posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 02:09 AM
Well, this is where a lot of people get a bit over-excited about Gödel's theorems.
You see, attractive though the 'hole' analogy is, he didn't really discover a 'hole' in Mathematics. He simply demonstrated the limitations of
consistent first-order systems of logic, which is a subset of Mathematical systems as a whole. He proved that such systems could not be fully
axiomatised - i.e. that there would always be true propositions that could be constructed within the system, that an 'external' observer could see
the truth of, but which could not be proven true within the system.
The important thing to note is that Gödel's theorem only applies to these specific types of system. A lot of people have said things like 'this
proves that the laws of physics are all wrong' or similar such ideas. But the laws (more correctly 'well-established theorems') of physics as they
are don't claim to be a complete, consistent formal system in first-order logic. There are many philosophical issues surrounding this, for instance
if the 'laws' of physics and all the theorems that could be proved from them formed a complete system (in the mathematical sense of completeness)
would this satisfy Popper's criterion of falsifiability? Mathematicians still argue about the relative merits of first vs second-order logic and
whether the 'laws' of physics might ever be successfully couched in the vocabulary of either kind of logic.
I find that the best way of looking at the 'laws' of physics is to think of them as 'useful a-good-deal-more-than-half-truths that you ignore at
your peril', rather than statements of truth.
I may have digressed a bit here!
No, I don't imagine that Gödel's misgivings about the constitution are too much to worry about. For his logical inconsistency to actually be used
to install a dictatorship, people would have to be able to understand it. If it's so convoluted as to be beyond the capability of members of the
judiciary or other governing bodies to understand then any attempt to enforce it will be met by incredulity and uncooperativeness. And probably the
same even if they can understand it!
Still, it's intriguing.
I'll add that I'm not a mathematics 'major', though I studied it as a subsidiary subject as part of my Physics degree.