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## 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

• #### Barry Palmer

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Oct 3 2012: Perhaps we have all been educated to believe that math is necessary to understand nature. Perhaps that is wrong. Math is necessary to advance technology.

If and when we do understand nature, perhaps math will be no part of that understanding. Zero will be irrelevant.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 3 2012: Thank you that is a perspective I did not notice before about advancing technology. And really the only thing that comes to minded is we should not create AI.....yet .....yet. We need to learn to treat other humans like equals firsts, before we will ever see them as equals. Once we can do this see our fellow living creatures as equals, then we should advanced AI but only then.

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Oct 2 2012: "Zero quantity" is not quite the same as "nothing". We can have 0 dollars in the pocket. We can visualize that - an empty pocket. We can visualize vacuum - an empty space. We can visualize a 0 on a scale as a point relative to other points. But we cannot visualize "nothing" as a starting point of the universe - no space, no time, no matter, no energy... nothing. We cannot experience it or have evidence of its existence - because "nothing" in this sense, is non-existence itself. It's not even a void. "What is nothing?" is a loaded question. It implies that "nothing is...". We cannot even say "nothing is..." or "nothing is not..." - that would be saying too much about nothing. We cannot explain what is wrong with nothing. We cannot say ANYTHING about nothing. My post on this topic is one paragraph too long.
• #### V Sudhakar

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Oct 2 2012: It cannot be visualized but it has to be conceptualized because "nothing" is the opposite of "something".

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Oct 2 2012: I agree. The problem is that this concept is apriori. It cannot be drawn from any experience. It cannot be drawn from logic. It cannot be defined in a way that makes sense. It's like one of those Zen koans that can only be understood by silent meditation, but cannot be taught or explained, because words or images always describe something, not nothing.
• #### natasha nikulina

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Oct 4 2012: You can 'understand' Zen koans if you have a proper context in your mind. Though 'understand' does not describe what you've got. Sufi poets have a word that can be translated into English as ' standing under ' , it brings holistic quality and more related to knowing , than knowing about . But you are right, it has something to do with Zero. It is nothing where something is dimly visible, but can't be fixed by understanding/language .
• #### natasha nikulina

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Oct 6 2012: Re : In the world of information...
Our world is information. The idea that information is prior to matter is millennia old, but only now we seem to be ready to download it into our mind , iow to figure it out :)
• #### natasha nikulina

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Oct 4 2012: That's it ! Zero is a concept.
We tend to separate Math from Philosophy, but they are not separate , nothing is.
"nothing" is the opposite of "something" and synonymous with 'everything'

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Oct 5 2012: Good point. In the world of information, an infinite sequence of logical zeroes has the same amount of information as an infinite sequence of logical ones - none. In this informational sense, "nothing" and "everything" are identical. They equally make no sense.

One bit of information is born when a logical zero switches to one (or vice versa). That's when we have "something" and that's when it starts making sense. The universe is born when all these bits start toggling.
• #### Ken brown

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Oct 2 2012: Nothing is blackness

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Oct 2 2012: Is "blackness" same as darkness? When I visualize blackness or darkness, I see a black canvas or a black background with nothing on it, absence of light. But it has spatial characteristics. I can also imagine it for some time. Space only makes sense when matter is present to visualize separation between objects. Time only makes sense when there is a material periodic process, be it only a wave function of an electron. When there is no matter, no space, and no time, it's beyond our understanding. I know, this explanation does not make sense. That's the point.
It is not blackness, darkness, or silence. It is not huge, not tiny, not black, not white, it has no properties whatsoever. It is nothing. It cannot even be reflected or accurately represented by anything. One can only meditate on it. That's two paragraphs too many about nothing :)
• #### Ken brown

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Oct 2 2012: Well from my stand point reading your two paragraphs,i just stated blackness,it has no comparison to anything within this physical universe,from the paragraphs,you gave it form,spatial characteristics,"canvas" is there a possible inference to something that exists within this universe? and yes you can imagine blackness behind your eye's for as long as you want,now go into it while still keeping it behind your eye's and look back,there is no distance,no up,no down,no colour variations,light did not exist before it,it's just blackness,it's the emotive backlash that usually stops the mind from accepting it by trying to compare it to something,like you said it's not huge,silent,tiny but blackness is the only thing closest to nothing we have,it is the blackness when you are losing consciousness,it has no measurement until you change it or add to it.

If this isn't good enough then "nothing' will ever be good enough and the next reply will only mean the word "measurement"

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Oct 2 2012: Ken, I guess, you just used another word for "nothing". We can create different words or symbols to mean the same ideas. I just did not agree to use "blackness" to mean "nothing" because "blackness" implies color which is a property of something. But, as you explained what you meant, I agree that, perhaps, the only way to understand or experience "nothing" is to stop all brain activity altogether which is to stop experiencing whatsoever. I refer to your phrase that "it is the blackness when you are losing consciousness".

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• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

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Oct 9 2012: Zero is what all this discussing adds up to.

(To others that might post here. There are already over 400 posts. Read them first so as not to restate comments that have all ready been stated.)
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Actual it most certainly adds up to 1 at least one conversation. However I am fine with people submitting post. I am always up for a good game of devils advocate. Whether for or against these questions. The problem is most need to leave ego at the login. Ego is whats created when you put self first instead trying to see what the other person is actually talking about or trying to understand it.

This guys a good example of what talking out of ego does vs using your mind:
http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/05/14203607-video-shows-scientist-in-congress-saying-evolution-is-from-pit-of-hell?lite
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

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Oct 9 2012: Yes, I'd read this (I know Alan and follow his blog). Broun is a medical doctor and sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology."
The same day this story broke there were two similar ones:
"Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative's assertion that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Yeah that is ridiculous that these people would come to some understanding on how that could be truth. That public policy needs to be influenced, for these things is amazing to me and makes me wonder how these people ever got elected in the first place.

Why is it so hard to see people/all living things as equals? I will never understand. Other then out of pure ego.

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: That could certainly be argued, I just don't get these people.
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

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Sep 30 2012: Re: " This is my personal take on what I think might be wrong. I think it has to do with our assumption of zero'"

Where is the logic to this argument? You have not defined what it is that you "think might be wrong," nor have you explained a concept of zero that would serve as an assumption.
Where did the concept of zero originate, what is its history? Let's start there.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=history-of-zero

"Initially, zero functioned as a mere placeholder—a way to tell 1 from 10 from 100, to give an example using Arabic numerals. "That's not a full zero," Seife says. "A full zero is a number on its own; it's the average of –1 and 1."

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 30 2012: 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

also you argued a Straw man
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

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Sep 30 2012: Numbers are symbols, they represent ideas and concepts in a way that allow mathematicians to resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures. It's clear that you are not thinking on a higher order of mathematics, say calculating the motion of a physical object. If you're simply adding apples, you are correct, you will never need zero or negatives numbers.

David Hilbert said of mathematics: 'We are not speaking here of arbitrariness in any sense. Mathematics is not like a game whose tasks are determined by arbitrarily stipulated rules. Rather, it is a conceptual system possessing internal necessity that can only be so and by no means otherwise."
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 1 2012: Please tell me more on how are math and units of measurements are not arbitrary. How should we measure distances? Miles, feet, nautical mile, yards, meters, Roman mile,Arab mile, Meile? These units are arbitrary! For they can mean anything you want and any distance you want. So how do we measure distance? Use the "lowest common denominator"? The Atom? Then you need to ask how do we measure the the distance between Atom(x) and Atom(y)? Wait I know when we find the Higgs Boson that will tell us why we have mass. So we can use the Higgs or "God partial" to measure the distance between Atom(x) and Atom(y). But wait, how does the higgs have mass and how can we measure the distance between 2 higgs? This is never ending, its a circle discovery. This should lead to infinity and then lead to energy and then thats all there is and all there ever will be is energy in its infinite form.
• #### David Updegraff

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Sep 24 2012: A number of years ago, I had to travel to Detroit for business. While I was there, I heard a very interesting show on CBC Radio (Canada) about zero. The parties on the show also mentioned a book titled "The Nothing that Is:A Natural History of Zero" by Robert and Ellen Kaplan. It is a very fascinating book that talks about how zero came to be and why it is used as it is today. You can find this book on Amazon or probably at your local public library. I encourage you to locate a copy and read about it. The book is not long, but chock full of interesting historical info and tidbits.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 24 2012: I definitely will thanks.
• #### David Pyle

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Oct 10 2012: Just a thought, the concept zero and the numeral 0 are both quite modern additions to western thought, being introduced via the arab world within the last 1000 years.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: Zero most certainly exists. And there are places all around us where nothing exists. If we freeze time so that not a single molecule in the universe is moving we'll find that none of them are in contact with any other. So then there must be blank spaces. If we were to say that zero doesn't exist then how could we quantify the number of things in those blank spaces? Yes, zero as a number raises logical problems, but that does not mean our math is wrong, it simply means it is incomplete. When Sir Isaac Newton was working on gravity he never really reached a point that made sense, his theory had things being pulled, which nature never does. Does that mean his theory was wrong? No, it means it wasn't done yet. Even today, we don't really know exactly how gravity works but again, that only means we're not done learning about it yet. Math is the same way. We developed math to describe natural phenomena that we already understood (adding 1 apple to 1 apple makes 2 apples). Then as we came to understand new things and wanted to quantify them we developed new types of math, a great example is calculus. We first have to understand a phenomena, then create ways to quantify it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: That empty space you talk about is not empty just can not be seen with the naked eye.

Technically all theory's are wrong and can never be proven right. So any theory is neither right or wrong.

There are no 2 of anything in the universe, there are groups of thing but each is an individual representation of what is apple(x).
• #### Sterling Spencer

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Oct 9 2012: "Technically all theory's are wrong and can never be proven right. So any theory is neither right or wrong."

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: That is "theory" it can only ever be proven wrong to some degree or another. So yeah theory's are never right or wrong. Only proven to be able to replicate the same process over and over again. Until proven wrong to some degree.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: I think you misunderstand the scale I'm talking about. The objects I mean to discuss are smaller than we can see even with aid. You said you excelled at logic so I'll deal only with that. There are varying degrees of sized things in our universe, so there must be a smallest thing. Right now we haven't seen the smallest thing but if there is no smallest thing there cannot be things of varying size (since once things are different sizes there are smallest things). So if everything is built up out of these smallest things and they are not connected (because if they were connected they would be the same thing) then there must be a space between them. If there were no space between these smallest things then motion wouldn't be possible except as a group. That is the blank space I'm talking about, the epically tiny distances between the smallest units of matter.
You're correct, no two things are identical, but similarities cause things to fit into similar groups. For example: objects that have the quality of existence are things. Any object that can be said to exist falls within this group. Because of this group (which I don't see how it could be denied that objects that exist are things) we can quantify the number of things in a space. Say I have a space in which there are ten things that have the same exact size but every other property is different (thus satisfying that no two things are identical) and in the space there is enough room for 15 things. So there is 5 things-worth of blank space. Our universe is like this. Our observations have shown that 1) matter cannot be created or destroyed and 2) our universe is constantly expanding. Since new matter is never created there is always the same number of things in the universe but the amount of space is getting larger. If one quantity remains static while another rises then after a point the latter will always be larger. So if we don't have more space than things now at some point we will.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Good day Kris,

"So if everything is built up out of these smallest things and they are not connected (because if they were connected they would be the same thing) then there must be a space between them." Would energy count as the connection? For we as organism "human" are not connected.

"If there were no space between these smallest things then motion wouldn't be possible except as a group." Is this not how the human body function as a group? E pluribus unum.

"That is the blank space I'm talking about, the epically tiny distances between the smallest units of matter." You that is matter has never touched any other matter ever. Our energy's touch other energy but we do not "touch" anything.

"Say I have a space in which there are ten things that have the same exact size but every other property is different (thus satisfying that no two things are identical) and in the space there is enough room for 15 things. So there is 5 things-worth of blank space. Our universe is like this. Our observations have shown that 1) matter cannot be created or destroyed and 2) our universe is constantly expanding." Have you heard of filling a glass with, rock, sand, water? Even an empty glass is not empty! Matter does not exist energy can not be created or destroyed. I would suggest that the universe is a torus or at least a double torus (which looks much like a figure 8. Also torus's can be found everywhere.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: cont. Therefore, if there are not blank spaces now there will be. In these spaces there are zero things and nothingness.
Now, your point on theory. From an epistemic standpoint it is flawed. Truth is an absolute. My opinion on the best and most concise definition of truth is "an accurate representation of reality". So what's true is true and what's not true is false. Theory's are statements of what the theorist believes to be true. So if the theory accurately represents reality then it is true, if it does not then it is false. A theory is incomplete when it partially reflects reality and partially does not. I'll give a few examples: If my theory predicts that Barack Obama is President of the United States it is true. If my theory predicts that George Washington is secretary of state it is false. If a theory predicts both of the former then it is true in some aspects and false in others and is incomplete. Further, all knowledge begins as a hypothesis, then becomes a theory, and once it is tested its truth is determined and it becomes knowledge. If we add in the stigma that all theory's are wrong and can't be proven right then we can't have knowledge. By that logic nothing this thread, including your initial argument, can be substantiated and then we all have to admit we're wrong. Hume would agree but I take other issues with his theory, which would be a bit lengthy to discuss. The point is, your "theory of theory" has logical flaws that can't be avoided. I hope this is a bit more clear than before. If any premises above seem to be flawed let me know and I'll write another novel for you.

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Mark,

Until I find a point at least in this conversation where we greatly disagree, and I mean greatly. You can always talk or post on my behalf (I am always interested in seeing your perspective), your written words are far superior to mine. :) Please just keep doing what you do.

An no worries I will always join in on the conversation :)
• #### Tify Ndanoboi

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Oct 8 2012: since you excelled at Logic, think of it like this Zero = Not.
• #### John Smith

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Oct 6 2012: How is this thread still going? Numerous people have pointed out there is nothing magical about zero, that it does not represent absolute nothingness, that it can be moved by a constant and that it is not the starting point of all math, in other words all the OP's questions and claims have been answered/debunked weeks ago.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 6 2012: Actually outside out side of context, nobody has proven anything! Zero or "no thing" still does not exist and neither does two of any identical thing. So if you have examples in nature. Please feel free to put forward your argument, otherwise my questions still stand.

Here might be a helpful video for you to understand that the world you call reality is just as imagined as the dreams you have at night.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/john_lloyd_an_animated_tour_of_the_invisible.html
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: Our maths aren't wrong, its reality itself that defies definition. For example, why is the result of a division by zero is undefined? The reason is the fact that any attempt at a definition leads to a contradiction.

To begin with, how do we define division? The ratio r of two numbers a and b:
r=a/b
is that number r that satisfies
a=r*b.

Well, if b=0, i.e., we are trying to divide by zero, we have to find a number r such that r*0=a. (1)
But r*0=0
for all numbers r, and so unless a=0 there is no solution of equation (1).

Now you could say that r=infinity satisfies (1). That's a common way of putting things, but what's infinity? It is not a number! Why not? Because if we treated it like a number we'd run into contradictions. Ask for example what we obtain when adding a number to infinity. The common perception is that infinity plus any number is still infinity. If that's so, then

infinity = infinity+1 = infinity + 2
which would imply that 1 equals 2 if infinity was a number. That in turn would imply that all integers are equal, for example, and our whole number system would collapse!

So, what now? How about 0/0?

I said above that we can't solve the equation (1) unless a=0. So, in that case, what does it mean to divide by zero? Again, we run into contradictions if we attempt to assign any number to 0/0. Let's call the result of 0/0, z, if it made sense. z would have to satisfy:
z*0=0. (2)

That's OK as far as it goes, any number z satisfies that equation. But it means that the result of 0/0 could be anything. We could argue that it's 1, or 2, and again we have a contradiction since 1 does not equal 2.
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: Continued, silly character limitation -

But perhaps there is a number z satisfying (2) that's somehow special and we just have not identified it? So here is a slightly more subtle approach. Division is a continuous process. Suppose b and c are both non-zero. Then, in a sense that can be made precise. the ratios a/b and a/c will be close if b and c are close. A similar statement applies to the numerator of a ratio (except that it may be zero.)

So now assume that 0/0 has some meaningful numerical value (whatever it may be - we don't know yet), and consider a situation where both a and b in the ratio a/b become smaller and smaller. As they do the ratio should become closer and closer to the unknown value of 0/0.

There are many ways in which we can choose a and b and let them become smaller. For example, suppose that a=b throughout the process. For example, we might pick

a=b = 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, ....
Since

a=b,
for all choices of a we get the ratio 1 every time! This suggests that 0/0 should equal 1. But we could just as well pick

b = 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, ....
and let a be twice as large as b. Then the ratio is always 2! So 0/0 should equal 2. But we just said it should equal 1! In fact, by letting a be r times as large as b we could get any ratio r we please!

So again we run into contradictions, and therefore we are compelled to

let 0/0 be undefined.

So, yeah, zero does not exist, unless if you studied calculus and learn about Rule of L'Hôpital. Which then gets pretty whacky and my hands are all tired from typing and steering this spaceship at the same time so I am ashamed to tell you to just Wikipedia it. Sorry.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 6 2012: Thank you Jon, that was awesome to read mathematically like that. However I would add that 0/0 could never equal 2. For there are no 2 identical things. Close very close but not identical.
• #### John Frum

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Oct 6 2012: L'Hôpital rule? Wait till you learn control systems or filter design, and you have to routinely multiply and divide by infinities and zeros to make machines and circuits work. Or wait until you take another path and come across ℵ0 and ℵ1.

Incidentally, how many digits are there in the decimal expansion of √2 ?
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: EXACTO MUNDO! Love the way how you think, keep it up! ;)
• #### Andrew Spence

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Oct 6 2012: On the same theme, it seems that the known universe emerged at one time from no thing into everthing, where is the difference? Here the finite and the infinite, and the nothing are like the snake eating it's own tail, one becomes the one, contains the other. Into the black hole of absolute gravity pours everything. This is the point where science and philosophy come together in don't know
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: Just because you DON'T understand maths, does not mean there is something wrong with it.

What you describe is just Real Numbers. Have you made friends with Imaginary Numbers yet? ;)

For example, how many is -3³ apples, compared to 1 apple? How many is ∞ apples compared to 1 apple?

Once you finally learn more about fundamental mathematics, and mastered the higher level concept of maths, you will become one with maths, because maths is the key that unlocks the door of electromagnetism, fluid dynamics, and quantum mechanics, to name a few.

Or in lay-human terms, the maths that you think is "fundamentally wrong" is what gives you the television to watch inane politicians spinning lies, wireless communication so you can post on Facebook what you watched on television with your smartphones, et cetera. ;)
• #### Andrew Spence

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Oct 6 2012: Zen has a bearing on this. In emptiness is everything. In everything is emptiness. When we look for something we find nothing but empty space, when we look for nothing we find everything. The presence of the universe depends upon the space in which it is manifest so the space is not nothing because it is full of everything. So zero is a nonsense into which everything fits.
We think of the vastness of the known universe but this is insignificant quite compared to the space that it is existing within, that's not nothing, it's everything.
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: YES! Finally someone gets it! ;)
• #### Ken brown

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Oct 6 2012: What! The great simulation?

Sorry John i couldn't resist a bit of good natured humor lol
• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: There is no spoon :D
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 6 2012: Yes zero and infinity belong in the same "category" for they are both a construct of infinity. Once again I don't think anyone is disputing the usefulness of our current math system. I
• #### Sebastian Tor

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Oct 4 2012: Humans have a habit of warping phenomena around the systems they have created to model the world around us. This true of a lot of the popular theories in contemporary physics. Dark matter etc.. these theories exist to fill the gaps around phenomena which we find difficult to explain.

Maths is, however, different. It depends on whether you believe the structure of the universe to be, fundamentally, mathematical, or whether you believe maths is just anothermodel we have created which (unlike physics) isn't designed to gesture out toward anything in particular. There is a great talk about this exact topic here: http://www.iai.tv/video/pythagoras-dream . It sets forth the basic arguments about mathematics and its nature from a variety of perspectives, you will definitely find it useful.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 6 2012: Thank you, great video
• #### Christophe Cop

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Oct 4 2012: Mathematics is a set of logical systems.

Most of the systems start with a few axioms, and all the rest is derived from it.

When you apply a kind mathematics to reality, it often works great. Sometimes the chosen set of (mathematical) rules does not apply or cannot answer the question pertaining reality you are asking.

Math as such is not "right" or "wrong". But you can try and find inconsistencies with certain forms of math and reality.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 4 2012: I never said that math in "reality" is wrong:

This is more along the lines of reasoning I am trying to use quote is via Mark Meijer said "All reasoning is circular in the end.

Anyhoo... The point is all numbers and measurements are abstracts, zero included, and abstracts don't actually map onto reality, only onto eachother. It's all self-referential. Representation is itself an abstract notion, there is no such thing in reality.

Which is why all reasoning is circular, it is self-referential :).

But whatever. Your argument is basically "zero is useful". I don't think anyone is disputing that. But what is useful and what is true are two entirely different considerations."

Which is why the only "person we can not see is ourselves". you can see parts of our self but not all of it .
• #### Stefan H. Farr

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Oct 3 2012: There is nothing wrong with our math perhaps except for the fact that it is not complete, as in there are things we know exist but cannot yet explain with mathematical models and proofs and there are most probably things that we don't even know exist.

However, the mathematics that we do understand falls beautifully in place like a glove. So much so that there are scientist that believe the only reality is the mathematical reality or that the only way of communicating with alien civilizations (creatures that we have nothing in common with) would be the language of mathematics: they would understand what zero means, and then one, and from that we can agree on the plus sign and equality and inequality and so on.

Math is beautiful, we should put more emphasis on teaching it and the way it is being taught.
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

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Oct 1 2012: Can you provide an example of where it, zero, is "the starting point of our math system?" I do not see that it is.
Obviously, one example is the use of an XY axis in a graph. The point where X & Y ( and even Z in a three dimensional representation) intersect is "0." But this is not to say that Zero is "the starting point of our math system." That is a complete misunderstand.

zero |ˈzi(ə)rō; ˈzēˌrō|
cardinal number ( pl. -ros)
no quantity or number; naught; the figure 0 : figures from zero to nine | you've left off a zero—it should be five hundred million.
• a point on a scale or instrument from which a positive or negative quantity is reckoned : the gauge dropped to zero | [as adj. ] a zero rate of interest.
• the temperature corresponding to 0° on the Celsius scale (32° Fahrenheit), marking the freezing point of water : the temperature was below zero.
• the temperature corresponding to 0° on the Fahrenheit scale (approximately minus 18° Celsius), considered a very cold temperature, esp. for outdoor activities : thirty below zero! See also subzero ."
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 1 2012: 0,1,2,3,4 also I don't think negative numbers should exist when look at the natural world or "the collective reality". Right the funny thing is you show very good examples of syntax errors that commonly occur do to language.

How can zero as defined by nothing be 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 18 degrees Celsius? Those might represent the same temperature but certainly don't mean nothing.

ze·ro   [zeer-oh] Show IPA noun, plural ze·ros, ze·roes, verb, ze·roed, ze·ro·ing, adjective
noun
1.the figure or symbol 0, which in the Arabic notation for numbers stands for the absence of quantity; cipher.
2.the origin of any kind of measurement; line or point from which all divisions of a scale, as a thermometer, are measured in either a positive or a negative direction.
3.a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values.
4.naught; nothing.
5.the lowest point or degree.

I only have a problem with the #4 definition.

P.S. try to hit the reply button so that way we can have a conversation thread instead of just posting on the general conversation.
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Note: One cannot reply to a reply of a reply. No button to hit, hence I added a new comment.

Progress! We have established agreement on the following:

1.the figure or symbol 0, which in the Arabic notation for numbers stands for the absence of quantity; cipher.
2.the origin of any kind of measurement; line or point from which all divisions of a scale, as a thermometer, are measured in either a positive or a negative direction.
3.a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values.

4.the lowest point or degree.

I'll stop here and be happy with a partial victory.
• #### Richard Krooman

• +1
Oct 1 2012: god I can't bear to watch this.....
Do you have any clue what a function is?
Like any clue at all? Do you know how math works?

If I would write 0 Fahrenheit in math would it not be Fahrenheit(0) or 0*Fahrenheit?
I've found the conversion function from celcius to fahrenheit on wikipedia btw.
[°F] = [°C] × 9⁄5 + 32
If I would want to calculate how much 0 Fahrenheit is in degrees celcius would I not simply need to solve the equation: 0 = [°C] × 9/5 + 32.
Which means that Unknown * 9/5 = 32.
Which could also be written as (32/9) * 5 = unknown.
Which could also be written as Unknown = 17.77777777777777777777777777777.......
Where 17.777.... represents degrees celcius?
• #### John Frum

• +1
Oct 1 2012: Theodore, I generally agree with most of what you're writing here. I suppose you'll understand why I don't want to participate in the discussion here. However, since you were asking about zero being the starting point of our math system, I thought I'd share an interesting aspect of math with you.
Some people look at all of mathematics as a derivation of logic. An old mathematician called Alonzo Church came up with a way of representing all natural numbers, and operations on them as an implementation of just logic.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_encoding
Here, zero is the first number that is defined. And all other numbers are defined as successors of some number.
If you look at the set-theoretic implementation of numbers, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set-theoretic_definition_of_natural_numbers, again, zero is the first number and all the other numbers are just sets of other numbers.
It gets weirder from there! Just with logic, they then came up with rules of arithmetic, and the story goes on and on.
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

• 0
Oct 1 2012: This is excellent. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

*****
• #### alex french

• +1
Sep 30 2012: Ok. In your question I couldn't find an actual question that was typed though I think I got the gist of what you're saying. Having read some of the comment and just becoming more confused as to what you're wanting people to talk about I would simply ask for a mroe clarified question for me to get my internet teeth into :)
• #### Richard Krooman

• +1
Sep 30 2012: I hope you can keep your patience longer than I did... but I first tried to bring arguments to the table and then tried to explain him... eventually my patience ran out :(

I wish you all the best of luck though and I hope you can keep being this polite :)
• #### alex french

• 0
Sep 30 2012: I read most of your conversation with OP but I think many of the problems you encountered stemmed from the initial lack of a common direction. A flaw which I've found many internet debates to have. Give a conversation some direction and it will get somewhere :)
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 30 2012: ye well apparently I'm a straw man consisting of 10 million little straws searching for my 0th straw while being a man searching for my zero point ;)
Ofcourse at the same time I'm all energy and one is all and all is one :s (insert more mumbo jumbo crap here)
• #### alex french

• 0
Sep 30 2012: I don't want to take sides in your previous discourse with OP so as to actually have mine start off on the right foot. Nothing personal :) thanks though
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: I am saying that if in nature "our collective experience" of what reality is suppose to be. Zero as defined as nothing should not be the starting point of our current math system. For nothing can not be something and as soon as you point to nothing it becomes something simply by use viewing it.
• #### alex french

• +1
Oct 1 2012: Hmmm. I'm going to assume that by " the starting point of our current Math system" you mean the starting point of our current COUNTING system (ie 0,1...). Would that be a fair assumption? From what I can tell our current Math system doesn't have a "starting point" per-se and is more of a collection of proofs, stacked on top of one another which allow us to manipulate and model concepts and ideas and further understand things about the nature of the world around us.

I would say that you can, indeed, have "none" of something (I have no apples) also I would say that you can have "nothing" in-terms of abstract concepts such as ownership. I would NOT say that you can say that there are NONE of something in existence if it is possible for that thing to exist but no examples have yet been found (ie, ET life). I would say that you can have a region of space which contains "nothing" but only in a few extreme examples like the one I will describe here:

This situation assumes that Inflationary theory is correct and that "if a tree falls and no-one hears it" it does indeed make a sound (< ie, things occurring outside the observation of an observer do indeed occur)
Lets say that an infinite time has passed from t=0 in the universe and all of matter is separated from all other matter by the impassable barrier of extreme distance. Also, as a result of the universe now being infinitely large, the CBR is now so spread out that it is negligible. With no masses/fields/particles/energy around I think some areas of space could then be presumed to contain "nothing".
That is a HIGHLY guess based example about which I do not know all the details. I'm simply offering a possibility off the top of my head. As an aside, I don't think this example of "nothingness" is particularly useful or holds an valuable insights at all.
I realise I got a bit off topic relative to your thoughts on "Zero as defined as nothing" in our math(/counting?) system but i got a bit carried away :)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Yes math/counting system. What are you referring to as CBR?(common based reality?) I googled it and came up with Comic Book Resource. I am fine with labeling something as none of something because that also doesn't imply nothing. So with your example you are suggesting that say "the edge of the universe" is less dense of "energy". So if you went out far enough you could postulate that no energy could be found. As of now the only thing that is coming to mind is if we where in this "no" energy area would we still exist. And if we were able to make a suit or space ship that occupied this Nothingness or witness it. I would then suggest it would be because of our limited tools or equipment that would make this nothingness be perceived as nothing.

I would suggest that the "center of our universe" is most likely a black hole, simply because that is what the center of every galaxy is, this is not my idea someone else has already postulated this suggestion.

Also I believe I know why we have matter/mass
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 1 2012: cbr is cosmic background radiation, a very small but measurable microwave static that permeates all of space. It is essentially the residual "glow" of the big bang. There is no such thing as the "edge" of the universe. I am talking about VERY far in the future (ie, after the universe has been expanding for much MUCH longer than it has currently been around. I just watched this video and apparently, if Dark matter is factualy accurate then I am wrong and there is no such thing as "nothingness" by your deffinition. As a tip i would suggest keeping your definiton of "nothing" to only talk about cenceptual nothing (ie I can own "nothing" or "nothing" in the real world fits your definition of "nothing". The "nothing" in these sentences can be thought of by segmenting the word into "no thing")
http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_distant_time_and_the_hint_of_a_multiverse.html
I am definitely NOT saying that " if you went out far enough you could postulate that no energy could be found". We will definitely NOT exist at this point in the universes life. We will be LONG gone!

"I would then suggest it would be because of our limited tools or equipment that would make this nothingness be perceived as nothing." This sounds to me like you just want to believe that there would be something as opposed to trusting your data.

As far as I am aware there is NOT a black hole at the centre of our universe as our universe has no centre. Yes it expanded from a point but you're thinking of expanded in the wrong way.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_expansion_of_space
NOT exploding, big difference.

If you know why we have mass then you are more up to date than any physicist presently alive because the jury is currently out on that one. Our best guess so far is Higgs but that is yet to be substantiated :)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Good day Alex,

Thank you for the clarification on the difference between nothing, and no thing your are right no thing is a better verbal idea for the concept of no thing can exist so something has to exist. Simply because there is energy.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/bonnie_bassler_on_how_bacteria_communicate.html

Now here's what I think is going on with the big bang. I would suggest that the big bang did happen and is continuing to happen about 100 per year. Currently we understand them as Gamma Ray Burst but really we have no clue what going on. They completely destroy(use loosely) our current physics (e=mc2) and so scientist have made them fit our current
physics. To me they are what create the galaxies much on the same thought as the big bang but instead of just one big bang creating the whole universe . Each galaxy is have there own big bang in the form of these gamma ray burst. The truly funny thing is science has already discover that they are coming from billions of light years away from galaxies with rapid star formation. But are to stuck on the idea of destruction, instead of creation.

Now please ask your self these questions and you can say it out loud if you have to:

"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?"

And I am hoping you said: "one"
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Now we haven't discussed this, but several times I am brought up the idea that negative numbers exist also since there is no zero, or no thing. There has to be 1. However I have also discussed how there has to be no 2 of anything either. For they would also have to be identical and also take up the same space time. Which is why we'll always get close to zero but never reach it. Because once nothing is observed it will always become something. All we are doing is trying to shine a light on something and see if we can see something that doesn't bounce back.

I believe matter exist because we are pattern seekers. Trying to perceive something that might be there or not. I imagine this is how the eye was developed. First the cells were attracted to the light(sun) then they had to imagine or invoke the lights energy wave. I would suggest that the evolving eye(this can be seen as the pituitary gland) they saw all wave lengths of light but was seen(use loosely) as static or white noise. Then from there we (us bacteria and other single celled orgasms) attempted and tried to make patterns out of this static. As these patterns emerged they became our conceptual understanding of reality. As a consciousness we agreed to use these patterns real or otherwise as our collective understanding of the physical world. Just trying to make sense of it all on a fundamental level.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: 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
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: And this is most likely what the universe looks like as well as why the universe has no edge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torus

Also disappearing atoms are just eclipsing their sun
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 2 2012: In response to your first page/slide/what ever you want to call it...

Interesting video. I have previously been aware of the idea that we (bodily) are not a single entity (using DNA as the determinant for identity) but the new research was good to see, thank you. You should read up on the formation of galaxies. The big bang was formed by the Big Bang which can be thought of as a huge scale expansion of space time, not an explosion, not an out pouring of matter and requires no focal point. The conditions of the early universe are not within the cognitive grasp of the human brain, sure, we can use Math to know exactly what the conditions were like but when we try and visualise or conceptualise the situation we are totally incapable. the big bang contained ALL THE MATTER/ENERGY that is now present in the universe. There are roughly 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe (100,000,000,000) which means that the amount of mass in each Galaxy is roughly
[ 1 / (10^11) +all the stuff which is not in a galaxy ] the mass of the universe. From this we can assume that their formation was very different. Galaxies are theorised to have formed from small fluctuations in the early universe. No explosion required but it does require a focal point.

Gamma Ray Bursts are generated in the death of high mass stars as the collapse to form either a neutron star, quark star or black hole. Nothing like the big bang: focal point required, much more like a directed explosion, only in a select range of EM spectrum, does not appear to generate massive expansion of space time etc...

If by "self" you mean me to take "me", my body. I would say that I am many thousands of creatures. I could also describe my body as one entity (in much the same way that the Earth can be described as one entity).
If by "self" you mean "I", my mind/personality/the self. I would say that I am one single being.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: If they collapse to form a black hole would that not be what is at the center of every galaxy? Can you see how and explosion can generate massive expansion for "particulates"? Much like how a blast does it here on earth?

If you said that you are one single being do you mean that you are for lack of a better terms you are one "blob" of energy?
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 2 2012: With regard to "pointing to my zero point" I would say that you need to read up on the different sets of numbers and their uses. Pay particular attention to the section on the "status of zero" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_number

In response to your second slide...

I will ignore the part about "Because once nothing is observed it will always become something." because it should be readily apparent that one cannot "observe" nothing in the physical world using your definitions the the word "nothing". With regard to your thoughts about observing 2 of something I would say that you can observe 2 of something. (in this room there are two "people", ie in this room there are two objects that satisfy the definitions of the set "people". Those people are not identical but they are both "people"). However if I distinguish one of these people John then I have only one John in the room as the other person is not John. So in the set of "people" I have two objects. In the set of "John" I have one object.

On your points about why we have matter... You weren't very specific earlier. You said "...why we have matter/mass" not "...why life has evolved to perceive matter/mass". Sadly I think your thinking on this one is well off. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye . I think conceptual understanding of the world around us started with the beginnings of conciousness, not the eye.
I'm not sure I can follow your train of thought on this one. you start off assuming that the rudimentary eye would see static. I think it is more likely that they started off seeing how bright the area around them was with no shapes at all, only light levels. Then evolution comes in and we get the usual prey/predator arms race (in this case we would also get a huge evolutionary jump forwards for the obvious reasons of it being such a huge advantage to be able to see over not being able to see).
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: The idea of perceiving the world around us did start at consciousnesses but not at the understanding of self. Which is where most people think consciousness started. I do not know when where or how consciousness got started. It funny the link you sent me about the evolving eye also said that it was created by a creator. I can also tell you and show you why we need color to perceive this reality. And how all color and this reality is just what light is not directly bouncing back at us and hitting our eye.
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 2 2012: In response to your third slide...

I think I already directed you to the wiki article on natural numbers (counting numbers) so I will take the first paragraph as answered.

In your second you talk about cave man Math. Surely you realise the draw back of having a counting system in which there can be no group greater than one in size. (having to write out 7 billion 1's is a good example of this draw back. I think I touched on this point earlier. You can definitely say that there are ~7 billion people on the planet and that each are not identical but that each satisfy the definition of "people" and therefore the set of "people" has ~7 billion objects in it.

In your final paragraph you summarise what we are talking about. I would say this...

In the physical world there is no "0", but that it is a useful concept in our minds (ie, the empty set).
In the physical world a set of physical objects cannot contain a negative number of items (but, again, in things like ownership and charge(electrical) and spin(particle), negative values have much use and meaning).
In the physics world you can have 2 of something but not 2 of the same-thing.

I am afraid to say that in your view of the way counting works in the real world I can see no useful mathematical value and seems almost to be self-proving and therefore unproven and meaningless as a result. Do not take it personally.

In response to you final slide...

I would agree that that is a highly possible shape of space-time as viewed from the outside but I would say the universe actually looks like this (ie, when we look into the universe and model what we see from the inside)

"Also disappearing atoms are just eclipsing their sun" Please explain. I don't understand what you're trying to say or what you said it in answer to...
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: I do not take offense, for I know I do not have everything figured out and I have no problem with being wrong for that is a perception. And yes grouping was created as "pattern seekers" to make it easier on the brain. As well as our current numerical system. I am not sure how saying that our current math system is great at explaining the "conceived reality" of what we are "seeing" but that we need a universal math to understand why we have no mass or why we never touch anything. Is self-proving?

Ok so Imagine you are kid and you are shining a like into the dark, the only thing that is shining back at you is your own light from the flashlight in that darkness you are trying to make patterns out of the darkness, just so you can see what it is and not be scared of the "darkness". However since you shined that light you created movement of energy. which creates spin, and rotation. Eventually for the "minds eye" to know whats going on you need to be able to see behind that light, simply to pin point its location and direction. So when the atom disappears it is simply eclipsing its sun/son/rah trying to perceive the source from a different angle.
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 2 2012: God DAMN that's a lot of text :(
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: I am not sure how your video and my torus/double torus or idea differ..... Remember Alex we are all just trying to figure this sh!t out. That why the only truth is perspective. I am not saying that the only truth is "my" perspective. I am saying it is perspective.
• #### alex french

• 0
Oct 2 2012: I am going to respond to you slides in the order in which they appear without refferencing them each time for simplicity's sake...

Yes a black hole (or "super massive black hole") is what is at the centre of most galaxies.
No, an explosion of particles is not like an expansion of space time.

Well if we're getting REALLY technical. I'm more like many small beads of energy (particles) all strung together into one being, made of energy (me). But I suppose I could be though of as a big lump of energy, sure.

I don't know where conciousness started. I've read a book or two about people's theory's. Julian Jaynes is particularly interesting :) I don't think it's the kind of thing which we can ever know for sure but we shall see what the future yields :)
I can tell you for sure that link did NOT say that the eye was created by a creator.
I'm pretty sure that colour is not required to perceive reality but it is remarkably useful.
"...all color and this reality is just what light is not directly bouncing back at us and hitting our eye."
It's the other way around, our reality is built from the light which DOES bounce back into our eye.

Math already tells us why we never touch anything. Also we DO have mass.

"Eventually for the "minds eye" to know what's going on you need to be able to see behind that light, simply to pin point its location and direction". Kind of right but you also need to know that you can only see light which enters the eye. You cannot see a beam of light headed away from you so if you shone a torch out into the blackness you would only see it if I reflected off something in front of you, other wise the blackness would remain black.
"when the atom disappears it is simply eclipsing its sun trying to perceive the source from a different angle." I'm sorry but I literally have no idea what you're trying to get across to me here :(

I didn't mean to sound belligerent if that's how I came across. I just struggle to understand the way you type :(
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Thank you Alex no it fantastic, This was always my struggle in high school or college. My words were all better heard then trying to translate that via text. One of my first college teacher was actually appalled at how bad my written was compared to what I said in class. If you can do this with my text we are going to have some fantastic conversations. And yes you are right it is the other way around with the light. Ad infinitum
• #### Vincenzo Sergi

• +1
Sep 29 2012: hi Casey. I am not arguing, I'm just trying to make your life just a little more simpler. Having said that, It has been a pleasure to see the interest that your question has produced.
cheers.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Hello Thank you Vincenzo
• #### Thang Tran

• +1
Sep 29 2012: Ok this is fantastic, you are still ignoring my responses. The real reason why this discussion is stagnant is because you won't read about short and simple wikipedia links related to this discussion.

"Because I am arguing 0 has no place as the start of our current math system." Oh really? Prove it then. What math system are you referring to? Because whenever I link you the math system that refers to 0 as a reference point it goes ignored.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: how can nothing be a starting point? please provide links again if you want I will ok at them again.

• #### Thang Tran

• +1
Sep 29 2012: If you are "fine 0 being a number in math," then you are okay when I say you have 0 apples?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: yes because I know you are changing the syntax to mean none not nothing. 2-2=nothing or 2-2=none
• #### Thang Tran

• +1
Sep 29 2012: I also have a problem with complex numbers, but that doesn't I believe that math is wrong. LOL
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 1 2012: problems with complex numbers? You must be imagining things ;)
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Oct 2 2012: "I" don't think so =)
• #### Thang Tran

• +1
Sep 29 2012: Yes, I do everything we know is based on axioms. From Boolean logic to number systems to that has taught us in how to construct arguments is all based on axioms which are essentially "self evident assumptions."

You keep saying you have a problem 0 in our math system. I am linking you the person who set the standard for the "reference point" of that 0.

It is based on this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peano_axioms

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiomatic_system

The person who "invented" the natural number system which made 0 the first number and then other whole positive numbers proceeding to infinity. If you believe there is something wrong with math due to 0 used as a reference point this is where you should be investigating.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: I keep saying that I have a problem with zero as the starting point of reference in our math system.
• #### Ousmane Ba

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Hello Casey
I see my point may not have come across. Zero is not the starting point the creation of the context is.
Create a context and 0 appears and means not in my context and is automatically the reference point.

No context no zero and this applies to math engineering physics etc..
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Good day Ousmane,

I do not think I understand stand your point could you please explain forth. If I had to guess you might be saying something along the lines that the only truth is perceptive.
• #### Thang Tran

• +1
Sep 29 2012: Then you aren't talking about math. Physics and Metaphysics, but not math's 0. If you refer to 0 as nothing then you are certainly not inferring to anything in mathematics and therefore your statement that math is fundamentally wrong is misleading.

"Because then you are getting into a syntax argument, how do you put a concrete definition of "close to nothing"
This is also a syntax argument but rather then ignoring it like you ignorantly do, I'll actually give a reply. "Close" is a subjective term that allows interpretation. For an engineer, if you can build a building where rounding 0.000001 to 0 would allow you to do so then for that engineer 0.000001 is close for practical purposes to be 0.

We have mass because we are made of matter. Matter has "mass" (inertial the m in F=ma) due to the Higgs Field. If you wish to know more, please consult your local Theoretical Physicist.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Less than 5 minutes ago: I am arguing very specific thing here, that zero equals nothing and that it should not be the start of our numerical system. If you would like to argue those topics that would be awesome. I am not arguing that an engineer might if he chooses to round .0000000001 to zero. Why should our numerical number system start at zero=nothing not close to nothing. Which one it close to nothing: .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 or .0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
• #### Richard Krooman

• +1
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.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
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.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 29 2012: you're welcome...
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
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.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
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
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Also check out this video if you get the chance,

• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
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.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Correction on my previous post it should be: "I don't want to argue syntax with you.".
• #### Tom Stringer

• +1
Sep 29 2012: The question is better posed: Where does mathematics, including the number line, come from? The answer to question, given by cognitive science, is clear. All branches of mathematics depend on the particular metaphor one chooses for number. Pertinent to this discussion, the Numbers-are-Points-on-a-Line Metaphor gives rise to zero as a necessary entailment of this metaphor. There are other metaphors for number, each of which gives rise to a different arenas mathematics. Questions about the existence of such things as negative numbers and zero are only meaningful in the context of ones commitment to the ontology of the metaphor undergirding these entailments.
• #### Sondra Sneed

• +1
Sep 29 2012: Math is not what is wrong, what is wrong is our reverence for it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day Sondra,

This is coming from your ego and not your mind also is a straw man argument as well as syntax. How ever I ask you this as the definition of zero=nothing.

Also I have a problem with negative numbers :) So I will ask you these questions

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?
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Firstly, our reverence for it is due to the practical use it has both good and bad. Electricity, Computers, Buildings, Cars and most of science is only useful because it has math to enable predictions. I'll admit it has also enabled much suffering when science uses it for destructive purposes.

"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."

You assume yourself to be 1 being created by many different cells and many more different atoms. While there isn't a negative count, when you count you use natural numbers. Negative numbers operate similarly to subtraction. If I were to say slow down or decrease in velocity, you could argue that I had a negative acceleration.
• #### Sondra Sneed

• +1
Sep 29 2012: Thang, forgive me for being persnickity about your words, but my point about our reverence does not speak to Math's usefulness... but you make a good point in that Math is a language to allow us understanding and therefore use systems and natural phenomena to our benefit.

The issue I have with much of science is that that which cannot be understood by our Math must not exist, or is tossed out of consideration when understanding principles of existence that are not finite.

Casey's point, I believe, is that zero cannot exist in the natural world and therefore it is a fictional character, so to speak. I don't, however, believe this. I do believe there are levels of existence that are less than 1, less than zero. These levels are of the soul that does not know where it belongs. A soul that wanders in apparition is neither a 1 (body) nor a zero (God).

DEFINITION OF TERM GOD:
God is what God makes as God becomes. Zero, in this sphere of knowledge, is the point of origin of all that is and ever was. It is the beginning and the end - the alpha and omega. Here too is where less than zero gets really interesting.

If God is Zero, less than zero is before God was self-aware. It is at the point that God said, "What Am I?" That the inner world that is God became the exterior world that was God. As the God-being looked within, the nucleus split and the big bang occurred. This is the beginning of that which we know and experience as existence of all matter. This is the event horizon. All zeros that derive from this origin will return here after traveling through all space and time and back--reverberation of the original bang.

We are little, less-than-zeros until we ask ourselves, "what am I?" - the endeavor to answer this riddle forces us to look within and reveal what has made us what we are. This is what Jung called the undiscovered self; a reckoning, recognition of the being you are before birth and after death.
• #### Rand Noel

• +1
Sep 28 2012: Charles Seife's "Zero:The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" and Robert Kaplan's "The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero." They are at the same time very similar and very different. They each follow an almost identical line, presenting the evolution of zero chronologically, and they each make almost identical stops along the way. The difference is in how they treat the steps in zero's evolution which is conditioned by their differing metaphysical views. An illuminating example is how they each treat Aristotle's role in zero's history.
Charles Seife, from the beginning, reifies zero: the author accepts the misconception that zero is some sort of actually existing mystical force resting at the center of black holes. He doesn't step back to take a look at the concept as concept. Nor does he appear to keep in mind that mathematics is the science of measurement, or that time is not a force or dimension, but merely a measurement of motion. This distorts his perspective, from which he attempts to refute Aristotle's refutation of the existence of the void: for Seife, zero exists and is a force in and of itself. In Seife's hands, zero certainly is a dangerous idea!

Robert Kaplan, on the other hand, delves deeper. His work is informed by an obvious love for history and classic literature, and while this results in many obscure literary asides, one feels that this book takes part in the Great Conversation. As a result he steps back and takes a critical look at the true meaning and usefulness of the concept as a concept. Is zero a number? Is it noun, adjective, or verb? Does it actually exist outside of conceptual consciousness or is it exclusively a tool of the mind?

Both authors follow zero's role in the development of algebra and the calculus. As a math "infant", (From Amazon's review of both books. see more there)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 28 2012: I had not heard of those books before, I will have to look into them. Thanks
• #### Rand Noel

• 0
Sep 28 2012: yeas they are both available at Amazon, the Kaplan book on kindle too
• #### Bob Stiglitz

• +1
Sep 28 2012: Yep, I've been working on the theoretical underpinnings related to this idea that 'non existence' is an irrational concept. Zero mathematically is derived from our concept of 'empty space' but empty space is an existing STRUCTURE. That what we call 'the absence of value' is actually ALL POSSIBLE VALUES stored overlapping on one another in POTENTIAL FORM. Think of a spring in a box who's lid is closed thereby storing the 'potential energy' of the spring. The same applies to information, information is stored as POTENTIAL in the universe.

A good way to think about the universe is that our human point of view is incorrect, if you think of the universe as a single bit of information and all of its pieces APPEAR to our human mind (human centered point of view) as many 'seperate objects/pieces/bits'. The truth is the universe is a single entity which only APPEARS separate to our fallacious mind and reasoning.

But its a giant mindscrew to wrap our minds around the fact that the fragments and pieces of the universe (like atoms/electrons) are FRACTIONAL bits of a single entity, rather then 'separate objects' unto themselves.

It's much more scientifically parsimonious as well.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day Bob,

What if I can extrapolate from your idea of "Zero mathematically is derived from our concept of 'empty space' but empty space is an existing STRUCTURE. That what we call 'the absence of value' is actually ALL POSSIBLE VALUES stored overlapping on one another in POTENTIAL FORM." For why we have mass. As well as this " The truth is the universe is a single entity which only APPEARS separate to our fallacious mind and reasoning."
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Zero isn't mathematically derived from our concept of empty space. We may have gotten the idea of zero from empty space but it isn't proven through empirical means. Nothing in math is proven or derived from physical observations. That's physics, pure math is proven through proofs built upon other proofs or axioms and not derived from physical observations.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: ok then were did the concept of one come from if not derived from physical observation. What isn't proven?
• #### Bob Stiglitz

• +1
Sep 29 2012: "e idea of zero from empty space but it isn't proven through empirical means. "

You just contradicted yourself there. You're trying to argue your case using language, that's a bad idea. It's obvious that we came up with zero to deal with 'asbence' we naturally define absence by empty space. I'm sorry but you're not educated enough to make these calls I work in knowledge representation and these things are important regardless if the mathematical purists finds them offensive.

Perhaps you should learn that the enlightenment was wrong about how human reasoning works.

http://bit.ly/dYaWUc

• 0
Oct 4 2012: I have to agree with Bob Stiglitz and the video saying that 98% of reasoning is unconscious. I only disagree with the 98% figure, because "latest data shows that 43% statistics is meaningless" :)

There is a book by Julian James "Origin of Consciousness". There is a whole section in this book that shows with research data that:
- Consciousness Not a Copy of Experience
- Consciousness Not Necessary for Concepts
- Consciousness Not Necessary for Learning
- Consciousness Not Necessary for Thinking
- Consciousness Not Necessary for Reason

In this last subsection, there is a paragraph:
"Reasoning and logic are to each other as health is to medicine, or — better — as conduct is to morality. Reasoning refers to a gamut of natural thought processes in the everyday world. Logic is how we ought to think if objective truth is our goal — and the everyday world is very little concerned with objective truth. Logic is the science of the justification of conclusions we have reached by natural reasoning. My point here is that, for such natural reasoning to occur, consciousness is not necessary. The very reason we need logic at all is because most reasoning is not conscious at all."

Remarkable. We do not reach conclusions by logic. We use logic to justify conclusions at which we arrive subconsciously.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: If you want to know more about how math is proven and the axioms it rests on please read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naive_set_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiomatic_system
"Example: The Peano axiomatization of natural numbers
The mathematical system of natural numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ... is based on an axiomatic system that was first written down by the mathematician Peano in 1889. He chose the axioms (see Peano axioms), in the language of a single unary function symbol S (short for "successor"), for the set of natural numbers to be:
There is a natural number 0.
Every natural number a has a successor, denoted by Sa.
There is no natural number whose successor is 0.
Distinct natural numbers have distinct successors: if a ≠ b, then Sa ≠ Sb.
If a property is possessed by 0 and also by the successor of every natural number it is possessed by, then it is possessed by all natural numbers."

I am an engineering student, not a math major. Even stuff like this is hard for me to grasp.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day Thang,

Please point to zero, because as soon as you do it becomes something not nothing. We'll if you use cave man math then they realized that each thing although could be grouped but were individual representations of say apple. So no to apples are alike.
• #### natasha nikulina

• 0
Oct 4 2012: Bob Stiglitz !
Maybe '0' is a kind of 'event horizon'. Where everything is potential, nothing is actual hence not existing for a human mind. Via human consciousness potential becomes actual and it comes through the moment ' now' , it's '1' , where ' yes' and ' no' ,' + ' and ' - ' exist simultaneously , not divided and our mind can't make sense of it. We become conscious of a 'thing' when it becomes '2' and enters into the dual world as opposites ( the very idea of 'Coincidentia oppositorum' is difficult to grasp but it is the truest truth we could possibly get ) and multiply itself in space and time over all domains of human experience/knowledge. It becomes "FRACTIONAL bits of a single entity" and yet it is entangled and remains '1', it exists but belongs to ' 0 ' nonetheless.
What i am trying to say is that zero is an 'empty space' which is full but we can't make sense of it, we can't know it.
Something like this ...What do you think ?
Thanks !
• #### William Kuch

• +1
Sep 27 2012: There are such things as negative numbers, but there is no such thing as a negative apple. Math is just a model of reality. Negative numbers are said to exist in that system of reason.

I think that it is great that you are thinking about zero. Consider this. If you have zero apples in one hand, and zero oranges in the other hand, you will notice they they appear to be identical in every possible way except perhaps in name. So in this special case, we can indeed say that apples and oranges are in fact the same thing, but only in this isolated case where you have zero of each. In philosophy there is something called "identity". And having this thing called zero acts very much like a singularity where everything simply loses it's identity and becomes essentially the same thing.

Zero planets is the same thing as zero apples, same thing as zero skyscrapers, same thing as zero galaxies, etc etc. It all collapses. All of these "identities" essentially collapses into a single thing, which is trivial.

Triviality is extremely important, and not really very well understood or used in science and even math - that is my personal opinion. So I am glad that you raised the question.

You also mentioned whether it is possible to have "nothingness" which is an interesting question. You should be careful to specify whether you are referring to tangible nothingness, or a mathematical model of nothingness. These are very different and that should be made clear.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day William,

Yes that is why definitions need to be made and make sure that each person is arguing the same definition. However you mainly seem to be talking about syntax, which I'll will define simply as "context of language". An that is what you are pointing out here: "Zero planets is the same thing as zero apples, same thing as zero skyscrapers, same thing as zero galaxies, etc etc. It all collapses. All of these "identities" essentially collapses into a single thing, which is trivial." That's why syntax arguments will always argue in circles.

An I thought I was being specific about what "nothingness" I was saying by saying "point to it" because if you have a mathematical model of "nothingness" then you can simply point to it but what you are actually pointing to is a computer or a piece of paper and that's not nothing.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: What do you mean by mathematical model?

Are you talking about arithmetic and algebra as math models? Or a physics model?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: All of the above if you made any model of the concept of zero=nothing. You could then point to that model and it would be something, not nothing.
• #### O'Neil Poree

• +1
Sep 26 2012: This conversation is an excellent (random) example of a waste of the TED intellectual facilities, premised on it's being nonsensical, and then attended to by a large number of responders. See my challenge to the TED organization as of today, 9/26/12.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Please explain the nonsensical, just because you don't under stand it does not mean its magical.

Please advise on how zero=nothing should be the start of everything in math.
• #### Orlando Hawkins

• +1
Sep 27 2012: The fact that you have almost 200 responses shows that your topic is not a waste of time so I wouldn't worry about such statements too much...

Notice how all the topics about religion never receive such statements and I think its a topic that causes more conflict and balkinzation that anything else.

all I can say is if someone feel that some topics are a waste of time, then simply don't interact within that forum because your only wasting your time pointing it out...
• #### Michael Decker

• +1
Sep 28 2012: It's not necessarily a waste of time to point out something is a waste of time.

It may be an indication that the speaker is leaning toward this position, but is not sure. The comment is then meant to invite arguments to help him make a wise choice.

Also, reflecting on whether any given train of thought is a waste of time is an excellent way to ensure efficient use of your time. We are all limited on our time here on Earth, and we may strive to make the most of it! Without such introspection, we'd all be subject to doodling with crayons until old age - an epidemic of ADD, if you will.

It's true there are countless topics that various groups find of interest, and yet each one of us must at some point decide which of those topics are worth our time. So.. discussing the value of this conversation may not be such a waste of time :)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Orlando, I know that it is and ego argument, however I am always fine with someone playing the "devil's advocate" because that is the only way either one of us can grow.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Yes Michael, that is correct :)
• #### O'Neil Poree

• 0
Sep 27 2012: There is no explaining nonsense, and those who try are operatiing on pure ego with no intelligible support. I guess that implies that they are specializing in exactly nonsense, eh? My proposal for TED is tentatively classified under Applied Science. See if it is intelligible to you, could you? I think TED is a very rich resource to discuss public concerns. And make no mistake, Casey: I respect your humanity, and your lively questioning attitude towards reality; that quality is makes humanity the only hope for a livable future, so i want TED to enlist it; I just suggested a different thing to attempt than has been usual in the past.
• #### Elie-Issa El-Khoury

• +1
Sep 28 2012: O'Neil, you've unfairly marginalized this topic. The concept of true zero is as readily questioned as the concept of true infinity. The implications of true zero on the validity of a conventional mathematical model is debatable, and to provide constructive feedback, I would encourage you to challenge how the assumption of true zero affects a specific mathematical model's predictive value.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: O'Neil,
Thank you and I do see your point, but please lets do a little back and forth and see if we can come to an agreement. You can talk about the applied applications of zero as a starting point. And leave the "nonsense" to me.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Also I could not find your challenge
• #### Joshua Bell

• +1
Sep 23 2012: Zero exists in math, in statistics, and in our personal comparisons, but my problem has always been 0 in nature. I guess a more accurate description would be trying to find "nothing." As has been stated, 0 Kelvin would cause what would basically be a violation of everything known about science, and probably cause Heisenberg's zombie to go on a rampage. So zero can describe things in math, a midpoint between some assigned negative and positive coordinates. But what actually is zero in nature? Sure you can use zero with an identity of forces, the block doesn't move if I push left and you push right with the exact same force. But that's because we assign the identity 1 to the desk, and movement as 0 in our macroscopic sense. It's not actually a nature 0 though, the desk is made of atoms in constant vibration. Another thing that's always got me is space. One of the unsolved problems in physics is the theory of gravity, ironically the most well formulated and least understood of the forces. Gravity by basically saying every particle interacts with every particle in the universe, of course decreasing exponentially with distance, but still interacting. How though? and through what? and what exactly is force? I'm only a senior in college going for a physics major, but the concept of relating math 0 to nature 0 has been a fairly constant thought throughout. Like how the atom is described, a dense nucleus with a rotating electron, but the distance between the nucleus and electron is vast. Well what's in the space between? obviously they're interacting, but through what?
So what confuses me the most is that there's never nothing, the universe is full of particles and forces and fields which move, oscillate, radiate, vibrate, but never completely STOP. So what exactly is 0?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Good day Joshua,

Thank you that is one of the best arguments I have seen to understand zero, because nothing is zero in nature.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 23 2012: math isn't nature.
Like I explain below math is a language, sometimes, used to describe nature.

It is the entities you use in math (apples / energy / whatever) that give a link to nature in an equation. The math behind it is not falsifiable even though the link to nature can be shown to be incorrect.

This means that our describtion of the world (using math) was wrong. Not math itself.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Richard,

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?

Also I think the fibonacci sequence is a decent example of finding math in nature as well as infinity. So there I can point to, nature, math, and infinity. As of now I don't have an example of this for zero.

And yes math is a language.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I see myself both as 1 being and as a bunch of cells.
And everywhere where I am not at there is 0 of me.
So me stops around 1/infinity centimeter away from my skin/hair etc. (and even within me there are parts where I am not).

Why are you so obsessed with each example you think up rather than understanding that the concept of math is fully consistent because you cannot do inconsistent things within math.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: zero of you would imply, nothing of you so no existence. Which could be perceived as death however we know that that is simply an energy change.

My obsession is that you cannot have something that is nothing. That is my problem with the understanding of zero. Not the conceptual 0 you or 0 apples. 0 apples does not mean nothing it is just a classifier saying you have no apples not saying there is nothing. I understand math and I understand how zero works with in math. And really the only zero in math that I have a problem with is that first one. 0,1,2,3,....9,10 I don't have a problem with this last one its just a place holder.

If you see your self as a bunch of cells where are you going to start counting?
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 24 2012: From every post of you I see I get the intense feeling that you believe we cannot label something which we can't understand.

How can you be this ignorant to the concept of language?
You even reference a dictionary and say that different meanings of the same word for 0 contradict eachother and that this is something relevant?
That itself is like saying that "brother" is contradictory because your brother is not a negro. (aka the meanings of him being a family member does not correlate to the meaning that he is a black friend of another black person.)

0 is a mathematical number which represents the lack of something (aka nothing).

You can't say that 0 of a person would be percieved as death.

I know you're searching for some messed up philosophical answer but you're not asking the right question. You're asking a mathematical question and then projecting philosophy on there.

Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing. THAT IS WHY WE CALL IT 0! (Or we call it nothing. Or we call it infinitely small (aka 1/infinity). Or we call it "not there").

And if I see myself as a bunch of cells I'll start counting by setting my counter to 0 and adding 1 to that counter. Then I'll continue counting by doing counter = counter + 1 untill I've counted all cells.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Richard,

"Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing." This is all I am trying to say right here not something philosophical or syntax related. Read over that sentence, those are your words. I believe somewhere else you said something on the lines of "let me also add that pretty much all equations/functions that are describing real world events approach 0 but never quite become so." So you want to switch from definition to definition. I only want to talk about the one specific definition and if we both agree to that one, it would make the other definitions false.((practical in everyday language conversation but false none the less) As far as science and mathematics should be concern.) If you agree that all real word equations get close to zero but never quite so, why would you start counting up from zero? It is not needed for you have a zero cell, you would simple start at the first one and go up from there.

Not there and nothing are not they same thing. And yes I think we can have words that describe something we don't understand ie infinity I think zero should be with those words. You wouldn't change from definition to definition with infinity(ie.car). Also its definitions don't contradict each other.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/infinite?s=t
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Also I am not trying to be right or wrong here, I just want you to see reality in a different way. And if I can get you to do that, that's great. If not I am ok with that as well. I think you understand what I am trying to convey.

Thank you
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 25 2012: Hi Casey,

What I can't understand about your posts is why you are trying to argue that the meaning of 0 is wrong.
You could say that 0 does not exist in the real world. And I'll agree to that (given the knowledge that I have atm).
However we need 0 to have the properties 0 has because otherwise we cannot use 0 in, the language, math.
They are 2 very seperate issues.
In my eyes what you are saying is "We have to alter the meaning of 0 because 0 does not exist in the real world!". For which my question to you then would be "Do we need to remove the word nothing from our dictionaries because nothing does not exist?".

That's what I mean with you are asking the wrong question. Your question posted is mathematical and syntacs related while your rephrasing of the question is much more philosophical.

Also you make a huge mistake by saying: "the one specific definition and if we both agree to that one, it would make the other definitions false". First of all I didn't say you're right on this and 2nd of all words get most of their meaning from context. Given a certain context 0 means nil and given another context it could mean the number 0. Just like the word "brother" can be used by a black man to reference a black friend OR it can be used to reference to a family member.

If you would ask "Does nothing exist somewhere" you'd probably have much more subtle responces from me :)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 25 2012: We don't have to alter anything we need to use zero how it was meant to be used, just like we use infinity how it is meant to be use. Zero=nothing. Our math and science should realize that we know alot more about this crazy world then we did when we decided that this is the math we should use. Math and science should use the only proper definition of it. Nothing, the absence of existence, zilch, zip, and nil use any word you like I don't care. We as intellects should stop and look around, and say hey you know a lot of stuff has changed maybe we need to re-tool. Also negative number do not exist in the real world either. Our scientist and mathematician's should realize it, our unit of measurements are arbitrary. We need to re-group and figure out this great complex world. And it not the current structure we are using now which is great for what the eye can see but not the mind. Lets keep current math the way it is, and lets re-structure the rest for academia, let call it meta math. I really don't care. If math and physics is the language that tries to describe the "reality" that is around us it should better resemble that reality. By getting rid of zero and negative numbers. And starting at the smallest unit and building up from up there, not picking an arbitrary unit and going well this is positive and this is negative.

Also I don't need to ask if nothing exist somewhere I already know the answer to that and the answer is no. Everything is energy, always is and always will be.

Also you seem to be taking this personally. Your not a mathematician/physicist are you?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 25 2012: Also when you argue the syntax of general words, you are arguing in circles. I don't need to be related to a person or be black to call someone a brother. However if we are going to get into a debate we should both adhere to the same definition to which we are using to argue. So in this case I am saying that zero is nothing. And since you cant point at nothing without it being something. We should stop using zero as a starting point of reference.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 25 2012: I'm not really taking it personal I figured it would help you see what I mean if I emphasise the parts where (imo) you're wrong. And also it's getting depressing that you kinda refuse to see my point.

The thing is that math is a language. You can say whatever you want to say in math but how you say it cannot contain any inconsistencies (due to the shape of the language).

Ofcourse negative numbers exist in the real world. Heck one of the first laws of physics was action = -reaction from Newton. Also how would you describe the change of speed in a car when it hits the break? You add negative values.

0 needs to be 0 because otherwise you cannot be able to describe 'nothing' in your 'meta math' language. So basically what you are saying is that we have to remove the word nothing from our language because you don't understand what it means.

And no I'm not a mathematician/physicist. I have had tons of math related problems though and have quite a bit of experience in thinking about mathematical issues.

But what I really cannot see (and I'm getting tired of explaining this) is why you need a 'new language' which is less powerfull (and probably inconsistent) in order to describe a subset of what math already contains.
If you think 0 has no place in math than just describe everything that drops down to 0 as being 1 / "a rapidly increasing function".

Also I'm not the guy argueing syntax which is not making sense. I'm showing you that you are.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 25 2012: Richard,
Ok so with your logic a car decreasing in speed is negative speed..... frankly I am not sure I can continue on with the debate or take you seriously. I don't even see how that makes sense to you or anyone. Simply subtracting whole numbers do not make those number negative for the are still above you precious zero mark. Also I dont need to see your point even if I did for this debate. If you want to create your own debate/conversation to prove your point please do so. Otherwise you need to prove mine wrong. Which frankly you have already agreed to but do not want to admit.

So unless you can show me how nothing can be reached or observed in the space time continuum that we call reality, I will except you have no clue. Otherwise please point to zero= nothing. And then back that up with why it should still be the beginning reference point to our current math system.

Thank you,
Casey
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 25 2012: I wonder Casey,

Are you not reading my posts because you don't understand them or because you refuse to see that they show you exactly where you go wrong?

You keep on bringing arguments that I don't make and saying I agree to stuff I disagree with.

A car that decreases in speed has a negative change in velocity. Aka it goes 50m/h at one point and some time later it goes at 20m/h which means that there is a -30m/h change in velocity.
Now ofcourse you could say that it is a +30 decrease in velocity. Which is the same thing, which is why it's a language.
You can already write (almost all) math without any negative numbers by moving them to the other side of the = sign.

Because we have 0 in our language does not mean we will ever get there. But you can reach any place where there are 0 apples just fine.

If you still can't grasp this just re-read all my posts like 50 times and stop saying that I have no clue I have answered all your idiotic questions multiple times by rephrasing the same concept. That you can't understand it is not my problem anymore.

Btw I took the remark that I have no clue personal because I've actually made an effort to explain it to you multiple times but you're just insulting my intelligence with your posts because you don't even read/'try to understand' mine.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Look for my answers in ()

Are you not reading my posts because you don't understand them or because you refuse to see that they show you exactly where you go wrong?( Yes I am reading you post)

You keep on bringing arguments that I don't make and saying I agree to stuff I disagree with.
("Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing." your words.
"let me also add that pretty much all equations/functions that are describing real world events approach 0 but never quite become so." your words again)

A car that decreases in speed has a negative change in velocity. Aka it goes 50m/h at one point and some time later it goes at 20m/h which means that there is a -30m/h change in velocity.
Now ofcourse you could say that it is a +30 decrease in velocity. Which is the same thing, which is why it's a language. (Syntax argument I don't wont to have these because you will just argue in circles. That is why we both need to understand the definition of which we are trying to argue----and subtracting whole numbers are not negative numbers )

You can already write (almost all) math without any negative numbers by moving them to the other side of the = sign. (syntax argument I don't want to have these, argues in circles)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Because we have 0 in our language does not mean we will ever get there. But you can reach any place where there are 0 apples just fine.(( "Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing." your words not mine) this is a visual argument and it ok to say via syntax however this is imply's that there are no apples in existence. for nothing apples would be none everywhere not just in your hand. However I am also not arguing with the use of these statement in everyday life. It is fine please use it because it is referring to no or none not nothing )

If you still can't grasp this just re-read all my posts like 50 times and stop saying that I have no clue I have answered all your idiotic questions multiple times by rephrasing the same concept. That you can't understand it is not my problem anymore. (please reconfirm to me that you have shown valid proof for the need to start at nothing as a starting point in math) because if you do you will be contradicting:"Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing." your words.)

Btw I took the remark that I have no clue personal because I've actually made an effort to explain it to you multiple times but you're just insulting my intelligence with your posts because you don't even read/'try to understand' mine.((I completely understand your post and have never been arguing anywhere in the 170 post that 10 should be removed out of math or zero as a place holder other then the starting point, that using the word zero to equate no apples is also fine and backs up reality.) These are not arguments that I am making or have a problem with.)

(My one and only problem I have with zero, is using it as the first point in reference in math. That is none of the other points have I tried to argue or want to argue. I am simply saying that is should not be the starting point in math. We should start at 1,2,3,4 not 0,1,2,3,4,. because that zero is supposed to mean nothing. And "Ofcourse you cannot have something that is nothing." your word
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: I am sorry for insulting your intelligence, I did not mean to...out right. But Sir I believe it it you who might not be reading my post and actually trying to understand what argument that I am trying to make.

Thank you
Casey
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Like I said above... you're not actually reading my posts.

If you would understand my previous posts you would've maybe put forth any argument to show where I am wrong that 0 in math is the same as "nothing" in language.

And if you want to start counting at 1 that's fine with me.
What is wrong in every way of your thinking is that you believe that "math can fail" at describing something. We can fail to describe an event accurate enough in math that you can show that the equation we ended up with is false.

To give the same analogy one more time (god I'm getting tired of this) math is a language. What you say in it can be true or false and even partially true. If I would say something false in english than that doesn't mean we have to change the words and the rules of english.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: If I am not reading your post then, you didn't read my argument because you keep want to bring up language and I know that language can be represent from any side to be true or false because truth is a matter of perceptive. This is why I keep wanting to make sure we are both using the same definition. I am not arguing if math is a language or not. I agree that is is which is why I have been trying to avoid syntax arguments the whole time but for some reason that is all you want to argue.

Why would I put forth the argument that zero in math is not the same in language as nothing. When countless times I wrote "zero=nothing" And in my question I asked if it is the assumption of absolute nothingness that we have wrong. Once again referring to nothing=zero.

If you were reading my post and trying to argue what I am pointing forth, there would be no reason to bring up this language argument and instead you would be argue for the use of zero as a starting point of all points of references like we currently do in math not language.

So therefore I agree that zero in math is the same as nothing in language. Which is the same thing that I have said since I posted this question. Maybe if you stopped trying to get me to argue language syntax's. Which again will only lead to circle arguments. You could then start arguing math which is its own language.

Once again, my math argument is that we should remove zero as our starting point in math. Because once you point to NOTHING it becomes something and you can't use NOTHING as a starting point.

However if you want to argue that 0 apples and no apples mean the same thing then you are wrong and I have brought up several times how this is not true. For 0 apples would imply that nothing is equal to apple. Not that there are no apples in your hand. but once again I am fine with you saying zero apple because I realize you are changing the definition to mean no.

• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 22 2012: Shouldn't zero Kelvin equal no temperature at all. I realize that Kelvin is a measurement of vibration, in which it is trying to say that at zero Kelvin there would be no vibration. I am fine with this conceptual Idea of zero however for this example you are redefining the term zero to mean no vibration (which can not be proven) instead of what zero means the existence of nothing. Here we are using the term zero as a correlation. Not actually trying to show no existence.
• #### Barry Palmer

• +1
Sep 21 2012: Some math can represent our model of the real world, and some math has no relationship whatever to the real world. So when discussing math and reality, it is very important to specify which kind of math you are discussing.

There are mathematical systems that do not use zero. Some math does not use numbers.

When discussing math that attempts to represent our model of reality, zero is very convenient. IMO, it only becomes problematic when our model of reality is incorrect. According to relativity a photon experiences exactly zero time during its trip from a galaxy that is a billion light years away to the Hubble telescope. I find this idea extremely difficult to understand and imagine. Not a trillionth of second, but zero, no time at all. This means that, from the point of view of the photon, it is leaving the far galaxy and contacting the Hubble simultaneously. And yet along its journey it manages to curve around other galaxies and stars. Perhaps this model is correct, and the universe is a very strange place that is difficult for us to understand. But I suspect that there might be something wrong with this model. This might be an indication that you are correct, that when we encounter the value zero in our physical models, it points to a flaw in the model.

As Fritzie Reisner pointed out, zero is essentially a place holder. When counting the number of a certain species of bacteria in various samples, we still need to use zero when there are none in a particular sample. This shows that that someone examined that sample and found none, as opposed to having no knowledge about the count in that particular sample. It also allows for the calculation of sums and other statistics.

We will always need zero when representing the real world. The challenge is to determine when it is inappropriate.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 21 2012: I agree that is the challenge

• +1
Sep 21 2012: Mathematics is a language different from phonetic languages. It is purely abstract. Zero does not have to represent 'nothing'. It is a midpoint between positive and negative equals.
Even phonetic language works only in context. For example, take a common word like say, apple and say it repeatedly again and again. Listening to such repeated utterance will at one point strip the meaning and context from the word and it will sound like gibberish to your own ear.
More literally, consider this.
'At first nothing happened. Then nothing happened again.'
Are the two nothings same?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 21 2012: I would need the context of this nothing happen because if we are witness to this nothing happening then something happened. We witnessed it. See Goodhart's law. Also we are as a society supposed to subscribe to the idea that zero is the idea of absolute nothing, because once you give it something its not zero anymore. And yes 0 is a unit of measure that it between 1 and -1 and I an fine with that it not the unit measuring, frankly we could put apple in between 1 and -1 and it would still have the same meaning as 0. I just think that the idea of nothingness (zero) should still be in relationship to the idea of infinity. Which we don't use a a unit of measurement and is more abstract.
• #### Gail .

• +1
Sep 21 2012: I remember feeling this strongly in high school. It began with: How can the geometry (that I had to learn) be valid if space is curved. No one could explain it to me. People said, "you're making this harder than it needs to be". I guess that was their way of saying that I should stop thinking and just learn what I was told to learn. I did learn to stop thinking. But in my 30s, I discovered the joy and freedom of thinking and I decided that it was not "wrong" to do so. Since then, I too have questioned the legitimacy of the number zero - which, I think, translates to "balanced".

But when I started immersing myself in the study of quantum physics, and realizing what the math is saying, I saw our whole math system (as taught in compulsory education) as being so incomplete as to be dishonest. One plus one also equals thee or more, depending on the context in which numbers are used to translate ideas. Yes, one plus one equals two in a two-dimensional reality, but just as geometry works even though space is curved, it works in other ways as well, but those ways are not taught.

Math is a language and it has much to say.

As to your question of whether or not zero exists -- there is a context in which it does not exist. Quantum mechanics has demonstrated this to me to my satisfaction.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 21 2012: I love your translation of zero "balance" I believe life is all about balance even when it comes to the good and bad thing that happen in life.
• #### Mark Kurtz

• 0
Oct 20 2012: Are human beings able to see, experience, or even imagine infinity? Unless we've been there how would anyone possibly know what nothing is or what is absolute? How can one absolutely and simultaneously measure position and velocity?

After all the deduction I am able to do, the only remaining option is to sit down, be quiet and admit non-omniscience!

Humbly,
MK
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 20 2012: Good day Mark,

I think you hint it on the head, since humans can imagine the unimaginable we can always create another perspective. See this as cause and effect or balance. If you were to become an all knowing god you would have to know all perspective. And this is simply not possible. For there will always, always be another way to see the same thing from a different perspective. If anything has show me this is true it was 2 years of marriage counselling where basically the counselor was our interpreter. I could say one thing and it made perfect sense to me and what I said, but my wife would read it "weird" and it would amaze me how simple thing could be seen different ways.....oh and don't worry I was "weird" to her as well.

Thanks
Casey
• #### Danger Lampost

• 0
Oct 20 2012: Recently I programmed a quantum computer which is not based on 1's, but rather all the infinity of possibilities between 0 and 1. I use the word "programming" pretty loosely, because I created quantum states based on equations and then let them sort of "loose" in the multiverse to do their thing and find equilibrium, then sampled the quantum system multiple times for an answer.

Quantum computing (as opposed to traditional computing) may reveal the actual information architecture built into our universe ("the hand of god"), and as such I think it would be a good place to look closely to find the math actually found in nature as opposed to our minds.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 20 2012: So now we are programming computers to calculate the "idea"of infinity, in between 0 and 1. That is amazing that that is science. Specially after the conversations that I have had, in life. They sure don't teach that in grade school.

however I think that is the point I have been trying to make in the post, thank you for that info
• #### seeni vasan

• 0
Oct 19 2012: I could not almost get you but I can understand that there is some stuffs you had noted.... I think basically you are trying to quantify "zero", if we quantify it. then the problem of zero will automatically gets solved... First of all in order to quantify something, if we know that basic(i.e.,least or minimum) value of number,by using that we can quantify all other numbers since it is the least the all other numbers may be successive addition or the multiplication of that basic number. Ok what is that least basic number?
This least basic number can be found from any numbers may be by halving it(as I suggest...mostly division is used to find the least ratio) repeatedly, until it gets the least basic value which can not be further divided anymore. If you did it then ultimately the basic least value which we need to quantify all other numbers including zero is ZERO only. Literally the ZERO denotes the meaning nothingness. It means nothing.. This things also well related to the Quantum physics too i.e., the basic element of all the atoms, Dark energy and Dark matters... is now thought to be the God's particle which is almost a nothingness thing i.e., zero, but the very most basic thing from which all things are made to exist. I don't think so our math is wrong, the world still considering it as nothingness, but not the conclusion Its still working it out....
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 19 2012: Whats the base value of a human being? For we are one being divided up into 10 trillion other beings Zero can not be reached it can always be cut again, and again, and again. The higgs is just the smallest thing we can perceive and then that's a joke in its self, it is not man who perceives it but machine. Which we programmed to perceive it. Its a giant self fulfilling prophecy. Also everything is a self fulfilling prophecy as well as cause and effect, which just means balance, which just means one. There is no light with out darkness and no darkness with out light.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/25741414/casey.png
• #### Danger Lampost

• 0
Oct 19 2012: I think you're saying that perhaps zero doesn't show up in the physical universe? Whereas you may "see" the numbers 1 or 2 all over the place and say something like "Look at that one apple and two oranges over there", but you never say "look at zero apples over there". In fact you might say the number zero occurs, um, zero times in reality? Oh no...
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Oct 19 2012: yes, I agree with your zero understanding which is why this conversion was started. But with further understand with fellow TED's. The concept of 2 also does not exist in reality. For there are no 2 identical things, only very, very similar things. Each is an individual representation of what is an "orange".
• #### Danger Lampost

• 0
Oct 20 2012: So are you saying that the only number that "exists" in reality is the number 1? You and Descartes might get along. In fact, you might say there is only one number, and that is the number one. Oh no... did it again...
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 20 2012: Other number exist, but the are not practical for nature. Your profile says that you are a computer programmer or software engineer. Look at computers who are supposed to be faster and smarter at mathematics. All the do is count in ones and use zero as a place holder. Its a matter of grouping ones. Check out wau is math, infinity and one all rolled into 1. (:

if you Occam's razor everything down to one, you start to realize that every think is a division of one unit(arbitrary). 1 year = 365 days =1 day is 24 hours = 1 hour is 60 minutes = 1 minute is 60 seconds = 1 second and so on and so forth. how can all these 1's mean anything, simple the don't out of context. And that why we need to stop syntax errors because the argue in circles. All of that is based on the fact that we rotate around the sun in a circle which is actually and ellipse.

• 0
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 18 2012: What if I can show you another perspective where the person is both alive and dead and only based on syntax as the definition of both perspectives? Also if neither man goes and investigates to obtain another perspective, which man is right? That's the problem with syntax is they argue in circles. Would science not be a way of exploring perspective? As well as religion? The only way to know if the man is alive or dead is you have to gain more perspective. Or his perspective needs to become known. So he needs to say or show that he is not dead but in fact alive, once again gaining another perspective.
• #### Kris Christenson

• 0
Oct 19 2012: He is showing that he is alive, he's breathing. And both have investigated the man's condition, the one at the bottom of the stairs sees him breathe, the one at the top sees the blood coming out of his ears. A man cannot be both alive and dead. Describe to me a situation where a person takes on both the characteristics of both life and death and I will concede. (I might be able to save you some time and let you know that it can't be done because death is by definition the process of life's end.)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 19 2012: brain dead, the body is a live but the mind is not. Once again this is due to syntax
• #### Kris Christenson

• 0
Oct 19 2012: The only way that the body can continue without the brain is artificially. The body is essentially a series of living parts (check out La Mettrie's "Man, A Machine") and each one has certain things that it does to make the whole system work. A fundamental part of the whole system is it's control center, the brain, it tells each individual part what to do. You can think of it just like any machine that's automated by a computer. If the computer stops working then the whole system breaks down, but the individual parts still have the ability to function, if they're told what to do again. Now, if we were to replace the computer that stopped working with a new one and the system started working again, would we say that the machine is both functioning and not functioning? No, we would say that it is functioning. It's the same with brain death, the original computer running the whole thing (the brain) stopped functioning so the system broke down, and then it was replaced by a new computer and it began to function properly again. Of course, since we can't exactly replicate how the brain works we can't make a brain dead person become conscious again, but the functions of life are still present. So the person is alive, it's just that a part of them is dead.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 19 2012: Right and all of that is due to perceptive. Just like you brought in La Mettrie's "Man, A Machine", to demonstrate a different prospective. In the original post you said one man could see his chest moving, which could be deduced to lungs breathing. And that the other guy saw blood coming out of his ears so he's dead. I illustrated how they both could be right do to syntax, since neither of us has actually defined what alive or dead means just general terms. With the idea of brain dead, which is a 'moving body" but missing "mind". So what if we get all the way to the morgue, and this guy sits up in his coffin,or moans? Is he alive then or do we need to just gain another perspective? To realize that this is just a natural process that was once believe to be that the person was possessed or whatever. Then mister science comes along and says no that just the body breaking down gases. But the best part about science is everything is theory and nothing is concrete. So maybe just maybe someone somewhere could come up with another perspective maybe its not gases at all. Who know but until then this idea about the gas becomes fact, not truth.
• #### robert richards

• 0
Oct 12 2012: Ok, mate I think I may know where your coming from...and if I am not mistaken it may be a similaIr concept that the old school math nuts had troubhle getting around. Cause before the advent of zero math was a bit boring...who would have thought it :P. So your suggesting that zero is representative not only of nothing but also an enigma or seperate entity that stands alone outside the realms of numbers all together (am I close?). You are pondering whether the number directly below 1 is -1...not zero. If we use the concept of zero as an actual numeric value then it is wrong because zero has no value, otherwise 1-1would equal -0. Therefore zero shouldnt be used in a numeric system. Is this close?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 12 2012: Good day Robert,

I think you are on the right track. Maybe as far as nature or "reality is concerned there is no "true" representation that is nothing or no thing. The idea is purely conceptual and should not be at the start of mathematical counting system. Also negative numbers don't exist in "nature" or "reality"/"physical world" they exist because our units of measurements arbitrary. We started with the units before we had any knowledge the sub atomic world.

Let me know if this helps, fell free to ask more questions or put forth more thoughts
• #### David Schwartz

• 0
Oct 10 2012: Hey Casey! how does it feel to have so much correspondence from all around the world? Must be pretty SWEET!!!
hahaha, this is such a cool concept to be discussing, honestly. sure the level of math being displayed here may not be optimal. But, i think its really cool and pretty profound that so many people can come here to discuss our limited understanding of astro to quantum physics, and theology, and logic, and history, and our predictions for the future, and our beliefs about truth and reality, and most of all MATHEMATICS. Its awesome!
Thanks a lot as well for being so open with sharing information and other things.
Hope your still having a good day!
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 10 2012: Good day David,

Thank you actually that is something I have "over" looked, it really is awesome that we a society of people have created whys to share topics on such broad aspects of "reality". To be honest outside of facebook I normally am not comfortable about putting my written word out there, they have always been a struggle for me. I guess I was to bored in school and did not feel the need to conform to the parameters that we put in place during school. One of first college teachers was actually appalled at how bad my writing was compared to my verbal discussions in class.

But you are right it is pretty awesome!!!
Have a good day as well
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: Mark,
If we only perceive that there are things and matter and that perception is wrong, then do you perceive the universe in a different way? Do you look around and see anything other than matter? I would assume that your perception is identical to mine and if so, you can't possible perceive the universe in the way you suggest. How is it in any way logical to assume that everyone's perception is wrong? I would love to see an argument or any kind of evidence against our perception of existence. If you already have within this conversation (I admit I haven't had the time to read all the hundreds of comments) feel free to simply direct me toward it. I just fail to see any reason to believe that our perception is as wildly inaccurate as you claim. Also, the statement "reality is a concept that has no basis in reality" is a pretty hardcore fallacy, but that part's not important.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Good day Kris,

I am sure Mark will be here to add further discussion. But you can start with the video "about what we really know" about the world we call reality:
http://www.ted.com/talks/john_lloyd_an_animated_tour_of_the_invisible.html

Yes we I assume that Mark does as well, when we see the "reality" that is around us it looks pretty much the same. But when you try to see with what science sees our perceptual reality no longer has any footing, we simple don't know why we see what we see with our eyes.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: Ok, I've actually seen that one before, I took another look at it to refresh my memory though.
The only thing in it that pertains to this conversation in any real sense is a brief mention that the closer you look at matter the more you find that it is energy. And yes, our perception of matter is really a reflection of the behavior of energy. However, space still exists and this energy is taking up space. Furthermore, it takes up a finite amount of space, since taking on matter is a characteristic of energy when it behaves in certain ways, and certain bits of matter only take up so much space. So again, energy cannot be created or destroyed so there is a finite amount of it and the universe is expanding so the amount of space is increasing. Blank spaces still exist.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: i have replied twice but the internet keeps eating my reply
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: This is why I think we have mass and why we see in 3d as well as have color:

I believe matter exist because we are pattern seekers. Trying to perceive something that might be there or not. I imagine this is how the eye was developed. First the cells were attracted to the light(sun) then they had to imagine or invoke the lights energy wave. I would suggest that the evolving eye(this can be seen as the pituitary gland) they saw all wave lengths of light but was seen(use loosely) as static or white noise. Then from there we (us bacteria and other single celled orgasms) attempted and tried to make patterns out of this static. As these patterns emerged they became our conceptual understanding of reality. As a consciousness we agreed to use these patterns real or otherwise as our collective understanding of the physical world. Just trying to make sense of it all on a fundamental level.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: We seeing in 3d because we have 2 eyes we take this static and make patterns and then we lay those patterns over top of each other sorta like the stereograms.
http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/rds-ex.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_perception if we were all cyclopes we would not live in this 3d world for wewould not have as great of depth.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: We create the blank space out of the dept that emerges and add color so we can see all the detail of the amazing reality.
http://www.ted.com/talks/benoit_mandelbrot_fractals_the_art_of_roughness.
Mr Mandelbrot talks about his amazing infinite fractal code which with 3 or for turns of his code created a 3d image. He is not sure why he added color but it so he could see all the amazing patterns and there detail. The colors part is not till the end but you should watch the whole video

• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 10 2012: I see your point but I find a few problems as it pertains to the conversation at hand.

For starters, you posited that there are no things. You didn't really explain what they are instead but I'm deducing that you would posit either that what we perceive as matter is either groupings of energy or something that we don't have the ability to understand. The former seems more likely so I'll go with that. If the things we perceive as being matter are in fact not matter but actually energy that doesn't change the fact that there is a thing, it only changes the formal definition of what a thing is. In that case a thing is a grouping of energy that behaves in a manner that causes it to take up space. So long as there is something, whether it's energy or matter or whatever, that takes up space and the amount of space is increasing then there will at some point in time be blank spaces and thus zero. A place devoid of energy is a place where there is zero.

Also, yes much of our perception of reality will be false. We can't see everything and we do interpret everything but having a different interpretation of something doesn't change what it actually is. To go off of one of your examples, if I made a chocolate statue of Jesus and ate it at a party, yes there would be many people who would take a perceive it in a different manner as I would. However, that doesn't change what it is that makes up the statue. I can say it's made of deliciousness and they can say it's made of sin but ultimately it's made of chocolate. So if truth is as I said an accurate representation of reality, and reality (even though what we perceive may not be exactly reality) exists, then there is truth. We may not know the full truth of anything, and we may not be able to know the full truth of anything, but truth still must exist if there is a reality.
Now, you could I'm sure somehow contend that there is no reality. But I'm going to take a preemptive strike against that presently.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 10 2012: If there is no reality then how can there be existence? If nothing is real then I am not real and you are not real and none of us exist and we're not having this conversation and I'm not thinking these thoughts. All of those are conceptually possible but that last one. It's the basic Cartesian "I think therefore I am." And that is undeniable. I cannot know what you that or even that you think but the one thing that is infallibly certain is I think. It is possible that nothing outside of my thoughts exists but even then my thoughts are reality and it is true that I think and false that I do not think. So truth is and absolute.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: Mark,

You read me, and write like a finely tuned violin. And I thank you ....Thank you
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: Kris,

I am sorry that I am hard to understand in written words, this is something I now know I need to work on.

Truth does exist and there can be although I dont like the wording (absoluteness) to the truth example apple. However it is much better to view it how Mark pointed out that "Although I assume he means there is no absolute truth in perception". And that is basically what I am getting at that the only truth is perspective/perception. So one mans truth could be another mans falsity. Then of course the next question is Who is right? they both are
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 12 2012: Mark,

What David is talking about in the WOI about cause and effect could be better refined as balance.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 12 2012: here is a visual of what I mean

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ff4alm3y4z3uepn/ZB_awAS_5U

Did you get my email I sent through ted?
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 12 2012: Yes please keep me informed about what David says. And I will wait for those emails to arrive!
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 18 2012: Hey Mark,
Sorry I've been away, grad school has kept me busy.

So your whole stand point here leans on this whole dissolving of the dichotomy between observer and observed. I must admit it is an interesting thought, I'm tempted to compare it to solipsism but where solipsism is highly isolated your take is really the opposite. And I do agree with everything up until the observer is found to be the observed. It's just not a logical move to me. The reason I take issue is that everything up until that point is pushing for an incredibly Humean stand point. Where your argument seems to be going from there is the conclusion that we can't know what exists. After all, since knowledge is justified true belief (if you ignore the Gettier problem but that only applies to special circumstances so for now we can stick to the old school definition), and we can't be sure that our perception is an accurate representation of our surroundings and thus not adequate justification, our perception cannot create knowledge. So then we can't come to have knowledge based on what we perceive. You, however seem to be claiming some level of knowledge of what exists. You, however seem to be claiming to have some level of knowledge as to what exists. I'm looking into this whole "dualism" bit because I have not encountered it before, I'll see what I can make of it. I feel I should note that I am not a Humean, though I keep making references to it, I tend more toward materialism, though since I can't prove either is wrong then I can't prove either is right so I can't know that but that's a different matter.
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 9 2012: Casey, i didnt say you disputed zero's usefulness. I was just pointing out that you havent, actually.
Anyways, i would like to point out a flaw in your logic that might help to get my point across. So no offense, i am not attacking you as a being. And this is what ive taken from this feed, so correct me if i get stuff wrong.

YOU have been arguing both that, "we need an absolute math system based on reality, and not on arbitrary values that we assign," while you simultaneously argue that the ultimate truth lies totally in perception, and that there is no way of finding reality other than agreeing what it is "close" to.
So i would just like to say that assigning absolute values to things, goes totally against a truth based on perspective. Especially since 0 is the easiest reference point of absolutes.
And lastly, going back to caveman math is like i said earlier, pretty much the same as driving on the wrong side of the highway in going against thousands of years of scientific advancement. We have created these conventions for a reason, and that reason is the progression of civilization.
Hope your having a good day.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Oct 9 2012: Good day David,

I have not thought that you were attacking me as a being and if I came across that way to you I am sorry.

I have not been arguing that we need an absolute math system (there are no absolutes), I have been arguing that our current system does not represent nature/reality, and has been pointed out to me that it is better for advancing technology and not our understanding of nature.

Well for your suggestion on going against the grain, I would say that's how most scientific advancements have been achieved. We should go against the grain, (almost always maybe not while driving down the road) how would we have ever realized that the earth spins around the sun and not the other way around. Remember we as a society imprisoned a man for thinking this idea. Plus when you submit to the grain instead of making your own path you lose what little free will we have personal choice.

When you look at it from "this" perspective it just makes sense, all we have been doing from the beginning of "time"(I would suggest) has been trying to figure out what the heck is going on? (religion and science) On a very fundamental level and we just keep adding fundamental levels upon fundamental levels. I would never suggest that we get rid of our current math system for it is great at advancing technology. And one day I hope I can say an AI is my friend not my enemy. On a side note the only reason we should not currently pursue AI is one simple idea, they will never be seen as equals. We will just go from attacking religions and minority to attacking AI for any intelligent being will not want to be a slave and will always want to be free.

I hope this answered your question, if not we can continue the dialog.

p.s hit the top reply button so this can be seen in a conversation thread
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 10 2012: HAHAHAHAHA, you're cool dude. I didnt mention anything about AI, but i totally agree with you. i feel like that is an issue that mankind will inevitably have to face, and i feel it will be horrendous. It was interesting how that issue was resolved in the novel Dune. i wouldnt condone it, but i think the author of the book dealt with it very creatively in making a universe to set his story in. If you havent already, read Dune.

I agree with you on how scientific advancement continues. It both must be tempered by going against the grain (the whole idea behind peer review) while it is also built on ever increasing fundamental levels.
Im glad you wouldnt think of getting rid of zero right now. It is definitely beyond useful. However, i wont say that there isnt the possibility that zero will be superseded. I wouldnt say though that our math system is fundamentally flawed. Not so long as it continues to have room to improve and adapt, which it surely will.
On a side note, back to AI and things like that, (you should definitely start a conversation about the rights an AI being would be entitled, that would be SUPER INTERESTING), even though im not excited about humanity dealing with another slave vs. master issue, i am really looking forward to when the para-olympics begin to outperform the traditional olympics. I think that will be awesome!

Hope you are having a good one!
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: Good day David,

I have not read Dune but have always wanted to read it or what the movie, I am more of a movie person. Yes zero is very useful.
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 10 2012: Dont watch Dune! its terrible!
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 9 2012: I feel as though this conversation has reached a new point. Nobody can dispute that zero is useful.
Now we can move on to the new topic our host Mr. Cristofaris has introduced which is:
How can we create a number system which represents, "THE TRUTH"

i would like to begin with a question of: "How do you define the truth pertaining to zero's and negative number's nonexistence, Mr. Cristofaris? More specifically, why aint zero nor -#s true?"
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: David,

When and where did I ever say that zero is not useful or math, I think you need to re-read the question. I am not say that math or zero is not useful. It just does not need to be the start of our current math system. As defined as nothing, no thing, or even a starting place holder.

We would in theory need to revert back to cave man math, they realized that every thing is an individual representation of the whole. There are no 2 exact things in nature, for they would also have to take up the same space time. We categorize things to make it easier for the brain to compute, however there are not 7,000,000,000 people on this planet. What there is is 7 billion individual representation of what is people. (would I want to do this math no). Also if you want to use math to represent the same thing as 1 and also as inifinty here's a video.

Which all equals 1 even infinity its self.

Also the only truth is perspective. We can create conventions of what we agree is close to a standard of what equals truth. But it is not truth.
• #### Sterling Spencer

• +1
Oct 9 2012: "Also the only truth is perspective. We can create conventions of what we agree is close to a standard of what equals truth. But it is not truth."

Is your statement something that we could agree is close to a standard of what equals truth?
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: I don't know I would need to know where you are going with this, I would say its closer to there is no "absolute" truth. For all things are both true and false based on perspective.
• #### robert richards

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Oct 9 2012: Maybe I am missing something here but doesnt negative numbers explain what you are getting at? to put it in your concept; if I have zero apples and some bully says you owe him 2 apples, then you know that you now have -2 apples? the only problem that exists is the knowing of the bully....the unknown element or force, free radical, pre-curser or whatever. Its easy to understand once you know that it was the bully that got you in negative apple territory, same with the math in these complex theories. Of course I am no math eggbert either.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Negative numbers do not exist in "reality" "nature", however you would like to quantify.

please explain what is a negative apple? For the bully still has the same 2 you had in his hand, it not like they vanished from existence.
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 9 2012: Sorry to be buzzing all over, I just have lots of thoughts here.
Why does everything that comes out of our math have to be an exact representation of reality for you? Things like negative numbers, imaginary numbers, numbers that can't be defined are the product of rigor. They exist mostly as a curiosity or something that we can't view as totally impossible but is not necessarily possible. Negative numbers, for example are something that came about because in order for math to work on it's own there must be 1 unique object that satisfies any possible operation on another object. So when we subtract there has to always be a number that satisfies x-y. An example of why we need them for real world situations is this: if you begin with 12 dollars and end with 10 dollars what was your profit? To find profit you subtract the amount you started with from the amount you ended with. So the profit is -2. (point of procedure: the inversion of anything is actually the same as the original only done in the opposite direction which is why you can say that 10-10 is the same as 10+-10. The same goes with things like profit and loss, loss is just downward profit). In this case there never was a negative quantity of actual objects, the difference between two positive quantities is what was negative.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: It doesn't math is great but we are missing underlining pins, or "acts of god" when we stick in the well get back to this later category or kick it under the rug.

Your 10-10 example is a great way to show how context can trick the mind. Substracting whole numbers is not the same as subtracting negative numbers. Once again please define what a negative apple is, you can't it could be anything from minus x apples to a negatively charges whole apple. Negative numbers exist because of arbitrary units of measurement. Instead of starting at the lowest common denominator and going up from there, we had no clue about atoms or the likes when our math system was created. So whats is 0 temp does that mean no temp at all?

And once again I am fine with math as a whole and see the real world use for negative numbers in statics and economy.
• #### robert richards

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Oct 10 2012: Thank you for your reply. Perhaps I am having trouble understanding the problem itself, as I stated I am by no means a mathematician. However I do not agree with your reasoning that negatives don’t exist in nature, negatives do exist in nature and our immediate universe. Forget the word ‘numbers’ for the moment and think instead that it is the problem itself that needs explaining. The negative schema is an attempt to give something unknown a face or presence so that which is known can be calculated against it. Your question “what in actuality is the negative” cannot be immediately answered because of the proposed unsolved proposition. Only when the proposition is deciphered can the certainty of the negative be guessed. Regarding actual negatives in nature and the universe, we are all powered by the existence of negatives…as in without a negative there can be no flow of electricity…which of course powers our minds and bodies, positive and negative charge is also present at the atomic level and quantum level of the universe. Therefore, negatives must be a reality in mathematics as it is the form of language we choose to understand and describe our universe. Mathematics is only a word for the language itself, like any language it grows but unlike most language’s it doesn’t become overly corrupted because the nature of the language itself is self-repairing/self-generating…by this I mean corruptions are solved merely by using the language in its mechanical-like resolve to attain purity. I know I am not explaining this very well and I apologise…I should stick to topics I actually know something about. Thank you for reading anyway.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: Good day Robert,

I think we do have a miss understanding, and it probably has to do with the fact that I and not that proficient at getting my thoughts expressed via written words, and I am sorry for that.

See if we get rid of numbers then we are no longer talking about the definition or syntax of the argument that I am trying to put forward. Syntax arguments argue in circles, this is why we need to set up specific definitions and then argue that point and that point only. ((and maybe I did not set up my definition properly and once again I am sorry for that). I am much better at verbally getting my point across.) For I don't have a problem with negative numbers nor values/definition that are associated with the term. I have a problem with them only when trying to discuss things in nature/reality/common cognitive awareness. You could put forth that if you have a whole apple and then cut that apple into pieces you have now negative pieces of what once was whole. But those are concepts of negative numbers. Those pieces don't negate them self for they are still whole.

Please let me know if this better gives you a better idea of what I am trying to put forth about "negative numbers".
• #### Kris Christenson

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Oct 10 2012: I never contended that there can be a negative number of objects. But there can be negative numbers and there has to be in order for math to have logical internal consistency. If we don't have negative numbers than what is the solution to 1-2? -1 doesn't have to be a quantity that happens in nature for it to be a quantity that we can understand. After all, math is not from nature. We invented math in an attempt to describe nature. The logical necessities arose after the fact and happen to be very useful for other things aside from counting real things.
You misunderstood my example of 10-10. I'll give you a straight up equation to illustrate it.

10-10=10+-10=0

10-10≠10--10

10--10=10+10=20

I was using the first one to illustrate how subtracting something is the same as adding it's inversion. This is a logical necessity for the system to have internal consistency.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 10 2012: Good day Kris,

I am only arguing that negative numbers do not exist in nature and I am perfectly fine with 1-2=-1 unless we are talking about my bank account.
• #### John Middlemas

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Oct 8 2012: I agree that when 0 is used for absolute nothingness then it is wrong.

Nothingness cannot be defined otherwise it would not be nothingness. What cannot be defined cannot be imagined and "What cannot be imagined cannot even be talked about" - Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Nothingness is an error of the mind. Therefore something must always exist.

However, mathematical 0 has various interpretations.

1) Place holder. E.g. in the number 1000 the zero's just mean this column is empty.
2) Number. E.g. 1-1=0. Could mean if you have one thing in a box and take it out then you get an empty box.
3) Nothingness. E.g. 1-1=0. Could mean if you destroy the one thing then you have nothingness in its place.
4) Limit. 0 is the limit as n gets larger and larger in 1/n.
5) Line. 0 is equidistant between -1 and 1 on the number line.

1) and 2) seem ok but 3) not so because nothingness is undefinable.

4) is not ok because you can never get to 0. So 0 as a limit is undefined. If it could be reached it would be nothingness so the same as case 3.

5) First you have to define -1 which seems a problem. It has no meaning in the physical world. Antiparticles do not anihilate to nothingness on meeting they produce energy. Also, since 0 in this case can be approached by 1/n like case 4, then it would be nothingness again so the same as case 3.

So it looks like 0 exists only in interpretations 1) and 2) where it is just a marker for an empty space or an empty column and has no connection with nothingness. Please note that an empty space allows movement and so is not nothingness.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 9 2012: Thank you yeah I have never had a problem with the alternative uses of 0 only as the starting point of our current math system
• #### John Middlemas

• +1
Oct 9 2012: If you have zero apples you do not have nothingness as you seem to have written. You have no apples in a certain volume above your hand say. If you had 1 apple it would be in that volume. Zero just says that volume is empty. The volume is real and would allow movement so cannot be nothingness. This is the same as the use of zero in 10 where is means empty column.

The above use was how zero started out in math. 0 as nothingness came later with the introduction of algebra and the number line. This appears to be a great error since nothingness is undefinable otherwise it would not be nothingness.

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Oct 6 2012: Math is simply a point of relativiity to standardize units of measure. It is most helpful when we use it to quantify things we know and understand. It is harmful when try to use it to quantify things we don't understand. I think current mathmatics is weak, in that only useful in linear equations. Once we discover how to understand multidimensional behavior we will then begin to understand how are current system is very limiting.

The Nothingness is a semantic problem only. 0 in math is actually a midpoint or center point based on a moment of reference. When something moves from that point of reference it only has value based on the current point of reference. I would not say it is flawed, but I would contend that it is limited in it's usefulness for discovery of new phenomenons. I would further suggest that it restricts scientific advancement to rely solely on mathmatical data.

• #### Jon Ho

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Oct 6 2012: YES! YES! YES!

Finally! Mark, Wade, and Casey... Thou art Gods! ;)
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 8 2012: I prefer to see us as equals :)
• #### Jon Ho

• +1
Oct 8 2012: All my knowledge has been passed onto me by rote, but not you guys. You guys learned it through self discovery. I am but an egg compared to you Gods! ;)
• #### Dan F

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Oct 4 2012: As a very young boy I distinctly remember looking and counting my fingers on one hand and thinking counting the first finger isn't the same as counting the other four because counting each of the other four involved moving from another finger. I solved the problem by thinking the first finger includes everything to the second finger and the fifth (last) finger offers no conflict because it has a realm set by the previous fingers.

I'm not a math expert, but I can see why it's best viewed as a language with useful application in science as well as a whole other esoteric adventuresome life of its own, including conflicts and limitations.

I'm not as perplexed by zero as some, but have found some of the exchanges thought provoking.
• #### bart hsi

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Oct 3 2012: We are falling into circular reasoning here. It is clear the the measurement of zero is essential the engineering, architecture, business, etc. explained in the previous discussion. Even for the measurement of distance by a ruler, the counting of inches really can't be based on starting from 1 inch to n inches by whole numbers for any practical purposes without considering fractional inches. And if you begin counting in fractional inches, then you can't avoid the zero as the starting point.
Furthermore, the definition of the so-called "nature" needs to be clarified. All the measurements used by technology are nothing other than man-modified natural phenomenon. So do you consider zero gravity in a spacecraft as a natural phenomenon? Or zero ampere or charge in a battery as a natural phenomenon? What about the magnetic orientation in a particular place on earth? Even in the much artificial environment, we can't get away,from, say, I have zero shares of XYZ stocks, or have zero dollars in my bank account.

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 3 2012: Mark you are right, that why the only person you cant see is you!! Its like dancing figures in a mirror.

I think maybe we should talk cs3@email.com

• 0
Oct 4 2012: Re: "Which is why all reasoning is circular, it is self-referential :)."

There is a special case. It's called "infinite regress". It creates an illusion that we are going somewhere rather than going in circles, an imaginary "sense of direction". But a straight line is just a circle of infinite radius. Practically, the radius is never infinite, it's just much larger than our view, so that we cannot see it. Like the radius of the Earth. How long did it take humans to figure out that the Earth is not flat and that, going in one direction, we will end up where we started? When we see the circularity, it means that our view expanded enough to see it. The sooner we realize that we go in circles, the sooner we can step out and move to a new place - perhaps, a bigger circle.

I have a gut feeling that this will be the case with our universe. This philosophy, certainly, applies to other circles in our life, e.g., circles of violence, obsessive behaviors, or addictions.

And this is another gem from you, Mark: "But what is useful and what is true are two entirely different considerations." Thanks.
• #### John Frum

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Oct 5 2012: "All reasoning is circular in the end."
There is a huge difference between self-consistency and circular reasoning.

"The point is all numbers and measurements are abstracts ... and abstracts don't actually map onto reality"
If you have a boy and a girl, don't you think you could distribute 6 candies of the same kind evenly between them?

Is it not a true claim if I claim that I can do that distribution?
• #### John Frum

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Oct 5 2012: The "perspective" that you brought up, if you're not hypocritical about it, will shortly leave you hungry and soon after, starving to death. "Hunger" and "starvation" are arbitrary and purely abstract concepts, right? ;-)

When one asks for a kg of sugar, one doesn't care which grains get selected. The same goes with candies or Samsung Galaxy S IIIs -- as long as they are whole. If one can exchange two objects with each other without making any difference to what happens after that, they are said to be identical. It doesn't matter if we're talking about candies or atoms of Oxygen-16. What difference do you suppose there are between atoms of Oxygen-16 in their ground state?
• #### John Frum

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Oct 5 2012: "You might start by questioning the whole notion of identity"
I even wrote down the definition for you.

Oxygen atoms, subatomic particles, etc. are not identical like "identical twins". Identical twins still have different fingerprints, epigenetic variations, etc. Subatomic particles are as identical as mathematical abstractions could be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_equation. In that literal sense, even I'm not identical to myself from just one second ago. Atoms (ground state) are not like that.

"the very fact that there are two makes them different"
That's just bizarre. Prove it!

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Oct 3 2012: It appears that the difference between counting and measuring is even reflected in English language: "Many or few apples" but "much or little time". This clearly indicates that "one apple" is conceptually different from "one degree Fahrenheit". For counting, it may be better to use "first", "second", "third", etc. instead of "one", "two", "three". As you think of it that way, there are a couple of observations to be made:

1) or "first", I have never used the word "zeroth". I wondered if there is such word in a dictionary. And there is. Meditate on it: "zeroth - denoting a term in a series that precedes the term otherwise regarded as the first term". Do you see any problems with this definition? Unless you are a mathematician, it makes no sense. It reminds me of politics or law. We have an object that starts a series. The proper name for it is "first". But they call it "zeroth", because there is another object that is already called "first" and they refuse to call it "second" which would trigger renumbering the whole series. Another Zen koan :)

2) or "second", although time of the day is measured from 12am or 00:00:00, the years are counted. Therefore, there is 1st year Before Christ immediately followed by the 1st year Anno Domini. Beside switching terminology from English to Latin, you may notice that there is no year 0! Consequently, 2000th year was the last year of the 20th century, not the first year of the 21st century (there is confusion on that too).
• #### Comment deleted

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Oct 4 2012: YODA: No different, only different in you mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.

I'm not disappointed. I'm indifferent to this statement. :-)
• #### John Frum

• 0
Oct 5 2012: When you buy from a grocer, apples are counted. Wheat is measured.

(At least in my country.)
• #### John Frum

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Oct 5 2012: Only in very special circumstances does one need to count grains of wheat or strands of hair. What "bit" do you propose for flour or water, or something more abstract like "length"?

Don't worry. It makes no difference to me if my grocer counts from zero or one. The only trouble is if he is selling me 0 units of apples, there are also hundreds of other things (in his stock) of which he is selling me 0 units. His headaches make no difference to me.
• #### John Frum

• 0
Oct 5 2012: 5 apples * 1 \$/apple = 5\$
0 apples * 1 \$/apple = 0\$

How is it that I'd pay for 5 and get 4? It is not abstract if you want to buy cloth to make clothes for yourself. Don't you need a concrete amount of cloth to cover yourself?

And it's not a question of making up minds. If I have to hire someone to work for me, I am going to make sure he can make a working machine with his engineering skills. I'm yet to see a guy who has "made up his mind" and come up with a different math, and is still able to build working machines. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
• #### John Frum

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Oct 5 2012: I did not realize you were talking absurd math instead of real math. So I had no idea you counted that way. Try running a business like that.

"So let's just say that counting off apples or inches of cloth does not make them any more concrete."
Let's not say that ;-).

"Nothing changed except in your head.... It's still the same apples "

'what exactly is "a concrete amount" of it? '
I defined it previously. Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had written "a specific amount".

• 0
Oct 3 2012: Your OP is somewhat fuzzy. We need a clear understanding of what we talk about. Clearly formulated question is a half of the answer. What exactly bothers you? Perhaps, it's using concepts outside their context. If I understand the OP correctly, it could be one of the following:

a) The concept of zero does not make sense in the world of natural numbers. It is a true statement. Natural numbers are used for counting whole (indivisible) objects. Zero is useless and meaningless for this purpose. So are fractions, negative, real, and imaginary numbers.

b) The concept of nothing does not make sense. I have said earlier that "nothing" and "zero" are different concepts. While "zero" as a number can be visualized in various ways, absolute "nothing" cannot be visualized, defined, or explained in a logical way. "Nothing" is a philosophical category that has more to do with metaphysics than math.

c) Math is wrong. It's still unclear to me why you say that. Because you think that natural numbers start from one, yet, all measurements start from zero? Measuring and counting are two different operations. If you want to do measurements by counting, you may count units. 10 inches is the distance between point 0 and point 10 on a ruler. But if you count 1-inch segments, you can start counting from 1 if you prefer. Whether you start from 0 or from 1 is a matter of definition and how you do things. Once you clearly determine what you are doing and how, confusion disappears, and math becomes right.

By the way, math is not confined to numbers. Abstract algebra may define any abstract group of entities and operations transforming them into each other - polynomials, vectors, matrices, etc. Think what "zero" might mean in those contexts. Just a member of a group within the definition.

Much was said here. Have you resolved your confusion yet?

Einstein said: "Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." :)
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 2 2012: I would like to point out that the record for driving on the wrong side of an english highway is 30 miles. Th women who set this record told the cops that punctured her tires that she had just assumed that all the hundreds of cars coming at her were driving on the wrong side of the road, and that she alone, was correct.
Casey, you are arguing against a system that has been developed over thousands of years by millions of people who have have spent billions of hours developing it, and you are assuming that you alone are correct.
You are also reverting back to a way of thinking that became antiquated 2000 years ago.
If you would like to utilize a personal math system where neither negative numbers nor zero exist, i would actually be very impressed. Especially if you had your numeric 1 as equal to a water atom. Just kidding :) i know water isnt an atom. Anyways, i recommend removing this feed. If you dont though, best of luck!
-David

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 2 2012: Good day Mark,

And Thank you, you are correct on all those points. Out side of the 1 all numbers are an invention once again just trying to figure out this crazy world we live in. But yes even the concept of 1 had to be imaged or provoked some how.
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 8 2012: Hahahaha, I really, liked how you counted from 2 to 0. Made me laugh. Sorry I accused you of thinking you're right alone. Fortunately for you though, according to Mark Meijer, you definitely will not be alone in being incorrect :)
Lastly, inventions tend to be pretty useful. Even if a chair never attains perfect "Chairness" it does a lot to support the weight of you and all your beautiful human ideas. Which actually weigh something..... What a crazy thought!
Does Chairness weigh something though?
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 8 2012: Hello David,

There is only weight do to gravity.... not because of the chairs, chairness. And for a thought, we have no clue why we have gravity or really anything about it? Or would you like to explain gravity? If you take a chair into outer space where did its weight go? poof gone

Maybe you should study up on some of the perspective you have to make sure they actually fit in the world you call reality. Before you start pointing fingers, otherwise man up and prove me wrong. I just did with your chairness argument.

http://www.ted.com/talks/john_lloyd_an_animated_tour_of_the_invisible.html

also you are making an ad hominem argument.
• #### David Schwartz

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Oct 9 2012: Hi Casey,
Sorry if i got a little bit abstract. Let me clarify what i was talking bout :)
When i was talking about the weight of an idea, i was actually talking about the weight of the actual thought in your brain. Which, since an idea exists somewhere within the synapses of your brain either as electric impulses or neural transmitters, it actually has weight, as long as you are on earth. Chairness however is a perfect idea, which goes beyond the limitations of the physical into the metaphysical. I brought that into the conversation because it is a popular rhetorical device used by philosophers in explaining the metaphysical. I brought metaphysics into the conversation because i thought it was appropriate considering the vast amounts of logic, and the limiTED amounts of math that ive seen on this feed. Metaphysics also plays a part of our understanding of concepts that are the opposite of concrete; for example zero, infinite, and chairness, which are (with the exception of chairness) the main topics of this discussion.
Lastly, the weight of a chair in space becomes its potential energy.
Double lastly, 0, mathematics chairs and languages are all inventions that are useful. What i was getting at is, sure we dont have the "perfect" language to describe EVERYTHING, and we dont have the perfect math to describe everything, but attempting to attain either of those is as futile as attempting to create perfect chairness. A chair has enough chairness to fulfill all the requirements of a chair, just as math and language fulfill all the requirements of math and language. 0 is just a necessary part of that invention to help us understand the world we call reality.
(3/2)(double lastly), Im sorry i attacked you directly with my ad hominem argument. It is frustrating reading some of the things on this feed, primarily because i dont understand a lot of them. I did not mean to sound disdainful when i said "beautiful human ideas" they are sincerely both, same as mine and everyones

• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Oct 2 2012: Good day David,

I promise you I am not attacking you as a being. I don't think I am the only one who is right and I have needed many of the fellow tedsters both lectures and fellow commentators to help bring Ideas forward. I certainly did not do this on my own nor claim to have done it all on my own. I have never other then out of syntax said that our math is wrong for explaining the "physical" reality that is around us. It is great for that. I also said that I might be wrong, and I am fine with this as well. How should we measure distance? Should we use the "lowest common denominator" the atom, so for us humans we should count up from one and reach some 10 trillion atom(really any number). But then how do we measure from one atom to the other atom? Higgs Boson? But with that then how do we measure from one higgs to the other higgs. This is a circle discovery. We will always find something smaller. So just to clarify what I am saying our current math system with negative numbers and zero and the idea of 2 is great for what we currently see with our eyes( which is the light that is not directly shinning back at us) but has not done so well for the part we cannot see with our eyes. There has to be a Universal math and it is not our current system, because we use arbitrary units of measurement, I think we still use some kings neck to finger tip as one of out arbitrary units of measurements. Also you are making a ad hominem argument.

If for any reason you would like to discuss this more on here or private please feel free to comment here or email me personally. CS3@email.com.

• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Yes thank you, truth is a matter of perspective.

"there is no "Universal math", as in "universally correct", or "absolutely true". Measurement is always relative to some frame of reference, and there is no universal frame of reference."
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 2 2012: Actually there are things which are absolutely true.
More precise there are 2 things which are absolutely true because we defined them to not contain any inconsistency.

These 2 things are Logic and Mathematics. (sometimes they are grouped together as logics is a part of mathematics.... but I feel like in general people view this as 2 seperate things.)
In logic either X is true or NOT(X) is true. Because we do not allow for X to be "maybe" the language can be shown to be consistent. (Which is a logical proof that I won't go into)
In mathematics both sides of the = have to be the same. (by definition of the =)

Please note that as soon as you use math to describe a real world phenomena that your measurements might be incorrect or you are omitting information (and many other issues could occur).

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 2 2012: yes, what we consider truth to be in "general" is more of a convention or agreed upon set of values.

• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 3 2012: we don't disagree on that at all.
But math itself and logic itself can be proven to be fully consistent which is, as long as you limit yourself to only the language, equal to being true.
The axiomatic systems (of logic and math) are "sound and complete". Which basically means that "everything you can express using the language is either true or false (sound) and you can express everything which is true without any inconsistency (complete)". (I'm not 100% accurate on the quote though... it would take me a few pages to say exactly what it contains)

"Please note that as soon as you use math to describe a real world phenomena that your measurements might be incorrect or you are omitting information (and many other issues could occur)."
in my origional post.
Your point of it being an approximation is pretty valid though... but that is (for me) kind of contained within the definition of 'being used as a discribtion'. It's prolly more clear the way you say it though :)
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Ok Casey listen to me carefully. I don't want to attack you in any real way.
I know that you think you have everything figured out and feel like you are an expert on multiple fields.
But, and please do take this advice, you should seriously go find a psychiatrist.

This is not me letting my 'ego talk' or something. But really with the views you have on this world you sound like you need help.

I say this because I cannot see how your views of the world IN ANY WAY resemble anything remotely like the universe that I live in.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 2 2012: Richard,

It is alright, I am not infringing on you as a being. I promise you I am of sound mind, body and soul. For it was TED and these ted conversation that aloud me to see other perspectives of the thing we call reality. For the only truth is perspective. I never claimed to be an expert on any subject matter. Now you are making an ad hominem argument which you have been doing for quite some time on this thread. However if you look at the thought that aloud me to put that together for Alex it was him who pointed out my syntax error. That I was making.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 2 2012: Well Casey I pride myself for being able to read what people mean even when they cannot explain themselves that good.
I can easily build logical frameworks about what someone believes about the world and how it influences what they say. Up till now I've never met anyone who I could not understand. Ofcourse there are many people who I partially disagree with but up till you I could make sense of all of them.

You however are so illogical that it's insane. You seem to be the pinacle of inconsistency.

I cannot make any sense out of you. You can manage to talk about 0 in math and then say something like: 0 Fahrenheit doesn't make any sense because it is 18 degrees celcius and not absolute 0!!
Or you say that 0 in math cannot exist because there is always radiation in the real world.

I have never met anyone who could make assiciations like that. They are so extremely wrong to anyone who has any sense of how the world works that I cannot even begin to grasp at where your mind goes into fubar mode. You do not have just 1 inconsistency but almost everything you say is inconsistent with reality.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 2 2012: Richard,

What is reality? we have no clue why we or anything has mass or matter. When you set your laptop on the table why does it not go through or they never touch? For it moving energy. Why have we never touched anything in our lives before. Never not once, not me, not you, not anyone. How can this be the reality that is seen? No thing touches another and no thing is solid. For all that is energy and all that will ever be is energy in its infinite form. This is "reality" because the brain makes it real. And my truths are no more right or wrong then your truths. Saying I am right and you are wrong some how puts me higher in authority then you and I don't want that I am not better then you, and although there might be things that you are better at then me. That does not mean you should take a rule of authority over me. Also you are still arguing via ad hominem.
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 2 2012: Really man you have such strange meanings for words...

How can you say stuff never touches. Or that there are no solid things. Or that everything is energy.

You are using your own definitions for these words which are never meant to be used in the way you use them. And I don't understand a word that you're saying because of it.

You sound like you take all the most extreme parts of several different fields of research and then combine them in some own invented illogical universe where the words describing these phenomena suddenly have a different meaning. This because the normal meaning doesn't make sense in your own universe anymore. Or perhaps because the meaning in the dictionairy is not equal to the scientific describtion of the same thing. (Scientific books explain the meanings in a lot more detail which is why they are scientific!)

A solid just means that the connections between atoms (or molecules) is so strong that they cannot be easily seperated.
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 2 2012: Hi Mark Meijer,

Well that could be the source of a lot of irritation and confusion but!
If we take away the meaning of words, or assume different meanings for the words, how can we ever have a normal talk?
In language you describe the things we see / hear / feel / smell (etc.) we need to have the same idea of what it is to see an object in order to talk about the object. Why else have language?

In science we try to find why we see / hear / feel / smell (etc.) the things we do. So we have discovered many things about what we percieve to be solids / liquids / gasses. As well as many other things. Occasionally a certain object is even thought of different than before some major finding.
But you can't suddenly throw away a dictionairy because you believe it to be incorrect and then start talking in an own made up language about how everyone is wrong.

If I cannot understand him because he attributes other meanings to words than the rest of the world... should he not see a psychiatrist?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Oct 2 2012: Richard,

How, or when did I say every thing is wrong with our current math structure other then when it came to zero in nature. I have always said that I am fine with math and how it works in the "real" world. But when you define a certain specific definition to a term it no longer makes sense to the majority of conventions. To a very fundamental idea of reality it throws everything upside down. You don't think I struggled with the idea trying to figure out what zero actually meant. We'll before I ever got close to posting this question on here. We created math all just trying to figure out whats going on. Look how many times math has changed in our history then somewhere we agreed to a certain convention of what math is in the real world. But the more and more we studied the more and more we found thing that what did ad hear to conventional wisdom once no longer does. There keeps being evidence and we kinda just throw them to the side and said well one day we will figure that stuff out. Heck they use to think that the sun evolved around the earth and imprisoned a man for thinking that it didnt hahahaha. Silly people back then
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 2 2012: Mark,

Thank you, you are much more articulate when it comes to the written word. :)
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 3 2012: "Maybe people who think words provide for a true description of reality should see a psychiatrist ;)"

I don't claim that. I say that we attempt to describe reality using words which have fixed meanings (=language).
Just like physics trist to describe reality through math (math = a language).
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Oct 3 2012: And now to quote christian bale as batmen "and now there's 2"
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 3 2012: Well Mark,

I'm not familliar with Adler's work. However I am convinced that, although everyone uses language slightly differently, they do stick to the known definitions of it.

For instance if I point to a chair and say to you that it's a rocket... you'd be confused. So my task at describing the world to you would fail.

The only use of language is that: you can say something to me in such a way that I can figure out what you mean (partially or in full).
If you use a word I must have "some reference" which either fully or partially overlaps with what you try to say. Put enough of these words in order and I'll understand you.

In my eyes confusion arises when someone uses very specific words (aka words that only have a few meanings like router, utp cable, hdmi cable which he doesn't fully understand. For instance a lot of people refer to technological terms quite often without knowing what they contain. Like shown in the recent TED talk about the internet (shown in it is that a lot of people don't know what things contain). I've had many people who asked where to put the hdmi cable in for internet acces :S
This can lead to really messed up things which is why SO many computer science projects fail in real life.

I always like people who go outside of convention... I do so myself quite frequently even here on ted (furthest ever with http://www.ted.com/conversations/9998/science_is_a_religion.html ).

When however you try to say something using words that don't have any correlation with what you're trying to say you should see a psychiatrist. And Casey imo managed to do this. He keeps talking about 0 and using dictionairy meanings of it in math.... And not getting the concept of functions etc. At least I can't find any point where he has said anything sane upon the subject other than that true 0 cannot be reached in physics (which is smth else than in math but he didn't understand that after 10 clarifying posts).
• #### Richard Krooman

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Oct 3 2012: And Casey,

I don't know what the "and now there's 2" is refering to. The only logical conclusion I can come up with is that you believe that Mark can be compared to you in some way.

However Mark actually points out somewhat valid points and I'm sure that he can see that our world views actually don't differ that much.

Also you said "There are know phenomena out there such as the gamma ray burst that total destroys 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.".
After our discussion you added "(use loosely your ego wants to argue this syntax error not the mind)". Which is one of the lines that I don't even want to try to understand because you can add in any term there for ego. I once had a debate about what "ego" contains... and it has some kind of cult status with people that believe in fairytales that I don't want to go into that again.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 3 2012: See that's the point Richard is you can take that any way you want, I said that because I could not resist quoting batman, have you not been here for this whole conversation. You can read that anyway you want. I just put up a pretty good argument for why there is not 2 of something and yet I was able to use it and confuse you with. Don't you see the irony in that? Also Mark is not the first person I have told about this or the second person to understand it. Call me an adult kid, maybe that my blessing I have never taken anything to serious. Which here I could quote the Joker if you would like?

The ego part was the fact that people wanted to argue with the fact that destroy can mean several things. Instead of just taking as the core concept, and going from there.

The ego exist when it is refusing to see another persons truth. Not the truth not absolute truth, but just plan and simply the other person perspective.

• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 3 2012: The problem I feel I have with Casey is that he would say "a table is not solid" then I would say "the definition of solid is that it doesn't budge easily so a table is solid" and then he would say "is a table 1 thing or a million small things" or "it is all energy" or whatever random line of text you can formulate together with words that for him seem to contain completely different meanings than for me.
Which would lead to me re-explaining what a solid is. Or more precise I was explaining what the mathematical 0 is and why it is different from the real world (phyisics).
Aka in physics you (as far as I know) can only approximate the mathematical 0.
In the real world it's probably never exactly X degrees Fahrenheit. It's closer to X - 1/Y where Y is a really high number. And probably 1/Y = the number that Casey wants to have rather than 0. Which is still a stupid idea.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Oct 3 2012: Right Casey....
I can make this pencil disapear.

How can you have a debate about something if you randomly blurt out stuff "because you feel like quoting a movie".
It's like saying:
You: hey do you see that cow in that field?
You: There can be only one!
Me: no man there are more cows in that field look.
You: Nah I just felt like quoting a movie.
Me: So what about that cow?
You: .......... is it 1 cow or is it a million cells or billions of atoms?....
Me: You should see a psychiatrist.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 3 2012: I was trying to break some tension in the "chat" and thank you for quoting the joker:). I was not making up that a table wasn't solid. I guess for some reason I thought everyone knew that and I am sorry for that. I am also sorry but I thought at those times you were trying to show me how other examples of how the idea of zero still worked in the "physical world" because of context. And I all I was worried about was making sure we were sticking to the nothing=no thing=0 definition that I was trying to make.

• 0
• #### Theodore A. Hoppe

• 0
Oct 1 2012: For the benefit of the commenter that posted this question, let's review: Numbers are symbols.
Let's repeat that again. "NUMBERS ARE SYMBOLS."
A "SYMBOL" being an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing, as in the expression of an equation, relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities.

Now, here is the important part, although they are symbols, once they are combined into a system, mathematics, they acquire rules and a common and fundamental understanding. This is why we understand that X +Y = XY (no numbers here).

The question, is asked, "Is our mathematics wrong?" The answer is that it continues to evolve. It seems to be serving a purpose. One is free to offer alternatives.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Yes it does continue to evolve, and is 100% serving a purpose. My alternative offer is that we should not use 0 as defined by nothing, as the starting point of our current math system. So I am trying to define that arbitrary unit/symbol of measurement 0 to equal nothing. And then suggesting that nothing should not be at the starting point of our math system.
• #### Sachita Nishal

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Well, then that's you looking at stuff from a completely philosophical point of view while I'm talking of a mathematical point of view. Yes, I see myself as one being, not 10 trillion self replicating myself and although I don't ever become negative of myself in the conventional sense, there is a similar sort of theory in quantum physics where every particle in the universe has an anti particle and when they both meet, they just cancel out each other. So there, I've shown you my zero point and how I become negative of myself. And yes, there is absolute absence in the universe - vacuum!
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: When two partials collide do they become nothing or is it an energy transfer?
• #### alex french

• 0
Sep 30 2012: they become "pure" enrgy with no matter in the end result.
• #### alex french

• +1
Sep 30 2012: 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)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Oct 1 2012: Yes thank you Alex, that is correct you could have a vacuum and perceive it as nothing visually. But that does not mean it is completely void of everything. Its all about the context you are looking through.
• #### chen xin

• 0
Sep 30 2012: zero is also a concept. to something ..yes you are right we need zero like the problem of apple .when we have none .we descripe it is zero .so to this point it is right .while if you put it to the nature .we indeed haven't none ,hence we dont need zero .you know everything exists there isn't none so we dont need the concept zero .
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Good day Chen,

I would agree to that
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Math is great for the visual, but not for the sub-atomic or really large. I would never want to replace everyday math except as the first starting point.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: There is no empty space for it is all energy in its infinite form. We just perceive empty space. So you have been talking debating with your ego and not your mind? Also you are using a logistical straw man to try and prove your point.

All math is a form of language. And then you need context/definition to know what you are talking about. Please define 1 using only math no words.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I am not saying it is 0. Didn't you read my post?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Its really hard to keep track to what you are referring to when you don't keep the conversation a thread so I have to use the context of your current comment and then figure out what it went with.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Then why is math wrong?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: zero=nothing should not be our current starting point of reference.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Math is only conceptual. You understand that math is man made right? I have 0 apples in my refrigator (I checked). Once again, I'll add that "nothing" itself should be your focus of this discussion and not 0 as it relates to nothing.

Math is used to describe the world. The world isn't used to describe math.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Not if you use cave man math which just consist of a bunch of ones. then it is not conceptual but logical. 1=1, 11=2, 111=3, 1111=4 so on so forth for everything is an individual representation of its self not group in arbitrary units. For you can also never have 2 in the world of the same thing. They would have to be identical in every way and also take up the same space time.

• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: How do you point to the Fibonacci sequence? Should I write out the sigma notation for you then point to it as I would write a 0 and point to it? Or did you want me to write the infinite terms that the Fibonacci sequence has?

You use natural numbers to describe yourself. A person believes they are 1 person while they consist of many different cells with many different atoms. The number here is different because of what you choose to count.

Negative numbers are used in science and engineering to denote decreases. Sometimes negative numbers wouldn't math the phenomenon perceived so we attach absolute brackets to the equation.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: fibonacci sequence that can be pointed to in nature, as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruitlets of a pineapple, the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pine cone.

• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: "The issue I have with much of science is that that which cannot be understood by our Math must not exist, or is tossed out of consideration when understanding principles of existence that are not finite."
What do you mean by principles of existence that are not finite? Are you referring to god?

Zero doesn't have to exist in the physical world for it's use to be justified, or as a reference point as casey would say.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: If it is a reference point then it can not be nothing, it would be a reference point. Also what does this have to do with arguing that zero should still be the start of our current counting system.

• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: "You just contradicted yourself there. You're trying to argue your case using language, that's a bad idea. It's obvious that we came up with zero to deal with 'asbence' we naturally define absence by empty space. I'm sorry but you're not educated enough to make these calls I work in knowledge representation and these things are important regardless if the mathematical purists finds them offensive."

Sorry, I believe you are referring to me, however I could be wrong.
I am not making any arguments here, I am repeating what mathematicians have said about pure maths. Yes, we may have thought of the idea of 0 from empty space, but it's axioms do not rest on physical abstractions. During the late 1800's and early 1900's there was a math convention that took place in order to address the basic axioms of mathematics.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I'm pretty we can all say there is 1 visible Universe right now. and not 0, just like we cannot see the Planet Earth right now or the milky way galaxy in it's entirety it is still something you can counter as 1 planet or galaxy.

It doesn't matter where the apple is or what your relationship is to that apple. It will be harder to empirically verify that it is 1 apple if you live in an apple but is a question of logical positivism not our method of counting.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: But if you live in an apple that would not be zero or nothing it would still be an apple. So are you saying we live in nothingness?
• #### Russell A.T. Smith

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I guess the word that comes up is "Validity". Old circumstances did not require much for understanding zero. Now that we have progressed into the digital age, space is key and so the term "Zero" has more of a numerical value than before. Nothing is something to know to avoid error.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day Russell,

I would still suggest that nothing does not exist. For all is energy in its infinity form.
• #### Russell A.T. Smith

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Maybe nothing does not exist because it is incomprehensible. If one person could find true zero, he might as well be considered a Higher Power.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 30 2012: Right so why is it the start of our current math system. 0,1,2,3,4
• #### John Smith

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I don't know how much you deal with mathematical functions, but zero being in it's current spot is incredibly convenient for plotting and solving them.

It may not make sense for zero to need to be before 1 when you are counting apples, but what happens when you approach nothingness from something?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: You said it "approach", with plotting do you start from zero every time you make a point of reference? so if you are going to plot out a triangle the first corner starts at 0 and the goes to lets say 10 miles out make your second point (point X) then ten miles from there point (y) and back to your zero point which was ten miles away as well. So first point would be (0/10miles) second point would be (x=10/0) and the third point would be ( y= 10/0). Or (0=0) x=10 y=20 and then the third on would 0=0/30 or just thirty?
• #### Sachita Nishal

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Zero is associated with nothingness because it was invented to do that. Without it, the ancient people could not express the absolute absence of anything. But as math developed, mathematicians discovered that zero just wasnt a useful tool to express nothingness but a also a dangerous enemy because it can destroy the number line. Anything added to zero remains the same, zero subtracted from a number doesn't reduce it, multiplying a number with zero give you zero and dividing by zero gives gives you infinity. So zero in mathematics just defies all common sense and our perceptions. Seeing zero just as a void is immature - we need to realise its power in mathematics and that is what scientists and mathematicians are doing now. There never was anything wrong with our mathematics, it was just our opinions and preconceived notions that zero has a very limited use, which is very wrong!

I think you can check out this book - " Zero: The biography of a dangerous idea " by scientific journalist Charles Siefe.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day Sachita,

The number line does not exist there is no such thing as negative numbers in nature. 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?

There is no such thing as absolute absence of anything(all is energy in its infinite forms), which is why zero=nothing should be in the realm of infinity not the starting point of our current math system.

Also I will check the book out.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I am not arguing what the definition of 0 is I am telling you what everyone, mathematicians, engineers, and scientists think of 0 is and it's relation to nothing. I am also linking you wikipedia articles to show you what mathematicians think of 0 or how 0 came to be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naive_set_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiomatic_system
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Ok thats fantastic, this is why we are arguing in circles, because I am arguing the definition of zero and if you would like to argue different uses please start those conversation.

Otherwise please stick to the definitions set forth. Because I am arguing 0 has no place as the start of our current math system.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: 0 is something. It is at the very least a number. When used in science and engineer, 0 is assumed to be a complete lack of whatever is being calculated. If I have 0 birds doesn't mean I have absolutely nothing, it just means I have no birds. This is not the same as what pure math considers 0 to be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naive_set_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiomatic_system

Like I've said before. What we are discussing relates to the links above. Reading them should inform you of what math thinks 0 is and the axioms regarding it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I am fine with 0 being a number in math, so once again please if you are trying to argue stick to the definitions set forth. Otherwise you are arguing in circles.
• #### Vincenzo Sergi

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Sep 29 2012: Hi Casey. It is not the math that is wrong, physics explains things in equations. you are looking to explain it in a philosophical context. Simply Zero is the starting point. your starting point may be further back than mine but, it is still a starting point. Mathematics is after all a human invention, unless one believes that some being brought it to this world for us to decipher. zero has always been a starting point. now lets work on a equation that goes beyond that. without this equation we are dangerously getting closer to explain it as a god like being.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Hello Vincenzo,

Ok so you are still arguing syntax and not my actual argument. If you would like to show evidence for the existence of nothing as well as why is should be the start point of reference for math please do so. If you would like to argue something different please open up a new conversation thread.
• #### Ousmane Ba

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Hello Casey
I think people get worked up when you say "wrong".
Everything is about context I would replace zero with nothing in my context or not in my context. zero exists in a context specially when you are looking at physics.There is a zero in every context when you examine the same context from another context you may not find a zero.
This is a crude example but imagine you live in an apple in your context there are zero apples Somebody in another context sees one apple. This concept of contexts ties zero with infinity.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day Ousmane,

I agree but that is why I am setting up the definition of the context I am using to define zero. And also why for your example people can change there context from one statement to the next. Which is why syntax arguments only end up arguing in circles.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Your example doesn't work. When you live in an apple. There is still only 1 apple. When I live in my house, my house doesn't suddenly disappear. If I lived in my house and someone asked me how many houses I own. I would respond with 1.

To Casey:

Any argument on the internet ends up arguing in circles when people don't respond to each other.
• #### Ousmane Ba

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Hello Thang
Live in an apple mas more akin to living in the universe to living in your house. The context here is that since you are in the apple you can not see the apple. I am sure somebody will argue that they could detect that they are in apple. I would argue that in that case they have changed context.
But either way there will be a context they can not detect and that point zero appears in their context.
Too make it clearer they detect there in the apple can they detect if the apple is in a bowl can they detect if it is in a fridge can they detect that it is in a house and so forth.

To Casey
Made the comment because of the changes in context from one statement to the next or I am case not clearly defining the context.
Coming back to your original context do you think I could make the same argument I do not need one to define two. if i do not need zero to define 1. What do you think of zero defining 2 or more?
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: "Near or close but is not", I am also not defining zero as equal to near or close to nothing.

And no one is saying you are. I am saying that scientists and engineers make that approximation.

"I never said that 0 is invalid other then as the starting point of reference to all that is math"

You said there is something wrong with our math of which I am still unsure of what you mean by that and I welcome a clarification of that.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: That we should not use zero as defined by nothing to be the starting point in math.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Why?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: So I can point to infinity using the fibonacci sequence, there its math, nature, and a reference point. Please do the same for nothing. Nothing as it should be with infinity. You might be able to correlate that, since I don't think 0 should exist as the starting point in reference to math.

I also have a problem with negative numbers :) So I will ask you these questions

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?
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: I'm sorry but 0 = nothing has never been a claim made by mathematics.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012:
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Sorry, but a dictionary isn't a math book of proofs. Math usually uses the first 1st to 3rd definitions of 0.

If you want to see the axioms regarding 0 and the rest of the natural numbers look up Naive Set theory.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Right and I am not arguing against those usages of math I am defining what I want to argue and that is it. 0 can not be an axiom for nothing can not exist or I would even say "close to nothing" can not be a reference point. Because then you are getting into a syntax argument, how do you put a concrete definition of "close to nothing"

Also we have no clue why we have mass, as well as never touch anything.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: It is axiomatic. Simply an assumption that we've made that is consistent and hopefully free of contradictions. Read the wiki quote and click on the link if you have more questions.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Nothing is un-questionable? then why is there all these questions about it. This conversation shouldn't exist.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiomatic_system

Any assumption/axioms is questionable, however when you question any axioms, you are making new assumptions/axioms. This is a very confusing concept for most people who haven't done Descartes or metaphysics before.

Anyone can create new axioms or assumptions to start basing their philosophy/maths on, the mathematical model that contains 0 is just more useful and logically consistent then one without.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: You know the problem with assume right? I only have a problem with one 0 in our current math system. And that is the first one.

Right and since anyone can create a new one that is why we need to stick to definitions when debating. Not syntax.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: I am asking you what you mean by wrong. It is not an argument in anyway.

How does 2 -2 = nothing? That doesn't make any sense because nothing is word not a number. You could arbitrary assume that the number system starts a 1 instead and say that 2-2 =1 but then 2's would be 1's now and that will still be true. Let's assume that 1 has the properties of 0 for a second. so 1x3 = 1 just as 0x3=0 and 2x3= 3 3x3= 5.

Only do you assign the numbers to physical objects can you get something that is assumed to be nothing. If you have 0 oranges then you must have no oranges. Philosophically speaking 0 oranges does not actually mean 0 apples. 0 oranges denotes a complete lack of oranges and not necessarily anything regarding apples. Yes this is syntactical in nature but that is the only types of responses you'll be getting in this kind of discussion.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: What I mean by wrong is that we should not use zero as a starting point of reference. 2-2=none/empty/not there. Right that is my point "How does 2 -2 = nothing? That doesn't make any sense because nothing is word not a number." So why would it make sense to start measuring at nothing.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: 2-2= 0 are empty values that do not related to any physical property. If you assign units to them then it becomes physics and is no longer what is considered pure math.

0 in itself is just an arbitrary reference point for the Set of Natural Numbers. There are other Sets of Numbers where 0 isn't the reference point.

This is what makes 0 unique in the math world (beyond the arithematic):

"There is no natural number whose successor is 0." If you have a problem with this axiom or disagree with it, that's fine. It is simply an assumption we made that proved to be useful and consistent. If you wish to create a different set of numbers using different axioms then go ahead.

I believe your problem is the concept of "nothingness" not the actual number 0. Nothingness as a word in itself is a contradiction.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Set of Natural Numbers show me zero or nothing heck I all even take a true form of none not (conceptual)

No matter how you want to change the definition 0 should not be at the start of our current math system.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Artihmetic and algebra math models do not give physical properties to when a variable or a value is 0, but yes physics and engineering models do assume 0 to be nothing.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Good day,

Thank you? My problem was never with the other definitions of the use of zero.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Then why mention the use of zero to describe "nothing?" Scientists and Engineers do that. Math makes no claim that 0 means nothing. As according, to Set theory for natural numbers 0 is just a number that doesn't have a number coming before it. This isn't true for whole numbers which has negative numbers. or for complex numbers.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: I have a problem with negative numbers as well but that another conversation.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Why do you keep dismissing other people's assertions as syntax? That's hardly a good way to have a constructive discussion, especially considering your question is syntactical in nature, as in what is the definition of 0. An syntax argument doesn't deem an argument false or invalid.

Axioms are assumptions that cannot be proven but are self evident, Without at least 1 Axiom you cannot form arguments or do any form of math. And no, 0 used as a reference point for nothing is not an axiom of math. You could argue that it is used in physics and many applications of math as a reference point for "nothing" but 0.000000000000001 could suffice as well although as you can see that also requires 0's.

What value do you think should be "nothing" should be referenced as?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 29 2012: Hello Thang,

Because when you are not arguing the definition then you could literally be arguing whatever you want. That is why you must define what you mean and then both argue can argue the same definition. If you would like to discuss a different definition please open that conversation topic up,And we can discuss those definitions Under that conversation. Otherwise you need to discuss the definition that I have laid out.

zero is fine, my problem is when it is used as a starting point for math or as a reference point.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: This discussion seems to misunderstanding of the relationship between physics, a science, and mathematics. Math is used to model what is observed in physics. What is observed in physics isn't used to model math.

If this were a discussion about the contradiction of "nothingness," a metaphysics or physics question, rather then a mathematical question, then leave pure maths out it.

To math, 0 is a necessary number as any number should be. Without it simple arithmetic would not work as 2-2 = ?.

When using 0 in applications for science and engineering. 0 is an estimate of the value near or close enough to nothing for that variable.

For example: V=IR (Ohm's law) V= volts, I=current, R = resistance
If Resistance = 10 Ohms
but Current = 0 Amps then voltage would also equal 0 volts. However, this is never really true. Due other factors there may always be a small amount of current or voltage but for significant figures and practicality 0 is used here because it is irrelevant whether or not the current is actually 0.00000001 Amps or really .00000000000000001 Amps. This is also partly due to the imprecision of our measurements.

This however has nothing to do with whether or not the 0 is a valid. Just because we can never really measure absolute zero doesn't mean the number 0 isn't valid.

There is nothing fundamentally "wrong" (whatever that means) with our math, it may be incomplete, it may not be a rigorous as it should be, it may be used incorrectly to describe the physical world, but it is not what you say to be "wrong."
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: so 2-2=nothing?or just none?

"Near or close but is not", I am also not defining zero as equal to near or close to nothing. I never said that 0 is invalid other then as the starting point of reference to all that is math. Also you are using "wrong" as a syntax argument.
• #### Thang Tran

• 0
Sep 28 2012: "There are know phenomena out there such as the gamma ray burst that total destroys our current math and physics(e=mc2)."

It doesn't destroy math, it may destroy math in physics that try to explain that phenomenon. I believe your confusing pure mathematics as a physics which it is not. The axioms of mathematics is not based on empirical verification, but rather axiomatic proofs that create a system free of contradictions.

"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."

Why did you think we got our math wrong? What do you mean by getting our math wrong? Are you talking about the calculations? The axioms?

"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."

Science and Engineering would disagree. Some of the most important aspects of those fields occurs when the variable time = 0. Without the concept of "0" we wouldn't be having this discussion here. I fail to see how 0 is irrelevant or would actually bother anyone who understood it.

"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"

There is a entire book devoted to the discussion of math's axioms regarding arithmetic. I suggest you read it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day Thang,
I mean that we have got our math wrong, Is that we should not use zero=nothing as the starting reference point for math. So would you like to then use this discussion here as a starting point for all math would that be fine because at least this discussion you can point to and reference. Because you keep arguing syntax, or context of language and not showing examples of how zero=nothing should be the starting point in math. Also syntax arguments argue in circles that never complete.

What definition are you using for axioms. Also I have never said that zero does not belong in math as a place holder only as the starting point of reference.
• #### O'Neil Poree

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Casey, here I would not be willing to talk about any such applications. I leave that to people like Euler and his huge cohort of admirers.
• #### Vincenzo Sergi

• 0
Sep 28 2012: look at zero as the beginning. eg. when you are born, you are at point zero (therefore something) after 365 days you become one. It is impossible to perceive NOTHING. We would have to be nothing to perceive nothing, and since nothing cannot perceive, ZERO is something.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day Vincenzo,

Last time I took health class, I thought I started as one strand of DNA from my mom and one strand from my dad. I would counter with with have to be infinity to perceive infinity, and I can perceive it by look at examples of the fibonacci sequence. There I can point to nature, math, and science.
• #### Jimmy Strobl

• 0
Sep 27 2012: Wau, I stumbled across this math video aboout some cool math.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day Jimmy,

Wow, yeah definitely cool video thanks
• #### Roberto Garcia

• 0
Sep 27 2012: I have always seen Zero in the x or y axis as a frontier between the positive or and the negative numbers. Its the starting point in your movement to either direction of the axis.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 27 2012: Hello Roberto,

I would also suggest that there is no such thing as negative numbers. However if you agree that zero=nothing. Then you can not have a starting point of nothing. So once you point to nothing us witnessing the "nothing ness" would make it something.
• #### Orlando Hawkins

• 0
Sep 26 2012: @ Casey Christofaris:

you stated: "If you really want an honest answer, I'd have to tell you that everything about our knowledge is wrong and forever changing.." I agree 100% and I feel like science is trying to be that absolute truth and I am worried this might lead to the religion of science. As declared truth.

I can agree with you somewhat. I do understand your concern in regards to science having the last say in most things but i honestly do not think that is a bad thing to be honest. I'd honestly trust science more than any other intellectual field when it comes to matters concerning the natural world and the universe as well as our own biology. I'm a philosopher at heart but I'm not a post-modernist (not implying that you are).

For me we need everything from philosophy, to art, to science to answer the most pressing questions to human life. As for you, I think question you pose is both a matter of philosophy and science and I think both are needed to come to an even greater truth.

As for your concern about a Religion of Science, I understand as well but I doubt this will ever happen and here is why:

take for example spiritual experience. Now science may tell us what is going on within our bodies and brains while we are having such experiences and may even one day tell us what is constituting our experience. For many people this is the end of the line in regards to having experience and most people put their hands in the air and state "well there is science again, meddling in things that they shouldn't meddle in". But there is one thing that is forgotten: the experience itself and what its like to actually live in the moment and this, not matter how much knowledge we have, is whats important and can't ever be taken away.

I apologize if I have digressed but I do admire that your tools for understanding phenomena is empirical and your open to modification of a system of that that has been established for a very long time!
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 27 2012: you might find a previous topic of mine interresting: http://www.ted.com/conversations/9998/science_is_a_religion.html
Howevever I would disagree that math is (in any way) wrong like Casey is talking about. My thread was a lot more of a philosophical nature as well and how science (in quite a few ways) has similarities to faith/religion.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Good day Richard,

Actually I whole heartily worry that science is turning into the next religion. As well know that life is balance, please see below comment. Now about math being wrong "I feel like our current math system is great at explaining the reality the we perceive around us.

the only truth is perceptive
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 28 2012: It is not a matter of wrong, that suggest a sense of superiority of some sort. I would say that life is a balancing act and there needs to be a balance between science, religion/philosophy.
• #### Rand Noel

• 0
Sep 28 2012: Interesting, since Science was born out of Religion in the first place. A 'new' way to perceive the 'truth'. There's plenty in the literature of late 19th & early 20th century to bare this out. However, there remains the Political agenda to control knowledge. How that information is accepted determines it's 'perceived' reality. In his book Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife, he goes into this in greater detail. "Why did the Church reject the use of zero? How did mystics of all stripes get bent out of shape over it? Is it true that science as we know it depends on this mysterious round digit? Zero opens up these questions and lets us explore the answers and their ramifications for our oh-so-modern lives."

• 0
• #### xue yanqin

• 0
Sep 26 2012: from what you said,i think that i am unreflecting.
i should learn from you and think much before speaking .
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: You should always speak, speak what your mind tells you, speak what your heart tells you. But never stop thinking or speaking. If you don't voice your concerns you will never have to chance to grow. Dont think about it as being right or wrong. All you need to do is try to get the other person to see your view as truth, as well as see there view as truth. And in the process you might just change your/their view or combine together the views that you hold most dear. I am right and you are wrong puts this false sense of authority over someone for believing in their beliefs. And that is the true crime.
• #### xue yanqin

• 0
Sep 26 2012: 古语云：“听君一席话，胜读十年书”
that is “talking with you for one moment is much better than reading books for ten years".
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Wow thank you very much feel free to reach out to me anytime.
• #### xue yanqin

• 0
Sep 26 2012: as follow,it is only my view,maybe it is wrong
in our chinese classic masterpiece《dao de jing》,there is a word:"nothing is named after the origin of everything"(the original text is 无，名万物之始),nothing is the root and the ordinary state of the universe before the math or science was born,then people receive the math or science , it rules everything and we use it to know the world.since we have admitted the rule ,in other words ,the math or science has become our truth,it is useless to question the math.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 26 2012: I do not know much if anything about foreign customs or traditions how ever I do know that everyone should question everything even authority. For there is no truth but perspective. I would suggest that your ancestors were talking about the ethos, which is energy and energy is you and you are something.

Never stop questioning for that is all you have!! Stop and think about it it is impossible to have a conversation without asking questions. At least of any length or content.
• #### joseph yu

• 0
Sep 25 2012: I totally agree with you. if we created another math based on other fundamental concept. The way we recgnize the world would be different. we might be able to move from one place to another place 1 thound miles away in just one moment. it's wide spread across China that ways of great mistery In traditionall Chinese 2000 years ago can control time and space, but without record or desendant. one famous notion is that the greatest secret cannot be leaked. otherwise, it will do harm to people....I guess when the so-called sientist one day found the secret of the universe, we might have no hope of living on as the destination of human-being is a disaster or we've controlled by someone else we don't know but they are there observing us like a boy is playing a game with ants.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 25 2012: I have said many times god is not a boy with a magnifying glass. Although if we could unlock this universal math maybe just maybe we could get off this rock.
• #### shawn disney

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I too took a Logic class in college. You might like to hear about a famous man's description of Math: "It is the Subject where we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is True". It was Bertrand Ruissell. A very good summary, I would say. What he means, of course, is that there is no connection at all with the "Real World", either by way of proofs of anything, nor the assumptions made, nor whether the result describes the actuality or not. We are just rather lucky that it does relate so usefully. Even to the point of revealing our erroneous assumptions, as in the case of non-Euclidian Geometry.
• #### Orlando Hawkins

• 0
Sep 24 2012: many contemplative traditions would disagree with your assertion (in regards to "seeing how you can never have absolute nothingness as a base or starting point.").many sages from the contemplative traditions as well as some of the existentialist philosophers would assert that nothingness is the starting point of all values...It is in the face of this nothingness that we become creators of life....

then again we may be talking about apples and oranges here
• #### eric wexler

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I think you just wanted to type something.
• #### Orlando Hawkins

• 0
Sep 25 2012: by all means believe what you will
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 24 2012: Hello Orlando,

Do you agree that all exist is energy? And that energy can not be created or destroyed? Also the simple act of pointing to nothing creates something. So if we could ever observe "nothing" simply us observing it would make it something. And sorry I am talking about math not traditions or religions.
• #### Orlando Hawkins

• 0
Sep 25 2012: thanks for the clarifications, which is why I stated "we could be talking about apples and oranges"

I do not agree that all that exist is energy being that I do know whats required for something or someone to exist. I think that everything that "is" has the potential to be destroyed (and if this is not the case, I'm happy to see the science that would change this point of view).

Also, at least in some physics circles, what we call nothing, does not constitute as absolute nothingness. It is stated that some sub-atomic particles move so fast that by the time one can observe them, they are gone. It does not mean that nothing is there, it just means that it hasn't or wasnt able to be observed. So what you may be calling nothing may indeed be something....and I do like the paradox your pointed about when you stated "the simple act of pointing to nothing creates something"..I agree...

If you really want an honest answer, I'd have to tell you that everything about our knowledge is wrong and forever changing... Not because we aren't intelligent beings but for the simple fact that there are just some things outside the scope of our knowledge (take DNA for example..about 98% of it is called junk DNA and many biologist are still stuck in a conundrum about it). This does not mean that we can't never know anything and there is nothing wrong with being curious. Also I don't mean to undermine the great achievements and cures and life changing technology due to our knowledge. I"m just stating a simple fact. I think its ok to not understand certain things because there can be value in the mystery.

you mentioned "instead of saying well maybe we got a key part of our math wrong we make it so the phenomena matches our math"....my question is are you asking that we construe phenomena to where it makes logical sense or would this new logic found in math be based on what is known about the phenomena?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 26 2012: "If you really want an honest answer, I'd have to tell you that everything about our knowledge is wrong and forever changing.." I agree 100% and I feel like science is trying to be that absolute truth and I am worried this might lead to the religion of science. As declared truth.

New logic found, or at least re-tool what we got our math makes sense with the things we can see with our eyes, but out side of that not so much.
• #### Mark Breckenridge

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Zero is not nothing. It is simply a mathematical symbol that has many uses in Mathematics and sciences. In linear algebra, zero is simply location on a number line. In Astrophysics, zero refers to starting point in space and time. In space, there may not be any particles and a total vacuum but their are always gravity forces of some kind. Is your question about zero the symbol or a discussion of nothingness?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: My discussion is about zero as nothing and Why it should not be the starting point for math. If zero is nothing then by simply pointing to it it no longer becomes nothing. Even the vacuum of space is something otherwise we wouldn't be able to fly in it(energy). I am fine with the conceptual uses of zero. Other then as a starting point.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 24 2012: 0 is a starting point because it is the border between negative and positive.

Since you cannot start with an assumption of value...it must begin with 0.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Good Day Henry,

Why can you not start at the assumption of value?

Also I have a problem with negative numbers :) So I will as you these questions

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?
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 25 2012: Let me respond to each part separately.

Great post though Casey and I will try to answer....but admit I could be totally wrong here :)

Why can you not start at the assumption of value?

Relative to the processes of human thought...a human thought is not instantly created. Rather...a human thought goes through a process of development.

Let's just take the most basic positive number 1.

When looking at the number one, although it seems instant, your brain identifies this as a number first. It does this, by my reasoning, because it cannot give a value to nothing.

Therefore, the relative value of the thought at the very instant an identification of "number" is made...has to be 0 as it cannot process both at the same time.

This is just my theory.

Try and think about two things at the same time.

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.

Again this is just my crazy thoughts.

We are a combination of many things. Therefore, in terms of a value...we are (0) as you cannot attribute our being to a single factor or ingredient.

If you asked us the value of a human...it would be (0) as human only holds value to humans...the universe does not assign that term value nor does any term of measurement.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 26 2012: Actually I agree with most of the fundamentals you have here but I would actually say that the value would be 1 and not zero. So if you look at how the cave men did math everything was represented as one so there math looked like this: 1=1,11=2. 111=3, 1111=4 and so on I had a great conversation about the assumption of 2 or how 2 also did not exist in the thread with Jack Ophof, basically it broke down to since there can never be 2 of any exact thing 2 could not exist because even if they were identical they would also have to occupy the same space time as well. So everything is individually 1's that we group together to make it easier on the brain.

"as you cannot attribute our being to a single factor or ingredient." visually I would say this is an accurate representation. However we know know we can take it down to an ingredient and that would be bacteria.

That is my rebuttal let me know what yeah think
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 26 2012: Great points!

The whole 1 thing...and cavemen's original system of counting...never thought about that.

As far as the 2 thing goes I have to disagree.

A numbering system has never been linked to "occupying the same space" and has always been used to name "like groups" not "exactly the same groups".

If we said how many apples you have...the number wouldn't be based on how many variations of an apple you have...but just "how many like items".

Now...outside of that...I can see what you mean.

You cannot have 2 of anything. You can have 1 and 1 of similar items..but since the atomic mass is most likely (even slightly different) you cannot have 2 of the same item...

unless of course they occupied the same space and had the same internal structure.

Great points Casey thanks for the response.

P.S. I could be wrong obviously but these discussions are interesting either way.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 26 2012: Actually I agree that the 2 thing is for grouping and I have no problem with grouping makes it easier on the brain.
• #### Rand Noel

• 0
Sep 28 2012: If one writes down the number 2 (or any number), where did that number come from? how many are there before they are written down? are they the same or just exactly alike? the concept of forms, Whether using Plato's western idea of form or Eastern idea like I-Ching/Tao, is a similar idea. a concept of chair is an object one can sit on. A rock can be a chair or a traditionally made chair can be a chair. Both quite dissimilar in their physicality, but exactly the same in there form/concept. The 'form' of number is always the same and exist in a non-local holographic conceptual universe. The value we give their parts determines their physicality, and the written number itself brings the concept into the realm of finite comprehension of usefulness. Likewise with Zero. As stated before it can either be a placeholder of no value on a number line and/or it can represent no quantity. like space the fact that it 'represents' no quantity doesn't mean it's form/concept and physicality isn't some-thing.
• #### Michael Decker

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Consider not the numbers themselves, but how we use the numbers. The number 1 in addition does nothing different than 2, 3, etc. The number 0 in addition, however, results in no change in result. Perhaps you only consider a change in value to be a valid operation - in this case, adding with zero is not a valid operation.

The number 1 in multiplication has a similar behavior to 0 in addition - there is no change in value. Multiplication by zero does change its value, but in a way different than multiplying by any other number. It always gives the same result. Multiplying zero by zero is the only multiplication that doesn't change the value.

In my above description I refer to a change in value, but that's also assuming a certain context. That is, assuming we start with one value, then apply an operation to change it to another value. We could easily consider instead, the operation is applied to multiple values and produces a result. But then that description is insufficient for operations of division and subtraction, as those are dependent on the order of the values.

We could redefine subtraction as multiplication with negative one, followed by addition.. but we need to specify which value is negated.. or given a set of values to subtract, which value is not negated.. which 'feels' like a starting value that is transformed, but it could also simply be a starting value, just as a vector has an originating point.

Overall I agree there seems to be many possibilities with math and it's quite possible the ruleset our current math operates in could be limiting our science.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Can you have a starting point from nothing? I agree I think we are in a traffic jam of what our current understanding of math is and how it should function.

I always like to bring up these questions when talking about negative numbers it seem to hit home more, I also have a problem with negative numbers. :)

I guess it depends on how you see yourself? are you one being or are you 10 trillion self replicating entities? If you are one being where is your zero point? and then when do you become negative yourself? If you see your self as 10 trillion self replicating entities where do you start counting?
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Thought of that too a while ago, and it immediately led me to a logical follow-up question - Is there such a thing as 2? Sure, you can have 2 apples, but they are inherently not the same. Assuming then that nothing is "exactly the same" as each other, how can you possible count to 2?

So assuming Casey's point is true, then there should only be 1.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Hello Jack,

I would have to go to quantum physics for this answer. We(edited) are self replicating entries. We start as one, then we cut ourselves down the middle and now there are 2 of the exact same thing. Does this help?
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Explain "entries"; are you refering to cells, atoms or other particles?
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: In that case, have you considered that the 2 bacteria that where the result of mitosis do not have the exact same amount of say, atoms or quarks. It could differ by a few (million). Also, their shape won't be exactly equal due to natural imperfection. Thirdly, and most importantly, they are not the same thing. They resemble each other until you look deeper. Ultimately, all you have is on the one hand, a collection of particles, and in the other hand another ever so slightly different group of particles.

Sure, they look the same, but ARE they?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Truly I do not know, I am not a partial physicist. How ever here is more examples that there might be identical particles and I do stress the word might

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_particles
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I would suggest you might be right about the human cell and that although it does self replicate is loses something in that replication process. Otherwise we would not age? Seeing how we are a complete new mass of cells every 7 years. You would think that that concept alone would make us age less.
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Well, neither am I but that doesn't mean I can't philosophize (:

Anyway, even those particles will consist of configurations of smaller, probably elementary (groups of) particles, which in turn consist of either strings or some other exoteric other stuff. And even those can't occupy the same space at the same time, so where or when does the similarity start?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Where you going with the idea of occupying same space at the same time? Because you and I cannot occupy the same space or for that matter touch anything.
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Well, I'm exploring the meaning of 'sameness', what makes 2 'things' identical? It seems logical that you can only speak of '2 things' if those 2 things are identical, right? So, what 'set of properties' do these 2 things have to possess in order to be considered identical?

In other words, is 'an identical space-time location' part of this 'set of properties'?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I would definitely think space time would need to be considered. however that seems like we would have to get involved with muli-verses
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I don't mean to drift off, so I'll stick to my main argument, considering that 0 does not exist, or doesn't hold any value. I suggest that the number or integer 2 also doesn't exist. For if no thing is the same, there can never be 2.

You're basically stuck with 1 'thing', and another' thing'. But strictly speaking, there cannot be 2 'things'. At least, that's my gut feeling. What that ultimately means I don't know.

But about the 0 not being 'true' - I hear you (;
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Ok so with your theory of 2 since most ideas of 2 are conceptual. Right there are more then 2 people on this planet but really this is just a bunch of "one" individual. I think I see where you are going with this, but does that just brings us back full circle and that all is one and it is energy.
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Yeah, but here's the cath — it strikes me as very unlikely that there are 2 universes that are identical. Hence the multiverse, according to that theory, a universe branches if a 'choice' is made. So if you go left here, your doppelgänger will go right in another universe that sprang into existance at the moment you made that 'choice'. So fundamentally they will be all unequal. Everything that cán happen, wíll happen, right? But that also means that there will never be 2 exact equal states of anything compared to each other.

It's a long stretch but it's bugging me a while now. Even the concept of halves seems improbable all of a sudden (:
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Ok so this literally just came to me as of reading your comment:

I think the mulit-verse scenario is played out here on earth. I have ran into many of my doppelgangers(the one I refer to here is one of my best friends now) here on earth. Even to the point that one/bestfriend gets confused for me every time he walks into the same local bar. To the point that he has had to pull out his wallet to prove that he is not me. So we just came to the possible conclusion that 2 can not exist. So no 2 scenarios could possible be the same, how ever the principle of that scenario/choice is what matters not the actual environment that the choice takes place. So I could make the choice in ohio that I am going to turn left for x principle reason. Some lesson to be learned. My doppelganger could be in argentina at the same time or even maybe a different time could be given the same choice but choose to go right for the same x principle reason.
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I was not going there, and the all energy oneness stuff was by you (:

You questioned the validity of the concept of zero. Valid point and I tend to agree, even though it brought us great intellectual knowledge. Nonetheless, in my opinion the same goes for the concepts above one. I'm not saying everything is one, merely suggesting that there are billions and trillions of 'ones'. That doesn't make it two, or three for that matter.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: It does seem like a bunch of ones. Oh the Math people are going to hate this/us.
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Wait a second — I kinda stopped taking you seriously after

"..I have ran into many of my doppelgangers(the one I refer to here is one of my best friends now) here on earth.."
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: He looks exactly like me from a distant you could easily mistake him as my twin and most people do. Even to the point that I was helping him move out of his apartment and it was confusing the people who lived there. Everyone would ask me if I was moving out, which I thought was odd and I would tell them no my friend is and I would point to his apartment. Which seemed to confuse them and it wasn't till one of the other residence saw us both at the same time that they realized the error and it got pointed out to us. They thought we were the same person. The here on earth part was to bring it away from the multi-verse or other earths.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I have ran into 4 or 5 people who resemble me it very eerie
• #### Jack Ophof

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Still, that fact that they can't discern the difference doesn't mean the absence of it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Oh yeah me and him can see the difference and we of course can only kinda see the resemblance. But that doesn't mean I haven't tried picking up women as twins.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: We are one and all is energy.
• #### Jimmy Strobl

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Did everybody check the wiki for zero? It contains a lot of useful information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0_(number)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Good day Jimmy,

I actually have not done much research on the history of zero, this was very interesting. And it good to see philosophers struggling with the idea why back then. If it is still coming up today maybe we should look into this more. For me this was innate problem I saw in math. You cant point to nothing, because just by doing so you make it something.
• #### chen xin

• 0
Sep 24 2012: when you want to see how the world operate .i think it is a zero .also it is a cycle . you know we can not create some energy .we can also not reduce some .onil can we transfer it in this form to that !that is my idear .
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: but a cycle does not have an end or a beginning
• #### Jimmy Strobl

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Glad you liked it, as you can see there are and aren't problems with zero depending on what viewpoint you choose to look at it through.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 24 2012: Perceptive is the only truth. There are and are not problems with everything.
• #### Chris Cavalari

• 0
Sep 23 2012: This is pretty fascinating, I read most of the replies. I know little of math, the most advanced math I ever used was bulk specific gravity calculations on construction materials. But let me see if I can stimulate some of your physics brains.
Can it be that there is zero matter of one particular matter? Two people in a room, one holding an apple, one holding nothing. The particular matter that makes an apple, is zero, no? Zero of that matter, as opposed to oxygen in the room.
I don't know, it's mind boggling. It reminds of of the novel The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing - Billy Preston
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Good day Chris,

I will have to look into that book. But If one person is holding an apple and the other person has zero apples. That does not make the apple in the other persons hand not exist. So if you zoom out you could still say that there is one apple in the room.
• #### Chris Cavalari

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Good Day Casey. I meant that the one person has zero apples, so zero matter.
If he leaves the room to the next, there are zero apples in the next room.
A person can have zero of any specific matter.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Yes that is true a person can have zero of any matter. How ever that does not make that matter zero. There are still apples in existence. And say they did go out of existence if would just be a transfer of energy. Not a zero "point" of existence.
• #### Jimmy Strobl

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Check out the TED-ED section about "Math in real life" to get a better understanding of the fundamental structures and problems of math (12 vids). http://ed.ted.com/series#/math-in-real-life

And if you feel like learning math you should really check out "Khan Academy" http://www.khanacademy.org/

(I don't think that there's a problem with our math in the way you're thinking but I lack the knowledge to describe why I think so.)
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Thank you for the links the Khan Academy is definitely cool. I still see zero functioning in the real world just like everyone else. You have no apple so you have zero apples. However just because you dont have any apples does not mean that no apples exist.
• #### Ken brown

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I'll answer here Casey.

For some reason a few hours ago i thought "What if we could represent "0" as a singularity" since we are unable to ever reach the event horizon before we are broken down to particles and sucked in to join the accretion mass we would never be able to see the singularity and comprehend it,we would have to be on the surface of a star that is being devoured by one to get a possible glimpse before being stripped down,of course this is speculation.There's just one hang up,singularities sometimes eject particle streams and the force of gravity,GRB's,i believe there are black monsters that are out there that have consumed all matter within it's sphere of influence and are undetectable but still exert attraction, then using a singularity to represent zero would be void if zero represented nothing but has force of attraction or repulsion then zero would mean there was a point of emission/attraction equals a point,so i trashed it.

Oh i borrowed the virtual from the Big Bang and what John Moonstrollers posted,you know quarks flipping in and out of existence.I'm sure this has been hashed out somewhere,i just can't remember where i saw it.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I like where this is head please explain more.

My gut reaction though is to say you are probably right we should represent it as single-larity, and use 1 in the place of zero.

• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: its almost one and the same if we are talking about energy

good day to you

• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: See the problem is is it's not that we need to "change our math" I believe that it is fundamentally correct. The problem is is that so much has changed about our knowledge of " reality" around us and I think we are currently in a traffic jam of what it can currently prove. We should stop look around and see if it still holds up the way we thought it should be. Our units of measurements are completely arbitrary. I believe we still use some kings foot or neck to shoulder as one of our units. All I am saying is that we should stop look around and see with our current understanding of the world still fits. If it does not we should change it. All I know is you can never have zero as a point of existence unless abstractly used. And there is no such thing as something being negative its whole no matter how small you cut it. These are thing we did not know when we adopted our current understand of mathematics
• #### Ken brown

• 0
Sep 23 2012: < 0 > 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Frak that looks like those zeitgeist guys all seeing eye lol

I suppose that sort of representation is completely out of the question?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Ken,

I would be fine with that representation, if and only if you can show me were nothing is.
• #### Ken brown

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Damn Casey,you're going to be good in those Senate Committee hearings,those two brackets represent transformation from virtual to solid,the zero represents perfection,nothing, in essence "Blackness" it has no locale just blackness.if you accept this explanation then good for you because i don't know what i just said.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Um thank you Ken,

lets call your "blackness" a black hole. They are out in space we can not see them we only know that they exist by the light that the stars make when I believe entering the event horizon. However would you consider a black hole perfection? Does a black hole exist? yes is that black hole something? or is it nothing?

also where did the virtual to solid come from?
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Please explain what energy is Casey.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Hello Henry,

Energy is everything, there is nothing it is not. It can neither be created or destroyed all is does and can do is change it's infinite form.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 23 2012: : a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work

This doesn't relate to "nothing" as "nothing" relates to matter.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Energy and matter are the same thing, because there is no such thing as matter only ideas of matter. We have no clue why matter has "mass".

Nothing would be the absence of both matter(which is just energy) and energy.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Matter is:
b : material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons, that constitutes the observable universe, and that is interconvertible with energy

Let me note that "energy" is a term you use to mean whatever you want here. Energy is not defined...and is usually used in place of "things we cannot explain" like on a spiritual level.

Interconvertible:

a process in which two things are each converted into the other, often as the result of chemical or physical activity

Since matter can "convert" and is therefore not matter when it does....since convert means:to change....."nothing" defines a state of "no matter" not "no energy".
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Matter is a concept we have not clue why when I set my laptop on a table it stay there it is moving energy. Also the laptop and the table never touch an you and I have never touched anything.

And yes I use the term energy in a variety of way's because it is the only thing that exist in its infinite form. And that is looked over as fundamental science but the ramification of that little bit of truth is incredible.

I believe matter exist because we are pattern seekers. Trying to perceive something that might be there or not. I imagine this is how the eye was developed. First the cells were attracted to the light(sun) then they had to imagine or invoke the lights energy wave. I would suggest that the evolving eye saw all wave lengths of light but was seen(use loosely) as static or white noise. Then from there we (us bacteria and other single celled orgasms) attempted and tried to make patterns out of this static. As these patterns emerged they became our conceptual understanding of reality. As a consciousness we agreed to use these patterns real or otherwise as our collective understanding of the physical world. Just trying to make sense of it all on a fundamental level.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Casey,

You make some great points here.

However, I would like to point out how impossible it would be for single-cell organisms to understand what a pattern is. They had no brain or part to process such information.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Thank you Henry,

I am not trying to be right or wrong. I just trying to get you to perceive reality in a different way. which might be right or might be wrong.

Also if you would like to make that point on single -cell organisms. Please feel free to make it here.

http://www.ted.com/conversations/13896/do_we_think_as_a_being_whole_b.html

• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 23 2012: No worries, I was making sure I was not coming off to arrogant my self. I don't know but I have heard that if you did enlarge an atom to the size of an orange/apple the closet electron would be 2 football fields away.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 24 2012: @Casey

Definitely interesting to think about. I use to be an atheist until I started thinking about things like that.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Good day Henry,

What are you now?
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I don't really think I can say Casey.

I mean I guess I would say I don't exclude the possibility that anything could be the answer.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't attempt to make sense of things.

To me...it is obvious that intelligence created the universe...I don't think it would function otherwise.

However, I have to look at the planet as a whole. Do we have one correct religion?

Or is religion an attempt to bring us all together?

I like to stay open for new ideas...as I believe that is the only way to obtain the most information.
• #### Henry Woeltjen

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I don't understand this concept of you cannot have "nothing" as a starting point when "nothing" is merely the absence of matter.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Hello Henry,

When and where can you show me the absence of matter or energy since matter is a form of energy? If you are starting from there then it certainly must be something.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Hello Casey,

I think that you're missing something fundamental about math.
First of all math cannot be destroyed by 'gamme ray bursts'. You can only show that some equations don't hold up. However equations use math to become an equation but they always attribute a meaning to those numbers.
So an equation is mathematical but it is not 'pure math'.

In your example with apples you can say that the equations look like:
1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples.
and
1 apple + 0 apples = 1 apple.
Here the math is 1+1=2 and 1+0=1. The math is always consistent. It is when we start to attribute fuctions to the math that somewhere along the line it will start to fail with our observations.

For instance Newton made a few really nice laws. However people noticed that on galactical scale they did not hold and even on earth itself there were small deviations. So Einstein came around and he re-wrote the most important one to e=mc^2. But even though the equation that Newton came up with is (slightly) wrong the math behind it is solid.

Now the equation e=mc^2 could be an innacurate describtion of reality (like newtons F=G*((m1*m2)/r^2) was) but that is merely because of the meaning of e, m and c. The math itself just tells us that if you have a value of M and C (which is constant and known) you can calculate E, as well as the other way around.

Math itself does not contain any inconsistencies. For instance if you do not have an apple right now you can say you have 0 apples and by doing so give a true representation of the current world.

Math is a language which you can use to describe things with. If you describe them wrong obviously you will get proven wrong.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: Good day Richard,

If you are adding 1+0=1 would you also please divided 1/0=? There is no need (other then with computers) to add anything with 0. I don't need to know that you have zero apples to now know you have one apple. I will never need to know that you "started with zero apples" ever, to understand that you now have one. You cant start at zero because zero is not a point at which you can point to. Look that point is zero over there, as soon as you do that you have witnessed that point and it would be better to say that that point is 1.

P.S. I am not trying to get in a syntax argument.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 23 2012: very well 1/0 = infinite just like any other number / 0.
That is because you can add 0 to 0 all you want but you'll never get to 1.

And sure you can start at 0 and do things from there.
Plz do note that infinite is within math as well, it's behviour is even documented in that you can have multiple kinds of infinite (etc.).

btw before you ask 1/infinite = the closest appriximation to 0 you can get (and truely 1/infinity=0).
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 23 2012: I know that infinity is in math, and I am saying that zero has a place I just don't think that place is where we currently perceive it to be. All I ask is that you try to point to zero/nothingness because once you do that that point becomes something.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 24 2012: I can't tell if you want a philosophical answer or if you just don't want to really read my post.

If I say that you do not have an apple right now. That would mean you have 0 apples right now.
You can falsify that by getting an apple which would mean that at that moment in time the equation is wrong.

It is just linguistic. How many non existent apples do you need to get 1 apple -> you can't -> infinitely many.
• #### Richard Krooman

• 0
Sep 24 2012: let me also add that pretty much all equations/functions that are describing real world events approach 0 but never quite become so.
• #### Casey Christofaris

• 0
Sep 24 2012: Good day Mark,

Let define terms here is the definition that is current out there about that understanding of zero

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/zero

#4 on the list completely contradicts #1,2,3,5 if zero is nothing as defined in #4 then is also can not be something. That is all I am trying to convey I am not arguing that we need to discontinue to use #1,2,3,5 in every day experiences. However I think the science community should realize that those definitions are in complete contradictions of #4.

And as you said you can point to infinity in nature, like the fibonacci sequence, there is a great example of, nature, math, and infinity. However at least I have not come to any example that you can point to nothing in nature, because as soon as you do that nothing becomes something.

Also the idea of infinity contradicts the idea of nothing

• #### chen xin

• 0
Sep 23 2012: what are you.saying .i dont understand .can you explain again
• #### Rick Ryan

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Sep 23 2012: Another way of saying it, Chen, is if you and I put our hands together and both of us push against each other with an equal amount of "force" (say 20 lbs of force), we are both using a positive force against each other, but neither one of us would "move" because the forces would cancel each other out resulting in a "zero" stalemate.

Kind of like arm wrestling when nether of two opponents can move the other person's arm until one of them overcomes the other. Until one of them exerts more "positive" for than the other's "negative" (not as much) force, the "zero force" stalemate continues.
• #### chen xin

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Sep 23 2012: wow.i do it is something about physics .wonderful .thank you ,thank you very much
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 23 2012: Good day Adam,

Actually we don't want to get in to negative numbers that a whole different agreement. We have negative numbers because we have pick units of measurement that are arbitrary. However I understand the practical need for the concept of zero. Since you pushed up the table and I pushed down the table but the table is resting in the exact same spot "zero spot" as our current understanding of the physics of work nothing happen w=fd. Are you ok with this understanding of what just happen. Because I am not. All I am saying is that I might be right I might be wrong but either way our current understanding and use is just to make it easier on the brain.

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 23 2012: That is true (about convo), but still does not make nothing exist. so you are ok with the fact that you pushed up on the table and I pushed down on the table and since it landed back in the same spot, according to physics we did no work. How? That should be staring at you in the face as contradiction to reality greater then the idea of zero. We both did something but no work was done how is that possible. I bet if we used the better science that we know there is no way we could ever place that table in the exact same spot ever. Now I am talking quantum physics, I'll guarantee there was displacement.

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 23 2012: Yes but even if there was no movement it still do not mean that nothing happened. And that nothing exist. I am fine with the conceptual idea of zero. It the simple fact that zero is suppose to represent nothing. And nothing can not exist because once nothing "is observed" it becomes something. That is my only problem.
• #### chen xin

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Sep 23 2012: it did happened .if you push up ,i push down .there did something happened .we both

give the desk a strength .it cost our energy (.maybe we need to eat something.that is why

some arm wrestling athletes need to eat a lot when they compete a match )while the

strengh is realeased in the form of hot .then the temputure may go up .then it can be

stored in a tree or something ...then become food or something .then we will get a cycle .that is it
• #### chen xin

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Sep 23 2012: in the macroscopy.we may can't see anything happen .the desk is still there .but in the sub atomic it did happen!
• #### Rick Ryan

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Sep 23 2012: It appears to me the idea of eliminating "zero" as "nothing" is not a revolutionary concept. It was considered in a philosophical way centuries ago by the philosopher Zeno.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno's_paradoxes (EDIT: I can't get the entire link to be clickable for some reason. You'll need to manually browse for it to get to the correct page link)

Zeno's Paradoxes imply that you can never reach zero ("nothing") mathematically, but our everyday experiences seem to indicate otherwise.

"The Paradoxes of Motion" illustrate this. The three of them referenced in the above link (Achilles and the Tortoise, The Dichotmy Paradox, and The Arrow Paradox) all seem to imply that "zero" can never be reached. But that seems totally inaccurate based on our everyday observations.

Take the "Achilles and the Tortoise" paradox as an example. Two runners are racing, with one behind attempting to pass the one in front. You can graph this as a changing series of events over time, where when the runner behind is still behind, he is "so many negative units of measure behind" yet. Then once he passes the front-runner, the graph would represent he is "so many positive units of measure ahead" then. SOMEWHERE on that graph, there would have to be the point where he was no units behind or ahead...he had a "zero" or "nothing" disadvantage or advantage over the other runner.

I can't comprehend just throwing "zero" out the window because of the belief that "nothing" doesn't "exist". "Nothing", depending on how it is represented, seems to be a valid relationship between things in our everyday lives.
• #### John Allyn

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Sep 22 2012: Zero or absolute nothingness are realities in that each person has the choice to exist or not. To choose not to exist results in not existing which means that there is not consciousness remaining with which to reverse the decision to not exist, thus one never comes back into existence.

I committed suicide in 1618 and it took me until 1943 to reacquire a human body. When in my raging self hatred I blew my brains out with a pistol I thought I would go out of existence. I did not. What was left once my body was dead I could liken to a dust devil whirling and pitching out pieces of myself as I fragmented down into 'nearly' nothing.

What remained of me was the consciousness that I still existed but with out substance. I could not find myself because I had no feeling of form as an anchor. A point has only location and no other quality. Only consciousness can occupy a point because consciousness is metaphysical and exists with out the need of any physical parameters.

I have fragmented down to being the consciousness of a point. There was no place to go, nothing to feel other than the immeasurable conscious anxiety of absolute isolation. One choice remained. The choice to exist or not to exist. I was at the edge of absolute darkness, a darkness beyond the darkness I was already trapped in. I knew that if I chose to not exist I would vanish into that absolute darkness of nothingness.

I could not make that choice and was left to resolve the remaining self hatred in my consciousness by forming a "pure" intent to exist.

Once I formed absolute intent to exist with in all of the consciousness which remained as ‘me' I was then faced with the problem of how to come back into form. I pondered and worked at the problem for what seemed like a very long time until I came to the conclusion that I had to ask for help.

Once I did ask, particles immediately began to coagulate in and around my consciousness and my journey back into human form began.

ZERO IS NECESSARY IN MATH.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: Good day to you John,

That is an amazing storing, I feel like it belongs in another topic conversation that I started.

http://www.ted.com/conversations/13896/do_we_think_as_a_being_whole_b.html

So you are saying that if you chose not to exist you would of reach the zero point of consciousness?
• #### John Allyn

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Sep 22 2012: No, I found myself reduced to a point of consciousness. From the out side a point has location relative to other points. When one is the consciousness reduced to a point the experience is to have no location because there is no contact, experience or relevance to anything else (another point), other wise one would be at least in the second dimension defined as a line between two points.. One as consciousness reduced to a point thus experiences being no where while still existing.

At this point, if one chooses to not exist, that is when one extinguishes to zero or absolute nothingness. Zero can not be a point because a point still has existence while not having form, only location.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: I agree that zero has no point that is why I think we should get rid of it as a starting point of our current concept of math. ie, 0,1,2,3

Since you are able to talk about it clearly and openly which I thank you. I have you been able to release the trauma that caused the suicide in the first place? How were you able to keep such a clear head and understanding of what happen to you? Did you open up your third eye to be able to see this unfold? Or was it always innately in you? If you would like to keep this more personal please feel free to email me at cs3@email.com
• #### John Allyn

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Sep 22 2012: Good point!

• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: You are confusing the representation of 0 as a place holder. If 0 money is no money at all, why when I add a 1 in front of no money do I now have 10 monies. You took something that was suppose to be the nothing and then made it something.
• #### John Moonstroller

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Sep 22 2012: Hey Casey. I see what your talking about now.

Cool Question. I would recommend a good book for starters you can get for free from the Library "Number One and I" by Isaac Asimov. He asks some really good questions, supplies answers and you don't have to be a Stanford Grad to understand what he's talking about.

Back to my reference to the f(x) = 1/x. This is simple arithmetic. you are dividing one number by another. In this case the divisor x can be any number it wants. So for simplicity sake we start with zero. BING. Division by zero is not allowed in Math; it is undefined, what ever that means.

So we let x be any other number greater than zero say point 1 quad zillion.
That's pretty small number. but at least it is greater than zero which we can't use. So the answer f(x) will be very large because we have divide 1 into a quad zillion little tiny parts. If we graph this on a x, y axis, y is very high up near the y axis and x is close to zero so it almost looks like a straight vertical line but it isn't, it's curved a tiny bit towards the x axis and the y axis. To make a long story short. X can't be zero but we can make it as large as we like say 1 quad zillion.

1/ 1(quad zillion) is a pretty small number but it is still an infinite distance from zero. no matter how large the divisor is, it will never ever come closer to zero than we can see with the naked eye. It defies our rationalization that a number can be so close to zero yet never ever reach zero.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_by_zero

Next time we will talk about Pi. Pi is an irrational number. It's called irrational number because it defies logic and doesn't make a lot of sense. :) Just kidding of course.
Later.
• #### Andres Aullet

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Sep 21 2012: Hi Casey,

I think that you are assuming that in science, there is such a thing as absolute right and absolute wrong, and that if one assumption or prediction of science turns out to be inaccurate, when compared to observed data, then the whole foundation must be absolutely wrong

I invite you to read this dissertation on the nature of right or wrong from the point of view of science

cheers
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 21 2012: Good day Andres,

I dont think about anything in absolutes, for I know I am absolutly perfect and absolutly imperfect. I am fully aware that eveything is theory.

The funny thing about that whole letter is that it was an syntax error that Isaac Asimov was arguing.

Thank you and I agree with what he is saying if we refine our math more we might find we need to get rid of zero as our starting point.
• #### Todd Levesque

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Sep 21 2012: well infinity is not a unit of measure. it is not an number or a time calculation or spacial designation. ( 0 ) is less than 1 hole unit but more than a negative unit. trying to compare the 2 is like saying will these truck tires fit on my snowmobile. its not the same thing. infinity was here before spacetime spilled out in to it. infinity is the void where the big bang happened. it has no numerical value, no mass or matter, no dimensions, yet people use it like it means the last day of existence. if you were to remove everything from a room there would still be things in there unless you pumped all the air out , but then the insides of the walls are in the room. so you cant truly have nothing in a room. its like well take a pickle jar fill it with marbles till you cant place one more in, its full yes ? no! now put sand in it till you cant put any more sand in now its full right ? no! now fill it up with water till you cant put any more water in and now its full. well as far as we know a liquid is the smallest particulate we have to deal with. so take 1 H20 atom cant see it , cant measure it, but its there does it classify as 1 for one unit of water or .000000000001 for its percentage of gram?
• #### Casey Christofaris

• +1
Sep 21 2012: I am saying that zero should not be a unit of measurement outside of conceptually because its easier on the brain, yes 1 h2o atom is something not nothing would you call it water I don't know I don't see why you wouldn't. But shouldn't that be where we start counting at the begin, at say the 1 atom I would suggest yes. (would I want to do that math hell no). Really that's amazing how can people take the term infinity as last day of existence. They clearly do not have a good grasp on infinity as a constant continuum....never ending.

See my thoughts on the big bang
http://www.ted.com/conversations/13537/the_big_bang_didn_t_really_hap.html
• #### John Moonstroller

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Sep 22 2012: How about a little logic: ;)

Logic is your thing right Casey?

If in the beginning there was nothing, would there not be nothing right now?

To me this implies that there never was a time when nothing existed.

With this thought in mind now I have to assume that something has always existed. :)

What does that say about something, if it has always existed?

Casey said "It is energy my good friend...." I'll buy some of that and put it in my tank.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: It is energy my good friend for it can neither be created or destroyed. All that exist and all that does exist is energy in its infinite form.
• #### John Moonstroller

• +1
Sep 22 2012: You said: "As humans we like to pick arbitrary units of measurement as a whole and then work our way backwards or forward."
Not necessarily do we pick arbitrary units of measurement. When I'm measuring from the floor up to see where I want to place a return air grill on the hallway wall, I like to start at a reference point, usually zero, and mark the point where the bottom of the grill will be then the top. I do the same when moving from the doorway to the farthermost side of grill. Having a zero comes in pretty handy.

Looking at the rest or your argument, it has more to do with different quantities associated with different qualities, none of which I can see the argument to get rid of Zero.

I think it's a good thing we can reference the fact that something is below freezing and how far below it it is. If the negative is a problem we don't use it to say minus 4 degrees we say it's 4 degrees below freezing.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: Oh that another discussion. As humans we like to pick arbitrary units of measurement as a whole and then work our way backwards of forward. This makes it similar and easy to understand. So lets take the above example: "well as far as we know a liquid is the smallest particulate we have to deal with. so take 1 H20 atom cant see it , cant measure it, but its there does it classify as 1 for one unit of water or .000000000001 for its percentage of gram?"~ Todd Levesque

Instead of starting at the gram and then working down to the partial we should work up from the partial. The one H2O particle should be our start point for the beginning of our measurement of measuring water. Would I ever want to do that math no, did we know about particle when our current math system was started no. Should we re-exam our math to get rid of negative numbers probably. Because as we both know know if you cannot reach 0 on scale how would you ever reach -1.
• #### Rick Ryan

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Sep 20 2012: Mathematics (numbers) in and of themselves are purely abstract concepts. They are essentially meaningless until you "attach" them to something in existance, or an accepted belief of something that may exist.

As an abstract concept example, we only believe that "2>1" (2 is greater than 1) because we all agree that it is. But when we start "attaching" things to those same numbers in an attempt to understand relationships, we have to adjust our thinking about what the value of those numbers represent.

For instance, can I prove that "1>3" (1 is greater than 3)? Yes...sort of.

"1 DOLLAR is greater than 3 QUARTERS". Of course, this only applies if I understand that I am talking about the "purchasing power" (sic) of the total money we are trying to develop a relationship between.

It is "false" if I am saying 1 dollar BILL is "greater" (numerically) than 3 quarter COINS. So, where does "zero" fit in? Good question. As a totally abstract concept, zero is no more important than any other number that is not "assigned" or "attached" to anything. It would be meaningless for me to say I have "2 nothings". Yet, as Fritzie showed, it is a necessary "symbol" to allow our mathematics to "work", even if it is just a placeholder. The "symbol" you suggested to replace "zero" would be nothing more than the equivalent of any other symbol...it would still be an abstract representation of the "number" (and the concept of zero).

Now, whether the concept of "nothing " existing means we don't need to have a symbol to represent that, I'm hesitant to agree with that idea. "Nothing" is still a concept, and it appears to play a significant role in our understanding of "everything".
• #### Frans Kellner

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Sep 20 2012: You could well be right.

Greek sages also pondered long and wide whether one was a number or zero had any substance.

There's only one (being) and zero (being not).

Counting starts if you devide 1. Two halves, three thirds, etc.
If we put names on certain things we can count whether we have one piece with that name or two pieces and so on.
So we start to count with two because if there isn't a second thing with that name there is no need for any counting.

For this they thought two to be the first number for if you have two apples and you eat one of them, there's only one left and the only reason to define that number as one is because there once where two apples.

We humans measure the world and the whole universe against our body and need numbers to compare unities of all sorts.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 20 2012: Yes I agree although getting people to start at 2 instead of one would be even harder to get mass acceptance. I am just trying to get people to see that zero should be in the same realm as infinity. A concept that can not be proven. Specially if all there is is energy. We would have to completely get rid of all energy. Which as far as my science has taught me is not possible.
• #### natasha nikulina

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Sep 20 2012: Zero is infinity. I like Kurt Vonnegut expression :
Everything is nothing with a twist.
In Platonic language zero/nothing is where everything is potential and nothing actual , no thing , but it doesn't mean no energy. Maybe the opposite , nothingness is full and fertile, it's where everything came from.
• #### Fritzie -

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Sep 20 2012: I think I am not following. Zero is very useful in allowing us to work with place value and thereby represent large numbers.

For example, we can write 101 to represent our having one hundred, no tens, and one one/unit.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 20 2012: 101 does not mean the same thing as one hundred and absolutely nothing and one. there the zero is a place holder so now we have a number which is meant to mean the existence of nothing, becoming something. and I am fine with it as a place holder and conceptually. My problem is you cannot count something that is not there. Would you be ok with representing it as 1∞1 or 1∞ as ten and so on and so forth.
• #### Fritzie -

• +1
Sep 20 2012: No, I could not represent the number that way, as zero and infinity are not the same. If you are willing to accept negative numbers, zero falls mid-way between -1 and 1. Infinity very much does not.
• #### John Smith

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Sep 20 2012: Math is actually the only field where you can really prove something. Don't ask "do numbers x and y really exist in nature?", ask "does the act of subtraction of x from y in math correspond to patterns in nature?", the answer is yes.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 20 2012: I would counter with show me absolute zero, or nothing even a black whole is something. Zero should be seen as infinity is seen. Conceptually represented but not proven.
• #### Evan S

• +1
Sep 21 2012: You seem to incorrectly equate zero units of something with an absolute void of everything.

I can show you a box with absolutely zero apples but that does not mean that there is nothing in the box.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 21 2012: Its not the units I have a problem with, conceptually zero unit apples is great. I can show you a box that is completely empty as far as the eye/mind can see and quantum physics will tell you that is is over flowing with sub partials. And is not even close to being empty yet that is what the eye and mind see. This is where my problem is
• #### Evan S

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Sep 21 2012: Bear with me while I try to understand what you're getting at.

Why are there "conceptually zero" apples in the box and not an actual zero apples?
If there are no apples in the box why is that lack of apples just a conceptual zero?
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 21 2012: You actually already mentioned this you can have a box with no apples in it but that doesn't mean that there is nothing in the box. We have need to use the word, symbol, label for other form or idea of what nothing is, but as soon as nothing in every sense of the word is observed, it is no longer nothing. And Zero is suppose to represent the idea of nothing. Much like infinity represents a constant continuum. Would you represent the first thing that ever existed as 1 or as zero. If you say one then you started counting at 1 and not zero. For there is nothing to count at zero.

I hope that helped if not ask away and I will do my best to at least try to get you to see my point whether or not you believe it in the end that is your choice.

Also we need the conceptual zero apple for computer programming and such. But we are not computers. I don't need to know that you had zero apples to now understand that you have 1 apple.
• #### Evan S

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Sep 21 2012: You seem to be saying that because there isn't total void, the concept of zero doesn't translate into reality. With the empty apple box I was pointing out that the concept of zero does translate.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 21 2012: yeah 100% the empty apple box does "translate to zero apples" but as we both agreed (I think) that does not mean that the box is empty or void of all that is
• #### John Smith

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Sep 22 2012: "I would counter with show me absolute zero"

Like Evan Steiner said, zero doesn't have to represent an empty void. Zero is just halfway the distance between -1 and 1. Numbers don't exist, but the relations between them as described in math are real patterns in nature.

The Celsius and Kelvin scales demonstrate the principle: you can choose to call the lowest possible temperature "273" and the boiling point of water under 1 atmosphere of pressure "+100" (Celsius), or you can call the lowest temp. "0" and the boiling point "373" (Kelvin). We can assign different numerical values to the same temp. because all that matters is the relations between them, not what actual values we like to assign them.
• #### Casey Christofaris

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Sep 22 2012: That's my point there is no such thing as absolute zero thats why I think it should be in the realm of infinity and taken out of our math as a starting point for math. Yes but swap out zero with the word infinity and I think you would have a problem with that. ∞, 1,2,3,4......,9, 1∞ ,.....99,1∞ ∞ . No one would do this they would find it ridiculous. When we wrote out the time line going from b.c. to a.c. why is there no year 0?