In a neural network, a bias is a constant term that is added to the weighted input in a neuron/unit: output = activation_function( input1*weight1 + ... + inputn*weightn + bias)
I can see that the bias in a sigmoid activation function adds the ability to control the threshold of the activation. But when I started learning about neural nets we didn't use any bias, just the weighted inputs. I've also been told that sigmoid in particular can do without a bias, but this is not intuitively true for me at all.
So is it true that biases are redundant in sigmoid neural nets? How can neural nets learn to approximate any continuous function if they do not have a bias input?