Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Week in Woo

I am never surprised by stupidity except for, you know, when I'm surprised by stupidity.  Late last year, I was introduced to a youtube user named Dannypantsgm who is quirky, and entertaining. He's also a smart fellow who cares about issues I find important - truth, compassion, blah blah some other stuff. So, I subscribed to his channel. Check him out and see if you like his work.

See below for the video in question.

He's not a mathematician in any academic or professional sense.  But he has apparently had a good background education we'd like to expect that any high school graduate would have. He understands the basics of geometry, and mathematical implication and logic at some appreciable level.  So, other than the subject matter, the video in question wasn't a surprise to me. That is to say that I'm unsurprised Dannypantsgm would be able to deal with it. I was, however, surprised to see the topic he had to address.

Anyone who's long-studied mathematics gets introduced to and within some varying degrees fascinated by some, not all, of the relationships in nature that we seem to find approximated all over the place.  Sometimes you just can't toss a Fourier transformed cat without hitting a Laplace transformed cat.  It's a jungle of mutant cats out there I dare say.  One of the most common among all of the oddities of natural regularity comes in the form of the Fibonacci sequence. You may remember a stupid book and following movie based on the mystery of this simple sequence, and some illuminati something I don't really understand:  The Da Vinci Code. It isn't just a grammatically stupid name, it's also a mathematically stupid basis for a plot.  And don't get me started on Binet's formula and how not magical it is.

So, I was by Dannypantsgm introduced to a gentleman presenting something called Sacred G[eometry].
Dannypantsgm dealt with it admirably in his video, not just for a "debunking" style video--though to be sure it was at least that--rather, as an alert to those of us who know better to resist this kind of woo.  Why does woo matter? Woo kills. Lots of other things kill too, but I can't deal with everything in the universe, so I pick my battles. Joining up at his behest to campaign against this charlatan, Cory Love, or Cory Herter, or whatever name he's using this week, we got his youtube channel closed and his website shut down by the federal government. YAY!  I am proud to have played some role in that.

But he's back, and promising to start peddling his shit again.  So, he's now on my WoDAR (woo detection and ranging) because his kind of stupidity is not harmless. It kills people by convincing them there's something super magical about geometry. Ridicule is fine. Debunking is fine. But these are provincial actions - actions which amuse us. They don't effectively combat woo.  So, keep your WoDAR up and be mindful of this if you'd please. I plan on taking Sacred G on - head on at that. But my little blog isn't a sufficient mechanism by which to disabuse the gullible their belief that sleeping on the right triangle (no pun intended) cures them of disease, clears out toxins (somehow related to wavelengths, the cause of all disease), let's them visit beings in some higher dimensions, have near death experiences, and a whole other metric shit-ton of stupid.

Why is this kind of woo effective at all? Because, unlike Dannypantsgm, most people take a math class to get through it. They don't really apply it to the world in which they live, and this gives our wooveyor here an in. So, as he pops up peddling his nonsense, I'll do my part meet him head-on, but it takes group action to keep these people from being a threat. So, please consider giving some of your time to keep up with things like Sacred G, or other kinds of woo that you think are particularly dangerous and not being appropriately addressed. E-mail me, post here, send links. I'll sort through the things that fall within my area and address them as well I can, but I'm only one guy with a fairly unknown blog. So, my impact is limited, which is where you come in.

I can do my part, present and refute the bullshit. However, that's not enough - it takes lots and lots and lots of people, time, support, cooperation, collaboration and vigilance on a common set of goals to keep these odious toads from resurfacing.  So, spread this blog around, write in, comment, find something to focus on, all of that jazz.  I'll do my part as well I can, and I hope along the way others decide to contribute to the goals I have. For those who do, welcome. For those who do not, you're equally welcome.

This isn't a political issue. This isn't a social issue. This is a science issue, and the scientific illiteracy of the common population is what lets these hacks peddle their shit. And it kills people. I'm not trying to create an ideal society; I'm trying to stop predators from preying on the stupid and doing them tremendous harm simply to make a cheap buck.  There's nothing wrong with making money doing a job; there is something fundamentally wrong in handing to people a fatal poison in exchange for the money they've so generously gifted you in the first place.

Let's do this.

Now for an emotional appeal from Dannypantsgm:

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