Weird Internet Ideas: The Platonic Ideal of Fringe Ideas with a side serve of Voxopedia

I must confess to a vice: I have a ghoulish fascination for dysfunctional ideas. Sad to say some, like global warming denialism or racism can feel depressingly ubiquitous. Others are a tad more rarefied – like the occasional defenders of geocentrism. Yet the finest, most exotic of the misapplications of intelligence must be mathematical-crackpottery.

To push truly odd mathematical ideas takes real skill and perseverance. First of all it is hard to find the space which encompasses enough people to know enough about the area of maths you are disputing to understand what you are disputing, yet not so much about the topic to see why you are talking nonsense.

One of the longest running blogs cataloguing and debunking examples of bad maths is Mark Chu-Carroll’s Good Maths – Bad Maths blogs: http://www.goodmath.org/blog/

It has been around for some time, originally on Science Blogs, then at Scientopia and now self-hosting. He has been debunking in good humour some very, very odd ideas.

Here is an extract from a 2010 post which amused me: http://www.goodmath.org/blog/2010/11/16/grandiose-crackpottery-proves-pi4/

Someone recently sent me a link to a really terrific crank. This guy really takes the cake. Seriously, no joke, this guy is the most grandiose crank that I’ve ever seen, and I doubt that it’s possible to top him. He claims, among other things, to have:

  1. Demonstrated that every mathematician since (and including) Euclid was wrong;
  2. Corrected the problems with relativity;
  3. Turned relativity into a unification theory by proving that magnetism is part of the relativistic gravitational field;
  4. Shown that all of gravitational/orbital dynamics is completely, utterly wrong; and, last but not least:
  5. proved that the one true correct value of pi is exactly 4.

I’m going to focus on the last one – because it’s the simplest illustration of both his own comical insanity, of of the fundamental error underlying all of his rubbish.

Ah, Miles Mathis, the pi equals 4 guy. To be fair, Mathis was trying to be provocative and his claim was more specifically about pi equaling 4 when circular motion was involved. Yet it is still nonsense and as Mark Chu-Carroll says, very grandiose nonsense.

The guy in question really does need to be read to be believed, and I’m willing to entertain the idea that it is a very clever spoof or very complex humour. Take this piece on his various enemies: http://milesmathis.com/david.html

This post will be an ongoing reply to selected critiques of my new book, The Un-unified Field. The first negative review of the book has just been posted at Amazon UK, so I take this as the beginning of my science counter-critiques. I have been looking forward to this moment, as many can imagine. I am already well-known—some might say notorious—for my counter-critiques on my art site. For almost a decade I have been making the current art critics look very bad. Using Whistler as my model, I have responded directly to the various writings of the status quo, taking on all the big names, including Greenberg, Saltz, Schjeldahl, Hughes, Danto, Carey, and Hickey. But until now my science site has been a different sort of beast. I have attacked physics and physicists, not science critics. I have written and published science papers, not polemics. Yes, my science papers contain a bit of polemics, but I could never have included them in a folder titled “counter-criticism.” I have not only been criticizing science, I have been doing science. I have not just analyzed, I have corrected and predicted. Now, however, I able to use my polemical skills, sharpened by a decade of art fights, in the field of physics. If these science critics had bothered to read any of my art or science papers, beyond “a passing glance here and there,” they might not have stuck their necks out. But they have stuck their necks out and will continue to, of course, and this will provide me (and perhaps you) with decades of new fun.

I can’t help feel like I’m reading a mish-mash of both John C Wright and Vox Day but with an extra dose of grandiloquence.

Speaking of Vox Day…

…meanwhile…

…over at my new favourite encyclopedia…

There are various edits going on at Voxopedia. A lot of it is alt-right PC renaming of things, removing CE from dates and putting AD back in, swapping out “pro-choice” for “abortion legalization”. There seems to be lots of minor edits on topics related to Croatia but…aside from Castalia House related things not much in the way of new pages.

However, one of the more prolific editors “Rectified” has been working on some new content – content that wouldn’t make it into Wikipedia.

Ladies and gentlemen: The Miles Mathis page! http://infogalactic.com/info/Miles_Mathis

I have seen the future of the big fork!

As Philip Sandifer has pointed out, the encylopedia lacks a decent user base. Of the user it has picked up only a small proportion are editing. Because most topics already have entries (from Wikipedia) all the ‘fun’ work has been done. What is left is the drudgery of keeping the thing up to date.

But then what? Well, the Mathis page shows the way. The alt-right hangers on (or perhaps the alt-right internet constituency) is not just frustrated by leftwing gatekeepers but any and all gatekeepers. Wikipedia is hated not just because of some progressive choices when it comes to naming things or deleting topics but because it constrains behaviour. Specifically it constrains the behaviour of privileged brats and that kind of constraint (not just from Wikipedia but in general) is targeted by alt-right angst.

So Voxopedia has notability guidelines but thos guidelines will be used (at some point in the future…) to rank pages. Hence, a Miles Mathis biography  page can be a thing. Not only that but there doesn’t seem to be any rules against editing/creating a page on yourself.*

So here is a future for “Infogalactic” if it last – a vanity encyclopedia not just for Vox but for Vox’s followers.

Advertisements

28 comments

  1. Mark

    I’ve had a couple of amusing forays into looking at what they’re actually editing over at Voxipedia and you just sent me off on another one. I’d never encountered Miles Mathis, and that page looked so much like a puff piece that I briefly wondered if the author could be Mathis himself. I rejected this as unlikely, of course, but went off to see what else that Voxeditor had been up to. I was amused to find that one the most important things to be corrected was that main picture on the Engineer page – of a 1950s engineer who happened to be female – needed to be replaced with a portrait of the manly Oliver Heaviside because otherwise it might be “misleading”. Admittedly Heaviside benefits from one of the cooler names for a Victorian engineer, but I think the actual motive is pretty obvious.
    I then spotted that he’d also felt the need to replace the lead image for Science – a Richard Feynman diagram about Science – with the old oil painting “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump”, again on the grounds of it being misleading. I’m not really sure why “An Experiment…” illustrates all of science so well, so I guess the editor just chose his favourite picture or something.
    So I wandered back to the question of Mathis, and followed your link to his page, and thence to the front of his homepage, and what picture did I find staring me in the face? “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump”

    Liked by 1 person

    • camestrosfelapton

      I just had a look at that picture swap and oh, do we need a word that encapsulates when something is sad, appalling, ghoulishly funny, and yet somehow sums up what is going on.
      Voxopedia – for when 1950s women are to scary for your fragile masculinity.

      Like

    • KR

      Well, their odd issues with the existence of Pi aside, at least they tacit acknowledge the existence of time dilation and relativity, given that this project for galactic information domination is rocketing ahead while VD’s profile photo appears to be 15 years old. I guess not all misleading photos need to be swapped out. Heh, vanity encyclopedia roolz.

      Like

      • KasaObake

        Oh god I fell down the rabbit hole for a bit there.

        But the good news is, I’ve figured out Teddy’s deal: he’s a secret internet fatty. https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-28988.html?highlight=secret+internet

        “10. No new-looking pictures.
        One of the most effective tricks is to simply use picture from when you were skinny. While there’s no reliable way to inoculate yourself against this move, you should look out for signs that her pictures aren’t new. How’s the image quality? What’s happening in the background? What do the captions say?”

        Anyway, I’m just going to go and scrub my eyes and brain clean.

        Like

      • KR

        I’m not necessarily a fan of making fun of people’s appearance, so that’s not what I was going for above, rather just mocking the difference between what they say and what they do. This group of people seem really insecure and angry, for reasons clearly related to their own personal failings; they seem to be supported by women, so maybe that is part of their hostilify. Roosh V apparently lives with his mom and is unemployed. Mike Cernovich (in the New Yorker article of this week) is living off his divorce settlement and broadcasts his web show up the street in his new parents-in-laws’ place because his own house is smaller and less impressive. Vox is a trust fund guy living out of country for reasons. Milo, well, he’s a rich guy who just wants to see the world burn. It’s all quite irritating to listen to these boys plotting in their treehouses, playing at their evil masters of evil legion games while banging on about masculinity and power and domination. I couldn’t care less about their appearance, but I do object to their claiming to have a lock on reality because even if they aren’t violent themselves, their followers are and these boys are insulated from the fallout of their games. Anger is contagious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        I concur about not mocking appearance but appearance is such a big deal for these guys that it inevitably comes up. They don’t just apply unrealistic expectations of appearance to women but also (although to a lesser extent) to men. It is all part if a general push to make people anxious about how they look for fear of being judged – which fits so well with the way thet elevate high school bullying into an ideology. Messed up.

        Like

      • KR

        It is really messed up and, ultimately, exhausting. Toxicity is a good word for it. They do put a lot of emphasis on appearance — both physical and behavioral and categorical: virtue-signalling, cucks etc. The whole Roosh program seems almost vampiric in its creepiness (sucking the blood of the young to sustain oneself for another day, no mirrors allowed). I’d welcome a longer conversation on the subject, because it is interesting to me phenomenologically but this is not the time or place. If there ever is a time or a place for that sort of thing. Also, I’m out of garlic. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • KasaObake

        Genuinely I’m not one to mock someone’s physical appearance either; I was making a (ham-fisted) attempt to point out how absurd those rules are. Who the hell *doesn’t* try and put their best foot forward on social media and the like? Apologies for hijacking/derailing the thread there.

        Like

  2. Adam Jenkins

    > Not only that but there doesn’t seem to be any rules against editing/creating a page on yourself.*

    The bit I find curious is that not only are there no rules against this, they are specifically commercialising conflict of interest editing. Over at http://infogalactic.com/info/Infogalactic:Corelords they explain how Corelords are “pro admins” who pay to control topic areas where they have vested interests. Apparently there is one Corelord so far.

    Like