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This Is Too Tricky A Subject....

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Posted by Mark on September 11, 2001 01:58:14 UTC

Where does the role of science end?

Has the scientist completed his duty when the expriment is over and his observations are completely recorded on a piece of notebook paper?

Or...

Does the scientist now have a duty to organize that data and interpret the results?

When that is done....

Does the scientist now have to fit a mathematical model to the data and extend the equations to situations not dealt with in the experiment? In other words, does he seek a pattern and then analyticaly continue the pattern to predict the outcomes of related experiments?

Now that science has accomplished the power of prediction via the power of the mathematical function.......is it now fitting to give some divine reason for the success of these equations? Afterall, the function was tailor made to fit the data........is it fair to say that this equation has some real, platonic existence?

If so.....here is a thought experiment......

I give you a piece of paper and a pencil. I tell you that I would like for you to draw me a SMOOTH CONTINUOUSLY CURVED LINE, which resembles the shape of a horse-shoe. Once the task is completed, I request that you cover the upper portion of the curve with a piece of black tape......
I then proceed to take the pencil and paper to observe the drawing. I begin to mumble and scribble and mumble some more........ I grab a ruler and make a few measurements.
I return to you with a collection of symbols and few remarks; the symbols read "Y = (1/2)X^2 + 3X". You notice under the heading "Remarks", the word "parabolic curve". I explain to you that the symbol "X" stands for what I call "variable horizontal position" and that the "Y" stands for "variable latteral distance". I fit your curve to a system of cartesian coordinates and explain to you that the farther we go outward on the "x-axis" from zero, the higher up the corresponding point on the horse-shoe gets. I also tell you that I can tell you the exact heighth of the curve at any given point if I'm given the x-coordinate by using it as an input value and applying the function. In fact .... I can actualy use the function to continue your curve where the tape covers it up!! I draw my own curve according to the function and predict that when the tape is removed, my drawing should very accurately approximate yours .... THE RESULTS MATCH! I conclude that my theory was correct and that the power of mathematics is impressive indeed.

Now here's the ten million dollar question Harv, Alex, Luis....... Did you ever once intentionaly use that function to draw a parabola, or were you just trying your best to draw some "horse-shoe line" that didn't have any bumps or irregularities? How did the function come into existance? ...did I create it or was it engraved in the line you drew?

Did God ever intentionaly use mathematics to create a universe? Or is physics simply "the function of best fit" that we tailored to fit observational data?
Is the universe mathematical......or is it the mind that makes the observations that's mathematical?

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