Thread: Solve this equation
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08212019, 02:51 PMReverse Polish Notation (RPN) solves all ambiguity:
8 2 2 2 + * / = 1
No parentheses, no problem.*************************************************
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08212019, 04:25 PM
And that fact is what concerns me about the mathematical explanations of the universe and the laws of nature. The fact that an equation can be resolved two ways depending on how you interpret the order of operation, what guarantee do we have that the mathematical formulas that describe the nature of reality are calculated correctly? For example, the formulas for gravity tell us that the galaxies are spinning to fast and the universe is expanding to fast so scientists explain these anomalies by inventing something called Dark Matter and Dark Energy which there is absolutely no evidence (other than the spin of the galaxies and the expansion of the universe) that these things are real.
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08212019, 04:59 PM
While I agree with you on dark matter and dark energy; they are kind of like Ptolemy's spheres used to "explain" the motion of heavenly bodies; the modern scientific community writes and evaluates complex expressions in a consistent manner. They frequently use superfluous parentheses to avoid confusion.*************************************************
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08212019, 07:41 PM
What if they are wrong. The historical why of evaluating the equation that is at the center of this thread yields a 1 for the result. The left to right evaluation, when all addition and subtraction is eliminated, has only been accepted since the turn of the 20th century (at least according to some math history book I read).
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

08212019, 08:51 PM
8 / 2 ( 2 + 2 )
Well, as THAT is written at the start of the thread, it could be read to mean either 8/2 x (2 + 2), or ______8_______
2(2+2)
Which is even more ambiguous than the viral version.
Let's have some algebra fun, according to that we should be able to use the distributive property on the parenthetic term:
2(2 + 2) = 2x2 + 2x2, or 8, which produces the 1 result for the main equation.
But yes, the bottom line is excess parentheses and not using an 'implicit' unsignified operation is the way to go to make the intent of the messy order of operations clear.

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