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02-22-2011 - Is math reality?

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Is reality described by mathematics, or is mathematics reality? Our equations can model reality with high precision. Just because there may be too much data to analyze does not mean that it is mathematically uncertain. The heart of the question is this: Are events mathematically determined and brought into existence as an expression of mathematical underpinnings, or are events and the constituent particles completely unaware of any mathematical constraints and simply a product of governing physical laws? Does math create the universe or does existence result in mathematically relevant descriptions of said universe?

Mathematics is a language that describes our universe very well, but is it just a language? If it is, it is tightly coupled to real phenomenon.

Sometimes it helps to look at boundary conditions or extreme cases. What about us? Are we mathematically determined? Are our thoughts the result of a series of variables and equations? The truth is that we probably could be mathematicaly determined to a large extent, but free will and choice introduce large-scale unknowns and uncertainties rendering the math inaccurate. The uncertainty principle may play this role for inanimate objects. As another example, the interior of black holes are not part of the observable universe and mathematics breaks down in these regions.

It appears that mathematics limits it's own applicability. If the solution is undefined, the math doesn't help and we must look deeper. At the same time, the unknowns and singularities generated by the math point directly at what isn't quite understood, yet. There is recent evidence that the physical laws governing space may vary over large distances. This means that reality may be different in different parts of the universe. This would imply that the mathematical constants in the equations are variables meaning that "reality" is not a constant.

Membranes, or M-Theory, a mathematical construct used to peer beyond the Big Bang, is one theory that lets us see outside the observable universe for the first time. Like all theories of this type, they are impossible to prove since we can't get outside the universe. Math is universally capable, but not an all-seeing oracle. An alternative is that we haven't attained the mathematical mastery required to get beyond the presently undefined solutions generated by the equations.

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