The Instigator
jpisar
Pro (for)
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The Contender
savvga13
Con (against)
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Are Mathematics Beautiful?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/11/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 900 times Debate No: 37620
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)

 

jpisar

Pro

According to various mathematicians, such as Bertrand Russel mathematics can be compared to a art, such as poetry or music. In the sense that is beautiful, it is creative and it has some elegant proofs.
savvga13

Con

Hi, I 'm Savvga. The topic for this debate sounded really intersting, and I am eager to make a case against it.

First, I would not describe myself as being good at math. I am good enough to pass, but I am a slow problem solver and generally prefer English or Humanities in general to sunjects related to math. That said, please don't get the impression that I am going to be biased in my argument because I don't like math as much. Thank you.

Anyways, I would argue that mathematics is not beautiful. Math is a system of numbers and the purpose of math is to solve the numbers, decode them, learn them, compare them. These numbers are numbers-they are a shape with a value. In many cases, this system of numbers will have one answer-one cold, hard truth-nothing aesthetic about that. For an example, in Algebra, if you are given the equation of:

4x+2=18

You would take the steps to solve it-subtract 2 from both sides; you get 16, then divide 4 from both sides, in which you get the answer-x=4. The variable "x" cannot be anything but 4. It cannot not be 2, or 2.5, or 67, or -4 -it has to be 4, and it will always be 4, otherwise it cannot work out. This is where math cannot be said as beautiful-it cannot change most of the time-it is just that number, and that number always. Conversly, in art, your painting or doodle or music or poetry or story, things can expand, add in other definitions, become abstract, colorful, cheerful, bright, moody, fun, somber, a whole range of moods and variations; but that 4 in the previos equation, will never change into another number.

Now, Geometry can be viewed as a beautiful form of math-angles and lines taht stretch on forever, planes, collinear points, postuilates, conjectures-a lot of possibilities and no clear definitions. Surely this must fit under a type of art. I mean, geometry is included in optical illusons and architecture and just about everything. Yet geometry, in its abstractness, is also a set of cold, hard truth and facts. Postulates for an example. There is no way you can go around a postulate, no way you can explain them. Three points will always be coplanar. A line will always run through two points. You can't change this, can you? And if you can' change it, what is so beautiful about it. Meanwhile, in music or poetry or a writing piece, you can bend the boundaries-your imagination creates the story, the poem, the music. Your notes can can swing, dance, go high, go low, flow together or be cut into short, choppy rhythms. The story or essay you are writing comes from your viewpoint of the world, and you words can come out as anything. Your poem is inspired by you or the people, events, and scenery around you, that is always changing, forever. Yet you can't get past geometry's postulates. You can't make a line not go through two points, just as you cannot make three points not be coplanar. There is nothing creative in here. However, what you write, compose, or paint will go beyond the limits, and nothing is impossible, thus creating a beautiful end product.

Furthermore, geometry may have its abstract areas, but it always returns to the same postulates, and the same formulas. for an example, the segment addition postulate- AB+BC will always equal AC. This brings me to another point-math is ruled by formulas and facts. There is the slope formula. There are the formulas for volume, surface area, area, perimeter, polynomials, monomials. Everything is math will have a set of rules or formulas that you will always circle back to, memorize, and use. Everyone needs to know their multiplication facts. These multiplication facts are to be memorized- no way to learn them if you don't memorize them, no matter way, shape, or form. And to add on, you cannot change multiplication facts-6*6 is 36, 8*9 is 72-you cannot make them have a different end product. You must follow these certain rules, there is no space for creative thinking-it's either you use the formula to solve the problem, or you cannot do the problem. Art does not need to follow the rules. Art is decided by you, and how you want to execute it, and if you don't know how, well, get out a sheet of paper and see where your imagination takes you. The end result is sure to be something pleasing to the eye, and beautiful in its own unique way. In math, imagination is allowed when you are asked to find all intersecting/parallel/perpendicular/coplanar lines/segments on a three dimensional object. Otherwise, there really is no imagination or creativity in math. Plus, did anyone question why 6*6 is 36? Because it just is? Because it works that way? Well why does it work that way. In fact, why does 6 have to have the value of 6? Why can't 6 be the value of 7? What is 6, and what is 7? You can't really question math and its rules, but you can question art and its meaning. In conclusion, math is too structured, factual, and pratical to be a beautiful thing.

Thank you, and I look forward to my opponent's rebuttal! I am sorry for the length, and hope I was clear enough.
Debate Round No. 1
jpisar

Pro

jpisar forfeited this round.
savvga13

Con

My opponent forfeited, so I can't really do anything. Looking forward to my opponent's argument when he posts it.

-savvga13
Debate Round No. 2
jpisar

Pro

jpisar forfeited this round.
savvga13

Con

My opponent forfeited again.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by jpisar 3 years ago
jpisar
Hi, sorry for not answering before, I was busy. If you want we can restart the debate. Here is are my arguments:

Here I will argue that you are right in the sense that algebra and geometry as tought in highschool can become really boring and not creative at all. I agree that learning the multiplication tables is a boring hateful stuff. But when I mean mathematics, by no means I refer to Algebra and Geometry in highschool. Rather mathematics seen as a deep and complex science is perhaps the most creative expression of human intelligence and I will show you why.

Since Euclid and his 5 postulates of geometry math has shown us how with as few as 5 very simple assumptions you can calculate, prove or disprove any geometric object conceivable on earth. This is done a by a very difficult, exact and creative process called proving theorems. That is from the 5 postulates you can get basically a infinite amount of theorems that reveal exquisite relationships between objects. For example you can prove that a circle is in fact a polyhedron with infinite angles! That, I think, is beautiful because is simple yet extremely complex

The postulates are:

1. A straight line segment can be drawn joining any two points.
2. Any straight line segment can be extended indefinitely in a straight line.
3. Given any straight lines segment, a circle can be drawn having the segment as radius and one endpoint as center.
4. All Right Angles are congruent.
5. If two lines are drawn which intersect a third in such a way that the sum of the inner angles on one side is less than two Right Angles, then the two lines inevitably must intersect each other on that side if extended far enough. This postulate is equivalent to what is known as the Parallel Postulate.

With this and only this you can draw this fractal:
http://goo.gl...
Posted by xenkenny 3 years ago
xenkenny
Obviously language and words are art as well, we have music, poetry, novels, etc.

So... Your point? Math does EXACTLY the same thing. You've only done elementary algebra, so you have no idea what mathematics actually contains.
Posted by savvga13 3 years ago
savvga13
@xenkenny-true. But words and languaes are even more an art then, becaue amere description can make some disordely event or scene order itself into letters, syllables, words, phrases, sentences.
Posted by xenkenny 3 years ago
xenkenny
Order makes sense. Bringing order from something chaotic is an art. Humanity would have nothing if order weren't established and sought after.
Posted by savvga13 3 years ago
savvga13
@xenkenny-but chaos can be beautiful too. Order is conformity.
Posted by xenkenny 3 years ago
xenkenny
Math is astoundingly beautiful. Math isn't just plugging numbers into an equation to solve for x. It's used to model the universe. Bringing order from chaos is sublime.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by savvga13 3 years ago
savvga13
true, but that does not mean mathematics in itself is beautiful, or a form of art.
Posted by CrucifyTheEgo 3 years ago
CrucifyTheEgo
I think it's beautiful simply because solving mathematics contributes to brain growth in young and old.
No votes have been placed for this debate.