Date: Nov 3, 2012 8:30 AM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: Of Sequence and Success

On Nov 3, 2012, at 7:22 AM, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote:

> Bad how? Arithmetic is adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. It predates the Greeks by ten thousand years.

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> Bob Hansen

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> On Nov 3, 2012, at 3:25 AM, Jonathan Crabtree <sendtojonathan@yahoo.com.au> wrote:

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>> The Greeks were ok at geometry yet bad at arithmetic.

I hit send to early. I had a lot more to say.

First off, when I say "arithmetic" I simply mean the four operations and their application. The Greeks did not invent arithmetic. They did not invent addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The mathematics of arithmetic was already established.

I assume that when Jonathan says that the Greeks were "bad" at arithmetic he means that large number arithmetic was difficult considering their numeral system. He means that they were bad at manual calculation. I guess I would agree. That link I posted earlier talks about that system and the systems (Egyptian and Babylonian) that predate that system. The Hindu-Aribic numeral system was a great invention, one of the greatest. And let's not forget the introduction of zero or negative numbers.

Ancient greek children or modern children, they both had to understand and apply the four basic operations of arithmetic and I have seen no example of any child that understands them yet can't perform them (calculate) in their head and on paper (regardless of algorithm) reasonably well.

Bob Hansen