Dec 30, 2021Liked by The Rational Walk

"Two things can hold back your engine horse power: bad habits and lack of education" With reading a lot you avoid them both and all at once. And that is a lot blikebuffet BUT I would add that the good use of what you read, is another story..

Expand full comment
Dec 29, 2021Liked by The Rational Walk

I checked the "user reviews" of Deutsch's book, in Amazon.com. One of them says (and I assume he's accurate):

"Deutsch says that it is only through the creation of original conjectures that knowledge can be expanded. All assertions must be tested, and proof sought. Whatever is true withstands any degree of testing that one can muster, while that which is false crumbles. ".

There are (at least) two problems with that:

(1) There's a very disturbing theorem by Goedel, which runs something like:

. . . In any logical system which is rich enough to include basic mathematics,

. . . there are statements which are true, but cannot be proven to be true.

The literature (including the "layman's explanations") is extensive. It's tempting to claim:

. . . "If something is true, we can prove it." --

but it's wrong.

(2) (this is a true story) A cognitive scientist was explaining to his young son what he did -- that is, he was working to figure out how the brain worked. To which his son replied:

. . . "Daddy, what if our brains are more complicated, than we are smart ? "

I've never heard a satisfying answer to that one. I haven't heard about an AI that I'd trust to be smarter than a human. Mathematicians are now depending on computer aids to develop and check their proofs -- but that's "expertise" in a very narrow domain.

So it could be, that you found Deutsch's book to be difficult, simply because it starts from incorrect premises, and draws incorrect conclusions.

I studied physics long, long ago. I'm very wary of any idea, about physical reality, that comes with the caveat:

. . . "Of course, there's no way to test that experimentally, but it's so beautiful mathematically

. . . that it _must_ be true."

I've never read Boethius -- you've convinced me it would be worthwhile.

Thanks a lot for this blog, it helps to keep me sane --

. charles cohen / richmond, BC, Canada

Expand full comment