Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Tiedemies2 comments on Trust in Math - Less Wrong

14 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 January 2008 04:25AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (50)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Tiedemies2 15 January 2008 05:32:01AM 3 points [-]

Benquo: Even infinitesimal are not equal to zero. You don't even need infinitesimals in differential calculus. Instead, you can think dx and dy are just variables. You let them approach zero to see what would happen at the limit, but you don't set them equal to zero. I have always personally found infinitesimals a little disturbing, since one doesn't really need them anywhere.

I am a little puzzled by this; I don't know how they teach this stuff in the US, but in Finland, if my memory serves me correctly, they taught how this "proof" is wrong in elementary school. So only complete idiots would be fooled by this "logic".

Comment author: beoShaffer 22 June 2011 10:12:23PM *  2 points [-]

I think it was a bit later than elementary school, but showing why this "proof" is invalid was a test question at some point in my American academic career