Using Math Through the Day
As I rise in the morning my initial thoughts are subconscious calculations of how my planned day will proceed. Will I have enough time and energy to propel forward. Immediately I realize I am in a calorie deficit. My body has been obediently subtracting and consuming the calories of the day as I slept; Performing its own variation of algebra to make sure my organs received what they needed. I think silently, I am so glad I don’t have to think about it, it just does it itself. So, I am headed off to the coffee kitchen where I use my estimating skills to drop exactly the correct amount of grounds in the filter for what I hope to be a warm and fuzzy cup of coffee.
Next, I need to measure my portions exact as I am watching my diet very closely and begin with 2 scoops of finely ground protein powder that was formulated by chemists, dieticians and marketing professionals to achieve the proportionately effective combination of progressive ingredients using ratios, algebra, proportional reasoning and calculus. I will literally begin drinking a math problem of sorts whose design is precise and concise to give me clean energy. Now, I am ready for work and I am off on my wheels. However, my minds kicks into a mode of dramatic subconscious mathematical calculations. As one internet blog states…”Yep, driving a car. You use math there too. When driving, math is being utilized both in a general understanding, and in actual use. You use math to make calculations and adjustments as you drive.
You need to understand math skills to know how your vehicle is operating and how the environment is changing around you as you drive.” It’s a miracle how the mind performs detailed calculations of area, distance and speed. We perform these so accurately to allow us to avoid collisions, and minor scrapes and keep us in comfortable safety. It’s so precise that I can narrowly miss by a sliver the rear bumper of someone’s car as I squeeze ever so tightly into the Costco parking space. I have mastered the distance projection of my hood and bumper to perform these driving actions without much effort. Whilst God, our incredible creator is holding life and creation together at all times, I am merely trying to be careful. Which leads me to the concept of faith vs. science. It’s astonishing to me that people rely on their own thinking and reasoning outside of God and believe they are creating and in charge of concepts and order. Whereas we are merely gifted the intelligence we are given to live our lives in a challenging and exciting way.
“God in Mathematics”
Forbes published an article called, “God in Mathematics” which argues beautifully this reality stated as, “The argument is that mathematical laws, in order to be properly relied upon, must have attributes which indicate an origin in God. They are true everywhere (omnipresent), true always (eternal), cannot be defied or defeated (omnipotent), and are rational and have language characteristics (which makes them personal). Omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, personal… Sounds like God. Math is an expression of the mind of God. Sound strange? It isn’t. Modern natural science was created by people who said that they were trying to ‘think God’s thoughts after Him.’
It occurred to Poythress that this argument applies to the ‘laws’ of mathematics, but what about the mathematics of what is allegedly outside the law, the mathematics of chance? Does chance kill the laws of math and with them, the need for their Lawgiver? For Poythress, chance is not chaos, it is simply missing knowledge. To say that in a fair coin toss there is a 50% chance of heads is to say more about our knowledge (particularly the lack thereof) than it does about whether the laws of math applied. Fifty/fifty simply means that out of the two options we have no knowledge which we can use to favor one outcome or the other. The outcome is not random, not chaotic: it’s just unknown. For Poythress, the Calvinist, the outcome is known by God and even determined by Him. It’s not chance to Him, it’s plan. With our limited knowledge, however, it looks like chance. If we knew enough, we’d know the outcome of the toss and we’d know it with 100% certainty.”
I believe God gives important knowledge to those he knows will listen inquisitively and will do something with this knowledge for a divine purpose for humanity. I love this rhyming couplet, “Nature and Nature’s laws lay hidden in night God said: ‘Let Newton be!” and all was light”Alexander Pope.”
Math in the Universe
Here is something else to ponder and many have thought of before. How do concepts arrive and how is a thought conceived? In a book called, “Weird Math”, David Darling challenges the conceptual thoughts of math. Note he uses the word invent. I prefer born, for unto a thought is born. But whose to say who is right or wrong. “It is possible that the universe isn’t, in reality mathematical? After all, space and the objects it contains don’t directly present anything mathematical to us. We humans realize and make approximations in order to model aspects of the universe. In doing so, we find mathematics extremely useful in in enabling us to understand it. That doesn’t necessarily imply that math is anything other than a convenience of our making. But if mathematics isn’t present in the universe to start with, how is it that we are able to invent it in order to put it to such use.” (Darling, p. 10)
Math in Work and Parenthood
Now back to the day! I am finally at work and accounting and real estate is my trade. I live and die by calculations each day. While I am easily confused by algebra, I am a surprisingly good accountant and furthermore enjoy the math that ensues real estate. I enjoy the challenge and love connecting math to doing an excellent job at work and for my clients. I am also a mother of two beautiful daughters whom I spend a great deal of time with in play and in coordinating. Mothers are seemingly making effortless calculations continually to keep our children safe, prepared and nurtured.
Since I love jokes, I found some tweets on parenting that related to math, because as parents we think deeply into percentages. “Parenting is 10% making sure the kids are wearing pants when we leave the house and 90% making sure cups have the exact same amount of juice”, “Parenting is 99 percent looking for stuff.”; “Parenthood is 50% arranging nice things for your kids to do and 50% threatening to take them away.” and “Parenting is 50% repeating yourself…and 50% repeating yourself. (You see what I did there?)”. (Heugel, 2019)
I haven’t ventured into dinner or bedtime; however, each day begins and ends with math. Now I lay myself down to sleep. I pray to the lord my clock won’t beep in five hours and 55 minutes to be precise. I see and feel math in all parts of my daily life and can visualize all parts are in effect part of an intricate web of mathematical movement called life.
- Johnr. (2012). Driving a car, yep… Retrieved from, http://www.calcunation.com/blogs.php/driving-a-car-yep-you-use-math-there-too/
- Boyer, J. (2016). God in mathematics. Retrieved from, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerrybowyer/2016/04/19/where-does-math-come-from-a-mathematiciantheologian-talks-about-the-limits-of-numbers/#68318a3c4a3a
- Darling, D. J., & Banerjee, A. (2018). Weird math: A teenage genius & his teacher reveal the strange connections between math & everyday life. New York, NY: Basic Books, Hachette Book Group.