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How To Prove It In China: 36 Methods
Selection and adaptation of invalid methods to prove Chinese theorems
BEIJING - Many Western readers will find China’s hard-core communist propaganda alien and mind-bogging. The tasty way someone (from former East-Germany) described it to me was that “it’s slowly omnomnoming on your sanity and devouring your brain.”
China’s academic writings, too, pose significant challenges to the untrained goggles in that Chinese manuscripts are often revisionist, heavily stylized, repetitive, under-referenced, and full of blatant plagiarism -which was acceptable in China since there was little sense of intellectual property rights (tell Western joint ventures about it!).
Another headache for historians is the Chinese ideal of ‘xiao’ –filial piety. Piety means that emperors, officials, professors, teachers, your parents, and all superiors are always right. Needless to say, in the fields of politics, history, and all social sciences, the Party at all times has the correct answers already, which reduces those branches of scholarship to mere matters of form and ritual (e.g. simplicity, imagery, and repetition). Next, there is little universal notion of ‘truth’ in China, but rather a lofty pragmatism –e. g. what is good for the people. That is, by the way, why “philosophy” and “science,” two distinct Western ways of thinking and methodology, were largely (but not entirely) absent in China before the arrival of the Europeans. (They compensated for it by cultivating sages and sagehood, which is a fascinating topic by itself.)
Which leads us to a well known phenomenon that in China there previously was little or no objectivity in a Western sense that God and the world are separated (it's a metaphor!); in fact, there is no “religion” in China, which means that highest wisdom is with human beings (not God), and that the people and all their various relationships is all there is –so people will have to be accommodated -not some fancy hocus-pocus.
Last, even progressives have no problem with citing Confucius of 2500 years ago which is rarely helpful to solve any real life problem -except that Confucius always wins the argument.
How to prove it in China
The following is a list of invalid but surprisingly effective proof techniques that your author has encountered in Chinese texts. They are obviously not exclusive to China, but rampant:
1. Proof by sheer numbers: How could 1,393,649,829 Chinese be wrong?
2. Proof by induction: Heaven and all under heaven are one!
3. Proof by annexation: Take any already known theory from the West and add: “...with Chinese characteristics.”
4. Proof by subsidy: How could so many government agencies be wrong?
5. Proof by deferral: We’ll prove it once we have achieved socialism (technically in 100 years from the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which will be October 1, 2049.)
6. Proof by powerful imagery: “The United States and Britain are paper-tigers.” --Mao Zedong
7. Proof by persistence: You know this is true!
8. Proof by sentiment: You feel this is true!
9. Proof by wishful thinking: The West is in decline, what is there for us to prove anymore?
10. Proof by guanxi: The more people you know, the higher the probability someone is going to help with your proof.
11. Proof by hukou: You usually got it right if you are a first class citizen (from Beijing, the capital), second class citizen (Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc.), and wrong if you happened to come from the parasitic countryside.
12. Proof by repetition: “And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time.” --Mao Zedong
13. Proof by backward/forward reference: Reference is usually to a past or forthcoming paper of the author.
14. Proof by compensation: The average Chinese skyscraper erected must be no less than 10 stories taller than the average European one.
15. Proof by eminent authority: When I met Hu Jintao at the Diaoyutai State House, he said: “It’s the ‘harmonious society’, stupid.”
16. Proof by pomp: Although China has 829 Million peasants living in poverty and only 1/11 of the GDP (per capita) that of Europe; nevertheless it held the world’s most costly and ostentatious Olympic Games -ever.
17. Proof by reference to inaccessible literature: The Chinese civilization is at least 6000 years old! (Written records go no further than 3000 years –Ouch!)
18. Proof by no-reference whatsoever: There is no reference list in this damn 526-pages textbook!
19. Proof by pre-eminence: The Germans may have invented the automobile, but the Chinese invented the paper for its blueprint.
20. Proof by patriotism: You’re seriously offending the feelings of 1,393,649,828 Chinese compatriots.
21. Proof by yin and yang: We tanked the humiliations during the Boxer Rebellion, the Opium Wars, the Nanjing Massacre, the unequal treaties; soon the imbalance will be restored in our favor!
22. Proof by piety: “I am not inventing something new; I just recite the sages of old.” --Confucius
23. Proof by cultural revolution: Is your culture hopeless? Just crush and shatter it; and write yourself a new one.
24. Proof by production: “The massive population of China is our greatest good. Even a further increase of several times the population is entirely possible, possible through productivity.” --Mao Zedong
25. Proof by walking: “As more people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.” --Lu Xun
26. Proof by sufficient misery: The starvation of 30 million citizens and the total annihilation of opposition, critics and traditional culture during the Cultural Revolution have finally convinced the Chinese people that it was the necessary thing to do to revive this nation.
27. Proof by demonizing: “The Dalai-lama is a devil in sheep-clothes!” --CCTV
28. Proof by ethnicity: You ‘prove’ it by showing your opponent is not Chinese. A classic: “Mr. Smith does not understand China because he is not Chinese.”
29. Proof by exclusion: Before the defendant airs his dirty opinions in public, he will be censored/defamed/incarcerated/executed to prove his irrelevance.
30. Proof by meekness: Usually employed by showing three or more of the following virtues: kindness, courtesy, amiability, ingratiation, graciousness, hospitableness, sagacity, modesty. Hence Confucius: the true gentleman knows what is right.
31. Proof by saying No: Publish a book entitled China can say No.
32. Proof by corruption: You have to pay if you have to pay.
33. Proof by suspension: “China’s rise will be peaceful.” –Wen Jiabao
34. Proof by English translation: If the West can read it, you exist!
35. Proof by having-nothing-to-prove-at-all: Forget proof and all - Be RICH. Be TALL. Be EDUCATED. (The so-called “3G” [san gao] will get you anywhere in China!)
36. Proof by Confucius: Just say Confucius said it, e. g. “Girl who do back spring on bedspring have offspring next spring.” etc. --Unknown author
Note: This has been cross-posted at www.east-west-dichotomy.com.
Image credit: Vitchanan Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
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In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
- The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
A pastor at the chapel of the St. Josef Hospital on April 1, 2020 in Bochum, German
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images<p>Christian nationalists, in general, believe the U.S. and God's will are tied together, and they want the government to embody conservative Christian values and symbols. As such, they also believe the nation's fate depends on how closely it adheres to Christianity.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unsurprisingly then, in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic, conservative pastors prophesied God's protection over the nation, citing America's righteous support for President Trump and the prolife agenda," the researchers write.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Correspondingly, the link between Christian nationalism and God's influence on how COVID‐19 impacts America can be seen in proclamations about God's divine judgment for its immorality―with the logic being that God is using the pandemic to draw wayward America <em>back </em>to himself, which assumes the two belong together."</p><p>The logical conclusion to this kind of thinking: America can save itself not through cautionary measures, like mask-wearing, but through devotion to God. What's more, it stands to reason that Christian nationalists are less likely to trust the media and scientists, given that these sources are generally not concerned with promoting a conservative, religious view of the world.</p><p>(The researchers note that they're unaware of any research directly linking Christian nationalism to distrust of media sources, but that they're almost certain the two are connected.)</p>
Predicted values of Americans' frequency of incautious behaviors during the COVID‐19 pandemic across values of Christian nationalism
Perry et al.<p>In the new study, the researchers examined three waves of results from the Public and Discourse Ethics Survey. One wave of the survey was issued in May, and it asked respondents to rate how often they engaged in both incautious and precautionary behaviors.</p><p>Incautious behaviors included things like "ate inside a restaurant" and "went shopping for nonessential items," while precautionary behaviors included "washed my hands more often than typical" and "wore a mask in public."</p><p>To measure Christian nationalism, the researchers asked respondents to rate how strongly they agree with statements like "the federal government should advocate Christian values" and "the success of the United States is part of God's plan."</p><p>The results suggest that, compared to other groups, Christian nationalists are far less likely to wear masks, socially distance and take other precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior during the pandemic, and the second leading predictor that Americans avoided taking precautionary measures."</p><p>But that's not to say that religious beliefs are causing Americans to reject mask-wearing or social distancing. In fact, when the study accounted for Christian nationalist beliefs, the results showed that Americans with high levels of religiosity were likely to take precautionary measures for COVID-19.</p>
Limitations<p>Still, the researchers note that they're theorizing about the connections between Christian nationalism and COVID-19 behaviors, not documenting them directly. What's more, they suggest that certain experiences — such as having a family member that contracts COVID-19 — might change a Christian nationalist's behaviors during the pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Limitations notwithstanding, the implications of this study are important for understanding Americans' curious inability to quickly implement informed and reasonable strategies to overcome the threat of COVID‐19, an inability that has likely cost thousands of lives," they write.</p>
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