JUL 6, 2014  

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core mathematics

I was stun by a narrowmindedness and arrogance of Frank Quinn in A Revolution in Mathematics, first published in Notices of the American Mathematical Society (2012) and then included into The Best Writings on Mathematics 2013 (M. Pitici, editor). Frank rides highly under the banner of new math (Core Mathematics they call it officially) and disregards everything else. The pre-core mathematics he calls ‘mathematical science’ - because he uses term ‘science’ in a derogative sense.

Trouble with all sciences, according to Frank, is that they deal with reality: "In sciences, most of the older material was wrong and discarded, whereas old mathematics needed precision upgrades but was mostly correct. [...] To a first approximation, the method of science is ‘find an explanation and test it throughly’, whereas modern core mathematics is ‘find an explanation without rule violations’. The criteria for validity are radically different: science depends on comparison with external reality, whereas mathematics is internal."

Now, wait a minute, aren’t there a higher guards of the thinking rules, like logic and philosophy in general? No, according to Frank: "To make real progress, mathematics had to break with philosophy." Sounds familiar? "Philosophy is dead" - says Stephen Hawking [101031] while representing the physics I call religious physics [140601]. At the time, I wasn’t aware there is a religious math as well.

Someone should warn Frank that rather soon the wiring of his brain cells could be checked for the sufficiency of core mathematics thinking. That’s reality.



Krešimir J. Adamić