Saturday, April 08, 2006


JSH: Valuing knowledge

The lesson I've given many of you is that you don't actually value knowledge, but instead value your feelings about what you think you know.

So I can give mathematical proof, but the proof doesn't make you feel the way you like, and you ignore it.

I still think it fascinating back when "Nora Baron" was posting, when I stepped through a reply to that poster where I'd carefully refuted each point, and simply, so I knew there was nowhere for that person to go in objecting with me, so you know what happened?

For once I was curious to see a reply and anxiously waited unti it came, and then I noticed that everything I had put in was deleted out.

I was surprised when my paper was published by the now defunct Southwest Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, and then surprised again, when the paper was yanked.

The knowledge isn't mine, not really. It's no more mine than the Pythagorean Theorem belonged to Pythagoras.

It's just knowledge.

But how you feel about knowledge is your own.

For many of you, knowledge in and of itself isn't of value, so you can look at my prime counting function and disparage it, as your brain says, that's his.

And you don't like that feeling.

Did it never occur to any of you that I know that?

I understand your feelings. But my point is that you don't value knowledge.

What will it take for you to value knowledge more than your feelings?

I'm not sure, but I think it's important enough for me to keep making the effort, as I've done for these long years.

I want you to value what you can determine is actually correct, not what you feel is correct.

[A reply to someone who wrote that James hasn't exhausted all the possibilities of quadratic equations.]

I use simple ideas which means I get to rely on a lot of basic algebra, and you people ignore the results anyway.

I just had to do a thread reminding people that the square root has two values.

The hatred of unwanted knowledge here is just so huge as to be inescapable.

You people will not accept mathematical information you don't like, not because it's wrong, but because you don't like it.

So I have to catch some of you on silly things, like trying to hold on to the square root giving one answer when it gives two but by convention people just look at the single answer, usually.

Why is this important?

Because with a factorization like

7*C(x) = (f(x) + 7)(g(x) + 1)

and f(0) = g(0) = 0

it's not just for kicks, or for fun and games that the requirement is there that f(x) and g(x) equal 0 at x=0.

But some human convention is that functions have single values so some of you get some examples where using square roots you have two values, but you throw the other one away—by the human convention—and claim I'm wrong.

That's like, so childish. It is so intellectually specious as to be, incredible!

It's increasingly like I'm dealing with small children, and not mathematically sophisticated people!!!

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