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The purpose (or lack thereof) of Algebra

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Neutraligon
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:20 am

Senyosu wrote:
Neutraligon wrote:
I've done a very low level of job taking apart someone's brain. It was interesting.

What was it for?


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Risottia
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Postby Risottia » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:27 am

Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:Let's discuss Algebra and other complicated branches of mathematics. No need for a lengthy OP.

Should Algebra be taught in schools? Trigonometry? Calculus? Should those classes be optional only for those with an interest in such complex subjects? Should there be alternatives - i.e., like they have at my school - such as Computer Programming classes counting as mathematical credits?

My thoughts: Algebra is mostly pointless. I can't think of any 'useful' part of Algebra that can't be solved much quicker and easier by use of simple arithmetic. Why not let the kids decide concerning what they take in high school. If they ever have to have Algebra for a job or something, they can have it in college. But I hypothesize that most - 99% - will never use Algebra. My business teacher at school says this as well.

Excellent idea. Finally we will have a nice segregation in schools. The future unskilled masses on one side, who cannot learn to manage money, to build a house, to program a computer, to fly an airplane, and must do only what they're told by a small ruling class of mathematically able.
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Disgruntled Mathematicians
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Postby Disgruntled Mathematicians » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:30 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:Music relies on mathematics. Sure, you don't need to delve deep into calculus, or algebra, but it's not farfetched to at least have basic notions of these.


If you want to do any sort of audio tech/processing (which a lot of musicians do on their own now), you damn well better understand calculus, especially Fourier analysis.

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Dazchan
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Postby Dazchan » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:04 am

Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:
Wintergord wrote:There are several important aspects that are useful in daily life but of course some that can be discarded:

-Long division.

-Calculus.

-Polynomials.

I learn physics and trigonometry at my current grade, at first I was against it but I have developed a tolerance for both subjects.


Long division can be discarded? What? Long division is basic mathematics. Calculus and polynomials are among the more obscure and useless portions, and they can certainly be disregarded, but long division. Again. What?


Long division is useless. I don't even bother teaching it to my students any more, because there are more efficient ways to divide (most of which can be done mentally once you get proficient at them).

Algebra on the other hand is an essential building block of mathematics. Teaching mathematics without algebra would be like teaching English without verbs.
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Zottistan
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Postby Zottistan » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:20 am

Bad things happen when the populace is uneducated. You get the likes of pseudoscientific nonsense becoming mainstream and politicians hiring economists to lie for them.

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Chestaan
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Postby Chestaan » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:20 am

Maths such as algebra and calculus should be mandatory purely because not having a proficiency in them limits your opportunities so much.
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L Ron Cupboard
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Postby L Ron Cupboard » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:07 am

Zottistan wrote:Bad things happen when the populace is uneducated. You get the likes of pseudoscientific nonsense becoming mainstream and politicians hiring economists to lie for them.


Creationism for example. Maybe that is the OP's intention all along, reduce the American population to uneducated drones more amenable to indoctrination.

Still if the USA wants to discard the scientific baton, there are plenty of countries like China ready to pick it up and run with it.
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Kilobugya
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Postby Kilobugya » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:10 am

The universe runs on maths. Mathematical structures are everywhere - from the laws of physics to the dynamics of systems to the laws of probability allowing us to know what we know and what we don't know to ... it's therefore fundamental for people to learn about maths. It's a universal tool, that, one you master, gives you lots of insight in how the world works at all level. It's also a very very powerful way to teach rigorous reasoning, a skill useful in every activity of life.
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Forsher
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Postby Forsher » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:18 am

Utceforp wrote:
Forsher wrote:
1. No, economists are social scientists. That you are seeing overlap, should resolve your issues. Just not in ways that you find satisfactory.

2. That said, in its strictest sense, a psychologist tries to understand the physical human rather than the human. The anthropologist, how we get humans from a physical perspective. I'm not actually sure what sociologists do and I can't be bothered looking.

3. The thing with "we must understand" is that it encompasses the vast majority of human academic endeavour.

1. Yes, social scientists. Scientists. That's my point.


Generally people differentiate science and social science.

2. What? Psychologists study the human mind, and if that doesn't fit your definition of "non-physical human", I'm not sure what will.


It's pretty clear what does and does not. Psychologists try to understand why the human mind works the way it does. Therefore, it is physical. They also study other aspects but that's the primary focus. The Human World relates to what man has wrought, done, created, etc. Such things include history, English, many parts of geography etc. Technically the material world is part of this but it's sufficiently clearly a separate idea for me to have included it in a third category (which was partly motivated by a joke). So you see a very clear difference? Psychologists don't really fit that bill.

Anthropologists study cultures, languages and humanity's development, sociologists study how humans act in groups. All of them are focused on the mind.


And, again, overlap. Some aspects of anthropology relate more to the Human World than others. How humans evolved (which is, clearly, my primary conception of what anthropologists do) and how human things evolved isn't really part of that because they're trying to understand, if you will, how the Human World came to be.

3. And the best way to understand anything is through the scientific method.


Only the Sith deal in absolutes. (Is it the Sith?) For example, the scientific method doesn't really work with history because you can't make predictions that will be tested. You're dealing with a situation where you're trying to understand how something that already happened, happened. You can't predict it. The scientific method has failed. As a rule, different circumstances require different methodologies. That some methodologies are suited to many circumstances is not surprising and is actually pretty trivial.

Your problem seems to be that, in the course of the conversation, your position devolved into "scientists are more important than scholars of the humanities" and, as part of that, began to try and group occupations into very rigidly defined categories (such as scientists)... despite simultaneously using an overly broad definition of what a scientist does. In hindsight, you also didn't really understand what I meant by physical versus human worlds or, indeed, that, say, psychologists are primarily scientists because they're primary interest is in seeking a physical understanding of the human mind. If psychologists were to primarily involve themselves with the output of the human mind then they would be scholars of the humanities. This is, certainly, something that they do do, but mostly it's in relation to (as I understand the field) why that output exists... which brings it round to the physical world again.

Trevor Phillip Enterprises wrote:
Shiie wrote:Only STEM subjects should be taught in schools. Any other subjects create hipsters that cling to welfare. You have to work to eat.


Its things like this that makes us STEM students/researchers/teachers/whatever seem like a bunch of elitist assholes who are jealous of not getting any...


And that's a very mature response to a very mature post... er, what?

Dazchan wrote:
Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:
Long division can be discarded? What? Long division is basic mathematics. Calculus and polynomials are among the more obscure and useless portions, and they can certainly be disregarded, but long division. Again. What?


Long division is useless. I don't even bother teaching it to my students any more, because there are more efficient ways to divide (most of which can be done mentally once you get proficient at them).

Algebra on the other hand is an essential building block of mathematics. Teaching mathematics without algebra would be like teaching English without verbs.


What other, more efficient ways to divide?

At primary school I can remember doing a hell of a lot of ways to do multiplication. All of these were rendered obsolete and forgotten by vertical multiplication (which we didn't learn until year seven). In contrast, I cannot really recall any division methods beyond doubling and halving. Long Division, however, I learnt in year eight (I'm not sure how many other people in my class did) and didn't have to use it again until year thirteen and complex number algebra, which confused the hell out of a lot of people who had to learn the basic concept from scratch... that's why it should be taught earlier.
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Degenerate Heart of HetRio
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Postby Degenerate Heart of HetRio » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:58 am

Honestly I left school given the consequences of my phobia/hate of math, physics and chemistry, so I'm biased.
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The Grim Reaper
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Postby The Grim Reaper » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:12 am

L Ron Cupboard wrote:
Zottistan wrote:Bad things happen when the populace is uneducated. You get the likes of pseudoscientific nonsense becoming mainstream and politicians hiring economists to lie for them.


Creationism for example. Maybe that is the OP's intention all along, reduce the American population to uneducated drones more amenable to indoctrination.

Still if the USA wants to discard the scientific baton, there are plenty of countries like China ready to pick it up and run with it.


How is banning /algebra/ a creationist plot to destroy America?

Most creationist preachers at least have the mental capacity to acknowledge that algebra is effectively part of mathematics' most basic suite of tools and tricks.
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Burleson
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Postby Burleson » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:04 am

Furry Alairia and Algeria wrote:
Burleson wrote:Those classes should be electives. The vast majority of students probably won't get jobs in which algebra, calculus, etc. would be involved. Requiring all students to take those useless classes is just a waste of tax money.

So you're not good at it?
So lets take away future education?
No wonder they call you a redneck.

I'm actually good at it, but there are many other things I could be doing with my time. Like learning a skill that could be used for more jobs than 'math teacher'. And in case you haven't noticed, I don't take the term redneck as an insult.
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Postby Laerod » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:10 am

Burleson wrote:
Furry Alairia and Algeria wrote:So you're not good at it?
So lets take away future education?
No wonder they call you a redneck.

I'm actually good at it, but there are many other things I could be doing with my time. Like learning a skill that could be used for more jobs than 'math teacher'. And in case you haven't noticed, I don't take the term redneck as an insult.

If you didn't have the right to vote, then not educating you wouldn't be as much of an issue. However, since suffrage is universal, education must strive to be the same.

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Risottia
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Postby Risottia » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:15 am

Laerod wrote:
Burleson wrote:I'm actually good at it, but there are many other things I could be doing with my time. Like learning a skill that could be used for more jobs than 'math teacher'. And in case you haven't noticed, I don't take the term redneck as an insult.

If you didn't have the right to vote, then not educating you wouldn't be as much of an issue. However, since suffrage is universal, education must strive to be the same.

Then again, we could weigh everyone's ballot: multiply it by the number of right answer to some basic questions about science and history. :D
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Lenciland
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Postby Lenciland » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:33 am

Risottia wrote:
Laerod wrote:If you didn't have the right to vote, then not educating you wouldn't be as much of an issue. However, since suffrage is universal, education must strive to be the same.

Then again, we could weigh everyone's ballot: multiply it by the number of right answer to some basic questions about science and history. :D

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Laerod
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Postby Laerod » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:39 am

Risottia wrote:
Laerod wrote:If you didn't have the right to vote, then not educating you wouldn't be as much of an issue. However, since suffrage is universal, education must strive to be the same.

Then again, we could weigh everyone's ballot: multiply it by the number of right answer to some basic questions about science and history. :D

Eh. That sounds way too close to what the Southerners did in order to disenfranchise blacks. I see too much room for abuse for that to be more than a tongue in cheek solution.

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Imperializt Russia
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Postby Imperializt Russia » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:42 am

Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:
Atomic Utopia wrote:You will learn the importance of math when you exit high school, algebra is the foundations for all engineering and science. Without a knowledge of algebra you cannot program, determine critical buckling, or design a bridge. To put it simply a knowledge of algabra is required to be an engineer of any variety. And if you do not want to learn it, I would recommend you get comfortable with working in the mostly low paying services industry.


Most folks aren't engineers, and the engineering field is not a big deal these days.

Last I checked, there was still a demand for building, constructing and manufacturing things.
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Postby Novia Soviet Socialist Republic » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:50 am

With all the Scientists, Engineers etc that we need there is a growing need for it. Not that everyone grasps it very well in school.
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Postby Sdaeriji » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:37 am

Shiie wrote:Only STEM subjects should be taught in schools. Any other subjects create hipsters that cling to welfare. You have to work to eat.


Yeah, fuck literacy.
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Soldati Senza Confini
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Postby Soldati Senza Confini » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:57 am

Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:Let's discuss Algebra and other complicated branches of mathematics. No need for a lengthy OP.

Should Algebra be taught in schools? Trigonometry? Calculus? Should those classes be optional only for those with an interest in such complex subjects? Should there be alternatives - i.e., like they have at my school - such as Computer Programming classes counting as mathematical credits?

My thoughts: Algebra is mostly pointless. I can't think of any 'useful' part of Algebra that can't be solved much quicker and easier by use of simple arithmetic. Why not let the kids decide concerning what they take in high school. If they ever have to have Algebra for a job or something, they can have it in college. But I hypothesize that most - 99% - will never use Algebra. My business teacher at school says this as well.


Algebra teaches you how to do operations.

Sure, you'll never use X*Y=Z or even Y=mx+b but it is pretty damn important to know what the fuck you're doing in life in regards to mathematics and even science.

It's even more useful if you're handling money. Of course, we never think of it that way but when you try to figure out the rate of the work per hour you should reasonably charge, you're engaging in Algebra. When you do a calculation to figure out once you have the number of hours you have worked and plug it in in your "template" you're doing arithmetic.

Now, you might say "well I can do that without algebra" but the thing is that the study of algebra, trig, geometry, and debatably calculus teach you the processes that go in your head in a more formalized manner.
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Postby Soldati Senza Confini » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:58 am

Degenerate Heart of HetRio wrote:Honestly I left school given the consequences of my phobia/hate of math, physics and chemistry, so I'm biased.


Phobia of math, physics, and chemistry?! wut?
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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:58 am

I don't know what people are complaining about.

I did Calculus and Statistics in high school.
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Neutraligon
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:00 am

Burleson wrote:
Furry Alairia and Algeria wrote:So you're not good at it?
So lets take away future education?
No wonder they call you a redneck.

I'm actually good at it, but there are many other things I could be doing with my time. Like learning a skill that could be used for more jobs than 'math teacher'. And in case you haven't noticed, I don't take the term redneck as an insult.


So engineering, science, certain fields in medicine, certain fields in the social sciences, etc are somehow not skilled jobs that are more than math teacher?
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Cetacea
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Postby Cetacea » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:01 am

Algebra and Language Arts are the basis of all knowledge in the universe and thus Algebra is essential

The problem is the way that Algebra is taught as rarefied abstraction rather than as reflecting the artisitc patterning and geometric beauty of our world. Its actually a fundamental problem of all education, that is the preoccupation with correct answers rather than teaching children the skills of Inquiry and exploration. For instance the best maths teacher I ever had didn't teach us 'Pi' rather he got us to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then find the relationship between them. Then he told us a joke "Whats 3.141 and full of fruit? A piece of Pie"

He also didnt bother to teach us 3x +2 but rather taught us how to weath and build patterns with blocks

plus I looove physics so F=dp/dt baby!
Last edited by Cetacea on Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Soldati Senza Confini
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Postby Soldati Senza Confini » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:01 am

Dazchan wrote:
Archeuland and Baughistan wrote:
Long division can be discarded? What? Long division is basic mathematics. Calculus and polynomials are among the more obscure and useless portions, and they can certainly be disregarded, but long division. Again. What?


Long division is useless. I don't even bother teaching it to my students any more, because there are more efficient ways to divide (most of which can be done mentally once you get proficient at them).

Algebra on the other hand is an essential building block of mathematics. Teaching mathematics without algebra would be like teaching English without verbs.


Long division isn't useless.

It's just way overemphasized as a critical skill when it really isn't. Doesn't mean it doesn't have its applications.
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