View single post by AdamMcLean
 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2009 10:07 am
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Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
I say that the current models of economic behaviour (like the stock markets, etc.) use an "entirely unconnected thing" to base their models on. That thing is mathematics, not psychology or direct observation.

I don't understand what you are saying. The models used to predict things in the natural sciences  ARE mathematical. What else can they be? They are not models made out of plasticine and sticky tape.

There is no greater example in the history of science how outsiders can influence the mainstream than that of the patent law clerk who published a paper in 1905 explaining what he called "general relativity" (or was it "special relativity"? I forget which came first).
This is nonsense. Einstein was not an outsider to mathematics. His theory of General Relativity relied on using the mathematical theory of tensors (developed in the 1890's). Einstein corresponded with a number of mathematicians to extend the idea of tensors in order to use it to create his description of spacetime. His earlier Special Relativity was in turn based on and extended the work of Lorentz, and was an attempt to accomodate the implications of the  Michelson-Morley experiment.

The media today likes to portray people like Einstein as maveric characters standing outside of the existing conventions, rushing in from left field with some amazing new theory. This romantic nonsense, which is merely a kind of tabloid journalism, is usually the basis for television documentaries which like to portray geniuses in this way. Understanding mathematics and physics is extremely challenging (Einstein himself found tensor mechanics difficult to grasp) so the media often panders to the idea that outsiders can come in and produce new perspectives out of mere inspiration. This probably is intended to make people feel that there is not much distance between themselves and such maverics as the popular media present to us. It is, however, a Disney fantasy.

Last edited on Thu Nov 12th, 2009 10:07 am by AdamMcLean

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