Are Mathematics Beautiful?
Debate Rounds (3)
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:
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.
jpisar forfeited this round.
jpisar forfeited this round.
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