Because of my background in mathematics and statistics, I have been called upon by my department (the Math/Stat Department) to assist faculty members from the humanities and linguistics departments in performing routine statistical analyses for a few of their publications. While the actual statistical analysis is very low level (basic undergraduate statistics), I am of course more than happy to do the simple work and be given co-authorship on a paper.
However, in the course of performing these statistical tasks, I have found that some of these professors do not even know how to perform elementary tasks such as finding the average of a set of numbers, adding fractions with single digit denominators, or calculating 45 cubed ("There's no button for that on the calculator!"). These are all tasks that I literally knew how to do when I was in elementary school. It did not take a PhD in math to know how to do these things (or even a high school diploma).
Because of this, I have begun to wonder why we seem to be completely fine with supposedly "well-educated" (is that too harsh?) people being entirely incompetent at mathematics. Some of these people that I am asked to help have what I would deem to be 2nd or 3rd grade math skills. What if I, as a math researcher, only wrote on a 2nd or 3rd grade level and had to call upon the English department to write my papers for me? Or what if I could not even identify who painted the Mona Lisa (or that such a painting even existed)?
Should I suggest that my university begin encouraging 'non-math' faculty to become more competent in core mathematics?
I am not saying that these professors are charlatans and do not deserve their faculty positions. They are very knowledgeable on the specifics of their topic. And I am not trying to berate people for whom math is not their strongest subject. However, I wonder if there are steps that the academic community could begin to implement that would enforce a higher standard of competence in basic mathematics among "non-math" faculty.