Mathematics - Description or Truth

Mathematics - Description or Truth

Modern science, in essence since Newton and Leibnitz, uses mathematics with great success to model natural phenomena. ‘Modelling’ means that the behaviour of nature is described by mathematical equations, that by calculating them allow a prediction for the result of the natural event. But is mathematics just a great tool, or is there a more basic hidden truth?


Basically all this uses the same schema: we throw a stone, trace its trajectory, try to model said trajectory with a mathematical equation in order to be able to calculate every point on that trajectory dependent on time and initial velocity. Shows, the parabola, mathematical spoken the function f(x) = x2 describes this trajectory astonishingly acdurate.

So accurate that the whole principle registers astonishing success. Not only in calculating the trajectory of stones and everything that could be thrown or shot. But indeed in a lot of natural phenomena.

Even phenomena that profoundly withstand direct observation, that show strange and hardly intuitive graspable behavior, like the the flow of electric current in an electric conductor, the effect of magnetic fields or the behavior of circuits with alternating current.

But the success of this method even exceeds that: even on the very edge of knowable things, in the very small and the very large things, on the outer rims of the universe, in cosmology and all things about stars and galaxies are predictions being made that more often than not turn out to be confirmed by later observations, like e.g. those of Einstein and Schwarzschild about the existence of Black Holes, stellar objects that bend space itself by their extrem density so much that nothing is able to escape them, because the escape velocity from their surface is higher than the speed of light, that again is the highest velocity of propagating causality itself in the universe.

As on the very other and of the scale, in the smalles tiny things, where Quantum Mechanics is a extremely successful and widely confirmed theory, describing the strange world of elementary particles, fundamental forces and subatomic events.

Really astonishing is: here in the very basics of everything, physics disempowers itself. Quantum Mechanics describes that in the end the observer and his expectation (that might be reflected in the setup of his experiment) is the very thing that determines the result of the experiment. Grist for the mills of the spiritualists, who argue the observer, which is we, humans, are god.

But also here in the smallest of all things, the hold the world in its core together, mathematical descriptions carry so far that it enables us to understand and predict so precisely that even microprocessors can be built with that knowledge.

And so arises the philosophical and somehow scientific question:

Is the mathematical description of nature just a great tool to model nature’s behavior, but the model has nothing to do with the real ‘functionality’ of nature, i.e. mathematics is just a great tool to describe that behavior…

or

is the underlying functionality of nature also exactly this mathematics, so it isn’t so astonishing at all that we may describe the trajectory of said stone by f(x) = x2, as this is exactly what nature ‘thinks’ while the stone flies through the air, because some mechanism unknown to us ‘calculates’ or ‘solves’ or ‘simulates’ this mathematical description behind the curtains of reality and scientific analysis really ‘discovered’ that, by ‘modeling’ the event.

That’s the big questions.

And spiritualists of course already for a long time have an answer to that. This world is a ‘dream’ they argue, the world is a ‘spiritual’ one, the Spirit is a priori, it was there before matter – what makes matter an illusion. An illusion the spirit is able to manipulate.

In more modern terms one would describe a very similar thing in which ‘information’ is a priori, a system that is ruled by mathematical equations, being ‘calculated’, a system that is said to be a ‘dream’, a ‘simulation’.

I ask myself this question for many years now: can an inmate of such a simulation recognize and prove that he is in such a thing?

I thing, if yes then by the imperfections of the system, its errors, its bugs.

But also by something else?

If this would be the case, would then this simulation be created for us? Are we the whole point of this simulation? And if yes, for what purpose is then all this natural history stuff of billions of years before our time and this huge Universe, if we on our tiny planet are everything this is all about? And this leads straight to our next consideration… Is all this just a Setting?