# Opinion 28: Teaching Proofs to High-School Kids
and Non-Math-Majors is Child-Abuse

## By Doron Zeilberger

Written: Sept. 23, 1998

Post-Modern philosophers pointed out
that science, and even mathematics, are not as scientific
as they claim to be, but rather yet another set of
beliefs (superstitions(?)).

The Mathematical religion is especially fundamentalist
and orthodox. Mathematicians believe that proof is the only
road to `understanding', and force-feed their students
proofs that they memorize by rote. For the vast majority of the
students, they have no clue what it means, even though the
students can sometimes even reproduce minor variations
(say to prove that sqrt(3) is irrational).

We should learn from the physicists. Quantum Field Theory
and the Renormalization Group Method make much
more exciting mathematics then many a rigorous mathematical
theory. It is OK to teach statements of theorems, and teach
the students how to use it, without torturing them with
the proof.

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