Crackpot Mathematical Proofs

As requested in this Pit thread, here are a few crackpot math proofs I’ve run across over the years.

To clarify, the people responsible for these websites (and/or their friends and family) have solicited a group I am associated with to comment on these. But as crackpots, they have little interest in honest critique, preferring their “discoveries” be lauded for their brilliance.

It is, by no means, a complete listing, but it does represent some of the more memorable stuff.

A simple proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Yet another simple proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Claim that odd perfect numbers don’t exist (actually, they might not, but this “proof” doesn’t show anything of the sort).
Proof of the twin prime conjecture.

Note that the results may be valid. Certainly, Fermat’s Last Theorem has been proven. But the “proofs” given by the cranks are definitely flawed.

Crackpot? Really? That’s the only way you can get around the obvious insights within–rather than spend the time trying to learn you just call them names. I suggest you put in the effort to get a full, real grounding in math and physics before you go calling cheap shots. Here’s a good place to start.Spend some time trying to understand that and those so-called ‘crackpots’ will seem completely lucid.

O.M.G. :eek:

I knew the Time Cube would be here somewhere, but I thought it would be in the OP.

I had a number theory professor as an undergrad who would routinely get sent crackpot proofs of Fermat’s Last Theorem. My favorite: “In x[SUP]n[/SUP] + y[SUP]n[/SUP] = z[SUP]n[/SUP], there are two things on the left and one on the right, so the left side is always bigger.”

Timecube. Yeah, I love that guy.

My personal favorite is the odd perfect number guy. He’s been trying to convince people for the better part of a decade now with little success. I went line by line with him for a few weeks trying to get him to understand where his math was going wrong. I think it’s clear how much good that did. He even made a borderline racist statement about me on one forum or another (got my race wrong, to boot).

There were a few others I’m trying to find in my mail archives. There have been so many. Twin primes, Goldbach conjecture, Riemann hypothesis. Tons of Fermat’s Last Theorem guys. Most aren’t really that interesting. The linked ones were among the most amusing. The most gratifying are the few sane ones who simply made an error they hadn’t caught yet.

I couldn’t imagine doing this if I were a professor. They must get hundreds of these. It’s only amusing for me because I don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis.

Sorry. I was only linking to people who I’ve directly interacted with. I haven’t had the distinction of talking math with Gene Ray yet.

I went so many rounds with this elderly man on the Norwegian skeptics board who’d worked for years trying to rid math of infinities. He wanted to replace ZFC and had written up what he considered a good replacement without using rigorous math. He had the odd equation and wrote of numbers, but figured the nitty gritty mathification could be done by someone inspired by his insight.

Took us forever to get him to admit that his most glaringly stupid idea, well the most glaringly stupid bit we could understand, the concept of a largest possible integer was wrong. But unfortunately that didn’t inspire him to accept he might not be qualified to have mathematical insights altogether.

And of course part of his argument was “disproving” Cantor’s diagonal argument …