August 31, 2020

HEH: Snopes Rates Biden’s Claim That 2+2=5 As ‘Mostly True.’ “The website’s 6,000-word defense/fact-check of Biden’s claim further pointed out that 80% of the answer was correct, and it’s only the one additional number that was a mixture of truth and falsehood.”

UPDATE: 2+2 Wars Explained.

Cathy Young — though lacking Cathy “mathbabe” O’Neil’s math credentials — takes a decent stab at explaining the 2+2 twitter flamewar, still going strong. Allow PTT condense it to the bare minimum for you: It’s all about the power. Dovlatov had noted that while the Soviet regime had no reservations about bringing down its iron fist on dissidents, what provoked particular butthurt was attempting to go on as though it weren’t there: “The Soviet government is a touchy lady. It is bad for the one who offends her. But it is much worse for the one who ignores her”.

2+2=5 is about power in the classic, banal, Orwellian sense. Those who followed the wave of retractions (and even pre-tractions!) could see where this was going, but somehow hope had lingered that integer arithmetic would remain safe. Not content with taking over the math organizations, the jackbooted goons had to go after math itself. In this regard, the present-day woke mob is more totalitarian and less pragmatic than their Soviet predecessors, who were content to leave mathematics (if not individual mathematicians) alone.

Much of the 2+2=5 power grab is being driven by a “Harvard-trained data analyst“, whose contribution to mathematical knowledge is exactly zero. To say that he plays the race card would be an understatement on the level of “that pimp can be an abusive boyfriend”. To see him humored and feted by prominent mathematicians is more than disheartening. And he’s not even the worst actor, by far.


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