Stupid Spin and False AdvertisingI normally enjoy posts in the blog "On the Fence": but I don't enjoy posts that just get it wrong.
And J. Kelly Nestruck just gets it flatly wrong in the post "Math joins the postmodern world".
Let us start with the title, which suggests a level of relativism few mathematicians would buy into (I speak as a reformed one, now working on other things, but always caring about mathematics). The sole evidence for the post is a New Scientist article titled, "Mathematical proofs getting harder to verify". The substance of the article does not go beyond asserting that exhaustive searches in some proofs are being handed off to computers - and the proofs include the algorithms used. This is, to start with, old news, and actually a pretty incremental deivation from mathematical history. Proofs always need verification, and it can fail for all sorts of reasons; there is no major change in principle in allowing the refutation of a computer search to refute a purported proof.
Postmodern? How? This just seems silly and glib. Does Nestruck have the vaguest idea what this all really means?