Was talking with my brother about how one thing that is nice about math research is that there is no “bullshitting”. Pedantic (although perhaps of some merit) questions about the foundations of mathematics aside, we can say things definitively in math whereas that literally is not true about most anything else. We were specifically talking about Harvard Business Review cases and how they can almost claim whatever they want and that things could have been done differently to some better effect in the cases - but they could be completely wrong in their analyses and there is no way of verifying any inaccuracies! Suppose they claim a business failed at some decision because they chose x when other information suggested y would have been the better choice. This may sound plausbile when reading it, but we can not empirically recreate that situation and know what would have happened had they instead gone with decision y. It’s just the problem with counterfactuals not being logically sound (big word, but basically you cannot logically conclude how some event would have happened if something else where true instead of what was actually true - i.e. since x was true, we do not know what would have happened if y were true. This has been a problem in Medicine as it pertains to whether or not drugs will work on general populations instead of just those in the trial. The scientific method offers a pretty good solution to this problem, however, when we have the ability to test widely).

Anyways it reminded me of something that I should be appreciative of math for. Math offers a tool set to say things as precisely as possible and doesn’t allow for you to “bullshit” when you can only speculate. Unfortunately this is fairly restrictive in what you can definitively say since it is really hard to make concrete statements about things, but familiarity with it helps one to be more skeptical when one cannot make such claims.

Daily Listening

Didn’t really listen to much since I have been socializing with my family! 🙃

Daily Reading

One more chapter of The Mysterious Island.