Friday, May 19, 2006


JSH: Fraud question is pertinent

Someone asked the question of what fraud is there in the field of mathematics.

I have pointed out before that eerily there are few if any reported cases that you can find.

Some posters tried to toss up my paper as an example, not surprising for this newsgroup.

But the real story is that it is inconceivable that an active and healthy discipline could not have published cases of fraud or attempted fraud.

It's just not possible in the real world.

The best explanation is that fraud in mathematics does not get reported, not that it doesn't happen.

My own research leads me to conclude that errors dominate the modern math field in areas of "pure math" where you have to take people's word for it that mathematical arguments are correct.

It looks like errors came in over a hundred years ago, and have dominated pure math ever since.

One odd clue that mathematicians are at least on some level aware that much of the field is full of errors--the weird inability to get widespread computer checking of mathematical arguments claimed to be proofs.

Computers help medical doctors, expert systems are dominate in all sorts of areas, but in mathematics, for some reason, supposedly, computers are not up to the challenge.

I suggest to you, that computers would show how full of error the field is, so that's why systems will not get developed until the world accepts the obvious.

I suggest to you that mathematicians will always block, one way or another, development of computer checking to protect themselves, until someone steps in and forces it.

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