PITFALLS: "Mommy, the trees appear to be moving!"

FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2021

In search of clear, cogent speech:  Some aspects of Einstein's universe are easy to describe. In that sense, and to that extent, these particular aspects of Einstein's universe are easy to understand. 

Can (what we think of as) small amounts of matter be converted into (what we think of as) gigantic amounts of energy? 

We may not understand the process by which that comes to pass. But it's easy to understand the claim, and in various ways, we've all come to see that the claim is actually true.

As we noted on Wednesday, it's also easy to understand Brian Greene's counterintuitive statement concerning "time travel." His claim is very clearly stated. However astounding the claim may be, it's easy to understand. 

Greene is a high-ranking theoretical physicist. He understands the physics of Einstein's universe. He even knows the math. 

The Fabric of the Cosmos was Greene's second book aimed at general readers. However implausible it may seem, it's easy to understand the following presentation from that best-selling book:

When Einstein discovered the nature of special relativistic spacetime, he laid out a blueprint for fast-forwarding to the future. If you want to see what's happening on planet earth 1,000, or 10,000, or 10 million years in the future, the laws of Einsteinian physics tell you how to go about it. You build a vehicle whose speed can reach, say, 99.999999996 percent of [the speed of light]. At full throttle, you head off into deep space for a day, or ten days, or a little over twenty-seven years according to your ship's clock, then abruptly turn around and head back to earth, again at full throttle.

On your return, 1,000, or 10,000, or ten million years of earth time will have elapsed. This is an undisputed and experimentally verified prediction of special relativity; it is an example of the slowing of time with the increasing of time described in Chapter 3 [of Greene's book].

Nothing resembling such high-speed travel is currently possible, not even for Amazon deliveries. But it's easy to understand Greene's presentation, in which he describes what one result of such high-speed travel would be:

The high-speed traveler would return to Earth thousands (or millions) of years in the future! 

Planet of the Apes notwithstanding, this may seem like an astonishing claim. But it's easy to understand what Greene has said, and Greene describes it as "an undisputed and experimentally verified prediction."

More specifically, it's "an undisputed and experimentally verified prediction of special relativity," the theory Einstein devised in 1905, when he was just 26. This prediction about "time travel" is part of Einstein's universe.

It's easy to describe the fact that small amounts of matter can be converted into giant amounts of energy. It's easy to describe this puzzling result of high-speed travel into space and back.

It's easy to describe those aspects of Einstein's universe. In that sense, and to that extent, they're easy to understand. 

That said, other aspects of Einstein's universe turn out to be extremely hard to report, explain or describe. Despite their honest efforts, writers of "Einstein made easy" books have been proving this point for years, though reviewers have rarely noticed.

It's easy to picture a trip into space, and a return to the Earth. Similarly, real-life events have made it easy to "envision" the fact that small amounts of matter can be converted into enormous amounts of energy. 

Elsewhere, the challenges of clear explanation are exponentially greater. As Greene explained in his 2003 interview with PBS, the person who's writing for general readers must then attempt to create "analogies" or metaphors to help the general reader "envision" or understand what the mathematics of modern physics tells the theoretical physicist.

In such instances, high-level academics are trying to translate their high-level knowledge in ways the non-specialist can understand. Quite routinely, such efforts may not go well. This is true even if readers and reviewers fail to notice or acknowledge this fact.

Alas! It may not be easy to translate high-end academic knowledge into the realm of the everyday. Despite their high-level technical knowledge, high-level academics may lack the types of skills which permit such elucidations.

Such attempts at cogent speech may go badly astray. Consider a few striking examples from two high-level attempts to make Einstein (and Gödel) easy.

"Mommy, the trees appear to be moving!"

We'll start with Greene's first general interest book, The Elegant Universe. The book was published in 1999. It formed the basis for a three-part PBS series which aired in 2003.

In his book, Greene describes the full sweep of modern physics, starting with Einstein's work. In Chapter 2 of his well-received book, he presents an overview of Einstein's special theory of relativity, the first of Einstein's two great theories.

With special relativity, Einstein "forever changed our conceptions of space and time," Greene writes near the start of this chapter. For general readers, this claim will remain a mystery until Greene is able to describe these changes in a way they can understand.

What was the essence of special relativity? "The essential concern of special relativity is to understand how the world appears to individuals, often called 'observers,' who are moving relative to one another," Greene writes at this early point. 

"In the hands of Einstein," Greene writes, "there are profound implications to grasping fully how even the most mundane situations appear to individuals in relative motion."

Presumably, this statement by Greene is accurate. But as he continues, Greene offers an extremely puzzling account of one such mundane situation. An explication which starts this way may not be destined to end especially well:

Common experience highlights certain ways in which observations by such individuals differ. Trees alongside a highway, for example, appear to be moving from the viewpoint of a driver but appear stationary to a hitchhiker sitting on a guardrail. Similarly, the dashboard of the automobile does not appear to be moving from the viewpoint of the driver (one hopes!), but like the rest of the car, it does appear to be moving from the viewpoint of the hitchhiker. These are such basic and intuitive properties of how the world works that we hardly take note of them.

To peruse the full chapter, click here.

Brian Greene is a highly accomplished theoretical physicist. He knows more math and physics than all the kids in your high school trigonometry class combined.

That said, as he starts on a road designed to let us envision this first part of Einstein's universe, he pens an other-worldly account of a simple car ride. We'll only repeat our earlier warning:

Explications which start this way may not end especially well.

On what planet does Greene's peculiar account actually make sense? If someone drives past a clump of trees alongside a highway, would that person ever be inclined to say that the trees "appear to be moving?"

Do the trees "appear to be moving?" Would anyone, even the driver's young children, ever make any such claim?

"Mommy, the trees appear to be moving!" Has any child ever said any such thing? We're going to say they have not.

According to Greene, the trees "appear [to be] stationary" to a hitchhiker sitting on a guardrail as the car goes past. That said, the trees "appear to be stationary" to the people in the car as well—not that any of them would ever make such an odd observation, one that's roughly equivalent to saying that the sky appears to be up.

Meanwhile, does the dashboard of the car "appear to be moving from the viewpoint of the hitchhiker?" Actually, as Greene notes, the whole car "appears to be moving," to which we must add an obvious point:

The whole car "appears to be moving" because, as a matter of common parlance, it actually is! In that peculiar sense, the car "appears to be moving" to its occupants as well, though no one would put it that way.

The indulgent reviewer will likely say that we understand what Greene is trying to say in this peculiar passage. We may be inclined to say that we understand his point. 

That said, readers shouldn't have to work to understand what Greene is trying to say. Especially at the start of a difficult explanation, it's the writer's job to find a clear, cogent way to say it.

In his books for general readers, Greene is claiming that he can turn the astonishing world of special relativity into everyday analogies—analogies the average person can "envision" and understand. That early paragraph has long stuck in our heads as one of the most poorly fashioned paragraphs we have ever read. 

It's the first link in a chain which is supposed to make Einstein easy. At this point in our own ruminations, we'll simply repeat our warning:

Brian Greene is a brilliant physicist. But such other-worldly opening gambits may not turn out well.

A catastrophe of reason which causes the mind to crash

For our second example, we turn to the most remarkable paragraph we've read in the past twenty years. It's drawn from Rebecca Goldstein's 2005 book, Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel.

Goldstein has had an admirable career as a high-ranking philosophy professor. (She's also a well-regarded novelist.) Her attempt to explain Gödel's incompleteness theorem was praised for its lucidity and accessibility by an astounding array of high-end academics.

Goldstein is a philosophy professor. One would assume that she's familiar with the basic tools of everyday logical analysis. 

Despite these qualifications, she offered this remarkable passage fairly early in her book. In this passage, she's sketching the basis upon which Gödel's incompleteness theorem is based:

Paradoxes, in the technical sense, are those catastrophes of reason whereby the mind is compelled by logic itself to draw contradictory conclusions. Many are of the self-referential variety; troubles arise because some linguistic term—a description, a sentence—potentially refers to itself. The most ancient of these paradoxes is known as the "liar's paradox," its lineage going back to the ancient Greeks. It is centered on the self-referential sentence: "This very sentence is false." This sentence must be, like all sentences, either true or false. But if it is true, then it is false, since that is what it says; and if it false, well then, it is true, since, again, that is what it says. It must, therefore, be both true and false, and that is a severe problem. The mind crashes.

Paradoxes like the liar's play a technical role in the proof that Gödel devised for his extraordinary first completeness theorem...

Do such "paradoxes" really play a technical role in Gödel's work? We'll let the experts assess that claim, but Goldstein's presentation of "the liar's paradox" is the most memorable writing we've encountered in the past twenty years.

The notion that the liar's paradox causes the mind to crash—constitutes "a catastrophe of reason"—is just utterly daft. It's stunning to think that that passage was crafted by a high-ranking philosophy prof.

The liar's paradox is, at best, a bit of a carnival trick.  It's astounding to see a philosophy professor treat it with such reverence. If Gödel's theorem is really built upon such a house of cards, we can only suggest the possibility that something is wrong with Gödel's extremely hard-to-explain theorem.

As presented, what makes the liar's paradox a house of cards, a carnival trick? Consider normal procedures:

Stating the obvious, it makes no sense to say that a sentence (more accurately, a statement) is false until a statement has actually been made. The standard progression is this:

Someone makes an actual statement. After someone has made an actual statement, others can proceed to decide if the statement is true or false. 

As offered by Goldstein, the liar's paradox turns on this locution: "This very sentence is false." Unfortunately, this creates no pre-existing statement which can be judged to be true or false. The first link in the chain has gone AWOL.

Goldstein refers to that collection of words as being  "self-referential." Unfortunately, it includes no pre-existing statement which can be judged to be false. 

No one will ever come up to you in real life and say, "This very sentence is false." The whole thing is a parlor trick—but in Goldstein's account, this silly pseudo-assessment ranks as a catastrophe of reason which causes the mind to crash!

Our suggestion to you would be this: Even ranking academics can offer remarkable twaddle. We don't know why Goldstein, a philosophy professor, wasn't more helpful with this.

The mathematician's apology

A brilliant center fielder might be a terrible shortstop. Just because a person can sing, that doesn't mean that he or she knows how to play the trombone.

Similarly, brilliant physicists and mathematicians may stumble when they play out of position—when they move outside their realm of expertise. Consider G. H. Hardy, "an English mathematician of great distinction," whose "Platonist convictions" are described by Goldstein in that same book.

What, if anything, does it mean to be a modern-day "Platonist?" Goldstein offers this jumbled account before quoting from Hardy's famous book, A Mathematician's Apology:

Platonism is the view that the truths of mathematics are independent of any human activities, such as the construction of formal systems—with their axioms, definitions, rules of inference and proofs. The truths of mathematics are determined, according to Platonism, by the reality of mathematics, by the nature of the real, though abstract entities (numbers, sets, etc.) that make up that reality. The structure of, say, the natural numbers (which are the regular old counting numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc.) exists independent of us, according to the [Platonist]...and the properties of the numbers 4 and 25—that, for example, one is even, the other is odd and both are perfect squares—are as objective as are, according to the physical realist, the physical properties of light and gravity.

According to Platonists, "the truths of mathematics are determined by the reality of mathematics!" The murkiness continues from there, with Goldstein reporting that the fact that number 4 is an even number "exists independent of us," whatever that may mean.

This particular truths of mathematics—for example, the truth that 4 is an even number—is independent of any human activities, we're further told. From there, Goldstein quotes a passage from Hardy's iconic text, in which, among other things, Hardy offered these murky claims:

I believe that mathematical reality lies outside of us...317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way or another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is shaped that way.

Most simply, 317 is a prime because it can't be evenly divided by any other number. The rest of this is mumbo-jumbo—the sort of thing which may result when a brilliant mathematician ventures beyond his field of expertise, into a whole different realm.

People of high academic attainment may venture beyond the limits of their (substantial) skill sets when they start to ruminate in such ways. Similar problems may occur when people try to take their enormous knowledge of mathematics and physics and create the kinds of analogies which are designed to make Einstein understandable, even easy.

Some aspects of Einstein's universe actually are easy to understand. Most parts of Einstein's universe are not.

Brian Greene is a brilliant physicist and a high-ranking media figure. Reviewers tend to defer to such people when they publish books which claim to make modern physics understandable.

Reviewers tend to stand in line to say that they understand what has been said in such books. Presentations which are actually very murky are said to make perfect sense. Leading logicians may not step forward to help.

We learn about the human project when we encounter such patterns of behavior. We learn how easily we may fail to see that certain types of presentations may not make actual sense. We learn how reluctant we may be to admit that we don't understand.

In the old joke from the Soviet Union the Soviet worker said this:

We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.

We have no doubt that Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson have been fully well-intentioned in their attempts to make Einstein understandable. If we didn't feel certain of that, we'd characterize their efforts this way:

They pretend to make Einstein easy, and we pretend to get it.

Next week, we'll look at the start to Isaacson's CHAPTER SIX: Special Relativity, 1905. Isaacson is a superb biographer. He does a wonderful job describing Einstein's life.

That said, Einstein's universe tends to be extremely hard. The skills of cogent, clear explanation will often be in short supply when we try to enter a space ship and transport ourselves to such realms.

Coming next: "Relativity is a simple concept."


41 comments:

  1. Somerby keeps referring to Einstein's universe, but it isn't Einstein's at all, any more than you would describe people as Corby's humanity, if I were to describe certain truths about human behavior. We all inhabit this universe and it belongs to all of us, not solely those who understand certain properties of it.

    If you expect people to be egalitarian and tolerant and accepting of each other on this planet in that universe, it matters how you talk about things. Somerby has a lot to learn about inclusive language.

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "These are such basic and intuitive properties of how the world works that we hardly take note of them." Greene says this after describing how trees look to someone on a train vs a hitch-hiker standing still.

    It is interesting to think about how the invention of fast modes of transportation, such as cars and trains, made possible such observations as these, as well as the discovery of various optical illusions related to motion.

    We hardly take note of such things NOW, but they were stimulating to the early psychophysicists and had a great impact on cognitive psychology in its early years. So we take our progress for granted and assume that Einstein thought up special relativity in a vacuum, because he was a great genius, when he was actually one of several important scientists inspired to think about the different view during train rides. We had to experience rapid motion before we could think about it in formal ways or mathematically.

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  3. "Do the trees "appear to be moving?" Would anyone, even the driver's young children, ever make any such claim?"

    There are situations in which the trees may appear to be moving instead of ourselves (and vice versa).

    I once saw a film in which babies who had just learned to stand up where placed between two "walls" suspended from the ceiling. When the walls were put in motion gently, the babies promptly fell down. Why? Because they assumed that they were moving, not the walls (which are stationary in their experience), so they corrected their balance physically and thus fell down when it was the walls moving instead of themselves. Our brains can be fooled by the assumptions we made about what is moving and at what rate.

    Something similar happens when a car is stopped at a light while a vehicle beside it starts moving backwards (without it being obvious via sound or surrounding visual cues that it is in motion). The driver of the car will feel like it is the car that is moving forward and put on the brake even though the car is fully stopped.

    How do you get kids to feel that the trees are moving instead of themselves? Remove cues to motion so that the car appears stationary. The trees will then stream by the window.

    It may be that Greene is taking such an experience for granted among his readers, or it may be that Somerby knows very little about how the mind works. But notice how Somerby assumes that Greene is at fault with his descriptions. It doesn't occur to Somerby that his own experience might be limited.

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    1. https://www.concepts-of-physics.com/mechanics/looking-through-the-window-of-a-moving-train.php

      Delete
    2. 'it may be that Somerby knows very little about how the mind works. '


      You could abbreviate that to 'Somerby knows very little' (or it's corollary 'Somerby is a Trumptard') and be even more accurate.

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  4. I disagree with Bob to this extent: when I drive, the dashboard does not appear to be moving. Some other parts of the car do sometimes appear to be moving, such as the steering wheel or the windows. But if the dashboard seemed to be moving, I'd be alarmed.

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  5. "The notion that the liar's paradox causes the mind to crash—constitutes "a catastrophe of reason"—is just utterly daft. "

    Somerby seems to have two objections to Goldstein's statement, neither well explained. First, he seems to object to the idea of the mind crashing. Is he being excessively literal or does he refuse the metaphor of a computer crash applied to our own reasoning? He doesn't say. Clearly Goldstein is not talking about anything literal except that reason fails when considering the liar's paradox. There is broad agreement about that.

    Then Somerby gets really goofy and claims that no one is going to come up to you on the street and offer the liar's paradox. As if scientists are not permitted to create thought experiments or example situations to test their concepts. This seems to be a version of the objection that lab experiments do not approximate real life, so the principles observed cannot be applied outside the lab. That notion contradicts one of Aristotle's principles, that the laws of nature apply everywhere. In this case, any self-referential statement may create such a paradox. Is Somerby saying that no one in real life will ever offer such a self-referential statement?

    Godel did not use the Liar's paradox directly in his proof but he did use the self-reference (diagonal) Lemma as applied to natural numbers, that arose from the Liar's paradox.

    When Somerby is unwilling to "work with" an author who is drawing upon figurative language or analogy, he shows his obstinance and his motive to obstruct his own understanding of what that author is trying to say. It is like he becomes limp in the arms of someone who is trying to get him to move from one place to another. Again, how is his refusal to cooperate in a communication that requires two people the fault of the author, in this case Goldstein?

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  6. "Reviewers tend to stand in line to say that they understand what has been said in such books."

    Earlier, Somerby said that the reviewers were high level academics. That means they are people with doctorates. Why is it hard to believe that they would consider the books they are reviewing to be lucid? Who would be most likely to understand such books, if not other experts in complex disciplines who are used to reading difficult material?

    Next, Somerby will be complaining that first-graders will be unable to appreciate such books.

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  7. "We learn how reluctant we may be to admit that we don't understand."

    Somerby may not understand, but I am willing to bet that the reviewers did. But Somerby assumes that they are faking it, don't really find the books clearly written, are big fat liars in other words. He offers no proof that they don't understand, other than his own incomprehension. The illogic of that argument should be clear to everyone.

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  8. "In the old joke from the Soviet Union the Soviet worker said this:

    We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."

    This joke is ripped out of context and applied to a situation where its meaning doesn't make sense.

    The first part, about pretending to work, is based on stereotypes about Russian lack of productivity that predate communism (see Tolstoy's War and Peace for a description of failures of Russian bureaucracy). The second part, about pretending to be paid, is about the financial chaos of the communist regime in which people could not count on receiving salary any more than they could count on the availability of bread or toilet paper.

    Here is one description of the saying, heard in the 1960s & 1970s in the Eastern Bloc (from Quora):

    "It was a common joke back in Soviet Union where you were obligated to have a job. In low paying job you don’t even have to work, you just have to be there at your serving time( or at least check in and out).There was no way to be fired from these low income jobs. Many underground painters and musicians took an advantage from this system to spend that time on their own way. BTW, Low income job usually comes with a free housing&meal."

    None of that has any relevance to reviewers lying about whether they understand a book well.

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  9. ‘That said, readers shouldn't have to work to understand what Greene is trying to say.’

    I don’t see the difficulty. The trees do appear to be moving. It’s only because we know how automobiles work that we know that the car is actually moving.

    If you stand in front of a tree for 12 hours, you would declare ‘the tree didn’t move.’ But an observer not on the earth would say ‘yes, the tree did move. It described an arc of 180 degrees.’

    The most ‘intuitively’ obvious thing is that the sun appears to move through the sky during the day. It is only through scientific research that we now know that it is the earth’s rotation causing what we observe.

    Somerby accuses Greene of making things difficult, when Greene’s example is perfectly understandable.

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  10. "We have no doubt that Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson have been fully well-intentioned in their attempts to make Einstein understandable."

    Somerby is charitable toward the intentions of the two men he has singled out, but notice that he extends no such charity to Rebecca Goldstein. She didn't write about Einstein, you might object. But Somerby didn't have to limit his sentence to just the made-easy books about Einstein. He could have written a sentence about good intentions to include Goldstein but chose not to.

    Somerby doesn't have to be a blatant misogynist for his attitude toward women to shine through. Yes, this is subtle, but that's how propaganda works. We are left feeling that Goldstein's crimes are worse than the men's, especially when Somerby reserves words such as "jumbled" "silly" "twaddle" and "utterly daft" while using no such terms to describe the men's work. All while complaining about things that Goldstein did not originate (e.g., Liar's paradox, the concept of self-reference) but are part of the standard presentation of Godel's work.

    This is why Somerby can pretend to talk about obscure science while being a complete and total asshole.

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  11. Idiot-eggheads write crappy pop-science books.

    Yawn. What else is new, dear Bob?

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  12. ‘People of high academic attainment may venture beyond the limits of their (substantial) skill sets when they start to ruminate in such ways. ‘

    This seems to me the main point of Somerby’s focus on this over the years.

    He has ridiculed Russell’s paradox (without any cogent objection other than ‘this makes no sense!’), and here he revisits his mockery of what is called ‘mathematical Platonism.’

    If Somerby were truly interested in learning about relativity, or Gödel’s theorems, then he could have spent the last 20 years attempting to do so, rather than continually blogging ‘I don’t understand and the 5 books I keep going back to don’t help me understand.!’

    It seems that his motive is to try to discredit people like Gödel and Russell and Hardy by showing their supposedly ‘crazy’ beliefs. He is insinuating, I think, that these guys were carrying out a con job, and that subsequent reviewers and writers are furthering the con-job by claiming that these academics made sense.

    Otherwise, why obsess about Gödel’s supposed adherence to mathematicial Platonism rather than attempt to understand his theories? Or why focus on Hardy’s statements about it?

    Is he trying to add Einstein to the list of those carrying out a snow job?

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  13. Too bad Isaac Asimov never wrote about Einstein. He was known for making complicated topics easy to understand. He said in his bio that he acquired that skill by reading children's books on science before beginning his own projects.

    He wrote a story called The Billiard Ball that grappled with ideas from physics:

    "Central to the story is the concept of a pure anti-gravity machine that turns out to be a perpetual motion machine of the first order. Energy can be freely created in a volume of space time which is pulled "flat," as defined within the Theory of Relativity as determined by Albert Einstein. However, this field possesses remarkable properties, which are the centerpiece of the story: any object which enters the field is reduced to zero mass, and hence must assume the speed of light. There is also the unprovable speculation as to whether Priss knew, from his own theory and the nature of the blue glow produced by the field (possibly due to Cherenkov radiation), what would happen, and if he then directed the ball in such a way as to kill Bloom."

    If sci fi writers can describe physics well enough to embed concepts in a short story, there is no reason why the same ideas cannot be presented in bios and pop science books. Again, it seems unlikely that Somerby was ever a sci fi enthusiast or he wouldn't be struggling with such books today. These concepts are routine for those who follow the genre (e.g., techies and geeks or other scientists, male and female). That is who such books are written for, not flunked-out philosophy majors who support Trump.

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  14. Nice job today Bob it was worth the wait to see where this series was headed.

    As far as the comments here, well... there's no pleasing some people.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Were you in suspense about where it was headed? Search the blog for ‘Goldstein’, and you’ll see posts back in 2014 making exactly the same points about her book. Same for Gödel (he spells it without the umlaut).

      Did you find Greene’s example hard to understand? Honestly? Do you find mathematical Platonism ridiculous? Does it discredit Hardy’s or Gödel’s work in mathematics?

      Why do you think Somerby keeps talking about it if he didn’t think it discredited them in some way?

      If I told you that Isaac Newton "recognized Christ as a divine mediator between God and man, who was subordinate to the Father who created him.", would his religious belief affect the validity of his scientific and mathematical contributions? If so, why?

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    3. I'm not her to defend what you believe Somerby is trying to say. There's not enough time for such pursuits. Call it a cop out if you will! I enjoyed this series, and you didn't. Maybe find something more to your liking to comment on? To each his own of course!

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    4. Somerby is a moron about this. If you cannot see that, don't blame other commenters.

      This is just more of Somerby's whining about writers and attacks on anyone with more expertise than himself. He isn't critiquing these books from a position of knowledge but from one of ignorance. That is nothing to identify with.

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    5. There is a rather timely entry into this realm of speculation, which in some ways seems to critique expertise when the experts wander astray. However, in this case, I think Einstein got it right.

      https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/07/albert-einstein-the-pro-palestinian-socialist

      Leroy

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    6. Rationalist, I agree with you completely. What you come to understand about the anonymous commenters here is that it’s not enough for them to say that they do not enjoy Bob’s writing and move on in search for something they may like better. Such a response is simply too sane for them.

      Instead, they feel it is their duty to convince other people not to like Bob’s writing, either, and if such people are not convinced, that shows them to be as idiotic as Somerby is. The truth is rather different than that, as you and I both know. But there is simply no changing the direction in which these afraid-even-to-use-a-pseudonym, self-pleased babblers insist upon running. You sum it up nimbly: “There’s not enough time for such pursuits.”

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    7. If Somerby did not lie about being a liberal, some of us wouldn't bother commenting here. Correcting disinformation is important. Whatever Somerby is, he is not liberal.

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  15. 'Reviewers tend to stand in line to say that they understand what has been said in such books. Presentations which are actually very murky are said to make perfect sense'

    Well, they make perfect sense to people who studied high school physics and math (and of course to those who did a few courses in tensors, topology and the like in college).


    They make not make perfect sense to people who don't understand %ages and are so dumb as to think they can try to act as a useful (but really useless) idiot for Trump and still claim to be a liberal. In short, they don't make sense to Trumptards who claim to be liberal such as Somerby.

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    1. I mean 'They may not make perfect sense to ... Trumptards who claim to be liberal'

      Delete
  16. 'That said, readers shouldn't have to work to understand what Greene is trying to say.'

    Trumptards like Somerby believe that understanding physics should be as simple as reading their idol's ghostwritten books such as the art of the deal.

    It's worth pointing out that the equations of relativity aren't even among the more difficult equations that scientists and engineers have to solve. For instance, the equations of fluid motion (Navier Stokes) are significantly harder (and still largely unsolved). Somerby focuses on relativity because it allows him to pose as a savant rather than the lying Trumptard that he is.

    ReplyDelete
  17. BTW, I have read Greene's book on the Fabric of the Cosmos and even his book on the Elegant Universe. I understood most of these books, even the sections dealing with string theory, which deal with math that I've never studied. Then again, I'm a Centrist, not a Trumptard who disdains knowledge the way Somerby does.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is entertaining:

    https://www.theroot.com/the-1609-project-the-republican-approved-history-of-am-1847346034?utm_source=theroot_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2021-07-23

    ReplyDelete
  19. Bobby: have you ever been in one of those car washes where you put your car in park and the spray machine moves across your car and suddenly you feel like your car is moving? Well then, imagine that your car is a bunch of trees and the spray machine is you in a car. Get it now? You’re welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This testimony is worth sharing to the world. I am here to tell the world of the good works of Dr BALBOSA. My name is Olivia Bolton am from the UK.. My man left me and my kids for another older woman. It was not so easy for me.. I love my husband so much and I did not lose hope and I kept praying and God finally answered my prayers...i searched online for a spell caster to help me unite me and my lover back forever and i saw so many testimonies of how DR BALBOSA has helped so many people online and i decided to give him a trial … I contacted him and explained to him. He told me not to worry that he will bring back my man within 24 hours. He consulted his powers and assured me not to worry . He did his work and cast the spell and to my greatest surprise, my husband came back the same day begging and crying just as Dr BALBOSA said. He begged me for forgiveness and he promised never to leave me for any reason. We are happy and we live together as one. Contact Dr BALBOSA now and be happy forever. dont lose hope and good luck..

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    ReplyDelete
  21. Somerby should try reading Galileo to see if he has the same problem understanding that. Then he should try to organize and condense his own writing. Nobody reading his endless drivel is lining up to say that they understand him.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "“You know it’s getting bad when the propaganda machine that the Democratic socialists control in this country — they control 95% of the media or so,” he opined. “And then you take the big tech oligarchs that control and censor what we receive via social media. When that poison gets to the average independent American, that propaganda, you know it’s bad when they can’t even find a 15- or 30-second soundbite out of a full-hour town hall that they can plug into their own propaganda machine.”"

    This is a quote from Devin Nunes, but it sounds just like Gloucon and Mao.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you mean that you in fact can find a not computer-enhanced 30-second soundbite out of a full-hour town hall, to plug it into your cult's propaganda machine, dear dembot?

      So, produce it then, dear dembot.

      Delete
    2. Devin Nunes knows every Right-wing accusation is really a confession.

      Don't fall for the "I'm not a liar, I'm just another stupid Right-winger" shtick.

      Delete
    3. So, you can NOT find a non-enhanced Big Guy's 30-second soundbite out of a full-hour town hall, dear dembot.

      We didn't think you could. Case closed.

      Delete
    4. I agree with Mao. Nobody , not even Nunes, is stupid enough to claim anyone in the media is liberal, never mind 95%.
      Between that, and Nunes not knowing enough words to speak for a full-hour, you know this is fake news.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  24. This testimony is worth sharing to the world. I am here to tell the world of the good works of Dr BALBOSA. My name is Olivia Bolton am from the UK.. My man left me and my kids for another older woman. It was not so easy for me.. I love my husband so much and I did not lose hope and I kept praying and God finally answered my prayers…i searched online for a spell caster to help me unite me and my lover back forever and i saw so many testimonies of how DR BALBOSA has helped so many people online and i decided to give him a trial … I contacted him and explained to him. He told me not to worry that he will bring back my man within 24 hours. He consulted his powers and assured me not to worry . He did his work and cast the spell and to my greatest surprise, my husband came back the same day begging and crying just as Dr BALBOSA said. He begged me for forgiveness and he promised never to leave me for any reason. We are happy and we live together as one. Contact Dr BALBOSA now and be happy forever. dont lose hope and good luck..

    WHATSAPP AND CALL: +1(206) 485-3691
    WEBSITE: https://balbosasolutionhome.com
    bye and stay blessed

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  26. Hello to everyone out here, I am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me … My name is Susan Christian , I live in London, UK. we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do, i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Emu for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 24 hours my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Emu casted on him that make him come back to me today, me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Emu for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Emu , if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: emutemple@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website https://emutemple.wordpress.com/ fb page Https://web.facebook.com/Emu-Temple-104891335203341 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

    ReplyDelete