Loony Toony Tangents

Dec 02 2010 Published by under Bad Geometry, Bad Math

As I've mentioned before, one of the pitfalls of writing this blog is that I get a lot of mail from crazy christians. I'm not sure why it's just the christian crazies that come after me, but that's the way it is.

Anyway, yesterday, I got a fresh one which is really quite bizarre. I can't figure out what the heck the dumbass is trying to get at, so I thought I'd share.

It all starts yesterday at 2:30 or so, when I got the following, under the title "To Marcus From a Christian Physician Mathematician". I put it in a pre-format region, in order to give you the full experience. This is exactly how it appeared in my inbox. I've done my best to preserve the exact formatting, so that you get the full sense of looniness.

 Mark ,

 The Lord has helped me and all I need from you is to
help write a manuscript in math language. I have
developed a new mathematics -1 tangent, very hard to
communicate and very difficult , but by a simple
computer program we have placed and sieved all
 prime numbers ( Please examine our site )

. Basically the mathematics creates a tangent over the
 original primordial universe , tangents used are 1/6
and 5/ 6 at Inverse 19  and if you can solve
this simple equation a help from my lord from my
 lord then work with me. No PHDs
 have been able to solve this, and no one has been
 able to understand the
mathematics. My papers were accepted as
assignment by the worlds top Physics
journal , and they said they have a hard time
understanding the tangents, write it better

X- 0.5=(0.5X)/10        ( The lord parted the waters)
What is the rational value of X ( Least whole number ratio)

 You may  write  these papers with us in the grace of
 our Lord Jesus Christ. We
will give you that site if you
acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ that stilled
the waters.

My first thought was the usual annoyance at being pestered by one of these twits. My second was "perhaps the reason why no one has been able to understand the mathematics is because you're making absolutely no sense at all. And my third was to be really annoyed, because the moron sent me a request to "look at his site", without even bothering to give me a URL!

So... I responded. I know that I shouldn't have, but I can't resist a good crank. A couple of quick and mostly nonsensical exchanges occured, which just aren't worth the effort of copying. But one thing that I did say to him was:

If you send me your stuff, I'll take a look at it. But you should understand that if, as I suspect, it turns out to be nothing but garbage, then I'm going to post it on my blog, with an appropriate amount of mockery of you and your work.

There were a couple of stupid back and forths... including his explaining that the reason that he sent this to me was because I've written about christian mathematicians on by blog. From this, I conclude that the guy's reading comprehension is about as good as his writing, because the only times that I've mentioned the religion of anyone (except myself) that I've written about, it's to mock them. (Like, for example, I've frequently mocked Dembski's, and the way that he substitutes christian apologetics for actual math.)

Anyway, the first thing with any actual substance to it in our exchange, was this:

What ever , is fine, my Paper as I say was accepted as assigned by the AIP Journals and it is not accepted for publication because it is sloppy and poorly written in different mathematics. The reason I will only give you the prime number placement and the Computer program because you will not understand -1 tangent or some of the mathematical statements like " A divisor of Space must be 2* a tangent ( a tangent always has a midline. Divisor 19 is exactly 1:3 (1/6+1/6) . That is it , do you solve or understand X-0.5= (0.5X)/10

Attached is a very tiny snippet slow prime number sieve/placement Program that no one has seen or understood yet but "each prime number is connected to each prime number and is continuous program" so unlike all the yobos prime number sieve out there , this one is different . It does not need a proof . We have done a billion and it is already copywrited to our site . Attached is the source code and the sample prime numbers by gaps and placement. It is my gift to you, and if you understand this then I will show you the rest of the mathematics, and why I can help you and you me .

Dont you dare call it Garbage, because then I can do the same to you , what is garbage is current mathematics understanding of prime numbers etc. I have a Phd education too, so it do not matter, I am a fellow of the royal college of Surgeons . See only the rest at your risk , you will not get it, because it is -1 tangent mathematics. It is copy righted ten times over.

V.C.

Along with this, he included a PDF file that had Fortran-77 source code superimposed on background images...

Now, I have no idea of just what this twit is trying to get at. But he did at least send me a link to his website. He's created his own "research institute" called hope research. And it's an absolute gem of almost time-cube caliber insanity. He's got a picture of a file of rocks, with a metal plaque on a pole above them, reading:

BY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, A FEW ORDINARY
ATHENS RESIDENTS DISCOVERED "INVERSE 19 MATHEMATICS",
AT TAN 19, 1:3 (1/6 + 1/6), WITH DIVERGENCE/CONVERGENCE
AT 1 AND MINUS 1(0.999.), IN 2009-2010

WORLD RENOWNED MATHEMATICIAN PROFESSOR EDGAR
ESCULTURA (PHD, MADISON WISCONSIN) ACKNOWLEDGED
IN WRITING THE BASIC PREMISE OF TAN 19, AND ALSO IN
WRITING HAS SAID "THAT IS IS A NEW NUMBER SYSTEM
AND A NEW GEOMETRIC PLANE". THE FUTURE WILL HOLD THE
REST

THEOREM OF INVERSE 19- "A CIRCLE IS A SPACE CONSTRUCTED
BY THE INVERSE OF PERFECT CONVERGENCE/DIVERGENCE
OF 1 AND -1. 1=MUN 1(0.999.) AT NATURAL 1/3(1/6 + 1/6)
DIVERGENCE OF NUMBERS. WHEN A CIRCLE IS COLLAPSED
IT COLLAPSES NOT TO A NULL ZERO AS PER PRESENT
MATHEMATICAL THEORY, BUT INTO A TANGENT CURVED
SPACE 1,-1 AND 0.000166666667 (1/6X1/1000)

Try to make sense out of that, eh?

Looking at his web-page a bit, it's an amazing jumble of incoherent rubbish. Most of it is just pure incoherence. But, as near as I can figure it out... the nugget, the basic idea at the center of it all, is:

CURRENT MATHEMATICS THEORY is wrong because it is based on a single square plane with a squared center, "a circle can never be squared”, vice versa, by a single mathematical plane, the mistake of Riemann, Euclid, Archimedes, and Einstein.

In somewhat more coherent terms: he believes that our number system is fundamentally defined by a square plane, and that all sorts of errors come from the fact that we always analyze things in terms of a "square space". He believes that there are actually two overlapping spaces - one square, and one circular.

The "circle can never be squared" bit is really quite interesting, because it's something that cranks constantly bring up, without ever bothering to understand what it means.

There's an old traditional of geometry dating back to the ancient Greeks, which looks at things you can do using nothing but a straight-edge and a compass. You can do a lot of interesting things; for example, you can construct a perfect square without needing to measure any lengths or angles. Below is an animation of the process, from wikipedia.

Squaring a circle is a straight-edge and compass problem: if I give you a circle, can you draw a square which has the same area as that circle using nothing but a straight-edge and a compass? And the answer is: No, you can't. When someone talks about "squaring a circle", that's all that they're talking about: you can't draw a square and a circle with the same area using nothing but a straight-edge and a compass.

People like our incoherent friend here believe that it means something much, much stronger: that you can never convert between circles and squares; that things that are round, and things that have right angles are completely, fundamentally incompatible. This is utter nonsense.

In fact, given a plane, we can identify points in the plane in two different ways: by picking a line and an arbitrary 0 point, we can then measure its distance from the origin in two directions (the rectangular coordinate), or we can measure its angle and distance from the origin and baseline (the polar or circular coordinate). And we can freely convert back and forth between those two representations.

He doesn't understand that at all. He believes that the cartesian plane is actually rectangular, and believes he's made some brilliant discovery by inventing a circular form of a plane. (A plane isn't rectangular or circular. It's a plane.)

As far as his prime number stuff goes... I can't make head or tail out of it. He seems to be using the word "tangent" in a novel way, and I can't figure out what his definition of the word is. Without that, there's no hope of rendering his babble into anything meaningful.

But for your entertainment... He claims that he's got this program which somehow demonstrates his prime discovery. For you, my loyal readers, I have actually copied it out of his PDF file. This appears to some version of BASIC.. it's amusing; his programming is just as incoherent as his english. I mean, look at it: there's no way that this program can work. None. Nil. Zero.

I doubt that it's even valid syntax. I can't say that for certain, because there are so many different variants of BASIC, and so many of them are so wacky. But even if the syntax, by some miracle, is actually valid in some version of basic, it doesn't work.

How can I say that? Just look at the program - you don't need to look very far. Look at the line with line number 10: 10 IF PRIME(X)=0 THEN GOTO 1009. There is no line 1009. There are jumps to line 1014; there is no line 1014. There are statements that jump to line 2002; there is no line 2002.

DIM PRIME(100000)' HOW FAR DO YOU WANT TO GO
DIM RIME(100000)' HOW FAR DO YOU WANT TO GO
PRIME(X)=7
RIME(Y)=5
X=0
Y=0
5 A = A + 1
7 AA=0

[BB]
D=D+1
X=0
Y=0
10 IF PRIME(X)=0 THEN GOTO 1009
IF RIME(Y)=0 THEN GOTO 1009

20 IF BB/RIME(Y)=1 THEN GOTO 1999 ELSE IF BB/RIME(Y)=0
OR BB/RIME(Y)=INT(BB/RIME(Y)) THEN GOTO 2000
30 IF BB/PRIME(X)=1 THEN GOTO 1999 ELSE IF BB/PRIME(X)=0
OR BB/PRIME(X)=INT(BB/PRIME(X)) THEN GOTO 2000
40 IF INT(BB/2)<RIME(Y) AND INT(BB/2)<PRIME(X) GOTO 1999

X=X+1
Y=Y+1

GOTO 10


1999 AA=AA +1
2000 X=0
Y=0
[BA]

IF PRIME(X)=0 THEN GOTO 1009
IF RIME(Y)=0 THEN GOTO 1014

 IF BA/RIME(Y)=1 THEN GOTO 2002 ELSE IF BA/RIME(Y)=0
 OR BA/RIME(Y)=INT(BA/RIME(Y)) THEN GOTO 2001
IF BA/PRIME(X)=1 THEN GOTO 2002 ELSE IF BA/PRIME(X)=0
OR BA/PRIME(X)=INT(BA/PRIME(X)) THEN GOTO 2001
IF INT(BA/2)<RIME(Y) AND INT(BA/2)<PRIME(X) GOTO 2002


X=X+1
Y=Y+1
GOTO [BA]
2001  GOTO 2003
2002

AA=AA+2
2003 IF AA=1 THEN PRINT TAB(32); BB
IF AA=2 THEN PRINT BA
IF AA=3 THEN PRINT BA; TAB(32); BB

BB =BB +6
 BA =BA +6
 X=A
 Y=A

 LET PRIME(X)=BB 'BB
E=X
LET RIME(Y)=BA  'BA
F=Y


IF A = 100000 THEN GOTO [MEM]  ' HOW FAR DO YOU WANT TO GO
IF D= 71 THEN GOTO [PAGE] ELSE GOTO 5

[PAGE]
D=0
B=B+1 'PAGE NUMBERS

PRINT TAB(45);"PAGE " ;B

C=C+A              'NUMBER OF LOOPS

                   ' START NEXT LOOP



IF B=200 THEN GOTO [QUIT]

GOTO 5


[QUIT]


open "LOOP" for text as #1
  print #1, "NUMBER OF LOOPS "; C
  PRINT #1, "X ";E;" Y ";F

  confirm "DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE?"; answer$

  if answer$ = "no" then [END]

  GOTO [CONTINUE]




[CONTINUE]
CLOSE #1
GOTO 5


[END]
CLOSE #1

END

[MEM]
PRINT "OUT OF ALOTTED MEMORY   A"

END

I wanted to give you folks a version of this that actually ran... to at least see if this was, in any way, shape, or form a prime number generator. I tried to translate it into Python... But I can't make any kind of sense out of it. Even with all of the obscure and deliberately pathological languages I've learned, I can't make this make sense. For example, BA and [BB] seem to branch targets. But they also seem to somehow be used as variable prefixes. I'm not sure what, if anything, that's supposed to mean.

If you know the variant of BASIC that this is written for, and you can explain it to me, I'll be glad to make another stab at rewriting it into a runnable program in Python.

To conclude.. Why should I bother to do this? According to my loony correspondent:

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

I reluctantly give you the raw very primitive site of the mathematics without the calculus , it is not written in modern math language,but we are sure of it the mathematics and the numbers placement. DO NOT ridicule us, and if you can help find a partner to write this mathematics with us , let us know, we will teach you the calculus

Yes, we'll be able to detect the tiniest leak of nuclear energy using his prime number sieve! (Which, in so far as I can understand it, isn't even a sieve.) And I'd better not ridicule him. Oops, too late.

Oh, and according to him, π is exactly 22/7.

74 responses so far

  • beekguk says:

    Well, obviously he's a time-travel crank too, except he won't tell you about that because you won't understand the math, and the GOTO statements tell you what year to go to ...

  • James Sweet says:

    I haven't read the whole mess yet, but I can't resist...

    That is it , do you solve or understand X-0.5= (0.5X)/10

    Um... yeah. X=10/19=~0.526. Basic algebra, bro.

    Got any others? Praise Jesus!

    • Vinoo Cameron says:

      FROM THE LOONY CHRISTIAN,

      Who said that was so hard , but you did not complete the equation by tangent , it is 10/19 and 9/19 as a tangent ( 0.5 -X =( 0.5X )/10, and X-0.5=(0.5X)/10, both derived from 1 and 3 tangent by equation, now understand that we have already proven that the basic differential in the universe constriction is (3*4), so smart ass Mark , figure out this, or do you want me to shove a "mathematical fish" in your mouth and shut you up

      1. 10+12/19 -12 =22/7

      2. 9+12/19-12= 21/3 equalized by the tangent at (3*4 +,-)

      And if we have placed and solved all prime numbers till a billion in the tangent of 19, what does it say about your "Pi value that you all worship as God", Mr Mark, stupid Pi

      Do you know all you mathematicians,real smart ones, real snappers all , including Mark that

      1+1+(1-1/15)/ (1-1/15) =22/7 -----

      8 PI by "orientation" is = 1/6, you smart one

      Cannot tell more till our manuscript gets published by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom I am not ashamed . I have never said a word about your God Mark , so it is wise not to say more about mine, unless you want some "mathematical fish" in your mouth, stuffed.

      Mathematically I can do that to you any time in computer language too.

      • Vinoo Cameron says:

        That above is 21/7 , 21/3 was a mispelt . Hate to tell you that your Pi will be proven wrong , then who will be mentally ill, here is a snapper for Mark and his "pied" followers

        By Orientation

        180 degrees/3=60

        180 / 4 = 45 degreees

        19*2=38(2 quadrants)

        60-38=22

        45-38=7

        Ratio is 22/7

        Can you find your Pi by numbers? Why dont you guys worship something transcendental that you cannot prove by numeral resolution???. We know that the inverse is closed, so your Pi is wrong in several ways that we have shown. Cant you mathematicians get a hint from 3/45 (1/15) that 1+1+(1-1/15) / (1-1/15)=22/7

        You know what is mental illness , it is to be too deeply rooted one theory without reason or rationale, like the christian , jewish , moslem nuts. I do not even go to Church etc etc.

        In the current mathematical theory as if there are no Gods but Riemann, Archimedes, euler and that crank Einstein who never understood 8Pi, like he should have , if he had he would have understood our Calculus he would have understood that there has to be a one divisor the divisor of the Universe proportions , that has to by mathematical principle be " *2 of a tangent"( you cannot have a divisor 1 without a perfect half), and have a midline that is absolute linear. That is 1:3 and 6:1 at 19

        So be rational fellows , you wanna discuss mathematics then do so, but state your point with some substance/ education," not just pee on the wall" as some of you like to do. Leave my person out of it , or not does not matter to me . This is America , You can mock us all you want , and we may not stay around to dialogue with you.

        My Partner is Theo denotter , some one you do not want to tangle with in numbers / tangents etc. He has done the Prime sieve/ placement.

  • James Sweet says:

    I have to say, I love it when cranks are like, "Do not mock me!" hahahaha that's priceless.

    When somebody says I'm full of shit, I usually try to tell them why I am actually not full of shit, and why it is in fact them who are full of shit. (Or else discover that I am in fact full of shit and then -- hopefully -- revise my opinion) What I most certainly do not do is whine, "Don't say I'm full of shit! Whaa!" hahahahahaha. Cracks me up every time.

  • Peter says:

    The language might be LibertyBasic (based on the unusual Confirm statement). And the missing labels might not be a problem if the branches are never taken.

  • Peter says:

    I've transcribed the program to C (Python doesn't have gotos :), you can find it here. The output matches the numbers on the website. I've no idea what it means.

  • Minos says:

    'Number Placement of Inverse "0"', the website says. I'm going to have to dig in and find out how he divides by zero. That should be entertaining.

    The content of the site may rival Time Cube, but it's got a long way to go on the web design side.

  • Nick says:

    Hmmm...maybe, he is referring to arctan when he says -1 tangent?

  • Eric says:

    FORTRAN has this weird feature known as a "computed goto" - I wonder if this language also supports that.

    • AJS says:

      Most British-built 8-bit computers of the 1980s had BASIC variants which supported calculated GOTOs; at least one (Camputers Lynx) even supported fractions in line numbers, if you needed a line between 10 and 11. The Sinclair Spectrum lacked the BBC's PROCs, so using GOSUB with a variable name as a target was a way of making a program more readable (although slower).

      Side question: Are the straightedge-and-compass problems just graphical solutions to quadratic equations with all integer coefficients, or is there more to it than that?

  • Taz says:

    Wait, so it's 10/19, not 42?

  • Jon H says:

    Wow. How much does it cost to get a bronze plaque like that made?

  • Jon H says:

    Here's a photo of Dr. Vinoo Cameron at work.

    http://gallery.pictopia.com/wausau/photo/3080206/

  • Michael says:

    God parted the waters where x is equal to exactly 10/19??? Neat.

    I personally think this guy is screwing with you and he and his roommates are getting a real kick watching the response.

  • william e emba says:

    I guess I'm showing my age, but surely I'm not the only old-timer who remembers E. E. Escultura from sci.math on USENET from the late 90s. PhD turned fruitcake galore, given to claiming to have a counterexample to FLT and other gibberish.

    • You sure hzve gained some years but not enough to survey the mathematical landscape in cyberspace and see that not a single hole has been punched on my work despite the huge amount of discussion on it.

      Cheers,

      E. E. Escultura

  • john fringe says:

    All cranks want to get famous, but some of them actually think they deserve it. This one is too obviously engineered. Engineered crankery. I mean, some guys want to become famous at your expense, and they are playing the crank.

    I get this feeling with most cranks, but this seems pretty clear.

    Well, cranks are a subset of trolls. Nothing new here.

  • Schlega says:

    I think I see what the algorithm is doing. All primes greater than 3 are either 1 or -1 (mod 6). It just starts from 5 and 7, then keeps incrementing by 6 and checking to see if any of the numbers on either list divide them. Primes of the form 6n+1 get stored in PRIME, and primes of the form 6n-1 get stored in RIME.

    Hooray! Now we can detect nuclear energy leaks!

    • James Sweet says:

      Thanks for figuring that out. It was clear from Peter's work that the program really did accurately generate primes >= 5, but there was no way in hell I was going to try and figure out how. 🙂

      So clearly these guys have never actually looked at any actual algorithm for generating primes... since the final step of their program is to divide by all primes less than the number being investigated, their algorithm is the same Big O as the worst possible algorithm -- that being brute-force checking every single number. They just reduce the numbers they have to brute-force check by 1/3.

      Great work, geniuses....

    • eric says:

      Hooray! Now we can detect nuclear energy leaks!

      You forgot the all-important "...from space." Or may better put: "from SPAAAAACE!!!!"

      Evidently he hasn't heard of cloud chambers, gamma detectors, etc...

      I blame the sun. That damn thing is leaking nuclear energy like a sieve 🙂

      • Vinoo Cameron says:

        What is the mathematical configuration of atoms, a circle right? The mathematical configuration of energy , rather symmetrical energy, is mathematically constant, and it is all that we postulated. We are not going to say much more, and go ahead make trivial, mock or what ever you do, we have stated what we believe in , that your PI value is "hog wash" , that the earth is not mathematically flat as your mathematics is of a single plane.

        The nuclear energy of the sun is a different matter, I do not know much to say much about it, but fusion is a different than fission.

        So wake up and do not "pee in the wind" it makes you PHD degrees ver sublime.

        • MarkCC says:

          What is the mathematical configuration of atoms, a circle right?

          No, wrong. Very, very wrong.

          The mathematical configuration of energy , rather symmetrical energy, is mathematically constant, and it is all that we postulated.

          If you understood math, you'd realize just how stupid that sounds.

          The word symmetrical has a very precise mathematical meaning. What symmetrical means is "immune to transformation". A circle is mirror-symmetric - meaning that if you replace a circle by its mirror image, you can't detect the change. A circle is also symmetric with respect to rotation: you can rotate a circle around its center as much as you want, and it doesn't change the circle.

          What your statement actually says, then, is "the mathematical configuration of energy is mathematically constant with respect to all operations which don't change it." More simply: "energy doesn't change if and only if it doesn't change".

          And math isn't about a single plane. In fact, math isn't about planes at all. Planes are one construction that is very useful under some circumstances. But much of math has absolutely nothing to do with planes at all.

          For example, one of the most fundamental concepts of modern math is set theory. Set theory doesn't even depend on numbers, much less on planes.

          You're pig-ignorant about the subjects that you're claiming to revolutionize. You're using words - like "symmetric" above, or like "tangent" in your constant babbling - whose meaning you don't even begin to understand, and then complaining about how no one will take you seriously.

          • James Sweet says:

            What is the mathematical configuration of atoms, a circle right?

            No, wrong. Very, very wrong.

            Heh, yeah, it's actually rather entertaining how wrong this is. If he had said "sphere", it would be an understandable mistake -- according to a naive high school-level understanding of the Bohr model, that would be a roughly accurate statement. (A deeper understanding of quantum mechanics, or even a somewhat richer understanding of chemical bonds for that matter, obliterates that notion... but it is a reasonable misconception to hold, a mere oversimplification).

            But "circle"? hahahahaha nice....

  • ShadowWalkyr says:

    What, this guy's never heard of the squared circle?

    It's a slang term for a boxing ring.

  • Vicki says:

    Let me get this straight: he needs your help to get this into publishable form, but he's sure you aren't capable of understanding it.

  • ellindsey says:

    I have put together a Python implementation of this code which seems to generate the same output as the original. You can get it at:

    http://paste.lisp.org/display/117296

    I have no idea what the significance of this is supposed to be.

  • Timothy V Reeves says:

    His fanciful and arbitrary scrambling of mathematical symbolism is as delusional as this statement:

    "I am a fellow of the royal college of Surgeons"

    He's sick.

  • Hamish Reid says:

    You've (finally) been hit by the "Inverse 19" cranks who've been torturing language and logic on Usenet's sci.math for several years now. Wander over to sci.math's archives if you want more of this stuff -- he / they are entirely immune to helpful criticism or any form of logic...

  • theshortearedowl says:

    He sounds like anthony hopkins in that movie about the mathematician suffering from dementia - he thought he was writing his best work, but really it was gibberish.

    • robert says:

      you mean Russell Crowe, playing John Nash...

      • robert says:

        My mistake, didn't realise another film had been released with an almost identical premise!

        • Fred says:

          No, you were right. Anthony Hopkins did star in a movie entitled "Proof", where he played a demented mathematician. His dementia was not revealed until the end. His daughter, a brilliant mathematician in her own right, actually developed a revolutionary proof, but was accused of stealing it from her recently deceased father.

          A colleague analyzing the proof realized that the Hopkins character could not have developed the proof, that it was indeed his daughter's work after all. Very different movie than "Beautiful Mind" about Nash.

          • Chris Warren says:

            The stage play Proof (on which the movie is based) is excellent -- far, far better than the movie. And, it's a semi-staple of amateur theatre troops, so if you find a production, go see it.

  • Keshav Srinivasan says:

    It's a really minor point, but there is a line labeled 2002.

  • Leo says:

    So, I was wondering... what kind of raging idiot sends an uncommented program without even saying in which god damned language it's written?

    Apparently, this one does... huh...

  • Tualha says:

    At first I was thinking this might be a Poe. But it's hard to believe anyone could play this much of a looney with a straight face.

    I certainly hope this person is not actually a working surgeon. That's a really scary thought.

  • haig says:

    How fine a line is it between being a crank and being mentally ill, how do we differentiate between the two, and how should we individually treat those separate cases? I ask these questions because it wasn't too obvious to me whether this person is just ignorant and uneducated (despite his own claims) or if his behavior is pathological. I have talked to apparently healthy individuals who believed in and said some utterly insane things, usually religious claims but not always, and I've placed them in the 'wrong but not crazy' category, meaning their beliefs are crazy but they themselves do not appear to be. I also have experience with certifiably insane individuals who are or have been hospitalized/medicated for mental illness and their claims are no crazier than the previous group's but their behavior definitely reveals their genuine insanity. This comment is growing too long so I'll just end it by saying that, while I support satire and mocking of stupidity and ignorance as fair game and do it with gusto in certain circumstances, I'd urge a little compassion with cases like this where the person's mental status is unknown.

    • Jon H says:

      "This comment is growing too long so I’ll just end it by saying that, while I support satire and mocking of stupidity and ignorance as fair game and do it with gusto in certain circumstances, I’d urge a little compassion with cases like this where the person’s mental status is unknown."

      One of these guys is a practicing physician. See the photo I linked to above.

  • How fine a line is it between being a crank and being mentally ill, how do we differentiate between the two, and how should we individually treat those separate cases?

    I've got a rather blunt answer to that: why does it matter?

    Over the last few years I've learned, from personal experience, what mental illness really means. I've personally got chronic depression (managed through medication), and social anxiety, complete with post-traumatic flashbacks.

    I've learned from some of my friends and family about bipolar disorder and dissociative disorder. And I've got a cousin who is pretty much completely incapacitated by schizophrenia.

    What I've learned from those experiences is that there's a huge stigma associated with mental illness. That stigma is huge, and it colors everything about how we view mental illness and people with mental illness. The way that we look at someone mentally ill and baby them - say that we shouldn't hold them responsible for what they say and do in public - that's part of the stigma. Virtually all mentally ill people function as part of society, without people around them even knowing about their illness. But the instant you find out that someone is mentally ill, the instinctive reaction is to say: "This person is mentally ill, therefore they aren't responsible for anything they say or do" - and as a direct corrollary of that: "I can't trust this person with anything important".

    And that's total bullshit. Even many people with schizophrenia - one of the most debilitating, hardest to treat mental illnesses out there - can be a fully functional, trustworthy, and rational person, who you could know for years and never notice anything odd. But the instant you find out that they're ill, the attitude changes.

    If you're well enough to interact with society, you deserve to be treated as a full member of society. And that includes the negative aspects of being a member of society as well as the positive ones.

    So... The author of this crankery is a practicing doctor. Perhaps he is mentally ill. But apparently he functions quite well in his day to day life as a doctor - well enough to be able to practice medicine. He deserves the respect of being taken seriously. He doesn't deserve to be pushed off into a bin of crazy people who shouldn't be taken seriously. If he wants to put his ideas forward, they should be treated just like anyone else's - whether he's mentally ill or just stupidly arrogant and ignorant doesn't matter in the least. It's none of your or my business whether he's mentally ill. He's a responsible adult. And that's all that we need to know.

    • AnyEdge says:

      Hear hear, Mark. Point in fact: I have a chronic, progressive, terminal mental illness. I am an alcoholic. I function perfectly well in normal society, because I don't drink anymore.

      But I am 100% fully responsible for everything I did while I drank, and I am responsible for the things I do now, and I would be responsible for the things that I would do were I to drink again.

      Having a mental illness isn't a 'get out of responsibility free' card. It's a basic challenge in life not different from a million other challenges. I can't tell you how many times, when it might be revealed that I am both an alcoholic and hold a Doctorate, that the person condescendingly says, "Good for you!" as if I were showing off a very good macaroni paper plate.

      And I function just fine for having a mental illness, and you couldn't get me to drink today with a handgun.

  • Vicki says:

    Thank you, Mark. I was going to say something similar, but not as well.

  • James Sweet says:

    The only thing that gives me pause about that point of view is that sometimes the tenor of internet cranks' ramblings reminds me to a disturbing extent of some things this guy I know was saying shortly before he jumped out of his window, shattering both ankles, because he thought he was being chased by government agents or something. (And to give you an idea of that state of mind he was in, he then proceeded to drive to the hospital... with shattered ankles. Ouch!) I wouldn't want to contribute to a breakdown like that... And that's a hard line to draw.

    In general I agree though.

  • Mike says:

    What does religion have to do with math? Tip: If you want someone to continue past the front door, leave religion out of it.

    • James Sweet says:

      I dunno, but a surprisingly high percentage of Christians wear a plus sign around their neck, so there must be some connection...

      Oh, and also, computing the number of candles you need for Channukah is a lot easier if you know that the summation of integers from 1 to n is equal to n*(n+1)/2 (of course you need to remember to subtract 1, because there is no zeroth day of Channukah... but still, when I needed to compute how many tea candles we needed for this oddball menorah we have that uses tea candles, you bet your sweet bippy that 9*10/2 - 1 was a helluva lot easier to calculate on the spot than 2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9...)

  • MarkCC says:

    So, as you can see, the loonie-toonie crackpot behind this rubbish has shown up in the comments.

    Our installation of WordPress here at Scientopia is set so that, by default, the first time you comment, you're automatically held for moderation. Once you've had a comment approved, then further comments will get posted immediately unless your post trips one of the spam detectors. (That "moderate first post" does wonders for keeping spam away.)

    Of course, crackpots always suffer from delusions of grandeur, and believe that any delay in the appearance of their comments, no matter how small, must be a sign that I'm deliberately blocking them.

    True to form, loonie-dude sent a private email to accompany his comments. Which, true to my form, I'm going to share with you all for your amusement:

    See to it that my Blog replies get posted at the site that you put my E mail at , otherwise , there will not be any communication from me ever. We will just ignore you. No sweat Mark

    V.C/Td

    I've always had an open comment policy on my blog, because I believe it's the right thing to do. Short of very serious abuse, for the kind of writing that I do on my blog, I don't think that it's right to restrict comments. But... let me tell ya, this was tempting. All I'd need to do is block his comments, and I'd never hear from him again? Goodie!

    • john fringe says:

      I propose a better method for moderation: put a captcha that requires answering a simple question from a math book for very young children. For example, the (now) famous

      http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2010/10/06/argh-argh-argh/

      I'm sure that will get rid of all the cranks, who have the awesome mental power to redefine the field of Geometry, solve the conceptual problems related to QM and prove Relativity false, but (I am sure) can not solve an elementary math problem. All you have to do is buy a children math book with exercises, and type a lot.

      Nevertheless, this blog would not be the same without them :p

  • Vinoo Cameron says:

    RESOLUTION OF 8Pi

    ( Correction * 8Pi is not 1/6 but Pi is 1/6 by orientation)

    8Pi by orientation is 4/3 .

    45 degrees is the least differential of 4 orientation. The contriction thus takes place at 8 points , centered at 45 degrees each (45/3 and 3/45), which , We have proven is the nidus for PI constriction at -1/15 of 1.

    So 8 Pi by orientation = 4/3 ( 4/4=1) . Pi value thus by orientation value , is 1/6 . The 1/6 tangent is the basis for tangents of all prime numbers placement. I will call no one a moron, but honestly some of you smart alecks, that I have met in my career as a Physician, the rest is hard to explain for now, except that your God the Pi value must match a value by numbers." Symmetry is thus inherently rooted in the number "6" (1/6+1/6=1/3)

    --- 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

    That is all Mark and the "pied Pipered " mathematicians, we intend to make your mathematics more rational. Co0l it fellows, mathematicics is more than convoluted equations , it is simplicity ( Sir Bertrand Russel)

  • James Sweet says:

    Co0l it fellows, mathematicics is more than convoluted equations , it is simplicity ( Sir Bertrand Russel)

    Right. Mathematics is just convoluted equations, but mathematicics is something more: Convoluted equations with an extra "ic".

    (BTW, as awesome as I think Bertrand Russel is, I would not quote him on the ideal philosophy of mathematical fundamentals... Russel, after all, spent much of his later career in an ultimately vain attempt to develop a system of math that was both consistent and complete, and when Godel proved that doing so was impossible, ol' Bertie was loathe to accept it, and by some accounts never did. In other words, for all his mathematical genius, Russel so dearly wanted fundamental mathematics to be simple and clean and pure that when faced with solid evidence that contradicted his vision, he was unable to fully accept it.)

    otherwise , there will not be any communication from me ever. We will just ignore you. No sweat Mark

    Crank threats crack me up. "If you don't do what I want, I'll stop pestering you! How will you feel then, huh?"

    • Vinoo Cameron says:

      No sweat, James. I understand all you are saying, but Russel Bertrand was right , we will prove him right , after all it was your Wikipedia that called Vector 19 nothing ans 19, nothing at all and still does .

      "Well inverse 19 by geometry and topology is the perfect symmetry at 1:3 , 6:1 and exact 3: 4 equalization", and recognized by many professors by now -- something your mathematics did not know for 1000 years till now. So go ahead and snip at our heals, the final kick would still come at your current mathematics, retrograde.

      ( BTW, I had the occasion of meeting Sir Bertrand Russel, shaking his hand, at Hyde Park, London over 40 years ago, real fine fellow was he)

      • James Sweet says:

        I understand all you are saying, but Russel Bertrand was right , we will prove him right

        You're saying that Russell was right that there exists a mathematical system which is both complete and consistent?

        Read up on your Godel, dude. The proof is rock-solid. No matter how carefully you construct it, any mathematical system that is capable of proving anything can be induced to produce a proposition that roughly equates to "This statement is false." Not only did Godel prove it was true, he gave a turn-the-crank method for producing such a proposition for any given mathematical system.

        Russell was right about many, many things, but he was wrong about that.

  • john fringe says:

    You almost convinced me, Mark. But facts are stronger: nobody's neurons can be so scattered in his head while still allowing him to breathe and to keep his drool in his mouth. Come on... This is a troll as big as a truck

  • owl says:

    the world famous mathematician, edgar esculatara, has his own history!

    http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=73

    fun!

  • kharris says:

    Our host wonders why it is that Christians dog him so. I'd suggest some satisfaction of curiosity may be had by doing a web search for "authoritarian personality".

  • Reply to comments on the new real number system.

    You really have no choice friends. The real number system is ill-defined, does not exist, because its field axioms are inconsistent!!!

    Cheers,

    E. E. Escultura

    • James Sweet says:

      Point of order: A mathematical system cannot be said to "exist" or "not exist", beyond the simple fact of whether someone has thought of it or not. If I decide that the True Nature of Mathematics is based on the structure of a turnip plant, you cannot tell me that my Unified Turnipian Theory of Mathematics "doesn't exist" -- you can only tell me that it is incomplete or inconsistent or not particularly useful (or perhaps even a bit Loony Toony).

      Or perhaps because its field axioms are inconsistent!!! Though I resent the implication that my turnip fields are anything but consistent.

  • The owner of this blog: http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=73,

    noted above passed away (Bless his soul) in 2008 after he was ridiculed for claiming that my resolution of FLT was a hoax.

    Cheers,

    E. E. Escultura

  • Cantor's diagonal method generates only countable real numbers each time it is applied on them. Since the countable union of countable sets is countable this method does not prove that the real numbers are uncountable.

    Cheers,

    E. E. Escultura

  • I told Vinoo that he CAN construct a number system (in fact, non-euclidean number system) or non-euclinean geometry under the premise tan19 degrees = 1/3. It would be a distortion of the real number system and its operations or the euclidean plane. To do this one would need a conversion table that converts a real number to his number by ratio and proportion. Naturally, addition and multiplication in his system would be different. He never did that. Instead, he has been doing trivial computations with the real numbers and has been PROMISING to prove present mathematics wrong in the last two years. He is unable to understand what I said.

    Cheers,

    E. E. Escultura

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