Archives for posts with tag: Math

During the school year when I should be writing papers, catching up on my academic readings, or beginning any number of projects that need to get finished, I am as usual overthinking completely irrelevant and useless pieces of knowledge. In this instance, it has been the Monty Hall problem.

For those that don’t know, the Monty Hall problem is a mathematical brain teaser that proves that up is down, black is white, and chaos is the fundamental nature of the universe. To briefly summarize, there are three doors, and behind one of them is a prize. You pick any door, and without revealing anything, one of the remaining two doors will be opened to unveil the not-prize. You are asked to choose again, and there is now a 2/3 chance the prize will be behind the last, unpicked door. You have a better shot of getting the prize if you switch your answer from the original choice. Like I said, chaos.


From Wikipedia: Maths!

Anyway, this voodoo of probability increases with additional doors. So if you pick between ten doors, and eight of them reveal the not-prize, you have a 9/10 chance of getting the prize if you switch your answer. What if we increase the number of doors to infinite? There are infinite doors, you pick one, and then all but two doors are eliminated: the one you picked, and a second door. Maths say that there is a 100% certainty of the prize being behind the other door. Now, we could use this as a point of contention in the never-ending 0.999… equals 1 debate, or we could just accept that it is literally impossible to not be behind the second door.

What this means in practical terms is that when you are faced with a universe full of opportunity and choices, you will, with mathematical inevitability, make the wrong decision. Thanks Maths!

The traditional worship of the gods of the Greek pantheon has all but ended in our scientific modernity, yet their influence has never waned. They have merely slipped from memory, bygones of a superstitious era when humans were believed to be primitive in their comprehension of the universe. However, the governance of our universe still remains in their divine hands. For what is 299 792 458 m/s if not shining Helios, riding his chariot across the universe, illuminating our world. Who is unseen Hades if not 6.626070040(81)×10−34 J⋅s, the ruler of the underworld, governing its chaos. Although his time as the lord of all the Olympic gods has concluded, mighty Zeus still hurls his thunderbolts as 1.6021766208(98)×10−19 C. Uranus, father of Cronus, holds together the heavens as 6.674×10−11 N⋅m2/kg2, while his wife, 9.80665 m/s2, mother Gaia, rules our home of Earth. Though much less capricious, these immortal and immutable gods still define our understanding of the universe surrounding us. We still worship them in awe and wonder, we’ve just forgotten their names.

I know what you’re thinking. Everything is science! When an apple falls from a tree, that’s science. When the morning sun crests over the horizon  welcoming a new day, the earth’s rotation and the sun’s rays refracting through the atmosphere create a beautiful sunrise: that’s science. How can somebody not believe in a sunrise? Well, the sunrise can suck it.

Science was invented when people discovered that perception was flawed. You put a stick in water, and it looks like it bends. Reality has made you look foolish by telling your brain to interpret this straight stick as bendy. Since reality likes to laugh right in our faces at how stupid we are, we invented science in order to wage unholy war against it. But first, we needed to make something up in order to create science, and what we came up with was numbers.

You see, numbers don’t actually exist. There is no evidence of numbers in nature. Numbers are a human construct created in order to understand the universe. There are ten fingers on our hands only because we created the concept of the number ten in order to explain those silly pointy things sticking out of the end part of our arms.

A byproduct of this human creation is time. There are no days; we just live on a spinny orb thingy that occasionally faces something really bright and hot. Matter moves about, decays, and dies, and we came up with this neato little tool called time in order to measure that transformation of matter. However, it’s not actually real, it’s just a thing we came up with to explain why sometimes it’s dark and sometimes it’s light, and why when you throw enough of those dark/light thingies together, eventually you’ll die. I guess we found these explanations soothing.

The most critical aspect of science is measuring things. If there was no measurement, there would be no science. However, all forms of measurement, be they physical or chronological, are human constructions. They’re made up. They’re not real. And since they are our own fictions, the rules that we create for them will work 100% of the time because they exist within their own realm of abstract thought. 2 + 2 = 4 because our concept of the number two, and another of our concept of the number two add up to the abstract concept known as the number four. Pi works for finding out shit about circles because the circle is a mathematical construction created within the realm of numbers; ie. it doesn’t exist. It’s the equivalent of saying that Jesus Christ can be both the God and the son of God at the same time because within the realm of Christianity, those concepts make sense. God + Son of God + Holy Spirit = God. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because you are not approaching it from within the realm of Christianity.

The rules of math work within the realm of math, just as the rules of Christianity work within the realm of Christianity. The mathematician will point to a single rock and say, that is one rock, and the Christian will point to the rock and say that it is a creation of the Lord and it took Him a day to do it. Meanwhile, reality will say it’s just a rock.

Scientists even know this. Any scientific theory, when applied to actual reality rather than safely residing on a piece of thesis, will necessarily have a margin of error. To calculate something perfectly is impossible, due to the fictional nature of our measuring tools, and accommodation must be made for this if a practical use of science is to be implemented.

Think of real life. You can tell a person from Siberia what warmth is, and even if they fully understand how speeding up particles will increase their temperature, they won’t actually understand until they move to literally anywhere else and experience it. Think of meeting a pretty new girl (or boy, I just happen to be a boy so this gendered story works for me). Is liking her a series of complicated chemical reactions in the brain, or is it listening to the same song over and over because it reminds you of her, and waking up each morning and having your first thoughts be of her?

A sunrise isn’t science; science is only the explanation of the sunrise. A sunrise is a sunrise. Explanations are interchangeable. Liking a pretty girl can be explained either by chemical reactions in the brain, or by Eros shooting you with an arrow. Within the paradigm of each, the rules will always make sense. It is life that is constant. It is life that is real.

Post-script: I anticipate (and genuinely hope) that science nerds will get upset over this. I’m not saying that science is a bad explanation. Science is actually a very good explanation. However, it is only an explanation, and my point is that life should take precedence over the explanations for it, because explanations all have inherent flaws within them.