
Re: A Point on Understanding
Posted:
Dec 28, 2012 3:31 PM


On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM, kirby urner <kirby.urner@gmail.com> wrote: > On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 7:30 AM, Paul Tanner <upprho@gmail.com> wrote: > > << SNIP >> > >> If p is actually a proved statement, a theorem, then person B is >> simply showing himself or herself to be a factdenier  and if he or >> she persists in such factdenial, to be a crackpot. >> > > That's quite an illuminating statement in light of your earlier claims > to have "proved" this and that about the sloppy world of voting and > health care. In your model, the statements you put forth are "as > theorems" (truths of the same caliber) and those who oppose you in > argument are in fact factdenying crackpots and/or slobs. > > This attitude might well work to your advantage in debate, if you're > able to communicate your utter disregard for the opponent's view in a > way that makes you seem professorial. Keep to the tone of the "expert > witness" but don't let the jury think you arrogant, as if the trial's > outcome were more up to you than them (or maybe it's no jury and all > judges  in NFL debate we lean towards tribunals in the higher > "courts" with even more judges at the championship level).
This feeble attempt to change the subject won't work. The context here is denial of mathematical theorems, pure and simple. There is no debate in the denial of a theorem.
And I'm talking denial of theorems here, not some "I don't understand how this theorem can be true". One's ability or inability to understand how a theorem is true is not a legitimate measure of whether a theorem is in fact a theorem. Using the latter to try to justify the former is what a mathematical crank (crackpot) does  and oh yeah, there are a lot of them out there, and yes, some of them can even be trained in science and mathematics:
http://books.google.com/books/about/Mathematical_Cranks.html?id=HqeoWPsIH6EC
"Every discipline has its crackpots: Stories of mathematics" http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2006/05/29/610090.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(person)
Quote:
"Common synonyms for "crank" include crackpot and kook....The term crank is often applied to persons who contradict rigorously proven mathematical theorems, such as the impossibility of squaring the circle by ruler and compass, or who deny extremely well established physical theories, such as the special theory of relativity, conservation of massenergy, or a spheroid earth (See Flat Earth Society). More engineerminded cranks may claim to have invented amagic compression algorithm or a perpetual motion / free energy machine."
One of the responsibilities of teacher to teach his or her students how to think such that they can avoid becoming cranks.
Sure, one can engage in free inquiry and "let us reason together" all one wants, but there is a responsibility here, and that is to have a respect for fact, for what is really true, and to accept it, and not to deny it.
Unfortunately, since the Internet is one whale of a breeding ground for this bane of humanity, this crackpotism, factdenial is becoming more and more prevalent, and this denial of fact is happening in all forms whether it is mathematics denial or science denial or whatever. People more and more seem to think that making up one's own facts is part of what it means to be a thinker.

