Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | March 11, 2009

Math, Physics, relativism, and Objective Truth

(speaks with Eastern European accent)

One of the great mis-conceptions of the world is that being a mathematician or a scientist somehow automatically makes you an atheist. My studies have only confirmed what I believe and my passion for the Truth.

If you’re looking for a scholarly article, this isn’t it, but it’s a matter of my own reflections upon what I’ve learned, what I’ve been taught, and using my individual mind to understand certain principles.

In Mathematics, numbers have 3 principle comparisons any two numbers a and b can have.

1. a b
3. a = b

The question becomes, how are these 3 situations possible, are they possible just by mathematical fiat? Did these principles just appear out of the sky and say, yeah, this is how it’s going to be?

There is one great assumption that’s made throughout all of Mathematics and many students don’t even realize this fact. But that I’ll point out later. First I’d like to point out a few things

def: relativism: that there does not exist in any fashion objective Truth. All is left to the individual to decide whether it’s via culture, or any subjective understanding, that facts can not be known. Not to be confused with difference of opinion.

The major problem with such a position is that all that you know around you does not exist. To not have an objective standard of which to base things, ideas, etc, means absolutely nothing can exist. You, me, anything, let me get across what I mean.

Eg. 1: I say that 2 is greater than 1. Another person walks up to me and says you’re a liar, 1 is greater than 2. Via the principle of contradiction, someone must be right. Of course in relativism, there does not exist a principle of contradiction, since everyone is right. There can not be a constructive dialogue without some sort of construct as to how to settle this debate…More on this later.

Eg 2: I say 2 x 2 = 4, My Modern Algebra teacher now says 2 x 2 = 0 in Z2*. This situation would make relativists happy since both people are correct in this situation. Ergo, there must not be objective truth. right?

What they forget to tell you in most situations with the principle of contradiction, is that they must be describing the same situation same group, in order for a contradiction to exist.

*I don’t make this up. This is group theory in Abstract (Modern) Algebra. Multiplication is a binary operation (involves 2 numbers a and b) that exists over all groups of numbers (Integers, Rational, Irrational, Natural, Whole, Real, Imaginary, Complex).

The situation that’s being described in 2 x 2 = 0 is completely different than the situation that’s being described in 2 x 2 = 4. In one situation, we are describing what happens when the elements of the group are multiplied to get back the “group” when you multiply 2 elements in the zero group, you’re going to get a number that’s in the zero group. (We label groups zero and down).

In the other situation you’re describing the numerical result of what happens when you add 2 twice. You get 4 of course. Now again, how this happens, I’ll get to a bit later in this discussion.

Eg 3: My favorite law from physics is the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states: within a closed, isolated system, energy may change form, but the total amount of energy must remain constant. A coallary to this law is a spherical body must maintain the smallest energy level due to the ratio of its surface area to volume.

Now for you man made global warming lovers out there, let me quickly explain this without using Calculus (I know pretty much everyone here except for Digi, Aleya and maybe one or 2 others of you are going to have headaches trying to read this). If There is some sort of increase that’s not naturally caused, the above principle is contradicted. That is to say, the radius of the earth, or some factor would be DECREASING (Again, I’m not putting the Calculus up to show you this, but if you really want to see it, ask me, I’ll write it out for you and send it (Math symbols don’t look anywhere near as cool typed out). That’d mean the spherical body would NOT be maintaining the smallest energy to run the system. (Now of course there are naturally varying margins of error, since it’s a spherical body, and does behave in a square sinusoidal type manner), but there can not be such a situation outside of this.

Many say that facts can not be known. Which is of course a restatement of relativism, the definition that I gave earlier.

If facts (deriving from the Latin factus, Made) can not be known, what conclusions does that allow us to draw? I made allusion to some of them earlier:

a. the world around you does not exist
b. there does not exist need for law
c. there does not exist need for morals
d. no rules for mathematics, sciences, liberal arts, etc.

In otherwords, no longer is the sky blue, the sun shining, clothes, life, your friends, no longer are in existence. Why?

Answer’s very simple, all things are now relative. And since there’s no truth, and it’s all left to the individual for every little detail. So, now I by fiat say you have no friends, since there’s no definition of what a friend is. I now can say you know that thing you call the sun, I call annoying, and you can’t correct me since all things are now relative. (insert fake meningeal laugh)

Society would have zero possible way of progressing, they’d be in endless circle just trying to define a word they couldn’t define. Anarchy would rule the day literally in this case, since remember all things are relative, there must not be need for existence of law or anything.

Would that situation really be what you want? I can not say that there’s any person on the planet that truly wants total anarchy. You can’t have structure in one place, and not in another. It makes absolutely no sense to have such an opinion. It doesn’t matter whether the subject be my favorite (math and physics) or religion, or anything for that matter, if structure does not exist, you die. Here’s a new twist on “Survival of the fittest” for you.

Numbers are not some how intrinsically born with these properties of > , 1/0

Now, what did I say in the above? that any number divided by zero is infinity. right? Well, yes, but watch this.

2/0 is the same as 2 x (1/0) > 1/0 = 2 > 1. Hence the idea of infinities being larger than another (but that’s outside the scope of my post)

The point being that I’m trying to raise is that some will say just because one thing can not be found via reason, that it MUST apply universally. The exactly same approach is used with relativism. It’s true on an individual merit case, that is to say, you and I like different things, but that can not be applied on universal level to the whole of a situation.

We do not have the answer to every question on the planet. Either the why OR the how.

Eg: How many of you guys know about lightning? All of you right, you’ve seen it come down, some people may have been hit by it.

There is still debate going on in the scientific community as to HOW lightning happens. It’s not just an accepted fact that it’s mix of electric fields and combination of pressure. This debate is going to constantly continue. We have ways of describing many different processes, but just because they apply to one situation, doesn’t mean they apply to another. As I like to say, I don’t know is an acceptable answer in any field. ESPECIALLY Math and Physics.


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