21st Century Science & Technology

Science and the LaRouche Youth Movement

by Laurence Hecht

From the Summer issue of 21st Century Science & Technology (full text).

As the articles in our Special Report demonstrate, this process is already well under way. We have now around us, in a social-political and intellectual process that has chosen to name itself the LaRouche Youth Movement, a core grouping of several hundreds of very serious young people in the 18 to 26 age bracket. Around this rapidly expanding core is a very much larger circle of university-age youth, debating the ideas which are being forcefully presented to them by this dedicated cadre of thinkers.

The centerpiece of the educational program for these youth has been the challenge to master Carl Friedrich Gauss’s 1799 proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra. In that revolutionary paper, the 21-year-old Gauss dismisses the earlier proofs of three of the most prestigious figures in 18th Century mathematics—d’Alembert, Euler, and Lagrange. The problem, Gauss notes, is that they have accepted, without proof, the existence of the “imaginary” or “impossible” number, and thus proven nothing. It were necessary, Gauss insisted (then, as always) to establish the physical-geometric basis for the existence of this new type of magnitude, before invoking it in a proof. Hence his construction of the domain of the doubly extended magnitude, in which the new species, known as complex number, may exist.

No more of this!

The truth is, that very few, even among the ranks of professional mathematicians who would claim to know Gauss’s proof, have actually mastered this relatively elementary lesson. And from that systemic failing, are derived an entire family of problems embedded in the axiomatic underpinning of modern mathematical physics.

Thus, the first challenge facing anyone from the generation of scientists trained by those methods of lesser intellectual rigor which have prevailed in our lifetimes, is to re-educate oneself, on the principle that nothing is known which is not demonstrable by the methods of physical-geometric constructibility demanded by Gauss. That will be best accomplished, in the course of carrying out the second challenge, which is to take up the awesome responsibility for properly educating this new generation.

Nothing less than a most rigorously Socratic approach will suffice: Nothing can be asserted which is not known. On truthful self-examination, most will find that they possess a great deal of accumulated learning, with huge holes where the actual proof should lie. Because the method of knowing how we know has been abandoned in science education, often on grounds of efficacy, most of what is called scientific knowledge today is no different than articles of faith. That practice must end. The guiding principle must be that every assumption employed must be rigorously examined. No hypothesis, whether it be an imaginary number, or an elementary particle, is presumed valid until the experimental anomaly suggesting its existence has been demonstrated.

The task is challenging, but should not be daunting. The best way to begin, we have found, is to begin. To those with a passionate commitment to the pursuit of truth, there should be nothing more exciting than the prospect of being able to participate in the education of a new generation dedicated to this principle.

Please join us in helping to shape the intellectual leaders of this abandoned, “no future” generation, into the Renaissance generation they wish to become. You have nothing to lose but your pessimism and despair.

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