Saturday, January 29, 2011

So Much Stupidity, So Little Time

I wish I had a little more time to discuss all the stoopid that's been in the news lately! But I don't, so here's a few links:

What to do if you're a glorified librarian who can't get his book on Alfred Russel Wallace published with a real publisher? Why, get the Discovery Institute's own vanity press to publish it for you! (It helps if you have friends claim the story has been "embarrassing Darwinians ... for almost a century and a half".)

What to do if you're a moron hockey coach? Why, refuse to play one of your players because he's Jewish.

What to do if you're a faux science journalist who spends most of her time denying evolution? Why, incoherently praise a creationist book and wonder why "so few career Darwinists have brayed against it." (Hint: real biologists have better things to do with their time than to read every vanity press book that comes along.)

What to do if you're a religious crackpot? Why, file a lawsuit claiming that evolution is a religion and so can't be legally taught in US schools.

What to do if you're a math professor who gets in a fight with a colleague? Why, go piss on his door, of course! I always thought there was something odd about algebraic geometers.

What to do if you're a Discovery Institute flunkey who can't answer our criticisms of intelligent design? Why, simply object that we didn't mention articles that appeared after our publication.

What to do if you're a philosopher who doesn't know a damn thing about mathematics? Why, publish a piece in the Times Higher Education claiming"But there is only an infinity of mathematical objects, not a super-infinite (transfinite) totality.

So how has it happened that for a hundred years, the mathematical establishment has swallowed the idea of transfinite sets? Georg Cantor produced an argument that seemed to point to transfinite immensities, but that was before we realised that mathematics was incompletable. In effect Cantor's argument showed that the set of real numbers was incompletable. It did not (could not) show that there were more mathematical objects than an ordinary infinity...

Once installed, blind faith ensured that the transfinite would continue to thrill and amaze generations of students - in spite of the inconvenient fact of its mathematical impossibility."

Yup, he really seems to be claiming that the real numbers are a "mathematical impossibility". That's ok with me, I never liked real analysis very much anyway.

So much stoopid, so little time!

Now, as a relief from all that stoopid, look at this: the earth (and moon - wait for it) from 31 million miles away:

Ahh, now that's a relief.


Harriet said...

Since when do we care what philosophers think about mathematics? :-)

Eamon Knight said...

This just in: Alfred Russell Wallace also had a bunch of weird woo-ish ideas! Evolution overthrown! Film at 11!

Do these nimrods think we really don't know our own history?

cody said...

Lovely video.

Gareth McCaughan said...

Chris Ormell (the dweeb writing nonsense about mathematics in the THES) allegedly has a mathematics degree from Oxford: see here. Oxford!