[Tutor] Lotka-Volterra Model Simulation Questions

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at btinternet.com
Tue Oct 2 01:30:28 CEST 2012

On 01/10/12 21:05, Brian van den Broek wrote:
> On 30 September 2012 04:37, Alan Gauld <alan.gauld at btinternet.com> wrote:

>> like Greek!) Of course, the abstraction is powerful in its own right because
>> it can then be applied in multiple domains, but that abstraction is often
>> the barrier to people understanding the principle.

> To a first approximation, mathematics can reasonably be thought of as
> the science of abstraction.

Absolutely and that's what I mean by its general applicability.

> So, to say (with a hint of complaint)

No complaint was intended it was just an observation. But equally I have 
observed that people who think they can't do math can often *use* math 
successfully once the abstract has been translated to the specific. They 
understand what the math is telling them but can't relate to it in a 
purely abstract form. The math community sometimes forgets that not 
everyone thinks as they do and to communicate their ideas they need to 
revert to specifics sometimes.

> it is indeed possible for mathematical presentation to devolve into
> unhelpful abstraction (it is this that I suspect Alan intended to
> target), abstraction is of the essence to the enterprise;

I suspect this thread has been sparked because I just finished reading a 
book (The Geek Manifesto) which complains at length about how few 
figures in public life understand the workings of science and math.
But I think that the same could be said about scientists' understanding 
of accounts/law/politics. If we don't expect scientists to grok legalese 
why should we expect politicians to speak math. Those who can need to do 
the translation for them, not just complain of their 'ignorance'. But 
that's now taking things way, way off topic!! :-)

Alan G
Author of the Learn to Program web site

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