[p2p-research] Limits of mathematical modelling (was Re: Building Alliances )
Smári McCarthy
smari at anarchism.is
Mon Nov 9 12:01:53 CET 2009
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Whilst there may be some truth to what you have said, the way that you
have said it is inappropriate to civil conversation. Be nice. "It ain't
what ya do, it's how'atcha do it," as the man sang.
The current social model is abhorrent to even the simplest reasoning.
This has nothing to do with mathematics, per se, which is a theoretical
system to which the social order has absolutely no relevance, but using
mathematics as a tool will quickly show that there are a lot of very
very strange structures in the current social model. Once this has been
shown, it's a social matter to review and alter those structures.
As for the limits of mathematical modeling, there is still a lot to say
about the difference between the model and the modeled - a lot of people
fail to grasp the importance of this distinction although most will
agree that it is certainly true.
But either way, J. Andrew, please be nice. Paul might not be the best
mathematician on the block, but that's not his purpose - the man is a
wealth of information and insight. If you have something to say about
mathematics, feel free to do so in a non-arrogant way - I for one would
enjoy it.
- Smári
J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 9:53 PM, Paul D. Fernhout
> <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>> So, there you are justifying the current social order based on "simple
>> mathematics" and "theoretical reasons" even when given a plausible
>> alternative.
>
>
> The embarrassingly tragic aspect of all this is that I have no
> interest in the "current social order". My support of that is a
> fiction you invented in your fevered imagination. I refuse to believe
> that your grasp of the English language is as thin as your grasp of
> mathematics.
>
>
>>> While new patterns and relationships may be found, they do not and
>>> cannot invalidate anything that has already been proven. We may get
>>> new knowledge, but it never destroys or invalidates old knowledge in
>>> this context. Math is not science.
>> This is a beautiful sentiment. But, it is not true. :-) Or rather, it is
>> only true when you define science differently than math.
>
>
> Yeah, I'm not going to waste any more time. What you just asserted is
> factually and objectively false. Sure, you might be able to fabricate
> a fantasy land where you can pretend this is true, but it doesn't make
> it so. I certainly don't care one way or the other.
>
> Given that you have all but admitted that your grasp of mathematics is
> tenuous at best, what is your basis for credibility?
>
>
>> Maybe being financially rewarded for doing math has destroyed your love of
>> the subject? :-(
>
>
> Shockingly, I have never been financially rewarded for my grasp of
> mathematics. I suspect this fact will confuse you deeply. Your
> imagination is lacking, to say the least.
>
>
>> Again, "math" is really a meaningless term. It's almost like saying you
>> solve problems with chalk on a chalkboard. What are the assumptions? What
>> are the values? What tools have been chosen and what are their limits and
>> areas of applicability? What things are uncertain? What are the unknown
>> unknowns?
>
>
> I hate to tell you this, but while you may get to choose your own
> nutty beliefs, you do not get to define reality. If you want to
> believe anti-scientific and illogical things, I certainly won't stop
> you.
>
> But I thought you cared about P2P economics. You have to connect with
> reality on occasion if you expect to achieve that.
>
>
>> What do you mean by "validity of mathematics"? Again, from what I've been
>> reading here, it seems like you are defining "valid" and "mathematics" as
>> essentially the same thing. If it's invalid, it can't be mathematical. If
>> it's valid, it is or will be part of mathematics.
>
>
> You haven't listened to a thing I've written, and you most certainly
> have not understood a single word.
>
> Listen, it is not my job to sort out what is very obviously a deep
> confusion you have. You live in a world where almost every aspect of
> your life is the product of things you are dubious about. Apparently
> that does not strike you as contradictory.
>
>
>> Maybe the issue is that I read an ellipsed "the" in front of mathematics?
>> So, I read "The validity of *the* mathematics is not dependent on better
>> measuring tools or the next CPU upgrade." Because, as I see it, that's what
>> one can talk about. If you want to talk about "mathematics" then we have to
>> talk about a social enterprise. If you talk about "the mathematics" than we
>> need to talk about assumptions, values, choice of tools, and so on.
>
>
> That's swell, talk about assumptions. It is my favorite topic. Let's
> start by talking about yours. Are you even cognizant of your
> assumptions?
>
>
>> Anyway, that's another reason we are talking at cross-purposes here. It's
>> almost like you had said "The science of p2p is flawed, as I know from
>> studying it" and we said, "Where is the evidence? Can you cite anything?
>
>
> The above is probably the most shameful aspect of your behavior. You
> constantly *invent* things you think I mean while religiously ignoring
> everything I actually say. Is it safe for me to assert that you are
> incapable of actually addressing the issues I raised?
>
>
>> I'm not saying math is not important.
>
>
> You already did in not so many words. It is too late to take it back now.
>
>
>> Well, if computation underlies the universe, and math is a subset of
>> computation, I can't avoid using it as long as I'm in this universe. :-)
>
>
> Again, you are incorrect. Computation (as you are using it) is a
> subset of mathematics. That you can confuse elementary relationships
> is a big part of the reason what you are saying makes no sense. You
> can invent your own terminology, but don't expect anyone else to
> understand it.
>
>
>>> Invent your own mathematics if you wish, it
>>> is certainly allowed.
>> And people do that all the time, in the sense of creating both new ways to
>> model things, and using old ways to build models about new things.
>
>
> Okay, this is a brazen example of you not even understanding what
> mathematics is. Models have nothing to do with new mathematics. You
> can create new models all year without inventing new mathematics.
> Inventing new mathematics is exotic and difficult.
>
>
>> In that sense, I guess, if I were to be accept your earlier point on the
>> impossibility of p2p...
>
>
> Which I never said, making you a liar. Or at the very least, someone
> pathologically incapable of understanding a rudimentary mathematical
> argument.
>
>
>> Or, in other words:
>> "How To Speak Hedgie: What hedge-fund managers mean when they talk about
>> challenges."
>
>
> Your credibility was circling the bowl before, but this kind of
> irrelevancy is a new low.
>
>
>> "Intractible" == "Mathematics can't solve it in practice, even it can in
>> theory if we have complete control over all matter and energy in an infinite
>> number of universes."
>
>
> No, "intractable" means that it is impractical, not that it is
> impossible. But feel free to invent your own fantasy definitions.
>
>
>> "High degree of certainty in any case many times" == "Wrong a lot"
>
>
> Cite please? You use technology every day that relies on this kind of
> math, but feel free to pretend it is all fantasy.
>
>
>> "Cheaper" == "We only do what we can do easily, and leave the hard bits for
>> others."
>
>
> Ignoring your silly credulity, is it so hard to believe that things
> that are harder to do are more expensive?
>
>
>>> This email was routed using a protocol proven using the mathematics you
>>> are taking "with a grain of salt".
>> Oh, come on. People probably hacked the code together and some
>> mathematicians came around later and started talking about it. :-)
>
>
> The original protocols were an ill-concieved abomination. It took
> several iterations of hard lessons before people learned to listen to
> the mathematics. You are repeating that pattern.
>
> John Nash did his work in the 1950s. What is your excuse?
>
>
>> But that is a pereniall issue with engineering vs. science/math. Engineers
>> do the impossible. Then scientists using math or whatever deny it, and then
>> eventually grudgingly explain it, and likely figure out some generalities.
>
>
> Honestly, that is a fantasy model of engineering and science that has
> no connection with reality.
>
>
>>> That's fine, it is not as though you are qualified to make such
>>> determinations anyway.
>> Seriously, you probably know little about me. Why say that?
>
>
> Uh, the fact that you *completely unfamiliar* with the existing game
> theoretic research related to P2P systems? It won't do you any good to
> pretend that you are familiar with these maths, because then you would
> have to honestly address my assertions.
>
>
>> Still, let me translate that without the "the": "P2P is fragile and
>> non-viable, unless you do lots of math first".
>>
>> OK, let's assume that was true. Then how do you explain Wikipedia? Debian?
>> Apache? The Web? Email? Twitter? Facebook? Science? Math? :-) And so on?
>
>
> If you understood the math, you would also understand why they are
> viable. You are confused because you are ignorant.
>
>
>> Still, sometimes it seems to me like there really is some sort of "cult of
>> math" that has dominated much of engineering and science in academia.
>
>
> This statement on its own has permanently marginalized whatever it is
> you are trying to accomplish. Congratulations. You will now be
> lumped with the creationists and other nutty science deniers, and by
> extension P2P economics.
>
> Excellent. So when I espouse P2P economics, I have to explain that it
> has no relationship to people who don't believe in the validity of
> math and science?
>
>
>> Again though, you make a sweeping claim with no specifics. No list of open
>> questions. No literature references. No web references.
>
>
> Do you want references for the assertion that 2+2=4? I have not even
> left the realm of undergrad mathematics. If you can't google it
> yourself, I certainly can't help you.
>
>
>> Well, what are the limitations of mathematical inquiry as a social process?
>
>
> There is literature, but you don't believe in mathematics so it would
> be a waste of my time to reference it.
>
>
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