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110 votes

What would happen if suddenly, 1+1=2 is disproved?

Is the world in chaos now? Because one plus one is not equal to two, at least not all the time. Take one liter of water and one liter of sand. Add them together. What do you get? Wet sand, but ...
R.M.'s user avatar
  • 1,290
103 votes

What would happen if suddenly, 1+1=2 is disproved?

As any mathematician will tell you, 1 + 1 = 2 follows trivially from definitions, and is not a theorem. Your question makes no sense. It is as though you declared: I define 1 fluid zounce to be ...
Sputnik's user avatar
  • 1,155
64 votes

Is infinity a number?

Infinity is not a real number. All real numbers x have the property x + 1 > x. Infinity does not share this property. Infinity is an element in the system of extended real numbers. However, this ...
Just Some Old Man's user avatar
56 votes

Falsification in Math vs Science

In math, we define stuff like numbers and operators, then we go on to prove other stuff from those premises. When you ask: "Is 1 + 1 = 0?", a mathematician will just ask back: "With what definition ...
cmaster - reinstate monica's user avatar
51 votes

If math is so deductive, why is it so hard to discover new math?

If the rules of chess are so simple, why is it so hard to beat a grandmaster? The answer is the 'combinatorial explosion'. You have a small and well-defined set of moves you can make at each step. Let'...
Nullius in Verba's user avatar
43 votes

Isn't the notion that everything will occur in an infinite timeline an example of the gambler's fallacy?

It looks like you've hit upon the concept of almost surely in probability theory. Something occurs "almost surely" if it happens with probability 1, but there still exist situations where that thing ...
Nuclear Hoagie's user avatar
43 votes

Is mathematics politically and culturally neutral?

TL/DR: Yes and no. Who writes papers and what they choose to research are products of culture, and in the US, our culture has a long history of racism. The actual theorems in the papers themselves are ...
philosodad's user avatar
  • 3,319
39 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Yes, the monkeys will do it. No, they don't have to. It's mathematically true that after removing all logistical constraints - which is what we mean when we say there are infinitely many monkeys, ...
Zayn's user avatar
  • 640
36 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

Reality existed. Math was invented, partly to describe and predict reality, a useful tool. Calculus specifically is an example... Isaac Newton (1642–1727) is best known for having invented the ...
Alistair Riddoch's user avatar
35 votes

Is mathematics truth? As in the sense of that which is manifest or possible in reality?

Ill formed question. Mathematics (specifically, logics) define what truth is. You are trying to test the validity of the tool with the tool itself. The answer would be a plain "yes". Otherwise (if you ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
  • 7,727
35 votes

Is infinity a number?

It depends entirely on what you mean by "number." You might be surprised to learn that there is no standard definition of the word "number" in mathematics! Instead, there are many, ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,290
32 votes

Is there a paradox in the proof of Godel's incompleteness theorem?

Gödel was right. O'Connor 2005 meets every known objection: it is constructive and finite, indeed it runs on commodity hardware in reasonable time; it includes Rosser's trick, it is not relative to ...
Corbin's user avatar
  • 1,588
30 votes

Why can't numbers be 'used up'?

Does a song get 'used up' when we sing it? Does a story get 'used up' when we read it? Does a path get 'used up' when we walk it? Forgive the computer science analogy here, but all of these things — ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
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29 votes

If there were only one single mathematician in the world, would they be able to produce a mathematical proof?

Yes. Some will say that a proof is defined simply in purely technical and syntactical terms: a set of statements that conforms to a certain set of syntactical transformation rules. As such, you could ...
Bram28's user avatar
  • 2,719
28 votes

Why do universities not teach constructive mathematics to CS undergraduates?

Let me offer a few thoughts, specific to mathematical pedagogy in computer science (in particular for the states): (a): a typical BS computer science program barely has time to touch on computational ...
emesupap's user avatar
  • 2,452
27 votes

Is mathematics politically and culturally neutral?

From its inception, mathematics was intended to be independent of cultural contexts in the real world. For example, you could use the same rules of algebra and the same numerals to count your family ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
27 votes

Does Math use the scientific method?

I'm going to go against common opinion here and say that, while mathematical truths may be considered distinct from scientific truths (and I'm not disagreeing with that), the process of discovering ...
TKoL's user avatar
  • 3,692
25 votes

How is 0 defined?

According to Peano's axioms zero is the number which is not the successor of a number. For each natural m, addition by n is defined by induction on n: m+0 := m, m+(n') := (m+n)' here the symbol ' ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 34.5k
25 votes

How can we overcome the challenge of the anti statistical philosopher?

We will suppose for the sake of argument that there do exist an infinite number of parallel universes. The question then becomes "Which universe are we in?". We observed these events, so we ...
Ray's user avatar
  • 1,352
24 votes

Why is 2 considered a prime number?

Why is 2 considered a prime number? This is really a question of terminology. The current notion of an integer that is unrepresentable by a product of other integers is given the name "prime number," ...
Challenger5's user avatar
  • 1,157
24 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

The biggest issue seems to be that Craig implies that mathematics is entirely disconnected from the physical world. But maths emerged from our understanding of physical world. We saw that when you put ...
NotThatGuy's user avatar
  • 10.9k
23 votes

How is 0 defined?

In broader mathematics, the defining property of 0 is that it's the additive identity — that is, adding zero to another number doesn't change that number. This isn't inherent in the Peano axioms. The ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 582
22 votes

Why is the complex number an integral part of physical reality?

The short answer: Your premise is not correct. Quantum Mechanics is not necessarily complex-valued. Here is a primer from Physics.SE if you are solid on the math. An explanation that is light on math:...
Geoffrey's user avatar
  • 766
22 votes

What would happen if suddenly, 1+1=2 is disproved?

most fundamental equation Your assumption is flawed. 1 + 1 = 2 is not an axiom of mathematics, but (as Sputnik points out) a consequence of the Peano axioms applied to base 10 representations of ...
IvanSanchez's user avatar
22 votes

Is mathematics truth? As in the sense of that which is manifest or possible in reality?

I think it is a mistake to assume that there exists something like a context-independent notion of truth. Let me explain what I mean with the context dependence of truth. Consider the following ...
celtschk's user avatar
  • 1,569
22 votes

What is the idea behind "p or not p" being a tautology?

"P or not P" is a tautology of classical logic, but not of all logics. It is not a tautology of intuitionistic logic, for example. So, one approach would be to say that classical logic does ...
Bumble's user avatar
  • 27.1k
22 votes

Is there a paradox in the proof of Godel's incompleteness theorem?

You do not understand the incompleteness theorem. It does not require "coding", and it does not depend on "actual infinity", and it does not "hide" any paradox. You ...
user21820's user avatar
  • 836

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