Is Math a Feature of the Universe or a Feature of Human Creation? | Idea Channel | PBS
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Durata: 8 minuti 45 secondi
Autore: PBS Idea Channel
Data pubblicazione: 03/06/2013
Voto: 4.9093976 su 5
Votanti: 18675
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Math is invisible. Unlike physics, chemistry, and biology we can't see it, smell it, or even directly observe it in the universe. And so that has made a lot of really smart people ask, does it actually even EXIST?!?! Similar to the tree falling in the forest, there are people who believe that if no person existed to count, math wouldn't be around . .at ALL!!!! But is this true? Do we live in a mathless universe? Or if math is a real entity that exists, are there formulas and mathematical concepts out there in the universe that are undiscovered? Or is it all fiction? Whew!! So many questions, so many theories... watch the episode and let us know what you think! All Time 10 Videos: Veritasium - ( Fast, Furious & Funny - ( The Brain Scoop - ( ASAPScience - ( The Royal Institute of Great Britain - ( The Spangler Effect - ( Minute Physics - ( Head Squeeze - ( Vsauce - ( Episode Links: Weezy Waiter's "The Good Stuff" Awesome Math photos from Nikki Graziano Further Reading for the "Online/Offline" Episode: Nathan Jurgenson: EA and Guns Article Sources: Eugene Wigner Velocity of an Unladen Swallow Alain Badiou Briefings on Existence Lakoff / Nunez Where Does Math Comes From? Mark Colyvan An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics Tweet of the Week: Music: "Europe" by Roglok ( "Carry on Carillon" by Roglok ( "Bouncy Castle" by Roglok ( ":P" by Roglok ( Level 5: Room for the Homeless Binarpilot Clockwork - Titan (geometry remix) Let us know what sorts of crazy ideas you have, about this episode and otherwise: Tweet at us! @pbsideachannel (yes, the longest twitter username ever) Email us! pbsideachannel [at] gmail [dot] com Idea Channel Facebook! Hosted by Mike Rugnetta (@mikerugnetta) Made by Kornhaber Brown ( Want some more Idea Channel? Here's Last Week's episode: "Is Developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethical?" Want another one? Here ya go: "Is Sad Music Actually Sad?" Here's Some More: "Is Buying Call of Duty a Moral Choice?"

How can math not ...
How can math not exist outside our minds? 3+1=4 has always been true, and will never stop being true. Even if space and time never existed, 3+1 would still equal 4. Numbers themselves are the same. 3=3 works the same way, so the value of 3 has always been 3, and would be without us. Am I wrong?
Math is the mother ...
Math is the mother of all sciences. Except that would be philosophy... No, math is a simply part of our *language*! (it is "universal" in the sense that it exists in every developed language on the globe) But our math system have certain innate flaws. For example we cannot express the exact value of the transcendental numbers. (watch numberphile) In fact we can predict few patterns the digits of Pi. But how is this different from any other scientific concept? We constantly rethink and rework them, and we learn something new! So yes fundamentally I think math is a human creation. But with the possible excetion of natural constants; π (Pi), φ (Phi), e, √2, i, and so on... But as I already stated I math is language, and thus this debate is of semantic nature. Thus not that useful. (But still interesting)
Without humans, ...
Without humans, there would be no one to discover math. Soo, we wouldn't know if it existed or not. Therefore we humans are credited for discovering math. I mean if math was universally just there... It would just BE there. No one would really care cus no one would BE there to know about it. So we are credited for caring and knowing about it. 
Maliha Hossain14/07/2014
Mathematics is real ...
Mathematics is real and exists independent of the human mind. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't understand math, and is likely getting confused by the human symbols, terms (names), and definitions that we invent in order to comprehend math.
Dagobah 35921/08/2014
Take some pennies.. ...
Take some pennies... place them on the table... you have pennies on the table... take some away, you have less on the table... math, without names for numbers, but math none the less... therefore, it exists. If I can demonstrate it, it exists.
either way math is ...
either way math is duuumb
Shadow Falcon26/03/2014
To anyone who ...
To anyone who thinks math is a human invention: Let's see... fibonacci sequences have been followed by nature for billions of years, as have gravity, relativity, electron energies, etc. Whales and bats have used sonar since millions of years before humans, which is an inherently active mathematical means of perception. The math was always there. Humans just slap their own symbols on it as descriptors. Describing something doesn't mean you invented it. Hey, if I describe the Eiffel Tower, does that mean it's mine, or that I built it? Claiming to have "invented" math is hilariously narcissistic and self-deluded. New kid thinks the world didn't exist until he showed up. I think the Young Earth Creationists have a spot open. Humanity, get over yourself. A relationship is as "real" as an object, for an object is just a set of relationships. Humanity has been a plague on this planet because it has largely failed to understand this simple truth.
Faith is not the ...
Faith is not the opposite of science. The scientific method is, essentially, inductive logic, and therefore REQUIRES a certain degree of faith (to even have an ASSUMPTION to test against evidence, in the first place). Granted, the whole point of the extensive procedures of a scientific experiment is to leave as few things to faith as possible, so don't go around quoting me now and saying that science means you can believe whatever you want with no proof or evidence whatsoever. Given this, yes, math DOES require faith as well: in things called "axioms".
Andre Betita15/06/2014
Homofaggotry is ...
Homofaggotry is DISGUSTING! You will all burn in Hell like you fucking deserve you unnatural perverts!
John Herring25/07/2014
I think math is a ...
I think math is a system we created, but it easily describes specific rules that the universe abides by. The source of these rules? We have no answer, at least not in the natural world, but math is a system of thinking that lets us understand them.
It's an abstraction ...
It's an abstraction of the Universe that's more easily understood. Without the Universe, we wouldn't have anything to abstract math from. If we were in a Universe where things work out differently, math may even function differently, as strange as that may sound. By proposing that math is purely a human creation, we must also propose that Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and all the other branches of science are inherently flawed since they rely on Math and therefore no truth value can ever be taken from them. I think that sounds absurd, but anti-realists may disagree.
Will, "The Truth is hard to believe for some"13/09/2014
so math = religion
so math = religion
Beatrice Taylor13/08/2014
This is completely ...
This is completely wrong because you've used deductive reasoning to arrive at conclusions that should only be derived from inductive reasoning. If the subject of the reasoning is included in the subject itself, you will always find yourself hitting some circular reference that you can't get out of. Example, where did the universe come from? This question requires a universe in order to exist, so you can't find the answer by deductive reasoning. You are the universe, not in it, or outside of it, so you will interfere with it at some point if you keep trying to break it down. Inductive reasoning builds it up from where you stand. There is stuff. All of the stuff is a division of a whole, because all of the stuff is inseparably connected. There are only 2 real numbers in math. Big 1 and little 1. When big one is divided, it becomes a bunch of little ones. The big 1 can be divided down to plancks, not to infinity, and those plancks are the building blocks of strings, which are the building blocks of quarks, which are the building blocks of elementary particles, which are the building blocks of atoms, then molecules, then stuff, and we are stuff, and we are the building blocks of bigger stuff ourselves, like planets, which are the building blocks of solar systems, and galaxies, and whatnot. The human brain is a filter, that interprets the plancks as what you see it today. All we do is see lines of demarcation, and assign them nomenclature. That assigning of nomenclature to the lines of demarcation is what we call life, but the math is always underlying it.
My mind hurts :)
My mind hurts :)
Ian Delos Angeles13/09/2014
I've never thought ...
I've never thought of this before, 5 years of future wondering...
David Arnryd07/09/2014
I agree on the ...
I agree on the neutral perspective: That mathematics is a human invention that guides us in understanding regularities within the universe. A circle or sphere does not actually contain a physical radius... but it DOES have a physical SIZE, one in which I can then use trigonometric concepts to find said size and information leading from it to manipulate the object.
I believe that math ...
I believe that math is as real as time, in that it is a tool created by humans to mentally cope with the world around us.
I think the ...
I think the INSPIRATION for math exists in real life. Angles, shapes, values, they can be observed throughout the universe. But we as humans decided they were angles, shapes, and values in the first place. Before humans existed, things didn't really have "value". They were just there. Humans, in an attempt to organize what they observed, decided that an apple and another apple were two apples.
Much the same as ...
Much the same as others already answered, math is good for predictions, but it is theoretical, as the world is never that exact and is extremely complex (considering all the atoms and subparticles). Things that wrack people's brains in math, usually having to do with infinity, are not real because infinity does not practically exist.
Math is the study ...
Math is the study of science and it is infinite. It's a way to create understanding and evolution amongst humans. When something needs to be proven math is used and when our brain waves go off at certain combinations thoughts are formed. It's created for human understanding by the universe.
francisco otalora26/08/2014
It both exists and ...
It both exists and it was created at the same time. What we have is not Math itself, what we have is a representative of Math. One of many possible ways of representing it. In fact our understandings of Math may be damaged by the languages we chose to represent it. 
I don't think maths ...
I don't think maths is real. It is a human conception. While it is extremely useful, it's like saying the English language is real and was "discovered". No....Humans CREATED it. While you could say Math always existed yet we just needed to create equations and algorithms and what not, I don't think that's true. That is also like saying, that the English language always existed, but we as humans had to "Discover it" and then create more from there. No. The human language was made from scrap. Yes, we need a mouth and a larynx to actually say sounds, but using those sounds we created languages. Those sounds are things that come from our OWN body. If the human mind was able to instinctively think "Hmmm, 1, 2", then that's great, but, it comes from the human mind. While we may instinctively as humans always had some characteristics of Math, such as grouping things and what not, but then we created numbers, lengths, etc. We created the concepts of Math. It didn't fall from the sky. Our brains created it. We created Mathematics. it's like God (this is an atheist point of view btw), the central concept of a sentient being always existed, because it is a thought, but the actual thought that there is one did not exist until the human brain THOUGHT of it. So, we created god. (sorry Christians, I understand if you think it is the other way round, but remember, atheist point of view). I am a very unbiased, subjective tolerant person, so I am open to the idea of Mathematics being real. I was even thinking about it halfway through writing this lol. I am not much of a mathematician either lol. 
i need to show this ...
i need to show this video to my math teacher
In school you are ...
In school you are always cheating because your brain gives you the answer.
James Willis05/08/2014
@turevus sure, but ...
@turevus sure, but math can be applied to the world and its characteristics, while we know for a fact that language is completely man made and did not exist before us.
Jay Swain13/04/2014
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