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Mathematics and Reality

In all of our blogs and web sites the Greenteeth team have been critical of those science fans who are turning science into a religion. Scientists deny this of course even in the face of the evidence. Here Ian R Thorpe shows you that the idea of mathematics as God is nothing new, it has been around longer than Christianity in fact.

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Mathematics, God and Reality

by Ian R Thorpe

25 April 2012

Marcus du Sautoy, Mathematician, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science (having succeeded Richard Dawkins in the Chair) last year presented a series of TV programmes about mathematics and nature entitled ‘The Code’. Advance publicity for the show led potential viewers to believe Prof. Du Sautoy would be presenting a mainstream view of mathematics in an attempt to demonstrate the subject is not really as difficult or nerdy as people think, rather than promoting his own very nerdy version of atheistic metaphysics. Du Sautoy is not so much a mathematician, he's a maths geek.

In the televised debate on why British pupils in the state education system are failing so badly in Mathematics, Marcus du Sautoy opened for the pro maths side and demolished his own case in his first sentence, saying: “When Wayne Rooney takes a shot at goal he first does a simultaneous equation.”

Now Wayne Rooney is one of our finest soccer players and probably the best goalscorer of his generation. But he is not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree. While a wonderful, instinctive athlete in his chosen sport it's doubtful he even knows what an equation is. So can we imagine him pausing to do complex algebraic calculations in his head in the split second he has to steady himself and strike the ball. I think not. Can you imagine a sports commentator raving: “ ... and the ball comes to Rooney. He does an equation, he shoots, he scores.”

It's laughable. Cats catching their prey, dogs catching a Frisbee in mid air and horses taking a fence so high they cannot see the ground on the other side would also have to do equations, not one but many. And if Wayne Rooney does not seem capable of such a mental exercise those creatures certainly aren't.

Few of us are taken in by Du Sautoy's hyperbolic overselling of mathematics. Having read articles and essays Du Sautoy has published, he seems to be a rather cranky academic who is totally besotted with his specialist subject. In his published work he has made such outrageous claims as because music can be mathematically analysed, without mathematics we could not have created music and that the Universe is constructed according to a very complex mathematical design (nothing outrageous about that you might think but he and his supporters deny this is just a version of intelligent design, dismissing intelligent design as religious nonsense).

Du Sautoy’s view of the physical dimension is that, as the Pythagoreans expressed it, ‘Number is everything.’ This is not as original as you might think, in fact it has been around since the ancient Geek Pythagoras (570 - 490 BC) floated it as an answer to the religious and naturalistic schools of philosophy. Pythagoras was a scientist, a mathematician in fact, so as far as Marcus Du Sautoy is concerned, QED. The idea that everything emanates from numbers and mathematics is clearly as undemonstrable as the Biblical creation story or Big Bang theory. This should make the proposition anathema to a mathematician and identify it as a faith-based religious concept. Philosophers of mathematics and informed students of mathematics know that there is, to date, no satisfactory understanding of the relationship, if any, between mathematics and reality; to suggest that there is a relationship, and what such a relationship might be, is an act of faith. And yet, more and more we see, especially among theoretical physicists and mathematicians (and of course among the Climate Science lobby who base their studies on mathematical models rather than observations of reality) that "Science" is becoming more and more like a religion.

It is very unfortunate that scientists working with speculative mathematics are behaving as though mathematics is the original reality to which the physical world ‘must’ conform through such things as ‘laws’. Science has been hideously corrupted in the last 80 years because of this and further corrupted through it's becoming a branch of government which has brought into it an element of The King's New Clothes". It is not politically expedient to question science.

Many Christians will be delighted to see and hear Du Sautoy suggesting that numbers are at the root of all reality, this is in some ways adds a of kind of scientific endorsement to the theory of Intelligent Design. However Du Sautoy is an avowed atheist who says he intends to is take a more gentle approach to undermining religious belief than Richard ‘The Rottweiler’ Dawkins (whom all can see is a bigoted fanatic) and is not citing design, or even apparent design, as the basis of everything but referring to some mysterious entity he calls ‘The Code’. A code at the very least implies information content, but The Code (as a proper noun and with the definite article) suggests something unique and powerful. God?

In his own words Du Sautoy puts it like this "…underlying everything that surrounds us, from the natural world to the cities we live in, there is a hidden code that explains why things look and behave they way they do. This hidden code (‘The Code’) has the power to unlock the laws that govern the universe. The Code is the truth of the universe, and its numbers dictate the way the world must be."

So, this hidden code, this entity that Du Sautoy calls ‘The Code’ is identical to Absolute Truth, The Oneness, The Ancient Of Days, and can lead us to All Truth, and is completely deterministic.

This is unquestionably a religious view of the Universe. In fact it is the old heresy of Pythagoras, the pagan Greek philosopher, re-worked by gnostics, Kabbalists, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Illuminists, and now, it appears, New Atheists. What a great scam it will be if modern scientists s can pull it one off!

Most people know very little about Pythagorean philosophy other than the Pythagorean Theorem of the triangle, which was attributed to Pythagoras, but was most certainly known and used for well over 1000 years before Pythagoras lived. The man himself however was rather more complex than a triangle and apart from believing that the universe and everything in it was made out of numbers and mathematical formulas he also never ate beans because he believed every time we fart a little bit of our soul escapes. Bertrand Russell, the twentieth century mathematician and philosopher, whilst unsympathetic to Pythagoras' view of the nature of things, stated.

"I do not know of any other man who has been as influential as he was in the sphere of thought."

Pythagoras and his followers believed that all relationships could be reduced to numerical equations, that mathematics (holos) is the true reality, while the world (cosmos) with time and space and all other manner of artifice is a nothing more than a construct of human minds. Pythagorean metaphysics stated that ‘The Essence of Being Is Number’, number being understood to be ‘that which prior to all things subsists…by which and from which all things are coordinated, and remain connumerated in an indissoluble order.’ (Christians will notice a usurpation of the divine Logos therein). The Pythagorean philosophy was dominated by the ideal that numbers were not merely symbols of reality, but were the final substance of real things.

Aristotle fleshes this out in his Metaphysics, where he states that the Pythagoreans

"…believed that the principles of mathematics were also the principles of all things that be. Now, since the principles of mathematics are numbers, and they thought they found in numbers, more than in fire and earth and water, similarities with things that are and that become (they judged, for example, that justice was a particular property of numbers, the soul and mind another, opportunity another, and similarly, so to say, anything else), and since furthermore they saw expressed by numbers the properties and the ratios of harmony, since finally everything in nature appeared to them to be similar to numbers, and numbers appeared to be first among all there is in nature, they thought that the elements of numbers were the elements of all that there is, and that the whole world was harmony and number."

While pagans both modern and ancient, do not believe in their gods as followers of the Abrahamic religions, the Pythagoreans definitely believed in an omnipotent, omniescent God who is in fact a number or numeric code.

Allocated a generous budget by the BBC from funds generously but involuntarily donated by taxpayers Du Sautoy starts his series with an expensive jolly to Chartres cathedral, said to be first of the great Gothic cathedrals (in fact Durham Cathedral in north east England was begun first but not completed until after Chartres because of local problems about who was the rightful King of England. Chartres has become far more widely known in recent years thanks to a certain fictional work.

Chatres Cathedrsal south transept Durham Cathedral

In the Middle Ages the cathedral school at Chartres, like most of the religious communities, was the centre for learning and for a revival and development of Pythagorean ideas. The monastic orders were fiercely independent of the Vatican and openly defied Papal control freakery especially if it related to suppression of ancient knowledge deemed "ungodly" by The Holy Father. Chartes cathedral was built on the site of a Druid temple, the crypt beneath the cathedral being a dolmenic chamber. Diodorus Siculus, writing in 36 BC, describes how these Druids followed Pythagorean teachings although that is probably wrong - the Druids, like the Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians and Minoans were using Pythagorean mathematics long before Pythagoras was even a twinkle in his Daddy's eye. Thanks to such links to a mysterious era in human development, Chartres has become one of the main centres for people interested in the The Grail Mystery and certain lost arts and sciences. The cathedral contains a mass of Masonic, gnostic, pagan, astrological and Pythagorean symbols.

As this stuff is the bread and butter of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and the genre of revelatory fiction it spawned along with the speculative history books concerning The Holy Grail, The Knights Templar, Ark Of The Covenant, Freemasonry, Pagan symbols in Christian art and the secrets of the ancients perhaps Chartres was not the most helpful place to start a series that claimed it would reveal a great spiritual truth.

Down the centuries the Abbots of Chartres tried to ‘Christianize’ some of the Pythagorean ideas and make use of them in theology, hence as Otto von Simson (The Gothic Cathedral, Harper & Row, New York, 1956) states,
"The masters of Chartres, like Pythagoreans of all ages, were obsessed with mathematics: it was considered the link between God and the world, the magical tool that would unlock the secrets of both."

Mathematician David J. Stucki, in his published essay Mathematics As Worship (pdf) comments
"…from the dawn of Western Civilization and through the Middle Ages the heart of mathematics was strongly tied to religious thought. Eventually, however, the humanism of the Renaissance and the empiricism of the Scientific Revolution began to open the door for the breakdown of this marriage. Scientism, the granting of absolute authority to the empirical and objective, became the mistress of the modern mind. The resulting ‘mathematization’ of science and culture (Howell & Bradley, 2001) had a myriad of consequences. The Church was no longer perceived as having a monopoly on Truth. The success of mathematics in accounting for the structure and behavior of the physical universe ultimately led to a naturalistic version of the Pythagorean ontology that ‘Everything is number.’ The divorce of theology and mathematics in the modern age created the 20th century crisis of ‘Foundationalism’ in mathematical philosophy…[and] epistemological progress in mathematics is devastating to Christian theology under the Pythagorean legacy."

Stucki obviously thinks Pythagoreans mathematical theology still has followers; Du Sautoy, as we have seen, is one, but also an increasing number of physicists are being seduced into thinking that ‘the principles of mathematics are also the principles of all things that be’, that somehow mathematics is the primary reality or as some might say the supreme force of the universe.

Another example of a scientist who has lost sight of reality is I. V. Volovich, a physicist at the great centre for wasting taxpayers' money, CERN. In his paper Number Theory As The Ultimate Physical Theory Volovich concludes that: " ... the fundamental entities of which we consider our Universe to be composed cannot be particles, fields or strings but numbers ..." Obviously the man is daft as a brush, numbers are a construct of the human mind. Numbers are what we use for accounting and measuring. Many things can be said to have divine properties but not abstract concepts like numbers.

Others have dived into the same dark pool only to find on braining themselves on the bottom it was not as deep as they thought, for example Vasilios Gardiakos:

"That ‘all is number’ will allow us to create what many theologians thought only God was capable of…all can be numerated and computerized…Mathematics is the most basic requirement for existence. It has no mass, dimension and time and yet it can create these and many more phenomena.

The Thales era which brought us science is near the end. It is to be followed by the Pythagorean era with…the realization that ‘all is number’…we will gain the vision that ‘all is mathematics’…This is the point that we begin to perceive our existence as numerical."

The philosophy of mathematics is pure philosophy and not science as it's devotees like to claim, it proposes, but never resolves. Pythagoreans aim to cut through the debate between the Platonists and the Formalists, the Realists and the Nominalists by making both views redundant through asserting a radical third way, which aims to dominate the whole scientific enterprise.

Platonists and Realists believe that mathematical entities exist independently of the human mind, abstract and immutable; apart from this material universe in which absolute mathematical truths reside. In this view, mathematicians do not invent mathematics but discover it. New mathematical concepts are "revealed". But if these entities are not part of this universe, how can they be discovered and recognized? The standard answer to that it is by intuition or (divine?) revelation and illumination, thus we have a dichotomy. The scientists who most despise religion embrace the methodology of the religious thinker as their own. Christians might be attracted to such a view, in that such entities ‘exist’ in the mind of God, (or somehow in God himself, who is transcendently not part of this universe but something which, as one of the gnostic gospels puts it, is so great the entire firmament is contained within it and yet so small it's whole is contained within the smallest thing.

Formalists/Nominalists on the other hand deny the existence of mathematical entities, dismissing mathematics a purely a construction of the mind (whether the mind of man or the mind of God). In this view, mathematics is a very useful common language and tool that can help us try to make sense of the world, and can lead us towards beneficial discoveries and enhance our understanding, but which is for all that an artifice, a human invention. St Augustine had some interesting thoughts along these lines as well, that numbers are the universal language conveyed by God to us as confirmation of the truth.

Realists and Nominalists are agreed that there are no mathematical entities within this universe, but Pythagoreans assert that mathematical entities are not only within the universe, but actually comprise the universe. This has been an attractive idea for atheist scientists who take a reductionist approach in their efforts to avoid answering the unanswerable questions that are food and drink to philosophers. If everything can be reduced to numbers, everything can be explained by an equation. Except Wayne Rooney's goalscoring ability of course, or how a cat times it's leap to catch a bird that is about to fly away, or how a monkey swings with such apparent ease from branch to branch among the trees while so many humans struggle to solve even simple equations.

Realism then proposes that mathematical entities exist outside the reality of the physical universe. The connection, if any, between these entities and reality is an ongoing debate.

Nominalism holds that there are no mathematical entities; mathematics is a product of the mind apart from reality.

Pythagoreanism: asserts that there are mathematical entities within the universe, which constitute the whole of reality. All else is a product of the mind.

St Augustine said, "If you see anything at all that has measure, number, and order, do not hesitate to attribute it to God as craftsman."

With those things in mind, imagine the hysterical fury that would come pouring from the mouths and fingers of militant Atheists, if this TV series had been titled "Intelligent Design?" rather than the more cryptic "The Code." while highlighting the intelligence of the design underlying the patterns and numbers of which the universe is formed. ROTFLMAO.

One of the many sources I used in researching this artilce, (The Language Of Life, Keith Devlin, The Guardian, September 2004)attracted this letter in response (the article was published before online commenting was available in the newspaper.) The misrepresentation, bigging up, of mathematics the writer refers to is something I see more and more often. Swcience is becoming a religion, with dogmas, a creed and fanatical followers determined to convert or silence all infidels. Letter to The Guardian in response to Keith Devlin's article The Language Of Life. Keith Devlin should beware of misrepresenting the nature of mathematics (The language of life, September 13). Although many things in the real world can be described in mathematical terms, mathematics itself is part of our imagination rather than part of the physical universe. Devlin and others are in danger of falling into the same trap as the Pythagoreans, who thought the universe actually consisted of mathematics. After Pythagoras, the philosopher Zeno proposed several paradoxes, such as the one about Achilles and the tortoise, to show the distinction between mathematics and reality. One example concerns division: in mathematics it is clear that there is no limit to dividing. It is far from clear, however, whether the same applies to the real world; the apparent alternatives - that there is a limit to dividing the constituents of the universe, or not - seem equally hard to swallow. The universe is as it is simply because that is how things are. It is not because of mathematics. So, even though we may see the Fibonacci series in nature, that still does not mean that the maths existed before we thought of it. Michael Bulley Chalon-sur-Saône, France RELATED POSTS:

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American GM Wheat Losing Out To Russian Organic Wheat In World Markets We've been trying to get the truth out on GM crops, loved by American corporate business, rent-a-quote scientists and politicians for several years. The massed ranks of big money and big politics are still ranged against us but it seems that one again we the New Media are winning. The more the 'experts', professors and politicians tell us genetically modified crops are good, the mor suspicious we become.

Former Equalities Chief Says ‘Superdiverse’ UK Will ‘Burn’
Unusually for a left wing figure and to his great credit, Mr. Phillips was admittting he had been wrong to argue in favour of mass immigration from theocratic Muslim nations, expressing his disgust at the racism, anti – semitism and wave of violent and sex crimes, and observing that he doubted Muslims can ever integrate into western society because of the difference in the mindset.

After Yugoslavia NATO changed from a mutual defence alliance to an organisation for military aggression.
After the break up of the Soviet Union, a point in history when many in the west mistakenly thought Russia had ceased to be a major power and the USA unilaterally declared victory in the cold war, people around the world looked forward to an era of peace and prosperity. They could not have been more wrong ...

European Parliament President Says ‘Vast Majority Of Europeans Do Not Want Borders’
The Europhile German Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician stated that if the populist, anti-mass migration Norbert Hofer becomes president "this will change Europe’s character". Last month Hofer came top in the first round of the Austrian elections, and in two weeks voters will go to the polls for the second round, to choose between the right wing FPO figure and his Green rival Alexander Van der Bellen as the nation’s next head of state.

Armed Forces Minister: Obama ‘Woefully Ignorant’ of Threat EU Membership Poses
Referring to a statement Mr Obama made in the Telegraph on Friday in which he said: “The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it,” she responded: “Unfortunately this opinion betrays a woeful ignorance of the practical reality of the EU’s impact on our security, and the interests of the U.K. and the US.”

Wall Street 'Whistleblower' Exposes Clinton Foundation Fraud

The woman is a phoney, a self interested, self aggrandizing elitist with a sense of entitlement the size of a galaxy. Whatever Hillary does, and whatever minority group the claims she is acting in the interests of, you can bet the main beneficiaries are Hillary Clinton, her family and her cronies.
No surprise then that a whistleblower has exposed Hillary's charity, 'The Clinton Foundation as a fraud.

De Dollarisation Accelerates As Russia Prepares To Launch Ruble-Priced Oil Trading Platform Russia is ready to take the next step towards killing the petro-dollar and dumping the US$ as global reserve currency, a move we reported last year. Vladimir Putin's ruble-based pricing of its domestically-produced oil is on the verge of realization. SPIMEX (The St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange) is actively courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market ...

Google Now Has Access To Millions Of Patient's Health Records


A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated - well now there's a surprise.

How Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter Use Censorship to Kill Free Speech
A new study by Onlinecensorship.org — a collaborative effort between the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact reveals that social media sites and search engine operators have been collaborating closely with government agencies to control the type of content we may see online. Most readers will know of people who have been kicked off the social networking site for designated periods of time for ‘violating community standards' ...

EU Commission Backs Turkey Visa-Free Travel Amid Terrorist Cautions
As if the EU does not have enough problems of its own, the Bureaucrats of Brussels seem determined to take on the middle's east's perpetual violent chaos by granting Turkey the right of visa - free movement throughout the Schengen zone for its 70million citizens and tens of thousands of jihadists

German Justice Minister Runs From Stage As Angry Audience Members Yell "TRAITOR!"
The peoples' pushback against European federalisation and genocide of Europe's white working classes by flooding nation states with third world immigrants continues to gather pace as, with the onset of warmer weather, the flow of illegal immigrants into Europe starts to increase towards last year's levels.

TTIP document leak - A preview of the corporate fascism treaty from War On Want
The Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was teetering on the brink of failure before Greenpeace Netherlands obtained a massive swathe of leaked documents that prove the treaty is, as many people feared, a corporate power grab rather than a free trade arrangement. This exposure will not stop the fascist regimes of the European Union and the United States trying to push it through against massive public opposition. The ruling elites have only contempt for democracy and the people

The ‘Colossal Unmentionable’ of the Climate Fraud
An incisive analysis from The Wall Street Journal that shows who and what will benefit from the great climate change scam (clue, it will not be the climateor the environment and it will certainly not be people like you and me.)

US-Created System In Iraq Is Collapsing: Protesters Storm Parliament
Less than two years ago, the US set up a puppet government in the mid-east state of Iraq when, following US pressure, on August 14, 2014 then prime minister al-Maliki agreed to stepped down and be replaced with Haider al-Abadi. Today, the regime is in chaos and the system set up by the US is collapsing. Yesterday protesters loyal to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through a security cordon into the Green Zone, home to government buildings

So Long, Schengen: Six EU States to Resurrect National Borders in Mid-May

The governments of six European state have announced they will reinstate border controls as the immigration crisis starts to gather momentum once more with the onset of warmer weather. The authorities of Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden are in favor of extending the temporary border controls within the European Union, which are due to expire in May, in the framework of the Schengen Borders Code rules, German media reported Saturday.

Obama Admin Denies Saying “No Boots on the Ground” in Syria After Saying It 16 Times This is our second report today that catches Barack Obama and his administration of 'homies' in a blatant lie. The first related to the TTIP trade treaty, this one concerns the decision to deploy American ground troops in Syria, after Obama had repeatedly stated there would never be any US soldiers on the ground in Syria

The Oligarchy Is Tottering - Trump Tramples The Neocons' "False Song Of Globalism"
Donald Trump scares the global establishment as do the anti Federalisation parties in the EU. We take a long and detailed look at why, and exactly what the globalist agenda would have meant for freedom and democracy had people not wonken up and opposed it in vast numbers. Kudos to the Islamic Jihad too, medievalist religious nuts they may be, but they resisted American attempt to impose western consumer culture on them.

The Pretensions Of Pop Culture And The Death Of Intellect

... It’s part of a distressing pattern these days of overwrought commentary about popular culture. As well as Beyoncé thinkpieces there are the Stars Wars thinkpieces, of course, and the Lana Del Rey thinkpieces or, God help us, even Kanye West thinkpieces. Don’t get me started on the fact that “thinkpiece” is now treated as if it were a single word...

FBI Drops Hints They Are Ready to INDICT Hillary Clinton
Sources close to the FBI investigation into Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's offences relating to national security when she was Secretary of State say the Feds are ready to indict the frontrunner in the nomination process on charges relating to classified information.

Europe Rejects Obama Doctrine - US Exceptionalism Is Not Acceptable
With a backlash against his efforts to bully Britons into voting to remain in the EU pushing the leave campaign into a narrow lead in opinion polls Obama's vistit to Europe last week could hardly be described as a success. And now he has been told a foreign policy based on 'American Exceptionalism' is not acceptable and the USA must abide by the same international law as the rest of the world

Illegal Immigrants, Bogus Refugees and Jihadist Asylum Seekers - Europes Self Engineered Crisis For a UK based libertarian site dedicated to promoting the traditional values of personal and national liberty, freedom of speech and thought and democratic rule accoring to the will of the majority, the social and economic disaster that is the consequence of the European Union's 'borderless world' project is a big news topic that will run for years. Here are the Greeneeth team's posts on Europe's Immigrant Crisis and The Islamification Of Europe

US Threat to Businesses Scares EU Members As Summit On Continued Sanctions Nears
Although the US and EU economic santions on Russia in retaliation for Moscow's annexation of Crimea to prevent a genocide of the ethnic Russian majority by the neo Nazi government installed in Kiev after a US engineered coup deposed the elected government, weaker European nations are spooked at the possibility of US retaliation if they do not obey Washington's diktat

Weather Channel Founder Slams Global Warming Fraud
The climate change lobby have been on the back foot for a long time as eminent scientists queued to be next to point out that when real world observations repeatedly contradict data produced by mathematical models run on university computer systems, any credible research team would take a long critical look at their models rather than adjusting the empirical data so it gives the required answer.

Lifelong Feminist Carmen Paglia Slams Hypocrite Hillary Clinton And Her 'Liberal' Supporters
As strong evidence emerges that the New York Democratic Primary election between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was rigged by the Democratic Party Nominations Committee in favour of their preferred candidate Clinton, America's hectoring on other nations on democracy are making it a laughing stock around the world.

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