Re: seti@home IS WORKING

Michael S. Lorrey (
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 14:44:18 -0400

Rob Harris Cen-IT wrote:
> > You don't know enough about math for your opinion to count. No insult
> > intended.
> >
> It's true, I know zilch about math, but I don't hold this as relevant.

You mean,"Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up."?

> argue with statements made such as below:
> > Math is math, and is the same math everywhere in the universe.
> >
> You and everyone else on this planet have absolutely no evidence whatsoever
> for this immense assumption. It doensn't matter that maths can describe most
> things we have may not be the exact tool that dissimilar
> civilisations use. True, there are probably basic similarities, but no way
> will I buy that any civilisation would certainly understand one of our
> equations when faced with it, even having explained the symbols etc...

As this is the root of your confusion. You make the same mistake that many one language people do about words. They think that c-h-i-c-k-e-n is obviously synonymous with the concept of a chicken that they get really confused when asked to use the word pollo to represent the concept of chicken. When we talk about math concepts being common througout the universe, we do not mean that they will use the numerals 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0, or the functional symbols x,-,/,+ etc. We ourselves have used, and continue to use several symbols for each funtion (i.e. we can use x or . or * for multiplication), but our concept of multiplication does not change when we use different symbols to represent the concept.

> Basic
> concepts such as why, how, systems thinking and linear time may not be as
> they are here due to the brain (or equivalent) structure of the observers,
> providing a very different perspective from which to view and therefore
> describe the universe.

Again, as I have said, we ourselves have come up with a number of different systems, including several kinds of non-euclidian geometry. That we continue to use the systems we do use is a result of the physical properties of the universe, not the properties of our minds.

> > Any species more advanced than us is going to KNOW any math that we
> > know.
> >
> They will know the natural systems/laws/relationships that the math
> describes, yes, but no way will they definitely describe it in exactly the
> same way as us.

We have been looking at it from a system/laws/relationships basis, since any idiot knows that aliens will not be speaking our language.

> > They will know other maths, but if they are interested in
> > communicating with primitve species, they will use maths that are common
> > among primitive societies.
> >
> If such commonality exists.
> Remember - in all this, I MERELY point out that you people CANNOT be
> as cocksure as you seem that all civilisations throughout the universe will
> use math exactly as we use it.

They will have all the same concepts, which is what I was arguing.

Mike Lorrey