Nigglings Items mentioned in / relevant to the Audioblog

  • Yuval Noah Harari, "Bananas in Heaven", TEDxJaffa (2014) via YouTube (

  • Dr Harari's official website: (

  • Dr Harari's page at the WEF (

  • US Declaration of Independence (



Shortly after posting this podcast, a regular listener (who is a mathematician) kindly sent me a message which I thought would be helpful to add to these notes. Thank you, Paul.

I just listened to your podcast "Niggling Heavenly Bananas & Rights in Spleens". I'm writing firstly to say a "thank you" for the podcast, which I have been listening to for a couple of years now. I like the idea of these shorter commentary podcasts between the more extended interviews.

Secondly, I'm writing to express what I thought to be a fundamental contradiction in Dr Hurari's argument, which your commentary came close to.

As a mathematician, I'm well aware, as are most people, that science itself is underpinned by mathematics. Yet nowhere in the brain of mathematicians or scientists, nor of anyone else, would the number "2" be found. Nor would any other number for that matter! Neither would "pi", "e", or "i" (the unfortunately named (?) imaginary unit), nor any other constant, theorem, or proof of mathematics. Yet the world of science is built upon these elusive objects. The world around us is manipulated and changed daily as a result of science, and by implication, these missing mathematical entities.

Would Dr Hurari dismiss the entire body of science because of his inability to physically locate its foundations? I doubt it.

Mathematicians have even tried to build the entirety of mathematics literally from nothing; the "empty set", abstracting even counting numbers from the physical world. Yet Gödel's theorem essentially states that no matter how carefully this is done, there are mathematical truths which are "self-evident" and cannot be formally proven – a blow to the hopes of early 20th century mathematicians who hoped that everything which is true should be provably so.

In essence, Dr Hurari's argument that human rights, money, and God, do not exist, applies equally to his own beloved Science.

Anyway, thank you for continuing the good fight!

Best wishes,




  • Audioblog theme music: Go 'n' Drop by Antony Raijekov from Jazz U album (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

  • Podcast image created with DALL-E by OpenAI and ChatGPT by OpenAI, using concepts provided by Greg Faulkner; Copyright © 2024 Greg Faulkner, all rights reserved, used with kind permission.

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