From: Alexanian, Moorad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 03 2003 - 16:54:30 EDT
The mathematician Kronecker said something to the effect that "God
created the integers and man the continuum."
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
Behalf Of Ted Davis
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 4:43 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: mathematical concepts=="irrational numbers,"
"Irrational" numbers, or "surds" (yes, that's a noun related to the
adjective "absurd," look it up for an interesting moment), were thus
b/c they did not meet the Greek standard of "rational" mathematics--ie,
could not be written as the quotients of whole numbers. They were not
thereby related to the harmonic ratios in music (recall that music was
a branch of mathematics). And, of course, by Euclid's time it was
to prove by deduction (using a reductio ad absurdum) that the SQRT(2) is
"irrational" by this definition.
Plato realized that, as a consequence of his geometrical atomism (which
45-45-90 triangles to make up the square sides of the cubical atoms of
and used 30-60-90 triangles to make up the triangular sides of the
tetrahedral, icosahedral, and octagonal atoms of the other three
elements), some degree of "irrationality" was built into nature. He
interpreted that thusly: the creative power of the divine craftsman (the
"Demiurgos," a word also found in the book of Hebrews) was limited by
"recalcitrance" of the matter he had not created. Thus, perfect form
imposed only imperfectly on matter. Thus, we cannot have a "science"
genuine demonstrable knowledge) of nature, only a "likely story" or
We could have a "science" only of the perfect forms themselves.
Or something like that. His picture of the Demiurgos is, IMO, a
of the modern process God, who can't exert absolute power of nature
either--that is, IMO the process God can't determine the nature of
Rather the nature of nature is a given, the God must simply do his best
what he's got. This is why I think of process theology as Platonistic,
though one can also see it as deeply Aristotelian also (an eternal
eternally in the process of becoming).
I hope this isn't all too confusing, and that I haven't misstated
in the midst of this.
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