Saturday, April 30, 2005 9:00 PM
Saturday, April 30, 2005 9:00 AM
Friday, April 29, 2005 10:10 AM
Here, with an introductory remark by Martha Cooley, is more from the Metaphysics:
The central aim of Western religion --
"Each of us has something to offer the Creator...The central aim of Western philosophy --
the bridging of
masculine and feminine,
life and death.
It's redemption.... nothing else matters."
-- Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998)
Dualities of Pythagoras
as reconstructed by Aristotle:
... and so on ....
"Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others
may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To
establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited
[man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is... the central aim
of all Western philosophy."
-- Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)
Thursday, April 28, 2005 4:00 PMBlack Moses
Thursday, April 28, 2005 2:00 PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:29 AM
Does religion play a role in attitudes toward ETIs? Philip Morrison gave his considered opinion... “Well, it might, but I think that it’s just one of the permissive routes; it isn’t an essential factor. My parents were Jewish. Their beliefs were conventional but not very deep. They belonged to the Jewish community; they went to services infrequently, on special occasions—funerals and high holidays”....
Although Sagan did not believe in God, he nevertheless said this about SETI’s importance... “It touches deeply into myth, folklore, religion, mythology; and every human culture in some way or another has wondered about that type of question. It’s one of the most basic questions there is.” In fact, in Sagan’s novel/film Contact, described by Keay Davidson as “one of the most religious science-fiction tales ever written”... Ellie discovers that pi—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—is numerically encoded in the cosmos and this is proof that a super-intelligence designed the universe...
The universe was made on purpose, the circle said. In whatever galaxy you happen to find yourself, you take the circumference of a circle, divide it by its diameter, measure closely enough, and uncover a miracle—another circle, drawn kilometers downstream of the decimal point. In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist’s signature. Standing over humans, gods, and demons, subsuming Caretakers and Tunnel builders, there is an intelligence that antedates the universe.
See also yesterday's entry Mathematical Style.
Monday, April 25, 2005 10:31 AMMathematical Style:
|-- Sarah J. Greenwald,|
take-home exam from
Introduction to Mathematics
at Appalachian State U.,
Boone, North Carolina
Ex-Math Prof Mac Lane, 95, Dies
[Saunders] Mac Lane was most famous for the ground-breaking paper he co-wrote with Samuel Eilenberg of Columbia in 1945 which introduced category theory, a framework to show how mathematical structures relate to each other. This branch of algebra has since influenced most mathematical fields and also has functions in philosophy and linguistics, but was first dismissed by many practical mathematicians as too abstract to be useful.
Gade University Professor of Mathematics Barry Mazur, a friend of the late Mac Lane, recalled that the paper had at first been rejected from a lower-caliber mathematical journal because the editor thought that it was "more devoid of content" than any other he had read.
"Saunders wrote back and said, 'That’s the point,'" Mazur said. "And in some ways that’s the genius of it. It’s the barest, most Beckett-like vocabulary that incorporates the theory and nothing else."
He likened it to a sparse grammar of nouns and verbs and a limited vocabulary that is presented "in such a deft way that it will help you understand any language you wish to understand and any language will fit into it."
"In my hour of weakness,
that old enemy
tries to steal my soul.
But when he comes
like a flood to surround me
My God will step in
and a standard he'll raise."
-- Jesus Be a Fence
Sunday, April 24, 2005 10:23 AM
Friday, April 22, 2005 9:00 AMMac Lane Memorial
A Survey of Modern Algebra opened to American undergraduates what had until then been largely reserved for mathematicians in van der Waerden's Moderne Algebra, published a decade earlier. The impact of Birkhoff and Mac Lane on the content and teaching of algebra in colleges and universities was immediate and long sustained. What we recognise in undergraduate courses in algebra today took much of its start with the abstract algebra which they made both accessible and attractive.
Saturday, April 16, 2005 9:00 AMSeal