Saturday, June 19, 2010


JSH: Judging difficulty

Confident people can be VERY convincing, and over the years I've more than once ran into the issue of, if so many people say you're wrong, how can you be right? And that has bugged me as well, which goes to the real reason I talked a lot about Google searches.

Sure I can put forward a mathematical argument and say I'm right, say I've traced it out carefully and that in reply a poster just deleted it all out, or simply refuses to address the actual argument and instead changes the subject or just makes false statements, but it can still seem like just one person's word against another's, and the crowd has the greater impact.

And one thing I've noticed over the years is that a group of maybe even only 6 posters will post with a lot of energy in reply to a person and will often use phrases like "everyone disagrees with you" or "no one likes you", or global statements to that effect as clearly they understand the power of presenting a situation that supposedly is about one person refusing to accept the truth from a large number of people.

So Google searches are this unique way to watch their behavior with something much bigger than they are!

Intriguingly though they simply demeaned Google.

Suddenly according to them, Google searches were "meaningless", and getting high search rankings was a trivial thing that anyone could do, though I don't put "anyone" in quotes as that at least isn't something I've seen actually stated.

Oh, and in facing high country counts of hits to my math blog as reported to Google Analytics, some might simply claim I was lying about them, while one poster confidently proclaimed the hits to be robot programs and forcefully argued that point.

One exercise for people contemplating the actual difficulty of something is to imagine doing it themselves, where Google is global enough that you can just go do searches on your own activities, or your ideas, or imagine putting an idea out there and seeing where it ranks.

Amazingly enough with that exercise you may only then be able to contemplate the feat of my having the definition of mathematical proof, by imagining doing it yourself.

So think of sitting down, writing up your own personal definition of mathematical proof—you can actually try this exercise if you wish—putting it out there, and taking over the #1 spot over much of the world, beating dictionaries, MathWorld, and the Wikipedia.

Now do the search in Google (has to be Google): definition of mathematical proof

For me it was surreal when I finally realized I was getting highly ranked for that definition and I learned it from search strings people were using to get to my math blog (um, I have a LOT of data from multiple sources).

Confidence oozing from posters can be mistaken for skill.

Readers can believe that no one would actually just stalk another person claiming they're wrong without having factual or mathematical basis, but I have watched that behavior for years. Confidence does not mean a person is right. Personally I don't trust confidence with mathematics and prefer when someone is honest about worries about a particular mathematical argument. Or concerns that they missed something, or are just plain wrong!

But human nature is to TRUST confidence. So my own admissions of error rather than helping me, are used by confident posters to reinforce the notion that I must be wrong.

It IS a competitive world.

And to me it has been amazing watching posters claim otherwise, as if anyone can have the definition of mathematical proof in Google, or "everyone" can have hits from 120+ countries on a yearly basis to their blog, if they just want it or something? I guess?

But at the end of it all of course the ultimate refuge for readers is the realization that it's really about mainstream mathematicians acknowledging or not acknowledging important mathematical research anyway, so why would I need to talk about Google search results if I were actually right?

Because the Internet as the new thing seems to be upending an old guard which has been informed of a massive error within number theory, which they may see as more easily ignored than addressed.

Google: algebraic integers vs complex numbers

If you even imagine that the ring of algebraic integers conflicts with the field of complex numbers you realize it's a defunct ring, but it's such a huge thing, and then for supposedly top mathematicians to pretend the problem doesn't exist?

How is such a thing possible?

Well as BP continues to try and stop an oil spill. And as the world continues to try and recover from a near financial collapse. And while the Catholic Church has to keep addressing issues of pedophile priests, it's not so hard to understand.

Judging difficulty can guide you well here. I note things all the time which indicate some measure by which you can consider, and when posters in reply will say that Google gives worthless search rankings—because I rank highly—then it's time to re-think confidence in the crowd and confidence in people who say such things with total confidence.

The math world will eventually confront its major problem, I'm sure. My confidence in that regard though is something I ponder myself, as the years have gone by, but the results from the Internet are telling in my opinion.

Such a massive problem requires massive forces to correct it.

It may not have been correctable without the age of the Internet given the resistance that is STILL being shown!!!

So this problem may have waited for the evolution of the Internet to be solved.

These math professors will go about their business as best they can until they are stopped. With Usenet posters fighting for them in hostile posts that will go after anyone and anything to preserve the error, even going after Google.

THAT is how difficult the situation is. Short answer: it's about as hard as it could possibly get. A near impossible task.

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