Why We Need The Math Police – Or Do We?

math policeRecently I read an interesting article on why we may need a math police. Here’s a link to the original article.

The article talks about how we completely comply with the grammar police. If we use a word wrongly or inaccurately, someone (the grammar police) typically corrects us and we willingly accept the correction and carry on.  However, the same is not true when it comes to math.

That’s because typically nobody acts as the “math police” and corrects math mistakes or even attempts to.  In fact, we even boast publicly about how bad we are at math and how we fumble while adding up grocery items or split restaurant bills.

I personally feel that policing over math is secondary. What is more important is our personal understanding of the problem- one that comes from within. The article suggests that if we split a restaurant bill evenly as opposed to calculating everyone’s exact share, we are doing the wrong thing.

I beg to differ – it is merely a social mechanism that allows us to focus on the company of people rather than micro-management.

We are a well evolved species and if we aim to be good with letters, we should aim the same for numbers too. Mathematics is a crucial part of life that we as adults should continue to master, just as we want our children to.

So perhaps there is a need for a math police, if only to help us raise greater awareness that it is not always in our best interest to take math shortcuts or to publicly state our own ignorance rather than attempting to be accurate.

What are your views?

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