# Maths Standards

Nicked wholesale from DoctorVee ... Whilst I do think the card might have been designed better, it speaks volumes that people are too stupid to understand this even when it is explained (e.g. specify 'colder' rather than make it numerical - or have an example such as '-8 is lower than -7)

The rest of this post is nicked:

Apologies. My first post back after a wee break does not involve much input on my part. I usually reserve these kinds of items for the linklog. But there is a quote that I just have highlight here because it makes me want to run along the ceiling in sheer frustration at the human race.

(Emphasis mine.)

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn’t understand it…

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: “On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn’t.

I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I’m not having it.

“I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn’t say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.”

HOLY SHIT! This is how bad standards of numeracy have become. Unbelievable.

Incidentally, my time off this blog was due to the fact that I was being educated. A certain Tina Farrell might have benefited from it more.

Update: Chris Applegate reminded me of a point that I was going to make here, but I forgot to write it before publishing.

It is the fact that this person just couldn’t resist blaming someone else for the problem. There is not the slightest hint of her taking any personal responsibility. Even worse is the fact that Camelot have actually caved in, which will vindicate this stance in her mind.

....the sheer bloody-mindedness that illustrates a mentality along the lines of “well, if the laws of arithmetic don’t agree with my own intuition, then I’m going to bloody well complain until they fix it”. It’s not ignorance or stupidity that’s the real problem here, but the stubborn self-conviction that goes with it - the inability or unwillingness for people to ever now say “I don’t understand” or “I don’t know”.

And it’s not only scratchcards that this problem surrounds - virtually every major issue today, from the Iraq war to global warming to immigration, is characterised by people (on both sides) who will never even entertain the possibility they might be wrong, let alone admit to it. In the good old days stuck-in-the-mud irrationality and delusion was usually rooted in ideology or religion (”if Lenin/Smith/Jesus says so, it must be right”), but they are by and large absence from most aspects of modern life - which has created a vacuum into which some weird, fucked-up cult personality of the self (”if I say so, it must be right”) has entered. Add to that a culture where any grievance, no matter how petty, must always be redressed or avenged and it creates a terrifying vision of the future.