Today, we discussed the water/rock problem from the homework that is due on Friday. Then, we watched two videos related to filters. The first was Eli Pariser’s TED talk “Beware Online Filter Bubbles.” This video and how it relates to filters is obvious. The second video was a clip from “The Doctors” about child vaccinations. That video can be found here. How this filter relates to filters is much different. The point is that our own society and upbringing place us into certain filters, whether we know it out not. Life experiences can change that. While I myself stand on the “please vaccinate your children for their own good” side, I actually agree that the other side of the debate is raising good points.

Another filter that we discussed was politics in the U.S. When you hear “conservative” or “liberal,” the views of the Democratic and Republican Parties may pop into your mind. But, worldwide, the words conservative and liberal have a much different meaning. Wikipedia says that conservatism, generically, “promotes retaining traditional social institutions” while liberalism is “founded on ideas of liberty and equality.” There are significant problems with using those definitions as, for instance, most conservatives would argue that their views are also based on liberty … and that equality is a starting point, after which hard work versus laziness could cause and sustain a just inequality. (This is just an example. It’s my goal that my political views aren’t part of the discussion.)

A better working definition, in my mind, is one where conservatism is described by government control and liberalism is described by the lack of that control. In that view, our Republican Party is socially conservative, yet economically liberal, while the Democratic Party is the opposite on both counts. This definition, I have found, works better around the globe. It also shows that we’re in a very specific bubble, one that seriously limits our understanding of international politics. For instance, I lived in Sweden and I’ll give a brief introduction to the confusion that this American bubble view could create when placed into Swedish politics. The largest political party in Sweden is, by far, Sveriges Socialdemokratiska arbetarparti (Sweden’s Social Democratic Workers’ Party). They are primarily an economic party with a theoretical basis in Marxist revisionism (where a revolution isn’t needed to create a socialist society), and have made Sweden the home to the longest lasting democratically elected socialist government in history. They are a very conservative economic party, even though some recent movements have caused them to dabble in social policy (namely feminist movements) as well. An opposition party to them is the Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrats). This party is economically liberal, focusing on decreasing regulations on companies and lowering taxes. They too are primarily an economic party. A party that represents “classical liberalism,” which is close to what our working definition of less government control across the board, is Moderata samlingspartiet (The Moderate Coalition Party). They, for instance, generally support lower taxes and deregulation, but they also support same-sex marriage. An oddity is that they support to a large extent the Swedish welfare and benefit system, which is huge.

Why Filters Matter in Mathematics

Math isn’t just calculation, like what you do in algebra or calculus. Math is logic, deduction, and proof. If your starting point for the beginning of a logical argument is flawed, your argument can be undone potentially very easily, no matter how well it is constructed afterward.


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