Days of Change

Math is Hard (and Worth It)

August 13, 2014

A story┬áreferences an interview where the president of Clear Channel Networks determined that the majority of online demands for boycotts of Rush Limbaugh originate from just 10 activists. All of them knew they were either creating puppet social media accounts or coordinating them. The fact that they were a minority was meaningless. Their equation was that the anger of one outweighed the support of one million. The strategy was dishonest from the start, cost a lot of people money and only increased Limbaugh’s profile.

It doesn’t surprise me that openly propagandist site posed the question of why the US needs to be good at math. Apparently, our standing in the world’s economy has not been diminished by our low test scores. To use a field they are more familiar with, there is an axiom that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Just because we are better doesn’t mean we are good.

I have a special relationship with math. I never got past the whole ideas of theorems and proofs and complicated formulas that replaced actual numbers with Greek symbols. Still, I always excelled at all the basic types of math, can do calculations faster than a person with a calculator and regularly memorize hundreds of numbers at work ranging from a few to almost 10 digits. math is a language all its own and thinking about things mathematically is an interesting way to view the world.

This is why math is the enemy of the left. Literature, philosophy, psychology and art are all about interpretation. There is another level of reasoning involved, but it can have the drawback of being too broad. These things can be argued in different ways. Math is more uniform. Its rules are consistent. Math is the language of science. Theories are interpretation, but math is where they are tested.

When the left uses interpretation to explain science and human nature, they are teaching to the test. They have a desired outcome and they need to reason a bridge that joins that outcome to reality. That bridge is soft and flexible. It is also unstable compared to cold, hard data, If people don’t use math, they lose the critical thinking and reasoning that comes with it. When you can’t counter an argument with logic, the one with the loudest voice (or the most puppets) wins.


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