Hello and welcome to another week of friendly fibs and familial falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the most venerated Vitor, who asked:

Is 0 a natural number?

In order to answer this question, we must first explain for the less mathematically-inclined of our readers what exactly is meant by “natural number.”

A natural number refers to any number that is naturally occurring in nature, which could be found through simple investigation. For example, 1 is a natural number, because there is one planet earth, and this fact is observable. Conversely, 7 is not a natural number, but rather an unnatural number, because there are seven days in the week, but the calendar is a social construct, and the seven days are not naturally observable without the aid of man-made inventions. There is no reason for the number 7 to exist in nature.

The status of the number 0 as a natural or unnatural number is one that has plagued scientists for generations. On the one hand, there is nothing occurring in nature that we can *observe* there to be 0 of; but on this other hand, this very absence of proof seems to be a proof of a naturally-occurring 0 – there are *zero* observable proofs of 0 being natural, and this is observable in nature!

However, this meta-proof is quickly proven to be absurd on the face of it, as the concept of proofs are as socially-constructed as the calendar. This would seem to place 0 back in the camp of the unnatural numbers, along with 7 and 316.

Not so. Everything that can be counted in nature corresponds to a natural number. But it is also self-evident that there are a great many things which *could* exist at any given moment, but currently do not. And all of these things can be counted up to amount to zero in the observable, natural universe. Thus, 0 is, indeed, as natural as any number that can be seen with the naked eye.

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Disclaimer: this blog contains factual inaccuracies, and should not be used as a “cheat sheet” or reference during tests on mathematics.