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Bring Back Math

We’re living in odd times. There doesn’t seem to be any parallel time in history for the bizarre things observed in culture and politics today.  The tumult wreaking havoc through the country causes many to wonder about the efficacy of laws and perhaps even the foundations of society.  

Lots of virtual ink has been spilt pontificating on the roots of this tumult with all manner of expert pundits wading in with their socio, psycho mumbo jumbo explanations.  Like most things in life, the best explanation is typically the simplest. 

I have a theory on what ails us.  The root cause of much of the disorder affecting society today is...bad math skills.  Simple arithmetic and advanced mathematics are the essential skills separating humans from every other life form on the planet.  Whereas other animals depend on natural instinct or conditioned behavior to navigate through life, humans have been uniquely endowed with the capacity to reason logically.  Whereas languages may differ between people, there is only one language of reason and logic and that is mathematics.  Logic is generally (but not always) the foundation for the laws that govern a society.  People observe and obey laws if they make sense and are rationally enforced. Hence, rational people obey acceptable laws in a civilized society.

In order for man to control his environment rather than be controlled by it, he had to create inventions and applications in order to do so.  Without being able to measure cause and effect, progress through inventions would not have been possible.  Math and reasoning skills are key in the progress of humankind.  As most probably know, math skills have been on the decline in many education curriculae today,  being eclipsed instead by nebulous studies of social sciences.  This is ground zero for many of the problems we see today in society and culture.

To be exposed to math concepts is not about finding the right quotient per se, it’s more about the logical process of reasoning that allows you to come to a rational conclusion.  If A=B and B=C, then logically, A=C. This most elementary bit of logic should be as widely accepted by all humans as the reality that if you jump off a 10 storey building, you will die.   And yet, for so many people who have influence on our every day lives, this logic is alien to them.   Politicians and those in the media seem to be particularly afflicted with bad math skills because logic is seriously AWOL in their public utterances.   

We know that professional politicians today are strong on their demagoguery skills but almost absent of any logic skills.  Since they are likely to reflect the values of their constituents, who are as likely math challenged, these politicos are allowed to hold high office, effectively proving the narrative of the tallest midget.  You don’t have to make a rational argument if no one understands it.

For their part, the majority of the media plays a big part in the dumbing down of society by ignoring logic in their reportage.  Taking but one issue as an example, we can see how they’ve tied themselves up in a Gordian knot while reconciling the related issues of gay and transgender rights, women’s rights and transgenders in women’s sports.  

Let’s also point out the illogical pleas to save black lives from police violence when statistics don’t support this narrative at all.  In fact, the recent violent and destructive demonstrations have caused more grief to the black community than all police issues to date this year.  Apparently only certain black lives matter. We can also point out the pleas for amnesty for the children of tens of millions of illegal aliens who are in the U.S. because of their parents’ actions.  Children are not responsible to pay for their parents’ actions is the logic.  Compare this with the logic being forwarded that reparations should be paid by whites whose great great ancestors may have owned slaves.  

The tragedy cum comedy of Global warming is still doing its dance on the illogical high wire but that issue is being replaced by the hysteria surrounding another more imminent threat, the Covid-19 pandemic, or for us regular folk, the ‘flu.  The flip flopping on the wearing of masks has brought to stark clarity the lack of logic involved in policy implementation by hysterical authorities left in charge.  At least they’re no longer hoarding toilet paper.  There are so many ‘experts’ pushing their views that it’s hard for a lay person to determine the veracity of any of them.  If masks work, why do we need quarantine and isolation?  If they don’t work, why wear them? Let’s hope they don’t propose virgin sacrifices as a possible cure. 

Most of the cult like hysteria that periodically grips societies should have been eliminated or reduced by access to education.  In the 21st century, people aren’t supposed to be naive rubes every time someone concocts a new existential threat.  This rampant naivete is rooted solely from the neglect of a sound math education.  If the basic foundations of logic were imprinted on all students at an early age, we would not allow politicians and media people to perpetrate the laughable leaps of logic they foist upon us today.  My suggestion is that a minimum test of math and logic be administered to anyone seeking public office or those seeking to be in the news racket.  I’m not talking advanced differential equations; just simple ones like adding 2 digit numbers without removing their shoes.  Now if we could apply this retroactively…. 

 

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