Lisa Jardine has gone personal in this video; so, this is a personal response. I mention some things about my sister, and feel justified because it appears to me Lisa Jardine here has gone to the vague knowledge of religion. She feels the opportunity to find something wrong with her father, Jacob Bronowski. The fact that refugee Jews helped build the bomb has long been understood as their wish for Hitler to not get the bomb. She should have understood this long before she found some top secret work of her father about aiming bombs. She should have understood why the moment she found them. There is no mystery. She's acting up, and I can't help and am tired of the acting up of many people like my own sister. So, this blog entry is a bit more seemingling personal.
I've often noted how I was approximately born at the same time that Jacob Bronowski died, just like some people note that Isaac Newton was born the day Galileo died. That type of reasoning the mythicists use; and I of course fight that type of reasoning. I just say it in fun.
Jacob Bronowski is still my favorite philosopher next to E.T. Bell I suppose. I make this blog and champion Jacob Bronowski because I find that he is the most general philosopher and still largely correct. I also would like to say that it appears that humanity has past by Jacob Bronowski, which is an intellectual tragedy. There's a new generation every fifteen to twenty years, and every generation can take in so much knowledge. They cut out what they think they don't need. They should keep the most general; they've cut out the most general, so far. As A.I and brain research fails to figure it all out, and then turns to figure it out and find the correct solution, I think humanity will come back to Jacob Bronowski and others like Ernst Cassirer.
I came to Jacob Bronowski almost by accident. I had noticed Jacob's "Ascent of Man" book on science bookshelves for the longest time while a youth; but, I had always past it by. I considered it a cheap work, just another historian of science. I should back up a little bit. I went to bookstores while a youth trying to find any books that could help me learn science. At the time, the bookstores were Waldenbooks, and the science sections were like one or two rows of the nature section which was just one shelf of the bookstore. Bookstores like Bookstar, and then Barnes and Nobles with hugh science sections, sections devoted to each science section came a few years later, but still I did not get into Jacob Bronowski. I got a Jacob Bronowski book called "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination" from my sister who was working in a used bookstore at the time. The title certainly caught my eye, but I still didn't know what to expect. I had for a few years in my teens at the time had already moved towards the philosophy of mathematics trying to understand the nature and origin of mathematics in the hopes of becoming a mathematician. Most mathematicians I find did not do this in their youths. They just learned as much mathematics as possible; some just become teachers; some have some natural creative ability and so they go on to become full fledged mathematicians. To say the least, Jacob Bronowski's "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination" is still one of my favorite books(next to E.T. Bell's "Development of Mathematics".). And I consider this later life work to have put things together, the nature and origin of mathematics and science, the relation to art and human philosophy/ethics. My sister never read it! Shoot, she says she doesn't like 2001, or Isaac Asimov's "Foundation." Sorry to go a bit personal, but it is a little striking that she who gave me the book has turned south, never learned how to ask questions, face facts; never learned the difference between rational thought and irrationalist thought. She's an example of the generation problem that missed out on Jacob Bronowski and the true human spirit - the rational scientific spirit; the real holistic experience and ethics. Moving on . . .
I found this video a day after uncovering a little mystery. I got involved in a little mathematicians group on facebook quite by accident. I'm an amateur mathematician at best(I once got through an interesting how to do mathematics book, and of course, I've done many basic mathematicians type of knowledge; things like the Pythagorean theorem, the irrationality of the square root of two, and three, the infinitude of primes, the five platonic solids, and I've given some indication of my learning of Greek mathematical knowledge and my explorations of the origins of mathematics as I've tried to check my own generalisations of Jacob Bronowski's ideas in his "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination"; I think I can consider myself certainly a historian and philosopher of mathematics and amateur mathematician). These guys are pretty up there. There's some older guys with Harvard Phds. I know some can get on to arxiv and publish there. There's some young hotshoes. I've even heard some say they read Serre others have gotten through some maybe all of Bourbaki books. But, I've recently uncovered the identity of one guy who's certainly has worked with some of the most premier mathematicians. Grothendieck, Andre Weil, and John Tate(see my video about the Hodge Conjecture; John Tate introduces the speaker; John's such a great character!). He goes by his Russian name on facebook, Игорь Ростиславович Шафаревич. How I uncovered this guys name in English is kind of interesting. I was reading John Stillwell's "Elements of Algebra", and read through the bibliography and found that an interesting title of "Construction of fields of algebraic numbers with given solvable Galois groups." The auther was a L Shafarevich. I googled the name real quick and found a familiar picture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Shafarevich
Reading the wiki jolted some more memories. One of my first books back in junior high days was "The Mathematical Experience." In it was an enjoyable article about some Russian mathematician who had some interesting things to say about mathematics. He kind of derived god from mathematics. He said mathematics seems to grow with no goal; how to put that goal, since mathematical ideas seem to spring up in people far from each other like non-euclidiean geometries, then belief in God must be the guiding hand . . . yea, the reasoning there is a little off as it stands.
I bring this Igor Shafarevich up because he lived in much the same time period as Jacob Bronowski. Igor fought against the corrupt Soviet Union; yet, it appears he's gone the nazy blame the Jews for the wrong turning of the Soviet Union later on in life(about the same time he pubished his god ideas of mathematics). At the same time Igor Shafarevich couldn't figure out philosophy, Jacob Bronowski was trying to understand the relation of mathematics to art, philosophy, and to learn the history of mathematics in the human experience. He certainly found that mankind is the technologically dependent and hence mathematically dependent species. It can't be that mathematics is the problem, or why exist at all? Why through human curiosity away because some have abused it? I simply stress that mathematical philosophy is about questioning assumptions, not making those assumptions, having the courage to consider new ideas, and the honor to put wrong ideas away, to be skeptical, to be open minded. I've found more curiosities amongst this facebook mathematican social group.
I've found that most are socially bound up to various religions which I've shown are anti-science. They have all the examples of why not to be socially bound up, but there is no asking questions, just go back in their rooms and shut the door. Well, as I've said before, question your beliefs, or I don't want to hear it; just shut up.
For Lisa Jardine, watching Jacob Bronowski at Auswitz was pretty hard. No doubt that is quite a video, once again, the point is that Jews worked on the Manhatten project and in the case of Jacob Bronowski on aiming bombs and calculating death rates, because they didn't want Hitler to win the war. Why this was hard for Lisa to grasp all her life is striking to me, as much as my struggles to get people to understand irrationality incrowding. The moving part for me was her revealing when Jacob Bronowski died due to being asked questions about science and morality.