Archive for July, 2011

Proof? What do you mean, proof?

July 30, 2011

One thing which always strikes me is the complete misuse of the word proof in daily life by many people. Surely that should be something which any math curriculum should tend to correct at an early age.

For example consider this sentence: “This suggests a far bigger shock than Lehman if this truth is proven false.”  A mathematician would utter: but how could a truth be proven wrong?

And yet, this sentence has been written in large audience paper (Wall Street Journal opinion column) by the man who, according to wikipedia, was “in charge of creating and implementing the United States government’s $700 billion financial stabilization program” in recent years (i.e. somebody one would expect to have a good command of rational thinking!).