Mathmatics and Anthropology

Leo Thomas Walsh (ai653@KSU.KSU.EDU)
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 14:07:34 -0600

I have recently been challenged to defend my view that when a scientific
"proof" or other such statement of scientific "truth" is held to be
unconditionally true that it then turns into a religious belief. To me,
science _must_ try to falsify itself to be considered science. To say
that F=ma for all forces, every time, is a religious statement.
Religions, in general, often end inquiries with the explanation that "it
is God's will" and that is the end of it. If you didn't know, a Force
does not equal the mass times the acceleration for every case. It is only
an approximation that works well in classical physics. Yet there are
students of various "technical" fields that "believe" in F=ma. I have
seen them. Now for what math has to do with. It was brought to attention
that Mathmatical proofs are constantly proven to be infalable. The method
for obtaining these proofs are purely logical. Using my definition of a
"scientific/religious" belief, then these proofs are religious. They are
the absolute truth. A very simple example might be: what is the
derivative of x squared? The answer is 2x. There is no doubt about it.
But there is doubt about there being gravity as we normally conceive. How
can math be so accurate and yet remain unreligious? I am not willing to
accept it as religious. Has anyone done an Anthropological study of
math? Does anyone see any errors in my statement? I had thought that it
worked until the example of math was brought to my attention. I have
taken several Calculus courses as well as some advance Physics, but I am
not intematley familiar with Math. There are levels in Math that I can't
even begin to understand right now. Can anyone out there help me?
Leo T. Walsh (