Date: Nov 11, 2012 8:35 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: How teaching factors rather than multiplicand & multiplier<br> confuses kids!

On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 5:19 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:
> On Nov 11, 2012, at 8:01 PM, kirby urner <> wrote:
> Actually my thinking is quite self-consistent and disciplined
> according to David Feinstein, Applied Mathematician. He likes that
> about me.
> Religions are consistent. Crazy people are consistent. Consistency is not a
> sufficient criteria for formal reasoning. By chance, did this Feinstein
> fellow say something like "Well, at least you are consistent."?

Anyway, consistency isn't always a great virtue, if it prevents
"changing channels" i.e. hopping from one namespace to another wherein
key terms may appear superficially the same but mean something quite

Religions are not necessarily self-consistent in my view.

Christianity is full of contradictions, as is the Bible.

Pro-slavery and anti-slavery rhetoricians / theologians /
pulpit-pastors both resorted to the Bible to bolster their respective
cases, cherry picking choice quotes.

I have no idea why you would take the position that religions are
consistent. Seems like sloppy thinking to me.

> I teach logical thinking for a living one could say. To hundreds.
> Formal reasoning is different than formal logic, if that is what you are
> saying.

More I teach problem solving. Little puzzles. Takes skills and
abilities very like what we encourage in math class to solve them.

There's quite a bit of boolean algebra involved, also string manipulation.

One of the problems is to implement exponentiation based on
multiplication as a "composing" of two functions e.g.

If f(g(x)) is what (f * g)(x) means, then write code to implement (f
** n)(x). That's one of the exercises.

If all you learned in school were numeric operations and no string
manipulation, then you might not have that "head start".

Remedial regexps if you wanna to yer Bible camp. How else are you
gonna count how many thees and thous.

> I think my rhetoric is really top notch, one of the fastest horses on
> the track (some days).
> How would you rate the rhetoric of some of the best con men? I'll stick with
> formal reasoning.

I'm honored if you rank me with among the best con men. That would
include stage magicians and other illusionists.

When you're willingly conned (suspended disbelief) it's entertainment,
and is even possibly ethical.

It's a con when you're setting something up, an illusion, with the
intent to trick, topple or counter a foe -- a concept in business
intelligence. "A con for con" is how some people (and companies)

I have yet to consider you much of a formal reasoner though. I've
been consistent in my assessment ("sloppy"), e.g.:

But that's OK. I think you've joined a forum with many logical
thinkers and some of it will rub off (has already rubbed off). You're
a little smarter now, it seems to me, than when you first appeared.
math-teach is a healthy playground for people from many walks of life.


> Bob Hansen