|I have MATHEMATICALLY PROVED that you are an idiot
||[Feb. 24th, 2005|03:13 am]
I love it when someone gratuitously uses 'mathematically proven' in an argument - like "it has been mathematically proven that carbs are bad for you". The idea seems to be that most people are so afraid of math that they wouldn't dare argue with something that's mathematical. And it seems to work. In fact, the most common response appears to be to stop thinking altogether.
Marketers, future foretellers, science publicists etc. are really good at this. Someone trying to sell you an exercise machine might come up with a nonsense equation like "weight loss = diet + exercise * fitness - stress" and plug some equally nonsensical values into it to convince you that after ten minutes on their weight loss machine, you can go gorge yourself with 20 cheesecakes. Who could possibly argue with that? I mean, numbers don't lie, right?
My high school Chemistry teacher said 'mathematically proven' all the time. She tried it on me once when I asked her a particularly difficult question after class. She got as far as "ma-" when she realized I was the IMO
guy and that it would backfire. So she changed it to "empirically observed". I think she knew I had caught on, but with a Herculean effort I managed to keep a straight face :)