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Old 01-03-2012, 02:10 PM
Animastryfe Animastryfe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Vancouver, Manhattan
Posts: 489
Originally Posted by whc.03grady View Post
I didn't take it as rude.

I think I see what you're saying. So if the mathematician shows that 1+1=3, and that result is confirmed over and over again, then we're supposed to accept the absurd (or "absurd") result and maybe give her a prize. I suppose I should've said, "Why does physics (meaning the original experimenter and all those who verified the result) get a pass?"
I don't think you should use this as an example. Mathematics uses deduction based on certain axioms and rules of logic. I do not think there is any a priori reason that, for a certain set of axioms, one cannot make a proof that 1+1=3.

The difference between mathematics and physics in this context is that mathematics is not a 'science', in the sense that one does not do experiments to check its results. A mathematician cannot find a proof that 1+1=3 for the mathematics that most people are familiar with, or else we're in some kind of Lovecraftian universe and any talk of logic or 'that makes sense' is moot.

To help us answer your questions about physics, it would be helpful to know your background knowledge of physics. Have you read any textbook on quantum mechanics? I have not read any popular science books on physics for a few years now, but I cannot think of any popular science example of an author explaining quantum mechanics with enough details so that a layman will really understand superposition of quantum states, entanglement and whatnot.

Edit: Well, Omphaloskeptic just wrote what I wanted to write, but with more detail. Darn.

Last edited by Animastryfe; 01-03-2012 at 02:11 PM.