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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Math and science are 'every human's birthright'

The Mayans used a base-20 number system

There's no need to "decolonise" math, writes John Armstrong in The Spectator. He's published an open letter criticizing a proposal urging British math professors to decolonise math curricula.

Mathematics isn't European, writes Armstrong, who teaches financial mathematics at King's College London.

The Mayan civilisation was doing sophisticated mathematics in the Americas long before Christopher Columbus arrived
. . . The digits 0123456789 we use today were first written in India and inspired by Chinese mathematics. They were popularised by Persian and Arab mathematicians and then made their way to Europe via the Moors’ conquest of Southern Spain.

Advocates of decoloniality also believe there's a "European paradigm of rational knowledge," writes Armstrong. They think "non-Europeans prefer ‘other ways of knowing’ to rationality and science."

Apparently, it's not racist when the left does it.

Math, science and statistics teaching has been influenced by activists, he writes. "In New Zealand the school chemistry and biology syllabus . . . now invokes the concept of mauri, or life force, to give the atomic theory a new spiritual dimension. This is because of a central diktat that Maori knowledge must be given equal status to other forms of knowledge, including science."

"Culture is not a place" or a color, writes Greg Ashman on Filling the Pail. It is "a collection of powerful and transformative ideas that are the "birthright of every human being on this planet."

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