TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

Is our math wrong? Is it our assumption of zero, or absolute nothingness?

There are know phenomena out there such as the gamma ray burst that total destroys(use loosely your ego wants to argue this syntax error not the mind) our current math and physics(e=mc2). But instead of saying well maybe we got a key part of our math wrong we make it so the phenomena matches our math. This is my personal take on what I think might be wrong. I think it has to do with our assumption of zero. Seeing how you can never have absolute nothingness as a base or starting point. Conceptually the idea of zero is great. I want an apple. But i am in a complete void of apples. I don't have a single one. Not even applesauce! I have ZERO apples. But I do not need to know that you have zero apples to know when you have 1 apple. On the other had I do need to know that you have 1 apple to understand that now you have 2 apple. I could be wrong. It just something that bothers me.

Also I am not a math person it has always been something I struggled with in school those pesky numbers. However in College I excelled at Logic, but that has been some time ago.

I am not say this is the answer I just say that I think there is something fundamentally wrong with our math

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 29 2012: Casey dude,

    Why open a question if you don't want to even consider the answers given?

    Every post that shows how idiotic your concept of math is is replied with either by saying that you don't want to have a syntactical debate or by
    "Do you see your self as 1 being or 10 trillion little self replicating beings? If you see yourself as one being. Please show me your zero point as well as where you become negative of yourself.

    If you see yourself as 10 trillion beings, where should we start counting?"

    You should definitely learn how to read and understand people better.

    I'm sorry man but your refusal to consider any other view point than your own has really pissed me off.
    • Sep 29 2012: Thank you for feeling the same way as I do. After numerous responses where the post are simply copy and pasted, I am starting to think that Casy is an internet troll.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: Richard Sir,

      I don't have a problem with "the other view points" which is also why I am not trying to debate them. I know that the only truth is perspective. But instead of trying to see my perspective you guys want to argue something that I am not arguing. I don't need to see other view point because I am not refuting them for a way to use zero in the practical view point. I also see the use for negative number in economy and statistics (but those are conceptual/context usage of zero and negative numbers) outside of the use of zero as the a starting point. Which I guess I don't see how you don't understand that since you even said that "zero can not be reached" (so why would we start there). If you are arguing one definition/context and I am arguing another definition how are we ever going to get anywhere. So once again prove my definition wrong not bring up other contextual usage of the definition of zero because I am not refuting those definitions.
      • Sep 29 2012: If your definition of zero is nothing then you aren't arguing against any system of math as you have been. You are clearly confused between the distinctions of zero as a abstract number of math and zero as it is used to refer to nothing. When you use zero to refer to nothing you no longer refer to the zero that math uses. Hence why people who read your question that asks if math is fundamentally wrong believe that you are using the zero to refer to a math number.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: My definition is zero=nothing and that it should be removed from the start of our current math system. 0,1,2,3,4 it should be 1,2,3,4.....8,9,10
      • Sep 29 2012: Like I've said numerous times.
        Having 0 in math is like having "nothing" in English.
        You're supposed to be good at logics. Think about it.

        You cannot have "nothing" in any real life situation because of insanely many reasons which you can all debate if you would wish. You can argue a whole lot about the meaning of "nothing" and 0 as well.

        I say that you cannot reach a true 0 in physics. But physics is not math. Which is why mathematical expressions used within physics usually either are infinite when they are 0 or they can never become 0.

        You should use the "language of math" to describe the world in a limited situation (aka for instance a situation where there are only apples to count). You just refuse to see this.

        I'm sick of having to re-explain myself in this thread. If you are too stupid to see that all your questions are already answered by the nice people who have replied and taken you serious... then well... I dunno what you should do... I can't fathom anyone being that alianated from society. Seek help maybe?
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: What does this have to do with using zero as the starting point in reference to math? 0,1,2,3,4,5 ect I don't see how this argues that zero should stay there as the first reference point.

          Also straw man arguments do nothing but show you are arguing ego and not mind.
      • Sep 30 2012: your whole concept of what 0 is is fubar man...

        Math just has 0 as a valid point because when you isolate everything else (aka real life situation is: you go into outer space and create a laboratorium there of which you can control EVERYTHING (note that according to both of such such a 'real place' should not exist but just assume that it does)).
        And you check in there to see how many apples there are. And you come back to earth and say: There were 0 apples within my space lab.
        Then you go back there but you take 1 apple with you... You'll have 0 + 1 apple.

        If you still want to argue that "there can not be 0 apples in my space station" or "that situation cannot occur" then you should really delete your ted account (at least I won't ever reply to you again). If you can however come up with any sane argument for why that 0 is somehow wrong... yuo might win a nobel prize or smth.

        Basically I'm saying that 0 + 1 = 1 and cannot be anything else than 1.... I know the concept sounds really strange to you.....

        Math is a very exact language. When you say 1 apple = 1 apple in math it means that you only have exactly 1 apple. Not an apple anywhere in the world.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: No I have never refuted this concept and I am fine with it. Ok so i will give it a shot with your current example.

          First I don't see why you have to add 0+1=1 if you have one of something wouldn't it just be one so 1 apple = 1 apple. I don't need to know that you started at zero to now understand that you have 1 apple. Now to know if you have 2 apples I must first need to know that you have one. So we could write that as 0+1+1= 2 or we could just go with 1+1=2. Also when you are using zero=nothing instead of zero=none when you write out the math problem it would read like this: nothing that is equal to an apple plus one that is equal to an apple equals one that is equal to an apple. Or it can be written like this: none that is equal to an apple plus one that is equal to an apple equals one that is equal to an apple.

          But truly we like to group things (arbitrary units) to make it easier on the brain, for there is no such thing as 2 apples that are the same. They are all individual representation of what is apple. The cave man realized, all is a individual representation. Their math looked like this and also did not have zero, 1=1,11=2,111=3 ect. There are 7 billion individual people on this earth, grouped and categorical as a whole. But really it's 7 billion 1's not 7,000,000,000. For them to be identical they would also have to take up the same space time.

          So if you want the big picture of what I am saying is that in the "physical world" There is no zero, no negative numbers and no 2(of identical things) and all that exist is a bunch of 1's. For we are all one
      • Sep 30 2012: which concept have you never refuted exactly?

        Also: "write out the math problem it would read like this: nothing that is equal to an apple plus one that is equal to an apple equals one that is equal to an apple." NO You say NOTHING OF(!!!) AN APPLE not Nothing equal to an apple. Equal looks like =.
        1Apple = 1*Apple just like 0Apples is 0*Apple.

        If you are so obsessed with your linguistic interpretation of math issues you are already too messed up because language is always been inconsistent while math is not. Therefor you cannot say things with the same detail in language as you can in math.

        You should really consider improving your understanding of things before blurting out crap.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: I thought you wanted a language argument. Oh and no worries I am starting to talk with partial physicist. Also you realize almost everyone of your comments back is a straw man.

          A straw man, known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

          And we can sit here and argue syntax all day if you would like for it always is a circle argument.
      • Sep 30 2012: I know what the meanings of words are... do you?

        You fail to give any reason other than your own ignorance for the points you are makeing and then tell everyone, who does give a valid argument why you are wrong, that they are stupid for not understanding you. By doing so you keep insulting the intelligence of person after person who reply to you.

        Ofcourse you can talk to anyone, including physicists, it is a free world although it would be a complete waste of their time untill you can actually formulate why you have any argument at all.

        You can say to anyone that they are straw man because you don't have any possition other than "I am right and 0 is wrong".
        You don't want to argue syntacs. You can't understand math. You refuse to answer any post I made by giving me arguments as to why there is any problem at all. You post random crap when I give linguistic arguments about "everything is energy" and "We are one" and more random shit.

        However, according to you, there is a problem with math!

        I know what the problem is.... You can't understand math and refuse to learn it.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: Richard if you could remove your ego from this conversation and use your mind then I think we could come to some conclusions. I have not insulted anyone. (I did say to you that I have a hard time taking you seriously(but never once insulted your personal intelligence like you have to me here sir). But don't worry my ego is not in this conversation my mind is which has no ego because only the self has ego. Which when you said that it insulted you I Apologized for I did not mean for the CONTEXT/SYNTAX of that comment to insult you out right.) When you said subtracting whole numbers is the same as negative numbers. And then you even gave a syntax or context description on how it could be written 50 different ways. (this is why I have specific definitions of what I am trying to argue). The problem I have with math has nothing to do with perceiving the physical world around us. Which I have said countless times.

          However you have yet to prove why zero should be at the start of our current math system. Instead it is you who wants to argue that you are right and I am wrong instead of arguing the context and definitions that I set up. If you would like to discuss other definition please open your own conversation up. Otherwise prove mine wrong/which once again if you could remove your ego. You would see you already agree with the context and definitions that I have set forth.

          You tell me that you know zero can never be reached, but then you wont tell me why it should be at the starting point to our current math system.
      • Oct 1 2012: it's simple casey,

        0 tells you that there is nothing.
        So when you start adding stuff you get exactly that what you put in as a valid describtion of what is there.
        So if you're on 0 and add 1 you'll end up with exactly one. Nothing more nothing less. No "energy" no "objects" or anything other than 1. And what that 1 represents can be added by a multiplication.

        Like I say math is extremely precise.
        Example:
        If I want to describe how an object behaves when I drop it somewhere.
        Option 1: I could describe wind velocity, air density, gravity, size of the object, shape of the object etc etc etc. Including every factor that influences the trajectory of an object

        Option 2: I could also say that if we start from 0 (in this case you could say that 0 describes a perfect vacuum or "nothing" at least "nothing that influences our describtion"). Then add a describtion of gravity to make the object fall. And you'll end up with Newton's law (F = m*g). If you then also want to add time in order to know how fast it is falling at a given time you can also do that.

        Now could you give any argument as to why that didn't answer your question?
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: So would it be better if we changed one of the definitions of zero from nothing to none?Because it would still get the point across that there is no object there with out also implying nothing.

          Also a vacuum is not nothing and I am going to use a fellow conversationalist for this definition.
          "Vacuum is NOT nothing in the sense that Casey is getting at (I think). due to cosmic background radiation, random neutrinos flying about, any fields that may be present (like the Earth's magnetic field for example)" via Alex French
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: Also check out this video if you get the chance,

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFLkou8NvJo
      • Oct 1 2012: What I don't understand is why you come back to make it a language argument. Now whatever I say will lead to a responce "I don't want to argue syntax".

        Like I said before not all definitions on a word can be true at the same time (aka my brother not being black argument).

        I've explained what the mathematical zero represents numerous times using different examples already so I won't re-iterate that. If you would label that with the word "none" rather than "nothing" it is fine with me although in my eyes it is a linguistic miss-representation of what 0 is.

        Whatever name you put to it the mathematical properties of zero must remain intact. For there is no problem at all with the mathematical properties of 0.

        Also I've already seen that vid... it's pretty funny but it's more showing a property of math than representing anything really usefull. This because it does not describe anything in the real world.
        Also you cannot come around in a circle useing that (at least not unless you use a function like cos in the equation).... dunno how she came up with that using regular numbers.
      • Oct 1 2012: Correction on my previous post it should be: "I don't want to argue syntax with you.".

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.