Mathematics and intellect

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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BlackSails
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby BlackSails » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

Ive never heard of him

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Qaanol
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby Qaanol » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

DavCrav wrote:1) What is the second law of thermodynamics?
2) How many electrons in an atom of potassium?
3) How does a refridgerator work, i.e., cool things down?
4) What is a xylem?
5) What does it mean for a company to be highly geared?
6) What is bauxite?
7) What's the difference between mean and median?
8) Where is your filtrum?

DavCrav wrote:who Prokofiev was (and I hope everyone here does know who he was, or I am going to lose this argument with the arty people)

Well, I'm a math undergrad, and I knew 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 of your original quiz, but I've never hear of Prokofiev. Now that I look him up, I realize I have heard some of his work, but never knew his name.

Woxor wrote:1. What is the second law of thermodynamics?
2. Why does wood burn?
3. Why does a fan cool you down?
4. What is natural selection?
5. What effects do banks have on the economy?
6. Why does iron rust? Bonus: Why doesn't aluminum (seem to) rust?
7. What is calculus?
8. Describe the digestive system.

I can definitely answer 1, 3, 4, 7, and 8. Questions 2 and 6 I can give a basic description, but I don't know how much depth you want. For example, I couldn't tell you why wood burns slowly, and I don't know what you mean about aluminum, since I've definitely seen it oxidized. So, if a grade-school kid asked me, I could probably give answers to satisfy them, but if a chemist asked, not so much.

As for 5, well, I've taken one semester of economics, and we didn't talk about banks. I could probably write a short paper, maybe 2-3 pages, about the effect I think banks have on the economy, and it would probably fool the majority of lay-persons into thinking I know what I'm talking about, but an economist would instantly realize I am uninformed. That doesn't necessarily mean my general thoughts on the matter are wrong, but I wouldn't know the terminology, and I'd be sure to miss something important.

Back on topic, consider the standards of acceptance for work in various fields:

Mathematics (and/or what people think of as mathematics): Perfectly correct. In math, as people see it, an answer to a question is either absolutely right, or it is wrong. There are no gray areas (again, as people see it).

Theoretical sciences: As close as possible given current measurement abilities.

Applied science (engineers, surgeons, etc.): Good enough to work.

The arts: Not obviously wrong.

This is of course a gross generalization, and I'm not sure where computer science goes on this scale. Probably software programming goes under applied science. So this perceived stratification may lead to people viewing mathematicians and scientists as being capable of achieving much higher levels of rigor.

There's likely far more to it than this, but without a rigorous definition of "intellect" against which people can be measured and compared, I don't think we can do much better than hand-waving and generalizing. Although an arts person may see things differently.
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Shokk
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby Shokk » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:31 pm UTC

I'm fairly certain Prokofiev was brought up in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire". That's about as much as I can say.
But i'm more "Pretty pictures" artsy, so if you had brought up Malevich, Kandinsky, Dali, Warhol, Magritte, Lichtenstein, Giotto, Manet, Rodin, et cetera. I might have been able to talk.
But I think, when it comes to specific people, it doesn't really matter for artists. Art Historians? Sure.
But then it's sort of the same matter for people concerned with the history of math and physics and the "big players" in it. No amount of thinking will bring you to know who Einstein was or who Euclid or Pythagoras were. You might be able to do the very same things with a great enough amount of thinking, but you might never find out who they were.
In the arts, logic and reason in your work are just gravy, as I see it. Whereas with maths and science, it's essentially required. If you're talking to "artsy folk" who call themselves "artsy" simply because they've exposed themselves to a lot of art, please punch them in the face for me.
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achan1058
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby achan1058 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

Shokk wrote:In the arts, logic and reason in your work are just gravy, as I see it. Whereas with maths and science, it's essentially required. If you're talking to "artsy folk" who call themselves "artsy" simply because they've exposed themselves to a lot of art, please punch them in the face for me.
Tell that to Schoenberg and his 12 tone system.

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Shokk
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby Shokk » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:
Shokk wrote:In the arts, logic and reason in your work are just gravy, as I see it. Whereas with maths and science, it's essentially required. If you're talking to "artsy folk" who call themselves "artsy" simply because they've exposed themselves to a lot of art, please punch them in the face for me.
Tell that to Schoenberg and his 12 tone system.

Sometimes gravy is very important.
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DavCrav
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Re: Mathematics and intellect

Postby DavCrav » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:43 am UTC

Shokk wrote:
achan1058 wrote:
Shokk wrote:In the arts, logic and reason in your work are just gravy, as I see it. Whereas with maths and science, it's essentially required. If you're talking to "artsy folk" who call themselves "artsy" simply because they've exposed themselves to a lot of art, please punch them in the face for me.
Tell that to Schoenberg and his 12 tone system.

Sometimes gravy is very important.


Mmm, gravy.


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