> On Tue, 14 Mar 1995, Ronald A Ward wrote: > > > 2. In what sense is mathematics our "invisible culture"? > > Mathematics is part of culture. The adjective `invisible' > does not make sense here. >
I assume that Ron had something specific in mind by the phrase 'invisible culture'; while I'm not sure to what he is referring, I don't doubt that his phrase 'makes sense.'
> > 3. Comment on the statement: "As computers become more powerful, the > > need for mathematics will decline." > > This is too silly to comment. >
Andrei, your judgment here may be that the claim in the statement itself is 'obviously false.' Two points: as a mathematician, aren't you suspicious of statements in proofs that are simply passed off as 'obvious'? Aren't those often the places where problems and weaknesses occur? And I don't think Ron was looking for a knee-jerk dismissal but rather a considered response. If the answer is 'obvious' what harm is there in spelling it out just a bit?
> > 4. Why is it that mathematics education in the United States resists > > change in spite of the many forces that are revolutionizing the nature > > and role of mathematics itself? > > Well, everything resists changes. The right question is `Why do > Americans tolerate so bad education ?' Because it is a privilege > in the modern world to be an American. An American does not need > to be competent. He is an American, and that is it.
I don't know if you wish to apear to be bashing Americans as a whole, but the statement above, aside from the presumptuousness of your question being "The right" one, certainly strikes me as overly-broad and extremely intolerant. Unfortunately, other postings and articles of yours lead me to suspect that I'm reading you correctly here. If so, I have some questions for you: if American education is so lousy (and I'm not suggesting that it's not full of problems and in need of improvement) what made you come here? And if your analysis of Americans is on the money, what country do you think is above the criticism that it has many complacent citizens?
If I seem uncharitable towards you and/or your posts, it's because I find your American-bashing extremely mean-spirited. I don't mind constructive criticism of this (or any) country. But you seem convinced that your perceptions of Americans and American education have the "ring of truth." I'm not suggesting that they have no basis in experience, but that they reveal at least as much about you as they do about those you look down upon. You have the right to your opinions and the right to express them. That's something that not every citizen or resident of every country can say. One would think that your experience with less tolerant forms of government might give you pause: maybe the very "slackness" of which you accuse us is the source of the tolerance that allows you to make such criticisms without fear. Perhaps that's something you might want to factor into your analyses of Americans and American education.