It's MathematicS, not Mathematic

Dec 21 2010 Published by under Bad Geometry, Bad Math

As you may have noticed, the crank behind the "Inverse 19" rubbish in my Loony Toony Tangents post has shown up in the comments. And of course, he's also peppering me with private mail.

Anyway... I don't want to belabor his lunacy, but there is one thing that I realized that I didn't mention in the original post, and which is a common error among cranks. Let me focus on a particular quote. From his original email (with punctuation and spacing corrected; it's too hard to preserve his idiosyncratic lunacy in HTML), focus on the part that I've highlighted in italics:

I feel that with our -1 tangent mathematics, and the -1 tangent configuration, with proper computer language it will be possible to detect even the tiniest leak of nuclear energy from space because this mathematics has two planes. I can show you the -1 configuration, it is a inverse curve

Or from his latest missive:

thus there are two planes in mathematics , one divergent at value 4 and one convergent at value 3 both at -1 tangent(3:4 equalization). So when you see our prime numbers , they are the first in history to be segregated by divergence in one plane , and convergence in the other plane. A circle is the convergence of an open square at 8 points, 4/3 at 8Pi

One of the things that crackpots commonly believe is that all of mathematics is one thing. That there's one theory of numbers, one geometry, one unified concept of these things that underlies all of mathematics. As he says repeatedly, what makes his math correct where our math is wrong is that there are two planes for his numbers, where there's one for ours.

The fundamental error in there is the assumption that there is just one math. That all of math is euclidian geometry, or that all of math is real number theory, or that real number theory and euclidian geometry are really one and the same thing.

That's wrong.

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27 responses so far

Grandiose Crackpottery Proves Pi=4

Nov 16 2010 Published by under Bad Geometry, Bad Logic, Bad Math, Bad Physics

Someone recently sent me a link to a really terrific crank. This guy really takes the cake. Seriously, no joke, this guy is the most grandiose crank that I've ever seen, and I doubt that it's possible to top him. He claims, among other things, to have:

  1. Demonstrated that every mathematician since (and including) Euclid was wrong;
  2. Corrected the problems with relativity;
  3. Turned relativity into a unification theory by proving that magnetism is part of the relativistic gravitational field;
  4. Shown that all of gravitational/orbital dynamics is completely, utterly wrong; and, last but not least:
  5. proved that the one true correct value of \pi is exactly 4.

I'm going to focus on the last one - because it's the simplest illustration of both his own comical insanity, of of the fundamental error underlying all of his rubbish.

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86 responses so far

Return of a Classic: The Electromagnetic Gravity Revolution!

Sep 30 2010 Published by under Bad Math, Bad Physics

Between work, trying to finish my AppEngine book, and doing all of the technical work getting Scientopia running smoothly on the new hosting service, I haven’t had a lot of time for writing new blog posts. So, once again, I'm recycling some old stuff.

It's that time again - yes, we have yet another wacko reinvention of physics that pretends to have math on its side. This time, it's "The Electro-Magnetic Radiation Pressure Gravity Theory", by "Engineer Xavier Borg". (Yes, he signs all of his papers that way - it's always with the title "Engineer".) This one is as wacky as Neal Adams and his PMPs, except that the author seems to be less clueless.

At first I wondered if this were a hoax - I mean, "Engineer Borg"? It seems like a deliberately goofy name for someone with a crackpot theory of physics... But on reading through his web-pages, the quantity and depth of his writing has me leaning towards believing that this stuff is legit. (And as several commenters pointed out the first time I posted this, in Germany, you need a special license to be an engineer, and as a result, "Engineer" is actually really used as a title. Still seems pompous to me - I mean, technically, I'm entitled to go around calling myself Dr. Mark Chu-Carroll, PhD., but I don't generally do that.)

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23 responses so far

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