Unscheduled Post: Mathematics and Pseudo-mathematics


Mathematical language is complicated, in order to make ideas completely precise and rigourous we often make them unclear to each other.  One side effect of this is that it is easy to write technical rubbish and declare that people who say that it is wrong do not understand it.  It can take a lot of work to study something and be able to state with confidence that nothing is going on behind it.  As the volume of mathematics research grows we are increasingly reliant on other people and organisations to say whether something is worth the effort.  One thing that we rely on, despite its faults, is the refereeing process of journals.  To keep things working we need of course to keep discussing with people the important work.  However it is also important to point out failures in the system.

One worrying failure can be editors publishing their own work. Especially when that work appears to be pseudo-science. This might be the case with the journal Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals. Zoran Skoda presented some initially evidence in a comment at the n-category cafe and John Baez followed it up with a full post and more evidence.  There are plenty of comments, my favourite accused the n-catergory cafe of being a character assassin for hire.