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New ‘Social Justice’ Math Class Teaches Kids That Math Is Evil, Dehumanizing

"Mathematics... have been used to trick indigenous peoples out of land and property."

MathLucélia RibeiroMillions of K-12 students across the country believe that mathematics is a sadistic discipline—(I should know, I was one of them)—but a new "social justice" training module aims to persuade teachers that maybe the kids are on to something.

The course was designed by Teach for America and is offered through EdX, according to Campus Reform. It presupposes that math could be made more interesting for students if it was infused with socially relevant themes. That's not a terrible assumption—maybe young people would like math better if it was being taught in a language they understood. (If Olivia eats 10 pieces of avocado toast every day, how long will it be until she can afford to move out of her parent's house? That sort of thing.)

But Teach for America thinks that language is "social justice," and has designed a course that makes some startling claims about math.

"In western mathematics, our ways of knowing include formalized reasoning or proof, decontextualization, and algorithmic thinking, leaving little room for those having non-western mathematical skills and thinking processes," the training course claims.

It continues:

"Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool… mathematics formulae also differentiate between the classifications of a war or a genocide and have been used to trick indigenous peoples out of land and property."

Math is such a basic building block that one can cherry-pick hundreds of examples of it being misapplied for nefarious ends—but that's not really math's fault. Math lacks—to borrow a social justice term—agency.

I'm open to the idea that math—particularly advanced math—is over-valued as a K-12 subject. There's a good argument to be made that high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare. But if we're going to teach math, I'm not sure we should be teaching that it's mostly just this bad thing Western countries used to subjugate indigenous peoples, as if that's the main thing you need to know about math.

Photo Credit: Lucélia Ribeiro

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  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Math sucks. Period.

    Hell, back when I was in school, 'C was for cookie and it was good enough for me." And after working at the mill for a few decades, I've realized that I'm not going to be making much more money. Because math. Apparently math says I can't do math, so I have to work at the mill, and get paid no money!

  • ||

    Robby obviously thinks that we need more guest workers and maybe American folks should live in the lap of luxury which these guest workers do the work.

    Mathematics is complicated, let the foreigners do it whilst we Americans explore some English person.

    WTF

  • Gwen||

    Math doesn't suck. Math TEACHERS suck. They sucked when I was a wee sprout, and they suck now even more because of this Common Core crapola. If the math teachers didn't suck so badly, it wouldn't be so dreadful to study.

    My advanced algebra teacher in high school was a total prat, who clearly didn't want to be there and hated his students. He was probably a history teacher or something, but got roped into teaching math. Heck, one of the chemistry teachers was actually an english teacher, but they had too many of those and made him teach science. Probably why HE sucked, too.

    I did have two decent science teachers. One was in 6th grade. He taught a method of inorganic chemistry that's 10X easier, and because it's easy and works, they of course had to replace it with something hard and incomprehensible. He gave me my first book on slide rules. The other was my high school advanced chemistry teacher. HE was on David Letterman multiple times doing stupid chemistry tricks. He was a total hoot, and I learned a lot from him.

  • ||

    If only there was a like button. You can make math interesting, relevant, and dare I say, socially safe, if you care about your work.

  • BambiB||

    More than that - math STUDENTS suck.

    There was a comedian who once made the point that math illiteracy is "acceptable" in our society by giving the example of a group of people who go out to lunch, but struggle to divide up the bill. "I'm no good at math" is a perfectly acceptable admission of mathematical incompetence. But what if, instead, the person were to say, "I can't deal with the bill because I can't read? One form of ignorance is accepted, the other is not.

    The major problem with math is that it's not easy. It takes effort to learn. Not easy. Takes effort. The consensus among the math illiterates is that the problem is that math sucks not that they suck for being such wimps.

    I recall one math instructor in high school - pretty much universally hated by students because he taught the material, set a standard and expected you to make an effort and learn. He told the most awful jokes. I guess I was the exception in that I actually paid attention in his classes and I learned a LOT. Other students could have learned too - but they were too busy making excuses and complaining.

    Oh yeah. I went on to earn a degree in mathematics. Because math doesn't suck. It's beautiful. But it does take effort which is where most people fail.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    The real evil here is standardized testing which separates clear as day the dumb from the intelligent. That is what this is all about, grades by definition keep people down and raise some people up.

  • Ra's al Gore||

    K-12: Knowledge Containment Protocols
    ...In the beginning of the Progressive era, the attack on knowledge was straightforward. The basic claim was, who needs it? John Dewey sneeringly dismissed academic progress as "mere learning."

    Two famous professors, in their 1929 textbook, unapologetically stated that most school material is a waste of time: "Subjects such as arithmetic, language, and history include content that is intrinsically of little value." That clearly reveals an ideology. ...

  • ||

    ....In the beginning of the Progressive era, the attack on knowledge was straightforward. The basic claim was, who needs it? John Dewey sneeringly dismissed academic progress as "mere learning."

    Two famous professors, in their 1929 textbook, unapologetically stated that most school material is a waste of time: "Subjects such as arithmetic, language, and history include content that is intrinsically of little value."

    What we would call arithmetic, during the early part of the Renaissance, was derided as (((banking)))*.

    *Proper notation for despicable Jew-science. Am I doing this right?

  • Pi Guy||

    You are doing this right

  • ||

    Let's take it further. All Learning is a waste of time. We should have never evolved. I wanna go back to only worrying about picking nits off my neighbor.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Math is sexist if anything.

  • Paloma||

    Math can be used to calculate probability and statistics and interpret them. Science itself is based on math. I thought progressives scorned Republicans for being "anti science".

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    They do. They also believe Sociology and climate polls are science.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    Yeah, how come the 1 comes before the 0 on most money?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Math is hard.

  • Gwen||

    The long, thin, phallic slide rules were used FAR more often than the round, womanly, ovic circular slide rules, after all...we must do something about the slide rule gap!

  • Pi Guy||

    First Asian Midget Tranny to prove Goldbach's Conjecture wins the Fields Medal Lifetime Achievement Award!!1eleventy11!

    I don't think they care about such things in math. Just do more cool math. (see also Alan Turing and maybe even
    Isaac Newton)

    Q.E.D.

  • Alcibiades||

    "Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool… mathematics formulae also differentiate between the classifications of a war or a genocide and have been used to trick indigenous peoples out of land and property."

    This intellectual excrement will be used to trick kids out of an education.

  • Paloma||

    "Used to trick indigenous peoples out of land and property" makes indigenous peoples sound stupid. Maybe used to part fools and their money in Vegas would be more politically correct.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    I remember reading an account by an anthropologist of a tribe in the Amazon rain forest that could not count. Not couldn't count past 10 or even 5, literally could not count. They could tell the difference between one and two objects, but beyond that they only could speak of "many". He convinced them that they were probably getting ripped off trading with white men and even neighboring tribes because they couldn't count (e.g. "I'll trade you a bunch of papayas for a bunch of arrowheads"), so they agreed to let him teach them about numbers. But no matter how hard they tried, they just could not grasp the concept, and finally gave up.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    The Piraha don't have any counting words in their language. However, that doesn't mean they are stupid. When the missionaries tried to get them into Jesus, they kept asking when they are going to meet him. Finally, they understood that Jesus was long dead.
    "You mean you have never met Jesus?"
    "That's right."
    "Why should we listen to someone that is dead? I don't want to hear any more about Jesus."

  • Chip Your Pets||

    Failing to fall for a particular type of stupidity does not mean they aren't stupid.

    They could say the same thing about Bastiat, Voltaire, or Hayek.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Oh the irony of indigenous peoples tricking whites out of their money with... math.

  • MSimon||

    Non-western mathematical skills? sqrt(-1)

  • Greg F||

    Oh come on MSimon ... that is just an imaginary number.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Noice.

  • Gwen||

    At least it wasn't an irrational response.

  • MarkLastname||

    Which = penis.

    (Anyone get the Lacan reference?)

  • Pi Guy||

    +1 Argand Plane

  • Pi Guy||

    +1 Argand Plane

  • Pi Guy||

    Ok. +2. But not to the 2nd power. Then shit would get real.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Euler...sorry...he was German.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    I'm open to the idea that math—particularly advanced math—is over-valued as a K-12 subject. There's a good argument to be made that high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare.

    Sheesh, that's how you light the STEM-nerd signal.

  • Paloma||

    Algebra II is more interesting than Algebra I. And also more interesting than Shakespeare.

  • Ron||

    Math any day over Shakespeare. I even argued with my lit teacher that shakespeare wrote plays to be seen not to be read so why are we reading this?

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    I even argued with my lit teacher that shakespeare wrote plays to be seen not to be read so why are we reading this?

    Reason, stop writing anything Ron argued about with a teacher.

    Thank you.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    You don't want any more articles about horse masseuses?

  • BambiB||

    It's not either-or for me. I like both. Math is more useful. Shakespeare is more relaxing and better fires my imagination.

    But it's sort of like, which is better? A wrench or a paint brush? Depends on what you're trying to do.

  • RaymondhW||

    No, there isn't a good argument that kids should learn less math and more Shakespeare. If anything we don't teach anywhere near enough math and science. And it's becoming more important every year. A study by a poly sci major trying to justify his useless major isn't proof.

  • MSimon||

    Poly-sci major? = Government job. And government pension.

  • Meh.||

    Yep. Or continue on to law school. Both are pretty unfortunate since the majority of poli-sci majors I knew in school were unhinged petty tyrants, if student government was any indication, anyway.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    I stay away from poli-sci and sociology majors in my personal life. If I want to be annoyed, I come here and read the comments.

  • colorblindkid||

    "There's a good argument to be made that high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare"

    But Shakespeare was an evil white man and all of his works should be burned.

  • Microaggressor||

    Beat me to it.
    Good luck getting that through the committee of enlightened agenders, Robby. Dead. White. Male.

  • Meh.||

    I switched from private school to public school in between the 10th and 11th grades. We never read any classics in Junior English, instead focusing on oppressed people groups, reading books including "A Raisin In The Sun" and "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas" (not that those aren't good books! But still) And of course, Senior English we just gave speeches the whole time. Anyway, my point is, I think we're already halfway there.

  • Longtobefree||

    Sexist, you forgot sexist.

  • Pi Guy||

    Othello was the good guy.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool

    So they don't Fucking Love Science?

  • Chip Your Pets||

    "But I feel that a negative times a negative is a negative! How dare you discount the value of my feelings!"

  • Ann NY||

    Brilliant! I hate that website

  • ||

    THERE ARE 4 LIGHTS!

  • Ron||

    STNG nerd alert

  • Chip Your Pets||

    Technically that is an example of using math to dehumanize the oppressed. Or de-cardassianize at least.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    If only we could de-kardashianize so easily...

  • Long Woodchippers||

    Bajor wanted to de-Cardassianize

  • crufus||

    'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your diary, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'
    'Yes,' said Winston.
    O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
    'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'
    'Four.'
    'And if the party says that it is not four but five — then how many?'
    'Four.'
    The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five.

  • BambiB||

    You still say that after a week?

  • Jerryskids||

    If 42 parents whack 2 teachers teaching this shit 5 times each in the face with a 3 pound sledge hammer, how long will it take the teachers to stop teaching this shit?

  • ||

    Love this Jerry :-)

    +10

  • Longtobefree||

    Purple.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Does it only get to be parents?

  • Paulpemb||

    "There's a good argument to be made that high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare."

    Pretty sure the social justice crowd doesn't want kids reading Shakespeare, either.

  • ||

    But what about the exploitation by Jewish money lenders, Scottish independence, elves and animals as a solution to the war on drugs, to name but a few .....

    Plenty of food for SJW thought.

  • Pi Guy||

    I just realized that I have to re-read A Midsummer Night's Dream again.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This is so stupid it smells like a hoax.

  • Sevo||

    I keep waiting for someone to link Onion as the source.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    math could be made more interesting for students if it was infused with socially relevant themes.

    "Jane borrows $100k to attend college, at 5% interest, to be paid back within 10 years. If she graduates with a job that pays $15 an hour, calculate the odds of her voting for a candidate that blames evil banks for her decision"

  • DOOMco||

    This made me laugh.

  • Pi Guy||

    I predict there will be a Godwin for this in

  • Pi Guy||

    10 years.

    Sheesh. I thought the alcohol would help!

  • Libertarian||

    "non-western mathematical skills"

    The phrase "hate speech" has a new contender for King of Stupidity.

  • Gwen||

    That awful "Western" al-jabr (لجبر) is just SO very dehumanizing!

  • Jerryskids||

    "In western mathematics, our ways of knowing include formalized reasoning or proof, decontextualization, and algorithmic thinking, leaving little room for those having non-western mathematical skills and thinking processes," the training course claims.

    Fuck that shit - al-jabra is cultural appropriation and that's why it's wrong to teach it, you dumbass. Get your talking points straight.

    See how that works? You're a racist xenophobe if you don't appreciate other cultures, an imperialist oppressor if you do. Stop arguing with these people who are not arguing in good faith but merely as a way to bully and torment and just punch them in the face.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    There's a good argument to be made that high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare.

    In an increasingly technological world, innumerate boobs will be increasingly at the mercy of the small pool of people who actually understand how things work. As a member of that small pool, my life will be vastly enhanced by creating as many innumerate boobs as possible.

  • rudehost||

    Otherwise phrased as

    "Feel free to stick to your gender studies majors. Someone needs to cook my french fries at least until the robots are ready to."

    Creating a bunch of utter morons to vote for a living on the progressive plantation is maybe self defeating in the long term but it certainly has its upside.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Creating a bunch of utter morons to vote for a living on the progressive plantation is maybe self defeating in the long term but it certainly has its upside.

    A Progressive Plantation farms votes. The utter morons are the voting muscle of the Ruling Reptiles who suck your blood.

    Don't think that being productive means you'll get to enjoy the fruits of your productivity. On the Progressive Plantation, you're either a Ruling Reptile or a slave.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Very wrong.

    We will all be a the mercy of the small pool of people who control people.

    If your neighbors are all innumerate fools, you will be a slave too or a slave master.

  • Ann NY||

    This is like watching the evolution of the human race into the morlocks and the eloi - in realtime.

  • Pi Guy||

    So avoid using the word 'very' because it's lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won't do in your essays.

    - N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

    Diff Eqs are super cool. But I find it highly improbable that you're ever getting laid because you can do a Laplace Transform.

  • DanO.||

    Leave Britney the STEMS alone!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    How many lefties does it take to protect HilLIARy?

  • Ron||

    lets get back to Roman numerals since zero was an Incan construct and we appropriated it

  • ||

    Math itself was originally appropriated from Egypt, so we need to give up on the whole thing.

    But wait - isn't the unspoken assumption here that non-Europeans are naturally innumerate?

    I'm so confused.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    I assume that's a joke. The (South Asian) Indians were first to discover zero.

    The Muslims do owe us an apology for appropriating and developing on Greek mathematics while we were busy communing with nature during the dark ages.

  • Pi Guy||

    I still submit that π is more important than either 0 or 1.

    I may or may not be biased.

  • ||

    I have trouble conceiving of a less retarded interpretation of this notion. It's just really stupid, ignoring the full history of math and saying, 'for centuries', when you mean the last 100 yrs. or so.

    The notion that there is one math is idiotic. I can write the equations/equalities 1 = 5,280 = 63,360 and, strictly speaking, it's nonsense. However, it's likely that most Americans, but fewer Westerners, will understand what I've written. The Mayans had their own similarly unique math too, they died and it ended. Just the same, nobody knows what the fuck a cubit was despite all manner of historical documentation of the unit a) having existed and b) having fallen out of favor.

    The problem with all of them is that the abstract mathematics that they're referring to was distilled from use and not explicitly Western and the placement of Western (or other demonym) in front of it makes it non-mathematical except in the most worthless or transparent of senses. If there is a one-true math, you don't get to be it by focusing on the granular details of implementation.

  • John C. Randolph||

    A cubit is the length from your elbow to your fingertips. Who doesn't know that?

    Kids these days.

    -jcr

  • Pi Guy||

    "What's an ark?"

    "Riiiiiiiight."

  • Pi Guy||

    "What's an ark?"

    "Riiiiiiiiight."

  • Pi Guy||

    +2 by 2 squirrels

  • qoheleth||

    "Agency" is indeed the key word. Math is a tool. It has no inherent agenda or prejudice. Any of that comes from us as we use it. If we start blaming the tools, we should start by blaming the car when a drunk driver maims or kills.

  • Cowboy||

    Or guns, when...oh wait.

  • Pi Guy||

    And a good crafsltsman never blames his tools.

    He blames KKKorporations.

  • Pi Guy||

    Wait - remind me again: how many ls in craftsman?

  • cc2||

    Math does in fact underlie the technologies that enabled the West to conquer the world. Is the solution to teach that math is evil, or to redouble efforts to teach it to everyone? Talking about non-western ways of knowing (which really assumes minorities are stupid but "intuitive"--a really racist belief) does not help poor people understand a mortgage, deal with their taxes, understand an article about their health, or figure out a budget. None of these things can be done with "non-western ways of mathematics".

    "Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool"
    There is no evidence for such a claim. Math is not "dehumanizing". This doesn't even make sense. Did some Brit go to India and say Pi or Sqrt(5) and the people were dehumanized? furthermore, I deny that there is any such discipline as "mathematical ethics". Nonsense.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    WTF is "mathematical ethics"? Somehow I doubt they're talking about calculating utility functions.

  • Pi Guy||

    I believe that, if aliens exist, they have some system that's basically counting, just like us. Math is basically a tool for counting fast.

    I'm certain that an advanced (compared to us) alien race has something that means the same thing as we mean by π [ratio of diameter to circumference of a circle]).

    However, I am equally certain that aliens do not exist. Because, if they did, we'd be sending them foreign aid, too.

  • Pi Guy||

    I meant to note that Brita and Indians and Incans and the Cantonese (possible [sic] alert) all have a concept like π too.

    A is A.

  • Agammamon||

    high schoolers should be taking less Algebra II and reading more Shakespeare.

    The vast majority of highschoolers are neither taking Alg II *nor* reading Shakespeare.

    In fact, the majority of highschoolers finish highschool baaaaaaarely able to handle decimals - we called it 'money math' - all but the simplest of fractions confound them. And nobody should be *reading* Shakespeare unless you're working to put on one of his plays. Its meant to be heard and seen and, frankly, as read the plays are shite (the archaic language and meter are physically painful to me) and pretty much all of the nuance is lost.

    Being *read*, Aaron the Moor is just a dick. Seeing somebody take that role and run with it makes him perhaps the greatest nihilist villain around until Ledger's Joker.

  • crufus||

    I would be thrilled if the average high school graduate could find the correct picture on the register at McDonalds when I order Sausage McMuffin with Cheese.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    "But Teach for America thinks that language is "social justice," and has designed a course that makes some startling claims about math.

    'In western mathematics, our ways of knowing include formalized reasoning or proof, decontextualization, and algorithmic thinking, leaving little room for those having non-western [SIC] mathematical skills and thinking processes," the training course claims.'


    Yeah. *Sigh* So much for "Marching For Science."

  • Longtobefree||

    Yep, marching right over the cliff - - - -

    And the quote spelled "indoctrination" as "training", so maybe less math, more language arts?

  • Pi Guy||

    +2 Bill Nye has Mommies.

    Well, now he does.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    "In western mathematics, our ways of knowing include formalized reasoning or proof, decontextualization, and algorithmic thinking, leaving little room for those having non-western mathematical skills and thinking processes,"

    I propose to remediate this. The SJW types can have a society based on respect for Gaia, multiculturalism, moral relativism, and equality of outcomes. Meanwhile we unenlightened types stuck in the dark ages can have one based on science, math, technology, the rule of law, and personal responsibility. Let's see what happens between these societies after a couple generations. (Hint: probably a reenactment)

    * BTW, much of what they're calling "Western" mathematics originated in the Middle East, India, and even China. The word "algorithm" itself didn't exactly come from Latin.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I propose to remediate this. The SJW types can have a society based on respect for Gaia, multiculturalism, moral relativism, and equality of outcomes. Meanwhile we unenlightened types stuck in the dark ages can have one based on science, math, technology, the rule of law, and personal responsibility.

    The SJW types really care about nothing but controlling *you*. Every impulse is toward centralization. They will never leave you free and in peace.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    Not voluntarily. But we have ways of making that distinction irrelevant.

  • RabbitHead||

    "BTW, much of what they're calling "Western" mathematics originated in the Middle East, India, and even China. The word "algorithm" itself didn't exactly come from Latin."

    This is what I came here to say. And to point out that in my experience in the real world, on software development projects, as a person of European descent, I am definitely in the minority. Even among the North America based team.

    The non-western folks seem to be taking that dehumanization to the bank.

  • Gwen||

    "The word "algebra" is derived from the Arabic word الجبر al-jabr, and this comes from the treatise written in the year 830 by the medieval Persian mathematician, Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, whose Arabic title, Kitāb al-muḫtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa-l-muqābala, can be translated as The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. The treatise provided for the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. According to one history, "[i]t is not certain just what the terms al-jabr and muqabalah mean, but the usual interpretation is similar to that implied in the previous translation. The word 'al-jabr' presumably meant something like 'restoration' or 'completion' and seems to refer to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation; the word 'muqabalah' is said to refer to 'reduction' or 'balancing'—that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation. Arabic influence in Spain long after the time of al-Khwarizmi is found in Don Quixote, where the word 'algebrista' is used for a bone-setter, that is, a 'restorer'." The term is used by al-Khwarizmi to describe the operations that he introduced, "reduction" and "balancing", referring to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation, that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation." -- Wikipedia, "The History of Algebra"

    It's HARDLY "Western" mathematical thinking, with THOSE roots.

  • Pi Guy||

    Schaweeeeet reference.

    *tips fedora*

  • Trumptard||

    Certain kids need more math in school, not less. Some need classes in changing tires.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, Greece was west of somewhere.

    From the best of all sources, Wikiipedia;
    Three leading types of definition of mathematics are called logicist, intuitionist, and formalist, each reflecting a different philosophical school of thought.[30] All have severe problems, none has widespread acceptance, and no reconciliation seems possible.[30]
    It seems we are now adding a fourth, stupid-ist.

    On the other hand, I spent 45 years making a good living knowing only two numbers, one and zero. If the computers were happy, the boss was happy, and I got paid.

  • Pi Guy||

    In a binary world, there are only 10 kinds of people.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I'm open to the idea that math—particularly advanced math—is over-valued as a K-12 subject.

    If you don't know the basics of probability and statistics, you should be seen but not heard on most public policy.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    It's Robby's type of attitude that leads to pathetic creatures struggling with algebra in grad school biology/psychology, reaching for a calculator to figure out 5 x 7.

    Thanks to common core and its war on memorization, that will become the norm rather than the exception. I was subjected to many "psychology of learning" seminar in my former profession where they tried to beat into us that memorization is a terrible way to learn because it produces the shallowest understanding. Yeah, no shit, but it also gives the fastest recall. Maybe different strategies work for a small amount of information that needs to be recalled lightning fast vs. a large amount of information that can be pondered for a while... and the vast majority of people will find memorized multiplication tables no less useful in life than if they had been taught using the field axioms of abstract algebra.

  • Pi Guy||

    87.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

  • buybuydandavis||

    One of my many snarky twitter phrases is "Math is so racist".

    Goes to show you can never be snarky enough. Nothing is too stupid or absurd for SJWs to push.

  • Hollander||

    The minute you use the term "Mathematical ethics", you lost the argument. Whatever the argument may be

  • wef||

    Less math for stupid people is a good idea.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Behind every Social Justice Warrior lies a notion of patronizing racism trying to save non-Western people from their own inferiority.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Algebra is "advanced" math?

    It is also a lesson in logic, something that is lacking in the soft liberal arts crowd.

  • Gwen||

    Clearly, the person who thought algebra was advanced math never studied set theory or tensor calculus.

  • Pi Guy||

    +1 valid deductive argument

  • simplybe||

    Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and Algebra are essential to making a living and functioning in this society. Get rid of the calculators and cheat sheets. If schools can't teach these basics then schools aren't needed.

  • Gwen||

    Hell, pass out the slide rules and make the little rugrats learn logarithms and trigonometry! Ban calculators and calculator apps on smart phones, and make them learn to do the math by hand and slipstick!

  • Pi Guy||

    Jib. Cut thereof. Like.

  • JLM||

    If I have to spend a couple semesters reading that shakespeare crap, you have to do the same with algebra.

    I recently saw a notice about a school event involving STEAM. The A is for Arts. No shit. Can we add a C for Calculus to the whatever the acronym is for the under water basket weaving event?

  • Pi Guy||

    In a pretty big sense, this isn't so far off base.

    *Western Civ privilege* The Enlightenment/Renaissance was a time when, in the West, many-to-most survival issues had been largely tamed. Agriculture. Pig farming. People had free time because there were more people than anytime in human history to-date where we weren't so focused on simply not dying. So we had time to create.

    So, when free time permits (YAY, Capitalism!), art and science meld when 55 Hz means Tuba and 880 Hz means piccolo.

    When special effects means making a contemporaneously convincing Archimedes Death Ray.

    When the textile technology required to make tutus to teach a budding-Prima Ballerina to make her (xyr? vis?) arms softly curved and away from her waist while performing a demi-plie doesn't happen without a metric shit-ton of free time afforded by more productive corn fields and aquaducts.

    Necessity is the (most definitely lower-case) god-mother of invention. But really really wanting it in lush times is the Most Truest Evan Gaia Mother of All Mother's of InventionTM.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool

    C'mon. This HAS to be parody.

  • JSpey||

    They're right, you know. Being good at math and getting your aeronautical engineering degree may cause you to become part of the 1%. And that's just not fair.

  • ||

    more like the bathroom scales are evil and dehumanizing

  • Loss of Reason||

    Well holy arithmetic! I mean sure a derivative can put you down but an integral can bring us together.

    Sure the number 8 has all the curves in the right places. And sure last I check Sun Tzu's book of war did it say that to defeat an enemy one must have superior numbers but I don't think they understand what that means.

  • Gwen||

    Last time I looked, math was the same as any inanimate object -- it cannot "trick" anyone into anything. It's possible for a PERSON to use math to trick someone, as anyone who ever was subjected to an Amway pyramid scheme explanation knows, but it's not the MATH that's doing the tricking, it's the larcenous multi-level scam artist USING the math that's to blame.

    But my slide rule collection, and the books that teach their history and usage, are not evil. They may be a challenge to understand, and our calculator-and-computer world may not often require their use these days, but they're hardly tools of iniquity and shame. I find this effort to slime math with copious quantities of strawman slurry to be most distressing.

  • LarrySanger||

    "Western mathematics"? WTF?

  • mdeena.com||

    I like my markets like I like my women. Volatile and full of attrition.تكييف شارب See? There is a positive in the drug war to having an AG Sessions.
    تكييف شارب Next stop, easing sentences for victumful crimes.

  • khm001||

    In his new book The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, political scientist Andrew Hacker proposes replacing algebra II and calculus in the high school and college curriculum with a practical course in statistics for citizenship

    This is an incredible mistake. Statistics is an incredibly subtle subject (even math PhD's have trouble understanding the Monty Hall problem, much less its consequences). Teaching statistics at the high school level, without algebra or calculus only means no one will effectively learn statistics and how to interpret them, but they will think they can. Thinking you understand a subject you don't understand is far worse than knowing you don't understand a subject.

  • Gmama||

    I think it is interesting that liberals try to ruin anything males excel at. Lots of non-whites do very well at math as a group, but Indians and Asians don't count as minorities. These people are completely insane.

  • Pi Guy||

    > Serious question: Don't we really want as many people as possible to be able to quote Lao Tzu and Samuel Langhorne Clemens as can compute the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle given the length of the two legs and bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan while playing Pencil Thin Mustache on the guitar?

    I want to party with you, cowboy.

  • Pi Guy||

    > Serious question: Don't we really want as many people as possible to be able to quote Lao Tzu and Samuel Langhorne Clemens as can compute the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle given the length of the two legs and bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan while playing Pencil Thin Mustache on the guitar?

    I want to party with you, cowboy.

  • Pi Guy||

    The squirrels are strong tonight

  • Pi Guy||

    The squirrels are strong tonight

  • Pi Guy||

    Squirrels + Threading Fail = *hangs head in shame*

    Has there ever been talk about a HyR Edit Button? Asking for a friend. He's (Xe's?) on the Sex Offender's Registry and has to keep things on the DL.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Math is hard. Let's go shopping.

  • Cloudbuster||

    All you shitlords posting here, don't you realize that the written word is also a racist, patriarchal tool of oppression? It was invented by dead white men to spread their oppressive system of control, to keep down women, LBGTQIA individuals, non-human individuals and people of color/fur/feathers/scales!

    No more written word!

  • kellygardner546||

  • stellapalmer4545||

  • Finrod||

    Leftists hate anything that's pure and incorruptible:

    https://xkcd.com/435/

  • shawnaholt525||

  • CZmacure||

    "Agency" is indeed the key word. Math is a tool. It has no inherent agenda or prejudice. Any of that comes from us as we use it. If we start blaming the tools, we should start by blaming the car when a drunk driver maims or kills.

    My recent post: Consultant Funnel – Facebook Ads Review

    My recent post: Twitworkz 2.0 Review

  • CZmacure||

    Well holy arithmetic! I mean sure a derivative can put you down but an integral can bring us together.

    Sure the number 8 has all the curves in the right places. And sure last I check Sun Tzu's book of war did it say that to defeat an enemy one must have superior numbers but I don't think they understand what that means.
    My recent post: Companion Publishing Profits Review

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