Why Can’t Science And Religion Be In Harmony?

Religion and science have always been looked at the same way we look at oil and water – they cannot mix. In fact, many lives have been sacrificed because of this clash. In this write-up, the author attempts to show you that the two actually co-exist peacefully. However…

Science and religion are in harmony – to a degree. From the top of my head, the Vatican relies on the latest and state-of-the art scientific technology to keep their vaults safe. Apparently, trusting God alone to keep it secured isn’t enough since He has this knack of saying something like “Help yourself first and I will help you.”

Science produces the light they need to read up and broadcast the Holy Scriptures. Speaking of broadcasting, religion didn’t’ shunt from it by far. It was embraced whole-heartedly instead. Religion took full advantage of radio and TV broadcasting capabilities. There’s so much more evidence of the harmonious mesh between religion and science. There’s the HVAC system, for instance, used in the churches, convents and other religious establishments. Oh and let’s not forget the omnipresent microphone and audio visual system too. Whoever says that religion and science is like trying to mix oil with water, hasn’t stopped to look around yet.

A cartoon image of a priest and a scientist talking to each other
Science also comfortably takes care of all the traveling and transportation that our religious brothers all over the world take full advantage of in spreading the word of the Supreme Being.

For starters, religion generally states that our world, or sometimes interpreted as our universe, was created by the Supreme One in 7 days. Science counters with the Big Bang theory. Both views require some degree of faith to have credence.

Next, still in the creation stage, religion describes Eden and the earliest homo sap… er … human beings, Adam and Eve. Everything was pure bliss with peace and harmony reigning. Apparently it was when naïve Adam was tempted by Eve to take a bite out of the fruit from the tree of knowledge, the science of making clothes and erecting a shelter was discovered. There’s also the science of procreation wherein the first children, Cain and Abel, were born. But that’s beside the point here. Science on the other hand got busy and started discovering fossils of dinosaurs and other huge discoveries like the matching rock types and age of the shorelines of two continents separated by the Atlantic Ocean. The biggest earth shaking event in the scriptures was about the Deluge and definitely no mention of gigantic reptiles as well. Science also provided the theory, and the hard evidence, of evolution. Trust me, religion did not kosher to the idea of human beings, which were made in His likeness, actually coming from apes. Charles Darwin definitely had to be protected then but more on that later.

You see, religion has a lot of loopholes in their writings. Just recently, a documentary was made regarding the Holy Scriptures of Christianity. Allegedly, it showed that the scriptures were not presented in its complete form. Somewhere during the early ages of Christianity, the powers-that-be decided to edit the Bible and only selected writings that would help them in their cause. Those rejected were called the Nostic verses. Needless to say, it stirred up a lot of controversy.

Another not-so-talked-about writing is Christianity’s Old Testament. Have you wondered why we only talk about Genesis and after that everything is based on the New Testament? Well, considering that God in the Old Testament is someone we can actually relate to in our daily lives could have something to do with it. For instance, in the Old Testament, He gets angry more than once. He also gets jealous. That part also carried over to the present with the 10 commandments. He is also vengeful and actually exacts His revenge in extreme ways, turning someone into a salt statue just for looking back at a city being destroyed by a rain of fire (which He actually delivered but science deduce this to be a meteor shower of sorts ). This actually makes us better understand the phrase priests like to use often – God is within us all.

The destruction didn’t end there. In the name of Christianity, Crusaders were sent out by the Church to cleanse the undesirables. ‘In the name of God’, they exterminated countless settlements and no one was spared. Children, women and the elderly were given the same treatment that the men who defended already got before them – death. Quite naturally, no Christian church will tell of those stories today. At present, we have nothing to fear from Crusaders anymore. We do, however, have Jihadists to contend with and they are not delivering their cleansing through a broad sword. They have much bigger and more powerful tools to mete out their single-minded purpose in life.

Considering all that, it’s little wonder why the monks had to edit the Holy Bible. However, that doesn’t mean that the New Testament is perfect as well. For instance, what happened in Jesus’ adolescent years? Isn’t this an important stage in everyone’s life? This is where all those strange hormones start coming out, changing our physique, altering our voices and oftentimes leaves us wondering about our sexual orientations. Shouldn’t the life of Jesus at this stage serve as a role model? Or is there an underlying reason why they left this ‘seemingly unimportant’ part out?

Well, there you have it. Faith versus facts. Religion versus science. Maybe that explains why there’s a fire and brimstone delivery in religion while science calmly presents irrefutable facts. In fairness to religion, science isn’t perfect as well. Up to now, they’re still trying to put a finger on the unexplained. A couple of prime examples to this are paranormal events and UFOs. A few million people claiming these to be true cannot be overlooked offhandedly. Yet, in this case, religion seems to calmly handle it – and with apparently positive results.

With all these things considered (and there’s a lot more!), it really all boils down to us, individuals, to deal with it. Both religion and science have proven time and again that they are important and cannot be denied in our existence whether as children of God or as homo sapiens.

The legendary John Lennon may have had a strong point when he composed ‘Imagine’. Well, science actually cheated a bit here since at that time, LSD and Mary Jane were really making a big hit everywhere.

Karl Roy: The Legacy of a Filipino Rock Legend

For some, he is one the best vocalists in the country, if not the best. For others, he is the one of the most enduring Filipino rock icons in history. For me, however, he helped create the only album written by a local act that changed my life.

Original Pinoy Music (OPM), as a movement, was a musical statement that gave hope to the creative abilities of our local artists to push the boundaries of what our brand of music can deliver and become on par with international acts.

The spirit of OPM, however, has become derided by greedy record labels looking for a quick buck during the boom of local bands in the ‘90s, which paved the way for stale and indistinguishable acts to lord the airwaves.

The principle espoused by OPM – integrity through creativity – was slowly decaying in place of the basic need to sell records and break bank. Artists receive fame and royalties from the records sold, while companies reaped the benefits of the aural drivel they have produced, in which the mindless mass is responsible for consuming millions of them. Everybody wins, apparently.

This institution did bring out the best of some artists who were able to produce challenging yet accessible work without tampering their integrity and keeping their identity intact – Eraserheads and Rivermaya spring to mind. And there was one who raised the middle finger.

Karl Roy.

March 13, 2012 was a sad day for the family, relatives, friends, and fans of Karl Roy, who died of a cardiac arrest at their home. The Advent Call/P.O.T/Kapatid frontman has had a well-documented history of heart problems, as he has suffered from multiple strokes throughout the years.

Karl roy

A promise of another gig with Roy has been robbed from us, especially for those who haven’t seen one of the best vocalists in the country perform in person, even when his best years were behind him. However, instead of mulling over what could have been, Razorback vocalist and Karl’s younger brother Kevin Roy solemnly offers his thoughts about the death through text to the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Karl … will continue to inspire a lot of people. Please do not grieve; instead, let us celebrate his life.

As a casual fan of his work and in observance of Kevin Roy’s words, here is how I would celebrate his life.

Farewell to my friends
Thought I’d leave you all behind
My time is runnin’
And I’m about to lose my mind again.

My very close encounter with whom I consider as one of two true-and-blue rock icons the Philippines has ever produced – one being Pepe Smith – came in the form of a CD, but one that changed my perspective of how music can be played and how it can transcend into something more than just a harmonious collection of sound using different instruments.

Backtrack to the summer of 2003. I was and have been a big music fan, but I was a bigger fan of heavy metal music. Since metal resources were scant in the country, I had to resort to downloading Slayer, Death, and Iron Maiden songs using our 56.6k modem, making it much more difficult to be a fan of this genre (unlike cable internet, downloading a song using this modem type took hours to complete).

Heavy metal music, despite preconceived notions, has been my immovable object and unstoppable force both at the same time. It has helped me get through difficult times and has given me strength to overcome obstacles in my path. This is one of the reasons why I play music – it is an outflow for my passion in the craft, which I hope would inspire people to play music as well regardless of genre and just show how much they love it.

In relation, I was never into local acts. Worse, I was never into OPM. Sure, I sang Eraserhead tunes once in a while, but I won’t go out my way to discover Filipino music outside from what I hear on the radio. Call it colonial mentality or cultural snobbery, but the music didn’t just do it for me.

Maybe I deserve that middle finger.

While researching for music on the Internet that combines the aggression and uncompromising vision as artists who value the importance of expression above all else, I procured a copy of P.O.T’s album from my friend. I was fully aware of their radio hit “Yugyugan Na,” a funk-rock remake from the ‘70s Philippine band Advisors, which was reason enough to give this disc a spin.

After listening to the CD, it was pretty much what I was looking for that whole time.

Now I see the sunlight shining through
There’s no reason to be blue, but,
Now I know I’m going down,
I look all oround me and laugh like a clown.

Words won’t do justice, but let’s give it a try – P.O.T’s self-titled album is OPM in every sense of the word. Roy’s vocal seamlessly blends into the tapestry of music played by guitarist Ryan Umali, bassist Mally Paraguya, and drummer Harley Alarcon. There is attitude (“Monkey on My Back, “Overload”) and vulnerability (“Piece of This,” “Panaginip”) in their heartfelt performances, but most of all, there is a magnetic personality in Roy that grabs listeners by the throat and draws attention to his every scowl and croon, as if there’s a chip on his shoulder.

Fact is, there is something to prove not only for him, but for all Filipino artists. P.O.T showed that they don’t care about anything except for being true to themselves. By doing so, not only did they achieve moderate success as a group (which was an impossibility unless you sounded just like every other band back then), but also ended up as one of finest acts the country has to offer. Their album is a testament to the challenge posed to local artists by OPM – pushing the envelope of what Filipino music has to offer.

With P.O.T., in my humble opinion, Roy and the gang have produced an absolute masterpiece that Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Juan dela Cruz Brand, and even P.O.T. themselves can only dream of topping.

After breaking away from P.O.T., it has never been the same with Karl Roy. Kapatid did keep Roy busy artistically and creatively, but what all their efforts did was to cower behind the shadow casted by his previous band’s single body of work.

Even before he passed away, he was no longer the same. One of my friends told me that he’s “lost the fire.” It didn’t come as a surprise – his body had taken so much punishment throughout the years, making it impossible to sustain his high-level performance onstage, let alone conjure it, in the state he was in.

Regardless of everything else that happened in between, P.O.T. was his beautiful curse, the monkey on his back. It is not meant as a jab at his talent, but a celebration of his person forever enshrined in the annals of Philippine music. He has created something larger than life itself and, for that, we are forever in awe of being part in its creation.

No more loneliness.
No more emptiness.
No more melancholy, baby.
Have a piece of this.

-P.O.T., “Piece of This”

Respect For Others Is Nearing Extinction

Lack of respect is indeed a problem that majority of people seem not to mind, although it poses a serious dilemma on our values and character education. In fact, when we tolerate this disrespectful behavior, it can eventually lead to crime and violence. Clearly, our present society lacks the clear perception about respect.

Community pools was one of the features tackled in the news last night. A middle-aged reporter was interviewing a teenage boy about the vandalized community park. At first, I was caught up by the actual topic in the news but after hearing the way the boy spoke to the reporter, my interest suddenly changed direction.  Instead of sharing my opinion with my husband about pools and swimming venues, I decided to just mull over at how our society nowadays display such a lack of respect for other people, especially the elders.

‘Po’ and ‘opo’ are trademark words of us Filipinos when it comes to showing respect to people older than us. These are the words we seldom hear these days from the younger generation, evidenced by what I have just seen in the news.

Our government and the governments of nations across the globe are seriously concerned about implementing laws to protect animal and plant species that are in danger of extinction. Apparently, animals and plants are not the only ones nearing extinction. It appears that essential human values may also be categorized as ‘endangered’ as well.

Search the internet and you can easily find news articles about kids showing such rudeness to other people.  An article by Fiona Macrae and Paul Sims is just one example that show how very young children, still in the nursery-age years, have already been displaying disrespect, rudeness and violence toward their teachers.

Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said nursery-age children are becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards their teachers, ‘parent battering’ is on the rise and the number of policemen attacked by children is soaring.

The Spoilt Generation: Parents who fail to exert authority breeding youngsters with no respect for anyone.

Lack of respect is indeed a problem that a majority of people seem not to mind even though it poses a serious dilemma on our values and character education.  In fact, when we tolerate this disrespectful behavior, it can eventually lead to crime and violence. Clearly, our present society lacks the clear perception about respect.

To be kind and to show goodness to other people, that is just how we casually define the word respect.  When you respect a person, it means that you will not make fun of him or her. You will consider if a person may feel offended by what you will say and do.

When shopping for groceries and the bagger helped you carry your grocery bags, you say ‘thank you’. That is respect.

When a person dresses in a unique outfits, you simply think that it is his personal style and expression instead of laughing at him. Again, that is respect.

When you see an old lady having a hard time crossing the street because of her baggage, you help her carry her things. That is also showing respect.

Sadly, even these simple gestures are hardly done by many people.

Reason For Lack Of Respect:

There can be a lot of reasons why respect is simply forgotten by mankind.

Gary Petty, a pastor of the United Church of God congregations, said in a web article that this is because of our negative response to the values taught by the Bible.

We increasingly see a general lack of respect and rudeness in our society. This is a result of our rejection of basic Biblical values.

Why the lack of respect in society?

From the same article, Gary also says that the root cause of all these is lack of love.

“Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. 1 Cor 13:5”

Indeed, when there is love inside our hearts that we are willing to give to other people, perhaps we would be more careful on how we socialize and interact with them. We would be more considerate of the feelings and well-being of other people.

An old man gets on a crowded bus and no one gives him a seat. As the bus shakes and rattles, the old man’s cane slips on the floor and he falls. As he gets up, a seven-year-old kid, sitting nearby, turns to him and says, “If you put a little rubber thingy on the end of your stick, it wouldn’t slip.”

The old man snaps back: “Well, if your daddy did the same thing seven years ago, I would have a seat today.”

When you read this joke, you probably laughed at it yet this is a classic instance of being disrespectful.

What Can Be Done

We all need to learn and understand what respect is and it should all start from home.  Education starts inside the home. If you are a parent, you need to know that you are your child’s first teacher.  It is from the home where a child learns all about love, care, obedience, respect and other important values.

When a parent hurts a child for not obeying orders, it is possible that the child will develop hate towards the parent and show disrespect even more. When a parent shows love and concern for the child through polite words and kind actions, that child will certainly show respect for the parent. If a child grows up this way, he is more likely to interact with other kids and with his teacher in the school with respect.

Teaching a child, about respect should be done through action. Allow your child to experience respect and he will start to understand what it really is and how important it is.  Teach your child about the Golden rule that says you must do to others what you want them to do unto you. Teach your child to be honest, to admit a mistake and apologize for it. Teach your child about being good-mannered. Do not embarrass or insult your kid. Show your child about following your orders and eventually, he will know how to obey rules.  Use polite words when speaking to your kid and keep your promises to show reliability. Give your child your complete attention and he will learn to be a good listener.

respect

While there are a lot of proofs showing that respect is slowly disappearing from the face of the world, hope is not lost until it is completely gone. Just like what the image shows, love can be fruits from a tree that should be planted, nurtured and taken care of. Parents, along with teachers and educators should seriously instill respect and other significant values into the hearts and minds of children.

Who Lie Better, Men Or Women?

This is an attempt to figure out who, men or women, can tell a lie better than the other. The write-up covers the basic areas where both genders tend to lie the most. Due to the extremely wide coverage of the topic, and the complexities of the human mind, this warrants your input, enlightenment or whatever reaction you, the reader, feel like sharing.

What is a lie and who lies? A lie is an obfuscation of the truth. As to who lies, virtually everybody has at least one point in their lives. We do not want to be lied to and yet, that doesn’t prevent us from doing it to others. Lying has become an inherent human trait since time immemorial. In fact, we are the only species in the world, or in the universe for that matter, that does this.

A simple search online through a major search engine using the phrase “why do we lie?” you’ll get close to half a billion related results! Imagine what the collective result would be if we added up all online literature about lying. However, I have yet to come across a question, much less an answer, to a simple question — who lie better, men or women?

Perhaps what needs to be established here is that men and women lie differently. Most will agree that a little lying every now and then is actually quite necessary. This is mainly to avoid making a big issue out of something generally accepted as petty. As such, it is also commonly used to lubricate the gears of a relationship.

who lie better - man and woman getting their nose elongated because of lying

Now that we understand that, it is time we categorize the most common type of lies and figure out which gender does it best in those categories. Bear in mind that this is a highly informal ‘study’.

Sex
This is perhaps one of the most overused. Common lies heard in here are “You’re so big”, “That was superb”, “You’re the best”, and “It’s alright”. If you’ve heard those lines before, chances are you’re going to think twice now. These are mainly expressed to pacify or assuage a partner’s fear of having performed unsatisfactorily. Perhaps you may have something to add here? Or would you rather keep it to yourself and not comment on anything for fear of being discovered? By the way, that in itself is also a lie.

Money matters
This is interesting. The widely accepted norm in a modern society was that the men, being the breadwinners, keep all the money and give a certain amount to their spouse for household needs, children, schooling, food, clothing and so on. Now, however, that has changed. More and more women are out and about doing what used to be male-only jobs. Many are breadwinners while their partners, men, stay at home. Before, only the men have to lie about their paycheck and expenses outside the family circle. Now, women also feel that same pressure. Perhaps, they even have it lighter since men do not normally voice out baseless accusations. When they do get caught, they are generally forgiven more readily since men have this weakness to the tears and pleas of their respective partner.

At home
Men take the lead in this particular setup where white lies abound. A white lie is a lie that is not intended to harm the person being lied to – indeed it’s often intended to benefit them by making them feel good, or preventing their feelings being hurt. The foremost example of this is in dressing up. The wife gets herself decked out in her best dress for an occasion and asks her husband for his opinion. The man says it looks really great. What the woman doesn’t “hear” is “What?? You want to show the whole world your deep cleavage??” or “Don’t you have any shame showing off so much skin??” This is hardly a revelation and women even have a lot to say on that issue. And then there’s food. There’s hardly a man out there that’s going to say anything bad about his wife’s or partner’s cooking. In an attempt to stop from lying, he might go as far as suggesting ever so politely that “maybe a little salt could be added?” When that doesn’t work, its “Ummmm, this is delicious, honey!” and then tries very hard to keep his face straight as he swallows.

Kids
Women most likely reign supreme here mainly due to the fact that they are by nature closer to the kids than the father. Lies told to them are generally classified as white and in response to questions more than anything else. For instance, a child asks why grandma doesn’t visit anymore and the normal reply here is “because she went to stay in heaven.” Another question, which many a parent actually dreads, is about sex. This is where the ‘bird in the nest’ story usually comes to play, which only serves to confuse the child more (“How can a bird in the nest make me? Did I hatch from an egg?”).

Friends
Have you ever heard “I would rather have a friend tell me the whole truth than keeping it to himself and let me find out from others instead”? Sounds familiar, right? We all want to know the truth, yet sometimes “Things are better left unsaid” (Heard that too huh?). In all likelihood, it’s the women who dominate the lies here. First off, you have all that juicy gossip about the new heartthrob or some other fabricated story. Then there’s the dress that other woman was wearing yesterday. When in some sort of conflict with another friend, there are lots of back biting and character assassinations before any reconciliation takes place. Oftentimes, there’s a rallying up of forces, so to speak, and goodness knows what can happen next. Men handle things like these differently. They either don’t mind each other and do not talk about it or get together over a pint of beer and settle things right then and there. Hardly any lie happens.

Vanity
This is the amusing one. You look at yourself in the mirror and make different facial expressions, strike a pose, and what have you. Truth be told, others do not see you like that. Lying to yourself for an extended period of time has the potential to blur the lines of reality. We have a universal scapegoat for this, though. It’s called ‘feeling good about yourself’. Another variation is what we all term ‘confidence’.

So who really lies better?

Popping The Bubble On The Mozart Effect

You believed it for years – or at least the media made you believe it was true. You doubted your genes and turned to Mozart for your child’s brain power. You weren’t alone. It was everywhere. Some government programs even distributed CDs for pregnant women. But why Mozart? Why not Britney Spears, Michael Jackson or .. perhaps Yanni? What was this based on? Is this real or just a hype? Here is how I bust the myth.

How easy can it get? All you have to do is play Mozart for your baby even while in the womb and his IQ score point will increase. It’s just about what you need to fulfil your dreams and have a son or daughter you always dreamed of – perhaps a doctor, a pilot or a president, who knows? It’s a quick and indeed a very simple and hassle-free way of increasing intelligence for the next generation. But the question is, is this even true?

Who is Mozart: A Backgrounder

Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was an Austrian composer who was born in Salzburg on the 27th of January, 1756. Having been born of a father who was composer, a music teacher and a publisher of a book in violin, Mozart’s education in music started at a very young age. He started recognizing chords at the early age of three, played short musical compositions on the harpsichord at four and started composing his own music when only five years old. It is during this time and age when he also had his very first concert with his sister in Munich, Germany.

In the years that followed, Mozart became more accomplished. He was a versatile composer who wrote in different musical genres, wrote an opera, symphony, chamber music and solo concerto. He also did divertimenti, oratorio, serenata, string quartets, string quintit and piano sonata. His unending experimentation and exploration with many musical genres made him an innovative classical composer.

He died on December 5, 1791 at the age of 35. He is now regarded as one of the most respected and most famous classical composers in music history. Many described his music as having balance, natural order, clarity and great focus on melody. He expressed emotions and psychology successfully through music and shows a rare degree of subtlety that is not common in any classical composer.

Where It All Started

The Mozart Effect is a term used by Alfred A. Tomatis for the effect Mozart’s music allegedly has on the brain development of children below 3 years old, which suggests that “listening to Mozart makes you smarter.” It started at the University of California, Irvine in 1993 when Frances Rauscher who was a concert cellist and cognitive development expert and Gordon Shaw, a physicist, studied how Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major could affect about thirty six college students for ten minutes.  They reported that using a Stanford-Binet IQ test, the spatial-temporal reasoning IQ point scores of these students increased by 8 to 9 points.

However, the boost was temporary and could only last for about ten to fifteen minutes. The team established the fact linking to Mozart and the findings was wrongly interpreted as “Mozart makes you smarter.”

Immediately, believers and supporters for Mozart’s ability to alter intelligence featured it in music-oriented, parenting and education publications. While it has renewed the general people’s interest in classical music as well as in childhood development, it was just the kind of scientific evidence music marketers have been waiting for to sell music lessons, instruments and support ads for music products.

It is interesting to note that several other researches have been conducted to support this claim and replicate the results found by Rauscher and Shaw, all of which were unsuccessful. This altogether renewed the public debate about the Mozart Effect Controversy. It has always spawned a lot of criticisms and some people are looking for more scientific evidence.

Other Researches

Others who hopped into the Mozart effect bandwagon claim that listening to it offered many numerous effects and could alleviate mental and physical health problems. For instance, they conducted some tests on patients with epilepsy and found a decrease in epileptic activity, however, it is not exclusive to Mozart as the songs of the Greek composer Yanni also achieved the same results. As such, shouldn’t there also be a Yanni effect?

There was also a paper-folding and maze solving experiments conducted by Eliot that showed significant positive performance after subjects have been exposed to Mozart.

The Reality

The truth is, whether it is Mozart or any other subtle music composer, the result is the same. It brings pleasure, it has the ability to ease pain and it can enhance attention. The Mozart Effect is simply a misinterpretation of the study which was designed to test the effect exposure to music could do to the performance of college students. For Shaw and Rauscher, what they have shown in their study is that there are patterns of neurons that fire in sequences, and that there appear to be pre-existing sites in the brain that respond to specific frequencies. But there is nothing in the study that is the same as saying “listening to Mozart increases intelligence in children.”

pregnant woman on a sofa
You might be surprised, but this effect was never tested on children, let alone babies and fetuses.

Any therapeutic result can come not only from Mozart’s music, but the same effect can be acquired when listening, dancing or simply humming to a piece of music one finds inspiring. Listening to classical music may be able to soothe your baby and help him appreciate classical music later in life, but it won’t make him or her smarter.

According to a psychology professor Kenneth Steele and head of the James McDonnell, John Bruer, they followed the protocols stated in the study of Shaw and Rauscher in a research participated by 125 students but they could not “find any kind of effect at all.” Many other researchers reported that when the effect is observed, it is because of a boost in mood and not because of any Mozart composition.

 

Conclusion

So, if you were hoping to cheat your genes or ignore the effect of nutrition and good education by relying on Mozart, you are in for a big disappointment. The team of Dr. Rauscher perform the study on college students, and not on children or babies, and only limited their examination on the behavior of the participants and not their brain.

The truth is, regardless of the kind of music, prenatal and early childhood musical exposure can lead to several long-term positive effects.

This is an example of how science and the media can sometimes confuse our understanding of how things work in this world. We see a line on a scientific journal, we misunderstood it and eventually it became a universal truth, surprisingly even supported by the same scientists whose work was also somehow exaggerated and distorted by the media in the past. Others join in for their financial benefit, and more claims, myths and distortions pile up. Parents want to improve the future of their children and want to defend it. Soon CDs and books go on sale and many government programs are created to distribute them. Soon thereafter, we have a “fact” believed by many.

There’s nothing negative at all about Mozart and his compositions and in fact, they have offered a lot to the world. As for increasing one’s IQ scores by listening to Mozart, this is not true at all. Nevertheless, whether you believe it or not, what harm is there in listening to a classical music master?

References:

Costa-Goimi, E. (1997). The McGill Piano Project: Effects of Piano Instruction on Chidren’s Cognitive Abilities. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Third Triennial ESCOM Conference, Uppsala, Sweden

Eliot, J. (1980).  Classification of Figural Spatial Tests. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51, 847-851;

Willingham, Daniel T. (2006). Brain-Based Learning: More Fiction that Fact. American Educator. Fall.

See How You Can Magically Multiply Large Numbers In 3 Seconds

Mathematics is one of those subjects that can be quite boring and unappealing to most people. Many of us believe that mathematics is a difficult subject to pursue. Nevertheless, there are ways that the difficult task of number computations can be simplified and made easier. One excellent example is Mnemonic that can be used to mentally multiply numbers at lightning speed.

Mnemonic as a technique is not a newly conceived idea. Back in 1910, there was a published book with the title, ‘ Magician’s Tricks: How They are Done’ by Henry Hatton and Adrian Plate. This interesting book presents and discusses proofs that the mnemonic idea has already been used by Harry Kellar, a magician who gained popularity during the 1800s. Kellar is believed to have used mnemonic for obtaining the cubes of two-digit numerals at lightning speed. Below is a quote from the book:

While it is not within the province of this book to go into a study of a system of artificial memory, there are certain conjuring tricks frequently presented to the public as “Mental Phenomena,” that have a system of this kind for their groundwork, as, for example, the following which depend, mainly, on numbers, for their effects: “Second Sight” the memorizing of a long list of words at one reacting; the instantaneous raising of any two numbers to the cube or third power…

Magician’s Tricks: How They are Done

The Mnemonic system was then advanced by Ron Doerfler. He has included the squares of the said numbers for his extended multiplication mnemonic.  Here’s an excerpt from Doerfler’s book:

In this paper, I have extended their scheme to provide squares as well as cubes of two-digit numbers, as these are so important for mental calculation. In addition, I have updated a number of their mnemonic phrases to ones using more modern terms, or to ones I think are an improvement over the original phrases.

Mnemonics for Squares and Cubes of Two-Digit Numbers

So there you go, you need to find out how mnemonic, as confusing as pronunciation it is, can actually become a tool in remembering the square of a number. In fact, you will even realize that this same mnemonic can be a useful tool in solving two a digit number multiplied by another two digit number right in your head.  Later we will discuss how you can amaze your friends and family by being able to multiply large numbers at lightning speed.

How Mnemonic Works

According to Wikipedia…

Mnemonic…is any learning technique that aids memory. To improve long term memory, mnemonic systems are used to make memorization easier. They do so by increasing the efficiency of the process of consolidation. This process involves the conversion of short term memory to long term memory.

Mnemonic

The Mnemonic Alphabet for Digits

1 t, d, th
2 n
3 m
4 r
5 l
6 j, ch, sh, zh, z as in azure, soft g as in genius
7 k, hard c, q, hard g, ing
8 f, v
9 p, b
0 s, z, soft c

To remember the table bear in mind the following cues:

1 = t has one down-stroke
2 = n has two down-strokes
3 = m has three down-strokes
4 = r is the last letter of four
5 = L in Roman notation is fifty
6 = J looks something like a reversed six
7 = k, inverted, is similar to seven
8 = f in script resembles eight
9 = p is similar to a flipped nine
0 = c is the first letter of cipher, which is the word for naught.

Important Points to Remember:

  • To be able to use this mnemonic device optimally, you need to keep in mind to consider the sounds of the letters, rather than their alphabet representation.
  • Letters w, h and y; along with a, e, i, o, u vowels; can be used to create words with numerical equivalents; chess or chs is equivalent to 60; nail or n-l is equal to 25.
  • Letters omitted in the pronunciation (silent) will not be given value. Knife, for example; the silent letter is k. Therefore it will only be n-f that is equal to 28. Another example is lamb or l-m equivalent to 53.
  • Double consonants in a word will be considered as a single letter only. An example is mummy. This can be written in mnemonic as m-m and is equal to 33. Another sample is butter: b-t-r equal to 914.
  • Double consonants with different articulation or pronunciation will be considered with distinct equivalent. Example is accept: k-s-p-t and you have 7091; bookkeeper: b-k-k-p-r will be equal to 97794.
  • Whole numbers do not start with zero, thus the letter “s” can be used at the beginning of the mnemonic to derive a much better phrase for its numerical value.

Basically, you always have to consider using the alphabet as the keyword in deriving the number. Phrases associated with your keywords will then create the mental picture for the squares. Based on that mental image that you can read from left to right, you can already come up with the result.

How To Apply Mnemonic To Get The Squares Magically

Through the book from Hatton and Plate, you will discover that you can create your own mnemonic.

By sounding to one’s self the letters that represent the numbers the word may be easily recalled. It is advisable to prepare such a table for one’s self…

Magician’s Tricks: How They are Done

If you are still somewhat confused by the use of mnemonic, you certainly would not want to bother creating your own. Therefore, you can just refer to the list recommended by Doerfler.  Here is a link to that useful mnemonics: Mnemonics For Squares And Cubes

Nevertheless, if you need some additional demonstrations, take a little time to go through this:

As an example, you have numbers 83 and 89.

83 Foam (f,m);  square of 83 is Shave if happy (6889) (sh,v,f,p)
89 VIP (v,p);  square of 89 is Cabinet (7921) (hard c,b,n,t)

To remember 6889 as the square of 83, it is suggested that you associate the two by making a mental picture of “foam” and “shave if happy”.  Hatton and Plate found the mental picture method to be more effective for most people. Some experts suggest to use ridiculous images as they create strong impressions in your memory.

ridiculous dog
Ridiculous association for images gives a lasting impression in your memory

Outrageous images? Now don’t let that scare you off and think that math can make you mentally sick.

Memory is developed through associations – not just associations, but through ridiculous associations. The more ridiculous the association is the better. Why? Because it makes a stronger impression upon memory. Logical, “normal” associations will not stand out and hence do not leave strong impressions.

Free memory techniques

So let’s try the unusual thing, you can begin by picturing in your mind a giant foam shaving with the use of a giant shaver if it is happy. You do the same thing with number 89 that is, associate VIP with Cabinet in a mental picture such as a VIP who looks like a cabinet.

Using this technique, when you need to get the square of 89, simply recall VIP in your memory and automatically your memory recalls the cabinet and you get the square quickly.

Now that you know how to use mnemonic to get the square, let’s proceed with the real fun – let’s multiply large numbers.

Multiplying Two-Digit Numbers

With the mnemonic that we learn, let’s use it to multiply 74 and 78.

In algebraic representation, 74 x 78 becomes:

(a+c)(a-c) = a2 – c2

Where:
a = is the average of the two numbers
(a+c) = is one of the numbers
(a-c) = is the other number

So the problem becomes

74 x 78 = 762 – 22

“How did that happen?”, you may ask.

Add the two numbers ( 74+78) then divide it by two since there are two numbers involved. That is how you get 76. For some people, it is much easier to do it this way, 78-74 is 4. 4 divided by 2 is 2. 2, which is then added to 74, giving you 76.

The final math problem becomes as simple as…

762 – 22

Now, we need to recall the mnemonics associated with these numbers to get the squares.

So therefore:

76 Cage (k, soft g) = Lock cage(5776) (l, hard c, hard c, soft g)
2 Noah (n) = 4 (this is easy enough that it doesn’t even require mnemonic)

762 – 22 = 5776 – 4
= 5772

As soon as we get the easy squaring mentally, we are now close to the solution of the problem.

The above illustration shows that by recalling the mental picture of a lock cage, we get the value of 5776 immediately minus 4 which is the square of 2.  We arrived at the final answer just as quickly as we glanced at the number problem.

Some Problem With Less Convenient Multiplier

How can we multiply 32 x 35?

Now this one is a different case because 35 – 32 equals 3 and 3 is not divisible by 2. So this requires a slightly different conversion process.

Since we need to get the average of the two numbers and that average should be a positive integer, we need to reduce the multiplier by one and add the other number in the equation.

Therefore, the problem can be translated into:

(32 x 34) + 32 = (332 – 12 ) + 32

= (332 – 12 ) + 32

Then in mnemonic representation:

33 My Home (m,m) = Do save up (1089) (d,s,v,p)
and the square of 1 is 1.

Therefore:

(1089 – 1) + 32 = 1120

where:
1089 is the square of 33
1 is the square of 1
32 is the number you need to add since we reduce the multiplier by one.
1120 is the final answer.

Confusing? It would be a lie to say no but, with practice, you are sure to perfect your math mnemonic. Math can be easy and you can multiply large numbers mentally if you put even just a little part of your heart and mind to it.