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talljasperman's avatar

Is Mathematics based on faith in logic?

Asked by talljasperman (21875points) January 28th, 2012

If the universe came from nothing then you get 1 = 0… Is this logical? Also do you have any more examples of paradoxes in Math where logic is not enough?

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29 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

That’s not math. Math needs no faith. It is internally consistent.

marinelife's avatar

Why do you assume the universe came from nothing?

Do you need to edit your question? Did you mean based or biased?

How do you know that the universe is not based on mathematics rather than mathematics based on the universe?

talljasperman's avatar

Thanks I changed the title…I’m just asking a question because I don’t know the answer.

jerv's avatar

Faith is belief without proof.

Logic and science make no claims about what happened before the Big bang or where the Universe came from.

talljasperman's avatar

@jerv Stephen Hawking claims in his last TV series that the universe came from nothing…and that God doesn’t exist. Also what is the difference between blind faith and faith…? Maybe I should have chosen the word relies on instead of faith seeing that the word “faith” is a loaded word.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t think it counts as “faith” if it demonstrably works to produce useful results.

Also, “the universe came from nothing” is not generally what physicists and mathematicians think. It’s often presented like this—especially by Christians attacking science. But it’s more accurate to say that physicists believe “the universe has always existed.” (You know, sort of like how Christians believe God has always existed.)

Either that or “they don’t know what’s up with the beginning of the universe.” That also describes the feelings of many scientists.


To answer your second question, one of my favorite paradoxes in math is the paradox of infinite sets, or more specifically/narratively, the “Grand Hotel paradox.” Wikipedia has a good explanation here:'s_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

Of course, it turns out that the answer to this paradox is logical, but for the longest time people didn’t realize it.

Infinity is weird.

Qingu's avatar

@talljasperman, that’s not what Stephen Hawking claims. In fact in “A Brief History of Time” he explicitly says the universe has always existed. To put it another way, there is no point in spacetime where the universe does exist, and the universe is both finite and boundless (like the surface of the Earth)—it has no edges, which means it has no “beginning” from an objective observer’s standpoint.

likipie's avatar

It kind of depends on how you believe the world came to be. If you believe the world came from nothing, than no, it doesn’t make any sense. Really, when you think about it, creation period doesn’t make any sense. I mean when you think about it, if the world came from nothing, then so did we. I guess it is kind of a matter of faith. You have to believe how the world came to be without witnessing it and without any solid evidence.

flutherother's avatar

An apparent paradox in mathematics is the distribution of the prime numbers. They are completely deterministic and yet their distribution among the natural numbers seems completely random.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Quantum physics is counter-intuitive, leading to the same problem with the creation of the universe. Normative logic does not apply.

jerv's avatar

@talljasperman I can prove that G=approximately 32ft per second squared on Earth. Therefore, not much faith involved. I cannot prove (or disprove) where the Universe came from nor really prove anything about the origin of the Universe; a lot of faith involved there. Follow?

Qingu's avatar

@likipie, who believes the world came from nothing?

talljasperman's avatar

@Qingu I was talking about Stephen Hawking’s recent television documentary in January on Cable( most likely the Discovery Channel), that I can’t seem to find anymore… I belive it was, Into the Universe, which in the final conclusion he makes claims about God and the universe. He was in a Hall with famous paintings discussing what created the universe.

likipie's avatar

@Qingu The question says “If the universe came from nothing…”

Zaku's avatar

Mathematics is only based on faith in logic, if one doesn’t understand the logic that the math comes from, which actually describes the majority of people. But a complete understanding of math doesn’t require faith… it starts with something different, which is an agreement to think in a certain way, and to use the language of mathematics that one chooses.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

You could read up on Metamathematics.

My math is very limited, but I am fascinated by the work Gödel did to show the limitations of math to prove its own consistency: Incompleteness theorems

YARNLADY's avatar

Nope, strictly evidence.

talljasperman's avatar

@YARNLADY Do those who belive in Math and logic put faith rely on evidence?

YARNLADY's avatar

@talljasperman As with many words we use, there are so many variations in the definition of the word faith, that much of the discussion revolves around the meaning of the word rather than in the actual question.

Is the definition you are using the same as the one I’m using?

talljasperman's avatar

@YARNLADY No… I am seeing if a religious persons definition of faith can be contrasted and compared and then used vice versa with a scientists definition of logic. I see some people on another site saying that religion is illogical while the other side says that science has no faith. I was hoping that a good discussion could mend a fix a few bridges between science and religion. The argument on the site seems to be a fight with Atheists and the Religious putting faith verses science.

SavoirFaire's avatar

If the universe came from nothing then you get 1 = 0.

Why? Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the universe came from nothing, why should we think it is the same thing as nothing? I came from my mother and father, but I assure you I am not identical with either.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Adding to my answer, as I forgot the 1=0 part.

I have seen this specifically addressed by assuming a universe also exists with antimatter/matter in equal and opposite proportions to those existing in our universe, leaving 1 and -1, which total 0.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Faith doesn’t enter the math equation.

Berserker's avatar


There, logic.

Shit, I fucked up.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Symbeline Depends on how large a value you’re using for 1.

jerv's avatar

@SavoirFaire Surrealism is for those that cannot handle Dadaism where 1 = Kumquat.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s based on practicality.

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