TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

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

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

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

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

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.
    • thumb
      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.
      • 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.
        • thumb
          Oct 9 2012: i have replied twice but the internet keeps eating my reply
        • thumb
          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.
        • thumb
          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.
        • thumb
          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
    • Comment deleted

      • 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.
      • 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.
        • thumb
          Oct 10 2012: Mark,

          You read me, and write like a finely tuned violin. And I thank you ....Thank you
        • thumb
          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
      • thumb
        Oct 12 2012: Mark,

        What David is talking about in the WOI about cause and effect could be better refined as balance.
      • thumb
        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?
      • thumb
        Oct 12 2012: Yes please keep me informed about what David says. And I will wait for those emails to arrive!
      • 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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.