Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 09:22:00 -0500 (EST) From: Salem HS Subject: 1 = 0? Don't know if this qualifies as a 'really good question,' but a group of students in an eighth grade math class here want to know how to prove that one actually equals zero. Is it something like using the quadratic formula? Thanks, Cheri Harrison for Marcus Ellison Salem Junior High School e-mail: email@example.com Library Media Specialists Lithonia, GA 30038
From: Dr. Ethan Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 10:47:50 -0500 (EST) Well the first thing to say is that this cannot be done. You cannot use CORRECT mathematics to prove something that is untrue. Secondly, yes I have constructed a proof. My challenge to you is to find the obvious. (I have seen more sophisticated proofs where the flaw is harder to find, but each one essentially has the same flaw that mine has) Given a = b then this implies a - b + b = b Now divide both sides by (a-b) and we have a - b + b = b _________ _____ (a-b) (a-b) Then reduce the left side to be 1 + b = b _____ _____ (a-b) (a-b) Then subtract b/(a-b) from both sides and you have 1=0 Wow, pretty neat huh. Remember. This is a flawed proof and no correct proof exists. Untrue things cannot be proved through correct mathematics. Ethan Doctor On Call
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