An important new addition to the stuffy ol’ methods of proof and number — faith-based mathematics, as inspired by the heroic efforts of theologians all over the ages!

- Proof by faith: We have no proof. That is the proof. If you question our proof, you’re an insensitive prick.
- Proof by a test of faith: There’s a counterexample. We will hope it goes away.
- Proof by a miracle: A three-line proof; the second line is “Then a miracle happens.”
- Proof by prayer: Whine upwards until the problem goes away. (Works for grad students. Professors, eh, not so much.)
- Proof by devil: “What? You have a counterexample? The devil must have tricked you. Out, devil! Out!”
- Proof by a sign from God: “I saw three gaunt letters of smoke in my dream, yea, and the letters were ‘Q’ and ‘E’ and ‘D’… And this is what they mean: It is
*proven!*“ - Proof by a vision: “Can you see it? The proof! It’s coming in through the walls!”
- Proof by peer pressure: “Of course you know all functions are continuous. You wouldn’t want to be
*sad and alone*, right?” - Proof by odium: “Hitler didn’t believe all functions are continuous. What, you want to agree with Hitler?”
- Proof by the life of Jesus: “Jesus was a nice guy. Everyone likes Jesus. I think this verse means Jesus said all functions are continuous.”
- Proof by witnessing: “I have seen the proof!” “Me too, brother!” “Praise the proof!”
- Proof by separate magisteria: The proof exists in a
*different world*. Since you can’t go and see it, you must believe me when I say it is as I say. - Proof by morality: “Discontinuous functions would be evil, ugly, troublesome and unspeakably horrid. If there was a discontinuous function, I’d probably go insane and rape your granny or something. Is that what you want me to do? Huh?”
- Proof by an appeal to optimism: “It would be terrible if this function wasn’t continuous. Therefore it is.”
- Proof by Hell: “If you don’t believe all functions are continuous, you could become a grad student of Professor Mumblescream. Do you want that?”
- Proof by teleology: “Things would get pretty damn unspeakably complicated if all functions weren’t continuous. Since considering such a bummer would be grant-destroyingly hopeless, all functions are continuous.”
- Proof by ontology: “Mathematics is idealism. Can you conceive of anything more ideal than all functions being continuous?”
- Proof by an anthropic argument: “I say this function is continuous. Am I not wonderful? Hence the function is continuous.”
- Proof by a transcendental argument: “This exercise would be meaningless if the function wasn’t continuous. Hence Q.E.D.”
- Proof by a transcendental argument (alternative): “Let us assume a discontinuous function.
*The whole structure of mathematics crumbles to the ground!*“ - Proof by lack of imagination: “What do you mean, discontinuous function? The professor never said nothing about discontinuous functions…”
- Proof by theology: “No, seriously! No-one believes all functions are continuous anymore! It’s just that this function is continuous because we need it to be…”

November 29, 2008 at 9:36

Oh man…I can’t tell you how hard I laughed. That was great.

November 29, 2008 at 10:04

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