FOM: No more trivia
Harvey Friedman
friedman at math.ohio-state.edu
Thu Aug 5 11:40:22 EDT 1999
Reply to Soare 10:37AM 8/5/99. [NOTE: All capitalizations are Soare's].
NOTE: At the very end of this posting, I make some suggestions for raising
the level of the Simpson/Soare exchange.
>ITEM 1. Simpson's claim ...
>ITEM 2. Simpson's account ...
>ITEM 3. The topologists Nabutovsky (Toronto) and Weinberger (Chicago)
> have two
> papers in which ...
>QUESTION. Is it possible that Steel's account, Slaman's account,
>and the Nabutovsky-Weinberger account are ALL wrong and Simpson
>is right?
What is much more likely is that there is no conflict between Simpson's
statments and any statements of these other people.
You are wasting time and space on the FOM with trivia. Even if you are
right about all of this, it is obviously a waste of time for everyone
involved.
You seem to want to use this trivia as an excuse for not participating in
serious intellectual discussion on the FOM. The interest on the FOM in your
postings must be very minimal, as they are virtually devoid of any f.o.m.
content. This e-mail list is devoted to a discussion of f.o.m.
Interesting issues surrounding f.o.m., recursion theory, and related
subjects have been raised in recent postings. To my memory, you have not
engaged in any of them, with one exception. You made a posting responding
to Simpson when he said:
> Contrast this with the r.e. sets and degrees ...
> The only natural examples known to
> date are the original ones, i.e. the halting problem and the complete
> r.e. degree.
> Thus there is really only one example
and you replied
-------------------------- REFUTATION ------------------------------
>This is a canard so spurious and so often refuted that I am amazed
>anyone would trot it out here.
and you then gave no refutation, and merely discussed finitely presented
groups with word problems of intermediate degree without giving a natural
example, even after you were challenged by several people.
The important issue of giving a single natural example had been discussed
earlier by Odifreddi, Simpson, myself, Cooper, Shipman, and perhaps others.
So the precise meaning of this had been made clear on the FOM. I was
expecting by now for you to engage in a discussion about the significance
of what Simpson said (above) has for recursion theory. Instead, you
circumvented the discussion by claiming a refutation.
When challenged for an exmaple, you went back to the trivia and demanded
that Simpson answer your trivial queries in your terms, or else you won't
discuss the real issues! That is a first on the FOM.
>In the SAME msg today Simpson wrote:
>
>> Also on the FOM list, there is currently a lot of INTERESTING
>> DISCUSSION among many participants on topics such as ...
This is certainly true, and nothing you say below contradicts this.
However, you have yet to contribute to this interesting discussion.
>About TEN SUBSCRIBERS have written to me privately about conditions on
>fom for discussion.
I was surprised to see the moderator allow you to post this, as it has no
f.o.m. content.
>EVERY ONE has said that:
>
>-the moderator, Stephen Simpson, is "TOO HARSH" or "MUCH TOO HARSH,"
> in his criticism, even of MINOR items.
When you wrote
>This is a canard so spurious and so often refuted that I am amazed
>anyone would trot it out here.
you were much harsher than Simpson, especially considering that you never
cited or gave any refutation, something Simpson would never do. Simpson is
a subscriber who writes about f.o.m. on the FOM list, and you don't. So two
strikes against your "participation": you don't discuss issues - only
trivia - and you are more than "much too harsh."
>-the DISCUSSION is INHIBITED because all but the "THICK-SKINNED" ones
> are afraid to say anything for fear of being ridiculed by
> Simpson "with Friedman waiting in the background" for
> further attacks.
In any e-mail forum, there are bound to be agressive and less agressive
people. So this is not a criticism of the FOM list, the way it is run,
Simpson, or Friedman. The FOM list is obviously enormously successful,
despite its problems. It will even survive your postings of trivia.
I do not think that very many people with the time and patience for online
discussion of f.o.m. issues, who are confident of their ideas, will be
afraid to say interesting things.
>-there is a strong tendency to guide the discussion toward the edifice
> of fom and especially reverse math. (See the quote in following
> memo).
Yes, f.o.m. is a suitable topic for the FOM list, and reverse mathematics
is a particularly hot part of f.o.m.
>Personally, I am have the skin of a SHERMAN TANK and a 75mm gun turret
>to match.
I don't perceive any skin, and your 75mm gun turret is aimed at trivia and
not at issues.
>Simpson has always been VERY polite to me on fom as you
>have seen, and I have done my BEST to reciprocate.
When you wrote
>This is a canard so spurious and so often refuted that I am amazed
>anyone would trot it out here.
were you doing your "BEST to reciprocate"?
>Please send me more email privately with your impressions, positive or
>negative or neutral, of the way fom is run. It will remain
>confidential.
Please send me email privately with your impressions, positive or negative
or neutral, of the Simpson/Soare exachange.
HOW TO MAKE THE SIMPSON/SOARE TRIVIA SUBSTANTIVE (JOKES!)
Simpson: ``priority methods are almost completely absent from applied
recursion theory.''
1. Define priority. Define methods. Define almost. Define completely.
Define absent. Define from. Define applied. Define recursion. Define theory.
2. Soare's thesis A?: Everybody getting a theoretical computer science
degree should be required to take a recursion theory course with emphasis
on the priority method before graduating.
3. Soare's thesis B?: Everybody getting a computer science degree should be
required to take a recursion theory course with emphasis on the priority
method before graduating.
4. Soare's thesis C?: Every computer programmer should be required to take
a recursion theory course with emphasis on the priority method before
seeking employment.
5. Soare's thesis D?: Everybody getting a mathematics degree should be
required to take a recursion theory course with emphasis on the priority
method before graduating.
6. Soare's thesis E?: Everybody getting a degree in differential geometry
should be required to take a recursion theory course with emphasis on the
priority method before graduating.
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