Nic wrote: "the answer's just 2/.39 so it's arithmetic." Sure that's the answer, but how did you get it?

BY DIVISIONYou have 2 oranges, someone gives you 2 more how many oranges do you have?

2+2=4

that's addition. not algebra.

the mere fact that you can write it in an awkward, unintuitive way as 2+2=x, find x does

not make it algebra. it does not require you to know algebra

on any level whatsoeverSomeone who has never ever heard of algebra in their lives, who has never done any form of algebra, who has never solved for x, has only ever done basic arithmetic can still figure out how many 39 cent items they can get for 2 dollars or how many oranges they will have if they have 2 then someone gives them 2 more.

Yes you absolutely can define it in terms of an algebraic system, you can also define such things with set theory but that doesn't make basic arithmetic set theory.

You're confusing

"X can be defined using Y"

with

"X can ONLY be defined with Y"

or possibly even worse the blatant falsehood:

"You need to understand Y to be good at using X"

Jaywalk3r wrote:I can't help but feel a perverse joy knowing that I am the one who let you in on the dirty little secret, that your teachers tricked you into learning algebra without you realizing it. Morever, you use algebra often!

Again you're merely expressing it as an algebraic system. that doesn't make it algebra nor require you to know algebra on any level, you can express many algebraic problems with calculus, that doesn't make it calculus. you can express most methods of calculation in others in the same way that you can express any programming language in any other, that makes them equivilent but that does not mean that you know haskell just because you know C and a haskell interpreter can be written in C or that you know C just because you know haskell and a haskell intepreter can be written in C (though the one you're

actually using may instead be written in, lets say,assembly).

If someone says, "I can't program computers" I don't feel the urge to force them, nor do I feel the urge to turn around and say "well, every time you click a button on a web page you're issuing instructions to a computer so you're really just using a subset of programming" because that would be nothing but inventively thick. true yet not usefuly so in any way shape or form and completly unhelpful.

It would make me into this guy:

http://data.whicdn.com/images/27221588/ ... _thumb.jpgEverything you do on a computer, from editing a word document to playing pong may be a subset of the tasks possible on a universal turing machine but forcing kids to program universal turning machines will improve neither their word documents nor their ability to play pong and they don't need to know a damned thing about universal turing machines in order to do either well. they're not programming a universal turing machine on an instinctive level or anything else silly like that because they've never heard of one nor learned anything about one. the mere fact that what they're doing can be expressed as opperations on a universal turing machine doesn't change that.

Might people be better off if they learned a little basic scripting? maybe.

Might they be better off if they learned "from the ground up", starting with programming for a turing machine completely disconnected from real world problems?

I don't hate my field enough to force kids to do that.

Adam H wrote:And every time I throw something into the wind I think "roughly 35 degrees for maximum distance!"

You're a remarkable human being. how's your aim? I expect you can throw a football further and more accuratly than the kids who wasted their time merely practicing to throw a football far and on target.

Adam H wrote:Every time I accelerate or brake in a car, I think "heh, the derivative of acceleration is jerk."

And sometimes when I flex my arm I think "heh, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism"

But that doesn't help with the act in any way. I may be using ATP but I'm not using the knowledge.

you "use" math when you drive the same way you use chemistry to live. (unless you crash a lot)

Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.