A professor at the University of Exeter, a prestigious England school, says in a new thinkpiece that we should reconsider how and why we are teaching mathematics to students.
In the piece, entitled “The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful?” Professor Paul Ernest lays out the case that the world’s social justice warriors must turn their attention to the one subject we all thought would SURELY escape condemnation. Apparently, that was nothing more than naivete on our part, though; if there is a sacred cow left in the building, the left’s insane butchers will find a way to slay it. Only when we live in a world free of facts, science, history, and math can we truly move towards the progressive utopia of our dreams.
“The nature of pure mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues,” Ernest argues. “Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought.”
And so the war on rationality and reason continues. This is, of course, the very foundation of identity politics, which is, in turn, the foundation for the left’s movement of the last decade or two. There is no “truth.” There are no “facts.” There is only relativity and personal experience. And if a minority – be it a black woman or a transgender freak from deepest, darkest Berkeley – says that things are a certain way, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they ARE that way. You only have the right to argue the point if you are equal or lower on the scale of oppression. Otherwise, you must keep quiet and just nod along, lest you be deemed a bigot.
But it’s steady, uncomfortable adherence to right/wrong, black/white, facts/fictions is not the only problem with math. Ernest insists that because math is related to finance, it “is the tool for the distribution of wealth and it can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool, mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”
How beautiful! If we just stop talking about, teaching, or learning math, the world’s wealth inequality will just solve itself. This is not unlike the left’s prescription for bad behavior in black communities. If we stop arresting black suspects, prison rates in the black community will go down. It’s so simple, how didn’t we think of this before!?
Ernest’s argument is so fundamentally stupid that we’re surprised he didn’t get around to accusing math of being sexist.
“Two of the detrimental effects of images of mathematics that I shall foreground here are first the negative impact on female students following on from the masculine image of mathematics,” he writes. “Second, the negative impact of mathematics related experiences and images on the attitudes and self-esteem of a minority, including many girls and women.”
That’s it. We’re packing up and leaving this planet behind. All hope is surely gone.