1 – 1 = socialist education

David Davis

If you want deliberately to erase a high civilisation, reducing it to a seething, cheerfully-uncurious mass of conveniently-uncritical helots because you hate and fear what it’s achieved, what should you do?

Start with the children

Abolish their ability to do sums. At all.

The way to teach maths is as proper places do it, and as we did, say, 50 years ago. You start nice and early, not wasting the seven years of “primary” education in the colouring of posters about bullying, racism, slavery and healthy eating. You actively teach the young children maths routines repetitively, before the lifestage at which they get bored. Say at about 4, 5 or 6. Maths is a symbolic language, of which algebra is a subset only: the later you start, the harder it is to grasp intuitively.

By the time they shall become “eleven”, they can factorise cubic equations (and lower orders too), plot (real symbolic) graphs, understand basic trig and do vector resolution and combining, oh and also do all the silly pie-chart/histogram-reading nonsense and even tell you how Sameena ought to divide her sweets to share them with Cerys, Pradeep, Rhiannon and Nkongkwe.

No wonder “primary” “schools” are “failing” in this regard.

7 responses to “1 – 1 = socialist education

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  2. Dave:

    Please explain to me, that my early maths teachers were so lifeless that U found Maths a real struggle.

    Simve I wanted to be a Rocket scientist, I worked extremely hard on my own nickel to master the subject. Fortunately, I had an excellent ralent for geometry (triginimetry) and — years later — I discovered that Classical mechanics is Euclid’s geometry with the addition of time, space and directed Forces…

    Reading Alfred O’Rahilly’s winderful book “Rlrctrodynamics”, I discovered what he called (as of 1938-9) “Measure-Ratio”, which are now described under the heading “Dimensional Analysic”, which is wonderfully beautiful, and cuts the nonsense out of modern “Physics” like Occam’s Razor…

    So tell me: At what stage do young Maths and physics students get to kearn Dimensional analysis? Most modern writers in things like “New Scientist” clearly have no understanding of Dimensional analysis AT ALL — their equations cannot be reduced to (say) E=MLT^2

    This really does puzzle me, because it makes any number of problem-situations vastly more easy to deal with.

    Similarly, with Alfred Tarski’s Correspondence Theory of Truth-Content; whereby the statement “Le ciel est bleu” is true IF — AND ONLY IF — the sky is, in fact, blue, where “ciel”, bleu” and “sky” and “blue” can be described in appropriate detail. This use of an intertranslatable metalanguage is enormously valuable in determining the ibjective Truth-Content of statements. Do you teach this? Can your kids understand it?

    ARE SYSTEMS OF EPISTEMOLOGY raught in any cross-comparative manner AT ALL?

    How on Earth can people be expected to use their own intelligence if they never get to know about these systems?

    A quick look at the List of Cognitive Biases on Wiki makes it crystal-clear that people are INCAPACITATED if their thinkung is a subject ti the ‘mercies; of Cognitive Biases…



    Are these erroneous systems of thought even taught CRITICALLY — as a SUBJECT — AT ALL???


  3. ——————- * * * * * —————

    I *don’t* start from the problems of the _specific means of

    warfare, important though these are (especially nuclear weapons).

    With Heisenberg, I don’t think these are the basic — or even the

    worst — problem: My primary concern is with ‘The Causes of War’

    (see Geoffrey Blainey’s classic academic text of this name, publ.

    Sun Books, Melbourne). Blainey’s view (following analysis of

    several hundred wars from 1700 to 1971) amounts to the conclusion

    that wars arise as a result of faulty intelligence evaluations of

    one’s own or the other side’s interests, aims, strengths and will

    to fight; wars “usually begin when two [or more] nations disagree

    on their relative strength, and wars usually cease when the

    fighting nations agree on their relative strength.”

    ——————- * * * * * —————


    “… seen as the result of human endeavour, of human dreams,

    hopes, passions, and most of all, as the result of the most

    admirable union of creative imagination and rational critical

    thought, I should like to write ‘Science’ with the biggest capital

    ‘S’ to be found in the printer’s upper case.

    Science is not only like art and literature, an adventure of the human

    spirit, but it is among the creative arts perhaps the most human:

    full of human failings and shortsightedness, it shows those

    flashes of insight which open our eyes to the wonders of the world

    and of the human spirit. But this is not all. Science is the

    direct result of that most human of all human endeavours – to

    liberate ourselves. It is part of our endeavour to see more

    clearly, to understand the world and ourselves, and to act as

    adult, responsible and enlightened beings.

    ‘Enlightenment’, Kant wrote, ‘is the emancipation of man from

    self-imposed tutelage . . . from a state of incapacity to use

    his own intelligence without external guidance. Such a state

    of tutelage I call “self-imposed” if it is due not to any lack

    of intelligence but the lack of courage or determination to use

    one’s own intelligence instead of relying upon a leader.

    *Sapere Aude!* Dare to use your own intelligence! This is the

    maxim of the Enlightenment.’ [ref. 6, Immanuel Kant, ‘Was ist


    Kant challenges us to use our intelligence instead of relying upon a

    leader, upon an authority. This should be taken as a challenge to

    reject even the scientific expert as a leader, or even *science

    itself* Science has no authority. It is not the magical product

    of the given, the data, the observations. It is not a gospel of

    truth. It is the result of our own endeavours and mistakes. It is

    you and I who make science, as well as we can. It is you and I who

    are responsible for it…

    The nuclear bomb (and possibly also the so-called ‘peaceful use of

    atomic energy’ whose consequences may be even worse in the long

    run) have, I think, shown us the shallowness of the worship of

    science as an ‘instrument’ of our ‘command over nature’ or the

    ‘control of our physical environment’: it has shown us that this

    command, this control, is apt to be self-defeating, and apt to

    enslave us rather than to make us free – if it does not do away

    with us altogether.

    And while knowledge is worth dying for, power is not. (Knowledge

    is one of the few things that are worth dying for, together with

    liberty, love, kindness, and helping those who are in need of help).”

    by Karl R. Popper

    from “Realism and the Aim of Science”

    Volume I of “The Postscript to The Logic of Scientific Discovery”

    Edited by William Warren Bartley, III, Senior Fellow, the Hoover

    Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford.

    Publ. Hutchinson, 1983, pb. 1985

    Copyright Karl Raimund Popper 1956, 1983

    Sir Karl Popper, F. R. S., held fourteen honorary Doctorates from

    American, British, German, Austrian, New Zealand and Canadian


    He was a member (or honorary member) of twelve academies, among them

    the three oldest that still exist.

    Works of his have been translated into over 30 languages.

    But Sir Karl was never impressed by ‘great reputations’, least of

    all his own…

    ——————- * * * * * —————


    Biographical note: Admiral Noel A. M. Gayler, USN (Ret).


    Born December 25, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America.

    1931-1935 U.S. Naval Academy.

    1935 Commissioned Ensign, USN.

    1940 Flight Training course.

    1940 Naval aviator, assigned to VF-12 Squadron, USS Randolph, flying Grumman

    F-6F Hellcats from Navy carriers.

    Served in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. Asst. to Admiral John M. Cain.

    1957 Aide to Navy Secretary Thomas S. Gates.

    1960 Aug:- Commanding Officer, CV-61 USS Ranger (Aircraft Carrier).

    1960 Rear Admiral.

    1962-1963 Commander, Carrier Division TWENTY, US Atlantic Fleet.

    1963-1965 Director, Development Programmes, Office of Chief Naval Officer.

    1965-1967 Assistant Deputy Chief, Naval Operations (Development).

    1967-1969 Deputy Director, Joint Strategic Planning Staff, Offut AFB.

    (Designer, the Single Integrated Operational Plan — SIOP).

    1969-1972 Director, National Security Agency (DIRNSA).

    1969-1972 Chief, Central Security Agency. (CCSA).

    1972-1976 Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet and Armed Forces (CinCPAC).

    * Retired as 4-star Admiral. (Would have been five stars if the US had

    formally declared the Vietnam conflict a war, which in fact it was).

    * Awarded:- Three Navy Crosses; Bronze Star Medal; Distinguished Service

    Medal; Legion of Merit with Gold Star; Sperry Award of the Institute

    of Aeronautical Sciences; other medals and awards.

    * Committee Member (with George Kennan>:

    * American Committee On East-West Accord

    * He has contributed to: “The Choice: Nuclear Weapons versus Security”

    edited by Gwyn Prins, Cambridge, [1984]

    [Ch: 2] “A Commander-in-Chief’s Perspective on Nuclear Weapons.”

    [Ch: 16] “The Way Out: A General Nuclear Settlement.”

    / /\ \


    ——————- * * * * * —————

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  5. Tony,

    /Dimensional analysis/
    (I agree with you for once!)

    This is _NOT_ taught now at all up to and including A-level sciences, so far as I can tell.

    There may be British schools where they learn it still. I do not know which ones.

    I try to give it to people doing what is laughingly called “GCSE”, and they don’t understand the point of it at all.

    Unless students are already doing A-level maths also, they can’t grasp the theory.

    We of the baby-boomer generation were not allowed to begin O-level or A-level science of any kind (even biology) without understanding D-A. I seem to remember it was the very first topic that “Mr Collington” (head of physics at my senior school) introduced to us “gentlemen”, on day one. He wanted to shortly explain inductance and capacitance, and so he said this was necessary first. It was.

  6. Ah but do they know *why* they’re factorising equations or learning basic Trig?

    As Marcus du Sautoy recently put it to Alan Davies, the stuff you learn at school is the grammar, and you miss out on the Shakespeare that can be constructed with it.

  7. On learning language, I agree that the earlier you start the easier it is.

    However, where that conclusion seems to be leading you is a place that I’m generally not comfortable with. See here: