Friday, August 17, 2012

Chaos and a War Against Set Theory?

This is Eddie, at the Friends Cafe at Monrovia, CA, enjoying lunch and a great Friday.


Below are three pages from a beautiful book, "An Eye For Fractals" by Michael McGuire (1991). I got this from Book Alley in Pasadena, CA. Book Alley has every book ever written, or at least it felt like it when the aisles literally full with books.

My understanding of chaos theory and fractals is limited at this point. Making fractals involve applying repeating operations or calculations a lot (and yes this can include an infinite) of times and evaluating the results. Famous examples of fractals include the Koch Snowflake, Sierpniski Triangle (the TI-82 manual had a program to generate this), the Cantor Set, and the Barnsley Fern.

I have tried to plot the Madelbrot Set on a TI-84+, unsuccessfully.

Set Theory Is Evil!

Or this is what the publishers at the Christian publisher A Beka want us to think. I first heard of the publisher while I listening to episode #108 of Math/Maths Podcast. Clicking this sentence takes you to the Math/Maths podcast page. You can also download their podcast through iTunes.

They referred us to an article written by Maggie Koerth-Baker, which you can read by clicking here.

I agree with Koerth-Barker. The fundamentalist books are out of touch with reality and is a disguised as an attack on anyone and everyone who does not belong to the fundamentalist tribe. To exclude or twist facts to fit an ancient text and to teach it to children can pry the door to another Dark Age.

Mathematically, without set theory, we would be without, among other things, we would be without the ability to qualitatively compare groups of items, vector spaces, computing, and how to order objects of set. I would think that with A Beka's objection, we would not be able to tell which one of two members is greater or less - which would really screw up subtraction and the number line. However, while I was writing this blog entry, I was informed by Samuel Hansen (of the Math/Maths podcast) Twitter that their objection is to modern set - so ordering of numbers and basic math is OK. Thanks, Samuel.


This blog is property of Edward Shore. © 2012

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