Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I hate mathematics (or, I am proud to be innumerate)

For some reason, many men and women are unashamed when they do not understand mathematics, and cannot cope with day to day mathematics.  As Operational Research is a discipline which uses mathematics as an everyday skill, it can be galling to meet such people.  I came across a book review which eloquently challenged adults with such an attitude to what should be an everyday skill.

For those who persist in blathering that "maths is not my thing", it is high time that they put away such philistine nonsense and allowed the fine and elegant art that exists at the mathematical end of the spectrum of knowledge to entertain and illuminate in ways that complement and give proper balance to the poetry, painting, theatre and theology at the other.

(This comes from a review of the book "Alex through the looking glass: How life reflects numbers and numbers reflect life" by Alex Bellos, reviewed in Third Way magazine by Kester Brewin (vol 37, no 7, p38))

Personally, I would argue against mathematics being at an end of the spectrum of knowledge (which is a bit of a cliché)