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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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The Day The EU Died - Destruction Of Greece Shows True Fascist Nature Of The European Project Some inside information on the political stitch up that has turned GreeThe Day The EU Died - Destruction Of Greece Shows True Fascist Nature Of The European Projectce into a vassal state and humiliated the Greek people for the purpose of furthering the neo-Fascist 'ever closer union' agenda of the bureaucratic dictators in Brussels.

The Bansturbator Diaries - Ban Everything And Tax It Too
Red Meat, fast food,, Pies, Pizzas, Cigarettes, Alcohol, and now sugar. The fun fascists are on the rampage everywere. Is there anything we can do to stop them? Yes. all we have to do is ignore them, especially the ones who try to claim some kind of authority by using the word 'science' far more than is necessary.

Spain Goes Full Police State; Government Enacts Law Forbidding Dissent, 'Unauthorized' Photography Of Law Enforcement
Spain is now a police state again. On July 1st, its much-protested "gag" law went into effect, instantly making criminals of those protesting the new law. Not since the death of General Franco has free speech been a crime in the country.

TTIP in the EU: Rejecting Democracy
Trade deals have traditionally been about lowering particular tariffs for imports and exports of goods from one country to another. Trade is not as simple as that any more and for TTIP tariffs are a tiny part of the negotiations because tariffs between the EU and US are virtually non-existent these days. Trade in TTIP is about issues that are relevant and important to us all: from which services are publicly provided, to the safety of the food on our plates

Greece, Monetary Union and Europe - Omnibus
The Greek financial meltdown and inevitable exit from the European Monetary System (Euro) and possibly the EU may be staved off a little longer but will happen. If the burden of Euro membership can wreck strong economies like France, Austria and The Netherlands, how can a basket case like Greece ever cope.

Hackers Hacked - Government Ties Exposed
An Italian company develops hacking tools for government security agencies itself became the target of a hacker attack, resulting in its internal documents being leaked online and its deals with numerous governments being exposed.

Four Converging Crises Could Destroy Europe
Four great crises around Europe’s fringes threaten to engulf the European Union, potentially setting the ambitious post-war unification project back by decades. The EU’s unity, solidarity and international standing are at risk from Greece’s debt, Russia’s role in Ukraine, Britain’s attempt to change its relationship with the bloc, and Mediterranean migration.

Oregon bakery that refused same-sex couple owes $135,000 in damages
This page started by looking as a case of personal liberty versus gay fascism in Belfast, Northern Ireland but looks set to spread in all directions. While the Belfast Gay Cake case was, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind in Britain, there have already been a number of high profile cases in which the authorities have deemed that gay bitchiness trumps the civil rights of straight people,

Troika Is Manoeuvering To Rig The Greek Referendum
According to Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, the troika, the IMF, European Central Bank and EU Commission is planning to rig the outcome of the Greek referendum on whether to accept further austerity measures in return for bail out cash

Ending the Ownership of Money
It must be common knowledge by now that some of the world’s most economically powerful nations are insolvent due to the burden of sovereign debt. These economies are held together through by the faith of citizens and businesses in the currency. If that faith evaporates, the leading economies will crash as voters realise the only thing underwriting the economy is debt.

Climate Change: Physicist Asks Is a Deadly Ice Age on the Horizon?
The last ice age ended approximately 12,000 years ago, and since then we’ve been enjoying a pleasantly warm “interglacial period.” But given that an interglacial may last only 12,000 years, we’re confronted with a scary prospect: Another ice age may be nigh.

Government Paid Trolls Are Using 'Psychology-Based Influence Techniques' in Social Media
Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using “psychology-based influence techniques” on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Zuckerberg reveals Facebook Working On Apps 'Smarter Than Humans'
In an online Question and Answer session this week Facebook supremo and founding megalomaniacal sociopath Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company is engaged in building AI systems "that are better than humans at our primary senses."

Boko Haram attack on Nigerian village leaves nearly 100 people dead


According to eye witnesses nearly 100 people have been killed in an attack on mosques and houses in a village in north-eastern Nigerian by suspected Boko Haram militants, news feeds reported today (2 July 2015).

Sleepwalking Into Another Middle East War To Make Obama Look Good
Watching the news feeeds, we see The United States has blocked attempts by its alleged Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State jihad in Iraq.

War, Famine, Plague and all that
It is no secret that “news” media in the developed world is owned by a few corporate empires whose ultimate owners' are financial operators whose reach extends into manufacturing, extraction industries, big agriculture and food,

The Day the Earth Died - And Why The Green Lobby Did Not Raise A Whimper In Protest
By selling their votes in return for pledges of government spending in their states the current crop of US Senators have effectively transformed their nation from a representative democracy to a dictatorship in which the President can make law on a whim.

Artificial Intelligence: Will It Kill Human Society?
The media, the so called 'experts' and politicians hail every technological advance as if it will btransport us from reality to a utopian paradise. but does Artificial Intelligence and related internet and computer technology pose theats to human society that far outweigh any possible advantages? Whateve, Google plan to put machines in our place on top of the food chain.

City of Berkeley to require cellphone sellers to warn of possible radiation risks
One of the fist themes of this blog was that mobile phones (and wi-fi etc.) do pose a risk to health. Here's the latest admission that the sceptics voices were right, from The Guardian

Have US tactics only helped to make ISIS more powerful?/b>
We have questioned the US led efforts to defeat ISIS in the middle east many times, pointing out that every time the western alliance steps up opposition to the establishment of a news Islamic Caliphate, Islamic State seem to get stronger. 'Conspiracy Theorists', our critics yell. So let's look at opinion from around the world that concurs with ours.

Refugee host school in Germany bans revealing clothes
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

More Violence In Malmo As Community Centre Burned
27 'youths' arrested after shootout in Rosengård
More trouble in Sweden as the ruling elite's determination to had the country over to lawless gangsters and tribalists from barbaric third world cess pits sees violence and inter - tribal conflict continue to increase in the once peaceful suburbs of Swedish cities.

Refugeee Host School In Germany Bans Short Skirts As They Wind Up Muslim Boys
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

How Ironic That Humourless Warmageddonists Will Not See The Irony
I've lost count of how many times this blog has highlighted the extraordinary consistency with which politicians and scientists working in concert manage to achieve the exact opposite of what they are aiming for. One might be tempted to think that the first step in proposing a scientific solution to any problem is to first understand what harm the unintended consequences of your solution might cause.

Saying The Unsayable
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that the online activities of left wing hate mobs have rendered unsayable.

Mediterranean Boat People Crisis Threatens European Identity
As European leaders gathere for a summit meeting on the Mediterranean Immigrant crisis, Italy's Matteo Renzi has warned that Europe must find a solution to the ever increasing flow of migrants from third world locations or risk losing its identity.

Saying The Unsayable: Today, Melanie Phillips
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that left wing hate mobs have made unsayable.

Russia Outmanoeuvres the west again
While mainstream media (and even some of the more rabidly fascistic left wing bloggers) have been trying to demonize Russia as a way of drumming up public sympathy for Barack Obama's efforts to start a shooting war with Moscow, we Boggart Bloggers and ...

America and UK Lead the World in Climate Scepticism Several times now it has looked as if the climate chance scare was over as the enthusiasm of climate scitentists for changing real world data to fit in with the predictions of their mathematical models has been exposed. But as the scare was never about the environment, but was a scam to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries, the politicians are throwing their propaganda budgets behind it again.

Sham Marriages To Beat Immigration Laws Are Out Of Control
With main immigration news on being dominated by the Mediterranean boat people crisis and the masses at Calais hoping to stow away in a freight container, we forget that another way of getting somebody into the country is the sham marriage. Numbers involved may be small, but it is another indication of our governments' failure to address the immigration problem.

Mediterranean Immigrant Composite
The flow of undocumented migrants from Africa trying to cross the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya to Italian, Greek and Maltese territory seems unstoppable. Two factors in the problem however have been western (particlarly American meddling in the internal affairs of African states, and wester aid leading to a population explosion national infrastructures are unable to cope with. And of course European leaders haven't a clue how to deal with the problem.

De-Dollarization Du Jour: Russia's Largest Bank Issues Yuan-Denominated Guarantees
Leading the charge to multipolarity and de-dollarization are Russia, resugent despite economic sanctions and the rising superpower in waiting, China. The downgrading of the dollar is clearly demonstrated in the launch of the BRICS bank and the establishment of the AIIB.

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