Saturday, June 03, 2006


JSH: For reporters

Some of you may have noticed that with mathematical "discoveries" reporters are asked to report information as true when you have just mathematicians backing up mathematicians, and there is this sense that maybe something is wrong there, but what can you do?

Even if you have a mathematical background, often these arguments are complex, very long, and are you really there to put your judgement up against these people?

No, your job is to report.

But you know human nature, and it may just not feel right to sit there and just repeat what the "experts" claim is true when there is nothing else but the word of some people.

I suggest that you ask the question of why, why in our modern computer age do mathematicians escape computers checking arguments in those areas where otherwise all we have are people backing up people?

I think it may be one of the biggest stories of the decade, where careful checking will reveal what will look like an amazing conspiracy to block computers from being able to check, leaving us with a social world where mathematicians support their colleagues and have the final word, for now.

For reporters there is a duty to get to the truth.

With computers gaining ground in every other area except this computer checking mathematical arguments it is past time that hard questions were asked, and people stopped just trusting as if we didn not have HUGE cases of institutional lying, where a lot of people just do not tell the truth, as if mathematicians were not human.

I assure you, they are human. And being human beings, they can make mistakes.

Why should reporters or anyone else, just trust them?

Computers can remove the human element from checking math.

Why are they not being used for that in our modern world?

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