Tuesday, November 25, 2008
For as long as I can remember, I've been seeking out a supposedly great book on the Riemann Hypothesis: John Derbyshire's Prime Obsession. Reviews from various sources have me all but convinced that it is the book on the topic, something that isn't afraid to go into details about the towering problem of our time. A few days ago, I had the most unexpected revelation relating to the book. The author, it turns out, isn't just another pleasant fellow who likes his maths and science. No, it turns out that Derbyshire has very..."conservative" views on social issues; race and immigration, for example. Suffice to say, they gave me a most unexpected jolt. Now, I don't mean to judge Derbyshire; although I won't pretend like I wasn't shocked at finding out these things, he is certainly entitled to believe whatever he wants. But why I found it hard to come to terms to with the information is a really naive preconception on my part: that people with similar passions as me might not share my world view, and might even actively reject it! Conflating intellectual interests and societal/world views is much more erroneous than I initially thought.