Monday, May 16, 2005

Letter to the Manila Times

I wrote the Manila Times a 2nd letter. this will be, I hope, the last. If I cannot convince them, then they deserve the brickbats they are getting. This is the letter.
To: The Editor
The Manila Times

Dear Sir:

First, I would like to thank you for pointing out the many grammatical errors I made in my letter to you dated May 6, 2005. I will try and do better.

Second, I would like to commend you for having the courage to admit that you did not check the veracity and accurateness of the story "UP Math prof proves Princeton man wrong" before publishing it because, as you put it, you "did not have any reason to doubt (Mr. E.E. Escultura) him."

Third, I would like to encourage you to stop this practice of not verifying stories from people you do not have any reason to doubt as this can lead to false or inaccurate stories. The Philippine Press Institute's code of ethics for journalists states that journalists "shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis."

I would like to point out that not getting comments from Mr. Andrew Wiles regarding his alleged e-mail reply can "distort the truth by omission". If the alleged e-mail from Mr. Wiles did not really come from Mr. Wiles, then your story attributed to him a position he does not share.

I would also point out that the title of the story "UP Math prof proves Princeton man wrong" distorts the truth from improper emphasis. Mr. Escultura may believe that he is correct but the vast majority of Mathematicians, as can be seen from a google search, do not share his view.Last, I did a quick google search for the names of the mathematicians included in your list and came out with e-mail addresses for 3 of them. I wrote them a letter inquiring whether they agree with Mr. Escultura's claim that he has proven that Mr. Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem is false. Mr. George S. Osipenko, Editor-in-Chief of the "Electronic Journal Diffrential Equation and Control Processes" answered

" I am not sure that I is a person that you need. I know only that this theorem was proved few yeas ago by the Spanish mathematician. The proof is not so simple and is so big. My object is Dynamical systems and I have weak in the Ferma theorem."

This does not invalidate the list, but this at least questions the accuracy of the number of mathematicians who "acknowledged and/or congratulated" Mr. Escultura.

I hope this convinces you to revisit the story and verify the claims in them.

Thank you.

Roy C. Choco
Blk 1, Lot 3, Sapphire St., Hiys Subd.,
Valenzuela Metro Manila
In reviewing the letter, I saw that I again failed to add at least on "the" and spelled Mr. Escultura's name wrong. When will I ever learn to review my writing before sending it, not after.

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