Bigotry (you win, I give up)

Mike Reveile wizardinthewoods at
Fri Apr 28 00:52:51 EDT 2017

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 9:36:26 PM UTC-7, Rustom Mody wrote:
> On Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:36:02 AM UTC+5:30, Mike Reveile wrote:
> > On Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 9:44:15 AM UTC-7, Rurpy wrote:
> > > On 04/18/2017 04:34 PM, Chris Angelico wrote:
> > > > On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 8:28 AM, Ben Finney wrote:
> > > >> Chris Angelico writes:
> > > >>
> > <<snip>>
> > 
> > Interesting thread... but volatile.
> > I find imaginary numbers to be quite useful for understanding real problems... but I do not try to make them real. They are simply useful ways of looking at the real world.
> > I do the same thing when I think of gods and monsters... useful, but not real.
> Lets call real in the math sense realₘ — ie real-number, imaginary-umber etc
> Lets call real in the ordinary sense realₒ —ie having existence
> History suggests that realₘ was a defiant attempt by mathematicians
> to cock a snook at other mathematicians who contended that the set ℝ was un-realₒ
> Interestingly these arguments led to the establishment of the field of computer
> science:
> Personal Note: As a 11-year old reading George Gamov 1-2-3-∞, I had a great
> deal of trouble understanding imaginary numbers.
> Later when studying it in math-class I managed to get along with them by
> playing by the symbol-manipulation rules
> Much later I understood why I did not understand: The word 'imaginary' was cueing
> me — subconsciously of course — 
> This is not real...
> This is not true...
> This is not...
> What the &*^%#% is this??
> And still later... learnt from Dijkstra the term 'lousy-language' and its consequences

I can measure a Pineapple... by weight, volume, color, taste, smell, ripeness... but none of these numbers are the pineapple. They only help me relate to the pineapple. In this way Math itself (and the entire realm of computer science) is unreal.

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