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coberst

Math Equations: Metaphors of Science

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Math Equations: Metaphors of Science

Nature passes through regularity into abrupt changes and back into regularity. Nature is often like a tornado or an earth quake. Science defines these abrupt changes as being nonlinear aspects of reality.

Until a few decades ago the natural sciences ignored these nonlinear aspects of reality and focused only upon the linear aspects of nature. This focus has proven to be very profitable for our development of technology; but this success is achieved at a price.

By ignoring the nonlinear aspects of reality we have often shoved into the far background much of reality and also in creating a citizenry that became enchanted with this mode of behavior and has lost consciousness of many very important aspects of reality.

Meteorologists use math equations to develop models that simulate climate change, which help them to predict the weather. We all know that weather prediction is, at best, an inexact science. Humans have learned to send space ships to mars but we have difficulty predicting the weather beyond 48 hours.

The weather model equations are iterative equations that use input data about variables such as wind, temperature, etc. to determine the weather to come. Such equations have feedback loops that take variables from the present output as input for the next calculation.

In linear equations these values, simulating natures processes, change in an orderly way; the cause/effect processes are lawful and orderly, just as Newton’s mechanics informs us. A nonlinear equation is an entirely different kind of animal, which informs us that nature is occasionally an outlaw that jumps the tracks and creates chaos. Sometimes nature produces tornadoes and earthquakes.

Our society has tended to ignore those aspects of reality that are nonlinear. Today we are visiting what might be considered a nonlinear moment; our financial structure appears to be in an earthquake mode. This catastrophe may present us with an opportunity to recognize the nature of nonlinearity and thus it might help us to understand the nature of what may be in our future.

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Humans have learned to send space ships to mars but we have difficulty predicting the weather beyond 48 hours.

That is true :)

In linear equations these values, simulating natures processes, change in an orderly way; the cause/effect processes are lawful and orderly, just as Newton’s mechanics informs us. A nonlinear equation is an entirely different kind of animal, which informs us that nature is occasionally an outlaw that jumps the tracks and creates chaos. Sometimes nature produces tornadoes and earthquakes.

This is very true. It's like looking at something from a distance and seeing the patterns, but as you get closer to it, you start to see the imperfections and inconsistencies that defy the pattern.

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And yet there is linearity to some of nature's destructive cycles. On a long enough scale, practically all of nature's disasters are part of a pattern. Tornadoes always form in the same areas; hurricanes always hit the same coastlines; volcanoes even erupt on a somewhat predictable cycle. There is a pattern to all of it.

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