


Length is not discrete; give me a discrete measurement of time?
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby CaptainJuan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:24 am UTC

Gamche wrote:Okay I have to ask but isn't this graph made by sociologists? I mean who else would be able to interpret society and its structure?


I contemplated this kind of crap my junior year of high school, when we learned about "Levels of Analysis" in my US History class. Whoopty doo, sociologists.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:25 am UTC

CaptainJuan wrote:Edit: re-reading the wikipedia article on Ockham's Razor: The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. Your axiom explains no phenomena that I can think of.
Still missing the point of the Razor. It is talking about "axioms" of scientific theories, not of Maths which is independent of the physical universe.

Salaric wrote:what is not discerete? - if energylevels are, and we have discrete particles, then i find it hard to see what isn't
The energy levels of an electron in an orbital are indeed quantized, as are particles. However, there are infinitely many energy levels that an electron can take below the ionization energy, above which it can have absolutely any potential at all relative to the nucleus. Most distances, times, frequencies, velocities, energies etc. are not quantized.
Last edited by Robin S on Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:31 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Patren » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:27 am UTC

Actually a more accurate representation of the anthropologists would be :
Image

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Robin S » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:30 am UTC

The drawing, I like it. Although they won't get a very representative sample if they're observing the mathematician.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Salaric » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:30 am UTC

i lose

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby diego5wh » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:33 am UTC

Salaric wrote:hmmm no i don't think that philosophy really fits into this scale.. Philosophy is more of a base from which many other fields take parts.. it might beall over the place actually, cause there is no way you can say that philosophy is any of these sciences "applied", more the other way around. Physics and Mathematics are used to describe what we see in the world, what we comprehend - we get this comprehension from philosophy.


I agree, and I mean that when I say that philosophy could go in the base of the comic, but now that you say “all over the place” it made think that’s the reason Randall left out philosophy

(some how irrelevant but I am studding English so my English isn’t the best always)
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby Patren » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:35 am UTC

Robin S wrote:The drawing, I like it. Although they won't get a very representative sample if they're observing the mathematician.


Representative sample smepensentative sample. We're in hot air balloons. We don't care for such things. Plus, if you get it right the first time then there is nothing to argue about for years to come.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby jmorgan3 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:39 am UTC

Patren wrote:It isn't a good day if you haven't thrown a water balloon at a sociologist.

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby DJorgensen » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:40 am UTC

hahaha, wow. I was a honors math major that went to honors physics.
Then I quit university.....

I always had to help people out in physics, chem, bio, and psychology though...

I'll try not to bring this comic up with my psychologist. It will be on my mind though.
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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby aliosha » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:52 am UTC

From reading various people's posts about philosophy, psychology and so on, I came to the conclusion that almost every subject could be placed on a circle:

Maths > Physics > Chemistry > Biology > Sociology > Anthropometry > Geography > History > Psychology > Philosophy > Maths > .... ad infinitum

Because of the claim that philosophy is sooo pure; it deals with thoughts and reality on a fairly abstract scale (This is coming from a mathematician, clueless about any other subject :D)

Then, I realised I hadn't covered the arts (I'm a musician too). So I reckon we need a third strand, thus:

Maths > Physics > Chemistry > Biology > Sociology > Anthropometry
^ ^
| Philosophy < Psychology < History < Geography <----
| ^
Music > Graphic Arts > Motion Arts (Film Studies, Dance)

These could be mapped onto a sphere... (topology :D)

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby I, Jethrobot » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:55 am UTC

Did the jump from "psychology" to "biology" catch anyone's attention? That's some step.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the "jump" from psychology to biology. I really don't think psychology is applied biology. Granted, topics in neuroscience like fMRI work meld psych and bio together, they're still very, very different fields of study that have diverged. For one, psychology isn't quite a natural science (but doesn't quite fit in with the social sciences...) Secondly, psychology doesn't always use biology to expand knowledge in the realm of behavior (and not always math, either!).

Anyway, I'm just surprised psychology was thrown into this mix, though since behavior is sometimes described using biological mechanisms, it makes sense that it'd follow. Psychology hasn't really been discussed much in xkcd explicitly, and being a lover of psychology, it grabbed my attention. I hope it gets discussed more!

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Re: "Purity" Discussion

Postby ++$_ » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:01 am UTC

I feel very manipulated by this comic. It's like pictures of cute puppies for mathematicians. There's just no way to not think it's awesome.

Until I got to the alt-text. Then it became kind of like cute puppies with poisonous fangs. (But they're still so cute!)

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