Math–Then and Now, from the Burning Platform

12 responses to “Math–Then and Now, from the Burning Platform

  1. Pingback: | behindertvertriebentessarzblog

  2. Robert, your “straight-line logic,” can be a little too linear.
    You cannot compare eras, in isolation, particularly, in the era that we live now, because post Second World War, the world has undertaken more change, than any other time in human history.
    Back in the 50s, they were cutting down trees, without consideration of the broader problems that may create.
    Human consciousness has increased in that time (for some).
    You want to completely compare the 1950s, with today?
    Weren’t they still lynching Negroes back in those days?
    And America was so civilised, wasn’t?


    • Peter,
      I was going for irony, not some broad comparison of different eras. The irony was focused on math instruction, not environmental or racial consciousness. When I left second grade I knew, through rote memorization leavened by flash card games and the like, my multiplication tables up to 10 times 10. They’ve stayed with me the rest of my life. I saw plenty of kids in my son’s generation who were still adding and subtracting using their fingers in the sixth grade, and multiplicattion–forget it (we made our son learn multiplication at home, and he’s still, at nineteen, not as automatic with it as my wife and I). I could tell similar stories about grammar and language instruction. My linear logic says you build on the fundamentals, and it’s all too apparent that great masses of American don’t have the fundamentals. Consequently, they are unable to engage in cogent reasoning or reach sound conclusions about today’s complex issues, including the environment and race.


  3. “I was going for irony…”

    I wasn’t sure, because I found it on that bastion of linear thinking, Zerohedge.
    And i noticed that they linked it to the Burning Platform.
    And because I found it on your site too, I was wondering whether, yet again, you/they were trying to be critical in a sarcastic way (and in mono-tone), towards so-called “liberals.”

    “(we made our son learn multiplication at home, and he’s still, at nineteen, not as automatic with it as my wife and I)”

    You’ll find your answer here.
    One of the links discusses the parent-child relationship, and it is not intended to make comment, good or bad, about you, or your wife’s parenting skills.
    These links are a guide to what I believe to be an answer, as to what many parents are seeing today, and that is how their children’s brains operate differently to their generation.

    If you think it is bad now, imagine when the next generation grow up, who had parents (growing up now) that were raised in the digital era.

    “My linear logic says you build on the fundamentals,..”

    I hope not too linear, because everything in the universe, including universe itself, is non-linear, and runs in cycles, and more broadly, cycles within cycles.
    To use an analogy, think of the Russian Matryoshka dolls
    Ergo, fashion, music, the arts, politics, economics, immigration, social dynamics and life generally, run in cycles.

    “… and it’s all too apparent that great masses of American don’t have the fundamentals. Consequently, they are unable to engage in cogent reasoning or reach sound conclusions about today’s complex issues, including the environment and race.”

    Do those “complex issues,” include the difference between communism and socialism?? 😉


    • Wow, what a well thought out answer. It will take some time to look at the links, so bear with me on that. I’ve found that even when it comes to understanding nonlinear phenomena like cycles and fractals, which as you point out characterize much of the universe, a linear thought process modeled on the scientific method has served me well. It can be plodding, but I try to look at evidence, develop logical hypotheses, test hypotheses, and even when I find a hypothesis that appears to explain, always keep it labeled as a hypothesis subject to potential change or being discarded in the future based on new evidence or better hypotheses.

      That said, one hypothesis that I have held for many years that acquires additional confirmation every year is what can be called the classical liberal formulation: humanity operates best under conditions of maximum freedom and minimal governmental coercive force, designed to protect the rights of the smallest minority, the individual. This allows for the organic adaptation necessary for the species to progress. I have also concluded that it is the only moral system (often wrongly held to be outside the operation of logic), based on the arguments developed by Ayn Rand. As such, while I’m willing to look at explanations of the differences between communism and socialism, I believe they are both variants of statism, which is the philosophical opposite of what I espouse. Thus, I don’t spend much time pondering those differences. I don’t won’t to live under either system and am fairly sure I would not be allowed to survive under either system.


      • You had my interest, right up until you mentioned Ayn Rand.

        You make the same mistake as virtually all humans do Robert, and that is, you mistake perceptions for reality.

        Ayn Rand was just a typical, garden variety sociopath, who had a penchant for writing quirky novels, and thus, people such as yourself have held her up as some fount of virtue and knowledge.
        Like sociopaths, they are vicious, selfish, cunning, conniving and generally have zero compassion.
        I could go on about her, but I really don’t have the time.
        I’ll just give you one of many examples.
        One of the points in her famous philosophical arguments, in Objectivism, is that you should not hurt others in the pursuit of your own happiness.
        She frequently and regularly cheated on her husband with younger men, for the pursuit of (primal) happiness, which made her husband decidedly unhappy.
        And if you can come back to me and say, hey, that was her personal life, I’m talking about her broader views on the world, then that too, I can’t accept.
        Ayn Rand put a lot of her personality and character into her writing.
        She even wrote a book about the virtue of selfishness.
        But she failed to address, how selfishness can be a “virtue,” and yet, not conflict with principles of her own Objectivism.
        She even describes altruism as destructive, and detrimental to the progress of the human race.

        Rand states that altruism was not an “automatic trademark of virtue.” Instead, it was “incompatible with freedom, with capitalism, and with individual rights,” making it “the basic evil behind today’s ugliest phenomena.”

        That last comment, about it being “evil” and “ugly,” is so bizarre and false, that only a sociopath could come up with such a conclusion.
        No one has ever forced altruism onto people, it’s always excepted that people would offer it, because after all, we are humans, with a higher state of consciousness.
        However, from my observations, in American culture and politics, quite simply, altruism equals socialism, which is plainly absurd.

        Which brings me to my last point on Ayn Rand.
        No doubt you’ve heard of Charles Darwin, and he’s theories about evolution, and more specifically, his theory that competition drives species to become dominant, and therefore to prosper.
        That theory is slowly being debunked.
        Oddly enough, there was a naturalist who was around 50 years earlier.
        His name was Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck.
        Jean Baptiste de Lamarck., suggested that cooperation, and NOT competition, was the driving force in developing the health, prosperity and dominance of the species.
        But as I said, De Lamarck was around before Darwin, and for various cultural reasons, Darwin’s theories became the singular most dominant theory on evolution.
        Its purported that, when Darwin was on his death bed, he confessed that yes, De Lamarck was correct all along in his theory.
        But there is no way of proving Darwin said that, so to this day it is still speculation.

        And to a lesser extent, checkout EO Wilson, and his work on uncovering the cooperation within ant colonies

        So back to my last point about Ayn Rand.
        Do you think that if animals, with considerably lower consciousness, can survive and thrive, through cooperation, be a lesson to all of us human beings?
        If human beings have higher consciousness, which I believe to be an immutable fact, then imagine how much more we can increase our happiness, and contentment.
        Ayn Rand has been a total anathema to, and hostile towards, any philosophical underpinnings of altruism, and utilitarianism for that matter.

        Let me ask you, what do you want in life?
        You’ll give me the same answers as everyone else.
        You want to be happy, healthy and prosperous, and for those close to you, to be also happy, healthy and prosperous, am I right?
        So ask yourself this important question Robert, imagine that you DO NOW, live in that “utopian” world that Ayn Rand espoused in her writings, do you think you will be any better off, in terms of those aspirations i’ve just mentioned, of being happy and prosperous??
        Ask yourself Robert.
        Think carefully before you answer.
        But no, you answer yes, almost instinctively, from years of self conditioning.
        And because you answered yes Robert, you have proven to be deluded, just like the other 99.9% of the human race.

        If I recall another discussion with you, I asked you about socialism within Scandinavian countries, and you made some rather disparaging and ignorant comment, and without trying to rekindle an old argument, I think you’re like many Americans, that live in a giant fishbowl, and display incredible ignorance about other economies, societies and cultures.
        And I feel I can speak with some authority, because I have traveled to about 65/70% of the states in the United States.
        From Key West to Billings Montana, and from San Diego to Vermont in the autumn, or as you Americans call it, the fall. (I loved Montana by the way)
        I was dumbfounded, and could not understand why, the richest country in human history, with all the resources available, why Americans were not better educated.

        Why is it, that the people of Scandinavian countries, continuie to show up in surveys as being most happiest? Do you think, that it’s because Scandinavian countries have strong social equality, underpinning their society?
        And do you think that, because they have strong social support programs, which by very definition are altruistic, they are more happy, healthy and prosperous?
        Why is it that libertarians such as yourself, dismiss so-called “socialist” states with trivial insults, when those so-called socialist states, prove time and time again, to support the happiest the healthiest people in the world?

        I’m not critical of you because you’re a libertarian/Austrian economist, and a proponent of the new Alt-Right, no, I’m merely pointing out your limitations, in the way you perceive the world, and how those perceptions BECOME reality!

        People I’ve known on the far left, ALSO, believe that if the government changes its policies, to their ideology, then they too, will be happier and healthier.
        You have a lot in common with other people who have political ideologies, regardless, where those ideologies sit on the political spectrum, because you Robert, falsely believe, that government policies, restrictions and overbearing institutions, have somehow made life more difficult for you and your family.
        You are just like those people on the left, but the only difference is, they are at the other end of the political spectrum, but you all are sharing the same delusions about life, and how external forces create your false perceptions.

        To briefly touch on a scientific example, of my broader point, is that people regardless of their political ideology, or even people that have no ideology and are completely apathetic, will tend to react to the world through their limbic system, and not engage their prefrontal cortex, in evaluating everything in life, such as making big decisions like marriage and buying a house, right down to small decisions, as to what to have for dinner each night.

        So, a challenge for you Robert.
        For the remainder of 2017, imagine that you do live in that idealistic world created by Ayn Rand, and you’re happy in the knowledge that, finally, you have what you want, and that is the ideal political system of small government, and boundless liberties.
        I’m guessing Robert, if you’re successful at changing perceptions, to the belief that you DO live in that idealistic world of Ayn Rand, then you may not be any happier.

        My point here is, that human beings have the capacity within, to ultimately find happiness, health and prosperity, despite external forces, and in particular, of your belief that these external forces of (to much) government, will hinder you in pursuit of this goal.,
        Yes, I’m sure there are exceptions to my point, such as if you’re living in poverty in North Korea. But my point is directed at those living in affluent Western countries, and who have absolutely no excuse to be happy healthy and prosperous, particularly, when you compare the Western lifestyle with desperately poor people, eking out an existence in third world countries.

        But let’s say, that I’m also wrong, in particularly, my beliefs around why people are happy in Scandinavian countries, and another socially advanced countries, that valuable altruism to some degree.
        Let’s say I’m totally wrong, and in fact something else much deeper is going on, in producing positive feelings, within those who live in Scandinavian countries.
        After all, science frequently makes the mistake of correlation and/is causation.

        So to my ultimate point,
        Imagine that all government forces (be they left, or right), do not exist all.
        Completely shut it/them out of your mind, along with all the other external forces that you perceive as detrimental.
        I know it’s difficult, but shut out all preconceived notions of the world around you, including Ayn Rand, and all the other noise that shapes your false perceptions.
        Then, and only then, you will find true happiness, and contentment in life.
        Remember the analogy of those Russian Matryoshka dolls?
        Focus within (by that, I mean yourself), as you start looking deeper into the nature of reality, and your consciousness within that reality.

        Unshackle your mind, of the burdensome perceptions you have cemented in your mind.

        You are totally in control of your own reality, and nobody else.

        Note the last sentence of this article.
        It should apply for all communities.

        The links I have sent you, is just a small example of my broader argument.
        And my entire argument is not solely based on these handful of links.
        In other words, I don’t want to carpet bomb this space with dozens of links.


        • Peter,
          You like to hear yourself write. I leave you to gaze upon the magnificence of your latest masterpiece. I’m a busy man and I’ve got a lot of work to do.


          • Just a few quick points Robert.
            You may not believe me, but I’m not a prolific writer on blogs and websites.
            Also, believe it or not, that’s the longest piece I have ever written on a blog or website.
            Like you, I’m busy too. But last Sunday morning, my time, I literally had a few hours on my hands, so I thought I would write a long piece.

            Also, I didn’t want to give any wriggle-room to others, such as ikdr, to misinterpret what I said
            People like ikdr, show great dedication to their ignorance, where they completely misinterpret my comments, which were not meant to be a comment, for or against, either side of the political spectrum.

            So, you’re too “busy” to undertake my little challenge?

            Okay then, whatever you say.

            But I will not single you out.
            Everybody, no matter what their social/cultural background is, will always fail to challenge their egos.

            And no, I don’t like to hear myself write, and if you think my diatribe was a little bombastic, all I’m really doing, if you peel away my modern techniques of persuasion, and the points on which I argue, is really just me, making my case, from years of teaching Buddhist philosophy.


            • Peter,
              Before one undertakes a job, one estimates the time involved. I like a good back and forth as much as the next guy, but I judged a truly well thought out answer to your lengthy post to be a two to three hour job, at the bare minimum. I’m trying to get two businesses off the ground and keep SLL, a one-man effort, going. I literally did not, and do not, have the time for that effort. I appreciate that you probably put a lot of time and effort into what you said, but I cannot make a matching effort. I put some humor in my reply; sorry if you didn’t like it. However, humor, sarcasm, and sardonic wit are staples of my writing and will continue to be so. I find it a good way to challenge egos, including my own. Thanks in advance for understanding.


              • “…but I judged a truly well thought out answer to your lengthy post to be a two to three hour job, at the bare minimum.”

                I really wasn’t expecting a reply in-kind.

                ” I’m trying to get two businesses off the ground and keep SLL, a one-man effort, going. I literally did not, and do not, have the time for that effort.”

                You really don’t need to change your life in a material, or practical way, therefore, it won’t impact on your busy lifestyle.

                Put simply; It’s just baby steps that’s needed.


  4. >Wow, what a well thought out answer.
    Do I detect a note of sarcasm here? 😉

    >It will take some time to look at the links . . .
    It took me about ten minutes to determine that although they contain a lot of no doubt interesting information about the mechanics of brain function / developmental processes, they have no bearing whatsoever on the point that Mr. Harris is trying to make, or, rather, insinuate: Liberal (so-called) indoctrination masquerading as education is good and necessary, because Science.

    >I hope not too linear . . .
    Because while “linear” thinking is not the whole of cognition, it is an essential component of it, not least as a bulwark against those attempting to obscure the fact that cognition and coercion are mutually exclusive.


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