Re: MATH/COMP/PHIL: "Omega Man"

From: John Clark (
Date: Tue Apr 03 2001 - 09:19:42 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> Wrote:

>You could, of course, "cheat" by adding GC as an axiom without having
> any idea whether or not it was true, just as a Turing machine might get
> the halting problem for a GC machine correct by coincidence - but it's an
> odd use of the word "proof" to describe a result that contributes nothing
> whatsoever to your beliefs about the problem one way or the other.

It could also be quite dangerous. Mathematicians would undoubtedly build on top
of this "Goldbach Axiom" and come up with all sorts of interesting things, but suppose
one fine day a computer happened to run across an even number greater than 4 that
was not the sum of two odd primes. Then that soaring mathematical edifice everybody
was so proud of would turn out to be pure distilled gibberish. I can live with an incomplete
mathematical system but not a inconsistent one. And you're correct, it is chilling.

      John K Clark

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