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  • Dangerous Math Teachers

    Posted by TM Lutas on September 17th, 2017 (All posts by )

    The proposition that logic is a universal, is unitary, used to be something of a consensus position. The idea of universal logic was (and remains) very useful. It meant that one could, without any other shared beliefs, have some sort of conversation with anybody and, if constructed correctly, the conversation would progress and lead somewhere.

    Communism does not believe in the universality of logic. This is why communism keeps coming back. Logical refutations have no effect because they are constructed with bourgeois logic, something that a priori is rejected by communists as an improper lens for examining communism.

    If you don’t care about truth per se and want an indestructible ideology, this weeble like characteristic of not accepting logical refutation is very attractive. This is why ideologies that have no particular opinion on economic class or the proper way to distribute goods and services fall into the communist orbit. Their defects need to be papered over and the communists provide the only available cure for pesky objective, logical examination and refutation.

    In a communist country, teaching logic is both a dangerous act and a necessary act. Without any logic at all society collapses. With a well taught, well formed mind schooled in logic, communism is rejected, which means a trip to reeducation or worse.

    Yet throughout the communist period, math teachers went and taught their lessons including the concepts of logic and how to apply it to students. Philosophically, they were behind enemy lines and entirely within the power of their enemies while they openly taught a major building intellectual concept that doomed the State.

    This is bravery, and almost entirely unrecognized.

     

    26 Responses to “Dangerous Math Teachers”

    1. David Foster Says:

      “Yet throughout the communist period, math teachers went and taught their lessons including the concepts of logic and how to apply it to students.”

      But is there evidence that the students were able to transfer the concepts of logic from the mathematical domain to the political domain?

      I know people who are very good at math, programming, and finance, but whose political logic IMO leaves much to be desired.

    2. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Paul Krugman, he’s looking at you.

    3. Korora Says:

      @David Foster:

      “A madman is as logical and reasoned in his actions as a sane man— given his peculiar biased point of view.” — Hercule Poirot, The ABC Murders

      “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” — G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

    4. PenGun Says:

      So which communist countries are you talking about? There are very few left.

    5. Brian Says:

      Everyone in commie countries, whether USSR or DPRK, knows the system is garbage. Some go along out of ambition, most due to fear, but no one actually believes in it. I guarantee there are more commies in Canada than in any commie country.

    6. PenGun Says:

      Ah a fine definition of commies. ;)

      Do you people understand virtue signaling is odious, no matter who does it?

    7. TM Lutas Says:

      David Foster – It was not a problem that they could not apply it to the political realm. It was a matter that everybody was trained, from a young age, to shut their mouths. Those who failed to do so were arrested with many imprisoned, and no few outright killed.

      PenGun – The answer to your question is all of them from 1917 onwards.

      Brian – You have a curious definition of commie. I’m not sure that I agree with you. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has 43 million members. That’s larger than the entire population of Canada.

    8. Brian Says:

      Being a member of the Communist Party doesn’t mean you believe in communism, it means you are ambitious and recognize what has to be done.

    9. PenGun Says:

      So the USSR, a communist country, somehow had among the best physical scientists in the world. Russia, not a communist country continues this fine tradition.

      China as well has the best scientists in several fields, but fits your definition. Their microwave engine is being tested soon in a space craft.

      I dunno, does not make much sense to me.

    10. pst314 Says:

      “In a communist country, teaching logic is both a dangerous act and a necessary act.”
      PenGun, naturally, fails to comprehend the point.
      Cleverer leftists, recognizing that Marxism had been refuted both in theory and in practice, came up with anti-intellectual theories such as postmodernism to use as weapons against evidence and logic.

    11. David Foster Says:

      TML…”It was not a problem that they could not apply it to the political realm. It was a matter that everybody was trained, from a young age, to shut their mouths. Those who failed to do so were arrested with many imprisoned, and no few outright killed.”

      But here, today, in America, many people who *do* understand logic in pure math and technical fields are *not* applying it very well in the political realm (at least in my view and probably that of most of the people here), despite the fact that they are in no danger of being arrested for doing so. And some of the people I have in mind are wealthy enough that they need have no fear of employment threats by SJWs.

    12. Nancy Says:

      No danger of being arrested, no, but the fear and absolute shame of running afoul of the PC/SJW crowd seems has done a thorough job of stifling such independent thoughts in the millennial generation, at least.

    13. dearieme Says:

      Whatever happens, they have got
      The Marxism gun, and we have not.

    14. Jonathan Says:

      Most communist leaders recognized that having people competent in math, engineering and physics was necessary for their national survival. The cases where the leaders of the moment didn’t believe this, as in China’s Cultural Revolution and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, are now universally recognized as disasters. The German communists, Russians, Hungarians and most of the rest weren’t that dumb. It also appears to be true that cultures that valued science and mathematical learning before communism, such as those in Europe, didn’t stop valuing them under communism. Culture may be at least as important as ideology in such matters. In most cases the political explanations for communist policies were rationalizations that reasonable people didn’t take at face value.

      The Dangerous Math Teachers thesis seems to apply more strongly to current western academic departments in non-rigorous disciplines.

    15. Bill Brandt Says:

      I would say that communism is more like a religion – as National Socialism was – and faith was required; not logic.

      I am rewatching the German movie Downfall and in the scene where Magda Goebels is in bed, sick (in the bunker) she is telling Albert Speer that there is no reason to live if National Socialism dies.

      (as a tie in I have been readinkg Speer’s book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and apparently the Speer family and Magda Goebels were friends, and Magda sometimes went with them on trips. (the Husband, Josef, was apparently a bit of a philanderer)

    16. CapitalistRoader Says:

      It also appears to be true that cultures that valued science and mathematical learning before communism, such as those in Europe, didn’t stop valuing them under communism.

      Lysenkoism, named for Russian botanist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, was a political doctrine in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union that mandated that all biological research conducted in the USSR conform to a modified Lamarckian evolutionary theory. The underlying appeal was that it promised a biology based on a plastic view of life that was consistent with the plastic view of human nature insisted upon by Marxist-Leninist dogma.

      The Lysenkoists employed Stalinist terror in their struggle with Darwinian biologists for bureaucratic and academic positions. Anti-Lysenkoists faced the threat of public denunciation, loss of Communist Party membership, loss of employment position, and arrest by the secret police. Between Lysenko’s grip on power and the “disappearances” of numerous of his opponents, it would be years until the Soviet biology program would recover. Similar political strong-arm tactics also hobbled the Soviet nuclear physics program, requiring Soviet scientists to follow only theories that had the Communist Party’s blessing. This forced them to steal working designs from the United States, including the decisive Teller-Ulam hydrogen bomb design.

      Many other countries of the Eastern Bloc accepted Lysenkoism as the official “new biology” as well.

    17. Jonathan Says:

      Lysenkoism was another disaster. It had to be imposed on scientists by force because Lysenko’s theories contradicted much of what Russian scientists knew. But not even Stalin had the gumption to tell Russian nuclear physicists, civil engineers or aircraft designers to follow ideas analogous to Lysenkoism in their respective fields. I don’t think the famous Hungarian mathematics competitions were corrupted by communist ideology either. Regardless of what leaders say, even in tyrannies there has to be a base level of respect for logic and empirical reality. Otherwise things stop working and the rulers risk losing power. Even today’s western SJW idiots understand this implicitly when they use electrical appliances, travel by air or rely on modern medicine. The cultures that don’t support logic and empiricism are cargo cults and other primitive dead ends.

    18. Mike K Says:

      The underlying appeal was that it promised a biology based on a plastic view of life that was consistent with the plastic view of human nature insisted upon by Marxist-Leninist dogma.

      It is alive and well and had a champion named Stephen Jay Gould who wrote “The Mismeasure of Man” that promoted the concept of “The Blank Slate” at birth.

      All behavior was a result of conditioning.

      Steven Pinker wrote “The Blank Slate” to refute Gould’s work but leftists, like my college age daughter who refused to read it when I offered it to her 15 years ago, refuse to accept the genetic basis of behavior. Of course, “The Bell Curve” gave them fits and still does.

    19. Anonymous Says:

      Man will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instincts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.
      Lev Davidovich Bronstein, Literature and Revolution (1924

      The Soviet man was to be selfless, learned, healthy, muscular, and enthusiastic in spreading the socialist Revolution. Adherence to Marxism-Leninism, and individual behavior consistent with that philosophy’s prescriptions, were among the crucial traits expected of the New Soviet man, which required intellectualism and hard discipline. He was not driven by crude impulses of nature but by conscious self-mastery, a belief that required the rejection of both innate personality and the unconscious, which Soviet psychologists therefore rejected.

    20. TMLutas Says:

      Jonathan – what is happening in the West is something new, a series of experiments in seeing how far you can go in eliminating logic entirely. If you notice, when the political threat of persecution if you applied logic to the governing ideology was gone, what emerged right after wasn’t a collection of lawyers to take over many of these political posts. Instead you had scientists and artists often emerge to an extent far higher than happens in free countries. I think lessons were learned among the remnant of people who want to try just one more time and they seek to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    21. pst314 Says:

      Yes, the Soviet regime trained lots of mathematicians and engineers, but the danger was that someone who was trained to apply logic and evidence in those fields might starting doing so in other areas such as politics and economics. Many people manage to compartmentalize their thinking, but not everyone, and that is a constant danger to the Party.

    22. Mike K Says:

      “Many people manage to compartmentalize their thinking, but not everyone, and that is a constant danger to the Party.”

      Andre Sakharov for example.

    23. TMLutas Says:

      Mike K – The difference between a dangerous mathematician and a dangerous physicist is not that large.

    24. PenGun Says:

      Gofundme won’t take paypal. What’s up with that?

    25. TMLutas Says:

      PenGun – If you’re remarking about my current GoFundMe, that money’s earmarked to actually register Charleston Dry Feet as a 501(c)3 charity. Once that registration happens, GoFundMe will accept paypal donations for that because it will fall within guidelines.

      Bit of a chicken and egg problem there.

      https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203999308-Can-I-donate-using-PayPal-

    26. MCS Says:

      Jonathan, I think that you greatly underestimate the purblind hypocrisy of the SJW. They literally can’t see the contradiction in one of the anointed standing at the entrance of their private jet exhorting the unbelievers to bike to work while on the way from their third to their fifth home. Paying lip service to the proper orthodoxies assures them of a place among the righteous, from whom no actual sacrifice will ever be required. No need to reconcile the rare earth mines in China with their Iphones and Priuses. I expect that you would have as much luck getting a coherent explanation of the technology behind a smart phone from one of the uncontacted tribes in the Amazonian forest as a group of average college students.

      Mike K., I read “The Mismeasure of Man” as a refutation of the, often explicitly racist, reductionisim of the 19th and 20th century that sought a single measure to order both the races and the individual along a continuum from most Human to least. Given this history, it’s not too surprising how “The Bell Curve” has been received, the knee jerk satisfies most people, far easier than refuting the substance.

      In general, I’ve never been able to see Gould’s supposed Communist propaganda in any of his books. At the same time, he always seemed to stretch any idea or hypothesis far beyond its tensile limit. It’s ironic, given the original post, that his most enduring contribution to Paleontology will probably be his application of mathematics, especially time series analysis, to the study of Evolution.

      His specialty was the evolution of a marine snail, most conveniently collected from beaches in the Bahamas.