Jokes: Methods of proof
June 1, 2009 3 Comments
How to prove it
- proof by example:
- The author gives only the case n = 2 and suggests that it contains most of the ideas of the general proof.
- proof by intimidation:
- proof by vigorous handwaving:
- Works well in a classroom or seminar setting.
- proof by cumbersome notation:
- Best done with access to at least four alphabets and special symbols.
- proof by exhaustion:
- An issue or two of a journal devoted to your proof is useful.
- proof by omission:
- “The reader may easily supply the details”
“The other 253 cases are analogous”
- proof by obfuscation:
- A long plotless sequence of true and/or meaningless syntactically related statements.
- proof by wishful citation:
- The author cites the negation, converse, or generalization of a theorem from the literature to support his claims.
- proof by funding:
- How could three different government agencies be wrong?
- proof by eminent authority:
- “I saw Karp in the elevator and he said it was probably NP-complete.”
- proof by personal communication:
- “Eight-dimensional colored cycle stripping is NP-complete [Karp, personal communication].”
- proof by reduction to the wrong problem:
- “To see that infinite-dimensional colored cycle stripping is decidable, we reduce it to the halting problem.”
- proof by reference to inaccessible literature:
- The author cites a simple corollary of a theorem to be found in a privately circulated memoir of the Slovenian Philological Society, 1883.
- proof by importance:
- A large body of useful consequences all follow from the proposition in question.
- proof by accumulated evidence:
- Long and diligent search has not revealed a counterexample.