Saturday, August 06, 2011

Those Creationists are Just so Darn Cute When They Try To Do Math, Part II

Here's your favorite ignoramus "reporter", Sneery O'Leary, trying to understand the mathematics of infinite sequences:

...Series terminate, according to their nature.

For example, the number 1 is the terminus of the natural numbers. It just is. There is no natural number below 1.* If you do not like that, you do not like reality.

Some series terminate because they depend on a higher or larger series at a certain point, one that governs them...

*0 is a placeholder, signifying: No number occupies this position.

Hopeless confusion in all measures here.

- confuses sequences with series
- doesn't understand that the "natural numbers" often (but not always) are considered to contain the integer 0 (it's just a convention, and not one that is universally followed)
- thinks that 0 is not a number
- confuses the sequence of natural numbers with decimal representation of numbers
- thinks sequences always terminate
- etc.

But remember - her blog is the reliable source for news, destined to replace the New York Times!


Joshua said...

Even by O'Leary standards this is an extreme example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

(Although minor note- I don't see where she has confused numbers with their decimal represenations).

Jeffrey Shallit said...


It's the "placeholder" business - that kind of word is only used when talking about the decimal representation of numbers, where 0 is sometimes called a "placeholder".

Joshua said...

Ah yes, I see. Didn't catch that.

dam said...

How bad , well this is meant for the three - four year old crowd

Anonymous said...

"0 is a placeholder, signifying: No number occupies this position."

Somebody forgot to tell that to Aryabhata. Or rather, somebody forgot to tell O' Leary about an (at least) 1500 year old mathematical discovery.