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Re: Your Kind Offer -- @ 500 Words: Math/sci In Forming Future

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Posted by M.W.Pearson on December 30, 2001 21:58:02 UTC

Hi, Paul
(& thanks for allowing other responses too)
(p.s. below about "branching")

Questions for you follow a little
context for the questions:

Set theory is huge ...

Math's finite set theory
vastly EXTENDS "logical set theory" as
seen in cliche':
Socrates = Man
All Men= Mortal (therefore)
Socrates = Mortal

This extension is a math problem & opportunity

Math and science can help resolve controversy between polarized positions so society can make better choices.
Since science and math do not rule alone but
contribute to decision-making, the public's quality of logic and math are important.

My use of "set theory" and "branching" are
applications of math for 7- to 10-year-olds, the neglect of which I believe lays a foundation for many of our world's worst public policy decisions, resulting in suffering and trends toward eco-despair in future.

By "branching" is meant "forks in the road," and can occur abstractly where poorly applied math and unapplied set theory results in material choices to create a bad (math-describable) road into the future.

* * * Example * * *

It may be self evident, but defendable, that a cause of some of our real world problems is...
* * * * that there ARE many influential persons for whom simple outward appearance (of many kinds) trumps all science.
(please don't conclude I am obsessed with cosmetic traits -- I am not.):
Unless we rigorously find correlation between hair color and scientific rigor, it matters not at all, except as a source of error-creation via myth-making and prejudice, that in their youths, Einstein and Fermi had very dark hair,
Galileo and Darwin were red-haired, and Lavoisier and Newton were blonde.
Gustav Stromberg's book The Soul of the Universe (endorsed by Albert Einstein) in considering the human world's petty antagonisms based on colors, suggested such responses are natural (descending from cellular irritability and but in beings with conscious brain capacity, that simplistic crietria for "self vs. other" is illogical and not scientifically supported, and not our best level of functioning...if we can get a truly universal agreement to stick about that.

1) Do you feel that such things as above
are mostly rhetorical or how mathematically approachable do you see it as being?
2) Would you endorse the idea of mathematicians mounting a campaign to make basic math ideas more widely understood by the public (as Garrett Hardin asked the biologists to do) through a special effort in clear popular writing?
3) When you said the term "set" is devoid of mathematical meaning, did you mean that
a) it is best practised that way ?
or b) it is really of very little practical value?

I would have asked better math questions but
these interested me more...just for the moment.
The equations can become great fun, though!

Wishing you safe holiday cheer,

Didn’t mean to imply you claimed there is no such thing as branching in mathematics…but was wondering if apparently two veteran scientists
(the other was Yanniru, I knew)
seemed not to be impressed at all with
two “sorting functions” I use.
Thank you again

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