One of my mates had a repeat Math exam yesterday and he aint too confident with how he did and now he’s quite sure he’ll have to repeat 1st year, I feel partially responsible for this as I skipped out on most of the math lectures since I’d already covered most of them during the course of higher level math for leaving cert and I thought he did as well, towards the end of the year I found out he only did ordinary and so we presented ourselves at more lectures.
The bones of this post will be however on the Math course, not how he did in the exam. One thing that has eternally annoyed me about Math is that, after a bit of basic knowledge, it is completely pointless. I remember sitting in Math classes for Leaving Cert and just thinking ‘What’s the fucking point? When is differentiation ever gonna benefit me in real life? Why would I ever wanna integrate anything when there are other easier methods?’ ‘You’ll need it if you wanna go on to teach math’ was my teacher’s usual response. This circular argument always annoyed me too, many a class was wasted on these arguments between my teacher and me. I wasn’t bad at Math (I got a B) but it always just seemed so utterly pointless.
Secondly, a lot of it has no real reason or proof behind it, or maybe it does but we were never shown it. This was especially shown during Calculus I + II sections of the course. There was a lot of guess work and taking parts of equations away to nothingness or assuming that something was equal to something and other such nonsense. Even without taking that into account we were always given steps to doing something,but never actually told or shown why these steps were important or true, just to do them and nothing more. So we got the ‘How’ part of the formula, but not the ‘Why’, another thing that seemed pointless to me.
In summary, a lot of stuff I’ve been told concerning Math is down to believing that it works without being given any proof, indeed that’s how it seems to be with even the big Math-heads who come up with the rubbish, it was only proved a few years ago that 1 + 1 actually does =2 up until then its was just taken for granted that 1+1=2. But what if some of the stuff taken for granted in math is actually wrong? What then? After all, science doesn’t put faith in belief,everything is down to rigorous testing and proof, because of this I reckon Math isn’t really a science… It’s a religion!