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The Importance of Math

Date: 08/23/2000 at 01:19:55
From: Faith Mertes
Subject: What is math?

What is math, and why is it a core subject?

Date: 08/23/2000 at 12:38:03
From: Doctor Ian
Subject: Re: What is math?

Hi Faith, 

Here are some discussions (taken from the Dr. Math archives) that I've 
had on this subject with another student:

   Understanding Mathematics   

   Questions About Math   

   Properties and Postulates   

   Significance of Irrational Numbers   

Each one contains at least one section that addresses the question, 
"What is math?" If they raise more questions in your mind, I'd love it 
if you'd write back and let me know what they are.

As for the question, "Why is math a core subject?" I personally feel 
that the best reason for requiring people to learn math is to make it 
more difficult for people to lie to each other. For example, if you 
don't understand anything about probability and statistics, then it's 
easy for politicians and corporations to make you believe things that 
aren't true, in order to get you to do what they want you to do. And 
if you aren't fluent in arithmetic and algebra, you can't possibly 
understand probability and statistics.

If you don't understand how functions and graphs work, and if you 
aren't aware of the relationships between perimeter and area, and 
between area and volume, then the editors of USA Today can put 
together graphics that will lead you to believe one thing, when in 
fact the exact opposite of that thing is nearer the truth.

The simplest answer I can give you is this: If you don't understand 
math, then the people who do understand it will be able to jerk you 
around like a trout.

I hope this helps. Be sure to write back if you have more questions, 
about this or anything else.

- Doctor Ian, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
High School About Math
Middle School About Math

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