Friday, January 29, 2016

Yet More Bad Creationist Mathematics

It's not just biology that creationists resolutely refuse to understand. Their willful ignorance extends to many other fields. Take mathematics, for example.

At the creationist blog Uncommon Descent we have longtime columnist "kairosfocus" (Gordon Mullings) claiming that "a set of integers that spans to infinity will have members that are transfinite", showing that he doesn't understand even the most basic things about the natural numbers.

And we also have Jonathan Bartlett asking "can you develop an effective procedure for checking proofs? and answering "The answer is, strangely, no."

Actually the answer is "yes". A mathematical proof can indeed be checked and easily so (in principle). This has nothing to do with the statement of Bartlett that follows it: "It turns out that there are true facts that cannot be proved via mechanical means." Yes, that's so; but it has nothing to do with an effective procedure for checking proofs. Such a procedure would simply verify that each line follows from the previous one by an application of the axioms.

If a statement S has a proof, there is a semi-algorithm that will even produce the proof: simply enumerate all proofs in order of length and check whether each one is a proof of S. The problem arises when a true statement simply does not have a proof. It has nothing to do with checking a given proof.

Can't creationists even get the most basic things correct?


Steve Watson said...

It's a twofer! An apologetic AND an infomercial for his book! Plus an appendix on how to apply Intelligent Design to...[drumroll]...designing human-made artifacts!
Truly, a dizzying intellectual display by Jonathan Bartlett.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

"Can't creationists even get the most basic things correct?"

Perhaps not too surprisingly, to uphold creationism one has to deny even the most basic facts. It is just the nature of the belief. In order to believe in something that is in direct conflict with reality, one has to believe reality itself is false.

This is perfectly encapsulated in the creationist doctrine of truth: When reality and doctrine differ, reality is wrong and doctrine is right.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

Notice the non-sequitur in the Greater Houston Creation Association's faith-statement: "God's world most always agree with God's Word, because the Creator of the one is the Author of the other. "

Simply but, this is just as likely to be the other way around. If god created the world and inspired men to write the Bible, there's no reason to think the inspired writings are somehow more authoritative on the nature of reality of god's creations. It might just as well be that if one percieves a conflict with the two, yet believe the world to be created, that the written words is mistaken. In fact, since the written word is (to these people) merely inspired but actually written by men, but the real world is supposed to be a direct product of god without any human intermediary, then it seems much more likely that the text should be taken with a grain of salt(after all, men make mistakes, but god is supposed to be perfect) and the real world itself as more true.

These people are incapable of rational thought. Even within the confines of their worldview, they fail to correctly apply logic. Up is down, left is right, fallible men are more trustworthy in their writings than their infallible god's direct creations are about their own nature.

Deeply held creationist conviction is a mental health disorder. In any other area of intellectual endeavour, being patently irrational and anti-logical would earn you a diagnosis. But somehow religious beliefs are hands-off for psychology. What utter bullshit. They should all be institutionalized.

William Spearshake said...

Gordon Mullings (dba KairosFocus) wasn't satisfied with one OP demonstrating his lack of knowledge, he decides that a second OP is required.