Re: seti@home IS WORKING

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 13 Jul 1999 02:12:48 -0400

Rob Harris Cen-IT wrote:
> > Primes are prime in any base.
> >
> Spike old boy, only in a mathematical context. What I am suggesting
> is that we cannot assume that Mathematics in the form that we know and use
> it is the ONLY paradigm that can be used by ANY "intelligent" species to
> describe conceptual relationships and natural laws etc...
> Sure, it seems very logical and consistent to us, but we may be
> dropping our nuts on concrete from a great height rather than using the
> nutcrackers (the optimal solution). Alternatively, we may have, in
> mathematics, THE optimal solution, but we can only say it is optimal for use
> by HUMANS. The brain structure and functionality of intelligent creatures
> across the universe is most likely very diverse. I've got nothing concrete
> to argue with, all I'm saying is that neither have you.

You don't know enough about math for your opinion to count. No insult intended. Math is math, and is the same math everywhere in the universe. We have even created maths that describe sytesm that have no possible hope of existing in this universe (see elliptical equations(no, not ellipses, thats something else)). Additionally, humans have used a number of different number bases, including base 2 (binary), base 5 (Roman/Latin), 10 (decimal), 12 (celtic/aryan, as I recall), 16 (hexadecimal), 24 (Mayan, as I recall), and 60 (ancient Sumerian). We can use a base of e (the natural log), or we can use pi as a base (making all other numbers irrational). For geometry, we have not only the Platonic Euclidian geometry based on a commonly accepted set of axioms, but at least two types of non-euclidian geometries which deal with variations of the parallel theorem. The only possible math areas we may not know are those used in other space-time continua which use dimensional systems which have not been deeply explored by current day graduate students, but every day there is new progress.

Any species more advanced than us is going to KNOW any math that we know. 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 the ancient maya or egyptians had had radio telescopes, they could be communicated with quite easily by an advanced intelligence via math. Communicating via math does not require that we learn their maths, but that they will communicate via simply understandable maths, much like EO Wilson playing with pheromones to talk to ants.

Mike Lorrey