Lack of faith is not a kind of faith
Posted Aug 19, 2012 21:55 UTC (Sun) by man_ls
In reply to: There speaks the true believer
Parent article: Garzik: An Andre To Remember
Sorry, too much for me; I will bite. I do not recognize that mathematics is any kind of religion.
Mathematics is a religion, you say? How can the derivation from a set of axioms and rules to a number of theorems be a religion? Mathematics says nothing about the nature of the Universe. To use a common example, our space may be Euclidean, hyperbolic or elliptic; if it is Euclidean then Euclid's postulates and conclusions will hold, and not otherwise, but maths do not (and cannot) say which.
The fact that mathematics can accurately represent some phenomena of our physical world, or rather the fact that our physical laws can be represented mathematically, is just an exponent of some kind of objectivity in the world: things sometimes work in a way that can be deduced from a few axioms. Is it a lucky coincidence or some kind of superior powers at work that makes integers behave according to Peano axioms? Maths do not go there.
There is certainly nothing to believe or to worship in mathematical laws, and few people since Pythagoras have done so. If there are still some people who believe in mathematics with some kind of enthusiasm bordering in religious fervor, then good for them; axioms and theorems do not need people to believe in them to work, contrary to most religions.
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