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Topic: FLT Discussion: Simplifying
Replies: 65   Last Post: Mar 17, 2001 11:59 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu Posts: 229 Registered: 12/8/04
Re: FLT Discussion: Simplifying
Posted: Jan 16, 2001 8:57 PM

In article <942k1a\$i6f\$1@nnrp1.deja.com>,
jstevh@my-deja.com wrote:
> In article <G78GGv.7ID@cwi.nl>,
> "Dik T. Winter" <Dik.Winter@cwi.nl> wrote:

> > In article <9400ps\$b5g\$1@nnrp1.deja.com> jstevh@my-deja.com writes:
> > > Given x^2 + y^2 = 0, x and y nonzero integers, show that no
> solution
> > > exists.
> > >
> > > Proof by contradiction:
> > >
> > > (x+sqrt(-1)y)(x-sqrt(-1)y) = x^2 + y^2 = 0, so
> > >
> > > x = sqrt(-1)y *or* x = -sqrt(-1)y.

> >
> > James, you have to *prove* that last step

>
> As you can see, some people will force you to outline simple steps
> that others would find unnecessary.

The others would not force you to outline the steps because they
can see how it can be done. Some people who cannot follow the
justification of a statement within a proof can ask you to outline
the steps for that statement's justification. When you are asked
by such people, then you should provide the missing steps. If the
steps are simple, then you should not have any problem.

This is similar to statements in your FLT proof. Some people who
cannot follow the justification of a statement within your FLT
proof have asked you to outline the steps to justify it. You have
brushed aside their request as you are doing above for the proof
of x^2+y^2=0 having no integer solutions. But the missing steps
can be filled in for justifying the statements in the proof of
the latter. Since they can be filled in, we are asking you to
do the same for the missing steps (or gaps) in your FLT proof.

> That bit of arbitrariness is used by some people to claim that
> a proof isn't.

It is not arbitrariness. A person can request the missing steps
in any proof, especially if he or she does not see what they are.

We do come to a problem when we are down to first principles.
For example, I might be asked to justify the following step
(I will assume that I am working in the field of complex numbers,
which you have refused to do for some reason):

Claim: (x+sqrt(-1)y)(x-sqrt(-1)y) = x^2 + y^2

I could reply that I am using the distributive law of
multilication to get:

(x+sqrt(-1)y)(x-sqrt(-1)y) = (x+sqrt(-1)y)*x +
(x+sqrt(-1)y)*(-sqrt(-1)y)

You might now ask me to justify this step as being an application
of the distributive law of multiplication in the field of complex
numbers (not objecting to the distributive law itself). Now we
are getting into first principles (substitution of expressions
for universal variables). Thus, the discussion of the proof
can bog down at this point, with no progress to be made.

However, the missing steps that you are being asked to supply
do not even remotely fall in the realm of first principles.

--
Bill Hale

Sent via Deja.com
http://www.deja.com/

Date Subject Author
1/15/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/15/01 Dik T. Winter
1/16/01 Charles H. Giffen
1/16/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/16/01 Randy Poe
1/18/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/18/01 Michael Hochster
1/18/01 Peter Johnston
1/18/01 Randy Poe
1/18/01 Doug Norris
1/16/01 Doug Norris
1/16/01 Randy Poe
1/16/01 Dik T. Winter
1/18/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/19/01 Dik T. Winter
1/19/01 Randy Poe
1/20/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/20/01 oooF
1/21/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/21/01 Peter Percival
1/21/01 Randy Poe
1/26/01 Franz Fritsche
1/19/01 gus gassmann
1/20/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/20/01 Doug Norris
1/26/01 Franz Fritsche
1/16/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/16/01 Randy Poe
1/17/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/18/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/19/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/20/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/21/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/18/01 Peter Percival
1/19/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
3/17/01 Ross A. Finlayson
1/16/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/18/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/19/01 hale@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
1/29/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/19/01 Dik T. Winter
1/21/01 Dennis Eriksson
1/15/01 Michael Hochster
1/16/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/16/01 Michael Hochster
1/18/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/18/01 Peter Percival
1/18/01 Randy Poe
1/19/01 oooF
1/21/01 Dik T. Winter
1/21/01 oooF
1/18/01 Edward Carter
1/19/01 W. Dale Hall
1/19/01 Michael Hochster
1/16/01 Randy Poe
1/16/01 Randy Poe
1/17/01 W. Dale Hall
1/17/01 W. Dale Hall
1/19/01 oooF
1/16/01 Charles H. Giffen
1/16/01 David Bernier
1/16/01 jstevh@my-deja.com
1/18/01 Arthur
1/30/01 plofap@my-deja.com
1/30/01 plofap@my-deja.com
1/30/01 plofap@my-deja.com