My question stems from reading Swetz, 1994 (mostly excerpts from the journal Mathematics Teacher) and Berlinski, 2005 (a popular book on 10 most important mathematical breakthroughs in history).
1) I'm having difficulty understanding why Godel's theorem (if I understand what I have read) requires both formulas provable and unprovable. My naive concept of mathematics is a system containing only "positive" theorems and laws and I imagine the same for science. That the scientific method culls anything proven wrong, so as not to carry failures as baggage together with its laws. Where failure, mistakes, and problems are separated as historical study or challenge. Why do unprovable statements need be admitted to a proper system?
In anticipation of my enlightenment, I have a few follow-up Qs,
2) Its my understanding the Hilbert project meant to take the point of view that mathematics and formalism needed to take a meta-point of view for the purpose of separating formulas (as symbols) from the discussion (in natural language) about mathematics. If these unprovable formulas are necessary to prove other provable proofs, then why not segregate them to yet another meta-level?
3) What I gather about Godel's argument from these sources includes a point about mathematics' use of symbols (representing numbers, variables for formulas, variables for sets and sets of sets, etc.). Then is it his argument to suggest that where a proof can be admitted to the system which can be neither proved or disproved, the substitution of variables will propagate this error?
Answers need not be technical, only sufficient to sort my "Godel baggage".
PS. I found this January post very useful for its references and look forward to finding a volume for my naive appetite for the history of formalism:Understanding Godel's Incompleteness Theorem---