Nov. 24, 2014 |
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Should kids learn about Math?
A bit sexist, but the parallels with Kansas and what certain presidential candidates say about science needs no additional comment from me. ;-)
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Math is not science. Mathematicians used to confuse me with their insistence on rigor. They seemed picky, obtuse, and quite stand-offish. As an engineer they were clearly conflicted by the existence of "application".
On one hand, application of math is in no way doing math. That is, mathematics is an endeavor that does not rely on any concrete examples, or applications in their process of proof. Physicists, engineers, or any applied mathematicians served only to dirty the elegance of a mathematical proof. On the other hand, mathematicians eat too. When a mathematics is applied and the mathematician's life is improved......it is hard to argue against application.
It is impossible to live in this world without dealing with math and numbers. You can't use money, tell time, dial a cell phone, or watch a football game without some familiarity with numbers, and therefore math.
I reject origins explanations based upon evolution (while not accepting creation either) and I am precluded from nothing except storytime on PBS. I accept math results because of the rigor of mathematical proofs, and since I am an engineer, because it works well in designing airplanes. Math is not the truth either. But to the extent that it works, I believe it. So far no airplane crashes have been attributed to a temporary suspension of the addition operator.
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