Decolonising science: Victory in Cape Town

The panel discussion on decolonising science at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was a great victory. It publicly exposed that no one in  the UCT had a single serious argument against me. Indeed, in the last two decades not a single person in the West has put forward a single serious argument against my proposals for decolonising science.

My advance summary of points was posted here.

My claims involved three broad areas: (a) mathematics and science, (b) its philosophy, and (c) its teaching. Accordingly, the panel which responded to me had three senior faculty members from (a) math (Henri Laurie), (b) philosophy (Bernhard Weiss), and (c) education (Leslie Le Grange).

Below is a video record of my presentation.

The panel response is here.

Summary

My three fundamental arguments were that

(1) The current philosophy of formal math involves a bad metaphysics related to church theology,

(2) this bad metaphysics results in bad science

3) eliminating it and reverting to normal math makes math easy and results in better science.

None of the respondents engaged with any of these three fundamental arguments.

The mathematician spent most of his time telling his autobiography.  The philosopher could not go beyond some irrelevant quibbles. The educationist did a good thing by summarising my points, but then made some general statements  unconnected with my claims.

More details

In more detail, in support of my point (1) I argued that the philosophy of formal mathematics is based on a mere church superstition that the pure deductive proofs of formal math are superior to empirical proofs prohibited in formal math. This superstition is on par with the superstition that white skins results in superior humans. Pure deductive proofs are actually inferior, and can be used to prove absolutely any nonsense one likes unless we begin from empirically verified postulates. To demonstrate this, I had given the example of rabbits with horns in my censored article. (But empirical verification of the postulates of formal math is impossible, since they all (such as the postulates of set theory) involve a metaphysics of infinity. For an elaboration, see the article on “Math and censorship“.

Eliminating this metaphysics and reverting to normal math, makes math easy. In particular, the metaphysics of formal real numbers in present-day calculus needed to be replaced by the non-Archimedian arithmetic with which the calculus originally developed.

In support of (2) I pointed out how the metaphysics of infinity in singularity theory led to the creationist conclusions of Hawking and Ellis, and from there on to the absurd and brazen claims that “Judeo Christian theology is part of physics”.  I stated that I would argue the technical details of this aspect in more detail in the math department which has George Ellis who partnered those absurd claims. (I  had publicly debated on this with Penrose two decades ago.)

In support of (3) I gave the example of Newtonian physics which failed just because Newton made time metaphysical (to try to make sense of calculus through his “fluxions”). I further gave the example of how the theory of gravitation is corrected (to arrive at Lorentz covariant retarded gravitation theory) by eliminating that bad metaphysics in math.

The responses

In more detail. The mathematicians said colonialism was a matter of guns. (This is false, and a typical case of supporting one lie by another. Laurie is ignorant about guns and of the elementary fact that the gun technology of the colonised was far inferior to that of the Moghuls. Europeans could not win a single serious military battle in India for 250 years after the arrival of Vasco da Gama. Goa was won by internal support, Plassey was won by bribery and deceit. Colonial education was introduced for the sake of mind capture, just because the colonizer was militarily insecure (e.g. overthrown with ease in 1857, in India, immediately after which the Western university came to India).)

Laurie went on to say Bertrand Russell was the last person to do theology. Such wild conjectures are typical of some formal mathematicians. His excessively naive idea was that since Russell was agnostic he must have managed to overcome every last bit of prejudice resulting from his church indoctrination e.g. through Cambridge. Obviously not. For example, Russell tried to reduce math to logic on the false belief  that two valued logic was universal, which belief is just a church superstition and a key aspect of the Christian theology of reason.

Laurie is excessively ill-read,  for this is a point to which I have repeatedly publicly responded, e.g. in my 2015 Pioneer article “Indian minds: Alien calculations” we find the comment “Regarding Russell, Prof Raju says that “Leading Western thinkers, even those opposed to the church, like Newton or Russell, fell easy victims [to church dogma].” This is in the article on “Decolonising math and science education” at http://www.ghadar.in/gjh_html/?q=content/decolonising-math-and-science-education.”

Laurie further said there is no evidence for transmission of calculus. Ha, Ha. In subsequent emails he clarified the principle of racist arrogance on which he seeks to base history. (1) “You must believe everything racist/Western historians say; the onus of disproving any wild claim they make is on you.” (2) “If you do provide counter-evidence we have the right to dismiss it without reading a line.” He demonstrated this during the panel discussion by publicly flipping through my 500 page book Cultural Foundations of Math in 5 seconds and pushing it aside.

Any nonsense history can be defended in this manner of racist nitwits who believe prejudice is a valid substitute for evidence. This only proves that racists are unable to engage with the evidence.

Laurie should have responded as a mathematician. Irrespective of whether Europeans stole the Indian calculus (of course they did) my mathematical point is that it is better to teach it today the way it developed in India with non-Archimedean arithmetic.  Laurie had no answer,  because he lacks the requisite technical competence in formal math.

Calculus as normal math not only makes math easy it leads to better science.  As a mathematician Laurie should have responded to that, especially to my point about how the  singularity theory advocated by his colleague George Ellis was a case of bad calculus used to arrive at the fraud conclusion that “Judeo-Christian theology is a part of physics”. Ellis and his student Murugan too lacked the technical competence to contest even the underlying formal math related to issues of advanced calculus (functional analysis), non-standard analysis and its replacement by non-Archimedean arithmetic. Their incompetence would have been exposed had  I talked about it in the math department, as I thought I would be doing. So, they said I should not be allowed to talk! Laurie too did not engage. Ha ha! So, the racists could not engage with ANY aspect of my thesis on math and science. Preventing me from talking is the only way they know to preserve their fraudulent faith.

As for the philosopher he quibbled that the 378 proof of 1+1=2 was by Whitehead and Russell not Russell alone. (Agreed, but how does it matter to my argument that formal math makes even 1+1=2 difficult?)  Neither did Laurie.  Formal math distinguishes 1 as integer from 1 as real number. Later, on I challenged Laurie to prove 1+1=2 in formal real numbers ab initio, and in full, a proof which might easily run into a thousand pages. Laurie obviously could not do it.

Weiss crowed that I was accepting refutability, which he called a Western notion. This foolishly assumed two things (1) that I advocate outright rejection of all Western notions. (I do not; I advocate critical rejection.) (2) That I am a blind follower of Popper. Weiss, too, was excessively ill-read. and unaware of my critique of Popper.  My point is to decide valid science by experimental test, not argue through claims of social reputation, as is common among the Western indoctrinated. The experimental method was used in India by Payasi at least two thousand years before Bacon. So, the experimental method is not Western in origin as Weiss falsely assumed.

Normal math use empirical methods also in math. Weiss did not engage with my key philosophical point that deductive proof does not lead to valid knowledge in the absence of empirical support.

The educationist did not engage with my experiments in math teaching. After summarising my points he went off at a tangent, about Spinoza etc., while agreeing that decolonisation was necessary.

Conclusion

The panel discussion at UCT was a huge victory for it showed that those opposed to decolonisation, whether from the panel or the audience, have no serious arguments, even in the case of math and science.

The resulting action point is this: math teaching must be changed, and formal math must be rejected. As a first step, parallel courses need to be started in normal math, and students should be allowed to choose what math they wish to learn.

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