Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category

The racist nitwits of Cape Town

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

A reporter from Africa met me recently in India to find out about the events concerning the panel discussion on decolonisation in Cape Town, a year ago. Someone here asked: could he be a church agent, who may again present a biased picture? I don’t know. But he does not seem to know any math, and may not have understood my critique of formal math. So, to make sure that others (especially the ill-informed) do not “control the narrative”, and totally misrepresent it, it is time I put up my side of things.

An important background, to the debate last year in the University of Cape Town, which has not been adequately mentioned, is my book The Eleven Pictures of  Time (Sage 2003). In it I extensively criticised the book Large Scale Structure of Space-Time by Stephen Hawking, and G. F. R. Ellis, of the University of Cape Town. (Note, in passing, that Hawking unethically collaborated with Ellis at a time when there was an academic boycott of apartheid.) My key issue with the Hawking and Ellis book was that their conclusions about a “singularity” involved bad mathematics, and a bad understanding of calculus (even from within  formal mathematics).

But let us go one step at a time. First, their conclusion that the cosmos began with a  “singularity” was not science (since not refutable on Popper’s criterion). Second, their conclusion was of great political significance to the church, through the claim that science supports the church’s religious dogmas of creation. The  mathematical conclusion of a singularity is explicitly connected by Hawking and  Ellis to religious beliefs about creation and other dogmas. The key takeaway of their book (p. 364) is that “the actual point of creation, the singularity, is outside  the presently known laws of physics.”

The belief that God rules the world with eternal “laws” of nature is itself a religious church dogma first articulated by Aquinas, not a scientific (refutable) belief. Simply put, the church supports it, but Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam deny it.  (See this minuted discussion for example, which explains that Hinduism accepts rta, but not immutable laws, for Buddhism, see the video “Buddhism and science”, for Islam see the keynote and article on Islam and science.) Further, other religions accept continuous creation, or the creativity of living organisms (not continuous creation in the mechanistic sense of the theory of Bondi, Gold, Hoyle and Narlikar). The big bang theory alone is NOT the opposite of continuous creation. The “singularity”, interpreted as a beginning of time, relates to creation  more clearly than the big bang, which need not be a true beginning of time, but could be just the other side of a big crunch in an oscillating cosmos.

There is no doubt about the religiosity of the book by Hawking and Ellis. Ellis got  the million dollar Templeton award, for putting together science and religion, and Hawking never got the Nobel prize! The church greatly glorified Stephen Hawking, and that church propagandist support helped sell millions of copies of his book  Brief History of Time which restated the conclusions of singularity theory for a lay audience.  But singularities and creationism are simply not physics. Therefore, much as Hawking desired the Nobel prize, and much as the Nobel prize committee may have wanted to give it to him, they simply could not do so.

The physicist F. J. Tipler (Physics of Immortality) pushed this connection of science and religion via singularity theory. He explicitly claimed that singularity theory proves the truth of Judeo-Christian theology. In the opening paragraphs, Tipler said his book aimed

“to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics…the area of global general relativity…created…by the great British physicists Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking.”

The colonised mind may talk against creationism, in support of Darwinism, but it never dared contest this kind of religious claim of creationism backed by Western authority. Despite the millions who read Stephen Hawking’s book, Brief History of Time, I have not heard a SINGLE other dissenting voice in the last thirty years. (more…)

Israel denies visa for talk on decolonisation exposing Einstein

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

The Palestine Technical University, Kadourie, Palestine, is organizing the Sixth Palestinian Conference on Modern Trends in Mathematics and Physics PCMTMP-VI, 5th-8th August 2018.

I was invited to give two plenary talks (scheduled on 7th and 8th Aug) on
Decolonising mathematics: how and why it makes science better (and enables students to solve harder problems)

An extended summary and abstract of my proposed talk are posted online.

The Israeli embassy has, however, refused me a visa. No official reason or explanation was offered for the denial of visa. When I asked, an official from the Israeli embassy did very rudely warn me not to apply ever again for an Israeli visa.

Now five years ago, I visited Palestine (See blog post “Mathematics in refugee camps”, and a nice video on History and Philosophy of science). Of course, I did have a terrible experience with the Israelis: they charged me some USD 200 for a taxi for 8.5 km, then put me on a share taxi and promised to give the receipt after I crossed the border! Never encountered such terrible cheats anywhere else in the world. But last time the Israeli embassy in India had issued me a visa.

So, I am left wondering what has changed. Three things have changed. 1. Decolonisation, 2. Einstein, and 3. Indo-Israeli relationship
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Stephen Hawking: Genius or crook?

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Faustian pact?

Millions of people across the world have heard of Stephen Hawking, whose recent death hence made headlines.   Everyone speaks of his ALS. But is it proof of his indomitable will? Or did he hence make a Faustian pact with the devil incarnate: the church? Daring to raise this question will doubtless arouse the rage of his admirers. But if we weigh it against the possibility that millions have been deluded using their trust in science, it is our public and ethical duty to raise the question. To answer the question Hawking’s disease is irrelevant, and we need to examine the merits of Hawking’s scientific work dispassionately.

Widespread ignorance

But it is near impossible to do so. While millions revere him, very few understand the mathematical intricacies about calculus related to his work, especially on Penrose-Hawking singularity theory. That theory was the basis of his best-selling book A Brief History of Time. The widespread ignorance about it became starkly obvious during my debate with Roger Penrose, in Delhi, in 1997, attended by various professors of physics from Delhi University and JNU whose blank faces told the story.

What the vast majority believe is a story about science, a story they blindly trust. So deep is their trust that, from a position of ignorance, they are quite certain a contrary opinion is not to be trusted! “Millions of people believe this, they can’t all be wrong can they?”.  Such a “proof by numbers” is convincing because it has survival value, as explained in my book The Eleven Pictures of Time: there is often safety in being part of the herd. But this psychology also provides an easy route to propaganda to fool a mass of people.  For centuries, millions of Westerners fervently believed in the idea of a powerful God who appointed the church as his broker. The belief persisted just  because the church reviled any dissenters as heretics and atheists, and, for centuries, killed them most brutally.

The Christian theology in Hawking’s work

Therefore, common sense may be a better guide to the truth than guesswork based on trust. What even the most gullible person cannot fail to notice is the way singularity theory connects to the notions of a Judeo-Christian God and a specifically Judeo-Christian notion of creation.

I have pointed this out repeatedly over the last twenty years, but the faithful, and our secular liberals, just ignore it. So, it is necessary to point it out yet again. Hawking’s popular book was preceded by an academic book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, which he co-authored with G. F. R. Ellis who won the Templeton award for connecting science and religion. That book concludes that the cosmos has a singularity. What does that mean? The authors interpret it to mean a moment of creation. The bottom line of the book [p. 364] asserts: “the universe began a finite time ago. However, the actual point of creation, the singularity, is outside the presently known laws of physics.” God created the cosmos and then set the clockwork of eternal laws in motion.

For those who don’t understand this, the meaning is made explicit in a book co-authored by Hawking, “A briefer history of time”. It explained [p. 141] that:  “At the big bang and other singularities, all the laws [of physics] would have broken down, so God would still have had complete freedom to choose what happened and how the universe began.”
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Cape Town “debate” exposes Stephen Hawking’s racist co-author

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

The panel discussion at the University of Cape Town (UCT) achieved something important: it exposed Stephen Hawking’s co-author G. F. R. Ellis, a star of the racist apartheid regime. He ran away from UCT debate, because he could not defend through open debate the awful church propaganda he along with Hawking and some others have been trying to promote as great science.

My long-standing critique of the book Large Scale Structure of Spacetime, by Stephen Hawking and G. F. Ellis is in my book the Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage, 2003). The critique is this: Hawking and Ellis use bad math (bad calculus) to support church dogma. They interpret a cosmological singularity as a moment of Christian creation, as in the Bible story. That is the bottom line of their book:

the actual point of creation, the singularity, is outside the scope of the present-day laws of physics”.

In his popular book Brief History of Time, Hawking explained this further. The breakdown of the laws of physics at the “moment of creation” would leave God free to create the laws and world of his choice. For this piece of trash, Ellis got the million dollar Templeton award for putting together science and religion.

Tipler, who published in the “reputed” journal Nature, furthered this trash thesis. He said singularity theory proved

“Judeo Christian theology is part of physics”!

More recently, I tried to explain some of the implications of such claims in my review of Hawking’s latest book, which review was published as a full-page article in the newspaper DNA as “The Christian propaganda in Hawking’s work”.

These singularities involve bad math in two ways.

(1)  Hawking and Ellis use a bad postulate (chronology condition, exactly like the church curse on ‘cyclic’ time, which postulate they justify using Augustine’s bad critique of Origen).

(2) Secondly, they use a bad understanding of calculus (that differentiating a discontinuous function leads to singularities on the equations of general relativity).

Long ago, in 1997, I debated these aspects of singularity theory publicly with Roger Penrose, and no one could refute my published arguments for the past 15 years.

Specifically, I explained long ago (in 1988) how singularities in general relativity can be easily handled using non-standard analysis. More recently, I explained, as in the appendix to Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, that the non-standard analysis can be replaced simply by non-Archimedean arithmetic with which the Indian calculus developed.

I recapitulated the above arguments in the UCT panel discussion. The point was to explain how bad math is used to create bad science. I expected to debate further in the math department, the next day, on the technical aspects as my abstract shows.

But Ellis was frightened sick at the prospect of an open debate with me would crush his lifework. He was also afraid that would expose him. He knows he is mathematically too incompetent to tackle the points such as non-standard analysis raised by me.

So, he resorted to a simple but unethical device within his technical competence: he used his student Jeff Murugan as a sock puppet to hurl falsehoods at me through the press. To me this reveals Ellis’ true character as a racist and a charlatan: he well knew what he wrote with Stephen Hawking is all false and written just to fool people. Surely Stephen Hawking did too.

Church and racists use similar tactics: they defend one lie by means of a thousand lies. The fresh set of lies against me were planted in a report in GroundUp.

But racists tell stupid lies.

(more…)

Panel on decolonised science at University of Cape Town

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

For those colonised minds who superstitiously believe formal math and Western science are universal, there was a panel discussion at the University of Cape Town.

Decolonising science panel discussion

The key point: anti-empirical formal math is used to slip in church dogmas into science. Of course normal math (imported by Europeans) continues to be used for many practical applications as before: but that is no argument for the blanket acceptance of formal math. Formal mathematicians not only tell terrible lies about “Euclid”, they fraudulently keep grabbing credit: formal real numbers are NEVER used in any engineering application.

Another silly argument, if something “works” we must accept the whole package: blindly accept also the creationism of Stephen Hawking and Tipler’s foolish claim that Judeo-Christian theology is part of physics.

Normal math works, formal math adds on redundant fantasies about infinity, related to church dogmas of eternity. This is a con-trick.

In this way, a variety of church superstitions are slipped into science through formal math.

Decolonisation of science is achieved by rejecting those metaphysical dogmas, and reverting to normal math. It results in an easier math and better science.

Another video of conversation with the students which was relayed live by Vernac news.

Decolonising science: video of conversation with students

The last refuge of the coloniser has collapsed.

Gravitational waves and Einstein

Tuesday, 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”. (more…)

Gravitational waves and RGT

Sunday, 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. (more…)

Videos of MIT and IISc talks

Thursday, 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?

Raju’s paradox: all formal mathematicians are fools

Tuesday, 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

Infinity, math, physics, and metaphysics

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Can physics be done without infinity as taught in math (real analysis) today? Someone demanded an explanation in an email sent to my son.  (I guess the Raju family has the same problem as the Bernoulli family in Europe!  :-) .)

Ordinarily, I would not have responded, for people ought not to demand an explanation by email without bothering to read or understand what I have already written. But, similar doubts were expressed by a young woman (with a PhD in functional analysis) who attended my talk in Ramallah. They may again arise in future. So, I decided to respond.

Infinity is metaphysics. Infinity relates to eternity, so that the Western concept of infinity in present-day math is saturated with the church metaphysics of eternity.

Ironically, the figure for infinity, ∞, is still shaped like a serpent coiled back on itself and eating its own tail, and is an old symbol of quasi-cyclic time.

The linkage of infinity to eternity led to the first creationist controversy: over the nature of eternity, not evolution. In the 6th c. John Philoponus objected to Proclus’ notion of eternity based on quasi-cyclic time. Philoponus’ problem was that if the cosmos is eternal (as Proclus conceived it) it would not be created. That creationist controversy is still going on.

For example, Stephen Hawking claimed the cosmos was created with a “singularity”. (A “singularity” is nothing but an infinity of some sort.)  He concluded his only serious scientific book by identifying the “singularity” with “the actual point of creation” where there is a breakdown of the “laws of physics”. This conclusion is pure metaphysics, for there is no way to check it empirically.

In his popular book, Hawking explained the point of this metaphysical conclusion: because the “laws of physics” break down at the “singularity”, that leaves God free to create the world of his choice. Note that this is in accordance with the Christian notion of one-time creation (and contrary to the Islamic notion of continuous creation, or the Buddhist notion of non-creation, or the “Hindu” notion of periodic creation and destruction). The church heavily promoted this “scientific proof” of the correctness of its (post-Nicene) Christian theology.

People may be suspicious of the church but they implicitly trust scientists today. And, though few  (perhaps 2 or 3 among the 1.25 billion in India) have read or understood Hawking’s scientific work, hundreds of millions of people strongly believe he is a great scientist. Such gullibility and implicit trust is bound to be exploited by the church, which is ever on the lookout for new ways of doing its propaganda. Few people are even aware that Hawking reached his conclusion by postulating his “chronology condition” which denies quasi-cyclic time, and does so using exactly the same bad argument that Augustine used against Origen,  and which argument is at the foundation of post-Nicene Christianity. So, what Hawking did was to use the metaphysics of infinity to promote the politics of the church, like Augustine.

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