notedscholar- for real?

Before yesterday I had never heard of notedscholar but suddenly he’s commenting everywhere I look. First at Gower’s blog, then Pharyngula, then here. His blog Science Defeated is either the most subtle and brilliant satire of maths and science psychoceramics or it … isn’t.

It’s pretty eclectic stuff. One minute he’s supporting deutsche Physik. The next he’s quoting Noam Chomsky (whose worst put down of certain criticisms of “white male science” was that the term reminded him of “deutsche Physik”) as an infallible authority on physics. Then we have suggesting that the mathematicians of Asian civilizations smuggled phony negative numbers into mathematics because they had a “vested interest in the concept” but also attacking the idea that “colour of light” and “colour of a reflective object” are different uses of “colour” as colonialism.

My favourite is this on infinity.

According to math (and also its feisty sidekick, the English language), the number before infinity would be known as the “penultimate” in the series of all numbers. So in my opinion, the last number in the number line is the penultimate.

The author has clearly read at least a little about an awful lot and appears to have developed a fractally wrong understanding of it all. If we then add his rather self-assured assertion that “While the views expressed here are not always representative of academia at large, the views are nevertheless correct” it’s the most fascinatingly odd blog I’ve seen in ages.

So please, comment. Tell me if you think it’s real.

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17 Responses to “notedscholar- for real?”

  1. Adam Glesser Says:

    I was convinced of it’s authenticity when he finished his post on 11/15/08 with:
    “Qued Errata Demonstrum!” :)

  2. mattheath Says:

    That does seem an unlikely mistake :), although “errata” could be a spellcheck miscorrection.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    What does “Qued Errata Demonstrum” mean?

  4. mattheath Says:

    What does “Qued Errata Demonstrum” mean?

    Actually it seems to be “real” bad Latin. “A certain person A wandering To prove” according to a ropy auto-translate. I assumed it was just random things close to “Quod erat demonstratum” . I guess that points fairly well to “fake”

    EDIT: Or maybe it’s real good Latin; I never learned more than a smattering of phrases. Is it something like “He who failed to prove”?

  5. Todd Trimble Says:

    He’s been commenting on our blog too. A number of readers were convinced that it was all satire, but notedscholar would have us believe otherwise, and I think he’s for real. But, possibly he’s playing as the Andy Kaufman of this corner of the blogosphere (which if you ask me, would not be playing fair).

  6. mattheath Says:

    @Todd Trimble: ARGH! The discussion at your place has me back to complete confusion.

    [Summery for people who haven’t clicked on Todd Trimble’s name, but it’s better if you click]
    He’s claiming that he means it all BUT that there are jokes there at our (mainstream scholars’) expense. Bits of silliness like wrongly rendered “QED” don’t really count against this claim.

  7. Jadehawk Says:

    his latin sucks in general. I’ve sent a horde of latin geeks on his subtitle (felis sum and at furandum veni) because i couldn’t make sense of it. turns out there is no sense to be made of it. i suppose it was meant to say “I’m a cat and I walk stealthily”, but what it actually says is “I’m a cat and i have come at stealing”, or something like it.

  8. notedscholar Says:

    Jadehawk:

    You are silly. The Latin is an excellent translation, done in fact by a real noted scholar. Just to give you a hint on the most contentious word that your pathetic “Latin geeks” couldn’t understand:

    ad furandum is ad + an accusative gerund. Feel free to go and learn what a gerund can mean.

    Whose Latin “sucks” now? Apparently yours does, my friend.

  9. John Armstrong Says:

    Oh he’s clearly having (or trying to have) us on. Remember, children, don’t feed the trolls.

  10. notedscholar Says:

    Hey Captain Condescension (John Armstrong),

    How about you quit your tours of assassinating my character and stop calling everyone who disagrees with you a “troll”?

    Hmmmm?

    NS

  11. GreenishBlue Says:

    I made the mistake of commenting on one of NS’s posts, and now he’s commenting on my blog for my local skeptical group.

    I’m 80% sure he’s a troll (“[Kevin Trudeau] uses legitimate arguments and ideas. And he has a fundamental respect for science.”) [ http://saltcityskeptics.blogspot.com/2008/12/what-do-you-want.html#comments ]

    I mean, the guy is quoting both Lyndon LaRouche AND Noam Chomsky all over the place. Hsi arguments are nonsensical, and yet he doesn’t come off like time-cube guy at all.

  12. notedscholar Says:

    Greenish Blue:

    You don’t sound like the crazy Time Cube guy.

    Hmm. Interesting. MAYBE BECAUSE I AM NOT CRAZY. And maybe because I am against people like him.

    This is getting exhausting.

    NS

  13. mattheath Says:

    I AM NOT CRAZY

    Typing that in all caps may have been counter-productive.

  14. Dave M Says:

    Regardless of how it turns out (I myself am as yet uncommitted on the matter; must do more research, rather than, say, getting back to work), mattheath has, as they say, already won the thread.

    Naturally a jokester might want to keep the joke going (by protesting seriousness) even after we suspect. But that doesn’t mean we have no way to know. We’ll just have to think of the right approach.

    I should point out that NS’s comments at Good Math, Bad Math and at EvolutionBlog were not inherently cranky. But they didn’t have a lot of content either.

  15. notedscholar Says:

    Ugh are people still talking about this?

    NS

  16. notedscholar Says:

    Matt,

    It has been so long since we last sparred swords over these topics. But where have you been? I see that you have not posted since during May of the year 2009? This is sad. If you have a new blog, let me know, for I desire to link to you.

    Cheers as always and I hope you are well,
    NS

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