Who Likes Math Anyway?
If words are what’s most important in our education and in our development of knowledge then Math is a close second and probably, and unfortunately, next to English, the most despised of courses among students in public education. Maybe Mathematics is first? I don’t know. I haven’t done the math! See what I mean? Most of us dislike math so much we can’t even crunch the numbers to figure out how much we don’t like it!
Fun with Numbers
Math is extremely important…so much so that here is a little illustration to prove it. Everyone has 2 biological parents, right?: 1 man and 1 woman. Scientists and creationists are in agreement on this. And each parent must also have 2 parents: Again, 1 male and 1 female. Therefore, we each have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great, great-grandparents and so on.
This is called a geometric progression. 2 x 2 x 2 etc. and you probably first learned about this concept in grammar school. The process of this progression, where each number is a fixed multiple of the previous one, is called exponential increase where 2 x 2 = 4 and 2 x 4 = 8 and 2 x 8 = 16. Etc.
It’s math! And it’s as indisputable a fact as the fact that Adam and Eve have no belly buttons. In fact its simple multiplication and everyone can and does do it. And it’s fun too! Just go ask mom and dad or grandma and grandpa…but more importantly, if we each have 2 parents and so forth and so on, then if you could trace your family lineage back just 30 generations or 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 stretched out 30 times (Which wouldn’t even take you back to ancient Rome by the way) you’d have 18.5 quintillion ancestors! It’s true!
Yet scientific study also tells us that in the history of the world there have only been about 100 to 150 billion people who have lived on Earth (only about 7 billion of those live here now)
So how is it possible for each of us to have so many ancestors?
It’s possible (and yes, it is possible) because WE ALL SHARE ANCESTORS! WE ARE ALL, EACH ONE OF US, RELATED TO EVERYONE ELSE, somehow, someway and at someplace in time. (and supposedly we’re all related to Kevin Bacon but don’t ask me how)
It’s possible because we are all Earthlings, from this planet, living on this planet and sharing the one and only finite planet, Earth. We are not different beings who are separate from one another and living worlds apart. We are the same beings, born from the same planet who then MOVED worlds apart. To figure it out and understand it, all you have to do is the math… And you thought math wasn’t for everyone but it is and its basic application can help explain so much about this world which many of us find so perplexing and confusing. This is what Math teachers KNOW and what they wish and hope and sometimes pray that their students would come to understand…This is why we study math in school and why we need to continue teaching it.
Still More Fun with Numbers
Now that we’ve discovered that we are all related and there’s no reason to hate one another because we’re so different, we are going to have to decide just how many relatives we want!
So, using the same geometric progression (which you did learn in school) (and if you forgot it was your fault by the way, and not some teacher’s or failing school district’s) we can discover that the world’s population increases in the same way that your family’s population increases. The more people you have, the more people you get. It’s sex! Which is multiplication! (Another reason why we all need to learn math) Which is sex! Which is multiplication! You get the idea.
It took the planet Earth and earthlings, thousands of years to reach a population of 1 billion people, and that happened in 1804. Then it took only 123 years to reach 2 billion people in 1927. Then only 33 years later in 1960 we reached a population of 3 billion people and that was even though we fought a major world war in between (can you name which one?) where tens of millions of people were killed! Wow! That’s the power of exponential increases!
Since then we’ve added 1 billion earthlings to the planet Earth about every 12 years so that by 2011 we had reached 7 billion inhabitants on the planet. So, we’ve gone from 1 billion to 7 billion people living on the planet Earth in only 207 years.
Conservative population experts say that our growth rate is slowing down a bit and it should take us until around 2045 before we reach a world population of 9 billion. And if we continue to do the math then in about one hundred years or by the year 2111 or so we should have 14 billion people or twice as many as we have now, on the planet earth! (If you are as old as I am then you can remember how it took so long for that McDonald’s sign to reach “Over 1 billion served” and then a little while after that McDonald’s stopped counting and just put up a sign that read “Billions and billions served) Well, that’s where our world’s population is heading. Someday, who knows, we may also just stop counting and when students raise their hands and ask, “How many people are there in the world?” A teacher’s response may simply be, “A shit load!” (Hopefully teachers will be able to swear in class, just like the kids, by then) And why? Probably because we’ll all be tired of counting because we’ll be crowded and poor and tired and angry from having to wait on line somewhere for something and as a result a lot ruder than we are now.
And so this is why we need to learn math and also why we need to have access to condoms and birth control and sex education and planned parenting. It’s in the numbers. It’s basic Mathematics! And you can’t deny it or refute it or claim that it isn’t happening or invoke intelligent design to wish it all away. Global warming?! Forget that! Someday we’ll have Global Cuddling!
And once again all you have to do is the math!
But still, the average student has a strange and often perplexing aversion to all things mathematical…