XDG standard: Is Math a Science

George jirka at 5z.com
Wed Feb 11 01:39:10 EET 2004

On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 12:48:20PM -0700, James Richard Tyrer wrote:
> You appear to make a logical error that appears all too common among 
> developers.  You assume that this is an issue that only concerns me and 
> that you only need to flame me about it and it will be resolved.

No, I appear to be making the logical error of using logic and giving
references, whereas you are obviously using the argument of "I am right
because I am right and that is because you are wrong" and it's hard to argue
with that because that is obviously true.  I didn't flame you, I gave you
arguments backed up by 1) quote of the most famous mathematitian of all time
2) Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary.  3) In a later email the fact
that universities, AMS, MAA, MSRI and others seem to think it's a science as

> I assure you that this is most certainly not the case.  I only brought the 
> issue here (I'm not even the one that raised it on KDE lists} -- an issue 
> that I assure you is real and wide ranging.
> I suggest that you Google:
> 	Mathematics Science
> and after you read the 4 MILLION plus items that you get back to us with 
> the results.

And you've read all of them and from this you inferred your conclusion?  Or
did you just inferred it because that's your opinion and there you have 4
million pages?  I can argue just the same as you saying that since we get 4
million pages from that it's obviously a science.  A lot more then say
cleaning toilets is a science, since if you search for 'cleaning toilets
science' you only get 30k pages.

The above is called 'useless statistics' which is a branch of statistics
which is a branch of the mathematical sciences, practiced mostly by people
who have no clue about statistics.

> What you will see is that, in English at least, the reference is usually to 
>   Mathematics and Science.  Clearly inferring that they are on the same 
> logical level -- that one is not a subset of the other.

Now let's look more closely at Webster, which is THE (I repeat THE) authority
on the english language, even surpassing google in such authority I might
add.  And lookie lookie what we find when we look for 'mathematics':

  Mathematics \Math`e*mat"ics\, n. [F. math['e]matiques, pl., L.
     mathematica, sing., Gr. ? (sc. ?) science. See Mathematic,
     and -ics.]
     That science, or class of sciences, which treats of the exact
     relations existing between quantities or magnitudes, and of
     the methods by which, in accordance with these relations,
     quantities sought are deducible from other quantities known
     or supposed; the science of spatial and quantitative
     Note: Mathematics embraces three departments, namely: 1.
           Arithmetic. 2. Geometry, including Trigonometry
           and Conic Sections. 3. Analysis, in which letters
           are used, including Algebra, Analytical Geometry,
           and Calculus. Each of these divisions is divided into
           pure or abstract, which considers magnitude or quantity
           abstractly, without relation to matter; and mixed or
           applied, which treats of magnitude as subsisting in
           material bodies, and is consequently interwoven with
           physical considerations.

Any questions?

Getting back to why are we talking about this.  This is so that
mathematicians can find their mathematics software in their menus.  Now since
it seems that mathematicians (and especially the english speaking ones that
join societies like AMS/MAA and go to universities in the US) know that
mathematics is a science, they will obviously look at it under Science
and not say 'ToiletCleaning'.


PS: Yes, this email is a flame while the last one wasn't.

George <jirka at 5z.com>
   Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, 
   but most times he will pick himself up and carry on.
                       -- Winston Churchill

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