# The terror of mathematics...

#### tom_s

Joined Jun 27, 2014
288
I agree... It must be harder than I think... otherwise it wouldn't be a standard 4-year university course. But those guys also focus on psychology and social sciences, and it's not as mathematics-inclined (including algebra, arithmetic, geometry and calculus) as engineering usually is...
took me 40 years to get algorithms, arthritis, geode and calcium deficiancy

eyesights not the best either :/

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,223
This ignorant fearful woman verses a math teacher is an example of how listening to the fear mongers (national news) works against us.
When I accidentally land on a news broadcast, my usual reaction is, "I promise to be terrified about that right away." Then I change the channel.
And the newspaper company wonders why I don't buy newspapers.
1) All the news is bad news.
2) It costs $90 to place a 3 line ad to sell a$100 refrigerator.
3) Most of the, "news" is twisted to fit an agenda.

I don't know what audience they are addressing, but it isn't me.

#### recklessrog

Joined May 23, 2013
985
Well, my life long observation has been that by and large mathematicians in the professional sense tend to have about as strong of grasp of reality and those who work in terrorist cults.

I had one college math professor that I thought was seriously unhinged. Most people said he was fine and it was just me. Then a year later his mathematician brother killed a college student (stabbed him to death if I am recalling it right) and upon that incident he got put through a psych eval and failed it as miserably as his murdering screwball brother.

So the moral of that story, If you ever meet a mathematician who claims to have found a repeating pattern in Pi using a large base numerical system don't argue with them. Just back away or you may get stabbed to death if you give reason to suspect that they may be wrong in their gobbledygook calculations.
Did you hear about the two constipated mathematicians?? ............
one worked it out with a pencil, the other worked it out in logs

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,552
Did you hear about the two constipated mathematicians?? ............
one worked it out with a pencil, the other worked it out in logs

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
I've just learned that the professor in question is specialized in economics.

How hard would the equation he was working on be? I mean, economics usually involves linear or quadratic equations... tops, and perhaps first-order derivatives ... or do things get more complicated than that?

Like most fields, the people conducting research in that field are far, far beyond the people that get an undergraduate degree in that field. Also, like most fields, the people that conduct research vary all over the map with regard to the skills and tools they bring to the table. I've talked to some economists that try to make and work with some very sophisticated math models that put EEs doing statistical signal processing and signal estimation to shame. I was sitting at a dinner table with some of them at a conference I attended about a decade ago and it was ... interesting. I could follow the math just well enough to be convinced that they all very much knew the math involved. But I walked away from the event pretty convinced that only one of them understood that the math meant nothing if the models involved were based on how you wanted the world to behave. One of them kept trying to bring the discussion back to that point and the others clearly didn't care -- they had a theoretical model of how the market worked, including human behavior, and that was therefore, as far as they were concerned, how the world must work.

#### recklessrog

Joined May 23, 2013
985
Like most fields, the people conducting research in that field are far, far beyond the people that get an undergraduate degree in that field. Also, like most fields, the people that conduct research vary all over the map with regard to the skills and tools they bring to the table. I've talked to some economists that try to make and work with some very sophisticated math models that put EEs doing statistical signal processing and signal estimation to shame. I was sitting at a dinner table with some of them at a conference I attended about a decade ago and it was ... interesting. I could follow the math just well enough to be convinced that they all very much knew the math involved. But I walked away from the event pretty convinced that only one of them understood that the math meant nothing if the models involved were based on how you wanted the world to behave. One of them kept trying to bring the discussion back to that point and the others clearly didn't care -- they had a theoretical model of how the market worked, including human behavior, and that was therefore, as far as they were concerned, how the world must work.
Tunnel vision? I think a lot of theorists suffer from that. The saying applies....... " a man (or woman) convinced against their will, is a man of the same opinion still".

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
I think everyone suffers from it to varying degrees -- and most people suffer from it much more in some areas than in others.

#### recklessrog

Joined May 23, 2013
985
I think everyone suffers from it to varying degrees -- and most people suffer from it much more in some areas than in others.
That's why it is sometimes a good idea to have a break from whatever you are focused on and come back to it with a clear head. For myself, I found it to be particularly useful when having difficulty learning to play a new piece of music. Sleeping on it would allow the subconscious to figure it out.

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#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,160
Like most fields, the people conducting research in that field are far, far beyond the people that get an undergraduate degree in that field. Also, like most fields, the people that conduct research vary all over the map with regard to the skills and tools they bring to the table. I've talked to some economists that try to make and work with some very sophisticated math models that put EEs doing statistical signal processing and signal estimation to shame. I was sitting at a dinner table with some of them at a conference I attended about a decade ago and it was ... interesting. I could follow the math just well enough to be convinced that they all very much knew the math involved. But I walked away from the event pretty convinced that only one of them understood that the math meant nothing if the models involved were based on how you wanted the world to behave. One of them kept trying to bring the discussion back to that point and the others clearly didn't care -- they had a theoretical model of how the market worked, including human behavior, and that was therefore, as far as they were concerned, how the world must work.
That's a very good description of the climate modelers. It's very hard to force yourself to reconcile reality with your beautiful and complex model.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,552
But I walked away from the event pretty convinced that only one of them understood that the math meant nothing if the models involved were based on how you wanted the world to behave.
Typical human nature... we are all prone to fall into the mistake of trying to make the world fit our views, and not the other way around