It is a deeper question than some might suppose:

The idea has more recently been given a modern formulation by Max Tegmark who called it the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis.

Tegmark’s hypothesis is actually more, shall we say, grandiose. He doesn’t just claim that actually reality is math but that all math is real. Not just the math that we use in the theories that describe our observations, but all of it. The exponential function, Mandelbrot sets, the number 18, they’re all real as you and I. If you believe Tegmark.

But should you believe Tegmark? Well, as we have seen earlier, the justification we have for calling some mathematical structures real is that they describe what we observe. This means we have no rationale for talking about the reality of mathematics that does not describe what we observe, therefore the mathematical universe hypothesis isn’t scientific. This is generally the case for all types of the multiverse. The physicists who believe in this argue that unobservable universes are real because they are in their math. But just because you have math for something doesn’t mean it’s real. You can just assume it’s real, but this is unnecessary to describe what we observe and therefore unscientific.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Are we made of math? Is math real?[article title]” atBackRe(Action)

There is mathematics to prove that the universe is shaped like a leprechaun’s hat.

All that said, a bigger question looms. We are able to understand mathematics but why are we? Something is missing from a discussion of whether math is real apart from that.

*See also:* The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Unnecessary to describe what

whoobserves and experiences? Does he have a mouse in his pocket?This is the same fallacy that KF falls prey to when he refers to “common experience;” the projection of one’s own set of experiences as inclusive and definitive for everyone by using the word “we.” Many, many people directly, fully experience other “universes,” other “realities.” These arrogant proclamations of “we” are absurdly egoic.

In the title of her article, Hossenfelder asks two questions, “Are we made of math?” and “Is math real?”

To her last question first, “Is math real?” (I will leave her first question “Are we made of math?” for a later post)

Math is not “real” in the sense that we can pick up, say, Pythagoras’s theorem, hold it in our hands, smell it, taste it, etc…,,

We can make physical objects that approximate ‘real’ triangles fairly closely, but that is not Pythagoras’s theorem in and of itself. Which is to say, we grasp the “real essence” of Pythagoras’s theorem solely by faculty of our immaterial minds, not by any physical objects that exist in nature, nor by any objects that we may make to approximate Pythagoras’s theorem.

As Michael Egnor stated, “Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,”

And although, (since we can find no experimental deviation from the mathematical descriptions of General Relativity, Quantum Electrodynamics, and/or the Amplituhedron), I would politely disagree with Dr. Egnor’s overall claim that no mathematical object has a “precise instantiation in nature”, never-the-less, Dr. Egnor’s main point about Mathematics being entirely about concepts of the immaterial mind is spot on.

To further solidify the fact that ‘immaterial’ mathematics must be a product of the immaterial mind, it is important to note that, “the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.,”

And as James Franklin challenged Atheistic Naturalists, “the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,”

The fact that ‘immaterial’ mathematics must be a product of the immaterial mind puts Darwinian materialists and/or Darwinian naturalists in quite the bind.

Hossenfelder herself, (when Zeilinger closed the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole in quantum mechanics and she, in contradiction to the empirical evidence itself, opted to believe in super-determinism over and above believing in her own free will), proved that she does not believe in the reality of her own immaterial mind. Yet without an immaterial mind of her own, Hossenfelder simply has no explanation for how she herself is able to contemplate this immaterial world of mathematics, much less is she able to explain why this immaterial world of mathematics is able to describe the universe.

Both Wigner and Einstein held it to be a ‘miracle’ that mathematics should be applicable to the universe.

Yet, in her article Hossenfelder, for a theoretical physicist, seems surprisingly uninterested in the question of, “Exactly why does the universe lend itself to be described by some mathematical structures, but leaves itself undescribed by other mathematical structures?

Hossenfelder seems content to sit back, throw her hands up in the air, and just say, Oh well, “we have no rationale for talking about the reality of mathematics that does not describe what we observe”, because it isn’t, quote unquote, “scientific”

Might it be to obvious to point out the fact that until theoretical physicists actually do grapple with the question of “Exactly why do some mathematical structures describe the universe, and others don’t?”, then they will NEVER make headway towards finding a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything”? And/or understanding why there is not, and can never be, a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything”?

To just say, as Hossenfelder does, that grappling with such a question isn’t ‘scientific’ seems like a huge cop out for her, i.e. a theoretical physicist.

Steven Weinberg, who recently passed away, certainly recognized the importance of such questions.

As Steven Weinberg himself pointed out, “I don’t think one should underestimate the fix we are in. That in the end we will not be able to explain the world. That we will have some set of laws of nature (that) we will not be able to derive them on the grounds simply of mathematical consistency. Because we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’. And I don’t see any way out of that.”

In fact, there are an infinite number of mathematical theorems that could have described the universe, but don’t.

Gregory Chaitin has found that “an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.”

Of course the correct solution to Weinberg’s question of ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’ is, as Bruce Gordon succinctly explained, “the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.””

And to add further weight to Dr. Gordon’s claim, I reference this following very informative article by Edward Feser where he states, “Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts, and they have such explanatory power in scientific theorizing because they are part of the blueprint implemented by God in creating the world. For some thinkers in this tradition, mathematics thus provides the starting point for an argument for the existence of God qua supreme intellect.”

(and to reiterate what I stated last week) The main, irresolvable, problem for theoretical physicists in finding a purely mathematical theory of everything is the problem of mathematically unifying General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics.

Mathematically speaking, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are separated by an unbridgeable ‘infinite mathematical divide’.

Professor Jeremy Bernstein states the situation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics as such, “there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.

The theory is not renormalizable.”

And as the following theoretical physicist noted, “You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,,”

So the burning question becomes, “how can we possibly bridge this ‘infinite mathematical divide’ that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics?”

Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, although he was not directly addressing the ‘infinite mathematical divide’ that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers this insight into what the ‘unification’ of infinite God with finite man might look like mathematically:, Specifically he states, “The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company,

,, then that VERY reasonable concession on our part, to rightly allow God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of physics originally envisioned, provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

In short, the Shroud of Turin, (which is THE most scientifically scrutinized artifact ever from ancient history), provides evidence that both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were successfully dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Here are a few notes to that effect:

Kevin Moran, an optical engineer, describes the Shroud Image in this way, “The unique front-and-back only image can be best described as gravitationally collimated. The radiation that made the image acted perfectly parallel to gravity. There is no side image. The radiation is parallel to gravity,,,”

Moreover, the following rather astonishing study on the Shroud, found that it would take 34 Trillion Watts of what is termed VUV (directional) radiation to form the image on the shroud.

So thus in conclusion, when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God back into physics then a very plausible solution to the number one unsolved mystery in science today, of finding a reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, readily pops out for us in that, as the Shroud of Turin gives witness to, both Gravity and Quantum Mechanics were successfully dealt, (and the ‘infinite mathematical divide’ between the two theories was bridged), with Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Supplemental note:

Corrected link:

As to Hossenfelder’s first question, “Are we made of math?”, she never really directly answers the question if she personally thinks that we ourselves are made of math or not. From the nearest I can tell, she basically just punts on the question, like she did the first question, and calls it “unscientific”.

The reason she asked this question in the first place was because Max Tegmark himself did in fact claim that we are made of math.

This claim was not received well by a few other leading theoretical physicists.

Nobel Laureate Sheldon Glashow, professor of Mathematics and Physics at Boston University, was a bit harsh in his critique of Max Tegmark’s claim that we ourselves are made of math and stated that “I may be a blockhead but I am certainly not a mathematical structure akin to a triangle.”

Likewise George Ellis, in a bit more understated tone, simply stated, “Tegmark has argued that every consistent mathematical structure exists in some disconnected universe. Tegmark also believes that nothing else exists beyond the consistent mathematical structures. Tegmark is himself nothing more than a consistent mathematical structure. This is a view that assigns to mathematical structures a degree of agency that they are not otherwise thought to possess.”

So where does Tegmark derive his belief that we ourselves are nothing but ‘consistent mathematical structures’?

Well it is derived from the belief that everything in the universe will eventually be describable by mathematics by a purely mathematical “Theory of Everything”, (which is, despite the shunning of Tegmark, actually a widely held belief among naturalists)

Please note that implicit in Tegmark’s assumption that everything, including people, are reducible to purely mathematical explanations is a deterministic view of reality.

A deterministic view of reality in which not only we ourselves, but all our actions are reducible to some mathematical equation. i.e. “You” do not really choose to do anything but some mathematical equation determines everything that you have done and that you will do. Hence George Ellis’s remark to Tegmark, “This is a view that assigns to mathematical structures a degree of agency that they are not otherwise thought to possess.”

The problem for Tegmark, (and for all other Naturalists, such as Hossenfelder herself, who believe in determinism), is that Quantum Mechanics itself, which is arguably our most powerful mathematical theory in science, (edging out General Relativity for that honor), has empirically falsified determinism.

Specifically, Zeilinger and company, have closed the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole, thus falsifying all ‘local’ deterministic models:

In quantum mechanics, as the late Steven Weinberg explains, “In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”

In other words, the mathematical probabilities of quantum mechanics don’t even come into play until AFTER we choose what to measure. Which is to say, that although mathematics can describe what happens after we, via our free will, choose what to measure, mathematics can never determine what, how, or when, we may choose to measure. i.e. In short, our free will choices are irreducible to mathematics!

Needless to say, that throws a big ole monkey wrench in Tegmark’s entire argument that we are made of math.

We, (whatever we may really be made of), are simply not reducible to purely mathematical explanations as Tegmark believes.

Quote, Video, and Verse

Since math is only a logical mental discipline and exist only in our heads and not the real world, we are not made of math.

Again, math is an extremely useful discipline but it essentially exists only in our minds.

Of course the problem is the definitions of “real”, and “exist”. Depending on how you define those terms, things like mathematical concepts, unicorns, God, the past, quantum probability distribution, and many other things may or may not be “real”. The past is not to be found anywhere, only in memories and records, which we assume relate to actual previous events. God is not a part of the universe so may not be considered to “exist” for some, even as he is quite “real” to others. My grand daughter has several unicorns, and I have read stories about unicorns, so they are apparently “real” in some sense. Numbers and other mathematical concepts and abstractions are not physical, but are very real to people who use them – even “imaginary” numbers. I expect that hard core philosophers have tried to delineate “reality” and “existence” to partly clarify these concepts, but clearly the language allows for a range of definitions and interpretations, so no one is allowed to decide definitively.