CMV: It should be acceptable to give up on math and not being a "math person"

The issue is that a society that is bad at math can easily be lied to. If I told you that 200 people a day were catching a disease, are you going to be concerned or not? Is 200 more or less than the number of friends you have? Is it 200 people a day for a week or for a year? Is it just in a city or in an entire country?

Understanding the magnitude compared to your life is math utilizing the alligators (< >).

If it's 200 people a day for a week straight you multiply 200 by 7, if it's 200 people a day for a year you multiply by 365.

If it's a city you divide 200 people by 100,000 to get the rate of death. If it's a country you can divide 200 people by 100 million.

You don't literally have to whip out a calculator or even a pen and pencil but having an ability to estimate the actual impact is very valuable in discerning the news. If you hear about a murder on the news every single night, should you be concerned? Well if they cover every murder in your state, probably not. If 5,000 people in your town got sick from drinking the water you should probably pay attention.

A society that doesn't understand basic math and statistics is very easy to manipulate and lie to.

/r/changemyview Thread