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Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

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Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  Guest on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:56 pm

http://catholicism.org/mathematics-and-christian-education.html


I write this post with all due respect to Br. Francis and Br. Andre but I think it is necessary to address.

I am sorry to say that I fail to see what point this article is trying to serve. I see the philosophical point of view of Brother Francis....and I even agree with it. Yes, people can make math into an end in itself, however the reality is that if you do not learn math you are going to struggle in the world. It doesn't explicitly say "don't study math" and it does say that it has use in the practical order but I think just the existence of such an anti-Math article tends to have that effect.

I don't hear of many people being unemployed who have a degree in Math, but I do have friends with art and theology degrees that are stuck working in retail.

I think my point here is that mathematics is a TRADE and that's how we need to look at it. We should not discourage teaching it in a Christian education, but just keep it in it's proper place.

Most decent paying professions have to do with math. Additionally these are often professions (engineer, computer programmer) that do not involve the concern or material vs. formal cooperation in evil. For example, if someone wants to be a social studies teacher they are going to have a hard time doing that and being a Catholic at the same time, however being a math teacher is completely feasible because you just teach how to solve problems without getting into your beliefs.

I really don't understand how the St. Benedict Center expects people to make money and have big families like they advocate if studying Math is to be frowned upon. Again the article does not say "don't study math" but it tends to have that effect...especially in a world where most people just skim an article and then come up with a spin on it.

In America there are very few manufacturing jobs that are left anymore--- it's all service economy and retail (financial dead ends for those wanting to start a family). Liberal arts degrees are also becoming useless. Most people with those are either teachers (and we have to deal with how to avoid teaching heresy and keep our job) or they have to work in the service economy. The only people I know who are making a decent living are those who majored in math!!!

It's easy to criticize the study of Math when you are a religious who lives off of donations.

Are there not bigger issues to tackle then why people should not study math?

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Re: Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  columba on Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:49 pm

Rasha I believe you to be correct on this. Mathematics is probably the only subject that is itself subject to absolute logic and where logical fallacies become apparent almost immediately (as demonstrated admirably by DeSelby) as they appear. Not only does math help one in the employment field but also in relation to ones approach to other pertinent matters where logical deductions become necessary in exposing illogically derived (and therefore false) conclussions.
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Re: Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:38 pm

Actually Mathematics in its proper use can be such a benefit to so many things! Intelligent Design has allies in mathematicians who just laugh at Darwinian Evolution absurd probabilities.

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Re: Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  DeSelby on Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:04 pm

I disagree with nearly everything you just wrote, Rasha. (I don't mean to sound so blunt, either.)

RashaLampa wrote:I write this post with all due respect to Br. Francis and Br. Andre but I think it is necessary to address.

I am sorry to say that I fail to see what point this article is trying to serve. I see the philosophical point of view of Brother Francis....and I even agree with it. Yes, people can make math into an end in itself, however the reality is that if you do not learn math you are going to struggle in the world. It doesn't explicitly say "don't study math" and it does say that it has use in the practical order but I think just the existence of such an anti-Math article tends to have that effect.

If I were to concede, hypothetically, that the article is "anti-Math", I would only say that it is against Math in its more, lets say, irrational, non-sensical and navel-gazing forms.

As this paragraph from the article makes clear:

"But in our time, education is overwhelmed by mathematics and on more than one score. For, while a contemplative interest in the properties of shapes and numbers is almost completely extinct, an illiberal and utterly inhuman form of mathematics dominates the years of learning of our boys and girls, almost completely from the very first year of the primary school to the very last year of college. In place of arithmetic and geometry, whose relation to reality is definite and understandable, there is now an indefinite confusion of branches which go by the name of mathematics, the nature of whose objects nobody understands! Such topics as topology, non-Eudidean geometry, Boolean algebra, transfinite numbers, projective geometry; not to speak of other more recognizable subjects like algebra, trigonometry, integral calculus, vector analysis and the theory of equations. These new subjects are not only more confusing but much more difficult to acquire, and therefore much less likely to leave the mind at leisure for other liberal studies. But the predominance of mathematics today is not restricted to those courses which go by its name, because mathematics, in some form or other, in matter or in method, has crept into every other corner of the curriculum. According to the modern positivistic conception, mathematics and not wisdom is considered as the prototype of science. In subjects ranging from physics to education, covering every field of human learning, there is an evident tendency to assimilate all knowledge to mathematical knowledge and to resolve all realities into mathematical formulas. This trend reaches its apex in the development of symbolic logic, in which guise mathematics invades even the field of philosophy, to distort all the basic conceptions of the mind, and to deflect all the activities of thought from attaining their fulfillment in true wisdom which consists in knowledge about God, by keeping them whirling endlessly around the nihilistic circle of sheer mathematical emptiness."

I completely agree with Br. Francis.

I don't hear of many people being unemployed who have a degree in Math, but I do have friends with art and theology degrees that are stuck working in retail.

I think my point here is that mathematics is a TRADE and that's how we need to look at it. We should not discourage teaching it in a Christian education, but just keep it in it's proper place.

I don't see how the article really says anything contrary to this; this idea of keeping math in its proper place.

Most decent paying professions have to do with math. Additionally these are often professions (engineer, computer programmer) that do not involve the concern or material vs. formal cooperation in evil. For example, if someone wants to be a social studies teacher they are going to have a hard time doing that and being a Catholic at the same time, however being a math teacher is completely feasible because you just teach how to solve problems without getting into your beliefs.

Let me go off on a tangent for a moment; the thing is, a Catholic social studies teacher (who doesn't sellout to get along) could actually make a difference in their students' lives because of the nature of the subject being taught (... and we're all familiar with, I'm sure, the liberal platitude about how teachers want to 'make a difference' in their students' lives), whereas a Catholic math teacher would potentially be just another cog in the wheel of a system we should be at variance with. Also, I assume we're talking about non-Catholic school teachers? But then, often these days it makes little difference.

I really don't understand how the St. Benedict Center expects people to make money and have big families like they advocate if studying Math is to be frowned upon. Again the article does not say "don't study math" but it tends to have that effect...especially in a world where most people just skim an article and then come up with a spin on it.

If we live in a world where "most people just skim an article and then come up with a spin on it", all the more reason, then, to take math off of its educational pedestal.

"And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Apocalypse 13:17)

... Sounds like that would be hard on big families too. "How in the world does Christ expect us to get by without getting the mark of the beast?"

It's easy to criticize the study of Math when you are a religious who lives off of donations.

That's a troubling criticism.

The apparent ease with which something is criticized doesn't make the criticisms invalid. In fact, his position as a religious should make his criticisms, if anything, even more valid, as he would have the time to contemplate reality unencumbered by worldly concerns and distractions. Maybe 1 Corinthians 7:33 is applicable in some way, "But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided."


Are there not bigger issues to tackle then why people should not study math?

But earlier you said that the article never actually said this, just that it tends to have that effect. So, this is not the right question, really, or even a valid one.

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Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  Mac on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:23 am

"But thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight."
Wisdom 11:21

"He that hath built the house, hath greater honour than the house. For every house is built by some man: but he that created all things, is God."
Heb 3: 3-4


Just an observation - I agree with Br. Francis. Math is the language of the accident of quantity. The modern materialist cannot get beyond the “house” so he cannot get beyond mathematics. Since matter in its subatomic examination disappears, so mathematics must chase matter and disappear into empty speculation, and so ultimately the “house” disappear into empty speculation as well. They exchange the philosophy of being for the non-substantial concept of becoming.

For those who can really see the “house,” they can see beyond the “house” to the creator of the “house,” and for them, mathematics can be a very useful tool to see the ‘fingerprint’ of God who “created all things” and “ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight.”

Like any language, if you cannot speak it you are at a loss around those who do. And living in a material world it is very useful to speak the language of quantity. But for all their emphasis on mathematics, the modern world is really incompetent in mathematics. That can be seen with usury. If they really knew the subject, really spoke the “language,” usury would be an impossible con.

“If you had borrowed one dollar at the time of Christ at 6% (compound) interest, how much money do you think you would owe today, 2000 years later?
Let’s do the math: 1.06^2000 = $4.09 x 10^50, or $409,006,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s orders of magnitude more money than there is in the whole world! To put that in perspective, if there were 10 billion people on the earth each earning $1 trillion dollars a second, for every second of every minute of every hour of every day from the beginning of time, 15 billion years ago, their combined earning would only amount to $4.07 x 10^39. It would take another 86 billion earths each full with 10 billion people earning $1 trillion dollars a second for every second from the beginning of time before you would come close to having enough money to pay back the interest due on a measly $1 loan at a low 6% interest for a mere 2000 years.”
Anthony Santelli, Ph.D., What is Usury? Culture Wars Magazine

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Re: Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  MRyan on Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:24 am

DeSelby wrote:I disagree with nearly everything you just wrote, Rasha. (I don't mean to sound so blunt, either.)

RashaLampa wrote:I write this post with all due respect to Br. Francis and Br. Andre but I think it is necessary to address.

I am sorry to say that I fail to see what point this article is trying to serve. I see the philosophical point of view of Brother Francis....and I even agree with it. Yes, people can make math into an end in itself, however the reality is that if you do not learn math you are going to struggle in the world. It doesn't explicitly say "don't study math" and it does say that it has use in the practical order but I think just the existence of such an anti-Math article tends to have that effect.

If I were to concede, hypothetically, that the article is "anti-Math", I would only say that it is against Math in its more, lets say, irrational, non-sensical and navel-gazing forms.

[...]
DeSelby,

Excellent critique.
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Re: Brother Francis- Mathematics and Christian Education

Post  columba on Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:04 pm

Mac wrote:
..from the beginning of time, 15 billion years ago,

Another contentious subject in itself.
Can Mathematics prove this? Smile
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