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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: Zero divided by a number...

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg51760] Re: Zero divided by a number...
  • From: rwprogrammer at hotmail.com (Richard)
  • Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 02:52:39 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <dz50uwrnio0u@legacy>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

I think that you have been mislead about mathematics in general.
Mathematics has nothing to do with God or nature. Mathematics is
defined by man and has only the requirement that it be internally
consistent.
Zero is NOT nothing. It is a number. Mathematitians have made
definitions and rules regarding 0. Those rules define 0, not nature.

Mathematica handles 0 appropriately.  x/0 is undefined for any number
x. 

This is extremely simple to see if only you view division as the
opposite of multipication.

A/B = C  implies that C * B = A.

12/4 = 3 because 3*4 = 12.
0/7  = 0 because 0*7 = 0.
7/0 is undefined because x*0 does not equal 7 for any number x.
Therefore it has no answer (except undefined).

You were exactly wrong when you said, "logic goes out the window with
mathematics." It is just the opposite. Mathematics IS logic and vice
versa. What mathematics is NOT is "tricks with numbers" or anything to
do with God or nature.
Logic takes rules and definitions and builds upon them. Division by
zero is undefined, and when Mathematica tells you that something is
undefined, it is not just a glitch or a failure to understand
something. It is telling you that you have evaluated something that is
truely undefined. And that means undefined logically and
intentionally--not as an oversight.

-Richard


On 26 Oct 04 03:20:19 -0400 (EDT), Willex wrote:
>why is it logical to divide zero by a number, but it is not logical
to
>divide a number by zero? It seems to me like dividing nothing by a
>number should be undefined, and dividing a number by nothing should
be
>that number, lest it also be undefined because of the fact that the
>number is divided into zero parts, which is difficult to imagine.
Does
>the number cease to exist, or does it just mean that the number
doen't
>get divided at all?  Of course I could argue that Zero itself is not
>defined by nature. Zero is just a place holder representing nothing.
>Logic seems to go out the window when it comes to mathmatics. When
>something doesn't follow the "rules of the mathematics game" its
>thrown out, or just called "undefined".
>
>Mathematics is only just tricks with numbers. Its not a perfect
>system, and those who believe it to be god are only just fooling
>themselves.  Arg...*deep breath* ....sorry. I was abused by a math
>teacher, can you tell? *laughs*


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