I’m sure you’re aware that the word “cult” is a strong claim that requires a lot of evidence, but I’d also issue a friendly warning that to me at least it immediately set off my “crank” alarm bells.

Thanks, yeah, people have been telling me that I need to be more careful in how I frame things. :-)

Do you have evidence of legitimate mathematical results or research being hidden/withdrawn from journals or publicly derided, or is it more of an old boy’s club that’s hard for outsiders to participate in and that plays petty politics to the damage of the science?

The latter, but note that that’s not necessarily less damaging than active suppression would be.

Or maybe most social behavior is too cult-like. If so; perhaps don’t single out mathematics.

Yes, this is what I believe. The math community is just unusually salient to me, but I should phrase things more carefully.

I question the direction of causation. Historically many great mathematicians have been mentally and socially atypical and ended up not making much sense with their later writings. Either mathematics has always had an institutional problem or mathematicians have always had an incidence of mental difficulties (or a combination of both; but I would expect one to dominate).

Most of the people who I have in mind did have preexisting difficulties. I meant something like “relative to a counterfactual where academia was serving its intended function.” People of very high intellectual curiosity sometimes approach academia believing that it will be an oasis and find this not to be at all the case, and that the structures in place are in fact hostile to them.

This is not what the government should be supporting with taxpayer dollars.

Especially in Thurston’s On Proof and Progress in Mathematics I can appreciate the problem of trying to grok specialized areas of mathematics.

The latter, but note that that’s not necessarily less damaging than active suppression would be.

I suppose there’s one scant anecdote for estimating this; cryptography research seemed to lag a decade or two behind actively suppressed/hidden government research. Granted, there was also less public interest in cryptography until the 80s or 90s, but it seems that suppression can only delay publication, not prevent it.

The real risk of suppression and exclusion both seem to be in permanently discouraging mathematicians who would otherwise make great breakthroughs, since affecting the timing of publication/discovery doesn’t seem as damaging.

This is not what the government should be supporting with taxpayer dollars.

I think I would be surprised if Basic Income was a less effective strategy than targeted government research funding.

What are your own interests?

Everything from logic and axiomatic foundations of mathematics to practical use of advanced theorems for computer science. What attracted me to Metamath was the idea that if I encountered a paper that was totally unintelligible to me (say Perelman’s proof of Poincaire’s conjecture or Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem) I could backtrack through sound definitions to concepts I already knew, and then build my understanding up from those definitions. Alas, just having a cross-reference of related definitions between various fields would be helpful. I take it that model theory is the place to look for such a cross-reference, and so that is probably the next thing I plan to study.

Practically, I realize that I don’t have enough time or patience or mental ability to slog through formal definitions all day, and so it would be nice to have something even better. A universal mathematical educator, so to speak. Although I worry that without a strong formal understanding I will miss important results/insights. So my other interest is building the kind of agent that can identify which formal insights are useful or important, which sort of naturally leads to an interest in AI and decision theory.

Thanks, yeah, people have been telling me that I need to be more careful in how I frame things. :-)

The latter, but note that that’s not necessarily less damaging than active suppression would be.

Yes, this is what I believe. The math community is just unusually salient to me, but I should phrase things more carefully.

Most of the people who I have in mind did have preexisting difficulties. I meant something like “relative to a counterfactual where academia was serving its intended function.” People of very high intellectual curiosity sometimes approach academia believing that it will be an oasis and find this not to be at all the case, and that the structures in place are in fact hostile to them.

This is

notwhat the government should be supporting with taxpayer dollars.What are your own interests?

I suppose there’s one scant anecdote for estimating this; cryptography research seemed to lag a decade or two behind actively suppressed/hidden government research. Granted, there was also less public interest in cryptography until the 80s or 90s, but it seems that suppression can only delay publication, not prevent it.

The real risk of suppression and exclusion both seem to be in permanently discouraging mathematicians who would otherwise make great breakthroughs, since affecting the timing of publication/discovery doesn’t seem as damaging.

I think I would be surprised if Basic Income was a less effective strategy than targeted government research funding.

Everything from logic and axiomatic foundations of mathematics to practical use of advanced theorems for computer science. What attracted me to Metamath was the idea that if I encountered a paper that was totally unintelligible to me (say Perelman’s proof of Poincaire’s conjecture or Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem) I could backtrack through sound definitions to concepts I already knew, and then build my understanding up from those definitions. Alas, just having a cross-reference of related definitions between various fields would be helpful. I take it that model theory is the place to look for such a cross-reference, and so that is probably the next thing I plan to study.

Practically, I realize that I don’t have enough time or patience or mental ability to slog through formal definitions all day, and so it would be nice to have something even better. A universal mathematical educator, so to speak. Although I worry that without a strong formal understanding I will miss important results/insights. So my other interest is building the kind of agent that can identify which formal insights are useful or important, which sort of naturally leads to an interest in AI and decision theory.