Culture Education Intelligent Design Mathematics

Journalist Douglas Murray reflects on the progressive war on science

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As it plays out in Seattle’s current war on math:

When do you come to realise that a movement has made a clean sweep through the culture? It isn’t the moment when the disciplines that you know succumb to it. It isn’t when the ideas that you are familiar with suffer from the contamination. Rather it is when subjects you took to be serious, solid and immune from such things end up spouting exactly the same degraded mantras as everyone else…

This week it emerged that the city’s school board has decided even maths must be subjected to the same numbing and unthinking orthodoxy of our time. In particular that mathematics must – like everything else – be seen through the prism of racism and oppression. Thus as the Seattle Public Schools guidelines for maths education show, students in Seattle schools will be invited to consider questions such as the following: “Where does Power and Oppression show up in our math experience?” Note, incidentally, the fact that “Power” and “Oppression” get the full upper-case first letter treatment. Like The Queen or The President. A real, living, major presence – unlike “math” of course…

But the problem is not with the smarter students, who like most smart people will always find a way to navigate around the lies and dogmas of their age, but the less intelligent applicants, whose one shot at education the Seattle authorities are meant to be overseeing. A rather basic knowledge of maths would help such people and come in very handy in their lives: in ordering their finances, and working out their day-to-day interactions with others. If they do not pick up these basics at school, then it is highly unlikely that they will pick them up at some later stage, the education system offering the best chance anyone ever has to surpass their forebears.

Douglas Murray, “Will maths succumb to the woke wave?” at Unherd

With no one to just flog them through math—when they would, quite understandably, rather be chitchatting with friends—they won’t be eligible for the jobs that offer real opportunities.

That’s costly for everyone. Students who have natural talents suited to health care will be stuck in low status positions because they don’t understand enough quantitative reasoning to be trusted with issues like dosage and chart interpretation. They’ll be angry and convinced that it is all unfair (yes). But then they will be encouraged to get everything wrong about whose fault that is.

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Hint: Kid, it’s not the fault of the people who got private coaching or figured it out on their own. It’s the fault of the people who thought you needed to learn propaganda instead of plain old, boring math. If you believe them, they own you.

Math is something we can use but cannot overthrow. Is that why progressives hate it so much?

Don’t miss: Jonathan Bartlett on Why teach algebra? “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.”

29 Replies to “Journalist Douglas Murray reflects on the progressive war on science

  1. 1
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    “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.”

    Good point. That is how we also end up with engineers that are not taught science, and some of them take the DNA-as-software analogy WAY too far. That being an example of how, when the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  2. 2

    .

    DNA-as-software analogy

    “DNA as a medium in a system of symbols and constraints” is a more accurate statement, in which no analogy is implied – DNA is a medium in a system of symbols and constraints (described as such in the literature).

  3. 3
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Upright BiPed #2

    Citation please, or you are just makin’ it up.

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The only real similarities between DNA and software are that both are sophisticated coding languages that communicate instructions for the activation of variable, complex functions within the receptors.
    And both are clearly the product of an intelligent design.
    But other than that, there may not be many other areas of commonality.
    Software, for example, can be downloaded on the web. But functional DNA is resident only in biological organisms.
    As Bill Gates said: “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” So, that’s a big difference in the analogy.
    Software can output “Hello world”, and that’s not very complex code, but it is in the English language, and DNA can’t do that.
    I can get a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 and they will give me updates and automatically bill me every year.
    DNA can’t do that at all.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    GENETIC CODE: the biochemical instructions that translate the genetic information present as a linear sequence of nucleotide triplets in messenger RNA into the correct linear sequence of amino acids for the synthesis of a particular peptide chain or protein. Cf. codon , translation.
    (Dictionary.com)

  6. 6

    .
    PK,

    Citation please, or you are just makin’ it up

    oOoo … ouch.

    Giving you a citation of the gene system being carefully described as a genuine symbol system is hardly a problem (as any regular follower of this blog knows), but really, haven’t we already been here before? The last time you engaged me on this forum, I had made a comment to another contributor about the propensity of materialists to merely ignore the symbol system in DNA – i.e. that the symbol system was logically predicted as fundamental to the system prior to its discovery inside the cell; that the key details of the system had been described via experiment; that the system had indeed been further described and confirmed in the literature using the language of physics, (i.e. by persons who would approach any description of the system from the narrow perspective of the laws and equations of motion, for example), etc. I responded to you that John Von Neumann had predicted that a symbol system (an encoded quiescent description) was a logical necessity of autonomous open-ended self-replication in 1948, and that Francis Crick and Sidney Brenner had demonstrated experimental results of that system (as just one example) in 1961. You did not respond to those comments. I further asked you (as a simple demonstration of the logic of the system) if Francis Crick’s adapter hypothesis in 1958 was merely a wild guess on his part, or if it was a logical deduction of the system’s requirements and operation. You did not respond to that either.

    So at this point, why don’t we just cut to the details you will seek to deny? Did John Von Neumann’s famous 1948 prediction of the organizational requirements of open-ended self-replication include a multi-referent symbol system (and a set of interpretive constraints), or not?

  7. 7

    .
    PK,

    Just to demonstrate that I am more than happy to engage and substantiate my comments on this subject, here is but one (of many) cites:

    Abstract: Evolution requires the genotype-phenotype distinction, a primeval epistemic cut that separates energy-degenerate, rate-independent genetic symbols from the rate-dependent dynamics of construction that they control. This symbol-matter or subject-object distinction occurs at all higher levels where symbols are related to a referent by an arbitrary code. The converse of control is measurement in which a rate-dependent dynamical state is coded into quiescent symbols. Non-integrable constraints are one necessary conditions for bridging the epistemic cut by measurement, control, and coding. Additional properties of heteropolymer constraints are necessary for biological evolution.

    Pattee, Howard. (2012). Physics of Symbols-Bridging the Epistemic Cut. Biosystems. 60.

    Frankly, it is interesting that you appear to not even be aware of such literature. I am sure you can state a self-affirming reason for that.

    By the way, is the codon-to-anticodon association in the cell temporally and spatially independent of the anticodon-to-amino acid association? If so, wouldn’t that establish a system of discontinuous association between the nucleic medium and its amino acid referents? In other words, is it the structure of the codon that establishes which particular amino acid is presented for binding, or is it the structure of the aaRS instead?

    Isn’t it also true that DNA is a linear sequence medium — a sequential medium that is not only discontinuous with its product, but that also uses the spatial-orientation of (rate-independent) objects within its sequence to distinguish one referent from another?

  8. 8
    BobRyan says:

    Progressives, socialists, communists, whatever they choose to call themselves from one moment to the next, are at war with logic and reason. They want people to be good socialists, rather than good engineers and scientists. China is filled with engineers that are good socialists, but not good engineers. They have taken everything via intellectual property theft and simply reverse engineer everything.

  9. 9
    Belfast says:

    BobRyan,
    Here is the classic on engineering, if you don’t at least smile, when you read it, I’ll send you the price of a beer.
    https://monologues.co.uk/1960-2000/Diagonal_Steam-Trap.htm

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Belfast, yer beer’z safe. KF

  11. 11
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Updright Biped #2

    ““DNA as a medium in a system of symbols and constraints” is a more accurate statement, in which no analogy is implied – DNA is a medium in a system of symbols and constraints (described as such in the literature).”

    Your use of quotes and your phrase “described as such in the literature” implies that you found that exact quote in some literature somewhere.
    I would like to read whatever document in which you found that exact quote.
    From what literature did you extract that quote?

  12. 12

    PK,

    My use of quotation marks indicates a statement that (I set forth to argue in comment #2) is a more accurate statement than the one you offered (i.e. a replacement for it). You are free to ask me if that statement is a direct quote taken from a text elsewhere, or if it was of my own making in summary of text elsewhere. If you had asked me that question, I would have told you it was the latter, and in comment #7, I provided just one example of such a text. You are free to do the reading and argue against my summary if you wish. It is an argument you will lose.

  13. 13

    .
    By the way PK, in my previous comment I asked a question about the codon-to-anticodon association being temporally and spatially independent of the anticodon-to-amino acid association – and wouldn’t that establish a system of discontinuous association from medium to referent. I asked if it was the structure of the codon or the structure of the aaRS that physically establishes which amino acid is presented for binding. Are you able to respond to any of these questions?

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    I find the wickedness difficult to believe. I am literally dumbfounded – which is not that common with me. And it is not that I am not into politics, at least in front of a computer.

  15. 15
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    How to use quotation marks, from grammerly.com

    A quote from their page
    https://www.grammarly.com/blog/quotation-marks/

    “Quotation marks are for when you want to use someone else’s words in your writing.”

    See how I did that? I cited the source, then put the quotation in quotation marks.

    When you put it in quotation marks, you are sending people off on a wild goose chase to try and find the source. If YOU are the source of the words, DO NOT PUT THEM IN QUOTATION MARKS !

  16. 16

    .
    I cannot address your points because I have a pedantic itch I must scratch.

    Powerful

  17. 17

    .
    I cannot address the content of your remarks in the presence of irrelevant grammar! Hrumph!!

    Powerful Powerful

  18. 18
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Welcome to Schoolhouse Rock !

    “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?….”

  19. 19
    Truthfreedom says:

    PK

    See how I did that? I cited the source, then put the quotation in quotation marks.

    Yes, you showed us you are pathetic.

  20. 20
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Truthfreedom

    The word is “pedantic”. Upright Biped got it right. And that illustrates another proper usage of quotation marks, as per my previously cited source.

    And I would rather be pedantic than illiterate.

  21. 21
    Truthfreedom says:

    @20 PK

    Triggered like a champion 🙂
    You are 3 in 1: pedantic, pathetic and illiterate .

    The Holy Trinity of the imbecile.

  22. 22
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Moderator:
    Member Upright Biped has called me pathetic, and an imbecile.

    This constitutes a personal attack, which I believe is grounds for banning.

    Am I right?

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    Peter @ 22:
    You are kinda right, but not in the way you mean. I would describe you more as “cowardly” for continuing to evade UB’s questions. Upright Biped, get your adjectives right.

  24. 24

    .
    I think PK must be mistaken.

    He/She describes something that never happened.

  25. 25
    Ed George says:

    UB

    I think PK must be mistaken.

    He/She describes something that never happened.

    You are correct. It was TF who did this.

  26. 26
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    I apologize to Upright Biped. It WAS TruthFreedom who attacked me.

    Barry. You cannot change his words for him. Do you not enforce the rules?

  27. 27
    Truthfreedom says:

    I apologize for my comment @21.

  28. 28
    ET says:

    Attacked? Or just made an astute observation?

  29. 29
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @TruthFreedom #27

    Apology accepted. I guess you don’t want to be banned.

    Sometimes I think I would welcome it.

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