In article <UbWdnZXmzLV8byjZnZ2dnUVZ_ridnZ2d@comcast.com>, "Russell Easterly" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> "Gene Ward Smith" <email@example.com> wrote in message > news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > > > > Gerry Myerson wrote: > > > >> I'm dismayed by the level of vituperation in some of the posts in > >> this thread. > > > > Norm starts out his paper, which I didn't read because the beginning > > was so extremely unpromising, in what seems to me to be a very > > insulting way. If he has ideas he wants to be taken seriously I suggest > > he remove the sneers directed at set theorists, who apparently are > > beneath contempt, and wild remarks about physics and the like. Present > > a reasoned argument in a reasonable way and people are likely to react > > more positively, and less likely to conclude that you are an idiot and > > simply quit reading. > > > >> He's adopting a finitistic, or > >> constructivist, or computational view of mathematics. > > > > He's also spitting on people who don't. I think it is terribly arrogant > > to dismiss people like > > Shelah or Woodin with such utter contempt like this, and I didn't see > > any signs, as far as I had gotten, that he even knows anything about > > modern set theory. Does he? > > I think he is all too familiar with modern set theorists. > Set theorists have written the book on how to treat > others with contempt.
Most of the contempt is reserved for those whose criticisms exhibit profound ignorance of what they are criticizing and those whose criticisms are so contemptuous as to inspire countercontempt.
> > Most branches of mathematics will accept any reasonable proof. > Set theorists demand proofs in set theory.
They will accept reasonable proofs of reasonable claims but require extraordinary, or at least rigorous, proofs of extraordinary claims. And their standard of judging other's proof is no stricter than that they apply to their own proofs.
> This is like the Catholic Church requiring Mass be given in Latin. > It is a method of guaranteeing only the priests (the true > believers) know the Church's doctrines.
It may seem like that to those unfamiliar with set theory. Any speciality tends to look arcane to those outside it.
> It is designed to prevent skeptics (non-believers) from being > able to question Church doctrine, since you need to know > a dead language to have any idea what that doctrine is.
This is precisely the attitude of those like Russell who dump on set theorists which inspires the set theorists to dump back.
If the technicalities of set theory were as easy to learn as Russell seems to think it ought to be then everyone would learn it in grade school. In fact, it, like many specialities, usually takes years of study for one to become really good at it.
Russell seems to expect a "Set Theory for Dummies" short course which will bring him up to PhD levels in an afternoons reading.