Like many others who struggled through algebra and its highbrow cousins in school and wondered how they would ever be useful in my life, I have successfully lived that life without advanced mathematics.
Not that it was totally useless — aside from being a mind-stretching exercise (although Logic would have been more useful) — higher math’s primary impact on my life was to teach me one salient fact:
Without sufficient information, we cannot come to accurate conclusions. I’m glad that somebody knows how to figure out how much water will will be in left in a 100-gallon-tank — after 3 hours — which is losing 8 ounces of liquid per minute through a little hole in the bottom, while gaining 6.75 ounces in the same period of time. I don’t. (And yes, I’m thinking this is more of a physics problem than an algebra one, but in my mind, all of those classes fused together into one hazy, distant memory.)
What I do know, however, is that without enough information, and the right information, even the finest mathematician cannot figure out the answer.
And yet, we operate without sufficient information all the time — this is not surprising, since we are not God. What is surprising is how much we rely upon things that are definitely not God — the nightly news, for example, to give us, and interpret for us, the facts.
Please read the rest at my Commonsense Christianity column at BeliefNet, Are We Being Manipulated? Let’s Just Say “No”