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Monday, May 30, 2022

Discussions I wish we were having


1) Democrats think the best way to avoid school shootings (and other problems with guns) is to have regulations on Guns. They have proposed legislation. The Republicans think its a mental health issue. They have proposed legislation for this. NO THEY HAVEN"T. I would respect the its a mental health issue argument if the people saying this  respected it. They do not. See here. Idea: Politico should leak a (false) memo  by Gov Abbott where he says 

We have a serious mental health crisis in Texas which caused the recent event. I am not just saying this to deflect from the gun issue. I have drawn up a bill to fund mental health care, providing more money, for care and for studies. I call on Republicans and Democrats to pass it ASAP.

I wonder- if this false memo was leaked, would he deny it and say 

I didn't write that. I am using mental health only as a way to deflect from the gun issue. How dare they say that I am reasonable and am proposing actual solutions. 

Or would he be forced to follow through?

2) Democrats think Biden won the election. Some Republicans think Trump won the election. One issue was Arizona. So some republicans organized a recount of Arizona. And when they found out that Biden really did win it they said, as the good Popperian scientists they are, we had a falsifiable hypothesis and it was shown to be false, so now we acknowledge the original hypothesis was wrong. NO THEY DIDN"T. They seem to point to the Arizona audit as proof that they were right, even though it proves the opposite. (Same for all the court cases they lost.)

3) At one time I read some books that challenged evolution (Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson was one of them). Some of them DID raise some good points about how science is done (I am NOT being sarcastic). Some of them DID raise some questions like the gap in the fossil record and Michael Behe's notion of irreducible complexity.  (In hindsight these were window dressing and not what they cared about.) MY thought at the time was its good to have people view a branch of science with a different viewpoint. Perhaps the scientists at the Discovery Institute will find something interesting. (The Discovery institute is a think tank and one of their interests is Int. Design.) Alas, the ID people seem to spend their time either challenging the teaching of Evolution in school OR doing really bad science. Could intelligent people who think Evolution is not correct look at it in a different way than scientists do, and do good science, or at least raise good questions,  and come up with something interesting? I used to think so. Now I am not so sure.

4) I wish the debate was what to do about global warming and not is global warming happening? Conjecture: there will come a time when environmentalists finally come around to nuclear power being part of the answer. At that point, Republicans will be against Nuclear power just because the Democrats are for it. 

5) I sometimes get email discussions like the following (I will call the emailer Mel for no good reason.)

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MEL: Dr. Gasarch, I have shown that R(5)=45.

BILL: Great! Can you email me your 2-coloring of K_{44} that has no mono K_5?

MEL: You are just being stubborn. Look at my proof!

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Clyde has asked me what if Mel had a nonconstructive proof?

FINE- then MEL can tell me that. But Mel doesn't know math well enough to make that

kind of argument. Here is the discussion I wish we had

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MEL: Dr. Gasarch, I have shown that R(5)=45.

BILL: Great! Can you email me your coloring of K_{44} that has no mono K_5?

MEL: The proof is non-constructive.

BILL: Is it a probabilistic proof? If so then often the prob is not just nonzero but close to 1. Perhaps you could write a program that does the coin flipping and finds the coloring.

MEL: The proof uses the Local Lovasz Lemma so the probe is not close to 1.

BILL: Even so, that can be coded up.

MEL: Yes but... (AND THIS IS AN INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION)

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Maybe Mel really did prove R(5)=44, or maybe not, but the above conversation would lead to

enlightenment. 


4 comments:

  1. Correct comments.

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  2. Unfortunately, you can't trick unreasonable people into having a reasonable discussion. That only works on Star Trek to cause evil computers to self-destruct.

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  3. You say: "I wish the debate was what to do about global warming and not is global warming happening?"

    I think you're missing the biggest problem with the debate. Every informed person believes that CO2 causes warming. The question is, how much warming? It's not a yes/no question, but is often treated that way.

    Since the latest IPCC "likely" range for eventual warming that would result from doubling atmospheric CO2 is 2.5-4.0C, there is substantial uncertainty regarding the "how much" question. And of course there are reasonable people who think the answer is outside the IPCC's "likely" range. Then you have to add the uncertainty regarding how much CO2 will actually increase under different policies. It's just not the case that the factual questions have been answered so all that remains is debating what to do.

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  4. There are plenty of uninformed people who think that global warning is a hoax by the democrats to FILL IT IN. Certainly a debate on how fast it is happening is fine, though what really bothers me is that there are things we can do that would not wreck our economy that would slow it. If you disagree FINE- that would be a fine debate to have.

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