A friend draws attention to an old paper, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics vs. Evolution” (The American Mathematical Monthly Volume 87 Number 2 February 1980) by R. W. Hamming:
If you recall that modern science is only about 400 years old, and that there have been from 3 to 5 generations per century, then there have been at most 20 generations since Newton and Galileo. If you pick 4,000 years for the age of science, generally, then you get an upper bound of 200 generations. Considering the effects of evolution we are looking for via selection of small chance variations, it does not seem to me that evolution can explain more than a small part of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.
Conclusion. From all of this I am forced to conclude both that mathematics is unreasonably effective and that all of the explanations I have given when added together simply are not enough to explain what I set out to account for. I think that we-meaning you, mainly-must continue to try to explain why the logical side of science-meaning mathematics, mainly-is the proper tool for exploring the universe as we perceive it at present. I suspect that my explanations are hardly as good as those of the early Greeks, who said for the material side of the question that the nature of the universe is earth, fire, water, and air. The logical side of the nature of the universe requires further exploration. More.
One sign of Darwinism’s hold on the imagination is that these subjects are never honestly discussed. Rather, most of the academic herd is quieted and difficult animals are threatened.
We are told both that we did not evolve so as to understand reality and that we ought to regard science as a sort of candle in the dark. This won’t work and few dare to think beyond it.
See also: Reader: Weirdness of infinity shows that the universe is not infinitely old
Is celeb number pi “normal”? No. If it were, it wouldn’t be a celeb. It would be down there with 318.
Absolute zero proven mathematically impossible?
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