Subject: Re: Who's running your business?
From: Ben_Tilly@trepp.com
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 09:15:28 -0400


Ben Laurie wrote:
> Crispin Cowan wrote:
> >
[...]
> > Pure math is about valid proofs.  Applied math, physics, and computer
> > science are about sound proofs.  Theological disputes involve
undecidable
> > assumptions, so they can never be sound, but on occasion they are
valid.
>
> All assumptions are undecidable - that's why you assume them!
>
Uh, no.  They may well be - and often are - decidable.  And often
wrong as well.

As am extreme example, you may assume as a certain net kook does that
the universe is a Plutonium atom.  That is a possible assumption...

In any business venture you assume things about the market.  Bob Young
claims to have started by assuming that whenever you can provide value
to the consumer that nobody else is willing to provide, there will be
a way to make money.  He trusted in that when he started Red Hat even
though he didn't actually know how *HE* was going to make money.  He
apparently was right. :-)

But mathematicians hope and believe that their assumptions are
undecidable - because they know that if they are decidable, then they
are plain and simply wrong.  That applies in very few other areas.
You should make assumptions because you often have nothing else to go
on - but also try to verify them because a bad assumption can cost
you your business.

Cheers,
Ben