The Instigator
Chinks_Ash
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Biodome
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

We do not need Mathematics

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Biodome
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/4/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 711 times Debate No: 76174
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Chinks_Ash

Con

Mathematics is an important field of study in modern life. Mathematics does not means only working on complex mathematical models. It is also not an activity indulged in only by those with a lot of time on their hands.
Biodome

Pro

My opponent did not provide any definitions at all, so I will do that myself.


Definitions

Mathematics - the abstract science of number, quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts (pure mathematics ), or as applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering ( applied mathematics ). [1]

Need - require (something) because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable. [2]


Burden of Proof

I assume that this is a shared burden of proof. My opponent has to show that Mathematics, as defined above, is required because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.


I will provide my case below.


Humans can live without mathematics.

This is fairly obvious. Since mathematics is a relatively recent field, compared to the whole timeline of the Human species, it can be concluded that early humans were able to successfully live and reproduce without mathematical knowledge. Thus, if humans can live successfully without mathematics, it follows that mathematics is not required, not essential, not obligatory and not important. Therefore, by definition, we do not need mathematics.

Currently, my opponent has only stated that mathematics is an important field of study, but I fail to see how this translates into necessity, requirement or obligation. Moreover, my opponent failed to prove that it is indeed "important", in the sense that removing mathematical knowledge from humans would be disastrous or detrimental to the human species. Therefore, my opponent has not even attempted to meet her burden of proof.


Sources:

[1] https://www.google.co.uk...
[2] https://www.google.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
Chinks_Ash

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for providing a definition. But, I don't think it's required since we have been studying Mathematics from the start, the day when everyone of us joined school. The first day we were taught about numbers, and that's when Mathematics becomes a part of our life.

I personally don't think that Mathematics is a shared burden of proof. And as my opponent has asked me to show that Mathematics is required because it is very important, I would like to give some examples from daily life. I would like to draw attention to the fact that almost everything we do - from buying a bar of chocolate to reaching a movie hall on time -involves Mathematics. At a cricket match or a football match, what is score-keeping but the arithmetical form of Mathematics? While building a house, right from the planning stage, we need Mathematics in its various forms, such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. We need Mathematics to keep track of our day to day expenses too.

HUMAN CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT MATHEMATICS :

Even the earliest man had need of basic mathematical understanding: counting, keeping time, shape and symmetry in craft and art, and the practical matters of measuring and building, albeit roughly. Archaeological evidence for basic mathematical understanding (example, tallying by groups) dates back to 30,000 B.C.E., when bone artefact's were discovered from the Stone Age.

By 3500 B.C.E., the "Egyptians had a fully developed number system that would allow counting to continue indefinitely with only the introduction from time to time of a new symbol."" And by 3000 B.C.E., the Babylonians had developed a system of writing from pictographs which included a fully developed sexagesimal positional system and positional notation for sexagesimal fractions.

The towering achievement of Euclid's presentation of the Elements of Geometry kept that position for Geometry through to the end of the 1700 s and into the early 1800 s.

The real numbers and their establishment and properties is the provenance of analysis fundamentals, an accomplishment that was finally completed in the 1800 s by Cantor, Dedekind, and others.

SEVEN PERIODS OF MATHEMATICAL PRACTICE :
1. Proto-Mathematics (from the mists of ancient time, through the archaeological evidence of c.30000 B.C.E., up to 2000 B.C.E.):
Empirical, Not abstract, Basic

2. Ancient Mathematics (from 2000 B.C.E. up to 800 B.C.E.):
Empirical, Number and Figures abstracted, Highly sophisticated (Babylonian, Egyptian), Not axiomatic

3. Classical Mathematics (from 800 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E.):
Axiomatic geometry (Greek), Highly sophisticated geometry, Sophisticated abstraction in algebra and Algorithmization of arithmetic (Indian, Arabic, Central Asian)

4. Mercantile Mathematics (from 1400 C.E. to 1500 C.E.):
Improvement in numeration, Symbolic development, and Symbolic shorthand arithmetic (Renaissance Europe), Sophisticated algebra and Solution of equations (Italian wranglers)

5. Pre-Modern Mathematics (from 1500 C.E. to 1700 C.E.):
Functions, Continuous mathematics, Analytic geometry, Calculus, Applications to science

6. Modern Mathematics (from 1700 C.E. to 1950 C.E.):
Modern abstract analysis, Modern abstract algebra, Modern abstract geometry, Modern logic "" all freed mathematics from the perspectives, paradoxes, and problems encountered during the classical and mercantile periods

7. Post-Modern Mathematics (from 1950 C.E. to present):
Dramatic expansion in scope and productivity in mathematics, based upon axiomatic methods, accelerated by unprecedented growth in science, applied science, engineering, technology, statistics, and applications to all areas of human endeavor.

Sources:
http://mathscitech.org...
Biodome

Pro

I thank my opponent for responding to my argument. I can only feel sorry for the fact that this debate is extremely short, and, instead of the usual 4 or 5 rounds we are left with only 2 rounds, during which we can't possibly discuss the resolution in depth. Nevertheless, I will do my best in defending my own case and rebutting the case supplied by my opponent.


Definitions

My opponent acknowledges the definitions that I have supplied, but, curiously enough, she states that she doesn't think they are required, since, in her words, "we have been studying Mathematics from the start, the day when everyone of us joined school". I find this reason to be inadequate. First of all, the definition of the term Mathematics is by no means obvious, and in such debates there is a high risk of going off topic. Secondly, my opponent actually seems to have somewhat misunderstood the term (I will show why in a moment), which only necessitates it's explicit definition.


Burden of Proof

If I understand correctly, my opponent disagrees with the Burden of Proof that I have proposed, stating that "I personally don't think that Mathematics is a shared burden of proof". But this sentence is confusing to me. When I say that we have a shared Burden of Proof, I merely mean that each side of the debate should produce a constructive case, and that each side should show why their position is preferable to their opponent's position. If I had the full Burden of Proof, I would be at a disadvantage, since my opponent would only need to refute my arguments to win, which seems unfair, especially since my opponent is the instigator of the debate. If my opponent wanted an unequal Burden of Proof, she should have stated that clearly in the first round, since if this is not stated explicitly, a shared Burden of Proof can only be assumed.

I will now move on to the actual arguments for the resolution.


1. The supposed need for Mathematics.

My opponent provides several examples for why we supposedly need Mathematics. She talks about buying a bar of chocolate, keeping track of time, watching sports, building houses and keeping track of daily expenses. However, I have problems with this argument.

a) These examples do not meet the definition of "need".

Let me again recite the definition:
Need - require (something) because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.

I can see why the aforementioned uses of Mathematics would be desirable, yet I do not see why they would be of essential or of great importance to the human species. My opponent never provides any reason for why I should believe that. It is obvious that the application of mathematics to our daily lives increases our comfort and provides some structure to our society, but I would still argue that these applications of mathematics are not actually required for our survival as a species. The examples provided by my opponent clearly were non-existent in the early epochs of humanity, yet the human species had no problems living and reproducing during that time, so my original argument still stands.


2. Supposedly, Humans cannot live without mathematics.

My opponent provides me with a long list of important epochs in the development of Mathematics. She seems to think that this is a good argument for her case. However, I have issues with this.

a) The argument is a direct copy-paste from the original source.

It seems that my opponent simply copy-pasted the whole timeline of Mathematics from the original source, without using any quotation marks. My opponent fails to produce her own original argument, and she fails to correctly adhere to the rules of citation. Although I regret to do this, as this was probably unintentional, I must call this plagiarism.

b) It cannot be inferred from these examples that we need Mathematics.

My opponent could have at least tried to establish a link between what was said by the source and what we mean when we say we need Mathematics. She did not do that, and I fail to see how the whole thing can be used as an argument for her position.

c) There is a conflict of definitions.

My opponent seemingly ignores the fact that the words Mathematics and Need, which were defined in the previous round, have completely different meanings in the source article. When the source talks about Mathematics in the earliest period of human history, it refers to that as Proto-Mathematics. The innate and intuitive human ability to understand quantity, space and time, which is exactly what was going on, does not qualify as Mathematics, because it had not yet been abstractized. [1] Recall the definition of Mathematics in the first round:

Mathematics - the abstract science of number, quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts (pure mathematics ), or as applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering ( applied mathematics ).

Therefore, it becomes obvious that the early Human did not practice Mathematics, since that would require a far more abstract, non-empirical and purely logical view of the concept, which was non-existent until relatively recent periods of the Human civilization.

I simply maintain my position that the early Human could have and clearly did survive for a long time without mathematics, and that the whole argument here my opponent is trying to establish is basically reduced to a Red Herring and Equivocation.


Conclusion

Before concluding, I can only reiterate my dissatisfaction with the extremely short format of the debate and the lack of clear structure and definitions, which should have ideally been provided in the first round by my opponent. However, what's done is done and we should now consider the arguments that were put forth.

I still maintain my position that Humans can live without mathematics, which was a statement that was never successfully contested by my opponent. My opponent tried to cite both modern and ancient examples and practices of Mathematics, but, as I have pointed out, all of those cases either completely missed the definition of Mathematics, or of actual Need. Moreover, I would have much preferred my opponent to produce an original, relevant and well-structured argument, instead of blindly copy-pasted material from another article.

As the Burden of Proof goes, I believe that I have succeeded in establishing the fact that Mathematics, as defined in the first round, is neither required, nor essential, nor very important. Indeed, the only point on which I agree with my opponent is that it can be sometimes desirable, but that is of no relevance to the definition of Need. Consequently, I believe that my opponent has not produced a satisfactory argument for her own position, as it was based on several fallacies which I have pointed out. Therefore, my opponent didn't meet her Burden of Proof.

VOTE PRO!


Before ending the debate, I'd like to thank my opponent for initiating this challenge. This seems to be her first debate on this site, and I would therefore encourage her to continue producing interesting and thought-provoking arguments. Hopefully, you will find this site enjoyable.


Sources:

[1] http://www.jstor.org...
Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by crazyness 1 year ago
crazyness
This debate was very interesting, but since I cannot vote for some reasons, I would like to say that I go with pro because of the multiple sources they gave with all of their pointers. Math is important in the world because mostly everything on earth and in earth is made of math whatsoever. Even us human beings are made of math.
Posted by Nac 1 year ago
Nac
Are there any other parameters you would like to set?

Defining terms? Assigning Bop? Establishing rules against kritiks? I think you may want to specify these things now, or you are allowing your opponent to do these things for you.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Proving_a_Negative 1 year ago
Proving_a_Negative
Chinks_AshBiodomeTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Pro pointed out the plagiarism Con committed in Round 2. Conduct goes to Pro. Who made more convincing arguments? Con nailed his own coffin in round 1 conceding that humans can live without the intervention of math. Pro's entire case afterwards was that we need math to advance as a society, not that we need it to live. Therefore, I give Pro the more convincing arguments. Interesting debate. It's always surprising when I see a debate stay on topic nowadays.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 1 year ago
FaustianJustice
Chinks_AshBiodomeTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I hate awarding it like this, as I agree with Con's premise, but it just wasn't argued to the point it was needed. Con brought up good points regarding the identification of need, however, Pro was able to successfully show those needs were wants, and not a necessity. I think if Con would have argued "scaling" as a variant of math that is needed for survival (I ate food, but still am hungry, must add more food or something more elaborate), it would have been a more convincing case.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 1 year ago
Skepticalone
Chinks_AshBiodomeTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's "Humans can live without mathematics" was the undoing of Con's case. Humans can live without math (although it may not be a desirable existence), thus mathematics is not needed. Con provided examples of calculations in early human history, but Pro easily refuted by pointing out these do not meet the definition provided (they are not abstract). Arguments to Pro. I also agree with Pro about Con's plagiarism - and while it probably was unintentional - I must deduct a conduct point because of it. Good debate guys.