XDG standard: Is Math a Science

George jirka at 5z.com
Wed Feb 11 02:34:45 EET 2004

On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 04:57:10PM -0700, James Richard Tyrer wrote:
> >I mean it seems pretty idiotic to discuss endlessly about whether
> >mathematics is a science considering it's is the foundation of all the
> >other sciences (eg physics, chemistry, all require mathematics)  It's a
> >requirement.  So lets move on.
> You miss the point.  The question is of common usage.  Specifically, do 
> most people consider Math a subdivision of Science or a separate 
> classification.

Yes, common usage is great.  Of course common usage among people who are most
likely to LOOK for such programs is the most important here.  So
mathematicians or scientists/engineers in general.  It seems to me that
overwhelmingly this group seems to look for mathematics under science.
That is you haven't given any evidence other then 'fake google statistics'
that you are right about common usage of that term.  And most definately you
have not given any evidence that this is not the common usage among the
affected group, which in this case is the scientific/engineering community in

Unless of course you are the formost authority on common usage of words and
thus just purely your word alone is all that we need to make us believe this
in fact is the common usage.  And that our usage is very very uncommon, even
though you seem to be the only one for whom it is so far common.  I would
venture a guess (purely ameteurish) that the definition of common (including
the 'common usage' of the word 'common') means that the proportion of
population would use this.  But I may be out of date on my definition of
common and perhaps it is true that the common usage of the word 'common'
means 'James Richard Tyrer thinks so'.

> I don't see why Math should be a sub-menu of Science.  I think that it, 
> like Engineering, should be a separate category.
> And I did try:
> 	mathematical science
> in Google.  I got 2.9 Million compared to 4.3 million for:
> 	mathematics science

And I get 4.4 million for 'chemistry science' and 5mil for 'chemical
science', again 4.7mil for 'biology science', 4.9mil for 'physics science',
6mil for 'engineering science', 2.7mil for 'astronomy science', 700k for
'astrology science'.  So what are your results showing about common usage?


Try typing in 'mathematics is not a science' and you get 3.9mil and
you type 'mathematics is a science' and you get 4.4mil.  Furthermore
trying with chemistry instead of mathematics I get very VERY similar

> Perhaps this isn't the most scientific :-) method, but I think that 
> considering Math a field separate from Science is the best choice based on 
> common usage -- and common usage, not quotes from famous mathematicians is 
> what matters here.

If you feel common usage is such then GIVE AN ARGUMENT, PROOF, EVIDENCE
and/or REFERENCES that support that inferrence.

I can claim what I want by saying it's 'common usage'.  It doesn't make any,
and I repeat ANY sense and doesn't convince anyone unless I have something
other then completely bogus google argument and my own personal convinction
of my intellectual superiority.  If it is SO CLEAR that this is the common
usage, then it should be easy to give such evidence other then your own
personal opinion.

> We should also consider that not putting it under Science will probably not 
> cause any problems.  But, putting it under Science might cause a problem 
> with people that don't regard it as a Science.

Huh?  Can you elaborate how misplacing something one way is better/worse then
misplacing it another way, that is how is it not harmless one way and harmful
another way?  If I WOULD be looking for it under science I would not find it
with one way, and the other way if I WOULD NOT be looking for it under
science I would not find it.

On the other hand, any person making the actual menu strings could make the
menu be 'Science and Mathematics' if they really, really felt that this was
neccessary and then query for 'Science'.  But that's up to the distributor /
creator of the vfolder menu file, user, sysadmin, whoever.

Can you use logic in your future posts?  It would help me (and others) with
reading your responses.


George <jirka at 5z.com>
   A physical understanding is a completely unmathematical, imprecise, and
   inexact thing, but absolutely necessary for a physicist.
                       -- Richard P. Feynman

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