Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Stephen Barnard (
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 04:14:18 -0800

Mark K. Bilbo wrote:
> I've always thought the routine of questioning why nature "follows"
> mathematics to be a silly one. It's the other way around. Where do people
> think we obtained mathematics to begin with, K-Mart? <g>

It's not at all clear that nature "follows" mathematics or that mathematics
"follows" nature. There are plenty of things in mathematics that seem to have
no counterpart in the natural world. The main question, which is very much up
in the air, is whether mathematics is an arbitrary "invention" of man
(personally, I doubt it), or whether it is a "discovery" of man that has been
out there waiting to be discovered all along (much more likely, IMHO). How
likely is it that some intelligent extraterrestrials have invented an
arithmetic fundamentally inconsistent with our own?

> What I find personally curious is the possible implications of Goedel's
> work on the models of reality the human mind creates. They are rather
> formal systems and, from where I sit at least, it seems that those folks
> who believe their model of the universe to be complete are pretty far out
> in left field (check out Falwell sometime <g>).

I agree withn that.

> And if mathematics follows nature, did Goedel discover that the universe is
> incomplete or that our perceptions of the universe always are?
> Mark

As I've said before, I don't think Godel's Incompleteness Theorem says much at
all about how the world really works. It does, however, call into serious
question the foundations of deductive reasoning, and therefore the ultimate
power of the deductive method.

Steve Barnard