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Comment: Re:Can't get there from here (Score 1) 709

by Pogue Mahone (#34696002) Attached to: Why Teach Programming With BASIC?

That's called reductio ad absurdum

No it isn't. Reductio ad absurdum is where you assume the opposite (of what you want to prove) to be true and then after a series of logically correct inferences arrive at a "true" statement that is inconsistent with your assumption or the axioms.

Disproving a conjecture by finding a counter-example isn't a proof of anything except the falsehood of the conjecture. I suppose you could set up the falsehood of the conjecture as a theorem, but it doesn't really tell you anything.

Maybe you should try reductio ad nauseam. That's where you make a series of logically correct inferences until you arrive at the conclusion that everyone in your audience has dozed off. Then you suddenly announce "QED!" in a loud voice and move on to the next topic.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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