Talk:Mathematics

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This is great, conservapedia has half a page about mathematics, whereas wikipedia has dozens upon dozens of pages devoted to various fields of mathematics. I'm glad to see that conservapedia has no interest what-so-ever in mathematics, a true testament to the intelligence of this fine, fine website. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GroupsAndFields (talk)

Dude, you misspelled "testament". Try improving yourself first and then you might be in a position to criticize others.
Unlike Wikipedia, Conservapedia does not take the childish approach of "more words is better." We strive to be concise as a good encyclopedia should. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 21:57, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
[Note: GroupsAndFields corrected his original spelling of "testiment" after this Philip J. Rayment 19:55, 31 May 2008 (EDT)]
Also, Conservapedia has been around for only a year and a half, whereas Wikipedia has had 7 years to acquire all its articles. I'd say the amount of content, mathematical and otherwise, that CP has produced in that short time is downright astounding. While I don't think we will usurp the position of a pure mathematical reference such as MathWorld, we will have a thorough sampling of all the major concepts of mathematics in an accessible form. That's the content a general knowledge encyclopedia should have. Foxtrot 22:12, 24 May 2008 (EDT)


Contents

Let's do this.

And by "this" I mean "make major strides in the quality and quantity of mathematics articles on Conservapedia". I'm new here and don't know whether to just jump in or to cool my heels and appeal to authority. RandRover1982 22:13, 13 November 2008 (EST)

I think there should be some sort of comment from the higher-ups at Conservapedia on the quality of the articles and the improvements that need to be made in order for the article to be up to standards. Here, for instance, the article needs to be expanded, referenced, linked and corrected. The subject of mathematics is too important to have such a brief sketch as the main entry. Mathematics is perhaps the only area of "science" that has no conflict with scripture. jdstarrett 10:48, 30 June 2009 (MST)

We are only a two year old encyclopedia. We need editors to improve the site and that doesn't begin nor end with mathematics. Please contribute to a worthy cause. Is math science? --Jpatt 12:52, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
Whether it's science or not, it would be helpful if some admin would take charge of the math here and give us a real vision of what CP math should be. Articles on basic topics like the derivative and Riemann integral have been deleted in the past, while the article on multiplier ideal sheaves is still here (a perfectly reasonable exposition, but obviously far beyond CP's math coverage). There's no real organization to the articles, and the "mathematics" main page links to a lot of stubs giving very short explanations of various topics in mathematics that won't be useful to anyone not already familiar with them ("number theory", etc.). I tried to expand "differential geometry" and a couple similar articles to actually give some idea what these subjects are about, but there's a lot left to do and I'm reluctant to start more serious work until there are real guidelines for what should be in such articles. On the other hand, there are a fairly large number of good articles sitting out there, which just need to be organized somehow.
I'm inclined to think that definitions of (relatively) basic notions in differential geometry like the curvature tensor (and similar topics in other fields) will probably never belong here. On the other hand, it's perfectly possible to give a fluffy take on what differential geometry is all about, and provide easy references for interested students. Is this the level for which we are aiming? The articles on basic algebraic structures are at a similar level -- a definition, some examples and motivation, but no difficult theorems.
There's also some question about how to integrate the very basic articles (on high school algebra and geometry) into the larger structure of the math articles here. I hope that expository articles about interesting topics not covered in high school do have a place here alongside the high school math. How to integrate these two sorts of articles into a coherent whole is another task.
As you've probably guessed, I have some thoughts about how everything could be laid out, and I'd be happy to discuss these with anyone who's interested. On the other hand, I'd be equally happy jump in and get writing once someone else articulates clear goals for what articles need to be written and at what level. Until that happens, I'm not sure where to start, and I don't want all my work to end up getting deleted. --MarkGall 13:39, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
What Conservapedia has done in the past in order to adopt standards and guidelines is to create Wikiprojects; example wikiproject news, wikiproject religion. You can start a wikiproject group, add math users and develop a strategy. I am sure user:Aschlafly would need to approve but I don't think it will be an issue he would frown upon.--Jpatt 13:46, 30 June 2009 (EDT)

MarkGall, if you please submit your proposal here as to how you would like to see this article laid out and presented. Karajou 13:49, 30 June 2009 (EDT)

I don't really have a complete proposal for what should be done, just a few thoughts here and there about what's appropriate that I'd be interested in hearing feedback on. The organization of this front article is probably the most difficult of all to envision, since it depends on everything else! I'll try to write up some of my thoughts in the next couple days and post here -- I might also check into the wikiproject idea (thanks, Jpatt). --MarkGall 14:32, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
I can help in the fields of differential equations (probably more university-oriented), Linear algebra (high school to early university), z-transforms (definitely late university), and linear regressions (high school to early university), if anyone wants to open a wikiproject. ChuckK 15:29, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
I can also contribute to math entries. Rather than discussing it, why not just begin? There's nothing special about math entries. Like any other entry, it should be clear and educational, and not an incoherent rat's nest of jargon like on Wikipedia. Also, math is not immune from liberal bias, and we'll keep the bias out of math entries here just as we do for the other entries.--Andy Schlafly 19:33, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
Great! I'm not really sure what a "wikiproject" would entail -- would it be useful to set one up? How would I do it? I'd like to get started writing, but the existing articles don't really give me a clear sense of the level and breadth to shoot for. If you could point out a few exemplary articles at the right level, it would be very helpful. For example, how much of elementary real analysis should we aim to cover? Should Cauchy Sequence have its own page, or is that beyond what we're aiming for? The existing article looks pretty useful already. What about things like uniform convergence? These are very specific questions, but I'm equally unsure of just what topics in subjects like differential geometry or algebraic topology merit though own pages. The page on homotopy groups strikes me as not particularly useful, since no one ought to be trying to learn all the necessary definitions here, and it doesn't give much more. But I believe it could be rewritten to aid the intuition of those learning it, and to pique the interest of even high schoolers. Surely we don't want to write textbooks on these subjects, I'm just not sure how much ought to be said. There doesn't seem to have been much consistency in the history of the math articles on CP about what belongs and what doesn't, and some guidelines would be much appreciated. --MarkGall 21:28, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
Mark, please start however you see fit. But please focus on a style that really does teach and explain, rather than simply dumping a ton of jargon on a page as is often found in math/science entries on Wikipedia. Conservapedia is a learning resource, and math/science entries here should proceed from the simple to the complex in a clear style that actually educates rather than merely tries to show off. Thanks.--Andy Schlafly 21:47, 30 June 2009 (EDT)
Your suggestions are great guidelines to start with, but I'd appreciate just a bit more specific guidance. The fact that all editors have been doing whatever they see fit is the reason that the math articles are presently so inconsistent in depth and scope. If someone could just create a set of guidelines about a) what topics merit their own CP pages and b) the extent to which we should favor motivation and examples over precise definitions, it would make editing much easier. I appreciate that including definitions risks becoming too jargony, but including the definition of something like a group seems to me essential for any reasonable treatment. Is this talk page the appropriate forum to discuss such guidelines?
In any case, I'll try to write a few articles on differential geometry the level that I think is appropriate. This will probably entail beefing up the motivation on differential geometry and adding a page about Gaussian curvature for surfaces in R^3, with motivation for the more general situation. I will also write a page about minimal surfaces, with particular reference to the 3d case, but perhaps some discussion of mean curvature. Once these are up, please tell me what you think! After that I may work on algebraic topology, but that topic looks like it will require a substantial amount of cleaning of the existing pages to a more appropriate level. --MarkGall 00:02, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
I can also contribute to analysis. My particular interest is introductory (and that's the only kind you can do at this level!) topology, and its relatiionship to analysis and calculus. In other words, I want to answer the question "Why are mathematicians so obsessed with whether a set is open?" PatrickD 14:09, 5 July 2009 (EDT)

MarkGall, try this layout:

  • Introduction
  • Symbols, Equations, and Theories
  • Pure and Applied Mathematics
Pure Mathematics
Applied Mathematics
  • Branches of Mathematics
Arithmetic
Algebra
Calculus
Chaos Theory
Geometry
Number Theory
Probability and Statistics
Set Theory and Logic
Systems Analysis
Triginometry

Karajou 00:35, 1 July 2009 (EDT)

Sure, that looks like a reasonable outline for the whole category (though with most of the emphasis on things covered in school -- there are currently many more advanced pages here). What I am wondering is what subtopics of these merit their own pages, and whether we want any rigor in defining basic concepts. What topics in number theory merit their own pages? Should we attempt to define something like a number field (with appropriate motivation and examples, of course), or just write elementary things like Fermat's little theorem? Or no subpages at all? I'm just not sure of the scope that CP is aiming for in these pages, so it's hard to know what writing would be most useful. --MarkGall 10:53, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
MarkGall, this is just a basic outline for a basic article that goes into general detail about the subject at hand. This article itself is a general article, and it's not necessary to get into greater detail other then to provide simple descriptions of what each topic is about; the topics themselves will lead to more detailed articles as necessary. So, sit back with a cold beverage, turn up Michael Jackson's Thriller or Beethoven's 9th symphony, and just work the article as planned. You'd be surprised where it leads you. Karajou 14:22, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
Mark, there's nothing special about math pages. As with any other topic here, just enter good educational material as you see fit. The wiki software permits easy improvement afterward. Thanks and Godspeed.--Andy Schlafly 11:04, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
Sorry for dragging out this discussion so much (and I'll get back to real editing after this post). The math pages here are in dreadful shape, because everyone just writes whatever they want. There is no consistency in the level of the pages or the degree of rigor, and there is no organization to the category. As such I very much doubt that most of them in their current form are of use to, or interesting to, students or anyone else. But they could be. I understand that I could improve things by just going one article at a time, but a set of guidelines from some admin about the desired level and content would go a long way in improving the consistency and quality of these articles. --MarkGall 11:12, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
Mark, this is a wiki, not a talk site. Please edit a math entry as you think best, and I'll improve it, and then someone else will improve it, and then it will be a superb educational resource. That's how the benefits of a wiki are harnessed. Please: less talk, more substance.--Andy Schlafly 11:43, 1 July 2009 (EDT)
No one wants their energy to be wasted and work deleted, and there is no sense in duplicating effort. Mathematical terminology and structure is pretty much standard, but the nature of a good mathematics article, whether in Conservapedia, Wikipedia, Wolfram or Scholarpedia, would be characterized by a clarity of exposition and correctness. What is needed, in my opinion, is a different slant from those in other sources. Why would you want to duplicate an article about, say, symbolic dynamics if there is a perfectly good one in Scholarpedia? To make it clear to a different target group. Scholarpedia is aimed at professional scientists, students of science and highly motivated non-scientists, Wikipedia is (supposedly) aimed at ordinary folk -- so, aside from a conservative POV (which doesn't apply to science, as far as I am concerned), what should differentiate mathematics articles here? I don't think there is any harm in adopting a "mission statement" of sorts, and spending a little time making sure the goals are crystal clear.jdstarrett 10:48, 30 June 2009 (MST)
What sets Conservapedia apart, and in many ways above, the sources you cite is that Conservapedia is an educational resource free of liberal bias. That applies to the math entries just like any other.
I don't know what you mean by "liberal bias" in regards to mathematics in the sources I cited, and the Wikipedia, Scholarpedia and Wolfram site are certainly educational in nature. That said, it appears that a good start has been made on remodeling the mathematics section. Has anyone considered inviting Robert Herrmann to write an article on nonstandard analysis? He is a believer with an extremely interesting story, many published articles on mathematics and Christianity (and both!) and impeccable credentials. jdstarrett 16:49, 1 July 2009 (MST)
A wiki is not for standing around talking. It's for substantive edits, and the sooner one starts, the better.--Andy Schlafly 13:40, 1 July 2009 (EDT)

Layout is rearranged

Ok, MarkGall...fill in the blanks! Karajou 14:34, 1 July 2009 (EDT)

Wow, thanks! Looks like a good start. Sorry I haven't gotten around to working yet -- busy week. I'll get started this weekend. Hopefully some of the others on this talk page will pitch in too. --MarkGall 00:08, 3 July 2009 (EDT)

Hints and tricks for math authors

This section has been moved to a new article, Tips for writing math and science articles. Further material on this topic, and discussion of same, should be on that page. PatrickD 21:59, 6 July 2009 (EDT)

Formulae on Conservapedia are entered in a markup language that is a slightly restricted version of the LaTeX typesetting system (with some AMSLaTeX packages). See the Wikimedia help page for a brief introduction. There are many excellent tutorials on LaTeX available online, including The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e. A few typesetting tips:

  • If you need to write vertically aligned stuff in braces, using the "\begin{cases}" mechanism, do not use \textrm inside the cases. It's legal LaTeX, but it doesn't work in Wikimedia. Use \mbox instead. See Fundamental group for examples. PatrickD 14:13, 5 July 2009 (EDT)
It looks fantastic. Thanks for the superb tip.--Andy Schlafly 15:14, 5 July 2009 (EDT)
  • You can force the wikimedia software to use the full-blown "PNG" rendering of equations by putting the command "\," (backslash comma) at the end, just before the </math>. Normally, the software tries not to use PNG display if it thinks it can get away with it, because it believes (rightly) that PNG is computationally more taxing. So if the equation just has simple things like Greek letters, the software will try to use the Greek font that it has access to. That font is nowhere near as nice as the true PNG display. The LaTeX command backslash comma introduces an extremely tiny space at the end of the equation, which the display software can't handle except by going to PNG. Of course, if your equations has hairy integrals and such, you won't need to do this.
  • All math articles should have one of these four templates at the top:
{{Math-e}} (elementary school)
{{Math-m}} (middle school)
{{Math-h}} (high school / early college)
{{Math-a}} (advanced)
The math articles on CP span a wide range of levels of difficulty; these will offer guidance to the reader.

Filled some of the blanks

I filled some of the blank definitions that were in this article. They are not perfect, but its a start. I hope to contribute more here when I have time.--Quetzalcoatl 03:42, 1 May 2010 (EDT)

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