When I come across a theory in physics or biology or philosophy that is discredited by the leading figures in its field, I am not automatically dismissive. But, without opening Nico Benschop’s book in which he provides elementary proofs of FLT and Goldbach’s Conjecture, I am certain that the proofs are incorrect. Sorry dude, I admire your audacity and I would love to see a story about a misunderstood genius in mathematics comes true, but I am a Bayesianist, and my prior of you being right in this matter is precisely zero. Double standard ? You bet. But that’s tautological. My prior is the subjective double standard with which I evaluate evidence. Can I expect the academic publishing industry to act according to my prior ? Alas, probably not.

But I still find it embarrassingly stupid that Springer published such a book, not because this mediocre game theorist believes its math is incorrect, but because Springer’s job is to serve the academic community, and if mathematicians and computer scientists virtually unanimously reject this work, then publishing it will do Springer’s audience a disservice. Ditto with respect to books about intelligent design or parapsychology which are not accepted by the relevant academic communities, even though I personally sometimes find them worth looking at. That’s the purpose of peer review, and that’s the branch on which Springer sits. Fortunately for me and for Benschop, there are other options to publicize controversial work without getting kosher label from the establishment in your field. But if Springer thinks that these options render peer review obsolete, then maybe it’s time for them to close the shop.

By the way, speaking of academic publishers making an ass of themselves, Elsevier were caught offering gift certificate in exchange for flattering reviews on Amazon.