Monday, May 27, 2019
separating fact from fiction with the 56% of Americans say Arabic Numerals should not be taught in school
On the excellent TV show Veep there was a subplot about a political candidate (who himself had failed algebra in HS) objecting to Algebra since it was invented by the Muslims. I don't recall the exact line, but he said something like `Math teachers are terrorists'
This was, of course, fiction.
The same week I read that 56% of survey respondents say `Arabic Numerals' shouldn't be taught in schools' Obviously also a fiction. Perhaps a headline from The Onion.
No. The story is true.
See snopes entry on this: here
but also see many FALSE but FUNNY websites:
Sarah Palin wants Arabic Numerals out of the schools: here Funny but false.
Jerry Brown is forcing students in California to learn Arabic Numerals as part of multi-culturism False by funny: here
A website urging us to use Roman Numerals (which Jesus used!) False but funny: here
OKAY, what to make of the truth that really, really, 56% of Americans are against Arab Numerals
1) Bigotry combined with ignorance.
2) Some of the articles I read about this say its a problem with polls and people. There may be some of that, but still worries me.
3) In Nazi Germany (WOW- Goodwin's law popped up rather early!) they stopped teaching relativity because Albert Einstein was Jewish (the story is more complicated than that, see here). That could of course never happen in America now (or could it, see here and here).
4) There is no danger that we will dump Arabic Numerals. I wonder if we will change there name to Freedom Numerals.
5) Ignorance of science is a more immediate problem with the anti-vax people. See here