tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post5688277157532213592..comments2023-05-24T06:22:53.845-04:00Comments on Devlin's Angle: The Math Myth that permeates “The Math Myth”Mathematical Association of Americahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10559021045290192742noreply@blogger.comBlogger9125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-12320519052551449592016-06-08T10:17:08.492-04:002016-06-08T10:17:08.492-04:00It's not the tone that bothers me. My main gri...It's not the tone that bothers me. My main gripe is the large number of fundamental mathematical errors. Hacker simply does not know or understand enough mathematics. Nor does he know what the Common Core says. Nor he he aware of the kinds of topic that are typically taught in university math courses. His overall idea is fine, and one I agree with (as do many university mathematics instructors), but as an author of a book that would have considerable marketing devoted to it, it would have been wise to get a mathematical colleague to check it over prior to publication.Keith Devlinhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16899343259650938644noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-61993018382062065572016-05-20T17:34:29.426-04:002016-05-20T17:34:29.426-04:00A sad analysis of Hacker's book. As a mathemat...A sad analysis of Hacker's book. As a mathematician, father, educator, businessman, and practical user of mathematics, I find the book exceptionally on-target. And that our education system has adopted the mathematics of insanity for a society.<br /><br />More intriguingly, it sounds like you love math (which he observes is just fine) but basically agree with his recommendations (which is good). All-in-all, reading between the lines, I'm going to guess that there's a tonality in his writing that bothers you.<br /><br />Where I disagree with him is on logic as the core that is important in mathematics. For many it might be - but that's not what's projectable to other endeavors.For me, I love what mathematics taught me about using imagination while solving problems. <br /><br />I also enjoyed his points about "solving complex problems". In my life, I've found reading about Churchill in WWII to offer far more insight into solving complex problems than mathematics does - because math only offers specialized problems. Churchill's challenge protecting the UK is far more useful in the real world of business than math is.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-25358442655009985732016-04-11T22:42:23.381-04:002016-04-11T22:42:23.381-04:00In an age of instant electronic computation, the a...In an age of instant electronic computation, the ability to solve problems tends to be not that important. But that doesn't mean Algebra is suddenly not important.<br /><br />It is <b>writing</b> the equations to solve that makes an engineer an engineer -- and the equations for tension, torque etc are not easy. It is <b>understanding</b> what second derivative is that means that an economist knows when a graph is looking like it might be starting to peak. <br /><br />Knowing what a standard deviation really means, and when it is not useful, cannot be done by looking at pretty graphs and hoping that understanding will somehow magically appear. You actually have to know how they are calculated to know what can go wrong, and by how much.<br /><br />Short-sighted ideas that computation is what maths is about lead to the sort of book we have here. He really has no idea.Chester Drawsnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-67716182470415819152016-03-16T12:23:23.608-04:002016-03-16T12:23:23.608-04:00I enjoyed your post very much. Thanks for the thou...I enjoyed your post very much. Thanks for the thoughtful review of Hacker's book. I appreciate that you bore that pain so I don't have to.Jeff Loatshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07755655010462978870noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-44695237048275521342016-03-14T10:23:24.821-04:002016-03-14T10:23:24.821-04:00Andrew Hacker's new book, THE MATH MYTH and Ot...Andrew Hacker's new book, THE MATH MYTH and Other STEM Delusions, is an expansion of a controversial opinion article he wrote for the New York Times in 2012. Many readers of the earlier newspaper piece assumed that Hacker was "anti-mathematics" and that he wanted to abolish algebra from the school curriculum. In fact, Hacker believes there is an "inherent beauty" in mathematics. Furthermore, his objection is not to algebra, but to the arbitrary establishment of algebra as a gate-keeping requirement that blocks many avenues of educational opportunity.<br /><br />Hacker cites high failure rates on school exit exams, state-wide proficiency test results, community college remedial math class statistics, and other measures to show that algebra, far from being a pipeline to success, is "...a barrier [that] ends up suppressing opportunities, stifling creativity, and denying society a wealth of varied talents." The failure rates, typically between 40 and 60 percent, are not the fault of school mathematics teachers, and they are not because the students were indifferent or lacking in intelligence. Hacker believes that if we could dispel the "myths and delusions" about mathematics, then students who wanted to study mathematics at advanced levels could do so, while other students could take alternative, equally rigorous but more relevant courses. He describes such a course in a final chapter of the book.<br /><br />The "myths" and "delusions" he examines include:<br />•The line of argument that US global competitive advantages require a compulsory program of secondary school mathematics for all citizens.<br />•The argument that mathematics is used by most workers in the majority of trade and professional jobs.<br />•The belief that studying math develops the mind in ways that transfer to other domains of thought.<br /><br />Hacker clearly states that he is not a mathematician, and despite the blurb on the book's dust cover, he has not been a "professor of mathematics." He is a political scientist who has taught numeracy courses in a mathematics department. Although many mathematicians are referenced in the book, a close reading by a mathematically-trained editor would have helped in several cases. When Hacker refers to topics in higher mathematics, he sounds as if he were randomly pulling words from a college mathematics department catalog. There is also one rather bad misuse of the statistical term "average" instead of "mean", which I hope was typographic, rather than conceptual. This and a few other misprints, for example the number "8" becoming the letter "H" in one of his blackboard-style graphics, will probably be caught and fixed in later editions.Nebraska BlogGrasshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/15909247084228934073noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-76758454898213379312016-03-12T01:06:05.937-05:002016-03-12T01:06:05.937-05:00Keith,
I just submitted my own review of The MATH ...Keith,<br />I just submitted my own review of The MATH MYTH to our local paper. As soon as I hear from them --probably that it's too long -- I'd like to send a copy to you. It's quite a different analysis, although we agree on a number of points regarding Hacker's mathematical understanding. I'd be interested in your comments, whether or not you'd publish it in your blog.<br />Best regards,<br />David Fowler<br />Emeritus Mathematics Professor<br />University of Nebraska -- LincolnNebraska BlogGrasshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/15909247084228934073noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-84307377832263715152016-03-11T20:20:43.612-05:002016-03-11T20:20:43.612-05:00Interesting,
further puzzled by the amazon rave r...Interesting,<br /><br />further puzzled by the amazon rave reviews, and the title being traditionally published.<br /><br />Good points.Neeti Sinhahttp://www.magnifieduniverse.com/blognoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-56497184028272290752016-03-09T17:50:52.262-05:002016-03-09T17:50:52.262-05:00niceniceAllen jeleyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/10312119051975318074noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-33141146078655977662016-03-07T21:31:43.796-05:002016-03-07T21:31:43.796-05:00Sadly, I heard a piece on KCBS (a local news radio...Sadly, I heard a piece on KCBS (a local news radio station here in the SF Bay Area) featuring Hacker and his book. One would think a station serving UC Berkeley and Stanford might reach out to professors of those universities for comment. Alas, Hacker's views were offered as truth without comment or rebuttal.Anonymoushttps://www.blogger.com/profile/01174919226259967989noreply@blogger.com