The Unreasonable Perfection of Mathematics

At first thought, I find it amazing how physical objects that exist within our universe can be explained through mathematical equations. But when thinking about this a little bit deeper, I ask myself the question “Does math actually explain everything we see, or is math something that is created by humans which works as an satisfactory explanation?” And the second part to this question is “if math is something that is created by humans, are we limiting ourselves when we rely on these equations?”

To help simplify both questions, here’s a an analogy to help bring clarity to these questions. If you had a metal water bottle and you noticed a small leak, you might fix the leak by placing a piece of tape over it to stop the water from leaking out. In this situation, is tape the best way to correct the bottle or just the most convenient solution available? Maybe the best way to fix the bottle would have been to weld a piece of metal to bring the water bottle back closer to its original state. Just like the water bottle scenario, what if we humans are just coming to the best fitting answer in explaining phenomena in our world with mathematical equations rather than finding the best answer?

It’s also a little bit concerning as all mathematical models collapse in trying to explain how the universe began or in explaining the physical properties of a black hole to name a few examples. If math is reliable with the capability to explain our universe, why do physics models breakdown and stop making sense at this point?

Should we really be relying on math despite it’s failure in explaining the most fundamental things in nature? Is there another way that we might able to explain our universe or are we so ingrained with mathematical logic that we have lost our ability to see past it?

 

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