Category: Mathematics
Of course algorithms are biased
June 25, 2016  Posted by News under Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, Mind, News 
From Nanette Byrnes at Technology Review: We seem to be idolizing algorithms, imagining they are more objective than their creators. The dustup over Facebook’s “trending topics” list and its possible liberal bias hit such a nerve that the U.S. Senate called on the company to come up with an official explanation, and this week COO […]
At Quanta: Is infinity real?
June 18, 2016  Posted by News under Cosmology, Mathematics, News 
From Pradeep Mutalik here: Three puzzles test whether the concept of infinity has purchase in the physical world. Editor’s note: The reader who submits the most interesting, creative or insightful solution (as judged by the columnist) in the comments section will receive a Quanta Magazine Tshirt. More. Readers can always submit here if they wish. […]
Logic, Math & Morality
June 5, 2016  Posted by William J Murray under Ethics, Intelligent Design, Mathematics 
This is an expansion of a post of mine from another thread. Hat tip to HeKS for bringing the debate around to Ontology vs Epistemology. In another thread, Seversky rejects the objective nature of morality based on the fact you cannot prove its existence or specific values like you can, say, the speed of light […]
Bill Dembski’s new online book on inspired learning
May 19, 2016  Posted by News under Books of interest, Education, Mathematics 
It Takes Ganas: Jaime Escalante’s secret to inspired learning Great teachers are typically unknown beyond the immediate circle of their students, colleagues, and families. That was not the case with Jaime Escalante. Escalante taught calculus with outstanding success at Garfield High, in a tough Hispanic neighborhood of East Lost Angeles. Escalante’s success was portrayed in […]
If math is not real, BS stats are okay. Right?
April 29, 2016  Posted by News under Mathematics, News 
Why do people who think math is just something humans evolved to relate to our world (and has only an accidental relationship with correctness) think it is important if statistics are just made up? Clearly they do care (language warning), as is evident from an interview with stats critic Tim Harford More or Less at […]
Either science or naturalism will win
April 27, 2016  Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Mathematics 
The response to Barry’s recent post, How Did Mathematics Come to be Woven Into the Fabric of Reality? pretty much lays bare the issues: “Why is the universe we live in connected by an unreasonably beautiful, elegant and effective mathematical structure?” The naturalist says we just evolved to see the world as making sense, but […]
How Did Mathematics Come to be Woven Into the Fabric of Reality?
April 25, 2016  Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design, Mathematics 
We all learned pi in school in the context of circles. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number approximated by 3.14. It turns out that pi shows up all over the place, not just in circles. Here is just one instance. Take a piece of paper […]
Nature prefers squares?
April 11, 2016  Posted by News under Design inference, Mathematics, News 
Recently, we noted a claim that nature prefers hexagons, but a reader has written in to say that nature prefers squares. He adduces in evidence: Science published an interesting paper last year about the fact that the square shape of the seahorse tail creates a robust, rigid, yet flexible tail, more so than the typical […]
Nature prefers hexagons, but why?
April 9, 2016  Posted by News under Design inference, Mathematics, News, Physics 
Says Philip Ball at Nautilus: The ancient Greek philosopher Pappus of Alexandria thought that the bees must be endowed with “a certain geometrical forethought.” And who could have given them this wisdom, but God? According to William Kirby in 1852, bees are “Heaveninstructed mathematicians.” Charles Darwin wasn’t so sure, and he conducted experiments to establish […]
“Average” beats “median” in headline news
April 8, 2016  Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Mathematics, News 
And that’s not a good thing for understanding numbers, says Priceonomics: Many analysts believe that the unthinking use of the average damages our understanding of quantitative information. This is because when people look at averages, they think it is “the norm”. But in reality, it might be highly impacted by just one huge outlier. Imagine […]
New Scientist vs. William Lane Craig on infinity explanations
March 25, 2016  Posted by News under Cosmology, Mathematics, News 
Not to start up the infinity battle again (okay, maybe we are … ), from New Scientist: Explanimator: Does infinity exist in the real world? … Some mathematicians are trying to rebuild the foundations of mathematics without the infinite. But if there is a biggest number, what would happen when you add one to it? […]
We didn’t know randomness could be “subtle”
March 22, 2016  Posted by News under Mathematics, News 
From Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: Erica Klarreich at Quanta has the story of a surprising new result about prime numbers from Kannan Soundararajan and Rober Lemke Oliver. They have found that, given a prime number with a certain last digit, there are different probability for the last digit of the next one (among […]
Why the Scientific Imagination Matters
March 13, 2016  Posted by johnnyb under Mathematics, Naturalism, Philosophy, Science 
One common criticism of the upcoming Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism conference has been that “scientists just follow the evidence where it leads.” Even among fellow ID’ers who disagree with methodological naturalism, they find it difficult to envision why we would need an alternative that is different from “just go with the evidence.” The answer is […]
Philosophy makes kids smarter in math
March 11, 2016  Posted by News under Culture, Education, Mathematics, News, Philosophy, Science 
And literacy. From qz: Nine and 10yearold children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students showing the most significant gains, according to a large and welldesigned study (pdf). More than 3,000 kids in 48 schools […]
Infinity at Starbucks: Starring Laszlo Bencze and Art Battson
March 7, 2016  Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Mathematics, Philosophy 
Philosopher and photographer Laszlo Bencze was complaining to us recently, The real problem with infinity as I have come to realize is not the mathematics and logic of it. Rather it’s that just about everybody has a firm opinion on the topic. Yes they do. Average people who haven’t cracked a math text since they […]
Turning animals half into geometry
March 2, 2016  Posted by News under Culture, Intelligent Design, Mathematics, News 
From Mashable: The geometric wonders are by Kerby Rosanes, an illustrator from the Philippines, who wields an ink pen and plastic compass like a straightedge wizard. More of Rosanes’ work can be found on his Society6 page and Instagram. See also: At PBS: Puzzle of mathematics is more complex than we sometimes think Follow UD […]
FYIFTR: On Ehrlich’s unified overview of numbers great and small (HT: DS)
February 29, 2016  Posted by kairosfocus under FYIFTR, Logic and First Principles of right reason, Mathematics, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society, Selective Hyperskepticism, Stirring the pot (tentative thoughts/explorations) 
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Over the past month in response to a suggestion on an infinite temporal past (and the counter argument that such is dubious), there has been quite an exchange on numbers. In that context, it is worth headlining FYI/FTR, HT DS, a unification with continuum — oops, link — based on surreals discussed by Ehrlich: where […]
Durston and Craig on an infinite temporal past . . .
January 31, 2016  Posted by kairosfocus under Atheism, Darwinist rhetorical tactics, Mathematics, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society, Stirring the pot (tentative thoughts/explorations) 
In recent days, the issue of an infinite temporal past as a step by step causal succession has come up at UD. For, it seems the evolutionary materialist faces the unwelcome choice of a cosmos from a true nothing — nonbeing or else an actually completed infinite past succession of finite causal steps. Durston: >>To […]
An infinite past?
In the current UD thread on Darwinism and an infinite past, there has been an exchange on Spitzer’s argument that it is impossible to traverse an infinite past to arrive at the present. Let me share and headline what is in effect the current state of play: DS, 108: >>KF, DS, ticking clocks meet dying […]
Overwhelming evidence is a bad thing?
January 15, 2016  Posted by News under Culture, Darwinism, Intelligent Design, Mathematics, News 
Yes, in certain ways, says mathematician at the University of Adelaide. From Science Daily: The old adage that says ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ has finally been put to the test — mathematically. A team of researchers has found that overwhelming evidence without a dissenting opinion can in fact […]