# numbers are an artificial human construct !

## Recommended Posts

the universe quite happily went about its business for a long time before we arrived on the scene, without numbers to make it work.

i can prove without the use of numbers that the 'double slit' experiment is a miss-interpretation of the facts.

does this mean that quantum physics will disappear up its own black hole with a whisp of Bose–Einstein condensate. ?

Really I can prove it !

using the equipment comonaly found in pubs or bars, using the 'non, some, lots' counting system.

##### Share on other sites

!

Moderator Note

Without supportive evidence, non-mainstream concepts must start in the Speculations section, Please read the special rules governing that section.

##### Share on other sites

No numbers really mean anything. Sure there are some like moles of one element that can combine with another that are reflective of reality but even these can be expressed in other terms and we'll probably find out some day that all Oxygen molecules are not created the same and differ along numerous parameters. Our metaphysics has caused a divorce between man and nature and between man and reality. The ancients were fully aware that numbers were not reflective of reality so they had a built in fudge factor of 1/ 64th by which anything might vary. 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 or as we'd say 1.5625%. This fudge factor could then be factored out for important things like perfect alignment of the Great Pyramid.

Euclidean geometry simply defines the intersection of three lines at right angles to model reality just as numbers are an attempt to model a reality that doesn't actually exist. Just as there is no place to which eyclidean geometry can be apoplied there atre no objects or concepts to which numbers can be properly applied. Of course you can't add apples and oranges but you also can't add apples and apples in the real world for countless reasons. It's never legitimate to say one apple plus one apple makes 2 apples because apples differ and this sort of counting implies a knowledge of the future since perhaps one will be destroyed and become nothing but kitchen waste or the other will fall into the hands of Johnny Appleseed and become countless apples. If you have 64 apples in a bushel there is every chance that one is already more like garbage than it is an apple. This is the very nature of packing a bushel of apples; to be sure even apples that might not be good do not go to waste. If one throws away all apples that might not be among the best one might have no apples at all. Every apple is unique in all ways so they can be counted/ weighed/ or otherwise measured in infinite numbers of ways. How do you count the number of apples in applesauce? How do you count them after a major US manufacturer adds water to extend the number of jars he can sell to an unsuspecting public?

The metaphysics of modern science removes people from knowledge because they don't understand what that knowledge is or how it was gained. All knowledge is visceral and modern people have very little visceral knowledge outside their specialty or their experience in some limited arena. Our belief in the sanctity and independent existence of numbers is one of our greatest weaknesses largely because most people have great difficulty applying them appropriately to the real world anyway. We see the real world kaleidoscopically through lens of numbers and "science" and believe what we see is the reality.

##### Share on other sites

Numbers are for theoretical modelling of things in our reality.

whether numbers are behind our reality or visa versa is maybe the

more important question.

##### Share on other sites

Why we call the Sun, Sun ?

##### Share on other sites

!

Moderator Note

Without supportive evidence, non-mainstream concepts must start in the Speculations section, Please read the special rules governing that section.

No, look up Kurt Godel. I can also attempt to prove it right now.

Logic is logic, by the reflexive property of logic. If math=logic, and logic is always logic, then math is always logic, and all math is math.

What this essentially means is that I can use only one system of mathematics to describe all the logical statements of the universe because all mathematics is all mathematics which equal logic which is suppose to equal logic, which all logic is logic, which if you are educated above high-school algebra, you would know is wrong. Fractals aren't algebra, even though they follow logical patterns, polar coordinates are different than Cartesian coordinates and you can find the roots to complicated polynomials in polar coordinates but not in Cartesian coordinates, because what I was saying is true, and bot those systems are logical mathematical systems. So you can only conclude that mathematics is not itself logic.

Edited by SamBridge
##### Share on other sites

No, look up Kurt Godel. I can also attempt to prove it right now.

Logic is logic, by the reflexive property of logic. If math=logic, and logic is always logic, then math is always logic, and all math is math.

What this essentially means is that I can use only one system of mathematics to describe all the logical statements of the universe because all mathematics is all mathematics which equal logic which is suppose to equal logic, which all logic is logic, which if you are educated above high-school algebra, you would know is wrong. Fractals aren't algebra, even though they follow logical patterns, polar coordinates are different than Cartesian coordinates and you can find the roots to complicated polynomials in polar coordinates but not in Cartesian coordinates, because what I was saying is true, and bot those systems are logical mathematical systems. So you can only conclude that mathematics is not itself logic.

!

Moderator Note

The title isn't the only non-mainstream speculation made in the OP, and I'm not going to argue with you regarding my moderation in this thread. If you have objections, please PM another moderator and discuss it elsewhere.

##### Share on other sites

(...)

i can prove without the use of numbers that the 'double slit' experiment is a miss-interpretation of the facts.

(...)

The entire world is waiting.

##### Share on other sites

The double slit isn't a mis-interpretation of facts and has been scientifically tested over and over, but I still have no idea why I was marked down twice, I used logic to prove that math is not logic which was my point,many people use less like in the first post of the topic and I don't see them getting marked down. Do people really hate logic on this site or something? Or what is going on? Because it makes no logical sense.

Or like the above post. Even if the entire world was waiting, so what? What does that have to do with the science of the discussion at hand? That has nothing to do with confirming a theory or hypothesis, it's a meaningless post, this site doesn't make sense.

Edited by SamBridge
##### Share on other sites

The double slit isn't a mis-interpretation of facts and has been scientifically tested over and over, but I still have no idea why I was marked down twice, I used logic to prove that math is not logic which was my point,many people use less like in the first post of the topic and I don't see them getting marked down. Do people really hate logic on this site or something? Or what is going on? Because it makes no logical sense.

Or like the above post. Even if the entire world was waiting, so what? What does that have to do with the science of the discussion at hand? That has nothing to do with confirming a theory or hypothesis, it's a meaningless post, this site doesn't make sense.

!

Moderator Note

DON'T PANIC!

You seem to have a lot of emotion about this so I'm not sure anything I can say will help. It might have been better if you had quoted the part of the OP you were responding to instead of my modnote in that post you mention. That made it seem like you were contesting me and not the thread. As far as michel123456 urging the OP to return to back up his assertions, most participants agree that would be optimal, not nonsensical. No one likes a drive-by thread starter making claims they won't support.

And perhaps the two people who gave you negative rep disagreed with your math=logic premise. In any case, condemning the whole site based on this thread in our Speculations section isn't very... logical.

##### Share on other sites

It doesn't make sense that this site mixes opinion and and scientific facts as it pleases, that is not very scientific, and I don't see how it helps people, I myself haven't marked one post up or down since I've been here and I never will and my reputation is neutral and on more than one thread I said I was wrong or retracted some statement I made, so that's clearly not what I have a problem with, what helps people is answering questions and asserting evidence for things. This whole "I like how to talk therefore you're a good scientist" or "I don't like how you talk therefore you're a bad scientist" system is not a good model. If something's right, then it's right, if somethings wrong, then it's wrong, it should be left at that.

I gave a logical proof of what I'm saying, which by the looks of it is rare on this site (for non-moderators). I understand that the reputation system is "meant" to be used for purposes of gauging trust in scientific judgement, but I think it is seldom used for that purpose.

Edited by SamBridge
##### Share on other sites

Doesn't Cladking, in post#3, make a valid point:

"It's never legitimate to say that one apple plus one apple makes two apples, because apples differ."

That's to say, every individual apple differs slightly - even if only at a microscopic level - from any other apple. So strictly speaking, there can't be two of them.

This thought links to A A Adrieu's #5: "Why do we call the Sun, Sun?" A good point - why don't we just call it "star".

It reminds me of a Science Fiction story. I can't remember the author. But some aliens had landed on Earth, and were discussing a course of action they needed to take after sunset. They didn't say: "We'll do this after the Sun has set". They said: "After the star has set". Their use of "star" instead of "Sun" has stuck in my memory!

I suppose from the aliens' point of view, our "Sun" could be regarded as just another star.

But is that really true. The Sun must differ from all other stars in the Universe. In the sense that there's no other star that exactly duplicates it. So we're justified in calling it: "The Sun" - a unique object.

There aren't any other objects in the Universe which correspond to it, in every exact detail. Therefore the number of "Suns" is just this: 1. Any attempt to count beyond 1, for example to imagine 2 Suns, or 3, or 1,000,000, is interesting, but only theory.

Which seems to bear out what Semjase suggests in #4 - numbers are only theoretical. They don't necessarily correspond to physical reality.

Edited by Dekan
##### Share on other sites

Doesn't Cladking, in post#3, make a valid point:

"It's never legitimate to say that one apple plus one apple makes two apples, because apples differ."

That's to say, every individual apple differs slightly - even if only at a microscopic level - from any other apple. So strictly speaking, there can't be two of them.

This thought links to A A Adrieu's #5: "Why do we call the Sun, Sun?" A good point - why don't we just call it "star".

It reminds me of a Science Fiction story. I can't remember the author. But some aliens had landed on Earth, and were discussing a course of action they needed to take after sunset. They didn't say: "We'll do this after the Sun has set". They said: "After the star has set". Their use of "star" instead of "Sun" has stuck in my memory!

I suppose from the aliens' point of view, our "Sun" could be regarded as just another star.

But is that really true. The Sun must differ from all other stars in the Universe. In the sense that there's no other star that exactly duplicates it. So we're justified in calling it: "The Sun" - a unique object.

There aren't any other objects in the Universe which correspond to it, in every exact detail. Therefore the number of "Suns" is just this: 1. Any attempt to count beyond 1, for example to imagine 2 Suns, or 3, or 1,000,000, is interesting, but only theory.

Which seems to bear out what Semjase suggests in #4 - numbers are only theoretical. They don't necessarily correspond to physical reality.

Although I do advocate that numbers are merely axioms (which when logically boiled down you discover they are), that point isn't valid because you'r not considering different units. If I say "1 apple + 1 apple", that doesn't actually make real sense, but if I say "10*10^23 atoms + 2.3*10^34 atoms", that expression yields results which model what is observed distinguish ably in reality.

Edited by SamBridge
##### Share on other sites

Although I do advocate that numbers are merely axioms (which when logically boiled down you discover they are), that point isn't valid because you'r not considering different units. If I say "1 apple + 1 apple", that doesn't actually make real sense, but if I say "10*10^23 atoms + 2.3*10^34 atoms", that expression yields results which model what is observed distinguish ably in reality.

But the the definition of what an atom is is what's leading to the assumption that each

atom is identical. Sure, it's probably pretty safe to say each hydrogen atom has a single

proton but it's much less safe to say that each proton is identical. Perhaps some are light

or some are on the verge of transforming into something else.

Numbers are ideally suited for logic and math considerations but we tend to apply them

to the real world haphazardly and incorrectly. A concoction of half a pound of fish and

half a pound of water and sodium tripolyphosphate at $4 a pound might sound like a good deal until you realize the fish costs$8 a pound and you have to eat chemicals. All fish

isn't the same and will be far more expensive yet if it's already spoiled or if its sitting on

a water soaked pad. Of course this could introduces the concept of the nature of money

which loses value as more is printed or all products are substandard in some way. Money

gains value as an individual has less to spend or has enough to get into a lower tax brac-

ket. There just isn't anything that has an absolute number where that number applies

equally to each part other than concepts.

This seems to me to make numbers a construct. ...A very valuable construct but not real.

##### Share on other sites

But the the definition of what an atom is is what's leading to the assumption that each

atom is identical. Sure, it's probably pretty safe to say each hydrogen atom has a single

proton but it's much less safe to say that each proton is identical. Perhaps some are light

or some are on the verge of transforming into something else.

Numbers are ideally suited for logic and math considerations but we tend to apply them

to the real world haphazardly and incorrectly. A concoction of half a pound of fish and

half a pound of water and sodium tripolyphosphate at $4 a pound might sound like a good deal until you realize the fish costs$8 a pound and you have to eat chemicals. All fish

isn't the same and will be far more expensive yet if it's already spoiled or if its sitting on

a water soaked pad. Of course this could introduces the concept of the nature of money

which loses value as more is printed or all products are substandard in some way. Money

gains value as an individual has less to spend or has enough to get into a lower tax brac-

ket. There just isn't anything that has an absolute number where that number applies

equally to each part other than concepts.

This seems to me to make numbers a construct. ...A very valuable construct but not real.

We know particles are identical through scientific testing, it's not an assumption. But it is true that the meaning of a number can change depending on the context you apply it to, as you have pointed out.

##### Share on other sites

We know particles are identical through scientific testing, it's not an assumption. But it is true that the meaning of a number can change depending on the context you apply it to, as you have pointed out.

By knowing how many or how much apples we have we can make an excellent prediction of how much applesauce it will yield. By the same token if we know how much of two reactants exist we closely estimate the product. But this doesn't mean each apple or each proton is identical. We don't even know all the constituent parts of a proton yet so it's impossible to say they are identical or that their constituent parts are each identical. So far as I'm aware there's pretty limited evidence on even the weights of protons and these can not be closely estimated by deflections in individual collisions so have to be inferred from atomic masses and the like.

I think of it this way; no two objects in nature are identical so it seems most unlikely that two objects known only as a theoretical construct are identical. Perhaps someday we'll be separating all sorts of elemental particals by type to achieve some new property or ability to combine with other elements in a new way.

Or maybe we're approaching another bridge out in science caused by our inability to understand its entire metaphysic which includes experimental results. Perhaps our modern reliance on thought experiments is symptomatic of any impending road block. Perhaps specialization will forestall this problem.

##### Share on other sites

Crows can count.

Thus numbers are not a human construct.

##### Share on other sites

Crows can count.

Thus numbers are not a human construct.

But would they exist if life did not exist?

##### Share on other sites

Crows can count.

Thus numbers are not a human construct.

Indeed!

However this fact doesn't preclude the possibility that numbers aren't a human and a crow construct.

##### Share on other sites

I suppose this depends on what we mean by "numbers." Clearly the symbols themselves are constructs, in the sense that we've taken particular shapes to associate with particular quantities. But as for the concept of quantity itself, I wouldn't call that a human construct.

As far as I know, as far as we know, objects within the universe exist regardless of whether life is around to observe them. And by virtue of the fact that objects can move, combine, break apart, etc., the quantity of some arbitrary "single" object within some sufficiently small region of space varies. Numbers describe variations in quantity, and therefore, since quantity exists and can vary, then numbers exist.

##### Share on other sites

I suppose this depends on what we mean by "numbers." Clearly the symbols themselves are constructs, in the sense that we've taken particular shapes to associate with particular quantities. But as for the concept of quantity itself, I wouldn't call that a human construct.

As far as I know, as far as we know, objects within the universe exist regardless of whether life is around to observe them. And by virtue of the fact that objects can move, combine, break apart, etc., the quantity of some arbitrary "single" object within some sufficiently small region of space varies. Numbers describe variations in quantity, and therefore, since quantity exists and can vary, then numbers exist.

One always and necessarily runs into the same considerations no matter what he counts.

There might be four apple seeds in an apple but perhaps only one is viable and can grow into a new tree. A section of sky can be defined and four stars counted in it but on another night there might be three or forty. A cell divides into two but these are not really identical and one might even be a mutation that is important to the survival of that species.

Obvioiusly counting is important to observation but the numbers really have more in common with construct than reality. This doesn't mean there is nothing that isn't more reality than construct. Swings of a pendulum are pretty similar, but more importantly, they are consecutive so each can be numbered ordinally. Frequency and things like heart rate are similar. If "two" individuals have different heart rates then you can certainly count them and divide by two to get an average. People should remember when they perform such counting and calculations exactly what it is to which the numbers refer. We should remember when adding apples and oranges that there's no such thing as an "apple-orange". It's easy to apply derived science too broadly and make improper extrapolations. We only really know what the experiment says and in the terms of how it's conducted.

It looks like the OP has deserted the thread. I'm curious what was in mind.

##### Share on other sites

the universe quite happily went about its business for a long time before we arrived on the scene, without numbers to make it work.

So far, so good. No one thinks that equations are prescriptive; they are descriptive and predictive.

i can prove without the use of numbers that the 'double slit' experiment is a miss-interpretation of the facts.

The whole world is waiting. Do it and collect your Nobel Prize.

No, look up Kurt Godel.

I happen to have a copy of "Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme I" handy. What would you like me to look up?

I can also attempt to prove it right now.

Logic is logic, by the reflexive property of logic. If math=logic, and logic is always logic, then math is always logic, and all math is math.

What this essentially means is that I can use only one system of mathematics to describe all the logical statements of the universe because all mathematics is all mathematics which equal logic which is suppose to equal logic, which all logic is logic, which if you are educated above high-school algebra, you would know is wrong. Fractals aren't algebra, even though they follow logical patterns, polar coordinates are different than Cartesian coordinates and you can find the roots to complicated polynomials in polar coordinates but not in Cartesian coordinates, because what I was saying is true, and bot those systems are logical mathematical systems. So you can only conclude that mathematics is not itself logic.

Mathematical systems and logical systems are both examples of formal systems, but maths=logics would be wrong. And not all math is equal. So, you've basically got a bunch of false premises and no "logic" to back it the argument. You came across a correct conclusion, but even a broken clock it right twice a day. Furthermore, your little rant had absolutely nothing to do with the modnote you quoted.

I used logic to prove that math is not logic

No, you didn't.

I suppose this depends on what we mean by "numbers." Clearly the symbols themselves are constructs, in the sense that we've taken particular shapes to associate with particular quantities. But as for the concept of quantity itself, I wouldn't call that a human construct.

Why not? Crows can order things which are cardinally equivelant to certain constructions of simple arithmetic, but that in no way means that they know what numbers are. Numbers are an abstract construction.

Comparing cardinality doesn't even require numbers; it merely requires matching.

##### Share on other sites

Why not? Crows can order things which are cardinally equivelant to certain constructions of simple arithmetic, but that in no way means that they know what numbers are. Numbers are an abstract construction.

Comparing cardinality doesn't even require numbers; it merely requires matching.

This is why I mentioned that we have to be careful with what we're asking here. My point is that, regardless of living observers, quantity varies, and as such, numbers exist, as numbers are equivalent to variations in quantity. Consider two rocks. If no life existed in the universe, then two rocks would still be two rocks, more than one rock, fewer than three rocks. The term we use to describe the number of rocks is a construct, but the fact remains that there are two rocks.

##### Share on other sites

Mathematical systems and logical systems are both examples of formal systems, but maths=logics would be wrong. And not all math is equal. So, you've basically got a bunch of false premises and no "logic" to back it the argument. You came across a correct conclusion, but even a broken clock it right twice a day. Furthermore, your little rant had absolutely nothing to do with the modnote you quoted.

It is some evidence to start with that math isn't what it was originally thought.

No, you didn't.

But I did prove it. The assumption before recent sociological changes was that math and logic were the same thing, however the statement I made proves they cannot be, and saying "not all mathematics systems are the same" is exactly the point that proves it. Since all logic = logic, if math also = logic, then I should be able to use math to describe all logic, which as you said yourself is not possible, you can't describe everything as just arithmetic or algebra, or sequences, Cartesian coordinates, or polar coordinates, or ect.

I happen to have a copy of "Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme I" handy. What would you like me to look up?

Well did you read it? There was some challenge that Kurt Godel made to and Russel's conclusion that all logic was reducible to algebra, which is what I'm referring to.

The whole world is waiting. Do it and collect your Nobel Prize.

You seem to be unnecessarily hostile, I did prove it in my own manner and it's been proven for years and years, not only that but as a philosophical standpoint, not everyone believed that was true in the first place. Math is not logic, if it is, prove it, and prove that all logicalal statements can be put into terms of math. (hint: it's a trick, you can't do it, there are statements which have cannot be reduced to math)

Math is its own set of axioms and mathematics itself did not exist before life began, this on it's own is something you will have to accept.

I suppose this depends on what we mean by "numbers." Clearly the symbols themselves are constructs, in the sense that we've taken particular shapes to associate with particular quantities. But as for the concept of quantity itself, I wouldn't call that a human construct.

As far as I know, as far as we know, objects within the universe exist regardless of whether life is around to observe them. And by virtue of the fact that objects can move, combine, break apart, etc., the quantity of some arbitrary "single" object within some sufficiently small region of space varies. Numbers describe variations in quantity, and therefore, since quantity exists and can vary, then numbers exist.

But isn't it an observer that decides to distinguish between those values of objects? The universe on it's own doesn't really care, and what is a number reducible to other than an axiom? What is the number "1"? And how can you explain it without using any synonym of one or mathematics? because if it truly and has any hope to really exist, since mathematics was invented by humans and the existence of the universe is not dependent on humans, it's existence should be able to be established by properties of the universe and not labels that humans give for a start. But so far it seems once you keep asking "but what is that? or "how did you come to that conclusion?" Regardless of whatever number you're using, you eventually just come to the point where you have to say "it just is" or "that's just what we decided to say" to explain what a number is or why that conclusion works, they are axioms. Why does 1 + 1 = 2? You can do all that number theory proof, but I can just ask "but why does that number theory proof work?" and you have to eventualyl say "well it only works because we assume certain things".

Also if math really was "real" or in some way it "is" reality, how come mathematical models show negative Kelvin temperatures, boxes with negative area, indefinitely accelerating past the speed of light, and all sorts of other phenomena that could never happen in reality?

Edited by SamBridge
##### Share on other sites

But isn't it an observer that decides to distinguish between those values of objects? The universe on it's own doesn't really care, and what is a number reducible to other than an axiom? What is the number "1"? And how can you explain it without using any synonym of one or mathematics? because if it truly and has any hope to really exist, since mathematics was invented by humans and the existence of the universe is not dependent on humans, it's existence should be able to be established by properties of the universe and not labels that humans give for a start. But so far it seems once you keep asing "but what is that? or "how did you come to that conclusion?" Regardless of whatever number you're using, you eventually just come to the point where you have to say "it just is" or "that's just what we decided to say" to explaine what a number is. Why does 1 + 1 = 2?

An observer can distinguish between those values, but an observer isn't required. Consider, for instance, gravitation. The force due to gravitation between two objects is, among other things, proportional to the objects' masses. More massive objects will attract each other more strongly than will less massive objects, other things being equal, whether anyone's around to measure that force or not.

Much of the rest of what you said boils down to the difference between something and how we describe that something. And yes, beyond a certain point, axioms come into play. If you're looking to ponder truth without resorting to any axioms at all, then I suppose you'd need to talk to a philosopher (for instance, the guy you've most recently been arguing about logic with in this thread ), which is something I'm not, about whether such a thing is worthwhile or even possible. You might this this article vaguely interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_Trilemma

As for why 1 + 1 = 2, there are formal proofs to be found.

Edit: You added to your post while I was typing, and rendered my last sentence redundant. Also, I'm not sure anyone's claiming that the entirety of mathematics is independent of human thought. My entire point rests with the notion that while the labels we assign to various quantities are constructs, the variations in quantity themselves are not. I take our number systems to be labels assigned to quantities that exist independent of labels, if that makes sense.

Edited by John

## Create an account

Register a new account