Posts You Might Have Missed 2

June 21, 2008 | 12 comments

From the hundreds of posts that flow through the Bloggernacle each week, here are a couple of recent gems you ought to read.

Epistemology: How We Know Things,” featuring the following surprising quote from Gerald Lund: “Epistemology is the study of how we know what is real or true.” Historical fiction as a narrative form does raise some interesting questions about the realness or trueness of the depicted events, doesn’t it?

Ardis reviews an article undertaking a scholarly treatment of the LDS doctrine of Mother in Heaven, as well as giving thoughts on “the politics of Mother in Heaven” (which isn’t speculation about whether She supported Hilary’s recent candidacy or not). Other than avoiding discussion of it, it’s not exactly clear what Mormons are supposed to do with this doctrine.

Quick links: The shocking secret truth about the Math Cult — it’ll take some real analysis to figure this one out. Then get up close and personal with some Christian street preachers.

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12 Responses to Posts You Might Have Missed 2

  1. Michelle Glauser on June 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for posting these links.

  2. Researcher on June 21, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I enjoyed the link on the Math Cult. (Thinking about Calvin’s opinion on math: “I don’t think math is a science. I think it’s a religion….All these equations are like miracles. You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number!…This whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith! It’s a religion!”) Great post, huston, and thanks for providing these links, Dave.

  3. Dave on June 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Re-reading the post, it souds snarky, which wasn’t what I really intended. Historical fiction does raise interesting epistemlogical issues and the MIH post and article are straight up discussions of the topic. If you know anything about the Pythagoreans, you might even run with the Math Cult post, although I don’t think modern math profs run their grad students quite the same way Pythagoras ran his lab.

  4. kenjebz on June 22, 2008 at 12:17 am

    true dave, this are wonderful post, I especially like the mother in heaven blog by keepapitchin site.

  5. Jonathan Green on June 22, 2008 at 10:10 am

    People who wonder what is on other sites, but don’t have time to actually read other sites, thank you. I hope you’ll keep pointing us to posts we might have missed.

  6. Frank McIntyre on June 23, 2008 at 9:39 am

    My faith in math has been deeply shaken. Things I thought I once knew are now in doubt. Why didn’t my third grade teacher tell me about limits? What was she trying to hide?!

  7. John Buffington on June 23, 2008 at 10:14 am

    This makes me so glad that I abandoned the false religion of math after my undergraduate years, and embraced the newer, truer uncontroversial religion of economics.

    Hah! These cranks even talk about orders of infinity, AS IF we can really distinguish between countable and uncountable!

    Whack-jobs, one and all!

  8. Nate Jensen on June 23, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Brother John,

    If Math is comparable to the miracles of Western Christianity, then Economics is surely an African religion. Where else do you go to the spiritualist for advice only to have them sell you a potion for an ailment you didn’t know existed, a lá embedded derivatives.

  9. John Buffington on June 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Hey Brother Nate

    Good to see you post.

    For the record, all those embedded derivatives were the answer to many people’s prayers; they just may have not recognised the divine origin of the financial instruments.

    It would seem reasonable to conclude that criticising deriviatives is the moral equivalent of speaking evil of the Lord’s annointed.

    That is thin ice you are skating on, my friend.

  10. Matt Evans on June 23, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    re: Orders of Infinity,

    While I think I understand the concept (i.e., there are infinite whole numbers but infinitely more combinations of whole numbers), I can’t imagine when it would ever be necessary to distinguish infinities. Anyone care to give me the single paragraph explanation?

  11. John Buffington on June 23, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    It has been too many (but not infinitely many) years since I have thought about this stuff.

    Countably infinite means that the set is infinite and countable (i.e. you can start at 1, go to 2, etc etc and never stop) which means you can enumerate the specific elements of the set using the counting numbers.

    Examples are natural numbers, integers, fractions, etc.

    Infinitely countable combinations of countably infinite sets are also countable, so your comment of “infinitely more combinations of whole numbers” is still countably infinite, so long as you really meant COUNTABLY “infinite.. more combinations of whole numbers”

    Uncountably infinite means that the set cannot be enumerated.

    For example try to write out all the numbers between 0 and 1 in order. Fine, the first is 0, and the second is 0.1 (or is it 0.01 or 0.001 or 0.0001 or aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh!)

    You get the point. You can’t even THINK about what the second number will be, because no matter what you say, I can find a number between your choice and 0. (I just take your number and divide it in half.)

    so uncountable sets are bigger than countable sets (infinitely bigger, it turns out)

    There is likely a gospel concept in here somewhere about onmiscience or infinite sacrifice, or something, but I cannot think of one right now.

    Those are the concepts. Why does it matter?

    Was it not clear that I am a math apostate? How the heck would I know?

    I do know that for certain limit theorems, and for real analysi, functional analysis and measure theory this really matters, but I can’t recall the details, and even if I could, the explanations tend to get into the weeds very quickly for any, but the most “iron-rodder” of members of the cult of mathematics.

    Hope this makes you grateful that you did not check “math major” when you applied to college.

    economics on the other hand….

  12. Eric Boysen on June 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    There must be a logical connection between these three topics. Perhaps “Math is how we know that we know there is a Heavenly Mother!” So, if you don’t know math then you can’t know if you know there is a Heavenly Mother, except it has to be the right math. That means you have to pick your postulates and theorize your theorms carefully.


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