[p2p-research] Limits of mathematical modelling (was Re: Building Alliances )

J. Andrew Rogers reality.miner at gmail.com
Mon Nov 9 08:09:50 CET 2009

On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 9:53 PM, Paul D. Fernhout
<pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
> So, there you are justifying the current social order based on "simple
> mathematics" and "theoretical reasons" even when given a plausible
> alternative.

The embarrassingly tragic aspect of all this is that I have no
interest in the "current social order". My support of that is a
fiction you invented in your fevered imagination.  I refuse to believe
that your grasp of the English language is as thin as your grasp of

>> While new patterns and relationships may be found, they do not and
>> cannot invalidate anything that has already been proven.  We may get
>> new knowledge, but it never destroys or invalidates old knowledge in
>> this context.  Math is not science.
> This is a beautiful sentiment. But, it is not true. :-) Or rather, it is
> only true when you define science differently than math.

Yeah, I'm not going to waste any more time. What you just asserted is
factually and objectively false.  Sure, you might be able to fabricate
a fantasy land where you can pretend this is true, but it doesn't make
it so. I certainly don't care one way or the other.

Given that you have all but admitted that your grasp of mathematics is
tenuous at best, what is your basis for credibility?

> Maybe being financially rewarded for doing math has destroyed your love of
> the subject? :-(

Shockingly, I have never been financially rewarded for my grasp of
mathematics.  I suspect this fact will confuse you deeply.  Your
imagination is lacking, to say the least.

> Again, "math" is really a meaningless term. It's almost like saying you
> solve problems with chalk on a chalkboard. What are the assumptions? What
> are the values? What tools have been chosen and what are their limits and
> areas of applicability? What things are uncertain? What are the unknown
> unknowns?

I hate to tell you this, but while you may get to choose your own
nutty beliefs, you do not get to define reality.  If you want to
believe anti-scientific and illogical things, I certainly won't stop

But I thought you cared about P2P economics. You have to connect with
reality on occasion if you expect to achieve that.

> What do you mean by "validity of mathematics"? Again, from what I've been
> reading here, it seems like you are defining "valid" and "mathematics" as
> essentially the same thing. If it's invalid, it can't be mathematical. If
> it's valid, it is or will be part of mathematics.

You haven't listened to a thing I've written, and you most certainly
have not understood a single word.

Listen, it is not my job to sort out what is very obviously a deep
confusion you have. You live in a world where almost every aspect of
your life is the product of things you are dubious about. Apparently
that does not strike you as contradictory.

> Maybe the issue is that I read an ellipsed "the" in front of mathematics?
> So, I read "The validity of *the* mathematics is not dependent on better
> measuring tools or the next CPU upgrade." Because, as I see it, that's what
> one can talk about. If you want to talk about "mathematics" then we have to
> talk about a social enterprise. If you talk about "the mathematics" than we
> need to talk about assumptions, values, choice of tools, and so on.

That's swell, talk about assumptions. It is my favorite topic. Let's
start by talking about yours. Are you even cognizant of your

> Anyway, that's another reason we are talking at cross-purposes here. It's
> almost like you had said "The science of p2p is flawed, as I know from
> studying it" and we said, "Where is the evidence? Can you cite anything?

The above is probably the most shameful aspect of your behavior. You
constantly *invent* things you think I mean while religiously ignoring
everything I actually say. Is it safe for me to assert that you are
incapable of actually addressing the issues I raised?

> I'm not saying math is not important.

You already did in not so many words.  It is too late to take it back now.

> Well, if computation underlies the universe, and math is a subset of
> computation, I can't avoid using it as long as I'm in this universe. :-)

Again, you are incorrect.  Computation (as you are using it) is a
subset of mathematics.  That you can confuse elementary relationships
is a big part of the reason what you are saying makes no sense.  You
can invent your own terminology, but don't expect anyone else to
understand it.

>> Invent your own mathematics if you wish, it
>> is certainly allowed.
> And people do that all the time, in the sense of creating both new ways to
> model things, and using old ways to build models about new things.

Okay, this is a brazen example of you not even understanding what
mathematics is.  Models have nothing to do with new mathematics.  You
can create new models all year without inventing new mathematics.
Inventing new mathematics is exotic and difficult.

> In that sense, I guess, if I were to be accept your earlier point on the
> impossibility of p2p...

Which I never said, making you a liar.  Or at the very least, someone
pathologically incapable of understanding a rudimentary mathematical

> Or, in other words:
>  "How To Speak Hedgie: What hedge-fund managers mean when they talk about
> challenges."

Your credibility was circling the bowl before, but this kind of
irrelevancy is a new low.

> "Intractible" == "Mathematics can't solve it in practice, even it can in
> theory if we have complete control over all matter and energy in an infinite
> number of universes."

No, "intractable" means that it is impractical, not that it is
impossible.  But feel free to invent your own fantasy definitions.

> "High degree of certainty in any case many times" == "Wrong a lot"

Cite please?  You use technology every day that relies on this kind of
math, but feel free to pretend it is all fantasy.

> "Cheaper" == "We only do what we can do easily, and leave the hard bits for
> others."

Ignoring your silly credulity, is it so hard to believe that things
that are harder to do are more expensive?

>> This email was routed using a protocol proven using the mathematics you
>> are taking "with a grain of salt".
> Oh, come on. People probably hacked the code together and some
> mathematicians came around later and started talking about it. :-)

The original protocols were an ill-concieved abomination. It took
several iterations of hard lessons before people learned to listen to
the mathematics.  You are repeating that pattern.

John Nash did his work in the 1950s.  What is your excuse?

> But that is a pereniall issue with engineering vs. science/math. Engineers
> do the impossible. Then scientists using math or whatever deny it, and then
> eventually grudgingly explain it, and likely figure out some generalities.

Honestly, that is a fantasy model of engineering and science that has
no connection with reality.

>> That's fine, it is not as though you are qualified to make such
>> determinations anyway.
> Seriously, you probably know little about me. Why say that?

Uh, the fact that you *completely unfamiliar* with the existing game
theoretic research related to P2P systems? It won't do you any good to
pretend that you are familiar with these maths, because then you would
have to honestly address my assertions.

> Still, let me translate that without the "the": "P2P is fragile and
> non-viable, unless you do lots of math first".
> OK, let's assume that was true. Then how do you explain Wikipedia? Debian?
> Apache? The Web? Email? Twitter? Facebook? Science? Math? :-) And so on?

If you understood the math, you would also understand why they are
viable.  You are confused because you are ignorant.

> Still, sometimes it seems to me like there really is some sort of "cult of
> math" that has dominated much of engineering and science in academia.

This statement on its own has permanently marginalized whatever it is
you are trying to accomplish.  Congratulations.  You will now be
lumped with the creationists and other nutty science deniers, and by
extension P2P economics.

Excellent. So when I espouse P2P economics, I have to explain that it
has no relationship to people who don't believe in the validity of
math and science?

> Again though, you make a sweeping claim with no specifics. No list of open
> questions. No literature references. No web references.

Do you want references for the assertion that 2+2=4?  I have not even
left the realm of undergrad mathematics. If you can't google it
yourself, I certainly can't help you.

> Well, what are the limitations of mathematical inquiry as a social process?

There is literature, but you don't believe in mathematics so it would
be a waste of my time to reference it.

J. Andrew Rogers

More information about the p2presearch mailing list