Professor Blames Mathematics For "Global Disparities In Wealth"

Authored by Toni Airaksinen via Campus Reform,

A professor at the University of Exeter claims in a new textbook that learning mathematics can cause “collateral damage” to society by training students in "ethics-free thought."

The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful” was written by University of Exeter Professor Paul Ernest, and published as a chapter in a 2018 textbook he edited called The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today.

Despite the myriad benefits math offers to society—such as increased scientific knowledge and improved healthcare, allowing us to live longer and happier lives—Ernest warns of three ways mathematics education causes “collateral damage” to society.

First, Ernest asserts that “the nature of pure of mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues,” since math facilitates “detached” and “calculative” reasoning.

“Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” he writes, fretting that this “masculine” paradigm “valorises rules, abstraction, objectification, impersonality, unfeelingness, dispassionate reason, and analysis.” 

Second, he argues that the “applications of mathematics in society can be deleterious to our humanity unless very carefully monitored and checked,” worrying particularly about how math facilitates transactions of money and finance. 

“Money and thus mathematics is the tool for the distribution of wealth,” he states. “It can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”

Finally, Ernest worries of the personal impact math has on “less-successful students,” especially women, since math is often perceived as a “masculine” and “difficult” subject. 

“One of the persistent myths of the twentieth century has been that females are ‘naturally’ less well equipped mathematically than males,” Ernest claims, albeit without acknowledging data that would complicate his theory. 

“So 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. Second, the negative impact of mathematics related experiences and images on the attitudes and self-esteem of a minority, including many girls and women,” he writes.

Reached by Campus Reform, Ernest explained that he wrote this chapter due to his long-standing interest in the intersection of math and ethics, dating back to 1990, when he edited his first book on topic. 

The new textbook for which the chapter was written—Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today—was inspired by conversations held at the 2016 International Congress on Mathematical Education in Hamburg, Germany, Ernest explained. 

“Of course I acknowledge that mathematics is wonderful and beneficial in many ways,” he noted.



Pool Shark El Vaquero Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:13 Permalink

Funny how these atheist progressives always try to lecture us on morality...


From the Wikipedia article on Paul Ernest:

 "Furthermore, the theorems and truths of mathematics always remain corrigible, revisable, and indeed fallible — in principle at least."


I wonder if he tries claiming mathematics is fallible when he files his tax returns. Now there's an ethical dilemma...

In reply to by El Vaquero

Utopia Planitia Pool Shark Wed, 06/20/2018 - 22:10 Permalink

Said professed prof needs:

1. Paycheck filled out according to the feelings of the crankiest SOB in payroll.

2. All his taxes done by someone who simply writes the numbers they feel in each box on the tax form.

3. His bank statement filled out by someone who writes the numbers they feel in each space on the form.

4. All bills he receives filled out according to the feelings of a miscellaneous person working for the vendor.

5. The clerk at any store where he shops charges him for items according to their feelings.

6. Any medication dosages determined by the feelings of a miscellaneous medical person.

7. Any legal issues resolved according to the feelings of a miscellaneous law person.

In about 15 seconds he will get a dose of what his "philosophy" entails.  The question is, whether he has sufficient intelligence to learn anything from such an experience.  Many progs are so dedicated to being tribal members they are un-teachable.

In reply to by Pool Shark

Escrava Isaura ZENDOG Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:57 Permalink

Professor Blames Mathematics For "Global Disparities In Wealth"

Anyone can reach a desired metric by using some ludicrous measurement.

Mathematics is the language, it can not create disparity.

The cause of disparities…………….For the stupid professor:

Private money

Interest rates

Taxes structures

Trading money (financial flows) instead of bartering goods.


In reply to by ZENDOG

Bladerunner44 ZENDOG Wed, 06/20/2018 - 22:26 Permalink

"the personal impact math has on “less-successful students,” especially women, since math is often perceived as a “masculine” and “difficult” subject".  Boo F--ing Hoo Can't keep up? then smarten up, or tap out. which is what a large portion of our darker/browner population has done .Let's boil this ridiculous article down. They can't compete in the real world so those who can add and know the multiplication tables, are white, privileged, toxic masculine, supremacists who must be singled out and beaten down to the equivalency of 80th percentile IQ bunch. whose motto is: "maffs be raciss. That is what this so called professor is asserting. I'll bet he can't even balance his checkbook. 

In reply to by ZENDOG

Decoherence 1982xls Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

The average African immigrant has an IQ in the mid 70s.  The average Mexican immigrant has an IQ in the high 80s.  People wonder why public education has been on the decline in the US and Europe. They wouldn’t if they looked at the facts.  Liberals hate science, math, and DNA beyond discrediting religion, because it cuts through bullshit.  You can’t integrate lower IQ immigrants into society without attempting destroy critical thought.  

In reply to by 1982xls