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Topic: A statement on what is wrong with standard calculus
Replies: 15   Last Post: Sep 21, 2004 11:26 AM

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Matthias Kawski

Posts: 165
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: A statement on what is wrong with standard calculus
Posted: Feb 22, 1996 7:26 PM
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Neil:

Sorry, for being so cruel -- but I have the very strong feeling that
it really doesn't much matter for a "nation to thrive in a competitive
world out there" how many of its citizens are any good at algebra.
I doubt that we mathematicians would feel any better if we found out
the truth!
As a matter of fact, laziness, the desire to have convenient tools
around is a major driving force for innovation. Rather than changing
the people (a la socialist re-education camps), we change the envi-
ronment in such a way that even without any technical expertise the
average citizen can use very sophisticated machinery, from cars to
Macinstoshes. If the American citizenry had been too well educated
we might have never seen the Macintosh and instead still use the
DOS-prompt, take square-roots by hand, and enjoy wasting our days
with long integrations by parts ....

Aside, I too deplore that I can share my fun with algebra etc. with
only so few people -- but maybe there are indeed more important things
around! Let's stick together and save what we reasonably can save.

Matthias
----- Begin Included Message -----
From: nstahl@uwcmail.uwc.edu
Date: Thu Feb 22 13:05:10 CST 1996
To: calc-reform@e-math.ams.org

I'm sorry, but I find the response below too glib. Yes, no doubt some
people did pass calculus with poor algebra skills before reform
calculus, but many of us tried to
*
* omitted material
*
....... We don't know that a nation with
almost no citizens who know algebra well can thrive in the competitive
world out there. For instance, we don't know that someone who doesn't
know much algebra can learn much science.

----- End Included Message -----



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Matthias Kawski http://math.la.asu.edu/~kawski/kawski.html
Dept. of Mathematics kawski@math.la.asu.edu
Arizona State University FAX: (602) 965 3376
Tempe, Arizona 85287-1804 office: (602) 965 3376
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