Monday, February 28, 2011

Why I need to learn math?

Here is another interesting article that I found in the Internet that provides real-life examples of the importance of learning mathematics. As I have stated many times before, my students often question why they need to learn mathematics if it is not related to their chosen degree major. Unfortunately, these students often use math in many aspects of their lives without being consciously aware that they do. For such reason, I spend my time looking for real-life examples in the Internet, so I can share these examples with my students. I encourage you to read the article below to realize that "Math is Everywhere!"


Amplify’d from

Math illiteracy affects judgment

INNUMERACY: Life's problems not so tough with better education.

Answers to real-life questions that involve probabilities greatly influence what products we buy, what companies we invest in and how the public's money is spent.

Consider another example of how innumeracy bedevils all of us. I frequently testify in civil lawsuits as an expert economist. What I have often found is a tendency for certain lawyers to count on the fact that not many jurors have enough understanding of numbers and probabilities to make informed decisions on certain matters. These lawyers count on the fact that many jurors are uncomfortable with numbers and statistics and that those jurors will tend to assign a higher probability to the subjective beliefs of credible plaintiffs than they do to conflicting statistical testimony from credible defense experts.

Here is another example. My experience tells me that more than one-half of the adult population judges decisions on the outcome and not on the probability of that decision having been the best, given the information available at the time. Many public-sector decisions must be made even when none of the choices are good. To condemn the decision-maker when a predictably bad outcome happens is a popular pastime frequently engaged in by politicians and camp followers of the opposite party.