Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Rob Sheldon responds to News’s recent Salvo article, “War on Math”

arroba Email

Rob Sheldon is our physics color commentator. In response to this item, he kindly writes to say:

I was mulling over this topic this morning. In this case, why Hollywood continues to spend $100 million on flops. Surely someone could have read the script of the recent Wonder Woman sequel beforehand and noticed the stink bombs? But then, perhaps the audience is not the customer.

A few weeks ago, while listening to talk radio, the radio host was listing all the newspapers that received a total of $2.2bn from China. It didn’t go into advertising–there were no pages dedicated to that purchase. Rather, the money was intended to influence the current crop of opinion writers. It was advertising through the op-ed pages. The radio host assured me that this was intended to offset the loss in subscriptions that the same editors were suffering due to their unpopular op-ed pieces.

The Long Ascent: Genesis 1–11 in Science & Myth, Volume 1 by [Robert Sheldon, David Mackie]

Applying that same logic to Hollywood, the producers are not expecting to recoup their investments in Wonder Woman sequels, rather they are desiring to push the community in a certain direction. Or perhaps they expect to recoup their investments in markets I know very little about. In either case, US ticket sales were not the point.

The point I’m making is that in today’s world, I was wrong to think that newspapers get their income from subscribers, or that movies get their income from ticket buyers. That is how it used to be done, but not today. As the gap between the ultra-rich and the remaining 90% grows wider, movies or newspapers are like the free bread and circuses of ancient Rome–not exactly a capitalist business model.

Likewise, high school and college math classes used to be about mastering skills that would both further employment opportunities or possibly lead to a career in math. But college has converted their English departments into indoctrination courses, and college is no longer about education but about making workers for government and society. And workers don’t need math as much as they need to be governable. Math destroys their gullibility. Far better to eliminate the history knowledge, the math skills, the civics lessons that make them difficult to control. Talking to a retired St Louis public high school math teacher, the battle was first enjoined 30 years ago over Geometry–eliminating it from the curriculum. Why? Because it was the only course that taught logic, he said. The “woke” mobs didn’t exist in 1990, but even then, the elites had a plan.

After all, the elites have their own private schools that still teach math. Public schools, on the other hand, teach what the elites deem important for everyone else.

Rob Sheldon is also the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent and The Long Ascent, Volume II

Note from News: Media have certainly changed their role in society. It’s no surprise because – some of us have made this point numerous times – no one needs the newspaper to find out whether it will rain this weekend, what’s on TV, or where to buy Greek deli. The owners and staff are probably glad to be bought up and put to work. My guess is they’ll be part of a war on math if that helps keep them going.

See also: My “War on Math’ article at Salvo. Like most opponents, [a math teacher friend] attempts logical refutations. But logic is the prime target in the war. A bit of recent history might help…

Of related note;
The Devastating Effects When Prayer Was Removed From School in America in 1962-63 - David Barton - video (excerpted from Barton’s “America’s Godly Heritage’ lecture) https://youtu.be/1No--GpdqCY What Happened When the Praying Stopped? April 6, 2008 Excerpt: How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States (in 1963) affect our nation as a whole?,,, Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores. Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed. Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country. Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year. Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision. Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent. http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0124_When_America_stopped.html
If anyone doubts those sobering numbers cited by David Barton, here is the raw data on crime statistics for America from 1960 to 2019:
United States Crime Rates 1960 - 2019 (Please note the skyrocketing crime rate from 1963, the year prayer was removed from school, thru 1980, the year the steep climb in crime rate finally leveled off.) of note: The slight decline in the violent crime rate at the mid 90s is attributed in large part to tougher enforcement on minor crimes (i.e. New York’s ‘spitting on the sidewalk’ enforcement). http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm
And if anyone doubts that SAT scores dropped substantially after the remodel of prayer from school in 1963, wikipedia itself states that,
SAT Excerpt: In 1952, mean verbal and math scores were 476 and 494, respectively, and scores were generally stable in the 1950s and early 1960s. However, starting in the mid-1960s and continuing until the early 1980s, SAT scores declined: the average verbal score dropped by about 50 points, and the average math score fell by about 30 points. By the late 1970s, only the upper third of test takers were doing as well as the upper half of those taking the SAT in 1963. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT#1960s_and_1970s_score_declines
On the other hand, and as David Barton pointed out in his lecture, the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world.,,, Consistently outperforming public schools, i.e. "college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools scoring substantially higher than the national average."
2018 SAT Results Released The College Board recently released performance results from the SAT for the class of 2018. According to the College Board, the mean total scores for 2018 graduates who took the SAT was 1068, a slight increase over last year’s class average of 1060. For the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (ERW), the mean score was 536, whereas last year’s was 533. The Math section score was 531, just above 2017’s 527. Private School Data According to data provided to CAPE by the College Board, results varied significantly by the type of school students attended, with college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools scoring substantially higher than the national average. Specifically, the average combined score of students in independent schools was 1188, or 120 points above the national mean, while the average for religious school students was 1153, which was 85 points above the mean. Public school students scored 1049, 19 points below the mean. The scores make clear that students in private schools help lift the national average. https://www.lcs.education/4198-2/
And this following 2018 study from Stanford found that, "Adolescents who practice religion on a regular basis do better in school than those who are religiously disengaged,,"
Religiously engaged adolescents demonstrate habits that help them get better grades, Stanford scholar finds - April 15, 2018 Excerpt: Adolescents who practice religion on a regular basis do better in school than those who are religiously disengaged, according to new research from Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).,,, The link between religiosity and grades remained after accounting for race, class, gender and religious denomination, Horwitz said. It also held after controlling for certain behaviors associated with strict religious practice among teenagers, like lower alcohol consumption and limited sexual activity. “Generally, kids who are religious drink less, have less sex, and are more closely supervised by their parents,” said Horwitz. “These variables explained some of why religious kids do better in school. But my models showed there’s something above and beyond those factors that the survey data couldn’t explain.” https://ed.stanford.edu/news/religiously-engaged-adolescents-demonstrate-habits-help-them-get-better-grades-stanford-scholar?newsletter=true
John 13:13 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am."
So, since prayer and/or religious belief is obviously very beneficial to a child's education, why in the world was prayer ever removed from public schools in the first place? Well, we have our so-called progressive liberal friends on the left to thank for turning America's public schools into the second, even third, rate educational institutions that they are now.. Specifically, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, an appointee of FDR, and a former leader of the KKK, is largely responsible for inventing the false doctrine 'separation of church and state',,,
Hugo Black and the real history of "the wall of separation between church and state" - 2011 Excerpt: So how does this invocation of "wall of separation between church and state" become Supreme Court doctrine, extending from a casual phrase by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to an obscure comment in an 1878 Supreme Court ruling on bigamy to a pervasive doctrine of anti-religious censorship in the public square in the 21st century? Here's how: On August 11, 1921 Fr. James Coyle, a Roman Catholic priest in Birmingham, Alabama, was shot to death on the porch of his rectory by E.R. Stephensen, a local Ku Klux Klansman. Fr. Coyle had just performed a wedding between Stephensen's daughter and her Puerto Rican husband. Stephenson was defended by five lawyers, four of whom were Klan members. The fifth lawyer who volunteered to defend Stephenson was Hugo Black, a prominent local attorney. Despite the fact that the Catholic priest was unarmed and the murder was committed in public in front of witnesses, Stephensen was acquitted of murder based on "self-defense"and "temporary insanity". Defense attorney Black joined the Ku Klux Klan after the trial. In the Klan, Black was a Kladd of the Klavern, which was an initiator of new Klansmen. From The Volokh Conspiracy: ... Black was head of new members for the largest Klan cell in the South. New members of the KKK had to pledge their allegiance to the “eternal separation of Church and State.”... Separation was a crucial part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda. It was included in the Klansman’s Creed... Several years later, Black ran for U.S. Senate from Alabama. He barnstormed the state, campaigning on a virulent anti-Catholic platform and demanding "a wall of separation between church and state". His strongest support came from his Klan base, and he gave many anti-Catholic "wall of separation" speeches to Klan meetings across Alabama. Black, a Democrat, won the Alabama senate seat in 1926, defeating his Republican opponent with 80.9 % of the vote. He easily won re-election in 1932, with 86.3 % of the vote. He was a staunch defender of FDR's New Deal and of Roosevelt's court-packing plan. In 1937 Roosevelt appointed Black to the Supreme Court. Despite controversy about his Klan history, Black was easily confirmed. He quickly acquired a reputation for idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution. In 1947, Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education, the landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court decision that barred use of tax revenues to transport children to religious (Catholic) schools. Justice Black wrote: No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16 [emphasis mine] In 1962, Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion in Engel v. Vitale, the landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court decision that outlawed prayer in public schools. Justice Black wrote: The petitioners contend among other things that the state laws requiring or permitting use of the Regents' prayer must be struck down as a violation of the Establishment Clause because that prayer was composed by governmental officials as a part of a governmental program to further religious beliefs. For this reason, petitioners argue, the State's use of the Regents' prayer in its public school system breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State. We agree with that contention since we think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government. [emphasis mine] Justice Hugo Black began his political career in the wake of his successful defense of a Klansman who murdered a Catholic priest. The modern application of the non-Constitutional doctrine "a wall of separation between church and state" derives from Black, a former Kladd of the Klavern of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, who used his Klan base to secure a Senate seat and ultimately an appointment on the Supreme Court. The phrase "a wall of separation between church and state" played little role in jurisprudence until the mid-20th century. The doctrine has long played a large cultural role, preserved by pervasive anti-Catholic bigotry through organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, and became a 'Constitutional principle' through the jurisprudence of an anti-Catholic bigot. It is used today to suppress prayer and religious expression in all public schools in the United States. Why is it that discussions of the "separation of church and state" don't generally include the cultural and political history of the "doctrine"? Why is the central role that "separation" played in the political and judicial rise of Justice Black-- the father of modern Establishment Clause jurisprudence-- never seems to show up in New York Times Op-Ed columns or NPR's "All Things Considered"? Ever see a press release by Americans United for Separation of Church and State note the fact that "an eternal separation of church and state" was a part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda and the Klansmen's Creed, and that one of those Klansmen jurists wrote the Supreme Court opinions establishing "separation of church and state" as the law under which we live? http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/10/hugo-black-and-real-history-of-wall-of.html
In fact, the term 'separation of church and state’ does not even appear anywhere in the constitution but is a term that was lifted out of context from one of Jefferson's personal letters to the Danbury Baptists, and then twisted almost 180 degrees out of its original context. The term ‘separation of church and state’, as Jefferson originally intended it, meant that the Danbury Baptists could rest assured that they were free to exercise their religion as they saw fit, completely free from any government interference. I.e. The first amendment was originally devised to protect the church from the state’s influence, not to protect the state from the church’s influence.
The Truth About “Separation of Church and State” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS6QGyWVgZY Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists – January 1, 1802 Excerpt: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a former KKK member),, in 1947, put forth the,, argument for a radical separation of religion and politics, he cited Jefferson’s metaphor: “[t]he First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” Jefferson’s actual aim was quite to the contrary.,,, The “wall” does not imprison the free exercise of religion. Rather, Jefferson sought to prevent the domination of particular sects, making free the religious practices of all. - per heritage
Thus in conclusion, the 'war on math' is, in reality, just an extension of the progressive left's decades long 'war on education' itself when they removed prayer from public schools with the false doctrine of 'separation of Church and State',
Colossians 2 Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one may deceive you by specious arguments.
Mahuna, the world has changed and level of mathematical insight required to be productive is climbing. At the same time multimedia tech allows for transformation of education, starting with Algebra, apparently the most flunked course in US HS. We need people to be digitally productive and statistically literate. The Robinson approach tames infinitesimals and re-opens Calculus.BTW, in Russia -- at least, as I was told years ago -- every high school kid did several years of math at calculus level and physics too. That was connected to industry and the military needs. It is time for reformation. KF kairosfocus
Oh, wow. Ya gotta get the Paradigm right before you can see the pieces slip into place. Our betters are running "Brave New World". And the Betas, and ONLY the Betas, need to know ANYTHING about Math. The huge mass of Gammas can't appreciate Math as an intellectual exercise (because they ain't Intellectual) and NOTHING about their daily drudgery BENEFITS from understanding the MEANING of what the Betas have done. In order to keep the Gammas happy (or at least not UN-happy enough to start another riot), the Betas have to carefully CALCULATE everything the Gammas will be faced with during their work day. If you make the silly mistake of REQUIRING juvenile Gammas to pass courses in crap they are NEVER going to use (i.e., Math above Arithmetic: No, Joe. 5 bucks is MORE than 3 bucks...), it will just make those Gammas ANGRY. And the Alphas REALLY don't like it when the Betas make the Gammas angry. I read "Brave New World" perhaps 50 years ago. While I write this I SUDDENLY realized that the Summer of BLM is in fact the REALIZATION of OUR Brave New World. Students don't like flunking classes at your silly school? DROP all those classes. Everybody wins, and the Betas will continue to make sure that enough of society still works so Gammas can watch cable TV and Betas can commute to their offices and the Alphas can expect their airliner to actually ARRIVE in Paris if that's where their ticket says they're going. I think it's time to read "Brave New World" again. I hope it's not too scary this time. mahuna
The Journal is Indian. kairosfocus
The war on math is more likely about weakening the country future native workforce. I am sure they are still teaching normal math in both India and China. Eugene
Polistra seems to use a colloquial meaning for 'theory'. In music, 'theory' means something more like 'how to capture music and notation and how to understand such notation'. The meaning in hard sciences is more like 'facts we know about how things work that are mathematical', and for serious working mathematicians such as cryptographers, 'mathematical facts we know about numbers, algebraic groups, probabilities, lattices, etc.'. Using Sheldon's apparent meaning, which is more like a mathematician's or physicist's understanding of 'theory', Sheldon is right. Such theories are actual reality, not speculation, and a good grounding in such math is an excellent basis for debunking the math frauds used to fool the masses. Fnarb
Sheer nonsense. Lethally backwards. What makes students less gullible and less governable is REALITY, not theory. The more experience they have with real work and real NATURE, the harder they are to fool. The current holocaust uses ABSTRACT MATH to fool and dominate the masses. Models, simulations, predictions, case counts, a constant BARRAGE of precise and utterly meaningless numbers numbers numbers, ripping out synapses and neurons as they hammer incessantly into our heads. The people who are NOT fooled are the old coots and biddies who lived through real epidemics. They know that immunity exists, and they know that "cases' mean immunity, not danger. polistra

Leave a Reply