There are glitches in the field of mathematics. Impossibilities like proofs where 0 equals 1. Paradoxical geometric shapes that have infinite surface area, but finite volume. Simple equations with no concrete answer so mathematicians pick an answer based on context.

*By Jessica Mozzini.*

**Zero Equals One**

Take the first example: a proof that 0=1. These are easy to do. The result is paradoxical, yes, but every step taken to complete the proof is entirely legitimate within the constraints of just the raw mathematical logic.

Say I were to break apart the proof line by line, and after each and every step I took my work to a professor of mathematics to review it. Looking at the logic I had written, he or she could confirm the algebraic steps were logically sound.

Only until the final result of 0=1, after all the logic was done and confirmed as valid, would such an expert raise an eyebrow - that they must have missed something, or something is awry - but **there is no catch here.** It’s just one of many flukes in mathematics that paradoxes like 0=1 can exist on paper. It means nothing in reality and is below trivial in the broad scheme of the field.

**The Foundations are Faulty!**

I sometimes wonder to myself: if I were a conspiracy theorist, could I not argue against the entirety of mathematics due to this? Could I not… write entire books about how the foundations of the “purest” and “most rigorous” science are completely built upon faulty ground? Could I not stand on a stage and proclaim the “scholars” of math are idiots for continuing to create deeper abstractions in a field that falls apart upon basic analysis?

**Could I not convince numerous people to dismiss this entire field of science - or even science itself - due to such a simple paradox?** Of course it’s possible - and already has been done, for example, with flat earth.

And every time other mathematicians try to explain the situation, I could simply point to my proof and ask them what is incorrect about the logic I wrote - which they would have no choice to agree that each step is airtight within the logical rules of their very own field.

I could show them my degrees and my grades in linear algebra and other rigorous coursework. I could market myself as a “whistleblower for the people” who sees the “lies” told to the general public about the underpinnings of this ridiculous field of mathematics.

Any paper that presents a new proof, or uses the results of one, I could question “how do we know for sure that the logic at each and every step is actually correct, if so-called legitimate logic can create paradoxical results?”. **(This scenario encompasses all of science, by the way, because math underpins all disciplines).** With all the abstract concepts that mathematics thrives on, casting doubt on proofs of higher complexity would be an easy route to dismiss the latest discoveries.

Bye bye, linear algebra, data science, topology - nothing but ridiculous structures built in a deeply flawed sandbox, with flawed tools, by engineers who ignore these flaws and keep on building.

Mathematicians willing to engage in such an absurd argument might dig deep for algebraic derivations all the way back to ancient Greece or even Babylonia, and maybe try to explain how algebra fits into the vast array of mathematics tools, while I could simply dismiss the logical rules in place as faulty to the core due to my 0=1 proof, casting doubt on it all.

Even if the argument began to crumble on my end, I could simply shift the goalposts and bloviate through a slew of time-wasting semantic interrogation and low-key “concern trolling” about how the sheer depth and complexity of the field may contain dozens, if not hundreds of unchecked flaws exactly like my proof. After all, I know the field too, and I could pit it against itself in a way that makes me sound smart - but only to those who do not know the nuances of the field.

**All the better, if I get kicked out of the room**, or lose my job, or get denied interviews or debates with these scholars due to my books or status of working to “awaken the people” about the “truth” of math, as I could just use this as indirect proof that the experts know I am right but are unable to say it, that they are unable to answer my questions due to their own stupidity, or that they are unable to accept the reality of their preposterous field.

**Deception is Lucrative**

**It is easy and lucrative to deceive the masses by spinning grey truths into definitively black and white. It is a choice to be responsible to not do so. Knowledge is power, and with power comes responsibility.**

In my example I’m taking a very nuanced, grey concept that has long required human checks and balances - the application of mathematical tooling - and making it into a black and white structure that must be perfect in order for it to be trusted to solve anything at all. It’s ridiculous, but surely I could gain disciples by speaking confidently and more importantly, hiding this real context.

This example is of course hypothetical, but it is precisely what modern grifters do to cast doubt on their pick of concepts and amass followers who trust their confidence. They ellicit emotional responses by peddling purposefully over-reductionist points of view that show a “simple debunk” of something. These figures are keen to harness peoples' feelings of inadequacy and self-awareness of ignorance and **pit the rules of the subject against itself in a circus of mischaracterized and unfalsifiable claims.** Dunning-Kruger or not, conspiracy theorists can be smart.

Black and white thinking is easy. With the right background in a subject, creating a certain deceptive level of black and white out of the grey truth is not difficult. This “certain level” of **disingenuous black and white** contains lies by omission of nuances/complexity (or a myriad of other strategies like over-emphasization of selected concepts), but appears intelligent to those who do not know the nuances or deeper context.

**Truth is Complex**

The process of understanding the nuances of something is the process of learning the truth. As the saying goes: “the more you learn, the less you know”. More learning means more known complexity, which means less black and white truths and more grey areas. Being confident while being aware of how grey the truth is, is difficult.

The inverse is also true. Being confident while being unaware of how grey the truth is, is easy. Things are so black and white that it appears that they cannot be seen in any other way.

Having the knowledge to understand the complexity of a subject, and then creating black and white out of the grey to convince others to see it in a certain biased way, is a powerful deception method. But doing the work to understand the nuances takes a lot of time and reading, so it’s easy to want a concrete opinion to latch onto.

**It’s almost that there is no choice online to be over-reductionist and have an audience, or articulate complex truth to an empty room.** What gets amplified on social media are confident hot takes, not nuanced analyses. Anybody who actually is motivated to learn the truth about something finds books to read the details themselves.

Beware!