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 http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/nwasokwa.7.25.99.html Questions About Math http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/nwasokwa.7.31.99.html Properties and Postulates http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/nwasokwa.8.4.99.html Significance of Irrational Numbers http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/ukachukwu.8.23.99.html 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 http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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