Friday, October 27, 2017 ... //

Pythagorean theorem, $$\pi$$, and whiteness

Willie Soon, Ann, and Mike N. have brought our attention to a remarkable story about an attractive Latino "expert" in math teaching, Rochelle Gutierrez of UIUC, who complains that algebra, $$\pi$$, the Pythagorean theorem, and probably most other pillars of mathematics are evil because they seem to remind (or brainwash?) children of the Greeks who were whites and one therefore concludes that whites are smarter.

So "mathematics itself operates on whiteness". And that's a problem.

This is arguably the most transparent universal visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem you can find, an animated edition of this proof. You move two triangles of area $$ab/2$$ to different places and what is left in the $$(a+b)^2$$ square is either $$a^2+b^2$$ or $$c^2$$ so those are equal.

All of us are sane. So we know that the observation that mathematics was largely discovered by whites is mostly right – if you ignore the Greeks' suntan – but this fact is also largely just a historical coincidence. Mathematics doesn't directly impose conditions on the skin color of those who practice it. Mathematics may be done by everyone even though in practice, one needs some talent for it. The talent may have correlations with the skin color but that's not really the fault of mathematics.

Was the Pythagorean theorem and $$\pi$$ invented by the Greeks or whites? Well, let's start with the history of the Pythagorean theorem. The historians are simply split on whether the Babylonians knew about the theorem 1,500 years before Pythagoras was born. Some people say "yes", some people say "no". We surely don't know any "single name of an older inventor" than Pythagoras even though the theorem could have been known to even older civilizations than the Babylonians.

What's true is that the knowledge that the particular "3-4-5 triangle has a right angle" has been known for some 4,000 years, even to an old Chinese civilization. Those civilizations of the "Far East" were arguably better at (or focused at) arithmetics. Greeks were much more visual in comparison and this may have allowed them to find the true general form of the Pythagorean theorem, for any $$a,b\in\RR$$. To say the least, we don't have a better name for the theorem because the history before Pythagoras is murky.

It's similar with $$\pi\approx 3.14$$. For some 4,000 years, civilizations were aware of the well-defined task of calculating the circumference or area of the circle. The first civilizations approximated $$\pi\approx 3$$ and the number was getting more precise. Archimedes basically proved that $$223/71\lt \pi \lt 22/7$$. The Greek letter $$\pi$$ was only used since the early 18th century. Only in recent centuries, we knew exact formulae and series for $$\pi$$.

Some Egyptologists boldly claim that the approximation $$\pi\approx 22/7$$ was already used in Egypt some 4,100-4,500 years ago.

In older English texts, the constant would be named after Archimedes. In Central Europe, we still call it the Ludolph number, after a guy who was good at fencing but also managed to calculate 35 decimal digits. At least from the perspective of the Europeans and Americans, yes, the real progress seems to go back to the Greeks and Germans and Dutchmen – whites. In fact, lots of historians claim that the folks in the Old Kingdom of Egypt were white, too.

Why is it a problem for the Hispanic lady? After all, whites have developed most of the other things, not just mathematics – in culture, science, technology, modern social arrangements, and tons of other things. Does she want to demonize all these things because of her self-evident anti-white racism? Does she see lots of similarly immature whites who would be attacking basketball or burritos for analogous reasons?

The Hispanic female savage – no, I don't recognize any of her degrees – complains about "microaggressions" in the classroom (every equation surely counts as a microaggression, too) and the prophesy that there will always be a "sense of inferiority" because of the "whiteness of mathematics". Excellent. She also has a solution: teachers should be obliged to memorize a "political conocimeinto" for the classroom. (The Latino lady must be really smart if she can write and pronounce a Spanish word approximately translated as "knowledge".) Whatever that is, it is surely nothing that belongs to a decent classroom.

She promotes all these atrocious racist, pseudointellectual feces and she should be immediately stripped of her high school diploma for that. But they're politically correct feces – i.e. racist feces attacking the "right" group – which is why she is immediately defended by the whole corrupt hierarchy at her university. Her Provost described her as

an established and admired scholar who has been published in many peer-reviewed publications.
Just imagine that. She's demonstrably and self-evidently a complete šithead with šit filling her entire skull but she immediately gets these superb evaluations from a top official at that university. And you should have no doubts: at some superficial technical level, the Provost is right. Look at her publication record. It's dozens of articles full of the very same racist, pseudointellectual garbage. But the most cited one has over 50 citations. It's not stellar but it's decent. A fair number should be zero.

It's over 50 because this kind of anti-mathematics garbage driven by racism as well as the writers' immensely poor mental skills has become a whole industry. There are already dozens if not hundreds of "experts" who cite each other and who promote theses such as "the Pythagorean theorem is an evil example of white privilege". If I were the U.S. president, I would care about these matters and I would probably try to financially destroy every university that doesn't fire every single example of this despicable garbage.

Compare the reaction of the Provost with the official reactions to studies that are considered "politically incorrect". There are better examples but pick James Damore's recent deep, long analysis of "women in computing". He was fired by Google! This female Hispanic savage just screams incoherent things such as "$$\pi$$ is white supremacist" and she is immediately presented as a top scholar because of that by her employer. When it comes to the pure thoughts, pure truth that is at least slightly "politically sensitive" to some folks, meritocracy has already been not only defeated but turned upside down.