Occam’s Razor seems to be what’s needed here.

Pete ]]>

http://newtonmathtutors.com/math-teaches-you-to-think/539/

My own quick reaction to the op-ed is negative — though I’m not certain of this, I suspect that algebraic problem-solving

teaches useful mental habits that both open up possible future careers and also help train people’s general problem-solving abilities— but I don’t have time to say more about it.

from Eugene Volokh (nothing about logical thinking specifically)

http://volokh.com/2012/07/30/fermats-dilemma/

http://www.mathguide.com/issues/whymath.html

talks a lot about “problem-solving,” but nothing about logical.

The argument is something of a moving target. Sometimes it is “teaches you to think,” “teaches critical thinking,” “teaches problem solving,” etc.

My point is that the type of thinking taught in most mathematics courses outside of statistics is not applicable to many, many real world situations which are highly unpredictable and emotional when human beings are involved. Even statistics generally does not match the level of uncertainty in many real world situations, where the assumption of independent identically distributed variables is invalid.

A lot of human behavior does not appear to be logical.

This is why a lot of people who are strong at mathematics don’t do well in many real world situations, especially involving human beings.

]]>In the current dialogues on STEM and STEAM education, the consideration that there are other ways to learn to think logically is being addressed. ]]>

Additionally, could it also be the case that wiring your brain for mathematical problem solving allows you to more readily understand human behavior elsewhere? Human behavior may not be taught explicitly in a math course, but if you were to put a math student and a non-math student in a course that looks at the human mind, are you convinced that a non-math student would more often and more readily pick up and understand the concepts?

From a one-dimensional perspective, yes, human behavior doesn’t really fit into a math syllabus. However, I don’t think mathematicians generally assume their world has definite answers to every problem. I would argue that mathematicians are generally smarter than most people and would be more reasonable in their assessments.

]]>Yes. Math doesn’t “teach” you how to think… a better wording is:

“The proper assimilation of mathematical abstractions is one of the aspects that helps you to structure complex situations and information into meaningful patterns”.

In order to apply math you need a deep understanding of two things. First the mathematical concept you want to apply, and second the reality you are interested in.

The real problem is to make students believe that “all you need is math”… math is not a toolbox. Problem solving it’s a very complicated human ability… most people underestimate it. ]]>