Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crowdsourcing the Riemann Hypothesis

Many of you wrote in objecting to our P.C. solution to the perennial problem of the Riemann Hypothesis,  despite its obvious Gordian-knot-chopping epistemological economy:

Granted, we must dump overboard the patriarchal notion of “truth”.  But simply for every individual to run around like chickens with their heads cut off, is not ideal either.  What is needed is democratic consensus.

A simple analogy will make this clear. 
In the United States, traffic keeps to the right.   But there is no inherent truth to this “right”  -- that would be the ideology of Might Makes Right.   In Swaziland, people drive on the left (at least, they’re supposed to), which is just as good.   But people need to somehow come to an agreement as to which system to follow.

Which brings us back to the vexing question of the Riemann Hypothesis.   Its acceptance or non-acceptance cannot be left simply to each individual whim of the moment.    Rather, we must settle it the way all things are settled:  by majority vote (subject to Republican filibuster).

Accordingly, the Research Arm of the World of Dr Justice  sent out a crack team of sociometers, to that central agora of populist democracy --  The Mall.   Putting the question in neutral terms, we asked a rainbow selection of voters:

Would you agree or disagree with the following statement:
“The nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function all have real part 1/2.”

The answers were revealing.

“No… I don’t think so … That doesn’t work for me.”
“What -- you mean, all of them?   Certain zeros might not feel comfortable with that, and they must be permitted to use the other restroom if they so choose.”
“I am personally offended by your remarks.”
“I would be inclined to support that proposal provided it were suitably amended to give credit to women, gays, and Pacific Islanders.”
“Hmm…. I’m thinking compromise here.  Let’s say, half the zeros lie on that line, and half do not.  Split the difference, and you’ve got yourself a deal.”
“As a left-handed LGBT Gen-X Vegan colorblind proud Person with Deafness, I -- what was the question?”

The people have spoken!  The Nays have it. It’s nix on the RH.

The singing, dancing throng, celebrating the long-sought-for settlement of the Riemann Hypothesis

[Note:  You may continue to refer to this exploded hypothesis as the “R.H.”;  however, henceforward, the “H” stands for “Heresy”.]

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