Friday, January 29, 2016

Yet More Bad Creationist Mathematics

It's not just biology that creationists resolutely refuse to understand. Their willful ignorance extends to many other fields. Take mathematics, for example.

At the creationist blog Uncommon Descent we have longtime columnist "kairosfocus" (Gordon Mullings) claiming that "a set of integers that spans to infinity will have members that are transfinite", showing that he doesn't understand even the most basic things about the natural numbers.

And we also have Jonathan Bartlett asking "can you develop an effective procedure for checking proofs? and answering "The answer is, strangely, no."

Actually the answer is "yes". A mathematical proof can indeed be checked and easily so (in principle). This has nothing to do with the statement of Bartlett that follows it: "It turns out that there are true facts that cannot be proved via mechanical means." Yes, that's so; but it has nothing to do with an effective procedure for checking proofs. Such a procedure would simply verify that each line follows from the previous one by an application of the axioms.

If a statement S has a proof, there is a semi-algorithm that will even produce the proof: simply enumerate all proofs in order of length and check whether each one is a proof of S. The problem arises when a true statement simply does not have a proof. It has nothing to do with checking a given proof.

Can't creationists even get the most basic things correct?

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Our Car's Fibonacci Odometer

Been waiting for this for 11 years, and it finally happened!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

You Don't Have to Be a Sociopath to Become a Theist....

...but apparently it helps, at least judging from this video.

Several things come to mind when I watched this. First, if David Wood's story is largely true, then he's clearly a sociopath and why should we believe anything he says? He could just be manipulating us for some sick purpose. On the other hand, if his story is largely false, then he's clearly a pathological liar, and why should we believe anything he says? Of course, his story could be partly true and partly false (my guess), but then the same conclusion holds.

Second is how persuasive even a terrible design argument like the one proposed here can be for a diseased or weak mind. Don't bother studying any mathematics, or computer science, or biology. Just assert that there is no evidence for the scientific world view, and voilĂ !

Third is what an ignorant bastard the guy is for someone who thought he was the greatest person in the world. He thinks shingles are caused by vitamin deficiency, fer chrissake!

Oh well. I am comforted by the fact that there's lots of decent people who are religionists. They're not all sociopaths like David Wood.