Gravitational waves and Einstein

February 16th, 2016

What did Einstein really say about gravitational waves?

First, the background. In almost twenty five years, no one has answered the objections I raised about Einstein. Namely that he did not fully understand the special theory of relativity invented by Poincare. Special relativity requires functional differential equations, as Poincare realised. But Einstein never understood that till the end of his life, and kept trying to approximate functional differential equations by ordinary differential equations which is manifestly a mistake. See my book Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer Academic, 1994).

In the more recent series of articles on FDEs in Physics Education, the first article explains the mistake.

Sadly, though special relativity is a first year undergraduate subject, it continues to be taught incorrectly. Even at that elementary level, scientists go by the force of social authority, and just ignore the force of a scientific argument.

Further, even in the case of general relativity, it is known that Einstein had the wrong equations before Hilbert sent the right equations to him. Withing 5 days he then claimed he had suddenly and coincidentally arrived at the same equations independently of Hilbert, just as he claimed he suddenly and coincidentally arrived at the special theory of relativity shortly after Poincare’s article on it was published!

Now, the popular image of Einstein is as a great mathematician, but knowledgeable people understood that Einstein was ignorant of mathematics: as Hilbert said, “every boy in the streets of Goettingen knows more about 4-dimensional geometry than Einstein”. Read the rest of this entry »

Gravitational waves and RGT

February 14th, 2016

A PhD student from IIT Madras asked me to comment on the reported discovery of gravitational waves in relation to my points about Einstein. My comments were as follows.

Any claim that the experiment has confirmed general relativity is wrong; scientific theories can only be refuted, never confirmed. It is faith which is confirmed.

My own theory of gravitation,  RGT (Retarded Gravitation Theory), was most recently explained in an expository paper.

There is no fundamental competition between GRT (General Relativity Theory) and RGT any more than there is a fundamental competition between Lorentz covariance and general covariance. One may however speculate on the generally covariant theory which would result if the flat spacetime limit is RGT, not Newtonian gravity, and so on.

After the solar system the galaxy and its structure is the next big problem in gravitation, not gravitational waves. However, it remains a fact that GRT cannot be used to understand the galaxy, which requires that we solve a billion body problem. At any rate the billion body problem in GRT could not be solved in the last century. It does not matter if GRT is the ultimate theory, for it has little practical value in the context of the galaxy. Read the rest of this entry »

Videos of MIT and IISc talks

January 28th, 2016

The video of my MIT talk is now online at Calculus: the real story

The abstract and presentation were put up on an earlier blog
http://ckraju.net/blog/?p=106

The video of my talk at Indian Institute of Science is also online Calculus: ganita or math?

Ganita vs mathematics: Ten myths of Western math

November 17th, 2015

Note: Am locked out of my website. The following “abstract” is for the forthcoming 39th Indian Social Science Congress, Mangalore, a talk at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and an international meeting on plurality in math in Kolkata. The idea is to talk and discuss publicly, not publish in secretively reviewed journals.

Ganita vs mathematics

Ten myths underlying formal math and the need to reject them

C. K. Raju

Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Delhi

Extended abstract

We reject the myth that Western math is universal. That was always a normative universality: while it was admitted that other ways of doing math existed, it was claimed that Western math was “superior”. This claim of “superiority” (e.g. the claim that metaphysical proofs are “superior” to empirical proofs) rests merely on some anti-scientific church dogmas born of hate politics. Further, the purported “superiority” of Western math, exactly like racist claims of “superiority”, is supported by the very same fabricated church/racist/colonial history (e.g. the myth of Euclid and the myth of his deductive proofs).

Any serious study of plurality in math must critically re-examine other ways of doing math, and select the better way of doing math. Which math should be taught in schools and universities? We cannot just assume that existing (colonial) math education should persist. Nor even can we continue to justify it merely on unexamined Western myths and dogmas, even if they are widely believed today (just because colonial education propagates them). Indeed, since math is taught as a compulsory subject in schools today, if the present way of teaching it rests on (and subtly propagates) religious dogmas, and related myths, as it does, its teaching must be changed in schools in any secular country.

To this end, of deciding which math is better, we compare formal math with religiously-neutral Indian ganita (together with the explicit philosophy of zeroism). We have selected ganita not for reasons of its Indian origins, but because it concerns practical value, which is surely more universal than Western dogmatic metaphysics. Further, most math taught in schools today (arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, probability) historically originated as ganita. Also, those same ganita techniques of calculation continue to be used today for almost all practical applications of math to commerce, science and engineering (and indeed in all computer-based numerical calculations, such as those used to send a spacecraft to Mars, or to make stock-market predictions).

While the West imported ganita for its practical value, its epistemology clashed with the religiously-loaded epistemology of math in the West (e.g. all computer-based numerical calculations are today declared “erroneous”). Ganita was made theologically correct by (a) giving it a veneer of metaphysics (e.g. the use of metaphysical limits in calculus, to align its notion of infinity with church dogmas about eternity), and (b) packaging it with a false history (e.g. that Newton and Leibniz invented the calculus). This cocktail of practical value, religious metaphysics, and false history, was just declared “superior” and globalised by colonial education. Selecting ganita over formal math preserves the practical value, while eliminating the false history and bad metaphysics. Indeed practical value is enhanced: e.g., eliminating Newton’s conceptual confusion about calculus leads to a better theory of gravity. Or, e.g., teaching calculus as ganita enables students do harder problems.

However, the bad metaphysics and false history, underlying formal math, is a key part of colonial indoctrination (“education”). The indoctrinated cling to myths: when one myth is challenged, they try to “save” it by appealing to another (e.g. if the myth of Euclid is challenged they invoke the myth of deductive proofs in the Elements). Hence, to decolonise, the whole collectivity of myths must be simultaneously denied. If this denial is to be intelligible, it cannot also be brief: for brevity assumes shared beliefs. Thus a demand for brevity, in this context, becomes a trick to block dissent.

Read the rest of this entry »

Education policy, secularism and traditional values

November 2nd, 2015

Many traditionalists whether in India or in Iran regard secularism in education as the biggest enemy of traditional values. (A recent example of this thinking is Bharat Gupt’s article posted at http://indiafacts.co.in/religious-pluralism-and-distorted-notions-of-secularism-in-education/ )  These traditionalists are dead wrong: the church has succeeded so well because those it considers its biggest enemies don’t even recognize it as an enemy.

The biggest enemy of traditional values are the church dogmas, which have crept even into mathematics and hard sciences, and which are so much a part and parcel of colonial education.

The primary problem facing Indian education today is that it is a thoughtless continuation of colonial education, which itself was a continuation of church education. (The first bill for secular education in Britain dates to 1872, so Western education was 100% church education when it first came to India.) Church education, designed to produce missionaries, teaches subordination to church/Western authority. That suited colonialism but does not suit a free country.

Decolonisation of education is needed even in the hard sciences such as mathematics and physics. Few have noticed that church dogmas creep even into mathematics and science as taught in our universities today. For example, physics uses differential equations which require calculus. But calculus as taught in our universities requires that time should be like the real line. However, all Indian values, especially the value of moksha (or nirvana), are based on the notion of quasi-cyclic time.1 So, just teaching calculus, in the present way, teaches that those Indian values are fundamentally wrong and anti-science, hence lack credibility.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science and Islam

November 1st, 2015

As part of a series of workshops on science and various religions, there was a day-long workshop on science and Islam at the Universiti Sains Islamic Malaysia.

USIM workshop-1

USIM workshop-2

USIM workshop-3

My presentations are posted online: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

This developed the paper on Islam and science presented as a keynote address at a previous international conference on Islam and Multiculturalism at the University of Malaya.

Decolonisation in South America-2

July 2nd, 2015

Became an honorary member of the the Institute of Complex Thought at the University Ricardo Palma. Good to know that they want to try the 5-day course on calculus.

Institute of Complex Thought

University Ricardo Palma

University Ricardo Palma

Decolonisation in South America-1

July 2nd, 2015

A few years ago, when a friend, Jorge Ishizawa from Lima, asked for a copy of my book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, I wondered what he would do with it. (I sent it, but it bounced back.) On a recent visit to Peru, I had a conversation with people at his organization PRATEC, which works with traditional Andean knowledge.  Interestingly, many of them were aware of my work.

Found out that Bolivia has a full-fledged Ministry for Decolonisation! India should have one too!

At PRATEC

Participants

Group photo

MIT Talk: Calculus the real story

May 19th, 2015

The abstract of my talk at MIT differs from my presentation, posted at http://ckraju.net/papers/presentations/MIT.pdf.

The point I made in the talk was that MIT teaches calculus and trigonometry wrongly. This is just because Europeans failed to understand the mathematics they imported from India. For example, the very words “trigonometry”, “zero”, “surd”, “sine”, indicate European conceptual mistakes and failure to understand imported Indian mathematics. We should therefore not blindly copy the MIT MOOC courses, but teach calculus differently, contrary to the recommendation made by Sam Pitroda.

A video of the question and answer session would hopefully soon be online.

Raju’s paradox: all formal mathematicians are fools

May 12th, 2015

For almost two decades now, I have been pointing out that formal mathematics (and much Western philosophy) is based on the false belief that proof based on two valued logic (”deduction”) is “superior” to empirical proof (”induction”). This belief is NOT universal (e.g. Indian mathematicians used empirical proofs, e.g. Buddhists used a different logic), it is NOT empirically certain (e.g. quantum logic), it is anchored in Crusading myth (e.g. there was no “Euclid”, and the book Elements begins with an EMPIRICAL proof, and ends with an EMPIRICAL proof of the “Pythagorean” “theorem”). Formalism, the prevailing philosophy of mathematics, arose from an attempt to “save” that rotten myth that Westerners did something “superior” in math. This math has religious roots in bad Crusading theology (Aquinas’ bowdlerization of al Ghazali that logic binds God). All this mythology and theology has NOTHING to do with any practical application of mathematics, mostly done on computers today, and can be safely eliminated (e.g. using zeroism) without diminishing the practical value of math by an iota. Doing so makes math easy, and actually improves science. That is, it leads to a truly superior math.

At a recent conference in Vizag, I even tried to initiate a public discussion on this, which mathematicians have avoided so far. However, a discussion did take place, and the draft minutes are posted at http://ckraju.net/issa/conversation-draft-minutes.html.

In a more recent conversation with an award-winning formal mathematician, I was asked to give a concrete example of how formal mathematics can lead to wrong conclusions. I have already given examples such as the Banach-Tarski paradox, but they involve technicalities. So, here is a simple example.

Theorem: All formal mathematicians are fools.

Proof. Step 1. If Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead then all mathematicians are fools. (Instance of the tautology hence theorem of 2-valued logic that “A and not-A implies B”, where A and B are any propositions whatsoever.)

Step 2. It is an empirical fact that Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead. (More precisely, the cat is a macrophysical metaphor for an electron in the two-slit diffraction experiment: the electron both passes through a given slit 1 (A), and does not pass through it, i.e., passes through slit 2 (not-A). For more details see The Eleven Pictures of Time.)

Step 3. Therefore, all formal mathematicians are fools. (By modus ponens.)

QED