FOM: Soare on FOM

Stephen G Simpson simpson at
Thu Aug 5 06:49:14 EDT 1999

Dear FOM and COMP-THY subscribers,

Robert Soare has just posted the following message on COMP-THY, a
mailing list for recursion theorists.

 > From: "Robert I. Soare" <soare at CS.UCHICAGO.EDU>
 > Sender: Computability Theory <COMP-THY at LISTSERV.ND.EDU>
 > Date:         Thu, 5 Aug 1999 02:13:39 -0500
 > Dear comp-thy subscriber,                       8/5/99
 > Here is some information about the continuing struggle with
 > Mr. Simpson and the "review" he issued on the Boulder meeting in
 > Computability Theory and Applications, containing many errors.
 > Several of us have been challenging him on:
 > SIMPSON'S THESIS (that there are few "applications" of the priority method);
 > and other errors in his paper.
 > Finally we had an opportunity to present the case on FOM (Simpson's
 > Foundations of Math) List.  These are the two documents which were sent to
 > every FOM member on Aug. 3.
 > Attached is:
 > A cover letter to FOM
 > A long detailed statement of all the Simpson errors..
 > Best wishes,
 > Robert Soare
I would now like to point out that Soare's account of what has been
happening on the FOM list is seriously false and very incomplete in
many respects.  For example, he seriously misstates Simpson's Thesis.

Also, contrary to what Soare says above, the version of Soare's ``long
detailed statement of all the Simpson errors'' which Soare published
on COMP-THY on August 5
<> is *not* the
same as the version which he published on FOM on August 2
<>.  In particular,
the FOM version contains several passages where Soare makes a series
of false claims about priority arguments in reverse mathematics.  The
COMP-THY version omits some of these passages.  Also on the FOM list,
John Steel and I are in the process of correcting some of Soare's
false claims, and Soare has partially backed away from some of them.

Also on the FOM list, there is currently a lot of interesting
discussion among many participants on topics such as

  FOM: priority arguments in applied recursion theory


  FOM: lack of natural examples of r.e. sets and degrees.

The full FOM discussion is publicly available on the FOM web site at
<>.  COMP-THY subscribers may wish
to subscribe to FOM in order to follow the ongoing discussuon.

By the way, I would like to protest Soare's repeated use of the word
``review'' to describe my FOM posting at
<> on the Boulder
(CTA) meeting.  So far as I know, Soare is the only person who
describes it as a ``review'' of the CTA meeting.  Its title is

  FOM: an unusual recursion theory meeting; impressions of CTA talks

and I think of it as only that, i.e., a personal account of my
impressions of the talks at the CTA meeting.  It is not a full-fledged
review of the meeting.

Best wishes to all,
-- Steve Simpson

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