September 19, 2018

Good to hear from Steve Bannister, ”

**Well, indeed. you do not have many friends … and fewer followers. **

**“What is it that you do here?”**

**HM QEII (sarcastically) upon visiting the**

** London School of Economics just after the last crash**

“and congratulations on his appointments as director of MIAGE and associate director of the economics evaluation unit in the University of Utah. ”

**Do you mean THE director, or A director of MIAGE? Such ‘sleights-of-mouth’ are very much part of your stock in trade.**

“Arthur Koestler was a novelist ”

**More importantly, he was a journalist and therefore not to be trusted (although we hear that they are now placed slightly higher than catholic priests in that regard). He started off well, as a decided enemy of pseudoscientists, because his father had been cheated out of his life savings by a perpetual-motion fraudster. But then he realized that there is in fact more fame and money to be made out of lies and deception, hence his move into journalism and defending cranks and cranky ideas. **

“who wrote “Darkness at Noon” and used the novelist’s technique in “The Sleepwalkers”, written about Copernicus, Galileo, Brahe, Kepler and Newton. ”

**Yes, he used the scabby tricks of fiction-writers and journalists to write a second-rate and second-hand account of science, writing ‘from the outside’ and inserting every half-truth that he could garner from other tertiary sources. His assessment of Euler is particularly dishonest. There is also a major error in one of Koestler’s diagrams, but you and the Dismal Scientist will not have spotted it … because you are not physicists (to be fair, no reviewer has noticed it either, probably because it is to be found in some textbooks). Darkness at Noon was probably the worst ‘science book’ to be foisted on the general public until Bryan Appleyard, a self-confessed journalist, pulled the same trick in 1992 with his Understanding the Future. Koestler’s worst act was to murder his wife: he was a deeply unpleasant person and there is little doubt that he bullied his much younger wife into a supposed suicide pact. No, on second thoughts, his worst act was to endow a university with funds that were to be spent on investigating psychic phenomena. You are quite silent on such matters Ron, but it is usually part of the ‘crackpot package’: perpetual motion, antigravity, ‘alternative health’, Einstein a fraud, Shakespeare a fraud … and the paranormal. You tick all of the other boxes.**

“This book was loaned to me by the poet, the late Ceinwen Procter, but was lost when her entire library was “thrown out” after she died. ”

**You should have thrown it away immediately … and thus saved some time.**

“This makes my stomach turn over, it illustrates the hegemony of mind rotting materialism, the exigency of the machine (R. S. Thomas, one of her favourite poets). I prefer the hegemony of civilization – Periclean Athens. Similarly the barbaric tories are throwing out books and closing libraries. The Greeks would have regarded them as the most ignorant of illiterate barbarians. The people that the Greeks called barbarians were in fact a lot more advanced than the average tory of our times. The Book of Kells shows a very advanced knowledge of geometry that owes nothing to any other culture. ”

**How many books do you actually own, Ron? You mention only a handful. We draw upon thousands in our personal libraries.**

“This is called the insular culture (Kenneth Clark “Civilization”, Episode One on youtube). ”

**Oh yes, and that old TV show seems to be your only guide to culture. Personally, we reach for our Browning (that was quite a good bon mot, although some uncultured people did not get it – how ironic).**

“The Pythagoras Theorem is still famous today, about two and a half thousand years after it was inferred. ”

**Hardly ‘inferred’ Ron: it was not based upon experimental results (although we fully expect those overrated ‘Mythbusters’ to do that one day). Is famous even the right word? Is 2+2 = 4 ‘famous’? Pythagoras has thousands of proofs. Far thinner on the ground are proofs relating the sides when there is no right-angle or when the triangle is on a sphere. **

“I agree about the Pythagoras School. ”

**You do realize we hope that Pythagoras was a crank about most things and that the ‘Pythagorean School’ is based largely upon his mystical beliefs, not on provable equations. Suits you Sir.**

“Kepler is also Kerry Pendergast’s favourite astronomer and anyone can read “The Sleepwalkers” online. ”

**Penderghastly was going to be Professor of Astronomy in your university, wasn’t he Ron? Would have been nice going for someone with a complete lack of relevant academic credentials.**

“Koestler describes Kepler vividly, and the immense amount of work he put in to the inference of the elliptic orbit of Mars and the three Kepler laws. These were synthesized by Robert Hooke of Trinity College Oxford into the inverse square law. ”

**Every real astronomer and physicist knows that the inverse square law was proposed long before Newton or Hooke came on the scene.**

“My ancestral cousin, his friend John Aubrey in “Brief Lives” mentions that Hooke asked Newton to explain the elliptic orbit but that Newton, later second Lucasian Professor at Trinity College Cambridge, came up with the wrong answer, an inverse r law. ”

**It is not wrong if a different choice of coordinates is used.**

“Newton’s contribution was to to develop fluxions (differentiation and integration), again in terms of geometry. ”

**That was not needed in order to explain orbits: pre-computer schoolchildren had to use the same method.**

“Mansel Davies my Ph. D. supervisor had a second edition of “Principia”. I read it a little in Latin and it was all developed in terms of geometry. Brahe and Kepler were Imperial Mathematici in Prague. “Ubi materia ibi geometria” – “Where there is matter there is geometry” is also described online. Pythagoras lived from 570 to 495 B. C. ”

**Nice Googling.**

“The Theorem can be extended to non Euclidean geometry and in many ways but no one has ever disproved the Pythagoras Theorem in two dimensions. ”

**What a ridiculous statement! It does not have the same appearance in other geometries, and what form would such a disproof have? Perhaps you meant a ‘counterexample’. Oh, you forgot to mention that the ancient Greeks were not happy with the theorem … because their mathematical system could not handle a resultant paradox. Does not your genius friend Mr Mathis have something to say about that?**

“Similarly the non Euclidean Cartan geometry is, in minimal notation, T = D^q; R = D^omega; D^T = R^q, the two structure equations and the Cartan Identity. The entire output of ECE and ECE2, seven hundred papers and books in English and classical Spanish, and about one hundred and twenty essays all translated into Castilian and all broadcast, rests on these three very simple equations. The Parthenon rests on the Acropolis and has done so for two an half thousand years. The new physics rests again on geometry.”

**The least said about that mess, the better. **

“Dear Myron,

I am reading, I believe at your suggestion, The Sleepwalkers, and it seems Pythagoras should get at least an honorable mention in the geometry history. Koestler claims his movement was the beginning of science. In any case, beautifully written.

I will treasure the Kepler quote and use it.”

**Poor misguided fool.**