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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Troll Mathematics is Theft

I liked this article. The subject was "Is Modern Mathematics Reliable". This refers to research-level Mathematics, and not the calculus/algebra/logic/topology that everyone knows.

The problem is that, when a Math professor publishes a paper, he does not publish a fully detailed proof. He merely gives an outline. In turn, this makes the paper incomprehensible to someone who isn't already an expert. For most math papers, there are only 3-5 people who could read the proof and fully understand it, and even then it'd take them a few months.

This means that a lot of research level Mathematics may be wrong. There's nobody who bothers to check that published results are actually true. With "peer review" and State-funded research grants, the incentive is to do small incremental improvements of previous research. There is no incentive to read old results, polish them, and republish them in readable format.

That certainly matches my experience in Math grad school. Over 98% of the lectures I attended were incomprehensible. How can you determine which Math professors are good and which are lousy, when none of them know what each other is talking about? The "peer review" system makes academics a popularity contest, instead of supporting truly original research.

I liked this comment.

Is mathematical complexity then an excellent cover for the most intricate of deceptions?

Yes. In economics research, there are lots of fancy calculations and derivations. Such calculations are useless when your assumptions are wrong. Most economics papers have several major mistakes that are hidden assumptions:
  1. Taxation is not theft.
  2. The CPI is a fair and unbiased measure of inflation.
  3. The Fed Funds Rate is the fair market-determined interest rate.
  4. The USA has a fair monetary system.
Each of those wrong assumptions invalidate almost every calculation by a mainstream economist.

Legal language is another example of Mathematical obfuscation. Legal language is incredibly complicated, on purpose. This makes law inaccessible to the average person. Legal language is intentionally hard to read, because lawyers are protecting their turf. There is no reason for legal language to be so hard to read, except that lawyers intentionally obfuscate the law. Just like there's an obfuscated C contest, lawyers have an "obfuscated law contest".

Whenever you see unnecessary complexity, that's a sure sign that some funny business is occurring.


Anonymous said...

Einstein's theory of relativity could be a perfect example also.

I don't know how old you are, but years ago I had the same problem as you, I could explain the whole world based on a couple of principles guided mostly by reason. Then I came with the always debate faith vs. reason which gave me another guiding light.

The biggest problem is that 80% of the people are so stupid that can BELIEVE in any stupid thing that makes them feel good. There is nothing more stupid to believe that things like free market, democracy ,equal rights can exist. You always have JP Morgans and Rockfellers to dominate things like this.

Take the world 20y ago, there wasn't Osama, global terrorism, the principle enemy - the "evil" Soviet empire was just defeated by the "free" and "democratic societies". Most of the people in the western hemisphere were somehow happy and if you try to explain them that the system is fucking corrupted down to it's root everyone will think of you as lunatic.

Democracy and Christianity are the biggest illusions ever created and most of the people believe in them and will always do.

There was a very reasonable guy that explained some 70y ago what really has happened during the GD. Practically the financial moguls created inflation and then deflation and doing so they have robbed the people, then they sponsored some economists, giving them nice titles, Noble prize for economy, etc. to create 10 different mutually exclusive stories about the problem and for the society this is OK, because the society loves the conception of point of views. Point of views nowadays primary exist to create a fog around some crime and because the truth is just 1 pov it doesn't have any power.

All the values that western people respect are planted for reason inside them for the last 200y. Individualism, tolerance for the "other POV", "free market" conceptions, freedom of speech, etc. is total bullshit. That is what makes the system unbreakable - fighting the system means to fight your own system of values.

Don't fell in that trap to become to much guided by reason. Reason will always explain you why you can not live well and not how to live well.

Anonymous said...

I think you're referring to Howard Katz (One Handed Economist) few latest blog entries...

Anonymous said...

All math is circular reasoning. There is no reason why one set of axioms is better than any other.

You don't need Zorn's Lemma/Axiom of Choice. Just use definitions. Definition: A ZL-set is a set in which Zorn's Lemma applies. But now you can play with non-ZL-sets! Now can have vector spaces without bases and non-extendable linear functionals. But every ZL-vector space still has a basis.

Zorn's Lemma would be equivalent to saying "every set is a ZL-set". But there is no reason why you should be able to say that.

You can prove lots of things with Zorn's Lemma/Axiom of Choice. Here's an outline of the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem with the Axiom of Choice:

Theorem: there are no integer solutions to x^n + y^n = z^n for n>2.

Proof: It's clear that the solution set when n>2 would be so nasty, if nonempty, that ZL/AC would not apply. But we already said that every set is a ZL/AC-set. So there are no solutions.

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