Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Category: logic and philosophy

GBLTQandS


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/open/”>Open</a&gt;

an open letter to the intolerant

GBLTQandS

I feel I have to write what I really feel, believe and want everyone to accept about the whole modern approach to the sexual orientation question as it affects and applies to all of us today.

Firstly I want to look at the world from a purely biological point of view. It is now accepted that there is a group of people which can be identified as forming the GLBTQ community. More importantly it is acknowledged to be a minority grouping because more than half the world’s population would not admit to being part of it. But biologically it is incomplete, there is a letter missing. ‘S’. If you add this it includes all of us when those letters stand for: gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual, queer and straight. So let’s add that S and see just what makes all the people under each heading different yet also the same as all the others. Watch. (Note all the = signs mean in a physical relationship, not mental, spiritual or social.)

G = a man who prefers sexually loving men. L= a woman who prefers sexually loving women. B = equals a man or woman who enjoys sex with both men and women. T= a man or woman who wants to, or already has, changed their gender because they feel they are biologically incorrectly gendered by birth. While preferring to be identified as their non-birth gender, they often still come under B for sexual enjoyment. Q = a person who actively seeks to flaunt their sexuality in order to seduce someone of their own sex. S = men and women who prefer to restrict their sexual love to a person who is of the opposite sex to themselves. But many in this category would have experimented with sexual relationships with people in the other divisions above but usually prefer someone of the opposite sex. Agreed? I hope so. The important thing about clarifying the biological aspect of the subject is that the vast majority of all people have a sexual drive of some sort, want to satisfy it and usually do in a wide variety of ways.

Ok, that is biology and it accounts for all of us and all our tastes in sexual relations. So why the fuss and the bad-mouthing of anybody for being a particular type of human being when it comes to how one wants to express one’s love and sexual attraction for another person? Well this is primarily a social question which can be divided into purely secular legal issues and religious teachings of right and wrong. Let’s look at the secular legal one first. In many countries now the law does not permit people to offend GLBTQ people purely on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Why not? If I tell a joke about a queer tranny, and it is really funny and is aimed only at being funny, how is it different to making a joke about a straight man’s mother-in-law? I have no idea, but I do know that minorities can have me arrested but majorities can’t. Daft. On the other hand I know offending people must stop somewhere.

I would be the first person to agree that openly bad-mouthing anybody for their sexuality is unpleasant, unkind, unnecessary and likely to provoke public disorder. It is simply not something anybody should do. But having a perfectly sensible discussion about how one feels on this subject, and saying that one does not like certain types of sexual orientation, is fine. In fact it is basically what I am doing here. But some idiots somewhere have decided to invent the word homophobia in order to make people who do not like homosexuality appear in some way in the wrong for saying so. Not only is that undemocratic, untrue and unnecessary, but more importantly it is completely inaccurate. A phobia is a fear not a dislike. The word homophobia is basically a neurotic anxiety condition describing people who have an irrational fear of a section of society. Well I do not like the idea of having any sort of sexual activity with a man, but it isn’t a fear. It is just my sexual preference. I have a lot of homosexual male and female friends and relations of whom I am very fond. It just stops there! Where we do have a problem, however, is when one set of people start telling others sets of people that, for religious reasons, being homosexual is wrong. And I mean wrong in the sense of sinful. That is rubbish and is not the teaching of any faith I have studied, and I have a doctorate in the history of world religions.

Where some faiths, and they are perfectly entitled to, condemn homosexual acts they do so on the grounds that the ACT is wrong, but the person can be forgiven. This is a very important distinction because it doesn’t leave anyone in the clear. In the Christian and Islamic faiths, for example, it is wrong to have sex outside holy wedlock. That’s all, that’s it. It is a sin for every GLBTQorS to have sexual activity with someone to whom they are not married. It doesn’t matter how you do it, who you do it with or anything else. Outside marriage it’s wrong. I know very few people in my world who manage to keep the right side of that blanket for the whole of their lives. Some, of course, but very few. It doesn’t make you a bad person, that depends on a whole host of other things, the main one is whether you are a basically good, kind, loving and caring human being. How you manage to stick to any other rules imposed by creeds which you might espouse is your affair. Just don’t point the finger at others on principle when you have no idea whether they are better or worse human beings than yourself. But I can’t leave this without touching on the really important social side of sexual acts. When do they become legally criminal?

I cannot excuse any sexual act that is not consensual, especially if it physically or mentally damages another person. Thus all rape, male and female, paedophilia, and seduction of those unable for any reason to fully understand what is going on, should be punishable by law and in most countries it is. The most difficult of those to decide sometimes concerns questions of the age of consent. For instance, is it wrong to pick up a thirteen year old call girl who looks seventeen? And is it really incest when two youngsters in the same family are just experimenting? Yes they shouldn’t, but it’s not a crime unless their parents let them. God what a world we live in.

Are you wondering what sparked all this off? No, of course you aren’t. That mass shooting in Orlando made a lot of us feel physically sick. But I felt more. I felt dreadfully sorry for the chap who did it! What sort of society did he live in that allowed him to be armed when law enforcement officers knew about him years earlier? He was mentally ill, all brain washed extremists are, and I personally included him in my prayers that night because I didn’t think anyone else would. You don’t send someone to hell because they’re bonkers.

AWE

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MY EPITOMES


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/epitome/”>Epitome</a&gt;

a heart wrenching memory  can be the only real epitome of love

MY EPITOMES

As I grew up I always knew that everything I wanted in the girl I loved would have to be exactly as I imagined the epitome of my putative wife. From early, wondering years of innocence, yes even then when I was only ten, for my life-long lover to mean to me and I to she, everything I desired. I knew I could not live with any girl who lacked the following four outstanding qualities.

For a start, I was certain I could not live with someone who never smiled or laughed and, being vain, especially laughed at me. I mean of course in the sense that she should share my sense of humour and fun so that everything we might enjoy we might enjoy as one. I had such a tiny space for shared virtues in that partition of my mental world; there could never be room for more than two of us at once. Well not for another goddess-lover anyway because of my imagined lover’s second requisite quality. She had to be somebody, and this I think I knew beyond doubt when only fifteen, to whom I would want to be always faithful. And she always true to me. I wanted someone I could place upon a pedestal and to whom my wedding vows of love and constancy would not just be words, but the sincerest feelings I had ever felt. Promises that, were I to break them, I might as well have taken a cleaver to my heart, almost smote it in twain with all the strength I had.

Then her third necessary adjunct to her humanity would have had to be the depth of her love for me. How selfish can a man become when all he can see throughout his life is being worshipped and adored by his wife? But I also had a safety valve for this particular emotion, this necessary quality in the object of my devotion. It was this. If ever I should stumble, trip or fall and for a few moments gaze upon another girl. Then, should the wife that I had chosen, out of despair, disappointment, sadness or for whatever reason, take her revenge by similarly deceiving me I would totally and unconditionally forgive her. Providing she never asked me to confront the object of any brief and physical desire, I would absolve her, never query, question ask or threaten her. Just forgive. I could live with such a normal human thing. I could forgive, but only if I realised I too had been capable of setting her aside for the same reason, the same very short season and one that I could know would never last. Indeed, that I would have to know had already passed.

Her fourth quality? I am surprised you have not wondered, well you have not, have you? Why I have not included the beauty of her looks, her personality or her physical attributes. You know, they would mean nothing to me. I firmly believed this from my late teen years as so many girls of beauty, normality, shyness or vivacity had all seemed so alike to me. No, the other thing I knew she would have to have would be a deep and gentle love for her fellow men. In short she would have to come to me unburdened with any type of prejudice arising out of unreasonable hatred or dislike for others. I was sure I would place that quality above any fair features in her face or figure. I could only hold her really close and really love her, if I knew that she loved all humanity as much as I did too. So did I ever find her, this paragon? Or was she just a fairy dream?

Oh, I found her once. Then twice, then thrice and am settled now with my fourth wife. But every time the severance I had to undergo was due to the ending of her human life, and each widowing hurt me unbearably. But were they all the epitome of all those qualities I so innocently insisted I could not live without? Yes, of course, they each predominantly had one. My first brief Italian love loved me so much she would have given me up rather than fail in her duty to her suffering family. Lucia, of the four, was the closest to a saint in her love of others. My second, my deepest love, was in Vietnam. Anh, gave her life to nursing the destitute and in her way gave me the strongest reason to pray for another human being. She and my baby daughter were killed in a war, it tore the heart out of me. Of all my loves she was the epitome of selflessly devoting every second of her life to me. She left me the softest smile I ever craved.

My third wife Anne, left suddenly of a cardiac disease. Ours was the briefest, oddest joining of two people. Before she died so suddenly she was the cause and the epitome of total forgiveness between two normal, morally fragile human beings. Her parting present in atonement, one for one, was my eldest son. Lucia ‘s gift was twin daughters, their families still and always a part of me, though living many lands away. Anh offers me herself every day with memories of our lovely little girl. And finally my fourth, my longest, my most enduring love is still the epitome of everything that cheers, shares laughter and loves how much she loves loving me. Her gift is my last and youngest son. The epitome of any happy union with anyone.

AWE

THE RIGHT TO SPEAK AND THE LEFT TO DICTATE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/curve/”>Curve</a&gt;

‘curve’, how apt for everything politicians try to do with facts to suit their own ends

THE RIGHT TO SPEAK AND THE LEFT TO DICTATE

There is a lovely row going on in Britain about whether saying you do not support zionism or disagree with zionist policies makes you anti-semitic. The real joke is that the row is between a former left wing mayor of London and his Labour (ultra left wing) party leader. The latter  has suspended the former mayor from the party for saying  something  against zionism, because this equals being anti-semitic in his eyes.

Personally I do not think the state of Israel should have been established  in the way it was in 1949 purely because the people who were intending to live there had no legal right to do so. The vast majority of founding Israelis were European and American, and had no excuse at all to throw two million Palestinian arabs out of their homes and steal their land. I am NOT anti-semitic, I have many, many Jewish friends, but that’s a racial distinction not a political one. As a Catholic I no more support the religion of Muslims than I do of Jews, but if I like members of those two faiths as people, and recognise them as friends, that doesn’t mean I am not a Chritstian. What I must never do is offend people on purpose because of their religion or race. Well I don’t. Nor did the mayor referred to above. My first wife, who was killed with my daughter in a war, was an Asian Buddhist. Hardly an indication that I don’t like people of other races or creeds. But I am still allowed to separate politics from race and beliefs without being offensive. Well I hope I am!

Apart from anything else I get very fed up with millions of people on a daily basis being unbelievably offensive and blasphemous to my face in a grossly un-Christian way and, when I report them to the relevant authorities, am just told to …something …off, and that by the state officials who are supposed to be protecting civil rights in our country. But I put up with it because my job in life is to love my neighbours, whoever they are and whatever they do. And if they offend me I should forgive them. I wish some so called minorities would start doing the same.

AWE

NO CHANGE IN MY PURSE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-brand-new-you-effective-tomorrow/”>A Brand New You, Effective Tomorrow</a>

Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to be anyone alive today, or someone gone long ago.

 

                               NO CHANGE IN MY PURSE  

 

At last, a prompt after my own heart! It might win it too. What a choice. My first inclination was to go for someone from ages past, Cleopatra.

Do I see raised eyebrows around the yuletide fire? I have a reason. Think of all the money it would save me not having to go to Brasil for an extremely expensive sex change operation. Yes, but then I would have to want to become a woman, and I don’t. I have not long mastered the art of being totally male, masculine as well, so I think being queen of the Nile would not attract me that much. And all that fiddling with the asp. God what a way to go. No I’ll stay gendered as I am.

But the question still arises shall I be someone whose life I know in full or someone still with us? A tricky question that. You see if I knew when I was born, how I lived and when I died I would have no more surprises left. But I would have the advantage of knowing all the mysteries of the next life. Yet then I would have to choose to be someone who was deemed almost a saint while on earth. Hmm…. I’m not sure I could quite manage to resist as much temptation as that. But I would like to be certain that Heaven lay in wait for me because I really would miss my friends in paradise.

But on looking around at the people alive today the choice is awful. Age is very important. Would I want to be a young, shy, lovelorn youth tongue tied whenever he met a girl who tickled his fancy? No, I couldn’t go through all that again. It’s fun to look back on but was hell to go through.

Well would I like to be a dashing hero in his early twenties, king of pop, God of sport or Hollywood actor who had every female in the world panting after him? Well good looking enough, yes, but fighting them off? Oh no. That would put me off passion fruit for life, and true love might pass me by completely.

Well, how about a successful 40 something with loads of cash and able to shower everything he wished on his adored wife and kids? Yes, but it could become boring. And much as I loved her she might be enamoured of ‘another’ and where would that leave me? With enough money to get drunk in my misery every night and die of alcoholic poisoning at an early age.

This is actually getting quite tricky. The problem with aiming to be someone aged 60 plus would mean keeping up a variety of interests to stop me reflecting on nearing my end while entering the last quarter of my allotted span. Well if I could be a head of  state or government that might serve, but look at the crowd we’ve got around today. I cannot think of any government leader with whom I would swap places. But there would be many, I am sure, who might be happy to live as obscurely as I do.

So I think that in the end I might just settle for being me. Okay I am seriously ill – 2016 might never change its last digit – but at least I can look back with pleasure on those I have loved in my life, on the happy as well as the sad moments and, above all, reflect that all in all I haven’t had such a bad time. Okay I’ve been caught up in seven wars, but I have also covered four olympic games, many top sporting events including a lot of major golf and tennis tournaments. Also I have made friends both with heads of state and workers in the poorest quarters of the world helping the ill, the old, the destitute and the bereaved. And most importantly of all I know I have not lived the life of a hero or a saint, but those moments when my courage has failed me, or temptation has been too great for me to resist, have never depressed me so much that I have lost my love of God or the people he created.

No, I’ll brave it out and see how much longer I have to go. But the one regret I will always have is that I will not be around to see how all the grand designs for the future, as set out by today’s ideologists, actually pan out. But maybe a friend or two in Heaven might let me have a peek at earth in 3000 AD if I’m a very good boy!

AWE

AN EXAMPLE OF AN INSANE PROMPT.


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fearless-fantasies/”>Fearless Fantasies</a>

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear?

 

                                                  AN EXAMPLE OF AN INSANE PROMPT.

 

1 Were a human being incapable of feeling fear that would mean they could never be afraid.

2 Fear is a necessary natural feeling for everyone to have in order to be unhappy. But without being able to feel unhappy one cannot know what it is to feel happy either, there being nothing with which to compare it or by which to measure it.

3 Therefore no fear = no happiness.

4 Ergo no fear also = no human feelings at all.

5 Without feelings no human could exist.

6 Ergo, the person postulated in the prompt simply could not exist, well not as a human.

AWE.

 

 

 

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/brainwave/”>Brainwave</a&gt;

a real brainwave

                                  NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

Is it possible to have a complex thought or a really interesting brainwave if you cannot share it with someone else? Wittgenstein, in his theory of solipsism as the basis of every individual’s personal perception of the world, certainly suggests otherwise. Usually an exchange of ideas is only possible if you know somebody who is as well versed in the subject with which your brainwave is concerned as you are. Otherwise you first have to define what you mean by your clever thought or brainwave before discussing the concept further.

Dictionary definitions seldom help very much with this type of problem as is illustrated by the OED which defines brainwave as a ‘sudden clever idea’, or an electrical impulse in the brain. The key adjective here is obviously ‘sudden’ but that does not allow for the range or scope of the thought that is implied by the other adjective ‘clever’. Newton, when an apple fell on his head, cleverly worked out his laws of gravity. But they were hardly sudden. Thus the thoughts emanating from his near pommicidal experience were not brainwaves. But they were clever thoughts. So it can be argued that clever thoughts do not have to be brainwaves. But let us consider another famous scientific moment.

Archimedes watched his bath water level rising as his body’s mass displaced it and he saw a whole, complete and exquisite explanation of a mathematical problem. How to measure volumes of hydro-displacement. That was sudden and was a brainwave. But it was so quick it did not really involve much thought at all. All it involved was seeing something and realising its possible significance. So was Archimedes cleverer than Newton or was he just quicker off the mark? And anyway which one of them knew enough people to whom they could explain what they believed they had discovered without first having to give them a lesson in what they were talking about?

I mean, would you consider a raving lunatic rushing naked down the street shouting “I’ve got it” necessarily more clever than a chap, bent double, hobbling out of an orchard complaining that he had a headache because he had been hit on the head by an apple? Most people would probably have sought medical help for both men in each case. And imagine how much longer the world would have had to wait for enlightenment in science if those two things had happened. 

Now there’s a thought!

AWE

 

 

FEARS, PHOBIAS, KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF.


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/phobia-shmobia/”>Phobia, Shmobia</a>

on reading  of Richard Dawkins’ dislike of the term ‘Islamaphobia’.

 

FEARS, PHOBIAS, KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF.

     The constant mistake of adding ‘phobia’ to so many words nowadays is ludicrous. Homophobia, for instance, is a non-word because for anything to be a phobia it has to be something of which one is unusually strongly afraid or irrationally petrified. If one has a good reason for strongly disliking something that is not a ‘phobia’.

     Homophobia is the most commonly used non-word in English. If one does not like the practice of people of the same sex loving and having sexual relations with each other that is not an irrational fear of their preferences, it is a dislike of them. I have many close homosexual friends but I never condemn the sinner when they act in ways I think they shouldn’t. I only condemn the sin. God knows I commit sins enough myself, but just not that one because it turns me off! I actually consider adultery a worse sin because it usually also involves breaking a solemn oath, taken at one’s marriage, not to do it. There are no laws in our country of which I am aware which tell us what we may legally like or dislike. It is what we do about our dislikes – violent actions or insulting and defamatory verbal remarks to peoples’ faces are common examples – that break the law, not the way we feel about them.

     Also there is a great disparity between marginalising people because of their natures and because of their actions when the predilections with which they are born are neither their own fault nor within their ability to alter. Medical science may allow us to make all sorts of changes to our physical sexual anatomy, but it cannot change how we started out when we were born. That is in the past. So it is quite unnecessary to single out anybody for censure or applause because of their natures.

     One exception here to the use of ‘phobia’  is when words like ‘Islamaphobia’ are coined to describe people who fear a religious or idealistic grouping. While I would never use such a spurious generality myself, I can see that some people might equate being Muslim with being a terrorist who could start world war three. It is very important to recognise that you can be afraid of both the physical threat of fanatics, or of a religious sect which might threaten members of your own religious group if you are a member of one. However, as a devout Catholic I can only say that I believe I should love all men, obviously not everything they might do, but they themselves as God’s children. After all the vast majority of Muslims are perfectly ordinary, harmless, nice people anyway. It is very hard when somebody of another faith deliberately blasphemes in front of me to get my back up. Yet much as I may dislike this the last thing I should do is trash their beliefs. That just alienates us more when I should be trying to befriend them. However, atheists like Richard Dawkins try to rise above this level of fidelity and infidelity by saying we both believe a lot of rubbish anyway. Poor man, I can think of nothing more sad than not being afraid that one might be mistaken. What dreadfully meaningless, hopeless lives atheists must live.

     But this leads to the whole question of why we fear some things or groups of people for good reasons just as much as for totally stupid ones. It is usually the conflation of knowledge and belief. Take the arch atheist-scientist Dawkins. A truly brilliant man in his field but a quite pitiable one in his passion for blindfolding himself to the obvious. He says that he knows God does not exist and belittles people who claim to believe that God does. How unscientific can you get? There is a very simple example of why nobody can ever prove that science answers everything or that God exists. Take a piece of string, any length you like, and cut it in half. Throw one half away and do the same to the half you have kept. There is no limit to the size to which you can reduce the piece you retain if you continue this process long enough. But something always remains for nothing can be made out of nothing.

     Do you see what this proves? It’s so simple. It proves that anything solid, any form of matter, can never be made to disappear. It can only be split up into ever smaller atomic and ultimately sub atomic particles. Then, in theoretical thought, there is no limit to how large any concept can be. It is self evident in maths, for instance, that there is no number to which you cannot add one. This is the proof of rational infinity and goes way out beyond our cosmos. It must, by definition. So if a scientist thinks that everything can ultimately be empirically investigated so completely that all existence is known and explained, all you have to do is add one to it and you will find there is an infinite, and ergo unknowable, scope to the field of  scientific discovery. Yes we can find out and empirically prove how everything originates, works, lives etc physically. But there will always be a limit to that knowledge.

     So if I was to say I know God made me, loves me and wants me to live for ever in heaven, that is only ‘knowledge’ as far as I myself am concerned. I really do physically love God, which helps a lot, but basically what I am doing is believing in God even though I cannot empirically prove His existence. But my belief is just as strong and likely as Richard Dawkins’ empirically provable knowledge, because while we are alive and on earth neither of us can know the limits of what we believe, nor how something must at some time  have been made out of nothing.

     I believe in eternity, and infinity beyond  human comprehension. A super mystery which one day I genuinely believe I will understand. But not while I’m alive. Dear Richard seems not to want this kind of really lovely hope, and is content to just dig deeper and deeper into discovering all the practical things in our cosmos knowing he will never reach the end of that search. I do hope he realises this before he dies, or at least thinks about it enough to like the idea of being in Heaven some day. Surely he is far too intelligent not to want to save his soul if he cannot, just by using empirical logic, prove that it does not exist. He is literally taking a helluva risk. 

AWE

COMMON SENSES


Super Sensitive

which sense would you give up and which have accentuated?

COMMON SENSES

I am in no doubt that I would give up common  sense and that I would greatly increase my emotional sensitivity. There are two reasons in each case which stand out for me.

With regard to giving up common sense I suppose it is becaue it is the most contentious sense we have. Everyone has their own idea of what common sense is. For me basically it is what appears as the blatantly obvious to each individual  and this for so many different reasons. Firstly  I assume that some things in life are perceived logically by my senses and I cannot understand why others do not feel the same way. For instance I take it as obvious that I do not want to die any sooner than I absolutely have to, but  given that many people commit suicide I suppose for many this piece of logical common sense does not hold good. But even so I accept that this is a very common piece of sense indeed. Where one sees the meaning of common sense being heavily disputed is in politics and religion, in other words where and  how we order our lives and the purpose of that ordering are greatly disputed and so one man’s common sense in such an issue would certainly not be another’s. Therefore this sense would definitely be the one to go.

But on the subject of increasing a sense my emotional perception would certainly be the sense that I would want to increase a hundred fold. I consider the need for this to be obvious  as I am referring to the acuteness of my ability to understand how I feel about other people and why I want to. If I love my wife it would be wonderful to be able to love her twice as much. The joy I get from loving her and knowing she loves me is enormous and any way in which I could increase this sensation of perceived and reciprocal enjoyment of being with me, or I being with another person, must be something I would seek to increase as much as possible.Also The emotional side of spiritual love and affection  is part of that same sensation of feeling loved and wanted but in a different, though equally strong, manner.  Thus you have my answer to this prompt.

But hang on. I have a feeling the prompt setter may have been talking about my five physical senses. I do hope not because I would not want to change my physical make up in any way at all. Imagine wanting to lose a sense. If you really did want to be so handicapped you would probbly need psychiatric help, unless that is what led you to feel the need for your loss in the first place!!

Anton Wills-Eve

BRING ON THE CLONES


Feb 16 prompt

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/clone-wars/”>Clone Wars</a>

           BRING ON THE CLONES

If I could clone myself there would be three of me! The original me and my copies. Think of it, to put all my original self into a single clone would create nothing, like 1 x 1 = 1 (the original one) in maths.

Responsibility would then not come into the discussion because by definition if I did make two or more identical images they would still look, think and act exactly as I – the creator – would dictate. Of course by this simple logic this would probably not be true cloning at all.

In short, this is the most ludicrous prompt I have ever seen on this site.

AW-E

 

Proving Goldbach’s Conjecture


The years 1715 to 1792 are known in many countries as either “The age of enlightenment” or “The age of reason”. This is for the very simple reason that in the previous 100 years the Western civilised world had undergone a series of momentous scientific and geographical discoveries leaving the average intellectual no longer obliged to turn to the Church to say whether or not their ideas or theories were in line with Christian teaching because the myriad of Christian denominations which had sprung up since the reformation, approximately between 1511 and 1567, meant that the authority once automatically vested in the church in all matters of scientific and sociological morals, ethics and facts was considered no more likely to be right than the theories of political philosophers, mathematicians or discoverers.

So a whole century of changes in every walk of life culminated towards its closing years in the French revolution and abolition of hereditary privilege in France, financial and trading freedom in Italy, Spain and England and writers of all types in every country no longer felt obliged to seek ecclesiastical permission to be published. Also, the establishment of independence in North America and the founding of penal colonies in Australasia were the foundation stones of the English speaking world as we know it today.

This short proof concerns one example of how freedom of intellectual enquiry gave rise to perhaps the most intriguing puzzle, problem and obvious but unprovable hypothesis in the history of maths. Christian Goldbach, a keen amateur mathematician – yes in those heady days of original thought even mathematicians had original ideas, not allowed in schools nowadays – wrote to a friend of his in Switzerland, Leonhardt Euler, one of the most distinguished mathematicians in the history of the discipline. Christian suggested to his friend that all even numbers were the sum of two prime numbers. He allowed for only one odd number to be the sum of two primes, ie 3, as it was 1 + 2 . But He could find no even number that was not the sum of two primes.

The only problem was that,while it seemed obviously true, and nobody could, or at least has as yet, disproved it, he could not formulate an acceptable proof of his conjecture within the accepted rules of traditional mathematics. A large prize was deposited in a Swiss bank which was to be awarded to the first person to come up with such a proof. Now this was some 270 years ago, but still nobody has managed to formulate an acceptable proof. The prize money is still earning compound interest at 5 % and by now would make the winner one of the richest academics in the world. The most powerful computers in today’s world cannot disprove Goldbach so why can the conjecture not be proven?

Well, personally, I have always believed it is simply because it is too obvious. Can one actually prove, for instance, that 1 plus 1 equals 2. Not by any other method than saying that 1 is what we call a single unit of something, 2 is 2 such units and so on. But this is no more than giving a definition of, or naming the noun which corresponds to, a mathematical symbol or tool. Well, surely, that is all that Goldbach’s conjecture does. He simply SAID IT THE WRONG WAY ROUND. What he should have said is “an even number is any number that is the sum of two primes.”( 2 ,of course is sum of 1 +1). That is a perfectly valid and true definition of an even number. There are others, such as “an even number is any number which can be divided exactly by any other number higher than one.” But the important thing about my definition of an even number is that by its linguistic composition it obviates the necessity to take Goldbach’s conjecture any further, in order to prove it, than to state what an even number is. Doing this proves both the conjecture and satisfies the mathematical logic inherent in proving all theorems; ie using nothing more than the numerical value and meaning of a number’s name to make a mathematical point.

QED.