Perhaps we all need to recall something: The Iron Ring of the Canadian engineers is forged from the steel of a bridge that collapsed and cost 75 lives. That ring is intended as a warning, not a training manual. It turns out that in the real world, right or wrong answers in math do matter.
Bartlett: It seems odd that classical logic would need defending, but, in modern times, this seems to indeed be the case. Many modern scholars see the need for demoting the place of classical logic and viewing it as an aspect of western cultural imperialism. In reality, classical logic is a gift to civilization. It was created in the classical west, but its benefit is that it belongs to everyone and can be equally wielded by anyone who chooses to do so.
Pannekoek would have been a stalwart, had he lived, in the war on math.
Some of us remember when Darwinian commenters chided us for writing about the war on math and the war on science. Now that Jerry Coyne is starting to talk about it, will they start to listen?
One suspects that disliking Newton wouldn’t mean embracing widespread innumeracy. But the trend to deplatforming major math and science figures will likely end no other way. Why study what one is taught to despise?
Bartlett: … one thing that is helpful for parents, students, and teachers is for students to show their work. I know it can be hard to get students to do this. My own children hate to do it. However, being explicit about the steps in their reasoning is important for a number of reasons. First, showing their work helps students with harder problems… So, what does Equitable Math say about this practice? According to their published guide, “White supremacy culture shows up in math class when students are required to show their work”
It feels odd to hear math, a multi-ethnic enterprise for as long as we have had written records, described as “white supremacy.”
Wethinks that the big winners are teachers who can’t teach, protected by unions. The big losers are kids who leave school innumerate and must cope with a workplace that no longer needs innumerate people. We have machines now.
Sheldon: 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.
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…
Math is not, of course, created by humans but only recognized by humans—a critical distinction. 2 + 2 = 4, even if the Woke burn down research labs under the banner of “2 + 2 = 5!” The biggest losers will, of course, be those with the fewest private resources when public ones are destroyed.
Carlo Rovelli stops short of saying that 2+2=5 but the article gives every sense that many would love to go there if only they could get some kind of a nudge. It is far to say that the war on Platonism is just the war on math, PhD version.
New Scientist — as a culture — would probably always been happier joining the war on math, and this sounds like a way of testing the waters. But we shall see.
James Lindsay, one of Peter Boghossian’s fellow hoaxers of the Woke folk, discusses the war on math in this podcast.
Mahlberg: English philosopher G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) saw the early signs of the West’s abandonment of objective truth, and in a cheeky tone, he warned: We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green…