Mathematics is conditioning for the mind. Pythagoras’ Theorem is a proxy, one of many, for helping us to develop our reasoning skills. Its substance lies not in number crunching, but in asking why? until the most uncompromising standards of rigour are met. In an age where reason and truth are under attack, what better way to market mathematics than as the most creative system ever invented to help humans think critically?
It turns out that there are 1.3 million of these. Each sentence in the faked comments looks like it was generated by a computer program. A mail merge swapped in a synonym for each term to generate unique-sounding comments.¹⁰ It was like mad-libs, except for astroturf.