# Math as a universal language.

#### ecofarm

##### global liberation
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Most people can't do math. Love is the universal language. Only a few people can't do that.

#### TheParser

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1. I am in awe of people who are good at math.

2. I am a complete dunce at math.

a. My high school algebra teacher gave me a pity passing mark so that I could enter the university.

3. People who understand (really understand) math are by definition (IMHO) very intelligent people.

4. Why am I a dunce at math? I could blame my elementary school teachers, but I shan't.

a. I guess everyone is stupid in some subjects. Mine are math and science (and a few more).

5. I have heard that school districts are having a hard time getting qualified math teachers and especially qualified math teachers who know how to teach it to elementary and secondary students.

#### Patriotic Voter

##### Get a vaccine, not COVID-19!
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I'm going to disagree that math is a universal language. When sticking to single operands. This is true. 2+2 will always equal 4, regardless of the number base, label to the digit and such. Going to binary 10+10=100 and 2+2=10 in trinary. But the objects counted are still always the same amount.

Ten plus ten always equals twenty. Did you intend to type an asterisk or x there for multiplication, which would be correct?
Two plus two never equals ten. What in the world does the equation mean? Is this kids are not taught in any math classes?

#### AConcernedCitizen

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I ran across this recently.
View attachment 67326185
So first I am going to ask that if you want to debate any of the other points, start your own thread for that. I want to center on the "math is the universal language."

I'm going to disagree that math is a universal language. When sticking to single operands. This is true. 2+2 will always equal 4, regardless of the number base, label to the digit and such. Going to binary 10+10=100 and 2+2=10 in trinary. But the objects counted are still always the same amount.

But once you get into mixed operands, the order that you perform them is a constructed form, and is in no way natural or universal.

For example: under the current way we do math (PEDMAS or PEMDAS as you prefer) 2*2+4= 8. However, if we reverse the order we perform the operations, 2*2+4=12.

We humans made up that order of operations. So what if another race chose to use a different order? This math is NOT a universal language.

What say you?

Your contention that the order of operations means that math isn't the universal language is the same as pointing out that the Romans wrote VI instead of 6. Math obviously isn't always represented using the same symbols, and that is all the order of operations is; another symbol.

When people say that math is the universal language, they don't mean that an extraterrestrial visitor would see the number 5 written somewhere and magically know what amount that particular squiggle represented.

If you show an extraterrestrial 2 apples, and then 3 apples, and then 5 apples, and then 7 apples, and then 11 apples, a math-savvy E.T. will be able to show you 13 apples to communicate that they understand primes. If you draw a triangle in the dirt, and put two 3 apples along one side, and 4 apples along the other, a math-savvy E.T. will be able to put 5 apples along the hypotenuse.

#### AConcernedCitizen

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Ten plus ten always equals twenty. Did you intend to type an asterisk or x there for multiplication, which would be correct?
Two plus two never equals ten. What in the world does the equation mean? Is this kids are not taught in any math classes?

Binary is a number system that only has 10 digits, 0 and 1. Ternary, by contrast has 10 digits, 0,1, and 2. Hexadecimal has a whopping 10 digits. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,a,b,c,d,e, and f.

There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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#### EMNofSeattle

##### No Shame!
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I ran across this recently.
View attachment 67326185
So first I am going to ask that if you want to debate any of the other points, start your own thread for that. I want to center on the "math is the universal language."

I'm going to disagree that math is a universal language. When sticking to single operands. This is true. 2+2 will always equal 4, regardless of the number base, label to the digit and such. Going to binary 10+10=100 and 2+2=10 in trinary. But the objects counted are still always the same amount.

But once you get into mixed operands, the order that you perform them is a constructed form, and is in no way natural or universal.

For example: under the current way we do math (PEDMAS or PEMDAS as you prefer) 2*2+4= 8. However, if we reverse the order we perform the operations, 2*2+4=12.

We humans made up that order of operations. So what if another race chose to use a different order? This math is NOT a universal language.

What say you?
This entire poster is the type of thing displayed by very insecure neurotic people who need reminders of how they think they’re better than other people anyway

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
Ten plus ten always equals twenty. Did you intend to type an asterisk or x there for multiplication, which would be correct?
Two plus two never equals ten. What in the world does the equation mean? Is this kids are not taught in any math classes?
Did you miss the part that 2+2=10 in TRINARY? Are you under the impression that base 10 is the only numeric system in the world?

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
Your contention that the order of operations means that math isn't the universal language is the same as pointing out that the Romans wrote VI instead of 6. Math obviously isn't always represented using the same symbols, and that is all the order of operations is; another symbol.

I'm not sure that you read everything because I already noted that the difference in what symbols used did not make a difference.

When people say that math is the universal language, they don't mean that an extraterrestrial visitor would see the number 5 written somewhere and magically know what amount that particular squiggle represented.

I covered that as well.

If you show an extraterrestrial 2 apples, and then 3 apples, and then 5 apples, and then 7 apples, and then 11 apples, a math-savvy E.T. will be able to show you 13 apples to communicate that they understand primes. If you draw a triangle in the dirt, and put two 3 apples along one side, and 4 apples along the other, a math-savvy E.T. will be able to put 5 apples along the hypotenuse.

Granted. Not what I addressed at all. Maybe go back and read.

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
Binary is a number system that only has 10 digits, 0 and 1. Ternary, by contrast has 10 digits, 0,1, and 2. Hexadecimal has a whopping 10 digits. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,a,b,c,d,e, and f.

There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

For those that missed this, this typo was supposed to be 16.

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
Did you miss the part that 2+2=10 in TRINARY? Are you under the impression that base 10 is the only numeric system in the world?
Correction to my own post. 2+2 in base 3 or trinary would actually be 11. 2+2=10 occurs in base 4.

#### AConcernedCitizen

DP Veteran
I'm not sure that you read everything because I already noted that the difference in what symbols used did not make a difference.

No, I read it. Order of operations is just another symbol. It is used to communicate an idea, just as the symbol 6, or VI is used as a symbol to communicate an idea. The symbols are obviously not universal, the ideas they represent are.

I covered that as well.

But you didn't learn your own lesson. The order of operations is no different. It is merely a symbol.

Granted. Not what I addressed at all. Maybe go back and read.

It is what you addressed. You imagine that order of operations is somehow different from the squiggle used to represent a number. It is not. It is part of the corpus of arbitrary symbols used to represent mathematical concepts, and not part of the universally applicable laws that give math the reputation for being a universal language.

#### AConcernedCitizen

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For those that missed this, this typo was supposed to be 16.

That wasn't a typo. It was supposed to be 10.

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
SO something I ran across that no one has yet to bring up as a point, and that I completely missed in my calculations (Hey I have 9 kids and 12 grandkids. Puns are practically a requirement from me). Multiplication is essentially addition short hand. 2*2 is 2+2+2+2 or 4+4. So in doing multiplication before addition, you are, in effect, converting to like units. So there is indeed a mathematical principle for doing multiplication before addition and subtraction. However, division is not subtraction shorthand. 6/2 in no way can be converted in to anything with addition or subtraction. So what is the basis for putting it in any certain order of operation? I've shown the why to multiplication, something none of you did. Can anyone show a why to division?

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#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
That wasn't a typo. It was supposed to be 10.
NM, I did miss what you did there. No matter the system, there will always be 10 digits IF you are describing them in that same system.

#### AConcernedCitizen

DP Veteran
SO something I ran across that no one has yet to bring up as a point, and that I completely missed in my calculations (Hey I have 9 kids and 12 grandkids. Puns are practically a requirement from me). Multiplication is essentially addition short hand. 2*2 is 2+2+2+2 or 4+4. So in doing multiplication before addition, you are, in effect converting to like units. So there is indeed a mathematical principle for doing multiplication before addition and subtraction. However, division is not subtraction shorthand. 6/2 in no way can be converted in to anything with addition or subtraction. So what is the basis for putting it in any certain order of operation? I've shown the why to multiplication, something none of you did. Can anyone show a why to division?

Orders of operation are entirely unnecessary. Just put parentheses around everything.

((2*8)+3) = 19
(2*(8+3)) = 22

Prioritizing orders of operations are only useful for avoiding confusion for expressions not contained in parentheses. An extraterrestrial civilization that specified all value groupings with a value grouping symbol in this way would not need an order of operations for their system at all.

Also, thinking of multiplication as essentially shorthand addition is one of the least useful ways to think of multiplication. It's much more useful to think of it in terms of scaling or stretching (or rotating once you get to the complex plane.) But if you do want to think of it as a shorthand addition, then division is also shorthand addition, and also shorthand subtraction, since division is the same process as multiplication and subtraction is the same process as addition.

So for example, if 2*2 is 2+2 (2+2+2+2 or 4+4 doesn't make any sense since 2*2=4, and 2+2+2+2=8) then 2/0.5 is also 2+2. It is also 2-(-2). Multiplication and division both scale a value, with the distinction between the two only vaguely indicating the direction of scaling, since either can be used to scale in either direction. Likewise, addition and subtraction both translate a value in either direction. So for example x+y can be written as x-(-y) and x-y can be written as x+(-y). To take your example, 6/2 is identical to 6*(1/2), so it could easily be converted to (1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2) if you are inclined to convert multiplication in that way.

#### maquiscat

DP Veteran
Orders of operation are entirely unnecessary. Just put parentheses around everything.

((2*8)+3) = 19
(2*(8+3)) = 22

Prioritizing orders of operations are only useful for avoiding confusion for expressions not contained in parentheses. An extraterrestrial civilization that specified all value groupings with a value grouping symbol in this way would not need an order of operations for their system at all.

Also, thinking of multiplication as essentially shorthand addition is one of the least useful ways to think of multiplication. It's much more useful to think of it in terms of scaling or stretching (or rotating once you get to the complex plane.) But if you do want to think of it as a shorthand addition, then division is also shorthand addition, and also shorthand subtraction, since division is the same process as multiplication and subtraction is the same process as addition.

So for example, if 2*2 is 2+2 (2+2+2+2 or 4+4 doesn't make any sense since 2*2=4, and 2+2+2+2=8) then 2/0.5 is also 2+2. It is also 2-(-2). Multiplication and division both scale a value, with the distinction between the two only vaguely indicating the direction of scaling, since either can be used to scale in either direction. Likewise, addition and subtraction both translate a value in either direction. So for example x+y can be written as x-(-y) and x-y can be written as x+(-y). To take your example, 6/2 is identical to 6*(1/2), so it could easily be converted to (1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2)+(1/2) if you are inclined to convert multiplication in that way.
Not replying to the whole thing, but have to put in....Damn it! The intended equation was supposed to be 2*4, not 2*2. This should teach me not to try math before coffee

#### Patriotic Voter

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Did you miss the part that 2+2=10 in TRINARY? Are you under the impression that base 10 is the only numeric system in the world?

I have no idea what that means. All I understand is 2+2=4 and 10+10=20.

#### Rogue Valley

##### Exordium and Terminus
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The golden discs being carried on both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 contain images of mathematical and physical quantities.

This works because any intelligent life form would comprehend basic mathematic relationships and basic physics such as the composition of the hydrogen atom.

#### maquiscat

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I have no idea what that means. All I understand is 2+2=4 and 10+10=20.
Then you have no comprehension of number systems. Computers use both binary and hexadecimal number systems, or base 2 and base 16. In binary, There are only two digits, 0 and 1. Thus 1+1=10 in binary. 9+5=e is in hexadecimal. Trinary would be only three digits, and base 4 would only have four digits. Progression in base 4 would be 0, 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, etc. So 2+2=10 in base 4.

#### Patriotic Voter

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Then you have no comprehension of number systems. Computers use both binary and hexadecimal number systems, or base 2 and base 16. In binary, There are only two digits, 0 and 1. Thus 1+1=10 in binary. 9+5=e is in hexadecimal. Trinary would be only three digits, and base 4 would only have four digits. Progression in base 4 would be 0, 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, etc. So 2+2=10 in base 4.

Did you take calculus in college?

#### maquiscat

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Did you take calculus in college?
Don't need it to understand basic number systems. A background in computers help, but isn't required either.

#### Patriotic Voter

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Don't need it to understand basic number systems. A background in computers help, but isn't required either.

The only "basic" number system is counting absolutes forward and backward.

#### AConcernedCitizen

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The only "basic" number system is counting absolutes forward and backward.

Do you understand the reason why you can express the number 9 with only one digit, but you need two digits to express the number 10?

#### Patriotic Voter

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Do you understand the reason why you can express the number 9 with only one digit, but you need two digits to express the number 10?

Because the first single digit number is 0.

#### AConcernedCitizen

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Because the first single digit number is 0.

Right, so once you run out of single digits, you have to start over with two digits, putting a 1 in the tens place to signify that you have one set of 10, and, and a 0 in the one's place to signify that you have no extras beyond that set of ten. Then 11 means you have 1 set of 10 and 1 extra. 12 means you have one set of 10 and 2 extras etc.

Now imagine that you ran out of single digits a little bit earlier. No one ever invented 9, so you run out of digits once you get to 8. How would you keep counting after 8 if you didn't have any more single digits?