[ExI] The "Unreasonable" Effectiveness of Mathematics in theNatural Sciences

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 12:39:56 UTC 2008

2008/9/29 Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:

> The same holds true for whether it is the Earth that goes around
> the sun, or vice-versa. To me, it is *not* a matter of whose views
> become rarer. If the Church had prevailed in the 1600s and successfully
> suppressed all over the world the view that the
> Earth goes around the sun, then the Church would still be wrong.

But the church would not have prevailed in the end because they would
have been beaten in any enterprise requiring an understanding of the
heliocentric view, such as colonising the solar system. The Ptolemaic
cosmology may have given the right answers up to a point, but beyond
this point it would either have failed or made the calculations too
cumbersome; so on the basis of utility (which subsumes Occam's Razor),
the Copernican theory is preferred. But arguing about metaphysical
concepts - is there really a concrete world out there or does it just
look that way? - adds nothing to science, and if anything detracts
from the serious business of getting things done.

Stathis Papaioannou

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