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Cromwell’s Rule

November 2, 2010

You know how sometimes there are times when you’re talking to someone, and they say something so painfully inaccurate that you can’t even respond?

Well, now you’ll always have one at your fingertips – here’s possibly the best response ever, courtesy of one of my statistics lecturers, who included this quote in our lecture notes:


“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken!”


It’s known as Cromwell’s Rule. If mathematicians were sensible, this would be because Cromwell had said it. However, another rule I’ve learned in my time studying maths is that if any rule, theorem, conjecture or statement is named after somebody, you can be almost certain it has nothing whatsoever to do with that person. So anybody could have said it originally. But it still makes me chuckle.

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