1 March 2011

The Earth is still, and other creationistic crackpottery

Creationism comes in many forms. These people take a book, called תּוֹרָה, written long time ago by various tribes in the Middle East, containing collections of random stories, and want to use it as proof (or at least as evidence) of scientific facts. For instance, in one of the chapters of that book, we read [Psalm 19:5-7]:
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
   like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
   and makes its circuit to the other;
   nothing is deprived of its warmth.  
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
   refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
   making wise the simple.
This thing was written some 3 thousand years ago and is supposed to provide evidence of geocentrism, i.e. that the Earth is the center of the universe and that it doesn't move or rotate.

An organization, called Catholic Apologetics International, consists of people who believe in these things and claim that good Catholics should understand that the Earth is still. (Bad Catholics can ignore this.)

Via Pharyngula, I was made aware of the Fixed Earth page. They go a little bit further claiming that not only the Earth does not rotate, but that it is only a few thousand years old, and that homo sapiens appeared right from the start, without any biological evolution. Oh, by the way, (their particular version of) god (but not the gods of other religious folk) exists.

As I said, creationism comes in many flavours, ranging from sheer nonsense as the above to more sophisticated-looking versions of it, such as intelligent design. The latter kind of creationists are using pseudo-mathematics to prove that god exists.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant