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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Proofs
Next, let's assume the decision of whether to take the Axiom of Choice is made by a deterministic process ...
Title text: Next, let's assume the decision of whether to take the Axiom of Choice is made by a deterministic process ...

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a BOT - Please change this comment when editing this page.

The comic starts by setting up a situation that resembles a Proof by Contradiction. These often involve making an assumption that there exists some formula or figure that fulfills the requirements given and plucking that answer out of abstract mathematics, much like summoning of demons is associated with black magic. This is usually done by relying on knowledge of the constraints of the form (for example, having the square root of 2 be a/b where a and b are both integers and have no common factors when proving that the square root of 2 is irrational). This common usage is then shown to be not the case in the comic as the proof then goes to claim that the answer will be written in a specific place (though this could be taken as indicating that the result is finite or has a simple algorithm for continuing it).

Transcript

[Miss Lenhart is standing in front of a whiteboard facing left. Miss Lenhart is presumably writing on it. Some existing writing is shown as left aligned scribbles.]
Miss Lenhart: ...Let's assume there exists some function f(a, b, c...) which produces the correct answer-
Cueball interjects (off panel): Hang on.
[Cueball sitting at a desk]
Cueball: This is going to be one of those weird, dark magic proofs, isn't it? I can tell.
[Miss Lenhart turned facing right.]
Miss Lenhart: What? No, no, it's a perfectly sensible chain of reasoning.
Cueball (off panel): All right...
[Miss Lenhart facing the whiteboard again. More scribbles have been added to the first, third, and fourth set of scribbles.]
Miss Lenhart: Now, let's assume that the correct answer will eventually be written on the board at (x, y). if we-
Cueball interjects (off panel): I knew it!


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