Alleee and Franc's

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Division by Zero

Much of this site concerns people who are obsessed. Usually their obsession concerns something of grandiose importance. Theories of everything, eternal life cures, the true religion, and just generally a belief about All that is Wrong in the Universe (tm).

Andrew has a different idea. He has decided to latch on something of almost zero significance whatsoever. Which is ironic, since it has to do with zero. His deeply-held belief is that division by zero is not an error, and should return zero.

You're blowing my mind, man !

Think Zero About It

Now, if I was going to make a crackpot theory about division by zero, I'd have it be infinity. Mathematically, that makes the most sense. The smaller the divisor, the bigger the result. Dividing 10 by 2 makes 5, 10 by 1 makes 10, 10 by 0.5 makes 20, 10 by 0.1 makes 100, and so on. But since the graph for division by zero is asymptotic both towards plus and minus infinity, you'd need to get into unsigned infinities, and even that is only applicable in certain situations. So while the answer "infinity" would be vaguely correct, it's much more complicated than that.

But Andrew went all out and declared that it was zero, because dividing by zero means you "stop dividing", just like adding zero, substracting zero, or multiplying by zero. Now, multiplying by zero does not "stop" multiplication, it just makes it zero, but never mind. His whole site consists of the argument that dividing a pie in zero parts leads to a result of zero, since no pie was divided.

Now, this is stunning in its stupidity. If you're going to use pies and other concrete materials as your guide, well, you can't divide anything in zero parts, and so division by zero should still be an error. Dividing zero by zero should be even worse, since there can't be zero of anything. Nevertheless, Andrew repeats "0/0=0" throughout.

Well, I'll let him tell you :

With division you state how much you want to divide by the divisor.

(Object) / (Divisor) = (Product Of Division)

What should you state when you wish not to divide? If you have a pie and wish it not divided, what is the mathematical statement you should form to order this command? What is the Divisor when you do not want to divide or something is not dividing?

Apparently most people on Planet Earth do not know. And so I would like to explain to you the very simple answer.


Pie / ZERO




There are no portions and therefore the weight of any divided portion is


The volume of divided pie does not exist.

The pie still exists. But that is NOT the question or concern of the division result as THE RESULT FROM DIVISION only answers to one question of


Division operation does not answer to what you had or have when you stop dividing.

There are no portions so the weight of the non-existing portions is zero ? Is that like contemplating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin ? If there are no portions then how can they have a weight ?

But never mind. He has no doubt that convincing the world of this is a herculean task. since everyone has been brainwashed by the evil academia :

How can you tell millions of people that they have been taught a mistake without getting them upset and hurting their ego. How do you correct a fine schooling institution that claims to have reached perfection thought the decades? Everybody seems to know everything these days. There is no way they could have been fooled. They know it all. Something like this could hurt their pride. So hardly anyone even wants to discuss the situation. They were told so and that's how it is. Such approach suggests that we are perfect but we are not. How can we expect to improve our system if we don't examine and fix our errors? This is really a matter of ethics. We have a crooked mathematics system. Should we fix it? Or do we keep it a secret for the so called worthy ones in those secret class rooms dedicated only to those who really need to learn the truth? Perhaps one could continue to teach based on the principle of what they do not know wont hurt them. After all people have been teaching all kinds of false concepts for many the ages. Does it really mater we should try and resolve this issue? I think we should for it will free many teachers from the burden of propagating this false concept. Division by zero error is the greatest injustice in science. It is a very serious problem.

Of course, he never points to any area of science that needs this wonderful discovery, nor explains why it was never corrected, or, for the matter, why no one has made a bid for worldwide fame by proving his discovery. Scientists just aren't human !

He likes to use dynamic diagrams to illustrate his discovery. Unfortunately, some of them don't work on Firefox (shame !). But his "High-Tech Calculator" does work - high-tech because it returns zero for all dviisions by zero. The problem with his diagrams is that they show how absurd his discovery is. For example, enter a number different than zero in his "Definitions" page and you see the natural progression of results... and then zero.

In his page "Zero", he seeks to enlighten us on the mystical nature of the zero. Apparently zero is not a number at all, but rather that it represents "doing nothing" and "having nothing" (this point repeated over and over), and that zero is a sign :

Zero is a number that has no volume. This is the only number shared by all number scales. While all numbers on different scales will have a different signature, zero will always be zero. Zero has no signature. There is no negative or positive zero. Zero is more of a universal sign that indicates you are at the end of your scale and there are no more values to be represented. Therefore every scale begins with zero or ends with zero if counting down. Zero is is the center point on all scales as they all meet at the only number that represents the beginning of the that scale.

This leads to some practical problems. If zero is not a number like the others, then wouldn't that require a complete overhaul of all programs that exist ? All integer variables must be reformed. This leads me to my conversation with Andrew.

Now you may wonder how I know his name is Andrew. After all, his name is nowhere on the site. Well, I know because I engaged him by email for a while. After I asked him a simple question about application, he wrote me a very long and boring introductory email which I will not reproduce here. Here are the other emails he sent me in the course of our conversation :

Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 15:18:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: Point Of No Division
Subject: Division by zero
To: Francois Tremblay

Francois Tremblay wrote:
So... how is division by zero checking any more costly than your system, which would basically demand to create entirely new types of variables and to redo every program there is ? This is the consequence of your demand that zero not be considered a number, remember ?

I never said zero is not a number. I said zero is a number that indicates there is no value, no volume, absence of other numbers. It is a number to be used for such indications. This does not hinder much of anything already we have. And so obviously you do not have much foresight into understanding it is only an improvement, not a change over. An amendment to the constitution with a few new rules. Everything pretty well else stands. The only change is that there are certain applications you and others can calculate when before you could not. But I bet you really do not care and like a commoner you don't feel the personal need for my applications. And so you can. Like I said before. It does not make a difference whether you are smart or not. You could live like an animal for all nature cares without math or linguistics or law or order. If you care for what is right tho then you got to work for it. And that is something many people just do not like. Working this out. It's too much for little people to do. To make a comprehensive revision to the situation is just so much work. Why would we want our employed mathematicians and professors to do something like that for? They must have much more important things to do. Like manipulating stock markets and counting stars, ma-by looking for black holes.

Anyhow you take it easy and don't worry about me. I cant go wrong when I'm not dividing. I will be doing zero action. And that means I will have nothing done. And so my result will always be zero.

Any result other then that would indicate action.

It's not very hard to comprehend. You just have to study it. Anyways if you like to give me an example I'll show you how it works. But you have to think of something up cause I'm going to do zero work to your example until you do.

See how I use zero. When there is no other number to represent volume of work. While all numbers represent volume this number does not. Like an indicator. I don't know what your perception of this number is but many people really think it has volume and that is a problem.



Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 15:08:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Point Of No Division
Subject: Re: Division by zero
To: Francois Tremblay

You're not comprehanding the objective. And that is to view it as a number without volume. Like an indicator because that is how it is used and lots of people do not understand that and think it has volume. That is why I write it like that. How you define it is irelevant to me. You can call it anything you like in any language ... HOW YOU USE IT is what the problem is. No one knows or has been taught how to use it in division. It's not a mater of definitions but more a mater of aplication. Anyhow you're not much of a math major so I'm gona let you go because you're waisting my time. Convincing you is pointless.

No Andrew, I'm not comprehending the objective. That much is true.

Now, you might think : if any number divided by zero is zero, then that would imply that zero times zero equals any number. But zero times zero is zero. So how can this be ? Andrew is, as usual, one step ahead of you, as demonstrated by his page "Reversion" :

So how do you handle this. Simply, you do not make an exception on reverse compatibility by flawing division by zero but making an exception to reversion stating its not backward compatible at point zero during multiplication or division. You can not figure out what you were going to divide or multiply if you nullify your formula at point zero. This is simple logic. You must calculate something real with a result to be able to calculate backwards.

Ah... so when division by zero doesn't make sense, that's a problem, but when reversion doesn't make sense, that's not a problem - just an error. Gee. Thanks for clearing that up.

There are many delightfully naive notions on this site, such as how fractions are magical and mysterious, how zero represents not dividing and not doing anything (then why do the division by zero ?), how life and death occur at zero, or how we should have two different symbols for division. All in all, a pleasant diversion from a lot of the doom, gloom, and self-importance of a lot of other crackpots on this site. But a big zero for mathematical achievement.

Sanity Rating :

-160 points (Just one weird and strong obsession, that's all - pretty harmless)

review written by Franc, 03/2006.

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