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A small poll on Maths


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this maybe a little silly...but i have here a debate...

Is algebra and calculus necessary for a comman man to live in the society???

That is, are they used in the pratical life??

 

I vote that they are not necessary for a common man..

 

What about you...

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What do you consider a "common man?" Are there plenty of jobs where you don't need calculus? Of course. Probably even most. I find it hard to imagine getting by without even basic algebra, but yeah, you could do that, too. So I'd say not necessary, but certainly useful.

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I'd say that you need a tiny bit of algebra, although the amount I'm talking about is pretty much common sense. X+3=7, find X kinda stuff. More than that and I doubt you'd really ever use it.

 

I've been through tons of algebra and calculus classes in my many years of school, adding up to a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I know practice engineering in the aerospace field, and I never use calculus, and very rarely use algebra. Many of the engineers I work with dont' know calculus (never did) and don't remember algebra.

 

But... I would hate to be in my position without the know-how.

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basic algebra is a must. even if it is just the basic 'two tins of beans = £1.00 when a tin of beans costs £0.50'

 

calculus, not so much unless involved in some field with a high dependance on mathematics such as engineering.

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My mother gets by (and has done for three quarters of a century) without calculus or algebra (in the sense where you rearrange an equation using symbols to represent values).

She was an English teacher and the only time it gave her any problem was when converting test scores into percentages. She solved that by getting me or my brother to do it.

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my mother dont know calculus and algebra yet she is good in practical mathematics .i say that it is not necessary(i maybe wrong) to learn calculus .that is if we are good in addition, multiplication.... that will do(dont mistake me i am good in maths and algebra)

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Interesting debate...

Personally, I think that very little or no culture in general is strictly 'necessary' (i.e. you can't do without).

At the end of the day we are just animals, and our fundamental needs are just preserving ourselves and our species (therefore getting food, shelter, etc.).

However, as our society is much more complex today than it was in prehistoric times, some knowledge (and in particular mathematics) helps you deal with other people and with some simple tasks most of us need to perform (e.g. using money).

And in fact culture, both scientific and artistic, enriches our lives with something more than just satisfying our basic needs.

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I don't think humans or any other mammal could get by without some basic mathematical abilities. Things like counting, statistics, trigonometry, and calculus-like approximations. For example, you might use trigonometry, statistics, and some algebra to estimate the distance of an object you can see. Then you might use calculus to estimate its volume, and multiply that by its density to estimate something's weight. These kinds of skills are indispensable even to life in the wild.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Simple algebra as some have described above is very essential for dealing with day to day encounters like managing family expenses, shopping for items, and interpreting numerical data in the news. However, one can live without the knowledge of the full scope and application of calculus.

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I suffer with Dyscalculia (as some on here may have already noticed over the years), I think we tend to find alternative methods and ways of expressing concepts that don`t use maths, or at least keep maths to a minimum.

so what may take a "normal" person less than a second to work something out in their head, may take me half an hour and a sheet of paper with plenty of wrong answers on it too.

so although it`s often Frustrating, it`s certainly not impossible to lead a life (even as a Scientist) with Math kept to an absolute minimum, equally I would expect this applies to calculus as well.

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To take a slightly different tack this this conversation, most people know a lot more calculus than they ever thought. I.e. we intuitively know how long it takes a dropped ball to fall to the ground or similarly at what angle and how hard to throw a ball to make sure it gets to another person or place; anyone who's driven a car for even a short amount of time knows how hard to press the brake pedal so the car stops in front of the stoplight or the car in front of you; we know concepts like what goes in must come out (conservation of mass) that are formerly written in terms of differential equations or as surface & volume integrals.

 

Certainly, it is pretty uncommon to find a person who can express these concepts in mathematics, but a lot of people know them.

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I for one would sure like to displace the knowledge and level of the "common man" upward several notches. We don't seem to be doing too well with common understandings in this day and age.

 

 

Who in their right mind argues that ignorance is good? :doh:

Are you a republican?

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Okay then I'd like to retract, and apologise for, my earlier statement.

 

Everyone needs to learn maths: obviously they wont starve without it but that is completely not the point.

 

Everyone needs to learn maths for the same reason that they need to learn science, literature, history, philosophy and music. We don't learn things in order to become good at filling in spreadsheets and taking averages, we learn things because thinking and growing and adapting is fundamental to humanity.

 

The idea that people will get jobs that don't involve calculus and therefore they don't need it is stupid and blatant snobbery.

 

Ignorance is always a bad thing, whether it's amongst the richest and most powerful members of society or among the 'common man'.

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I for one would sure like to displace the knowledge and level of the "common man" upward several notches. We don't seem to be doing too well with common understandings in this day and age.

 

 

Who in their right mind argues that ignorance is good? :doh:

Are you a republican?

 

I for one do not argue that ignorance is good. I "know" its a burden, for we are all ignorant to a degree. we dont know everything. now, that is why he is called the common man, the degree of mathematical ignorance of the "common man" or mathematical challanged is absurd. however, the "common man" will do well to learn basic concepts in algebra to function on a "survial" level... jobs, solving problems that will allow him/her to keep the job. i see what your saying about uplifing the knowledge a few notches. but every hear the exprassion, "you can lead a horse to water?" my point is the common man have to want(motivate), find bueaty, to learn "higher" sciences and mathematical branches. but, thats why he is considered the "common man":doh:

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It sounds like you're arguing for a concept already fairly well understood. It is known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Basically, it says that some needs take priority, and that we have little time/resources to spend learning about the universe and more abstract concepts when we are spending all of our energy finding food and shelter.

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