Denyse was kind enough to post a link to the first part of my article on why Algebra is an important subject for high-school and college students. Part 2 of my article is now available as well.
You can read Part 2 here.
From the article (I bolded the part especially important for the ID community):
Many of the people who argue against teaching algebra recommend, instead, courses in practical mathematics. They point out that the way that mathematics is actually used in the real world is usually very field-specific. They recommend skipping the abstractions of algebra and focusing on very concrete problems and how to solve them.
There is nothing wrong with teaching practical math. The problem is that, absent the more abstract reasoning that undergirds it, what you wind up with are people who know how to do tricks but don’t understand what they are doing. The goal of mathematics is to train students in reasoning abilities, not do tricks. Sometimes we need to teach tricks, but the goal is the reasoning abilities.
The problem with teaching tricks is that it prevents people from being able to analyze what other people tell them. If we teach students to reason, then if someone tells them something unreasonable, they have the tools and skills to analyze it. If we just teach students tricks to do their job, then they are at the mercy of everyone else. They only know partial facts fed them through external authorities, without the ability to judge their truth or falsity.