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From the New York Times:

What I Learned While Reporting on the Dearth of Black Mathematicians

My recent reporting has highlighted why racial exclusion in “the queen of the sciences’’ may matter most of all.

By Amy Harmon. Feb. 20, 2019

… There were several reasons I felt that the toll this type of bigotry — which often goes undocumented — takes on black mathematicians was worth reporting on.

One is the sheer magnitude of the underrepresentation of black academics in research math. According to the American Mathematical Society, there are 1,769 tenured mathematicians at the math departments of the 50 United States universities that produce the most math Ph.D.s. No one tallies the number of black mathematicians in those departments, but as best I can tell, there are 13. That comes to seven-tenths of 1 percent of the total — perhaps as far as any job classification gets from accurately reflecting the share of black Americans in the general adult population, which stands at 13 percent.

Maybe it seems like splitting already ludicrously fine hairs, but in biomedicine, the share of black scientists who receive major research grants from the National Institutes of Health (1.4 percent) is about twice as high as the share of black mathematicians on the tenured faculty of top United States math departments. The share of employees at Facebook who are black (4 percent) is roughly six times higher; the share of black graduates from United States medical schools (6 percent), nine times higher. Among the film and television agents at Hollywood’s top four talent agencies, according to a recent New York Times article, black agents number in the dozens, which makes their share roughly eight times that of the black mathematicians.

“To say that I feel isolated is an understatement,” Dr. Goins wrote.

Then there is the cost of that underrepresentation to the public. In the private sector, shareholders bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups. But mathematics research is funded largely by taxpayers. Federal agencies distributed some $350 million in grants to American universities for basic math research alone in 2016. And math — “the queen of the sciences,” as the 19th-century mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss is said to have labeled his discipline — underpins virtually all of the tens of billions of dollars worth of basic science research that Americans support each year.

“How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”

An anonymous iSteve commenter replies:

This is absolutely brilliant!

“How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”

I really sympathize with the scientists who have to come up with responses when approached by writers like Harmon. They just want to be left alone, to not become involved. Some just give up and say what they don’t believe. Some verbally contort themselves to say something that sounds politically correct, but which has very little meaning.

This guy Taylor, however, just asks a questions and leaves it unanswered. He said literally nothing (this quote is the only quote from him in the piece). He could have phrased it, “I think that mathematics would be much further along if there were more blacks,” but he didn’t. His answer to his own question might in fact be, “Are you shitting me? Ha ha ha!”

This is even immune to a fact check. A fact checker more skeptical of things than Harmon cannot very well ask the guy, “How much further do you think mathematics would have advanced?” How can that even be answered? “Uh, I think Taniyama’s 24th conjecture would probably have been solved by a black guy by now.”

By the way, the reason why they are going after academic math positions is that they are sinecures that pay decent money but are immune to the sort of scrutiny of effectiveness that can lose you your job, unlike math jobs in private industry. The problem is the psychic toll that must be borne by the guy who knows that everyone around him thinks he is a dimwit AA recipient. And how do you get rid of that? Short of hiring all dimwits and firing the white, Jewish, and Asian guys?

Back to the New York Times:

And there is the matter of the people who don’t get a shot at charting the mathematical universe for a living. Most of the hand-wringing about underrepresentation of racial minority groups in science, technology, engineering and math is centered, for good reason, on the economic injustice: So-called STEM jobs, whether in finance or machine learning or academia, pay nearly twice the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”

As Daniel Zaharopol, the director of a program for mathematically talented low-income middle-school students, put it when I interviewed him for a 2017 article: “Math is beautiful, and being a part of that should not be limited to just some people.”

Some people claim that there are not many black research mathematicians because African-Americans are not as intelligent as other races. These people, whom I have reported on for other stories in recent months, almost invariably use mathematical accomplishment as their yardstick for intelligence. They note that no individuals of African descent have won the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

But I have been reporting on these topics for several years, and I am acutely aware that math prowess factors heavily into the popular conception of intelligence. There’s a vicious cycle at work: The lack of African-American representation in math can end up feeding pernicious biases, which in turn add to the many obstacles mathematically talented minorities face.

I’m disappointed that Amy didn’t announce that the world is suffering from missing the special kind of insight into math that only diverse brains have access too.

George Orwell wrote in 1943:

Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as “Science”. There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, “It never happened” — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement.

 
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  1. Come on Ms. Harmon, were you under a rock? Didn’t you see “Hidden Figures?”

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    If Ms. Harmon wants to produce more Black mathematicians, how about she donates her eggs so that they could be fertilized with the sperm of extremely intelligent Black men? That way, maybe one of her Black children will become a mathematician due to having two extremely high-IQ parents!
    , @El Dato
    I read the ladie's NASA paper and it is solid undergrad engineering work. Top marks.

    Also, Amy Harmon is deluded if she thinks math is exclusionary in a world where books are freely downloadable and math championships exist.
    , @Father O'Hara
    At least we have calculus beaners!
  2. Next up on NYT, “Why so few whites in the rap music industry?” Just kidding.

    • Replies: @Hail
    Followed by a hard-hitting expose on race discrimination favoring Blacks at certain positions in the NFL, and in the NBA.

    "Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America" by Amy Nomrah.
    , @AnotherDad
    This is an extraordinarily stupid thumb-sucking piece. Even accounting for PC bias, i find a hard time believing a woman who thinks and writes like this could have got her various journalism awards. I think Harmon has some sort of aspie fixation on this stuff, that just compels her to write incoherent stupid drivel.

    Just a few of the glaring stupidities to me:

    -- blacks numbers ought to mirror their population number
    Doesn't Harmon know that immigrants are better people, that we need them because they are smarter and harder working. Obviously a whole bunch of these math PhDs and math faculty are foreigners.

    -- different levels of under-representation?
    She ticks through these varying levels of black under-representation, but pushes absolute blank slatism. So what's the cause? Is she really alleging that mathematics is twice as discriminatory than biomedicine? No theories. Nothing.

    -- IQ irrelevant
    What the @$%#! One--reasonable--critique of IQ tests is that what they measure is the ability to take IQ tests, and perhaps that's not the "smarts" that people use in life. (It's only because researchers have collected the data--from the military, from these larger social surverys--that we know that's not the case. The correlations are very good with life success. The "smarts" that scores well on IQ tests is very closely related to the "smarts" that does well in life--not just educational attainment and income, but not being in accidents, staying out of prison, not having kids out of wedlock, etc.) But whatever the validity of IQ tests for life success ... math IQ test sections are obviously on target for measuring ability to do math problems. That's their metric! Doing math problems.


    I don't know what's going on with Harmon. Top level she seems like the typical verbal Jewess spewing the usual Jewish minoritarian narrative. But she just really seems to have a serious bug up her ass about this stuff that leads to increasingly deranged nonsense.

    (Some based guy should have given her a good spanking and knocked her up at 25, 27, 29, 31 ... and she'd be doing something useful and the world would be a better place. ... Of course, we'd undoubtedly have some other loon parroting this nonsense.)
  3. or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention,

    Yeah, I mean, we all know that proper social/educational intervention can overcome genetics. For example, note how women have overtaken men in the 100 meter dash……

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability,

    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90….

    which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    See, if a guy with a 98 IQ is properly motivated……

    • LOL: bomag
    • Replies: @Logan
    That's not it at all.

    Those who want to become math geniuses only need to spend 10,000 working at it.
    , @AndrewR
    I mean, there is a lot of truth in that. Having a higher IQ generally means you learn more quickly, make more connections between things, and forget less. But a very motivated person can easily outcompete a more intelligent person with lower motivation. It's like how a fit 70 year old might not be able to beat a fit 30 year old in an athletic competition, but he could definitely beat a lot of out-of-shape 30 year olds.
    , @Mark Roulo

    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90….
     
    Yes, but they are European, so this is centigrade IQ, not fahrenheit IQ like we use in the states. Adjust it what we use over here and those guys are geniuses!
  4. “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that [black] talent?”

    Why we’d be riding around in flying cars by now like we were in Wakanda, if we hadn’t missed out on the black Gauss, the black Euler, the black Leibniz, the black Jacobi, etc.

    The sanctimony makes me want to vomit. Taylor is full of shit and he knows it, but he also knows that no one will dare call him on his bullshit. You have to hand it to the guy – he’s just score a bunch of points which should help insure that he is throw to the wolves last and it cost him nothing except his last shred of self-respect. Congratulations Dick!

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @Stephen Paul Foster
    You have to hand it to the guy – he’s just score a bunch of points which should help insure that he is thrown to the wolves last...."

    No fool. He's seen what the wolves have done to James Watson.
  5. We also learned this week that the go-to guy for debunking racist IQ science doesn’t know middle school algebra (H/T Gregory Cochran):

    Eric Turkheimer
    ‏ @ent3c

    Dumb (but real and research-related) question:

    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f

    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?

    r/t if you know a good high school math teacher
    4:17 PM – 11 Feb 2019

    Twitter link

    • Replies: @Lin
    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f
    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?
    Looks like grade 10 math.
    ………..
    I think I posted this before, there's a 'simple' math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can't do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1
    , @MarkinLA
    Even if you solve this, it has so many variables that there is no unique solution. The first equation can be rewritten 0 = aX^2 + bX + (c - Y1) and solved for X. The same for the second equation. Then what?
    I am not sure what he thinks he is getting.
    , @MarkinLA
    He is probably confusing this with the Newton method for solving for simultaneous linear equations that find the point of intersection of two lines on a plane but these equations aren't linear.
  6. Wow, she STILL doesn’t get it. No genetic proof? Do Twin Adoption studies count, Amy? Peak Harmon.

  7. They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?

    Is she stupid, or just being disingenuous?

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666

    Is she stupid, or just being disingenuous?
     
    In Harmon's case, these are not mutually exclusive. But I'd venture to say her "reporting" is 20% stupidity and 80% dishonesty.
  8. Meanwhile Chinese scientists “accidentally” suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6731297/Chinese-scientists-edited-genes-twin-girls-altered-BRAINS-experts-say.html

    So while we engage in a quixotic quest for the Hidden Figures of mathematical genius in the black community, the Chinese are actually going to do something about it.

    Just think of the mathematical contributions that could have been made by one Brian Williams who stole a 60″ flat screen from the AirBNB he rented from a gay couple if he had been directed toward a math career:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6729551/Video-catches-thieves-stealing-TV-toiletries-Georgia-couples-Airbnb-rental.html

    If whitey has 1 less TV and Brian (if that’s his real name) has one more TV, that’s a difference of 2 TVs.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Meanwhile Chinese scientists “accidentally” suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:
     
    Do Jews tend to be resistant to HIV?
    , @Hippopotamusdrome


    Chinese scientists who edited genes of twin girls may have supercharged their BRAINS

    study suggests... may have...may have...probably...may have...scientists suggest...likely...implications...They predict ...could cure...attempt...promising...could improve...might help...which suggested...safe to assume...appear to have...won't be possible to tell clearly...we won't know...might have...may not be...may be...we just don't know...it might not...not black and white...it might...holds incredible promise...we simply don't know...

     

  9. I wonder if Amy Harmon would support Herman Cain?

  10. Any day now, Kamala Harris and Liz Warren will demand that only mathematicians of African-American ancestry be entrusted to calculate the amount YT owes in reparations.
    I suspect those numbers will be impressive.

    • Replies: @rec1man
    Kamala Harris mother is a Tamil Brahmin, MD

    I suspect Kamala Harris IQ is above 130
  11. 0.007 isn’t bad for a people who never invented a written language or the wheel.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute

    0.007 isn’t bad for a people who never invented a written language or the wheel.
     
    Its also a Sign from God that Idris Elba must be the next James Bond..
  12. Anon[358] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “the queen of the sciences’’

    Monarchic and sexist.

    There were several reasons I felt that the toll this type of bigotry — which often goes undocumented — takes on black mathematicians was worth reporting on.

    Easily fixed. Take a bunch of Jewish and Asian mathematicians and put them in the NBA, and take a bunch of black NBA and NFL players and put them in math departments.

    Problem fixed. No more need to belly-ache.

    And it goes for other fields too. If there are too few blacks and too many Jews in law, fire the Jews and hire the blacks. It’s that simple. Never mind competence because bean-counting matters most.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.

    fire the Jews and hire the blacks. It’s that simple.
     
    Simple, you say? Somehow I don't think this is quite the solution the New York Times has in mind.
  13. Amy, show us on the doll where the white scientist touched you

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Fifty Shades Of Old Gray Lady might be the result of that.
    , @AndrewR
    Her problem is presumably a lack of male contact.
  14. My guess is that Amy Harmon never got past high school geometry. As an A- student in math, who never impressed any math professor, I can assure you that every step in ability is a quantum leap up. If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects. If you don’t take a higher level math class where someone else with real ability is a student, you might not ever know just how stupid you are when compared to him.

    • Agree: Abe, Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @Anon7
    If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall. About 1 person in a million is that tall; I'll bet there aren't 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.

    And I'll tell you something else. It's as easy for pure math professors to tell who has the talent to do pure math as it is for basketball coaches to see who the tallest kid on the team is. You just can't fake being 7 feet tall.

    Imagine being a 6'4" guy; you're thinking "I'm in the 99th percentile for height, baby! I'm tall." Then you stand next to a guy who is at the 99.999th percentile for height and you look like somebody's kid brother.

    It would be unimaginably embarrassing for someone without authentic math ability to be given a pure math professorship through affirmative action. As embarrassing as someone 6'4" contesting a jump ball against a guy 7'2". Everyone in your field would know. It's different from fields where you can bulls**t your way to a degree.

    , @Jim Christian
    Math was always my roadblock. Good thing the world needs ditch-diggers too!
  15. @a Newsreader
    We also learned this week that the go-to guy for debunking racist IQ science doesn't know middle school algebra (H/T Gregory Cochran):

    Eric Turkheimer
    ‏ @ent3c

    Dumb (but real and research-related) question:

    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f

    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?

    r/t if you know a good high school math teacher
    4:17 PM - 11 Feb 2019
     

    Twitter link

    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f
    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?
    Looks like grade 10 math.
    ………..
    I think I posted this before, there’s a ‘simple’ math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can’t do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1

    • Replies: @El Dato

    I think I posted this before, there’s a ‘simple’ math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can’t do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1
     
    Sounds like this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure. What's to prove?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_(mathematics)#Definition
  16. “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    I just saw "Aquaman," and I hate to say it, but Atlantis looked way more advanced than Wakanda, and the population appeared to be uniformly white. Somebody must be held accountable for this.
  17. What’s funny is that the genetic explanation for racial inequality is the only explanation that hasn’t been debunked. Gotta love the evidentiary double standard.

  18. anon[253] • Disclaimer says:

    I am surprised that nobody here mentioned the real truth as to why economics creates a toxic environment for blacks: Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.

    It denies the centrality of emotion to reason, strips away subjectivities and context, and privileges the hetero-normative account wherein logic triumphs over feeling. It allows us to reduce the human experience into cold numbers and symbols; makes space for the manipulation of ideas through cold, unthinking procedures that pay no heed to social meanings; and reduces the lived experience into a crude, calculating machine. It is the handmaiden of gender oppression and reactionary conservatism.

    It is Patriarchal Imperialism writ large.

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
    • Replies: @Dube
    As you show, some things just have to be true.
    , @lingenmi
    I agree! We should race immediately with all haste back to the dark ages. This enlightenment stuff was bunk from the get go.
    , @Henry's Cat

    Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.
     
    It's but a small leap from logocentrism to logicentrism.
  19. @Buffalo Joe
    Next up on NYT, "Why so few whites in the rap music industry?" Just kidding.

    Followed by a hard-hitting expose on race discrimination favoring Blacks at certain positions in the NFL, and in the NBA.

    “Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America” by Amy Nomrah.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ

    “Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America” by Amy Nomrah.
     
    By Yma Nomrah.
  20. Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, “Thanks but no thanks: I’m doing engineering.”

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I’m not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.
     
    What is so hard about it?
    , @Mr McKenna

    There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.
     
    The viciousness toward white males is permissible.
    , @bomag

    There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.
     
    A salient observation.

    Academia in general is just not a "Black" thing: lots of alone time reading and writing; lots of criticism; not a lot of emotional support.

    Amy Harmon overstates the attractiveness of the field.
    , @stillCARealist
    Dave, we're about the same age and went to large colleges in the 80's, right? Do you remember a single black student in your freshman calculus classes? Physics? Chemistry? I didn't meet a black student in a STEM class until I took Biology 1A as a sophomore. And I think he was the only one.

    I knew a few blacks in who were in other STEM classes, but I never saw one in mine after that single instance in Biology.

    Had I lived in a different part of town and not taken a few required humanities courses, I could likely have never encountered a black or Hispanic student in 4 years.
    , @kaganovitch
    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    How many times do I have to explain this? If only White men have agency, than everything anyone else does is really the Patriarchy's doing.
    , @nebulafox
    >I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    I do believe it is mostly choice based, though this not for an entirely flattering reason: I believe that women tend to be saner than men, on average. I'm not being facetious. Autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychopathy, prophet complexes, the extremes of genius and retardation writ large, "exotic brain chemistry" has always been disproportionately male. It is probably intrinsically linked to testosterone, so my guess is that short of mass biological engineering, it will always be. And the kind of obsessive, all-canceling drive you need to survive and thrive in theoretical physics or math these days often requires you be at least a little eccentric. Do women exist that would want to sacrifice their lives, fiscal and personal, to this? Yes. But if the men who are willing to do this are a very small minority, they are a very, very small minority.

    They also give birth, and despite all the discrimination laws in the book, I've known PIs who have flat out refused to give postdoc appointments to pregnant women, or even married women who weren't ruling out kids. (There are countries that handle this a lot better than the US does, most notably Germany and Israel.) Women-especially ones who want families-quite rationally look at the costs of an academic career, then look at their skill set, and decide that they'd like to spend their lives doing something other than producing papers that might, at best, win them the admiration of 100 people around the globe and a lead conference talk in Japan.

  21. The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    • Replies: @Calvin Y Hobbes
    And, as Steve keeps pointing out, blacks are overrepresented among NFL cornerbacks by a factor of infinity.
    , @Henry's Cat
    What percentage of the non-blacks in the NBA are Americans? Surely much lower than the proportion of blacks there who are non-American.
    , @Henry's Cat
    Sorry, I screwed up my first reply....here's what I meant to say...

    What percentage of the non-blacks in the NBA are non-American? Surely much higher than the proportion of blacks who aren't American.
    , @Brutusale
    See Alcindor's racist comment on what made Bird so good at the 40-second mark.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glGLji11LNo
    , @Faraday's Bobcat
    Your post just goes to prove how oppressive math is.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Calvin, AND mathematicians don't have sponsors and sneakers with their name on them.
  22. Anonymous[338] • Disclaimer says:

    Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as “Science”. There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc.

    It is doubtful that Nazi theory denied the existence of truth. To the extent that Germans did make references to science as being German or Jewish, most likely they were making a claim that German science sought the truth, while the Jewish activity was engaged more in pseudoscience.

    • Replies: @WowJustWow
    It's part of modern progressive theory at least. Remember when all the congresscritters were thanking Christine Blasey Ford for speaking "her truth"?
  23. How in the hell can you exclude anybody from doing mathematics? Math isn’t a freaking country club; it’s not like you need a ton of money or connections to participate. It’s one of those things that you truly can do on the cheap. What do you need—some notebooks, some pencils, and access to a library? If a bunch of Black guys wanted to get together and form their own LaNicolas Bourbaki society, there’s nothing stopping them.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @bomag
    Good point.

    The top echelon in any field is largely self-taught.
    , @Jack D
    The poster boy for this is Ramanujan. Even 100 years ago when there was no internet and even books barely made it to the backwaters of India, Ramanujan was able to teach himself math and then make important breakthru contributions of his own. And even the horrible racist British could not deny his talent and brought him to Cambridge. But there was no Ramanujan of Kenya or Ramanujan of Nigeria.
    , @Captain Willard
    I heard there was this Prof. Hardy guy who recruited some poor Indian dude who was doing some math on a serious budget. But that was England I think.....
  24. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.

    What is so hard about it?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    It is highly, highly abstract and symbolic. It's a miracle humans can do this stuff at all. No other animal can do anything beyond simple math and for most of human history pure math didn't even exist and there was no use for it, so it is just some strange accidental byproduct of our ability to plan the hunt or something. Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.
    , @Anonymous
    There's a popular misconception about the nature and practice of "pure math". This is in part due to the generally poor communication abilities of mathematicians, as well as a view deliberately cultivated by some mathematicians to make themselves and their profession seem even more arcane and esoteric than they are. It's also due to the influence of the "Bourbaki group" of French mathematicians in the 20th century. The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity - you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc. There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[338] asked me:

    What is so hard about [pure math]?
     
    Hmmm...

    Have you gone through all of Gilkey's book on the heat-equation proof of the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem? Page by page? And understood it all?

    Or better still, the Wiles-Taylor proof of Fermat's Last Theorem?

    And, for extra credit, the entire proof of the classification theorem for finite simple groups? You only get the full extra credit if you find all the errors (there are plenty!).

    If you've done all that, I salute you and can only say that almost everyone, including professional mathematicians, finds what I have just described to be quite hard.

    Indeed, I am certain beyond reasonable doubt that no single human being has ever carried out all three of the tasks I just proposed.

    On the other hand, if you are seriously asking what it is that makes pure math difficult, I suppose the basic problem is its distance from the mundane reality that humans evolved to deal with. E.g., modern math routinely deals not only with spaces of more than three dimensions but also with infinite-dimensional spaces of various sorts. It is routine to assume that we have somehow made an infinite number of arbitrary choices (that this can be done is guaranteed by the so-called "Axiom of Choice"), that we have completed mathematical structures with an infinite number of elements, and so on. And all this is not some arbitrary impediment to the student: you need to do some of this sort of thing even to understand areas of math relevant to physics and engineering (e.g., Fourier analysis).

    Furthermore, higher math involves visualization of very peculiar objects, grasping very long chains of reasoning, and understanding a large number of rather arcane definitions. In the back of your mind, you need to keep some archetypical examples that show you what motivates the whole logical structure, as well as a number of standard "counter-examples" that help prevent you from making "obvious " assumptions that are in fact false.

    And, you have to get familiar enough with all of this, at least in the field you are working in, that it becomes second nature to you, and seems almost "obvious."

    Everything I've just said assumes that your teachers and textbooks are doing their best to help you along in this process. Unfortunately, as a number of us have discussed, that is not always the case.

    I've known a number of math professors as well as brilliant prodigies: I have never met one who really found "pure math" easy, just not quite as hard as most people find it.
    , @YetAnotherAnon

    "What is so hard about it?"
     
    Try it. There's plenty of online stuff available, maths books are really cheap second hand.

    If you can sail through GCSE Maths

    https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/examspecs/z8sg6fr

    Then try A level maths, or these free Open University courses

    https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/bayesian-statistics/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

    Then you can play around here, if you're comfortable here you are in a smallish minority of people and should get a well-paid job as an actuary (although even a maths degree is no guarantee of passing the exams).

    https://www.codecogs.com/library/maths/calculus/differential/index.php

  25. No doubt we can anticipate similar pieces lamenting “racial exclusion” in the NBA, hip-hop albums’ sales, sprinting, and beneficiaries of the United Negro College Fund in the weeks to come as this theme is exlplored in “A Continuing Series on….”

  26. @Jack D
    Meanwhile Chinese scientists "accidentally" suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6731297/Chinese-scientists-edited-genes-twin-girls-altered-BRAINS-experts-say.html

    So while we engage in a quixotic quest for the Hidden Figures of mathematical genius in the black community, the Chinese are actually going to do something about it.

    Just think of the mathematical contributions that could have been made by one Brian Williams who stole a 60" flat screen from the AirBNB he rented from a gay couple if he had been directed toward a math career:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6729551/Video-catches-thieves-stealing-TV-toiletries-Georgia-couples-Airbnb-rental.html

    If whitey has 1 less TV and Brian (if that's his real name) has one more TV, that's a difference of 2 TVs.

    Meanwhile Chinese scientists “accidentally” suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:

    Do Jews tend to be resistant to HIV?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna

    Do Jews tend to be resistant to HIV?
     
    I think it's HIV which tends to be resistant to Jews. It's a notoriously anti-semitic virus.
  27. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    And, as Steve keeps pointing out, blacks are overrepresented among NFL cornerbacks by a factor of infinity.

  28. the least important thing in the world. akin to why are there no indians in sports.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    prime, What Indians, Blue dot or whoo whoo?
  29. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    But mathematics research is funded largely by taxpayers. Federal agencies distributed some $350 million in grants to American universities for basic math research alone in 2016.

    Math research involves pencil, paper, and what the Germans call “Sitzfleisch”, the ability to spend endless hours at a desk doing grueling work. In other words, it doesn’t really cost anything. What these people are calling for of course is not spending millions more on pencils and paper, but millions more to be siphoned off by universities and administrators.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Nowadays you also get to use some solid computational devices for experimental mathematics, or may encode many lines of theory in Coq or similar. Which is fun.
  30. @Hail
    Followed by a hard-hitting expose on race discrimination favoring Blacks at certain positions in the NFL, and in the NBA.

    "Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America" by Amy Nomrah.

    “Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America” by Amy Nomrah.

    By Yma Nomrah.

    • Replies: @Hail
    Nice.

    Yma
    Gender: Feminine
    Origin: Quechua

    Pronounced "EE-ma"

    derived from Ima Shumaq, Quechua for "how beautiful!", although in interviews Yma Sumac claimed it meant "beautiful girl" or "beautiful flower".
     
    Idea: "Yma Nomrah"-ize all article titles by the journalist in question.
  31. Reality becomes indistinguishable from The Onion.

  32. @Buffalo Joe
    Come on Ms. Harmon, were you under a rock? Didn't you see "Hidden Figures?"

    If Ms. Harmon wants to produce more Black mathematicians, how about she donates her eggs so that they could be fertilized with the sperm of extremely intelligent Black men? That way, maybe one of her Black children will become a mathematician due to having two extremely high-IQ parents!

    • Replies: @Jack D
    You didn't read what she wrote. Apparently conceding that blacks have lower average IQs, she misquotes a Fields Medal winner in order to content that you don't need high IQ to do math, you just need to be obsessed with it. Too bad blacks aren't obsessed with it either.
  33. or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context. I could be obsessed with the idea of scoring 3 pointers in the NBA but my obsession won’t make a damn bit of difference because I lack the talent to actually score. TBH, I don’t think that there are that many black kids in America (regardless of IQ – she seems to concede that black average IQ is lower thru her use of “sour grapes”) who are obsessed with math problems in the 1st place but they could obsess all they wanted and it still wouldn’t give them the mental HP to actually cross the finish line.

    Real mathematical chops is a rare talent and virtually non-existent in blacks throughout all of known history. Goins was close but no cigar – he was good enough to play in the Bush Leagues but he could not hit in The Show – the pitches come across the plate too fast. We are now 50+ years into the Civil Rights era and schools have been literally BEGGING for black talent. If there was going to be some black Terence Tao he would have emerged by now.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    You're Hate Facting again Jack. Better watch out!
    , @Brutusale
    Math, like baseball, is difficult if you can't handle a curve.
    , @res

    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context.
     
    I am not so sure of that. It is possible he said that in some PC environment, but more likely it is just a matter of talented people not realizing just how different they are from most.

    Of course, if pressed privately, I am pretty sure Gowers would agree "talent + obsession" is much more accurate.
  34. @a Newsreader
    We also learned this week that the go-to guy for debunking racist IQ science doesn't know middle school algebra (H/T Gregory Cochran):

    Eric Turkheimer
    ‏ @ent3c

    Dumb (but real and research-related) question:

    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f

    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?

    r/t if you know a good high school math teacher
    4:17 PM - 11 Feb 2019
     

    Twitter link

    Even if you solve this, it has so many variables that there is no unique solution. The first equation can be rewritten 0 = aX^2 + bX + (c – Y1) and solved for X. The same for the second equation. Then what?
    I am not sure what he thinks he is getting.

    • Replies: @Polymath
    No, silly. You forgot algebra conventions.

    a, b, c, d, e, and f are constants. Y1 and Y2 are variables expressed in terms of another variable X. To express Y1 in terms of Y2, get X in terms of Y2 by using the quadratic formula.

    X = (-e + sqrt(e^2 - 4d(f-Y2)))/2d
    X = (-e - sqrt(e^2 - 4d(f-Y2)))/2d

    These two solutions to the quadratic should be substituted for X in the expression for Y1, and you’re done (except for picking which of the two solutions you want, assuming both are real).
    , @blake121666
    Well the first thing that comes to mind is that of heights of projectiles under constant gravity - parameterized by time (X in these equations).

    The heights of each of 2 projectiles at time t would be a parabola in t. The question then can be seen as what is the height of the one projectile in terms of the height of the other projectile? So it is a relativity problem.

    Since the Ys are parameterized by parabolas, the 2 Ys would have a quadratic relation to each other - since you could obviously get a quadratic relation by manipulating the two equations to remove the Xs and have only Y1 and Y2 and constants. For instance, multiply the first by "d", the second by "a" and subtracting the equations - giving a linear relation for "X". Then plug that into one of the other equations to "remove" X from it and have only at most quadratic Y1 and Y2.

    So while I agree that you would not get a unique solution, you'd still have a quadratic relation between the Y1 and Y2. And this tells you, for instance, that the height of one trajectory as seen from another trajectory is quadratic. So you'd get conic section solutions.
  35. It’s depressing to learn that Amy Harmon would appear to be — drumroll, please — Jewish.

    ‘…“THERE are a lot of things I may never know about K2a2a, one of four founding mothers of a large chunk of today’s Ashkenazi Jewish population and the one from whom — I learned last week — I am directly descended.”…’

    • Replies: @peterike

    It’s depressing to learn that Amy Harmon would appear to be — drumroll, please — Jewish.

     

    Is it depressing because it was so easy to guess?
  36. @Anonymous

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.
     
    What is so hard about it?

    It is highly, highly abstract and symbolic. It’s a miracle humans can do this stuff at all. No other animal can do anything beyond simple math and for most of human history pure math didn’t even exist and there was no use for it, so it is just some strange accidental byproduct of our ability to plan the hunt or something. Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind. Thank god I could program. I did get some decent grades in classes that were more pure math but I always left the final exam room thinking I, at best, got a C. Everybody else must have been just as stupid or I really did stumble upon the solution.
  37. @Anon
    “the queen of the sciences’’

    Monarchic and sexist.

    There were several reasons I felt that the toll this type of bigotry — which often goes undocumented — takes on black mathematicians was worth reporting on.

    Easily fixed. Take a bunch of Jewish and Asian mathematicians and put them in the NBA, and take a bunch of black NBA and NFL players and put them in math departments.

    Problem fixed. No more need to belly-ache.

    And it goes for other fields too. If there are too few blacks and too many Jews in law, fire the Jews and hire the blacks. It's that simple. Never mind competence because bean-counting matters most.

    fire the Jews and hire the blacks. It’s that simple.

    Simple, you say? Somehow I don’t think this is quite the solution the New York Times has in mind.

    • LOL: Gordo
  38. @Mr. XYZ

    “Why Racial Exclusion of White Players Hurts Basketball and America” by Amy Nomrah.
     
    By Yma Nomrah.

    Nice.

    Yma
    Gender: Feminine
    Origin: Quechua

    Pronounced “EE-ma”

    derived from Ima Shumaq, Quechua for “how beautiful!”, although in interviews Yma Sumac claimed it meant “beautiful girl” or “beautiful flower”.

    Idea: “Yma Nomrah”-ize all article titles by the journalist in question.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Yma Sumac was really Amy Camus, bastard daughter of the French writer Albert.
  39. @Mr. XYZ
    If Ms. Harmon wants to produce more Black mathematicians, how about she donates her eggs so that they could be fertilized with the sperm of extremely intelligent Black men? That way, maybe one of her Black children will become a mathematician due to having two extremely high-IQ parents!

    You didn’t read what she wrote. Apparently conceding that blacks have lower average IQs, she misquotes a Fields Medal winner in order to content that you don’t need high IQ to do math, you just need to be obsessed with it. Too bad blacks aren’t obsessed with it either.

  40. The share of employees at Facebook who are black (4 percent) is roughly six times higher

    No, six times as high. They let this through?

    (Logically, isn’t “six times higher” equal to “seven times as much”? It works that way with percentages.)

    So Amy Harmon is as bad at English as she is at math.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Math English is the worst English.
  41. @Hail
    Nice.

    Yma
    Gender: Feminine
    Origin: Quechua

    Pronounced "EE-ma"

    derived from Ima Shumaq, Quechua for "how beautiful!", although in interviews Yma Sumac claimed it meant "beautiful girl" or "beautiful flower".
     
    Idea: "Yma Nomrah"-ize all article titles by the journalist in question.

    Yma Sumac was really Amy Camus, bastard daughter of the French writer Albert.

  42. ‘…They lack any…reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention…’

    That is pretty amazing. Idiocracy is upon us.

  43. @a Newsreader
    We also learned this week that the go-to guy for debunking racist IQ science doesn't know middle school algebra (H/T Gregory Cochran):

    Eric Turkheimer
    ‏ @ent3c

    Dumb (but real and research-related) question:

    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f

    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?

    r/t if you know a good high school math teacher
    4:17 PM - 11 Feb 2019
     

    Twitter link

    He is probably confusing this with the Newton method for solving for simultaneous linear equations that find the point of intersection of two lines on a plane but these equations aren’t linear.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    All parabolas are similar, just as all circles are similar.

    A circle is the locus of all points a distance r from the center C. You can write a transform from one circle to another with a translation of the center. With C1, C2 and T written as vectors (ordered pairs),
    (C1 + T = C2) and a scaling factor r2/r1.

    A parabola is the locus of all point equidistant from the focus and the directrix (line). Thus F1 -> F2 and scaling factor = p2/p1 where p is the distance from the vertex to the focus.

    Perhaps he wanted to know how to transform one parabola to another? Naw.
  44. Anon[759] • Disclaimer says:

    This is absolutely brilliant!

    “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”

    I really sympathize with the scientists who have to come up with responses when approached by writers like Harmon. They just want to be left alone, to not become involved. Some just give up and say what they don’t believe. Some verbally contort themselves to say something that sounds politically correct, but which has very little meaning.

    This guy Taylor, however, just asks a questions and leaves it unanswered. He said literally nothing (this quote is the only quote from him in the piece). He could have phrased it, “I think that mathematics would be much further along if there were more blacks,” but he didn’t. His answer to his own question might in fact be, “Are you shitting me? Ha ha ha!”

    This is even immune to a fact check. A fact checker more skeptical of things than Harmon cannot very well ask the guy, “How much further do you think mathematics would have advanced?” How can that even be answered? “Uh, I think Taniyama’s 24th conjecture would probably have been solved by a black guy by now.”

    By the way, the reason why they are going after academic math positions is that they are sinecures that pay decent money but are immune to the sort of scrutiny of effectiveness that can lose you your job, unlike math jobs in private industry. The problem is the psychic toll that must be borne by the guy who knows that everyone around him thinks he is a dimwit AA recipient. And how do you get rid of that? Short of hiring all dimwits and firing the white, Jewish, and Asian guys?

    • Replies: @Roger
    Mathematicians tend to speak precisely. If he wanted to say that mathematics would have been further along with more blacks, he could have said so.

    Mathematicians often have to write recommendations for students with limited ability. They know how to say almost nothing, if they have to.
  45. @Jack D
    It is highly, highly abstract and symbolic. It's a miracle humans can do this stuff at all. No other animal can do anything beyond simple math and for most of human history pure math didn't even exist and there was no use for it, so it is just some strange accidental byproduct of our ability to plan the hunt or something. Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.

    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind. Thank god I could program. I did get some decent grades in classes that were more pure math but I always left the final exam room thinking I, at best, got a C. Everybody else must have been just as stupid or I really did stumble upon the solution.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind.

     

    I was kind of the opposite. Group theory and abstract algebra, which I encountered in freshman year, were an oasis of calm and simplicity, compared to the somewhat arbitrary manipulation of expressions in calculus and differential equations (albeit following a library of patterns) to derive results. Not easier, by any means, but somehow leaner and richer in insight. Real and complex analysis similarly felt like refreshingly new and cleaner take on calculus. It's tempting to speculate that there might different personality types among mathematicians, leading somehow to the split between applied and pure math.
  46. They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    Just because you lack the evidence to explain a gap doesn’t mean the gap doesn’t exist. And if the IQ gap isn’t “impervious to social or educational intervention” you’d be able to prove this on a small scale, say, with a few thousand students.

    As for the obsession part… that kind of singular focus is the secret sauce in nearly every STEM field, but the proposition a low IQ person is capable of outperforming a high IQ person through sheer obsession is hard to credit.

    The whole piece seems to be written from the assumption all people are equally capable in mathematics and then sets about observable reality because we don’t understand this or can’t prove this other thing doesn’t exist. Sure. Maybe there’s an educational “intervention” you could use to raise the mean black IQ by 15 points. Maybe I’m Santa Claus.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    "impervious to social or educational intervention" is a straw man argument. Not even the worst HBD Nazi says that blacks are totally ineducable. Man is not all nature, programmed at birth like an insect, but neither is he a tabula rasa that is a pure product of nurture so that every child is a potential Terence Tao if only he received the correct "interventions". For lack of more precise number, you can guesstimate that it's about 50/50 nature/nurture. But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don't have the best of circumstances - they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents) you are only going to be able to make up half of the Gap - the other half is indeed genetic and every human is going to hit his own intellectual brick wall at some point when it comes to something like pure math (and blacks are, on average, going to hit it a lot sooner - it would be nice if they could make change without having a machine to do it. The other day I returned something to the store and was due a $10.91 refund. I presented 9 cents to the cashier and a look of panic came on his face - what to do now?)
  47. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.

    The viciousness toward white males is permissible.

  48. Ty’qwaan Lobaschevskii van Strunk
    Whom Ebony called “a slam-dunk
    For the Fields” was denied
    When he suddenly died
    While cleaning his pistol when drunk.

    • LOL: Peter Johnson
  49. @Anonymous

    Meanwhile Chinese scientists “accidentally” suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:
     
    Do Jews tend to be resistant to HIV?

    Do Jews tend to be resistant to HIV?

    I think it’s HIV which tends to be resistant to Jews. It’s a notoriously anti-semitic virus.

  50. @MarkinLA
    Even if you solve this, it has so many variables that there is no unique solution. The first equation can be rewritten 0 = aX^2 + bX + (c - Y1) and solved for X. The same for the second equation. Then what?
    I am not sure what he thinks he is getting.

    No, silly. You forgot algebra conventions.

    a, b, c, d, e, and f are constants. Y1 and Y2 are variables expressed in terms of another variable X. To express Y1 in terms of Y2, get X in terms of Y2 by using the quadratic formula.

    X = (-e + sqrt(e^2 – 4d(f-Y2)))/2d
    X = (-e – sqrt(e^2 – 4d(f-Y2)))/2d

    These two solutions to the quadratic should be substituted for X in the expression for Y1, and you’re done (except for picking which of the two solutions you want, assuming both are real).

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Well it has been a long time. Thanks.
  51. Anon[428] • Disclaimer says:

    I think you can divide up the “the subtle racial slights they have been subjected to” into two categories.

    Type 1 slights are instances where, initially, you are not recognized as a peer until you affirmatively identify yourself, because people “who look like you” are rare in the field. These are “microaggressions” that annoy you.

    Type 2 slights, not a single one of which has been uncovered by Harmon according to my skimming (I can no longer stomach a close reading of her stuff) would be ignoring (or stealing) a genuine contribution or advancement in the field because the contributor doesn’t look like people who normally are responsible for such advancements.

    Harmon and her black informants seem to be saying, blacks are just like whites above the neck, so of course there should be a proporitonal number of black math research academics and a proportional number of high quality advancements in the field from them. Thus the lack of them implies that the pipeline is losing these geniuses because they are microagressed and drop out of the field.

    I get the feeling that even the black mathematicians Harmon interviewed don’t buy this

  52. “Why Racial Exclusion in ‘The Queen of the Sciences’ May Matter Most of All”

    Thank Jussie for racial inclusion in the science of queens.

  53. Anon[322] • Disclaimer says:

    The only plausible explanation for this under representation is of course, racism. It’s time to make reparations:

    – Henceforth, the entire US team to the International Math Olympiad must be black.
    – All top 50 US math programs must only admit blacks. All math majors awarded must be to blacks and blacks only.
    – The Fields medal can only be awarded to blacks for the next 100,00o years, or until black representation in the field of math arrive at the same level as their representation in the general population, whichever comes first.

    • Agree: bomag
  54. @syonredux

    “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”
     
    http://img2.looper.com/img/uploads/embed/embed-5a676041ade67.jpg

    I just saw “Aquaman,” and I hate to say it, but Atlantis looked way more advanced than Wakanda, and the population appeared to be uniformly white. Somebody must be held accountable for this.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute

    I hate to say it, but Atlantis looked way more advanced than Wakanda
     
    But did they have super advanced weaponry like spears? Or futuristic attire like loincloths? That was, to me, the single funniest thing about Wakanda - that a tribe insulted by the moniker “spear chuckers” was represented in a 100% African made film as ... spear chuckers.
  55. [They lack any] reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention

    Huh? All genetic traits are impervious to social or educational intervention.

    [They lack any reason to think] that high I.Q. is key to math ability

    Now I think that she is just trolling us. No low IQ person has ever accomplished anything in math.

  56. Solution: a nation-wide lottery to choose a goodly number of Mathematicians of Color every year! Hell’s bells, while we’re at it let’s demand that a majority of mathematicians be black as ink. No, all of them from now on. Think big. At the opening ceremonies at Caltech or Harvard or wherever, the MOC newbies could be shown a movie compilation of cool Black Nerd Geniuses to get them in the mood. After that, they will stay up all night writing equations on giant blackboards.

  57. In the private sector, shareholders bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups.

    Think of all the costs to the NFL and the NBA of excluding groups: all the money they lose from excluding Irishmen, Japanese, African pygmies, you name it.

    Moreover, think of all the costs borne by businesses by overincluding certain ethnic groups. How much better off would Google be if it didn’t have so many Asians? How much better off would Wall Street be if it didn’t have so many Jews?

  58. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.
     
    What is so hard about it?

    There’s a popular misconception about the nature and practice of “pure math”. This is in part due to the generally poor communication abilities of mathematicians, as well as a view deliberately cultivated by some mathematicians to make themselves and their profession seem even more arcane and esoteric than they are. It’s also due to the influence of the “Bourbaki group” of French mathematicians in the 20th century. The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc. There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[375] wrote:

    The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc.
     
    All true, bnt, in the end, theorems are nice.

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Anonymous also wrote:

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.
     
    Well... I, and I suspect most physicists, would agree that many mathematicians seem almost eager to separate their work from any real-world applications. This was not always true: Gauss, for example, was happy to metaphorically "get his hands dirty" with actual problems in celestial mechanics and even surveying (!), and that helped motivate some of his best mathematical work. I agree that physics and engineering examples could really help pedagogically: indeed, lots of engineering schools and physics departments just teach much of the math themselves (this is not optimal, but the math department seems uninterested).

    And, there are some areas (notably information and error-correction theory, in which I have worked myself) where the distinction between math and engineering can be hard to draw.

    Yet, math is not really physics, and we physicists need it not to be. We need the rigor and the theorems sitting there in the background, even if we often forget the details in practice.

    But, it sure would be nice if we could teach mathematicians to speak in English, at least the form of English used in other STEM fields!
    , @utu
    I agree.
    , @MarkinLA
    I am not sure about this. Pure math that seems to be useless may not be so useless after all.

    In my group theory class the professor was making a case for why this stuff was useful. He presented a problem that he claimed was not solvable by conventional means. He was able to map it into a (for lack of a better word) different space where he could use an algebraic solution and map it back.

    From what I have read in the popular press, many of current big proofs of famous conjectures also involve transforming the problem from one space to another. The more avenues that someone can utilize in this process, the more likely there are other seemingly impossible to solve problems that can be solved.

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science,

    Isn't this ass-backwards. Math isn't part of physics. The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world. Math is tool for physicists to use to guide them in new directions. Take Leon Chua. His conjecture that there is such a thing as a memristor and what it can do is now being built in the lab. He reasoned that with mathematical symetry, it should exist but it took decades for technology to be able to find a way to construct one.

    A simpler example, resistence in an electrical circuit. It also happens to operate under simple agebraic rules. How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn't behave according to the formula.

  59. @tsotha
    They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    Just because you lack the evidence to explain a gap doesn't mean the gap doesn't exist. And if the IQ gap isn't "impervious to social or educational intervention" you'd be able to prove this on a small scale, say, with a few thousand students.

    As for the obsession part... that kind of singular focus is the secret sauce in nearly every STEM field, but the proposition a low IQ person is capable of outperforming a high IQ person through sheer obsession is hard to credit.

    The whole piece seems to be written from the assumption all people are equally capable in mathematics and then sets about observable reality because we don't understand this or can't prove this other thing doesn't exist. Sure. Maybe there's an educational "intervention" you could use to raise the mean black IQ by 15 points. Maybe I'm Santa Claus.

    impervious to social or educational intervention” is a straw man argument. Not even the worst HBD Nazi says that blacks are totally ineducable. Man is not all nature, programmed at birth like an insect, but neither is he a tabula rasa that is a pure product of nurture so that every child is a potential Terence Tao if only he received the correct “interventions”. For lack of more precise number, you can guesstimate that it’s about 50/50 nature/nurture. But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don’t have the best of circumstances – they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents) you are only going to be able to make up half of the Gap – the other half is indeed genetic and every human is going to hit his own intellectual brick wall at some point when it comes to something like pure math (and blacks are, on average, going to hit it a lot sooner – it would be nice if they could make change without having a machine to do it. The other day I returned something to the store and was due a $10.91 refund. I presented 9 cents to the cashier and a look of panic came on his face – what to do now?)

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don’t have the best of circumstances – they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents)
     
    Considering that whites obtain better educational outcomes for Asian adoptees than Asian adoptive parents, I'm not sure the Asian Tiger Mom thing is a help rather than a hindrance. What's more likely is that where the parents fit the Tiger Mom profile, the kids' natural talents are stifled at a young age in favor of areas orthogonal to those talents.
  60. @Anon
    This is absolutely brilliant!

    “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that talent?”
     
    I really sympathize with the scientists who have to come up with responses when approached by writers like Harmon. They just want to be left alone, to not become involved. Some just give up and say what they don't believe. Some verbally contort themselves to say something that sounds politically correct, but which has very little meaning.

    This guy Taylor, however, just asks a questions and leaves it unanswered. He said literally nothing (this quote is the only quote from him in the piece). He could have phrased it, "I think that mathematics would be much further along if there were more blacks," but he didn't. His answer to his own question might in fact be, "Are you shitting me? Ha ha ha!"

    This is even immune to a fact check. A fact checker more skeptical of things than Harmon cannot very well ask the guy, "How much further do you think mathematics would have advanced?" How can that even be answered? "Uh, I think Taniyama's 24th conjecture would probably have been solved by a black guy by now."

    By the way, the reason why they are going after academic math positions is that they are sinecures that pay decent money but are immune to the sort of scrutiny of effectiveness that can lose you your job, unlike math jobs in private industry. The problem is the psychic toll that must be borne by the guy who knows that everyone around him thinks he is a dimwit AA recipient. And how do you get rid of that? Short of hiring all dimwits and firing the white, Jewish, and Asian guys?

    Mathematicians tend to speak precisely. If he wanted to say that mathematics would have been further along with more blacks, he could have said so.

    Mathematicians often have to write recommendations for students with limited ability. They know how to say almost nothing, if they have to.

  61. Al Sharpton would have made half of a good Hollywood agent team.

  62. @MarkinLA
    My guess is that Amy Harmon never got past high school geometry. As an A- student in math, who never impressed any math professor, I can assure you that every step in ability is a quantum leap up. If you don't take real math, you don't know how hard it is to "get" some of these subjects. If you don't take a higher level math class where someone else with real ability is a student, you might not ever know just how stupid you are when compared to him.

    If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall. About 1 person in a million is that tall; I’ll bet there aren’t 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.

    And I’ll tell you something else. It’s as easy for pure math professors to tell who has the talent to do pure math as it is for basketball coaches to see who the tallest kid on the team is. You just can’t fake being 7 feet tall.

    Imagine being a 6’4″ guy; you’re thinking “I’m in the 99th percentile for height, baby! I’m tall.” Then you stand next to a guy who is at the 99.999th percentile for height and you look like somebody’s kid brother.

    It would be unimaginably embarrassing for someone without authentic math ability to be given a pure math professorship through affirmative action. As embarrassing as someone 6’4″ contesting a jump ball against a guy 7’2″. Everyone in your field would know. It’s different from fields where you can bulls**t your way to a degree.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It used to be that grade school basketball coaches would train the tallest kid to play center with his back to the basket because that's easy to score that way. But if you stop growing short of 6'8", you're doomed if all you can do is play with your back to the basket. So in 2000 I was watching a 6th grade game with a phenomenal black kid who was 3 inches taller than anybody else on the court. But he played point guard because he was already thinking realistically that he might stop growing at 6'2" and then where else would he play in the NBA besides point guard? The only problem with him as a point guard rather than a shooter is that his passes were so brilliant and unexpected that they'd often catch his teammates by surprise and hit them in the face.
    , @Sergeant Prepper

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall.
     
    In high school, I thought I was pretty good at math. Then I went to university to study engineering, and came across a guy who was so much better at math than me (or anyone else, including most of the professors) that I realized immediately just how mediocre I really was. He was a racehorse running against donkeys. Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I'm pretty sure he sucked at preaching.) Go figure.
    , @Anonymous
    "I’ll bet there aren’t 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution."

    There are ~130 R1 universities per a Carnegie study. [This makes sense if you think of about 1 public and 1 private per state (some of course have a little more, some less).] Looking at a couple schools, I see ~60 tenure-track faculty (not postdocs, not emeritus). So that is ~7800 positions.

    Plus you have some equivalent positions in US industry, government, national labs, etc. So probably something north of 10,000 positions. Maybe cut it in half to take out applied math and stats. So ~5,000 plum positions.

    Obviously there are some people in the population with sufficient talent who don't chose to be Northwestern pure math profs. Feynman won the Putnam but chose physics because pure math was too un-applied. Who knows what the factor is, but it's got to be higher than 1. If you figured 2:1, that gets you to 10,000 again. 4:1 gets you to 20,000.

    So, I think your "200" is a couple orders of magnitude low.

    P.s. Please don't tell me that only the superstar faculty members can be considered. If you do that, you're being like football fans who think every position can only be staffed by an all-pro to be considered OK. It doesn't correlate to objective reality for "a starting wide receiver is a starting wide receiver"

    P.s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem
  63. @anon
    I am surprised that nobody here mentioned the real truth as to why economics creates a toxic environment for blacks: Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.

    It denies the centrality of emotion to reason, strips away subjectivities and context, and privileges the hetero-normative account wherein logic triumphs over feeling. It allows us to reduce the human experience into cold numbers and symbols; makes space for the manipulation of ideas through cold, unthinking procedures that pay no heed to social meanings; and reduces the lived experience into a crude, calculating machine. It is the handmaiden of gender oppression and reactionary conservatism.

    It is Patriarchal Imperialism writ large.

    As you show, some things just have to be true.

  64. Quoting Sir William Timothy Gowers in an attempt to bolster an anti-heriditarian argument is hilarious.

    Sir William Timothy Gowers [one of the world’s most accomplished living mathematicians] is:

    the son of the late Patrick Gowers [an accomplished musical composer];

    the great-grandson of Sir Ernest Gowers [an accomplished senior civil servant and writer];

    the great-great-grandson of Sir William Gowers [an accomplished and distinguished neurologist].

    The man Ms. Harmon quotes as “Timothy Gowers” is an extremely impressive and virtuous man, the product of a family that has produced meritorious men for at least five generations.

    In addition to his mathematical achievements, Sir William Timothy Gowers has passed on his genes to his five children. The gentleman has my respect and admiration. Ms. Harmon and her effusions of squid ink do not summon similar high regard from me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Gowers

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Tim Gowers' great-grandpa's book, Ernest Gowers' The Complete Plain Words, is still the standard guide to plain English and clear writing over in the UK and the British Commonwealth, along with the older Fowler's Modern English Usage, much as Strunk and White is the standard over here, in America.

    The Complete Plain Words is an enjoyable read by itself, even if you don't plan to use it as a reference book.
  65. Then there is the cost of that underrepresentation to the public. In the private sector, shareholders bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups.

    This is like the argument that women are paid only 70% of what men get for comparable work. Think of the enormous profits some company could make by hiring an all female workforce and saving 30% on labor!

    I propose that Amy Harmon start up a corporation that hires only blacks (better yet black women) for technical positions that require math skills. You could call it “Hidden Figures, Inc.”. All these other big corporations are leaving money on the table by hiring mostly Asian H1Bs to do programming, but HFI, no longer needing to bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups, would be enormously profitable as they made breakthru after breakthru.

    • Replies: @bomag

    ... leaving money on the table...
     
    Indeed. Progressives are endlessly lecturing us about the money not collected by cabbies; Domino pizza delivery; and mortgage lenders that avoid Blacks. It is time for them to take advantage.
    , @Hippopotamusdrome


    hires only ... black women...You could call it “Hidden Figures, Inc.”

     

    Crystal Math
  66. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.

    A salient observation.

    Academia in general is just not a “Black” thing: lots of alone time reading and writing; lots of criticism; not a lot of emotional support.

    Amy Harmon overstates the attractiveness of the field.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  67. @Anon7
    If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall. About 1 person in a million is that tall; I'll bet there aren't 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.

    And I'll tell you something else. It's as easy for pure math professors to tell who has the talent to do pure math as it is for basketball coaches to see who the tallest kid on the team is. You just can't fake being 7 feet tall.

    Imagine being a 6'4" guy; you're thinking "I'm in the 99th percentile for height, baby! I'm tall." Then you stand next to a guy who is at the 99.999th percentile for height and you look like somebody's kid brother.

    It would be unimaginably embarrassing for someone without authentic math ability to be given a pure math professorship through affirmative action. As embarrassing as someone 6'4" contesting a jump ball against a guy 7'2". Everyone in your field would know. It's different from fields where you can bulls**t your way to a degree.

    It used to be that grade school basketball coaches would train the tallest kid to play center with his back to the basket because that’s easy to score that way. But if you stop growing short of 6’8″, you’re doomed if all you can do is play with your back to the basket. So in 2000 I was watching a 6th grade game with a phenomenal black kid who was 3 inches taller than anybody else on the court. But he played point guard because he was already thinking realistically that he might stop growing at 6’2″ and then where else would he play in the NBA besides point guard? The only problem with him as a point guard rather than a shooter is that his passes were so brilliant and unexpected that they’d often catch his teammates by surprise and hit them in the face.

    • Replies: @Anon7
    I had a similar experience, except I was in junior high school and the amazing black kid was in the ninth grade. This kid was remarkable, he had that extraordinary fluidity of movement that marks the exceptional athlete; it was like a junior college varsity player playing with, well, middle schoolers.

    However, that’s when I started questioning what I was seeing, it turned out that this kid had been held back; he was eighteen. The situation was not what it seemed.

    As a college student, I played basketball with lots of black guys and played on intramural teams where I was the only white guy. At some point it became clear that some of the black guys I played with were PhD students (always in soft disciplines like psych or sociology, never engineering, math or physics) and that some of these guys spent most of their late teens and early twenties mostly in juvie or prison. They sneaked into the sports building because it was a good place to play, especially in the winter, they raised the level of the game (mostly) and they held themselves to a higher standard of behavior (so they wouldn’t get kicked out). They were like H1-B visa immigrants (you could say there was an opportunity cost for white kids who were actually students and had to wait to play).

    In the 1970’s, black PhD students needed to meet the same standard; I could always tell who I was talking to, they all spoke university-level English. Today, though, the standards have been so corrupted that a black person with a 100 IQ could get a PhD by being “differently abled”, in other words, you’re special so we’ll make an exception. Or the white faculty accepts the argument that they don’t understand what makes for excellence in black studies PhDs.

  68. First of all, the 5 (five!) commenters thus far who have mentioned the NBA all need to turn in their man cards. Seriously, that is the laziest, stupidest, and most cucked-out metaphor that one could reach for when discussing racial differences. It isn’t even applicable. There are plenty of Whites who do in fact play in the NBA; and even among the most die-hard HBDers, it would take someone as scientifically illiterate as the moronic “Lance Welton” to seriously assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance. Unfortunately, his cartoonishly ill-informed grasp of the subject seems to be quite representative of the HBD community, as evidenced by this:

    Mr. Anon writes:

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?

    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word “genetic” means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean “incapable of alteration.” Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    Of course, you don’t need me to tell you about the etymology of the word, and that its technical definition is that it describes something related to origins. The point at issue here is that the word does not mean what you’re using it to mean even in that linguistic domain where it is otherwise misapplied. Nucleic acids do not, on anyone’s theory, prescribe traits that are completely inalterable by environmental influences. There is no such thing as a trait completely impervious to environmental influence; such a quality would place it beyond the reach of physical causality, and we would then be talking about the immaterial nature or essence of the creature, not about its “traits” (which are accidental). Using the word in this way creates a dungeon of doomed thought wherein that which is held to be fixed by nature depends on something which is itself physical, hence mutable. If “genetic” is taken to mean nucleic acids, then one thing that by definition it cannot also mean is “immutable.” If, on the other hand, “genetic” is taken as a synonym for essences, then it cannot also refer to anything physical.

    Jack D:

    Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.

    Pure math is the contemplation of number itself, and number is the idea of a limit. Pure math is therefore as old as language and thought, and it has quite other expression-possibilities besides those of the chalkboard. The writing of the formula is not what is significant; the significance lies in the sense of a limit having been reached. A geometrical proof of the Euclidean variety was—for Euclid, Archimedes, and especially Pythagoras—not “an exercise in reasoning” but a single Euclidean “number” that brought order out of a world of dim sense impressions. Similarly, for Western man it is the function, the relation, the set which accomplishes as much. He who truly understands formulae of the sort like “force equals mass times acceleration” sees not an arrangement of three quantities but a single concept the truth of which is beyond doubt. He thinks it true because he perceives the world thus, and the formula expresses the very manner in which he thinks.

    With that being said, there are as many mathematics as there are thinking beings. The Sub-Saharans certainly have their own notions of limits which, in depth of force and expressive power may be very much weaker than the Western, but which however do not differ from it in kind.

    • Replies: @Franz Liszt von Raiding
    How could a people who can only count to three come up with even a vague notion of a limit? It requires notions of infinitely small and large. Also notions of function, range, domain, The limit idea that leads to calculus and the incipient framework for the modern tech revolution has a very specific formulation requiring epsilon and deltas.
    , @MarkinLA
    assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance.

    In fact there is - the same factor that makes west African blacks better sprinters - the overabundance of fast twitch type muscles. Sure YT can learn to dribble and shoot but that quick step and move to the basket is something blacks have a huge advantage on. That's why Magic Johnson could be a 6-9 point guard and Larry Bird could not.

    Pure math is an attempt to find a provable relationship between a set of something (it could be integers, real numbers, or even the rotations of an object in space) and the same or another set of objects. Numbers don't have to have anything to do with it. Numbers just make it easier for those of us to see the relation.
    , @Tyrion 2
    What about sprinting?
    , @Mr. Anon

    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word “genetic” means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean “incapable of alteration.” Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.
     
    It is not incapable of alteration. Natural selection does alter genetic traits over time. It is incapable of alteration within a human lifetime with the kind of social or economic interventions that Ms. Harmon is talking about. If your genes predispose you to have sub-standard intelligence (I am by the way, not speaking of race here - while there are differences between races there is a lot of variability within races, as everyone knows) then no amount of coddling, exhortation, or special treatment is going to make you brilliant. Such interventions may grant you greater knowledge, instill some discipline, and generally be favorable, but they will not turn a dullard into a genius.
  69. @Intelligent Dasein
    How in the hell can you exclude anybody from doing mathematics? Math isn't a freaking country club; it's not like you need a ton of money or connections to participate. It's one of those things that you truly can do on the cheap. What do you need---some notebooks, some pencils, and access to a library? If a bunch of Black guys wanted to get together and form their own LaNicolas Bourbaki society, there's nothing stopping them.

    Good point.

    The top echelon in any field is largely self-taught.

  70. @Anonymous

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.
     
    What is so hard about it?

    Anonymous[338] asked me:

    What is so hard about [pure math]?

    Hmmm…

    Have you gone through all of Gilkey’s book on the heat-equation proof of the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem? Page by page? And understood it all?

    Or better still, the Wiles-Taylor proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem?

    And, for extra credit, the entire proof of the classification theorem for finite simple groups? You only get the full extra credit if you find all the errors (there are plenty!).

    If you’ve done all that, I salute you and can only say that almost everyone, including professional mathematicians, finds what I have just described to be quite hard.

    Indeed, I am certain beyond reasonable doubt that no single human being has ever carried out all three of the tasks I just proposed.

    On the other hand, if you are seriously asking what it is that makes pure math difficult, I suppose the basic problem is its distance from the mundane reality that humans evolved to deal with. E.g., modern math routinely deals not only with spaces of more than three dimensions but also with infinite-dimensional spaces of various sorts. It is routine to assume that we have somehow made an infinite number of arbitrary choices (that this can be done is guaranteed by the so-called “Axiom of Choice”), that we have completed mathematical structures with an infinite number of elements, and so on. And all this is not some arbitrary impediment to the student: you need to do some of this sort of thing even to understand areas of math relevant to physics and engineering (e.g., Fourier analysis).

    Furthermore, higher math involves visualization of very peculiar objects, grasping very long chains of reasoning, and understanding a large number of rather arcane definitions. In the back of your mind, you need to keep some archetypical examples that show you what motivates the whole logical structure, as well as a number of standard “counter-examples” that help prevent you from making “obvious ” assumptions that are in fact false.

    And, you have to get familiar enough with all of this, at least in the field you are working in, that it becomes second nature to you, and seems almost “obvious.”

    Everything I’ve just said assumes that your teachers and textbooks are doing their best to help you along in this process. Unfortunately, as a number of us have discussed, that is not always the case.

    I’ve known a number of math professors as well as brilliant prodigies: I have never met one who really found “pure math” easy, just not quite as hard as most people find it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Greg LeMond: "It never gets easier. You just go faster."
  71. @Jack D

    Then there is the cost of that underrepresentation to the public. In the private sector, shareholders bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups.
     
    This is like the argument that women are paid only 70% of what men get for comparable work. Think of the enormous profits some company could make by hiring an all female workforce and saving 30% on labor!

    I propose that Amy Harmon start up a corporation that hires only blacks (better yet black women) for technical positions that require math skills. You could call it "Hidden Figures, Inc.". All these other big corporations are leaving money on the table by hiring mostly Asian H1Bs to do programming, but HFI, no longer needing to bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups, would be enormously profitable as they made breakthru after breakthru.

    … leaving money on the table…

    Indeed. Progressives are endlessly lecturing us about the money not collected by cabbies; Domino pizza delivery; and mortgage lenders that avoid Blacks. It is time for them to take advantage.

  72. The percentage of black medical school graduates is of course much higher than the percentage of actual practicing physicians. Jeff Jacoby pointed out about 20 years ago that 51 percent of black med school grads never pass board certification, compared with 12 percent of whites.

  73. @Anonymous
    There's a popular misconception about the nature and practice of "pure math". This is in part due to the generally poor communication abilities of mathematicians, as well as a view deliberately cultivated by some mathematicians to make themselves and their profession seem even more arcane and esoteric than they are. It's also due to the influence of the "Bourbaki group" of French mathematicians in the 20th century. The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity - you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc. There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.

    Anonymous[375] wrote:

    The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc.

    All true, bnt, in the end, theorems are nice.

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Anonymous also wrote:

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.

    Well… I, and I suspect most physicists, would agree that many mathematicians seem almost eager to separate their work from any real-world applications. This was not always true: Gauss, for example, was happy to metaphorically “get his hands dirty” with actual problems in celestial mechanics and even surveying (!), and that helped motivate some of his best mathematical work. I agree that physics and engineering examples could really help pedagogically: indeed, lots of engineering schools and physics departments just teach much of the math themselves (this is not optimal, but the math department seems uninterested).

    And, there are some areas (notably information and error-correction theory, in which I have worked myself) where the distinction between math and engineering can be hard to draw.

    Yet, math is not really physics, and we physicists need it not to be. We need the rigor and the theorems sitting there in the background, even if we often forget the details in practice.

    But, it sure would be nice if we could teach mathematicians to speak in English, at least the form of English used in other STEM fields!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You might appreciate the mathematician Vladimir Arnold's view:

    https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.

    ...

    In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy's warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).

    Since scholastic mathematics that is cut off from physics is fit neither for teaching nor for application in any other science, the result was the universal hate towards mathematicians - both on the part of the poor schoolchildren (some of whom in the meantime became ministers) and of the users.

    The ugly building, built by undereducated mathematicians who were exhausted by their inferiority complex and who were unable to make themselves familiar with physics, reminds one of the rigorous axiomatic theory of odd numbers. Obviously, it is possible to create such a theory and make pupils admire the perfection and internal consistency of the resulting structure (in which, for example, the sum of an odd number of terms and the product of any number of factors are defined). From this sectarian point of view, even numbers could either be declared a heresy or, with passage of time, be introduced into the theory supplemented with a few "ideal" objects (in order to comply with the needs of physics and the real world).

    Unfortunately, it was an ugly twisted construction of mathematics like the one above which predominated in the teaching of mathematics for decades. Having originated in France, this pervertedness quickly spread to teaching of foundations of mathematics, first to university students, then to school pupils of all lines (first in France, then in other countries, including Russia).

    To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

    Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
     
    , @El Dato

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.
     
    Excellent. Edsger W. Dijkstra would certainly appreciate.

    This is coming more and more.

    Coders doing wild coding based on brianwaves and heuristics without the associated proof of adherence-to-specs and upholding-of-safety-invariants will eventually become a bit old-fashioned.

    Just this month in CACM there is an article on "Separation Logic", which I don't get yet:

    https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2019/2/234356-separation-logic/fulltext

    Amazing numbers:

    *Interactive verifiers* have been used to prove small, intricate algorithms. A recent paper reports on the verification of low-level concurrent algorithms including a CAS-lock, a ticketed lock, a GC allocator, and a non-blocking stack. An emphasis is placed on reusability; for instance, the stack uses the GC allocator, which in turn uses a lock, but the stack uses the spec of the allocator and the allocator uses the spec rather than the implementation of a lock.

    The verifiable C logic has been used to prove crypto code. For example, OpenSSL's HMAC authentication code, comprising 134 lines of C, was proven using 2,832 lines of Coq.

    A larger example is the FSCQ file system. The code and the proof are both done in Coq, taking up 31k lines of proof+code. This compares to 3k lines of C for a related unverified file system. Although the initial effort, which included development of a program logic framework in Coq, took several person years, experiments show incremental, lower cost when modifying code+proof.
     
    , @Anonymous
    Yeah, math is pretty annoying that they use Fraktur letters (how do you even pronounce those), weird boldface and whatever you call that thing with the extra lines in it (A with an extra line on the side), upside down A. Oh...and the more annoying Greek symbols like squiggle and other squiggle (I refuse to learn their names).
  74. @Anonymous

    Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as “Science”. There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc.
     
    It is doubtful that Nazi theory denied the existence of truth. To the extent that Germans did make references to science as being German or Jewish, most likely they were making a claim that German science sought the truth, while the Jewish activity was engaged more in pseudoscience.

    It’s part of modern progressive theory at least. Remember when all the congresscritters were thanking Christine Blasey Ford for speaking “her truth”?

  75. If the cause of underrepresentstion in academics is due to discrimination, we would expect MORE discrimination and thus more underrepresentation the more subjective the field.
    Thus, a field such as history should have fewer blacks than economics which would have fewer blacks than physics which would have fewer blacks than math. However, we find the opposite to be the case. In fields where the best are objectively determined, blacks do the worst.
    I experienced this first-hand. I went to Stanford intending to be a physics major but faltered at the math. It is easy to tell the hierarchy of intelligence in math class. Either you get it right or wrong, quickly or slowly. I switched to social science, where you could argue that you were the smartest and no one could prove you wrong.
    Math is like chess. You win or lose and it is objective. Chess is dominated by white and Asian males. It is easy to learn, cheap to play and the best quickly are sorted out to the top. There are clear genetic differences.
    It’s the same with sport. If discrimination were the answer we would see the most disparity in the team sports or subjective, judged sports and the least in the pure sports like running. Soccer would be easy to discriminate because there are so many facets like “team work” and “vision”. The 100 meter dash, however, should perfectly reflect the global population since Dalits and Jamaicans and Peruvians should have equal access to running and it is objective. Instead, of course, sprinting is far more racially skewed than soccer or baseball though the latter have far more to do with training, infrastructure and subjective judgement than sprinting.

    • Replies: @res

    If the cause of underrepresentstion in academics is due to discrimination, we would expect MORE discrimination and thus more underrepresentation the more subjective the field.
     
    Excellent point.
    , @Joe Stalin
    Astronaut Harrison Schmitt said he went to college to become a physicist but his brain wasn't big enough so he became a geologist.
  76. A response to Harmon is probably best done visually.

    Or by visual ridicule. Harmon knows this stuff, she is just being dishonest.

  77. Can pure math be a science if it’s not empirical?

    • Replies: @Anon

    Can pure math be a science if it’s not empirical?
     
    That's where math's relationship with physics comes into play.
    , @PiltdownMan
    In Gauss' time, the early to mid 19th century, referring to mathematics as a science was common. By the mid-20th century, it was very unusual. When I was in college, math was variously referred to as one of the humanities or liberal arts, but never as a science. That label had become reserved for intellectual disciplines that required the chain hypothesis-experiment-observation-confirmation-theory. You could stretch a point and say math meets that standard, albeit the experiments are thought experiments, but it would be a stretch.
  78. Some people claim that there are not many black research mathematicians because African-Americans are not as intelligent as other races. These people, whom I have reported on for other stories in recent months, almost invariably use mathematical accomplishment as their yardstick for intelligence. They note that no individuals of African descent have won the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

    Average NYTimes reader: ‘Hmm, no black ever won a Fields Medal? I didn’t know that.’

    Amy Harmon does the work of 10 Jared Taylors.

  79. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[375] wrote:

    The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc.
     
    All true, bnt, in the end, theorems are nice.

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Anonymous also wrote:

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.
     
    Well... I, and I suspect most physicists, would agree that many mathematicians seem almost eager to separate their work from any real-world applications. This was not always true: Gauss, for example, was happy to metaphorically "get his hands dirty" with actual problems in celestial mechanics and even surveying (!), and that helped motivate some of his best mathematical work. I agree that physics and engineering examples could really help pedagogically: indeed, lots of engineering schools and physics departments just teach much of the math themselves (this is not optimal, but the math department seems uninterested).

    And, there are some areas (notably information and error-correction theory, in which I have worked myself) where the distinction between math and engineering can be hard to draw.

    Yet, math is not really physics, and we physicists need it not to be. We need the rigor and the theorems sitting there in the background, even if we often forget the details in practice.

    But, it sure would be nice if we could teach mathematicians to speak in English, at least the form of English used in other STEM fields!

    You might appreciate the mathematician Vladimir Arnold’s view:

    https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.

    In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy’s warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).

    Since scholastic mathematics that is cut off from physics is fit neither for teaching nor for application in any other science, the result was the universal hate towards mathematicians – both on the part of the poor schoolchildren (some of whom in the meantime became ministers) and of the users.

    The ugly building, built by undereducated mathematicians who were exhausted by their inferiority complex and who were unable to make themselves familiar with physics, reminds one of the rigorous axiomatic theory of odd numbers. Obviously, it is possible to create such a theory and make pupils admire the perfection and internal consistency of the resulting structure (in which, for example, the sum of an odd number of terms and the product of any number of factors are defined). From this sectarian point of view, even numbers could either be declared a heresy or, with passage of time, be introduced into the theory supplemented with a few “ideal” objects (in order to comply with the needs of physics and the real world).

    Unfortunately, it was an ugly twisted construction of mathematics like the one above which predominated in the teaching of mathematics for decades. Having originated in France, this pervertedness quickly spread to teaching of foundations of mathematics, first to university students, then to school pupils of all lines (first in France, then in other countries, including Russia).

    To the question “what is 2 + 3” a French primary school pupil replied: “3 + 2, since addition is commutative”. He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

    Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: “there is a square, but that still has to be proved”.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
    Not all of mathematics is just a part of physics. Consider for example Terence Tao's proof that for any integer x, no matter how large, there exists an arithmetic sequence of prime numbers with at least x terms. This existence proof only becomes operationally meaningful in the range of integers beyond the number of particles in the universe. The theorem has no physical relevance, but is still mathematically true.
    , @candid_observer
    It's a little strange to insist that all genuine math be derived from physics when even much of applied math doesn't.

    Mathematical genetics, logic for computer science, just to name a few, don't come from physics.

    And number theory, thought by Hardy to be blessed with no application at all, in fact is now at the core of cryptography.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    They say that Arnold suffered one too many micro-aggressions from Paris mathematicians.
  80. that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”

    Full points Amy for taking someone’s self-deprecatory comment seriously. You’re a case-study of Americans failing to get the British sense of humour. How else would you expect him to react to the question of why he is so good at Maths? To reply with the truth? That he is a genius?

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @jim jones
    Indians also fail to understand British humour. When I called one a wanker he got quite upset, not realising that insults are regarded as funny over here.
  81. @MarkinLA
    Even if you solve this, it has so many variables that there is no unique solution. The first equation can be rewritten 0 = aX^2 + bX + (c - Y1) and solved for X. The same for the second equation. Then what?
    I am not sure what he thinks he is getting.

    Well the first thing that comes to mind is that of heights of projectiles under constant gravity – parameterized by time (X in these equations).

    The heights of each of 2 projectiles at time t would be a parabola in t. The question then can be seen as what is the height of the one projectile in terms of the height of the other projectile? So it is a relativity problem.

    Since the Ys are parameterized by parabolas, the 2 Ys would have a quadratic relation to each other – since you could obviously get a quadratic relation by manipulating the two equations to remove the Xs and have only Y1 and Y2 and constants. For instance, multiply the first by “d”, the second by “a” and subtracting the equations – giving a linear relation for “X”. Then plug that into one of the other equations to “remove” X from it and have only at most quadratic Y1 and Y2.

    So while I agree that you would not get a unique solution, you’d still have a quadratic relation between the Y1 and Y2. And this tells you, for instance, that the height of one trajectory as seen from another trajectory is quadratic. So you’d get conic section solutions.

  82. @Jack D
    "impervious to social or educational intervention" is a straw man argument. Not even the worst HBD Nazi says that blacks are totally ineducable. Man is not all nature, programmed at birth like an insect, but neither is he a tabula rasa that is a pure product of nurture so that every child is a potential Terence Tao if only he received the correct "interventions". For lack of more precise number, you can guesstimate that it's about 50/50 nature/nurture. But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don't have the best of circumstances - they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents) you are only going to be able to make up half of the Gap - the other half is indeed genetic and every human is going to hit his own intellectual brick wall at some point when it comes to something like pure math (and blacks are, on average, going to hit it a lot sooner - it would be nice if they could make change without having a machine to do it. The other day I returned something to the store and was due a $10.91 refund. I presented 9 cents to the cashier and a look of panic came on his face - what to do now?)

    But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don’t have the best of circumstances – they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents)

    Considering that whites obtain better educational outcomes for Asian adoptees than Asian adoptive parents, I’m not sure the Asian Tiger Mom thing is a help rather than a hindrance. What’s more likely is that where the parents fit the Tiger Mom profile, the kids’ natural talents are stifled at a young age in favor of areas orthogonal to those talents.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don't have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II. When Richard Feynman taught in Brazil, he only encountered two Brazilians that had a good grasp of physics, whereas the rest had just memorized textbooks. Of the two Brazilians with a good grasp, one was not educated in Brazil and the other had taught himself during World War II.
  83. @Mr. Anon

    They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word "genetic" means?

    Is she stupid, or just being disingenuous?

    Is she stupid, or just being disingenuous?

    In Harmon’s case, these are not mutually exclusive. But I’d venture to say her “reporting” is 20% stupidity and 80% dishonesty.

  84. @Buffalo Joe
    Come on Ms. Harmon, were you under a rock? Didn't you see "Hidden Figures?"

    I read the ladie’s NASA paper and it is solid undergrad engineering work. Top marks.

    Also, Amy Harmon is deluded if she thinks math is exclusionary in a world where books are freely downloadable and math championships exist.

  85. @Tyrion 2

    that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    Full points Amy for taking someone's self-deprecatory comment seriously. You're a case-study of Americans failing to get the British sense of humour. How else would you expect him to react to the question of why he is so good at Maths? To reply with the truth? That he is a genius?

    Indians also fail to understand British humour. When I called one a wanker he got quite upset, not realising that insults are regarded as funny over here.

  86. @syonredux

    or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention,
     
    Yeah, I mean, we all know that proper social/educational intervention can overcome genetics. For example, note how women have overtaken men in the 100 meter dash......

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability,
     
    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90....

    which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    See, if a guy with a 98 IQ is properly motivated......

    That’s not it at all.

    Those who want to become math geniuses only need to spend 10,000 working at it.

    • LOL: AndrewR
    • Replies: @Logan
    Clearly, that should say "10,000 hours."
  87. @MarkinLA
    He is probably confusing this with the Newton method for solving for simultaneous linear equations that find the point of intersection of two lines on a plane but these equations aren't linear.

    All parabolas are similar, just as all circles are similar.

    A circle is the locus of all points a distance r from the center C. You can write a transform from one circle to another with a translation of the center. With C1, C2 and T written as vectors (ordered pairs),
    (C1 + T = C2) and a scaling factor r2/r1.

    A parabola is the locus of all point equidistant from the focus and the directrix (line). Thus F1 -> F2 and scaling factor = p2/p1 where p is the distance from the vertex to the focus.

    Perhaps he wanted to know how to transform one parabola to another? Naw.

  88. Taylor’s father was a Cambridge professor in physics. He looks very English like ….

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Taylor’s father was a Cambridge professor in physics. He looks very English like ….
     
    Who was Jared Taylor's father? All I see online is a note that he was a missionary in Japan.
  89. @Anonymous
    There's a popular misconception about the nature and practice of "pure math". This is in part due to the generally poor communication abilities of mathematicians, as well as a view deliberately cultivated by some mathematicians to make themselves and their profession seem even more arcane and esoteric than they are. It's also due to the influence of the "Bourbaki group" of French mathematicians in the 20th century. The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity - you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc. There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.

    I agree.

  90. >>” There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc. “<<

    German science gave the world rockets.
    Jewish science gave the world A-bombs.

    Two great tastes that taste great together!

    When it comes to stuff like Freudian psychology I guess the Nazis did have a point, though.

    • Replies: @EH
    Sometimes I think Freudian psychology is just projection. A Freudian slip, on the other hand, I have been told, is when you say one thing and mean your mother.
  91. @passive-aggressivist
    Amy, show us on the doll where the white scientist touched you

    Fifty Shades Of Old Gray Lady might be the result of that.

  92. @Jack D

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context. I could be obsessed with the idea of scoring 3 pointers in the NBA but my obsession won't make a damn bit of difference because I lack the talent to actually score. TBH, I don't think that there are that many black kids in America (regardless of IQ - she seems to concede that black average IQ is lower thru her use of "sour grapes") who are obsessed with math problems in the 1st place but they could obsess all they wanted and it still wouldn't give them the mental HP to actually cross the finish line.

    Real mathematical chops is a rare talent and virtually non-existent in blacks throughout all of known history. Goins was close but no cigar - he was good enough to play in the Bush Leagues but he could not hit in The Show - the pitches come across the plate too fast. We are now 50+ years into the Civil Rights era and schools have been literally BEGGING for black talent. If there was going to be some black Terence Tao he would have emerged by now.

    You’re Hate Facting again Jack. Better watch out!

  93. @Reg Cæsar

    The share of employees at Facebook who are black (4 percent) is roughly six times higher
     
    No, six times as high. They let this through?

    (Logically, isn't "six times higher" equal to "seven times as much"? It works that way with percentages.)

    So Amy Harmon is as bad at English as she is at math.

    Math English is the worst English.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Math English is the worst English.
     
    Which is interesting, considering that one of the few saving graces of the language is its insistence on logic-- reality-based gender, no double negatives, etc. You'd think mathematicians would be at the top of the game.

    Maybe that's why Newton wrote his tome in Latin.

  94. @Buzz Mohawk
    0.007 isn't bad for a people who never invented a written language or the wheel.

    0.007 isn’t bad for a people who never invented a written language or the wheel.

    Its also a Sign from God that Idris Elba must be the next James Bond..

  95. I’ve never met a black mathematician, from the US or anywhere else. I did once meet an American professor of Physics – a pleasant and obviously able chap. He told me that one of the problem he had with his job was that his university kept badgering him to go and recruit undergraduates from the ghetto. He complained that he had nothing in common with youngsters in the ghetto except being black. “So the requests are racist” said I. “Of course” said he.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    When the "Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was being pushed by the author, Rebecca Skloot, she had a talk at the local Chicago library. A question was posed her by an audience member; a Black, female epidemiologist. That must be a really, REALLY rare bird.

    There were a bunch of Black medico types in the audience. As Derb would say: blackety-blackety-black is apparently their body of academic interest.
  96. @Jack D

    “How much further forward might mathematics have gotten today,” Richard Taylor, a prominent (white) mathematician at Stanford, wrote in an email, “if we had attracted that [black] talent?”
     
    Why we'd be riding around in flying cars by now like we were in Wakanda, if we hadn't missed out on the black Gauss, the black Euler, the black Leibniz, the black Jacobi, etc.

    The sanctimony makes me want to vomit. Taylor is full of shit and he knows it, but he also knows that no one will dare call him on his bullshit. You have to hand it to the guy - he's just score a bunch of points which should help insure that he is throw to the wolves last and it cost him nothing except his last shred of self-respect. Congratulations Dick!

    You have to hand it to the guy – he’s just score a bunch of points which should help insure that he is thrown to the wolves last….”

    No fool. He’s seen what the wolves have done to James Watson.

  97. @Anonymous

    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects.
     
    What is so hard about it?

    “What is so hard about it?”

    Try it. There’s plenty of online stuff available, maths books are really cheap second hand.

    If you can sail through GCSE Maths

    https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/examspecs/z8sg6fr

    Then try A level maths, or these free Open University courses

    https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/bayesian-statistics/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

    Then you can play around here, if you’re comfortable here you are in a smallish minority of people and should get a well-paid job as an actuary (although even a maths degree is no guarantee of passing the exams).

    https://www.codecogs.com/library/maths/calculus/differential/index.php

  98. @Dave Pinsen
    Can pure math be a science if it’s not empirical?

    Can pure math be a science if it’s not empirical?

    That’s where math’s relationship with physics comes into play.

  99. “What I Learned While Reporting on the Dearth of Black Mathematicians”

    You’d think that with all the efforts at integration that this racial calculus would stop being so derivative.

    • Replies: @Captain Willard
    If you keep pushing these limits, you’ll end up in L’Hopital....
  100. @Jack D
    Meanwhile Chinese scientists "accidentally" suppress a gene in human embryos the effect of which is to improve memory and cognition (as well as create resistance to HIV). Many Ashkenazi Jews are said to have this mutation:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6731297/Chinese-scientists-edited-genes-twin-girls-altered-BRAINS-experts-say.html

    So while we engage in a quixotic quest for the Hidden Figures of mathematical genius in the black community, the Chinese are actually going to do something about it.

    Just think of the mathematical contributions that could have been made by one Brian Williams who stole a 60" flat screen from the AirBNB he rented from a gay couple if he had been directed toward a math career:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6729551/Video-catches-thieves-stealing-TV-toiletries-Georgia-couples-Airbnb-rental.html

    If whitey has 1 less TV and Brian (if that's his real name) has one more TV, that's a difference of 2 TVs.

    Chinese scientists who edited genes of twin girls may have supercharged their BRAINS

    study suggests… may have…may have…probably…may have…scientists suggest…likely…implications…They predict …could cure…attempt…promising…could improve…might help…which suggested…safe to assume…appear to have…won’t be possible to tell clearly…we won’t know…might have…may not be…may be…we just don’t know…it might not…not black and white…it might…holds incredible promise…we simply don’t know…

  101. @anon
    I am surprised that nobody here mentioned the real truth as to why economics creates a toxic environment for blacks: Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.

    It denies the centrality of emotion to reason, strips away subjectivities and context, and privileges the hetero-normative account wherein logic triumphs over feeling. It allows us to reduce the human experience into cold numbers and symbols; makes space for the manipulation of ideas through cold, unthinking procedures that pay no heed to social meanings; and reduces the lived experience into a crude, calculating machine. It is the handmaiden of gender oppression and reactionary conservatism.

    It is Patriarchal Imperialism writ large.

    I agree! We should race immediately with all haste back to the dark ages. This enlightenment stuff was bunk from the get go.

  102. @Jack D

    Then there is the cost of that underrepresentation to the public. In the private sector, shareholders bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups.
     
    This is like the argument that women are paid only 70% of what men get for comparable work. Think of the enormous profits some company could make by hiring an all female workforce and saving 30% on labor!

    I propose that Amy Harmon start up a corporation that hires only blacks (better yet black women) for technical positions that require math skills. You could call it "Hidden Figures, Inc.". All these other big corporations are leaving money on the table by hiring mostly Asian H1Bs to do programming, but HFI, no longer needing to bear the opportunity lost by excluding demographic groups, would be enormously profitable as they made breakthru after breakthru.

    hires only … black women…You could call it “Hidden Figures, Inc.”

    Crystal Math

  103. This is even immune to a fact check. A fact checker more skeptical of things than Harmon cannot very well ask the guy, “How much further do you think mathematics would have advanced?” How can that even be answered? “Uh, I think Taniyama’s 24th conjecture would probably have been solved by a black guy by now.”

    A lack of fact checking, as well as a lack of missing the obvious. Maybe Amy Harmon is the latest incarnation of Malcolm Gladwell.

  104. @Intelligent Dasein
    First of all, the 5 (five!) commenters thus far who have mentioned the NBA all need to turn in their man cards. Seriously, that is the laziest, stupidest, and most cucked-out metaphor that one could reach for when discussing racial differences. It isn't even applicable. There are plenty of Whites who do in fact play in the NBA; and even among the most die-hard HBDers, it would take someone as scientifically illiterate as the moronic "Lance Welton" to seriously assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance. Unfortunately, his cartoonishly ill-informed grasp of the subject seems to be quite representative of the HBD community, as evidenced by this:

    Mr. Anon writes:

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?
     
    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word "genetic" means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean "incapable of alteration." Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    Of course, you don't need me to tell you about the etymology of the word, and that its technical definition is that it describes something related to origins. The point at issue here is that the word does not mean what you're using it to mean even in that linguistic domain where it is otherwise misapplied. Nucleic acids do not, on anyone's theory, prescribe traits that are completely inalterable by environmental influences. There is no such thing as a trait completely impervious to environmental influence; such a quality would place it beyond the reach of physical causality, and we would then be talking about the immaterial nature or essence of the creature, not about its "traits" (which are accidental). Using the word in this way creates a dungeon of doomed thought wherein that which is held to be fixed by nature depends on something which is itself physical, hence mutable. If "genetic" is taken to mean nucleic acids, then one thing that by definition it cannot also mean is "immutable." If, on the other hand, "genetic" is taken as a synonym for essences, then it cannot also refer to anything physical.

    Jack D:

    Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.
     
    Pure math is the contemplation of number itself, and number is the idea of a limit. Pure math is therefore as old as language and thought, and it has quite other expression-possibilities besides those of the chalkboard. The writing of the formula is not what is significant; the significance lies in the sense of a limit having been reached. A geometrical proof of the Euclidean variety was---for Euclid, Archimedes, and especially Pythagoras---not "an exercise in reasoning" but a single Euclidean "number" that brought order out of a world of dim sense impressions. Similarly, for Western man it is the function, the relation, the set which accomplishes as much. He who truly understands formulae of the sort like "force equals mass times acceleration" sees not an arrangement of three quantities but a single concept the truth of which is beyond doubt. He thinks it true because he perceives the world thus, and the formula expresses the very manner in which he thinks.

    With that being said, there are as many mathematics as there are thinking beings. The Sub-Saharans certainly have their own notions of limits which, in depth of force and expressive power may be very much weaker than the Western, but which however do not differ from it in kind.

    How could a people who can only count to three come up with even a vague notion of a limit? It requires notions of infinitely small and large. Also notions of function, range, domain, The limit idea that leads to calculus and the incipient framework for the modern tech revolution has a very specific formulation requiring epsilon and deltas.

  105. @Anonymous
    You might appreciate the mathematician Vladimir Arnold's view:

    https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.

    ...

    In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy's warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).

    Since scholastic mathematics that is cut off from physics is fit neither for teaching nor for application in any other science, the result was the universal hate towards mathematicians - both on the part of the poor schoolchildren (some of whom in the meantime became ministers) and of the users.

    The ugly building, built by undereducated mathematicians who were exhausted by their inferiority complex and who were unable to make themselves familiar with physics, reminds one of the rigorous axiomatic theory of odd numbers. Obviously, it is possible to create such a theory and make pupils admire the perfection and internal consistency of the resulting structure (in which, for example, the sum of an odd number of terms and the product of any number of factors are defined). From this sectarian point of view, even numbers could either be declared a heresy or, with passage of time, be introduced into the theory supplemented with a few "ideal" objects (in order to comply with the needs of physics and the real world).

    Unfortunately, it was an ugly twisted construction of mathematics like the one above which predominated in the teaching of mathematics for decades. Having originated in France, this pervertedness quickly spread to teaching of foundations of mathematics, first to university students, then to school pupils of all lines (first in France, then in other countries, including Russia).

    To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

    Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
     

    Not all of mathematics is just a part of physics. Consider for example Terence Tao’s proof that for any integer x, no matter how large, there exists an arithmetic sequence of prime numbers with at least x terms. This existence proof only becomes operationally meaningful in the range of integers beyond the number of particles in the universe. The theorem has no physical relevance, but is still mathematically true.

  106. One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don’t actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world. They may know some ordinary to below average whites having gone to school with them and/or having them as relatives, so they aren’t asking themselves why Travis or Roy from Bucktooth, WV aren’t studying quantum physics, but when it comes to the most precious cohort of all, that lack of experience manifests itself in absurd commentary like this.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don’t actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world.
     
    I also get the feeling they don't know any actual mathematicians or physicists, other than those their writing assignments lead them to.
  107. @Buffalo Joe
    Come on Ms. Harmon, were you under a rock? Didn't you see "Hidden Figures?"

    At least we have calculus beaners!

  108. @MarkinLA
    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind. Thank god I could program. I did get some decent grades in classes that were more pure math but I always left the final exam room thinking I, at best, got a C. Everybody else must have been just as stupid or I really did stumble upon the solution.

    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind.

    I was kind of the opposite. Group theory and abstract algebra, which I encountered in freshman year, were an oasis of calm and simplicity, compared to the somewhat arbitrary manipulation of expressions in calculus and differential equations (albeit following a library of patterns) to derive results. Not easier, by any means, but somehow leaner and richer in insight. Real and complex analysis similarly felt like refreshingly new and cleaner take on calculus. It’s tempting to speculate that there might different personality types among mathematicians, leading somehow to the split between applied and pure math.

    • Replies: @res
    Insightful comment. Regarding

    It’s tempting to speculate that there might different personality types among mathematicians, leading somehow to the split between applied and pure math.
     
    Personality or specific intellectual ability profiles? And how would those relate?
  109. @Arclight
    One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don't actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world. They may know some ordinary to below average whites having gone to school with them and/or having them as relatives, so they aren't asking themselves why Travis or Roy from Bucktooth, WV aren't studying quantum physics, but when it comes to the most precious cohort of all, that lack of experience manifests itself in absurd commentary like this.

    One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don’t actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world.

    I also get the feeling they don’t know any actual mathematicians or physicists, other than those their writing assignments lead them to.

    • Replies: @Arclight
    True. It has been commented on before, but in the not so distant past journalists who actually grew up with the people whose lives they covered, who could be both more sympathetic but also more clear-eyed about the problems of most of the middle to lower classes.

    Today they are coddled rich kids who have lived their entire lives in the bubble that the upper decile inhabits, which generally means they have no first hand experience with 'diversity' but they have had classmates in their suburban high school and/or liberal arts college who were diverse in melanin but not in economic status. They therefore think there are all sorts of diamonds in the rough living in our ghettos who can't get ahead because of systemic racism or white supremacy, but a few years of going to an urban public school would have cured them of that.
    , @Jack D
    Harmon's assertion that math has nothing to do with IQ shows that she doesn't really have the foggiest idea of what is involved. Also her delusional idea that we are all missing out greatly by not promoting all the hidden black talent that is out there - geniuses rotting in the fields. Only someone who has no contact with the real world (or is virtue signalling something that they know to be false) could make such assertions.

    As others have said, the hereditary genius Gowers was just being all modest and British (and desirous of not being Watsoned) when he echoed Edison's observation that invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. The problem is that without that 1%, the other 99% availith not. What was he supposed to say - " A large part of the reason I have my Fields Medal (in addition to all the hard work I have done) is because I am a hereditary genius. It was clear to me and all of my mentors from an early age that I was endowed by my Creator with extraordinary mathematical gifts which most people don't possess and will never possess no matter how hard they try. No person of the African race has ever done what I have done (and not for lack of trying) and none probably ever will. I will now retire and join Dr. Watson among the ranks of global pariahs."
  110. @Dave Pinsen
    Can pure math be a science if it’s not empirical?

    In Gauss’ time, the early to mid 19th century, referring to mathematics as a science was common. By the mid-20th century, it was very unusual. When I was in college, math was variously referred to as one of the humanities or liberal arts, but never as a science. That label had become reserved for intellectual disciplines that required the chain hypothesis-experiment-observation-confirmation-theory. You could stretch a point and say math meets that standard, albeit the experiments are thought experiments, but it would be a stretch.

  111. From my European point of view, I would love the USA to put in place quotas everywhere, to have a proportional representation in scientific research and hi-tech engineering of all the “visible minorities” victimised by evil white heterosexual males. I can think of no better way to do away with the USA.

  112. “or that high I.Q. is key to math ability”

    Though I don’t regard IQ as a reliable measure of intelligence as I believe that the concept of intelligence encompasses much more than what is covered by IQ tests, I am curious to be told at least one single example of a good mathematician – and by good mathematician I don’t mean circus freaks capable of mental arithmetics involving four-digits numbers -, with a low IQ score.

  113. @Anon7
    If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall. About 1 person in a million is that tall; I'll bet there aren't 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.

    And I'll tell you something else. It's as easy for pure math professors to tell who has the talent to do pure math as it is for basketball coaches to see who the tallest kid on the team is. You just can't fake being 7 feet tall.

    Imagine being a 6'4" guy; you're thinking "I'm in the 99th percentile for height, baby! I'm tall." Then you stand next to a guy who is at the 99.999th percentile for height and you look like somebody's kid brother.

    It would be unimaginably embarrassing for someone without authentic math ability to be given a pure math professorship through affirmative action. As embarrassing as someone 6'4" contesting a jump ball against a guy 7'2". Everyone in your field would know. It's different from fields where you can bulls**t your way to a degree.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall.

    In high school, I thought I was pretty good at math. Then I went to university to study engineering, and came across a guy who was so much better at math than me (or anyone else, including most of the professors) that I realized immediately just how mediocre I really was. He was a racehorse running against donkeys. Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I’m pretty sure he sucked at preaching.) Go figure.

    • Replies: @Anon7
    One of my high school friends was Nicholas, whose father was a kind if somewhat intense Russian émigré engineer. Nicholas had a horrendous speech impediment, congenital hearing loss, terrible acne and was one of the smartest people I ever met in person.

    I totally lost track of him, but looked him up on the all-knowing Internet a few years ago. It turns out that he's an archpriest in the Russian Orthodox Church. In high school, he was mostly interested in astrophysics and the math needed to make sense of it. Go figure.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I’m pretty sure he sucked at preaching.)
     
    Not all priests give sermons. Many teach, work in archives, and do other things.

    All this talk about genetics here often forgets that the field was essentially founded by an academic monk.

  114. @MarkinLA
    My guess is that Amy Harmon never got past high school geometry. As an A- student in math, who never impressed any math professor, I can assure you that every step in ability is a quantum leap up. If you don't take real math, you don't know how hard it is to "get" some of these subjects. If you don't take a higher level math class where someone else with real ability is a student, you might not ever know just how stupid you are when compared to him.

    Math was always my roadblock. Good thing the world needs ditch-diggers too!

  115. @Bruno
    Taylor’s father was a Cambridge professor in physics. He looks very English like ....

    Taylor’s father was a Cambridge professor in physics. He looks very English like ….

    Who was Jared Taylor’s father? All I see online is a note that he was a missionary in Japan.

  116. I hope I’m not missing something, but hasn’t anyone pointed out that math is not the “queen of the sciences?” That title belongs to theology.

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    Beat me to it.
  117. @PiltdownMan

    One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don’t actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world.
     
    I also get the feeling they don't know any actual mathematicians or physicists, other than those their writing assignments lead them to.

    True. It has been commented on before, but in the not so distant past journalists who actually grew up with the people whose lives they covered, who could be both more sympathetic but also more clear-eyed about the problems of most of the middle to lower classes.

    Today they are coddled rich kids who have lived their entire lives in the bubble that the upper decile inhabits, which generally means they have no first hand experience with ‘diversity’ but they have had classmates in their suburban high school and/or liberal arts college who were diverse in melanin but not in economic status. They therefore think there are all sorts of diamonds in the rough living in our ghettos who can’t get ahead because of systemic racism or white supremacy, but a few years of going to an urban public school would have cured them of that.

  118. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    What percentage of the non-blacks in the NBA are Americans? Surely much lower than the proportion of blacks there who are non-American.

  119. @Colin Wright
    It's depressing to learn that Amy Harmon would appear to be -- drumroll, please -- Jewish.

    '...“THERE are a lot of things I may never know about K2a2a, one of four founding mothers of a large chunk of today’s Ashkenazi Jewish population and the one from whom — I learned last week — I am directly descended.”...'

    It’s depressing to learn that Amy Harmon would appear to be — drumroll, please — Jewish.

    Is it depressing because it was so easy to guess?

  120. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    Sorry, I screwed up my first reply….here’s what I meant to say…

    What percentage of the non-blacks in the NBA are non-American? Surely much higher than the proportion of blacks who aren’t American.

  121. @anon
    I am surprised that nobody here mentioned the real truth as to why economics creates a toxic environment for blacks: Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.

    It denies the centrality of emotion to reason, strips away subjectivities and context, and privileges the hetero-normative account wherein logic triumphs over feeling. It allows us to reduce the human experience into cold numbers and symbols; makes space for the manipulation of ideas through cold, unthinking procedures that pay no heed to social meanings; and reduces the lived experience into a crude, calculating machine. It is the handmaiden of gender oppression and reactionary conservatism.

    It is Patriarchal Imperialism writ large.

    Mathematics is, in fact, a tool of oppression.

    It’s but a small leap from logocentrism to logicentrism.

  122. Terrence Howard from the TV show Empire is an amateur mathematician. He has even invented a new mathematics that he says will unlock the secrets of the Universe. He calls it Terryology. https://mashable.com/2015/09/14/terrence-howard-one-times-one/#bP6fAu3LW5qU

  123. @Harry Baldwin
    I just saw "Aquaman," and I hate to say it, but Atlantis looked way more advanced than Wakanda, and the population appeared to be uniformly white. Somebody must be held accountable for this.

    I hate to say it, but Atlantis looked way more advanced than Wakanda

    But did they have super advanced weaponry like spears? Or futuristic attire like loincloths? That was, to me, the single funniest thing about Wakanda – that a tribe insulted by the moniker “spear chuckers” was represented in a 100% African made film as … spear chuckers.

  124. @Polymath
    No, silly. You forgot algebra conventions.

    a, b, c, d, e, and f are constants. Y1 and Y2 are variables expressed in terms of another variable X. To express Y1 in terms of Y2, get X in terms of Y2 by using the quadratic formula.

    X = (-e + sqrt(e^2 - 4d(f-Y2)))/2d
    X = (-e - sqrt(e^2 - 4d(f-Y2)))/2d

    These two solutions to the quadratic should be substituted for X in the expression for Y1, and you’re done (except for picking which of the two solutions you want, assuming both are real).

    Well it has been a long time. Thanks.

  125. Is there data on how many blacks get 5s each year on the calculus AB or BC exam? Calc ab is not even that hard. Few would call it a math geek class or anything, but I can hardly imagine being able to get a math PhD if you can’t get a five on the calc ab exam. Plus, calc ab is widely available, even in low performing schools. I would think that the vast majority of blacks who showed promise would have access to calculus ab and apart from that we could look at the ratio of blacks in the class compared to those who got fives to get a picture of the amount of blacks with the most baseline requisite apitude to become a mahematician. Granted, it takes a lot more than a five in calc ap classes, but you have to be able to do at least that.

    And how many blacks progress from ashme to anime? Any data on that?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/the-challenge-of-black-students-and-advanced-placement/

    (I think you could have Googled some studies instead of the lazy question.)
  126. @Anonymous
    There's a popular misconception about the nature and practice of "pure math". This is in part due to the generally poor communication abilities of mathematicians, as well as a view deliberately cultivated by some mathematicians to make themselves and their profession seem even more arcane and esoteric than they are. It's also due to the influence of the "Bourbaki group" of French mathematicians in the 20th century. The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity - you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc. There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.

    I am not sure about this. Pure math that seems to be useless may not be so useless after all.

    In my group theory class the professor was making a case for why this stuff was useful. He presented a problem that he claimed was not solvable by conventional means. He was able to map it into a (for lack of a better word) different space where he could use an algebraic solution and map it back.

    From what I have read in the popular press, many of current big proofs of famous conjectures also involve transforming the problem from one space to another. The more avenues that someone can utilize in this process, the more likely there are other seemingly impossible to solve problems that can be solved.

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science,

    Isn’t this ass-backwards. Math isn’t part of physics. The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world. Math is tool for physicists to use to guide them in new directions. Take Leon Chua. His conjecture that there is such a thing as a memristor and what it can do is now being built in the lab. He reasoned that with mathematical symetry, it should exist but it took decades for technology to be able to find a way to construct one.

    A simpler example, resistence in an electrical circuit. It also happens to operate under simple agebraic rules. How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn’t behave according to the formula.

    • Replies: @res

    How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn’t behave according to the formula.
     
    The same way we build circuits with multiple nonlinear elements like transistors and diodes. Harder, but certainly still possible.

    FWIW Ohm's law has some limits on validity: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5262081
    , @Jack D

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.
     
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward - the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.
  127. I think having to speak in code is going to be our lot.

  128. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    See Alcindor’s racist comment on what made Bird so good at the 40-second mark.

  129. Further to the Orwell quote at the end of the article. Shlomo Sand, in The Invention of the Jewish People, details the rise and existence in Israel of, alongside History, Jewish History.

    It is, of course, this kind of history on which Deborah Lipstadt, of the Religion Department at Emory University, bases her occasional claims to being “a historian.”

    Lipstadt defeated David Irving’s 2000 libel suit for calling him a “Holocaust denier” in London. She publishes books about, lately, anti-Semitism.

  130. @PiltdownMan

    One gets the feeling that people like Ms. Harmon or the staff at the Atlantic don’t actually know any black people other than the more elite that work in the media and academic world.
     
    I also get the feeling they don't know any actual mathematicians or physicists, other than those their writing assignments lead them to.

    Harmon’s assertion that math has nothing to do with IQ shows that she doesn’t really have the foggiest idea of what is involved. Also her delusional idea that we are all missing out greatly by not promoting all the hidden black talent that is out there – geniuses rotting in the fields. Only someone who has no contact with the real world (or is virtue signalling something that they know to be false) could make such assertions.

    As others have said, the hereditary genius Gowers was just being all modest and British (and desirous of not being Watsoned) when he echoed Edison’s observation that invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. The problem is that without that 1%, the other 99% availith not. What was he supposed to say – ” A large part of the reason I have my Fields Medal (in addition to all the hard work I have done) is because I am a hereditary genius. It was clear to me and all of my mentors from an early age that I was endowed by my Creator with extraordinary mathematical gifts which most people don’t possess and will never possess no matter how hard they try. No person of the African race has ever done what I have done (and not for lack of trying) and none probably ever will. I will now retire and join Dr. Watson among the ranks of global pariahs.”

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    As others have said, the hereditary genius Gowers was just being all modest and British (and desirous of not being Watsoned) when he echoed Edison’s observation that invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.
     
    Saying that 99% of your success came through your own efforts and 1% from the genes bequeathed to you by your parents isn't necessarily modesty, any more than the heir to a fortune is being arrogant when he says he inherited everything he owns from his father. But the nice aspect of this 99% perspiration thing is that arrogance can be mistaken for humility, and it's ideal for the current political environment.
  131. @Steve Sailer
    It used to be that grade school basketball coaches would train the tallest kid to play center with his back to the basket because that's easy to score that way. But if you stop growing short of 6'8", you're doomed if all you can do is play with your back to the basket. So in 2000 I was watching a 6th grade game with a phenomenal black kid who was 3 inches taller than anybody else on the court. But he played point guard because he was already thinking realistically that he might stop growing at 6'2" and then where else would he play in the NBA besides point guard? The only problem with him as a point guard rather than a shooter is that his passes were so brilliant and unexpected that they'd often catch his teammates by surprise and hit them in the face.

    I had a similar experience, except I was in junior high school and the amazing black kid was in the ninth grade. This kid was remarkable, he had that extraordinary fluidity of movement that marks the exceptional athlete; it was like a junior college varsity player playing with, well, middle schoolers.

    However, that’s when I started questioning what I was seeing, it turned out that this kid had been held back; he was eighteen. The situation was not what it seemed.

    As a college student, I played basketball with lots of black guys and played on intramural teams where I was the only white guy. At some point it became clear that some of the black guys I played with were PhD students (always in soft disciplines like psych or sociology, never engineering, math or physics) and that some of these guys spent most of their late teens and early twenties mostly in juvie or prison. They sneaked into the sports building because it was a good place to play, especially in the winter, they raised the level of the game (mostly) and they held themselves to a higher standard of behavior (so they wouldn’t get kicked out). They were like H1-B visa immigrants (you could say there was an opportunity cost for white kids who were actually students and had to wait to play).

    In the 1970’s, black PhD students needed to meet the same standard; I could always tell who I was talking to, they all spoke university-level English. Today, though, the standards have been so corrupted that a black person with a 100 IQ could get a PhD by being “differently abled”, in other words, you’re special so we’ll make an exception. Or the white faculty accepts the argument that they don’t understand what makes for excellence in black studies PhDs.

  132. @Intelligent Dasein
    First of all, the 5 (five!) commenters thus far who have mentioned the NBA all need to turn in their man cards. Seriously, that is the laziest, stupidest, and most cucked-out metaphor that one could reach for when discussing racial differences. It isn't even applicable. There are plenty of Whites who do in fact play in the NBA; and even among the most die-hard HBDers, it would take someone as scientifically illiterate as the moronic "Lance Welton" to seriously assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance. Unfortunately, his cartoonishly ill-informed grasp of the subject seems to be quite representative of the HBD community, as evidenced by this:

    Mr. Anon writes:

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?
     
    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word "genetic" means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean "incapable of alteration." Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    Of course, you don't need me to tell you about the etymology of the word, and that its technical definition is that it describes something related to origins. The point at issue here is that the word does not mean what you're using it to mean even in that linguistic domain where it is otherwise misapplied. Nucleic acids do not, on anyone's theory, prescribe traits that are completely inalterable by environmental influences. There is no such thing as a trait completely impervious to environmental influence; such a quality would place it beyond the reach of physical causality, and we would then be talking about the immaterial nature or essence of the creature, not about its "traits" (which are accidental). Using the word in this way creates a dungeon of doomed thought wherein that which is held to be fixed by nature depends on something which is itself physical, hence mutable. If "genetic" is taken to mean nucleic acids, then one thing that by definition it cannot also mean is "immutable." If, on the other hand, "genetic" is taken as a synonym for essences, then it cannot also refer to anything physical.

    Jack D:

    Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.
     
    Pure math is the contemplation of number itself, and number is the idea of a limit. Pure math is therefore as old as language and thought, and it has quite other expression-possibilities besides those of the chalkboard. The writing of the formula is not what is significant; the significance lies in the sense of a limit having been reached. A geometrical proof of the Euclidean variety was---for Euclid, Archimedes, and especially Pythagoras---not "an exercise in reasoning" but a single Euclidean "number" that brought order out of a world of dim sense impressions. Similarly, for Western man it is the function, the relation, the set which accomplishes as much. He who truly understands formulae of the sort like "force equals mass times acceleration" sees not an arrangement of three quantities but a single concept the truth of which is beyond doubt. He thinks it true because he perceives the world thus, and the formula expresses the very manner in which he thinks.

    With that being said, there are as many mathematics as there are thinking beings. The Sub-Saharans certainly have their own notions of limits which, in depth of force and expressive power may be very much weaker than the Western, but which however do not differ from it in kind.

    assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance.

    In fact there is – the same factor that makes west African blacks better sprinters – the overabundance of fast twitch type muscles. Sure YT can learn to dribble and shoot but that quick step and move to the basket is something blacks have a huge advantage on. That’s why Magic Johnson could be a 6-9 point guard and Larry Bird could not.

    Pure math is an attempt to find a provable relationship between a set of something (it could be integers, real numbers, or even the rotations of an object in space) and the same or another set of objects. Numbers don’t have to have anything to do with it. Numbers just make it easier for those of us to see the relation.

  133. @Jack D

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context. I could be obsessed with the idea of scoring 3 pointers in the NBA but my obsession won't make a damn bit of difference because I lack the talent to actually score. TBH, I don't think that there are that many black kids in America (regardless of IQ - she seems to concede that black average IQ is lower thru her use of "sour grapes") who are obsessed with math problems in the 1st place but they could obsess all they wanted and it still wouldn't give them the mental HP to actually cross the finish line.

    Real mathematical chops is a rare talent and virtually non-existent in blacks throughout all of known history. Goins was close but no cigar - he was good enough to play in the Bush Leagues but he could not hit in The Show - the pitches come across the plate too fast. We are now 50+ years into the Civil Rights era and schools have been literally BEGGING for black talent. If there was going to be some black Terence Tao he would have emerged by now.

    Math, like baseball, is difficult if you can’t handle a curve.

  134. @Intelligent Dasein
    How in the hell can you exclude anybody from doing mathematics? Math isn't a freaking country club; it's not like you need a ton of money or connections to participate. It's one of those things that you truly can do on the cheap. What do you need---some notebooks, some pencils, and access to a library? If a bunch of Black guys wanted to get together and form their own LaNicolas Bourbaki society, there's nothing stopping them.

    The poster boy for this is Ramanujan. Even 100 years ago when there was no internet and even books barely made it to the backwaters of India, Ramanujan was able to teach himself math and then make important breakthru contributions of his own. And even the horrible racist British could not deny his talent and brought him to Cambridge. But there was no Ramanujan of Kenya or Ramanujan of Nigeria.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The case of Ramanujan is a bit more complicated than that.

    Ramanujan was a Tamil Brahmin, and grew up in Kumbakonam, a town known as a traditional centre of learning, and by the time of his birth, known for Kumbakonam College, an arts and sciences college then known as the "Cambridge of South India." Although he flunked out of college because of his obsessional focus on mathematics, especially on deriving his own results starting from a book of standard 19th century mathematical results and expressions, he was far from isolated.

    Several of his sub-caste cohort of the scholarly Tamil Brahmins had taken up Western knowledge with gusto after the arrival of the British, and his talent was soon spotted within his group. Absent any kind of academic qualifications, he had to beg for jobs. But among the fellow Tamil Brahmin luminaries that he begged for patronage and subsistence, at least two were mathematics professors, and one was the founder of the Indian Mathematical Society and another the editor of its scholarly journal.

    It was this network of bourgeois Tamil Brahmin mathematicians who ensured that his work was referred to the right circles among the power-that-be in Cambridge, Hardy and Littlewood. Once Hardy and Littlewood recognized the value of his work, the machinery of British India quickly swung into action, and he was deposited, with a stipend, into Hardy's care.

    If a random pre-industrial society mathematical genius had to be born into any single society outside of modern Western society, Ramanujan's Iyengar Tamil Brahmin sub-caste in Edwardian-era rural South India was perhaps the best place to be born.

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.

    , @Anonymous
    Ramanujan was an incredible find but it's a sample of one and can really be argued both ways (e.g. what if Hardy hadn't noticed him).

    However, I would argue it is easier to move quality work nowadays regardless of if you are off the beaten track. Examples are Gregori Perelman living with his Mom and publishing an amazing result on Arxive. Or Yitang Zhang, whose work was immediately credited and approved by the top math journal despite nobody knowing the fellow.

    All that said, one can wonder if Zhang might have produced more if his academic career had not been side tracked. Or even Perelman. Although it becomes a question how much is the fault of the system or the men to not adjust to it.
  135. @Intelligent Dasein
    First of all, the 5 (five!) commenters thus far who have mentioned the NBA all need to turn in their man cards. Seriously, that is the laziest, stupidest, and most cucked-out metaphor that one could reach for when discussing racial differences. It isn't even applicable. There are plenty of Whites who do in fact play in the NBA; and even among the most die-hard HBDers, it would take someone as scientifically illiterate as the moronic "Lance Welton" to seriously assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance. Unfortunately, his cartoonishly ill-informed grasp of the subject seems to be quite representative of the HBD community, as evidenced by this:

    Mr. Anon writes:

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?
     
    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word "genetic" means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean "incapable of alteration." Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    Of course, you don't need me to tell you about the etymology of the word, and that its technical definition is that it describes something related to origins. The point at issue here is that the word does not mean what you're using it to mean even in that linguistic domain where it is otherwise misapplied. Nucleic acids do not, on anyone's theory, prescribe traits that are completely inalterable by environmental influences. There is no such thing as a trait completely impervious to environmental influence; such a quality would place it beyond the reach of physical causality, and we would then be talking about the immaterial nature or essence of the creature, not about its "traits" (which are accidental). Using the word in this way creates a dungeon of doomed thought wherein that which is held to be fixed by nature depends on something which is itself physical, hence mutable. If "genetic" is taken to mean nucleic acids, then one thing that by definition it cannot also mean is "immutable." If, on the other hand, "genetic" is taken as a synonym for essences, then it cannot also refer to anything physical.

    Jack D:

    Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.
     
    Pure math is the contemplation of number itself, and number is the idea of a limit. Pure math is therefore as old as language and thought, and it has quite other expression-possibilities besides those of the chalkboard. The writing of the formula is not what is significant; the significance lies in the sense of a limit having been reached. A geometrical proof of the Euclidean variety was---for Euclid, Archimedes, and especially Pythagoras---not "an exercise in reasoning" but a single Euclidean "number" that brought order out of a world of dim sense impressions. Similarly, for Western man it is the function, the relation, the set which accomplishes as much. He who truly understands formulae of the sort like "force equals mass times acceleration" sees not an arrangement of three quantities but a single concept the truth of which is beyond doubt. He thinks it true because he perceives the world thus, and the formula expresses the very manner in which he thinks.

    With that being said, there are as many mathematics as there are thinking beings. The Sub-Saharans certainly have their own notions of limits which, in depth of force and expressive power may be very much weaker than the Western, but which however do not differ from it in kind.

    What about sprinting?

  136. @Anonymous
    You might appreciate the mathematician Vladimir Arnold's view:

    https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.

    ...

    In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy's warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).

    Since scholastic mathematics that is cut off from physics is fit neither for teaching nor for application in any other science, the result was the universal hate towards mathematicians - both on the part of the poor schoolchildren (some of whom in the meantime became ministers) and of the users.

    The ugly building, built by undereducated mathematicians who were exhausted by their inferiority complex and who were unable to make themselves familiar with physics, reminds one of the rigorous axiomatic theory of odd numbers. Obviously, it is possible to create such a theory and make pupils admire the perfection and internal consistency of the resulting structure (in which, for example, the sum of an odd number of terms and the product of any number of factors are defined). From this sectarian point of view, even numbers could either be declared a heresy or, with passage of time, be introduced into the theory supplemented with a few "ideal" objects (in order to comply with the needs of physics and the real world).

    Unfortunately, it was an ugly twisted construction of mathematics like the one above which predominated in the teaching of mathematics for decades. Having originated in France, this pervertedness quickly spread to teaching of foundations of mathematics, first to university students, then to school pupils of all lines (first in France, then in other countries, including Russia).

    To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

    Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
     

    It’s a little strange to insist that all genuine math be derived from physics when even much of applied math doesn’t.

    Mathematical genetics, logic for computer science, just to name a few, don’t come from physics.

    And number theory, thought by Hardy to be blessed with no application at all, in fact is now at the core of cryptography.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    It depends on what you call "physics". For example, cryptography could be viewed as a subset of signal processing. Maybe the old term "natural philosophy" is more appropriate.

    The point is that math really means uncovering the fundamental hidden order of the universe. Sometimes when we uncover these rules we find an immediate practical use for them and sometimes not yet (and maybe never) but these laws represent actual properties of the universe and not just scribbles on paper so it is not surprising when ways to exploit them are found later even if no one can think of any right away. There is really no such thing as "pure" math, there is only math that no one has found a use for YET.

  137. @Ickenham
    Quoting Sir William Timothy Gowers in an attempt to bolster an anti-heriditarian argument is hilarious.

    Sir William Timothy Gowers [one of the world's most accomplished living mathematicians] is:

    the son of the late Patrick Gowers [an accomplished musical composer];

    the great-grandson of Sir Ernest Gowers [an accomplished senior civil servant and writer];

    the great-great-grandson of Sir William Gowers [an accomplished and distinguished neurologist].

    The man Ms. Harmon quotes as "Timothy Gowers" is an extremely impressive and virtuous man, the product of a family that has produced meritorious men for at least five generations.

    In addition to his mathematical achievements, Sir William Timothy Gowers has passed on his genes to his five children. The gentleman has my respect and admiration. Ms. Harmon and her effusions of squid ink do not summon similar high regard from me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Gowers

    Tim Gowers’ great-grandpa’s book, Ernest Gowers’ The Complete Plain Words, is still the standard guide to plain English and clear writing over in the UK and the British Commonwealth, along with the older Fowler’s Modern English Usage, much as Strunk and White is the standard over here, in America.

    The Complete Plain Words is an enjoyable read by itself, even if you don’t plan to use it as a reference book.

  138. @Jack D
    Harmon's assertion that math has nothing to do with IQ shows that she doesn't really have the foggiest idea of what is involved. Also her delusional idea that we are all missing out greatly by not promoting all the hidden black talent that is out there - geniuses rotting in the fields. Only someone who has no contact with the real world (or is virtue signalling something that they know to be false) could make such assertions.

    As others have said, the hereditary genius Gowers was just being all modest and British (and desirous of not being Watsoned) when he echoed Edison's observation that invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. The problem is that without that 1%, the other 99% availith not. What was he supposed to say - " A large part of the reason I have my Fields Medal (in addition to all the hard work I have done) is because I am a hereditary genius. It was clear to me and all of my mentors from an early age that I was endowed by my Creator with extraordinary mathematical gifts which most people don't possess and will never possess no matter how hard they try. No person of the African race has ever done what I have done (and not for lack of trying) and none probably ever will. I will now retire and join Dr. Watson among the ranks of global pariahs."

    As others have said, the hereditary genius Gowers was just being all modest and British (and desirous of not being Watsoned) when he echoed Edison’s observation that invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

    Saying that 99% of your success came through your own efforts and 1% from the genes bequeathed to you by your parents isn’t necessarily modesty, any more than the heir to a fortune is being arrogant when he says he inherited everything he owns from his father. But the nice aspect of this 99% perspiration thing is that arrogance can be mistaken for humility, and it’s ideal for the current political environment.

  139. @candid_observer
    It's a little strange to insist that all genuine math be derived from physics when even much of applied math doesn't.

    Mathematical genetics, logic for computer science, just to name a few, don't come from physics.

    And number theory, thought by Hardy to be blessed with no application at all, in fact is now at the core of cryptography.

    It depends on what you call “physics”. For example, cryptography could be viewed as a subset of signal processing. Maybe the old term “natural philosophy” is more appropriate.

    The point is that math really means uncovering the fundamental hidden order of the universe. Sometimes when we uncover these rules we find an immediate practical use for them and sometimes not yet (and maybe never) but these laws represent actual properties of the universe and not just scribbles on paper so it is not surprising when ways to exploit them are found later even if no one can think of any right away. There is really no such thing as “pure” math, there is only math that no one has found a use for YET.

  140. Commenter utu on the previous post about Goins gave the following numbers:

    Purdue Math Dept. Faculty Count

    33 China
    27 American (White)
    6 Germany
    3 American (Jewish)
    3 South Asia
    3 Romania
    3 S. America/Spain
    2 American (Black)
    2 Hungary
    2 Italy
    1 France
    1 Poland
    1 Bulgaria
    1 Armenia
    1 Iran
    1 Korea
    1 Japan

    The percentage of blacks among math professors who are native born Americans may be pretty small, but it’s a lot bigger than 0.7%. The competition to get tenure in an American university math department attracts a good chunk of the most talented math people from all over the world, especially China.

  141. So I fished around the internet and it seems that all the numbers I’m finding align with each other. College board estimated that there is a max of 1000 blacks who could get an SAT score between 750 to 800 compared to 1600 whites and 29k Asians. The actual last count was 244 blacks who scored 750 or above.

    That is comparable to 2016 ap calculus AB scores of around 1400 blacks getting 5s out of 70k 5s total. In calc bc it’s 764 out of 60k 5s.

    I think you’d have to have to be able to get a 750+ Math SAT score to get *any* kind of a quant phd. If we’re talking between 250 and 750 blacks per year that could do that, then we account for the fact they these people would be spread over all quant fields- PhD in stats, math, quant finance, physics etc. seems like there could only possibly be a few dozen blacks per year that could pursue a math PhD (or else there would be no black physicists at all…). And then some of those would go into industry. How many blacks per year would even be left to pursue academia?

    Hey, maybe we could bring 13 up to 20 tenured math professors, but it seems like there is a clear dearth of talent. Where does Harmon think we are going to find these extra potential black mathematicians? Among the blacks who aren’t taking the SAT?

    • Replies: @Spangel
    My post has a typo. It should be 16000 whites, not 1600 scoring at least 750 in math per year.
    , @Known Fact
    I got a 720, first try, in the '70s -- based only on being good at stuff like doing sports stats in my head and pure test-taking ability. I could never do even a shred of calculus, trig, geometry or even much algebra. Is that weird or normal?
  142. @Jack D

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context. I could be obsessed with the idea of scoring 3 pointers in the NBA but my obsession won't make a damn bit of difference because I lack the talent to actually score. TBH, I don't think that there are that many black kids in America (regardless of IQ - she seems to concede that black average IQ is lower thru her use of "sour grapes") who are obsessed with math problems in the 1st place but they could obsess all they wanted and it still wouldn't give them the mental HP to actually cross the finish line.

    Real mathematical chops is a rare talent and virtually non-existent in blacks throughout all of known history. Goins was close but no cigar - he was good enough to play in the Bush Leagues but he could not hit in The Show - the pitches come across the plate too fast. We are now 50+ years into the Civil Rights era and schools have been literally BEGGING for black talent. If there was going to be some black Terence Tao he would have emerged by now.

    I can almost guaranty that she is quoting Gowers out of context.

    I am not so sure of that. It is possible he said that in some PC environment, but more likely it is just a matter of talented people not realizing just how different they are from most.

    Of course, if pressed privately, I am pretty sure Gowers would agree “talent + obsession” is much more accurate.

  143. Anonymous[647] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    The poster boy for this is Ramanujan. Even 100 years ago when there was no internet and even books barely made it to the backwaters of India, Ramanujan was able to teach himself math and then make important breakthru contributions of his own. And even the horrible racist British could not deny his talent and brought him to Cambridge. But there was no Ramanujan of Kenya or Ramanujan of Nigeria.

    The case of Ramanujan is a bit more complicated than that.

    Ramanujan was a Tamil Brahmin, and grew up in Kumbakonam, a town known as a traditional centre of learning, and by the time of his birth, known for Kumbakonam College, an arts and sciences college then known as the “Cambridge of South India.” Although he flunked out of college because of his obsessional focus on mathematics, especially on deriving his own results starting from a book of standard 19th century mathematical results and expressions, he was far from isolated.

    Several of his sub-caste cohort of the scholarly Tamil Brahmins had taken up Western knowledge with gusto after the arrival of the British, and his talent was soon spotted within his group. Absent any kind of academic qualifications, he had to beg for jobs. But among the fellow Tamil Brahmin luminaries that he begged for patronage and subsistence, at least two were mathematics professors, and one was the founder of the Indian Mathematical Society and another the editor of its scholarly journal.

    It was this network of bourgeois Tamil Brahmin mathematicians who ensured that his work was referred to the right circles among the power-that-be in Cambridge, Hardy and Littlewood. Once Hardy and Littlewood recognized the value of his work, the machinery of British India quickly swung into action, and he was deposited, with a stipend, into Hardy’s care.

    If a random pre-industrial society mathematical genius had to be born into any single society outside of modern Western society, Ramanujan’s Iyengar Tamil Brahmin sub-caste in Edwardian-era rural South India was perhaps the best place to be born.

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.
     
    I think you are overstating the case. You are right that Brahims (like the Ashkenazi Jews of E. Europe and the Japanese) were a literate people with their own traditions of intellectual endeavor and so took eagerly and easily to Western learning when it was made available to them, like seeds cast into fertile soil. Whereas sub-Saharan Africa was an intellectual desert, bereft even of a written language let alone a system of mathematics.

    But, the British set up schools everywhere and promising youths might be trained in the ministry, law, etc. The first black South African to matriculate through the University of the Cape of Good Hope (founded in 1873) was Simon Peter Sihlali in 1880 (30 years before Ramanujan's time) , who then became a minister. If Sihlali had demonstrated Ramanujan's vast mathematical talent the British would have put him on the boat to Cambridge too, I have no doubt.
  144. OK. So Good Little Girl Amy Harmon is writing what she has been carefully taught, from year to year, to hate and to fear, etc.

    But I would hate to be the quota black math professor pretending that I understand what all the other on-the-spectrum math whizzes are talking about.

    See Amy, math is not like a bunch of Mean Girls saying “I can’t believe he came up with that equation.” It is something completely beyond your ken.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    "But I would hate to be the quota black math professor pretending that I understand what all the other on-the-spectrum math whizzes are talking about."

    The assumption of course is that the 1 doesn't get what's going on. There is every possibility to believe that he understands that and more.

    The observation itself is only silently less than valid than -- the assumption that the one black is to some quota as opposed to having earned his position regardless of quota or that quota is by definition an indication of less qualified.
  145. @Zpaladin
    If the cause of underrepresentstion in academics is due to discrimination, we would expect MORE discrimination and thus more underrepresentation the more subjective the field.
    Thus, a field such as history should have fewer blacks than economics which would have fewer blacks than physics which would have fewer blacks than math. However, we find the opposite to be the case. In fields where the best are objectively determined, blacks do the worst.
    I experienced this first-hand. I went to Stanford intending to be a physics major but faltered at the math. It is easy to tell the hierarchy of intelligence in math class. Either you get it right or wrong, quickly or slowly. I switched to social science, where you could argue that you were the smartest and no one could prove you wrong.
    Math is like chess. You win or lose and it is objective. Chess is dominated by white and Asian males. It is easy to learn, cheap to play and the best quickly are sorted out to the top. There are clear genetic differences.
    It’s the same with sport. If discrimination were the answer we would see the most disparity in the team sports or subjective, judged sports and the least in the pure sports like running. Soccer would be easy to discriminate because there are so many facets like “team work” and “vision”. The 100 meter dash, however, should perfectly reflect the global population since Dalits and Jamaicans and Peruvians should have equal access to running and it is objective. Instead, of course, sprinting is far more racially skewed than soccer or baseball though the latter have far more to do with training, infrastructure and subjective judgement than sprinting.

    If the cause of underrepresentstion in academics is due to discrimination, we would expect MORE discrimination and thus more underrepresentation the more subjective the field.

    Excellent point.

  146. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    Dave, we’re about the same age and went to large colleges in the 80’s, right? Do you remember a single black student in your freshman calculus classes? Physics? Chemistry? I didn’t meet a black student in a STEM class until I took Biology 1A as a sophomore. And I think he was the only one.

    I knew a few blacks in who were in other STEM classes, but I never saw one in mine after that single instance in Biology.

    Had I lived in a different part of town and not taken a few required humanities courses, I could likely have never encountered a black or Hispanic student in 4 years.

  147. @PiltdownMan

    I breezed through Calculus and differential equations and hit a brick wall with group theory. Once things became farther and farther away from concrete examples that you could see and touch, I fell farther and farther behind.

     

    I was kind of the opposite. Group theory and abstract algebra, which I encountered in freshman year, were an oasis of calm and simplicity, compared to the somewhat arbitrary manipulation of expressions in calculus and differential equations (albeit following a library of patterns) to derive results. Not easier, by any means, but somehow leaner and richer in insight. Real and complex analysis similarly felt like refreshingly new and cleaner take on calculus. It's tempting to speculate that there might different personality types among mathematicians, leading somehow to the split between applied and pure math.

    Insightful comment. Regarding

    It’s tempting to speculate that there might different personality types among mathematicians, leading somehow to the split between applied and pure math.

    Personality or specific intellectual ability profiles? And how would those relate?

  148. @Anonymous
    You might appreciate the mathematician Vladimir Arnold's view:

    https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.

    ...

    In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy's warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).

    Since scholastic mathematics that is cut off from physics is fit neither for teaching nor for application in any other science, the result was the universal hate towards mathematicians - both on the part of the poor schoolchildren (some of whom in the meantime became ministers) and of the users.

    The ugly building, built by undereducated mathematicians who were exhausted by their inferiority complex and who were unable to make themselves familiar with physics, reminds one of the rigorous axiomatic theory of odd numbers. Obviously, it is possible to create such a theory and make pupils admire the perfection and internal consistency of the resulting structure (in which, for example, the sum of an odd number of terms and the product of any number of factors are defined). From this sectarian point of view, even numbers could either be declared a heresy or, with passage of time, be introduced into the theory supplemented with a few "ideal" objects (in order to comply with the needs of physics and the real world).

    Unfortunately, it was an ugly twisted construction of mathematics like the one above which predominated in the teaching of mathematics for decades. Having originated in France, this pervertedness quickly spread to teaching of foundations of mathematics, first to university students, then to school pupils of all lines (first in France, then in other countries, including Russia).

    To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

    Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
     

    They say that Arnold suffered one too many micro-aggressions from Paris mathematicians.

  149. Community colleges in California have quite a few minority math “professors.” Amy Harmon should write an article on what percentage of them can solve a simple algebra or geometry problem on the spot. Hint: the answer won’t shock anyone who has read Charle’s Murray’s Real Education.

  150. @Buffalo Joe
    Next up on NYT, "Why so few whites in the rap music industry?" Just kidding.

    This is an extraordinarily stupid thumb-sucking piece. Even accounting for PC bias, i find a hard time believing a woman who thinks and writes like this could have got her various journalism awards. I think Harmon has some sort of aspie fixation on this stuff, that just compels her to write incoherent stupid drivel.

    Just a few of the glaring stupidities to me:

    — blacks numbers ought to mirror their population number
    Doesn’t Harmon know that immigrants are better people, that we need them because they are smarter and harder working. Obviously a whole bunch of these math PhDs and math faculty are foreigners.

    — different levels of under-representation?
    She ticks through these varying levels of black under-representation, but pushes absolute blank slatism. So what’s the cause? Is she really alleging that mathematics is twice as discriminatory than biomedicine? No theories. Nothing.

    — IQ irrelevant
    What the @$%#! One–reasonable–critique of IQ tests is that what they measure is the ability to take IQ tests, and perhaps that’s not the “smarts” that people use in life. (It’s only because researchers have collected the data–from the military, from these larger social surverys–that we know that’s not the case. The correlations are very good with life success. The “smarts” that scores well on IQ tests is very closely related to the “smarts” that does well in life–not just educational attainment and income, but not being in accidents, staying out of prison, not having kids out of wedlock, etc.) But whatever the validity of IQ tests for life success … math IQ test sections are obviously on target for measuring ability to do math problems. That’s their metric! Doing math problems.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Harmon. Top level she seems like the typical verbal Jewess spewing the usual Jewish minoritarian narrative. But she just really seems to have a serious bug up her ass about this stuff that leads to increasingly deranged nonsense.

    (Some based guy should have given her a good spanking and knocked her up at 25, 27, 29, 31 … and she’d be doing something useful and the world would be a better place. … Of course, we’d undoubtedly have some other loon parroting this nonsense.)

  151. Maybe the math profession can keep the diversicrats at bay by renaming some famous theorems, the way we rename streets. One that suggests itself right away: the Cauchy-Schwartz Inequality, renamed as “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Inequality”.

    Another one to consider: rename Lorenz Contraction “Mofo Contraction”…ok, maybe.

    • Agree: Father Coughlin
    • Replies: @Paul Yarbles
    I thought you were going to rename it the Cauchy-Schvartze Inequality.
  152. • Replies: @MEH 0910
    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933319494975488

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933321235681281

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933322670051328

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933324473618432

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933325908070402

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933327422279680

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933328974098439
  153. @MEH 0910
    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933317997608965

    • Replies: @International Jew
    Ooh, that must be Amy Harmon in the photo, talking to the black man. Big girl. Applying Sailer's Law of Female Journalists, I'm trying to imagine what kind of world she'd be considered hot in.

    And I'm not making much progress.
    , @RationalExpressions

    “Does the fact that black Americans score lower on IQ tests, on average, let other Americans off the hook for the extreme racial imbalance in research math?”
     
    Besides all her other drivel, which might be excused due to ignorance, this idea that “Americans” are on the hook for the lack of black mathematicians is so insulting. Talk about a conspiracy theory! As Public Enemy once rapped, it takes a nation of millions to keep us down. But of course there is no evidence that anyone, let alone the entire white population, is working to keep blacks from being successful. But she takes the absurd defamation to the extreme and with a straight, scolding face claims Americans, I assume of the white bent, are conspiring to keep blacks out of, of all things, Math academia.
  154. @dearieme
    I've never met a black mathematician, from the US or anywhere else. I did once meet an American professor of Physics - a pleasant and obviously able chap. He told me that one of the problem he had with his job was that his university kept badgering him to go and recruit undergraduates from the ghetto. He complained that he had nothing in common with youngsters in the ghetto except being black. "So the requests are racist" said I. "Of course" said he.

    When the “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was being pushed by the author, Rebecca Skloot, she had a talk at the local Chicago library. A question was posed her by an audience member; a Black, female epidemiologist. That must be a really, REALLY rare bird.

    There were a bunch of Black medico types in the audience. As Derb would say: blackety-blackety-black is apparently their body of academic interest.

  155. @Buck Ransom
    Any day now, Kamala Harris and Liz Warren will demand that only mathematicians of African-American ancestry be entrusted to calculate the amount YT owes in reparations.
    I suspect those numbers will be impressive.

    Kamala Harris mother is a Tamil Brahmin, MD

    I suspect Kamala Harris IQ is above 130

    • Replies: @Spangel
    Absurd. Kamala Harris, unlike B. Obama, gives us copious evidence to believe she is not nearly high iq. Despite coming from a family that prized elite education and having a sister that pursued a law degree at a top school, Kamala Harris went to rather mediocre undergrad and law schools, despite affirmative action. After that she failed her bar exam. It is very unlikely her iq is higher than 110.
  156. @Zpaladin
    If the cause of underrepresentstion in academics is due to discrimination, we would expect MORE discrimination and thus more underrepresentation the more subjective the field.
    Thus, a field such as history should have fewer blacks than economics which would have fewer blacks than physics which would have fewer blacks than math. However, we find the opposite to be the case. In fields where the best are objectively determined, blacks do the worst.
    I experienced this first-hand. I went to Stanford intending to be a physics major but faltered at the math. It is easy to tell the hierarchy of intelligence in math class. Either you get it right or wrong, quickly or slowly. I switched to social science, where you could argue that you were the smartest and no one could prove you wrong.
    Math is like chess. You win or lose and it is objective. Chess is dominated by white and Asian males. It is easy to learn, cheap to play and the best quickly are sorted out to the top. There are clear genetic differences.
    It’s the same with sport. If discrimination were the answer we would see the most disparity in the team sports or subjective, judged sports and the least in the pure sports like running. Soccer would be easy to discriminate because there are so many facets like “team work” and “vision”. The 100 meter dash, however, should perfectly reflect the global population since Dalits and Jamaicans and Peruvians should have equal access to running and it is objective. Instead, of course, sprinting is far more racially skewed than soccer or baseball though the latter have far more to do with training, infrastructure and subjective judgement than sprinting.

    Astronaut Harrison Schmitt said he went to college to become a physicist but his brain wasn’t big enough so he became a geologist.

    • Replies: @Henry's Cat
    Failing that, there's always climate scientist.
  157. @Intelligent Dasein
    How in the hell can you exclude anybody from doing mathematics? Math isn't a freaking country club; it's not like you need a ton of money or connections to participate. It's one of those things that you truly can do on the cheap. What do you need---some notebooks, some pencils, and access to a library? If a bunch of Black guys wanted to get together and form their own LaNicolas Bourbaki society, there's nothing stopping them.

    I heard there was this Prof. Hardy guy who recruited some poor Indian dude who was doing some math on a serious budget. But that was England I think…..

  158. Sacrilege

    Another one to consider: rename Lorenz Contraction “Mofo Contraction”…ok, maybe.

    Rappers need to be telling the truth, as in, “I’m jess a dumb mofo and you do the maff.”

  159. @The Alarmist

    "What I Learned While Reporting on the Dearth of Black Mathematicians"
     
    You'd think that with all the efforts at integration that this racial calculus would stop being so derivative.

    If you keep pushing these limits, you’ll end up in L’Hopital….

    • LOL: jbwilson24
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    I take your point ... my patience for L-Hôpitals is infinitesimal.
  160. Agreed

    — IQ irrelevant
    What the @$%#! One–reasonable–critique of IQ tests is that what they measure is the ability to take IQ tests, and perhaps that’s not the “smarts” that people use in life. (It’s only because researchers have collected the data–from the military, from these larger social surverys–that we know that’s not the case. The correlations are very good with life success. The “smarts” that scores well on IQ tests is very closely related to the “smarts” that does well in life–not just educational attainment and income, but not being in accidents, staying out of prison, not having kids out of wedlock, etc.) But whatever the validity of IQ tests for life success … math IQ test sections are obviously on target for measuring ability to do math problems. That’s their metric! Doing math problems.

    Some elements of an IQ test:
    – Remember a string of numbers
    – Perform abstractions
    – Recognize patterns

    These are needed to do math. These skills are also needed to maintain civilization. Failure to score above some low level cut-off point, say about 1 SD below average, means the inability to maintain civilization.

  161. I really sympathize with the scientists who have to come up with responses when approached by writers like Harmon. They just want to be left alone, to not become involved. Some just give up and say what they don’t believe. Some verbally contort themselves to say something that sounds politically correct, but which has very little meaning.

    This guy Taylor, however, just asks a questions and leaves it unanswered. He said literally nothing (this quote is the only quote from him in the piece). He could have phrased it, “I think that mathematics would be much further along if there were more blacks,” but he didn’t. His answer to his own question might in fact be, “Are you shitting me? Ha ha ha!”

    I have very little sympathy for them. I’ll take an ounce of courage from a person of normal intelligence over a pound of evasive cleverness from a scientist any day. It’s courage that will save us, folks, not cryptic protest. Anyway, that scientist’s response is more likely a rorschach for the anonymous commenter than an intentional jibe at political correctness.

    • Agree: International Jew
  162. Anon[342] • Disclaimer says:

    Affirmative action in any University Department is equivalent to sand in the machine.

    It hurts the department’s reputation, competent people who are excluded from entry level jobs as well as senior positions, and most of all it hurts the students when their education and progress depends on the almost always incompetent affirmative action hires.

    I am aware of deserving Black hires, which are the minority and excluded from this analysis.

    This is not theoretical knowledge for me. This is hard won knowledge.

    Shoe-horning affirmative action hires into the mathematics field will require at least a 1:1 or possibly 2:1 ratio of deserving hires just to monitor and clean up after the affirmative action hires, keeping the their pilloried ratio the same or worse in the field.

    That is if they wish to keep the output (graduates, research, novelty, etc) at the same quality and quantity. But job satisfaction will plummet because the working environment will go to shit regardless, leading to a definite issue with true-talent retention.

    There is no math where affirmative action hiring leads to equivalent-output unless the ratio is kept where it was. Then you are looking at vastly more expensive programs (with the necessary hiring of their babysitters) for the same output.

    In reality, this is an attack on the nation’s core science capability by Jewish media owners. It directly mirrors their stated goals for our destruction and their supremacy.

  163. @Spangel
    So I fished around the internet and it seems that all the numbers I’m finding align with each other. College board estimated that there is a max of 1000 blacks who could get an SAT score between 750 to 800 compared to 1600 whites and 29k Asians. The actual last count was 244 blacks who scored 750 or above.

    That is comparable to 2016 ap calculus AB scores of around 1400 blacks getting 5s out of 70k 5s total. In calc bc it’s 764 out of 60k 5s.

    I think you’d have to have to be able to get a 750+ Math SAT score to get *any* kind of a quant phd. If we’re talking between 250 and 750 blacks per year that could do that, then we account for the fact they these people would be spread over all quant fields- PhD in stats, math, quant finance, physics etc. seems like there could only possibly be a few dozen blacks per year that could pursue a math PhD (or else there would be no black physicists at all...). And then some of those would go into industry. How many blacks per year would even be left to pursue academia?

    Hey, maybe we could bring 13 up to 20 tenured math professors, but it seems like there is a clear dearth of talent. Where does Harmon think we are going to find these extra potential black mathematicians? Among the blacks who aren’t taking the SAT?

    My post has a typo. It should be 16000 whites, not 1600 scoring at least 750 in math per year.

  164. @rec1man
    Kamala Harris mother is a Tamil Brahmin, MD

    I suspect Kamala Harris IQ is above 130

    Absurd. Kamala Harris, unlike B. Obama, gives us copious evidence to believe she is not nearly high iq. Despite coming from a family that prized elite education and having a sister that pursued a law degree at a top school, Kamala Harris went to rather mediocre undergrad and law schools, despite affirmative action. After that she failed her bar exam. It is very unlikely her iq is higher than 110.

  165. @MarkinLA
    I am not sure about this. Pure math that seems to be useless may not be so useless after all.

    In my group theory class the professor was making a case for why this stuff was useful. He presented a problem that he claimed was not solvable by conventional means. He was able to map it into a (for lack of a better word) different space where he could use an algebraic solution and map it back.

    From what I have read in the popular press, many of current big proofs of famous conjectures also involve transforming the problem from one space to another. The more avenues that someone can utilize in this process, the more likely there are other seemingly impossible to solve problems that can be solved.

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science,

    Isn't this ass-backwards. Math isn't part of physics. The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world. Math is tool for physicists to use to guide them in new directions. Take Leon Chua. His conjecture that there is such a thing as a memristor and what it can do is now being built in the lab. He reasoned that with mathematical symetry, it should exist but it took decades for technology to be able to find a way to construct one.

    A simpler example, resistence in an electrical circuit. It also happens to operate under simple agebraic rules. How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn't behave according to the formula.

    How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn’t behave according to the formula.

    The same way we build circuits with multiple nonlinear elements like transistors and diodes. Harder, but certainly still possible.

    FWIW Ohm’s law has some limits on validity: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5262081

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    The point I was trying to make was that what if Ohm's law only worked 40% of the time and we could never establish when it would or would not work. Then how useful would it be?
  166. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    Your post just goes to prove how oppressive math is.

  167. Funny, this was a question on Family Feud last night.

    “We asked 100 African-Americans what would make their lives better. The top four answers are on the board.”

    36 MORE MONEY
    28 MORE BLACK MATH PROFS
    10 DAD COME HOME
    8 WEED

  168. @Captain Willard
    If you keep pushing these limits, you’ll end up in L’Hopital....

    I take your point … my patience for L-Hôpitals is infinitesimal.

  169. @res

    How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn’t behave according to the formula.
     
    The same way we build circuits with multiple nonlinear elements like transistors and diodes. Harder, but certainly still possible.

    FWIW Ohm's law has some limits on validity: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5262081

    The point I was trying to make was that what if Ohm’s law only worked 40% of the time and we could never establish when it would or would not work. Then how useful would it be?

  170. ” They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite”

    Umm, no. There’s plenty of evidence for that. Who is this shadowy ‘they’ anyhow?

    “reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention”

    Does this harridan know anything about genetics? Some traits can be ‘compensated for’, as in the case of haemophilia. Is there evidence that IQ can be magically tuned up?

    Ironically she has no evidence for that claim. Others have to provide evidence for their beliefs, she doesn’t have to provide evidence for hers.

    “or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.””

    Except that blacks have differences in concentration ability, foresight, and time preferences. All of which affect the ability to become obsessed.

    As someone who is working his way through some grad level math texts at the moment, the problem with learning math is that it is hard work. You need regular, diligent practice, just as with piano. Even a genius has to slog through theorems and proofs that are not necessarily interesting.

  171. • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Not math, but this Quora thread name-drops a few African-American CS professors:
     
    Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book about late-talking children called (surprise!) Late-Talking Children, inspired by his own experience with his son. And John Sowell went into the field as well, though not in academia.

    Our three were all late-talkers, but obviously quite smart. And now they won't shut up. I'd be more worried about early talkers. Late talking might be even scarier to blacks, since their physical maturity tends to come more quickly.


    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348829140l/429768.jpg

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/photo.jpg


    This is John Sowell when he was two years old and still nearly two years away from talking. Today he is 32 years old, single, and has a bachelor's degree in statistics, with a concentration in computer science. He works as a computer programmer for a multinational corporation. His hobbies include bowling, music, and creating computer games. His early childhood is discussed in Late-Talking Children by Thomas Sowell.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/newbook.html
     

  172. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    How many times do I have to explain this? If only White men have agency, than everything anyone else does is really the Patriarchy’s doing.

  173. @MarkinLA
    I am not sure about this. Pure math that seems to be useless may not be so useless after all.

    In my group theory class the professor was making a case for why this stuff was useful. He presented a problem that he claimed was not solvable by conventional means. He was able to map it into a (for lack of a better word) different space where he could use an algebraic solution and map it back.

    From what I have read in the popular press, many of current big proofs of famous conjectures also involve transforming the problem from one space to another. The more avenues that someone can utilize in this process, the more likely there are other seemingly impossible to solve problems that can be solved.

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science,

    Isn't this ass-backwards. Math isn't part of physics. The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world. Math is tool for physicists to use to guide them in new directions. Take Leon Chua. His conjecture that there is such a thing as a memristor and what it can do is now being built in the lab. He reasoned that with mathematical symetry, it should exist but it took decades for technology to be able to find a way to construct one.

    A simpler example, resistence in an electrical circuit. It also happens to operate under simple agebraic rules. How could we ever build a circuit with multiple sources of resistence if it didn't behave according to the formula.

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.

    No, you are the one who has this ass backward – the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    The ass-backward comment was in relation to math being part of physics. It isn't part of physics it is just describing some properties of the physical world. Mathematically that would imply that math is a subset of physics which it clearly is not.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.
     
    They're still making mistakes. From Falling Buttresses: Beauvais Cathedral and the Limits of Gothic Architecture:


    Unfortunately, the structure is still in peril. In the sixties, the cathedral’s caretakers removed iron bars which were laterally connecting the buttresses in hopes of making the cathedral look even more graceful. Unsurprisingly, this action caused the transept to separate from the choir. Steel rods were quickly added, but, being more rigid than iron, they seem to have increased the rate of fissure. A wide number of sundry modern braces were added throughout the eighties and nineties, and in 2001 a team of architects from Columbia University scanned the entire edifice. They hope to use their comprehensive imaging resources to design less unwieldy solutions to the cathedral’s many problems, but, at present, the world’s most ambitious gothic edifice remains a masterpiece of beauty but a failure of function.
     

    Nevertheless, I'll take Beauvais's failures over Gehry and Libeskind's successes any day:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxSuUgsGmNA

    , @MarkinLA
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward – the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    I am not sure this has anything to do with what I wrote or even makes sense. I never said there needed to be mathmatical descriptions of physical properties for them to be useful only that when we do find such properties, they behave according to other generalized rules of mathematics that can be proven.

    Taking Ohm's law If we have R1, R2, and R3 and put them in series we know the resistence of R1,R2,R3 = R3,R2,R1 when we design a circuit. Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold. The fact that it does is useful to circuit designers.
    , @El Dato
    Yes, but there is a mysterious all-too-perfect intertwining of Math and (High-Energy, as opposed to Heuristic Make-It-Work for the Engineer) Physics about which we don't know where it comes from.

    Penrose was talking about that in his fat kill-me-with-abstract-concepts tome "The Road To Reality" back in 2000.

    More recently there is this popular-science article in the new Yorker:

    https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/a-different-kind-of-theory-of-everything
  174. @MEH 0910
    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933319494975488

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933321235681281

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933322670051328

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933324473618432

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933325908070402

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933327422279680

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933328974098439

    Ooh, that must be Amy Harmon in the photo, talking to the black man. Big girl. Applying Sailer’s Law of Female Journalists, I’m trying to imagine what kind of world she’d be considered hot in.

    And I’m not making much progress.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    No, that's not Amy. This is Amy:

    https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/new-york-times-correspondent-amy-harmon-and-director-of-hayden-neil-picture-id679443824

    Amy seems to have a thing for black guys.

    Seriously, I don't know what is going on with her except that the reaction of some people in the face of a bankrupt ideology is to keep doubling down - you cannot admit of the slightest doubt to your faith because one you pry open the shell enough to admit a crack of daylight, the whole thing might fly open. She is obviously not a stupid person herself but she believes some very stupid things.

    Since according to her faith (and by faith I don't mean Judaism) there are no genetic differences in abilities in human populations then if any differences exist in the real world they can only be the result of racism, lack of opportunity, poor schools, etc. You can never get her off her initial assumption (just as you could never get, for example, a devout Christian to admit that Jesus was not resurrected no matter what kind of scientific evidence you presented concerning brain death, etc.) and as long as she holds fast to her base assumption (which is more an article of faith than a matter of science), then everything else in her belief system naturally follows : the "loss" that results from all the undiscovered black talent, etc.
    , @Steve Sailer
    There are two writers named Amy Harmon, so be careful which is which.
  175. @Redneck farmer
    Math English is the worst English.

    Math English is the worst English.

    Which is interesting, considering that one of the few saving graces of the language is its insistence on logic– reality-based gender, no double negatives, etc. You’d think mathematicians would be at the top of the game.

    Maybe that’s why Newton wrote his tome in Latin.

  176. @Joe Stalin
    Astronaut Harrison Schmitt said he went to college to become a physicist but his brain wasn't big enough so he became a geologist.

    Failing that, there’s always climate scientist.

  177. @Benjaminl
    Not math, but this Quora thread name-drops a few African-American CS professors:

    https://www.quora.com/Should-I-as-an-African-American-male-pursue-my-PhD-in-Computer-Science-specifically-PL-research-I-have-been-discouraged-several-times-Several-classmates-and-some-professors-have-made-disturbing-remarks-to-me-I-am-considering-going-into-industry

    Anthony D. Joseph, h-index 53
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=xdGKgtcAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

    Hakim Weathersponn, h-index 27
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0zrqo3B-66wC&hl=en&oi=ao

    Theophilus Benson, h-index 18
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=55B-xqUAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

    James Mickens, h-index 17
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=7m5-SfEAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

    Not math, but this Quora thread name-drops a few African-American CS professors:

    Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book about late-talking children called (surprise!) Late-Talking Children, inspired by his own experience with his son. And John Sowell went into the field as well, though not in academia.

    Our three were all late-talkers, but obviously quite smart. And now they won’t shut up. I’d be more worried about early talkers. Late talking might be even scarier to blacks, since their physical maturity tends to come more quickly.

    This is John Sowell when he was two years old and still nearly two years away from talking. Today he is 32 years old, single, and has a bachelor’s degree in statistics, with a concentration in computer science. He works as a computer programmer for a multinational corporation. His hobbies include bowling, music, and creating computer games. His early childhood is discussed in Late-Talking Children by Thomas Sowell.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/newbook.html

    • Replies: @BGI volunteer
    the proper use of the GULAG was for thomas sowell and kindred.

    once white people stop hating white people then utopia.
    , @obwandiyag
    And because the child had parents who were concerned with his intellect and encouraged him to cultivate it, he is a success in a STEM field.

    Surprise--environment, not heredity.

    Can't wait to hear your rationalizations.
  178. @Jack D

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.
     
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward - the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    The ass-backward comment was in relation to math being part of physics. It isn’t part of physics it is just describing some properties of the physical world. Mathematically that would imply that math is a subset of physics which it clearly is not.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    We are getting caught up in semantics here, but I would say that one definition of physics is "the science that attempts to describe the properties of the physical world".
  179. @Anonymous
    The case of Ramanujan is a bit more complicated than that.

    Ramanujan was a Tamil Brahmin, and grew up in Kumbakonam, a town known as a traditional centre of learning, and by the time of his birth, known for Kumbakonam College, an arts and sciences college then known as the "Cambridge of South India." Although he flunked out of college because of his obsessional focus on mathematics, especially on deriving his own results starting from a book of standard 19th century mathematical results and expressions, he was far from isolated.

    Several of his sub-caste cohort of the scholarly Tamil Brahmins had taken up Western knowledge with gusto after the arrival of the British, and his talent was soon spotted within his group. Absent any kind of academic qualifications, he had to beg for jobs. But among the fellow Tamil Brahmin luminaries that he begged for patronage and subsistence, at least two were mathematics professors, and one was the founder of the Indian Mathematical Society and another the editor of its scholarly journal.

    It was this network of bourgeois Tamil Brahmin mathematicians who ensured that his work was referred to the right circles among the power-that-be in Cambridge, Hardy and Littlewood. Once Hardy and Littlewood recognized the value of his work, the machinery of British India quickly swung into action, and he was deposited, with a stipend, into Hardy's care.

    If a random pre-industrial society mathematical genius had to be born into any single society outside of modern Western society, Ramanujan's Iyengar Tamil Brahmin sub-caste in Edwardian-era rural South India was perhaps the best place to be born.

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.

    I think you are overstating the case. You are right that Brahims (like the Ashkenazi Jews of E. Europe and the Japanese) were a literate people with their own traditions of intellectual endeavor and so took eagerly and easily to Western learning when it was made available to them, like seeds cast into fertile soil. Whereas sub-Saharan Africa was an intellectual desert, bereft even of a written language let alone a system of mathematics.

    But, the British set up schools everywhere and promising youths might be trained in the ministry, law, etc. The first black South African to matriculate through the University of the Cape of Good Hope (founded in 1873) was Simon Peter Sihlali in 1880 (30 years before Ramanujan’s time) , who then became a minister. If Sihlali had demonstrated Ramanujan’s vast mathematical talent the British would have put him on the boat to Cambridge too, I have no doubt.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    FerCRissake, Indians invented mathematics.
  180. @Jack D

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.
     
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward - the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    They’re still making mistakes. From Falling Buttresses: Beauvais Cathedral and the Limits of Gothic Architecture:

    Unfortunately, the structure is still in peril. In the sixties, the cathedral’s caretakers removed iron bars which were laterally connecting the buttresses in hopes of making the cathedral look even more graceful. Unsurprisingly, this action caused the transept to separate from the choir. Steel rods were quickly added, but, being more rigid than iron, they seem to have increased the rate of fissure. A wide number of sundry modern braces were added throughout the eighties and nineties, and in 2001 a team of architects from Columbia University scanned the entire edifice. They hope to use their comprehensive imaging resources to design less unwieldy solutions to the cathedral’s many problems, but, at present, the world’s most ambitious gothic edifice remains a masterpiece of beauty but a failure of function.

    Nevertheless, I’ll take Beauvais’s failures over Gehry and Libeskind’s successes any day:

  181. it’s disappointing that even here most of these threads devolve into a stupid discussion about basketball.

  182. @Sergeant Prepper

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall.
     
    In high school, I thought I was pretty good at math. Then I went to university to study engineering, and came across a guy who was so much better at math than me (or anyone else, including most of the professors) that I realized immediately just how mediocre I really was. He was a racehorse running against donkeys. Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I'm pretty sure he sucked at preaching.) Go figure.

    One of my high school friends was Nicholas, whose father was a kind if somewhat intense Russian émigré engineer. Nicholas had a horrendous speech impediment, congenital hearing loss, terrible acne and was one of the smartest people I ever met in person.

    I totally lost track of him, but looked him up on the all-knowing Internet a few years ago. It turns out that he’s an archpriest in the Russian Orthodox Church. In high school, he was mostly interested in astrophysics and the math needed to make sense of it. Go figure.

  183. @International Jew
    Ooh, that must be Amy Harmon in the photo, talking to the black man. Big girl. Applying Sailer's Law of Female Journalists, I'm trying to imagine what kind of world she'd be considered hot in.

    And I'm not making much progress.

    No, that’s not Amy. This is Amy:

    https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/new-york-times-correspondent-amy-harmon-and-director-of-hayden-neil-picture-id679443824

    Amy seems to have a thing for black guys.

    Seriously, I don’t know what is going on with her except that the reaction of some people in the face of a bankrupt ideology is to keep doubling down – you cannot admit of the slightest doubt to your faith because one you pry open the shell enough to admit a crack of daylight, the whole thing might fly open. She is obviously not a stupid person herself but she believes some very stupid things.

    Since according to her faith (and by faith I don’t mean Judaism) there are no genetic differences in abilities in human populations then if any differences exist in the real world they can only be the result of racism, lack of opportunity, poor schools, etc. You can never get her off her initial assumption (just as you could never get, for example, a devout Christian to admit that Jesus was not resurrected no matter what kind of scientific evidence you presented concerning brain death, etc.) and as long as she holds fast to her base assumption (which is more an article of faith than a matter of science), then everything else in her belief system naturally follows : the “loss” that results from all the undiscovered black talent, etc.

  184. @Intelligent Dasein
    First of all, the 5 (five!) commenters thus far who have mentioned the NBA all need to turn in their man cards. Seriously, that is the laziest, stupidest, and most cucked-out metaphor that one could reach for when discussing racial differences. It isn't even applicable. There are plenty of Whites who do in fact play in the NBA; and even among the most die-hard HBDers, it would take someone as scientifically illiterate as the moronic "Lance Welton" to seriously assert that there exists some genetic factor of NBA-ness that Black people possess in abundance. Unfortunately, his cartoonishly ill-informed grasp of the subject seems to be quite representative of the HBD community, as evidenced by this:

    Mr. Anon writes:

    What is the reason to think that a genetic trait is impervious to social or educational intervention?

    The fact that it is a genetic trait. Does she not know what the word “genetic” means?
     
    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word "genetic" means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean "incapable of alteration." Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    Of course, you don't need me to tell you about the etymology of the word, and that its technical definition is that it describes something related to origins. The point at issue here is that the word does not mean what you're using it to mean even in that linguistic domain where it is otherwise misapplied. Nucleic acids do not, on anyone's theory, prescribe traits that are completely inalterable by environmental influences. There is no such thing as a trait completely impervious to environmental influence; such a quality would place it beyond the reach of physical causality, and we would then be talking about the immaterial nature or essence of the creature, not about its "traits" (which are accidental). Using the word in this way creates a dungeon of doomed thought wherein that which is held to be fixed by nature depends on something which is itself physical, hence mutable. If "genetic" is taken to mean nucleic acids, then one thing that by definition it cannot also mean is "immutable." If, on the other hand, "genetic" is taken as a synonym for essences, then it cannot also refer to anything physical.

    Jack D:

    Pure math (like writing) never existed in Sub-Saharan Africa until it was introduced from Europe in modern times.
     
    Pure math is the contemplation of number itself, and number is the idea of a limit. Pure math is therefore as old as language and thought, and it has quite other expression-possibilities besides those of the chalkboard. The writing of the formula is not what is significant; the significance lies in the sense of a limit having been reached. A geometrical proof of the Euclidean variety was---for Euclid, Archimedes, and especially Pythagoras---not "an exercise in reasoning" but a single Euclidean "number" that brought order out of a world of dim sense impressions. Similarly, for Western man it is the function, the relation, the set which accomplishes as much. He who truly understands formulae of the sort like "force equals mass times acceleration" sees not an arrangement of three quantities but a single concept the truth of which is beyond doubt. He thinks it true because he perceives the world thus, and the formula expresses the very manner in which he thinks.

    With that being said, there are as many mathematics as there are thinking beings. The Sub-Saharans certainly have their own notions of limits which, in depth of force and expressive power may be very much weaker than the Western, but which however do not differ from it in kind.

    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word “genetic” means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean “incapable of alteration.” Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.

    It is not incapable of alteration. Natural selection does alter genetic traits over time. It is incapable of alteration within a human lifetime with the kind of social or economic interventions that Ms. Harmon is talking about. If your genes predispose you to have sub-standard intelligence (I am by the way, not speaking of race here – while there are differences between races there is a lot of variability within races, as everyone knows) then no amount of coddling, exhortation, or special treatment is going to make you brilliant. Such interventions may grant you greater knowledge, instill some discipline, and generally be favorable, but they will not turn a dullard into a genius.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    Sucks for you, I guess.
  185. @Jack D

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.
     
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward - the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    No, you are the one who has this ass backward – the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    I am not sure this has anything to do with what I wrote or even makes sense. I never said there needed to be mathmatical descriptions of physical properties for them to be useful only that when we do find such properties, they behave according to other generalized rules of mathematics that can be proven.

    Taking Ohm’s law If we have R1, R2, and R3 and put them in series we know the resistence of R1,R2,R3 = R3,R2,R1 when we design a circuit. Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold. The fact that it does is useful to circuit designers.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold.
     
    Of course it does. The relationship is a result of the physical properties of resistors and the nature of resistance. If resistors had a different physical property (e.g. if they were diodes) then R1,R2,R3 might NOT be equal to R3, R2, R1. Ohm is merely describing the physical property of resistance mathematically. It's like writing down the notes to a birdsong.
  186. @MarkinLA
    The ass-backward comment was in relation to math being part of physics. It isn't part of physics it is just describing some properties of the physical world. Mathematically that would imply that math is a subset of physics which it clearly is not.

    We are getting caught up in semantics here, but I would say that one definition of physics is “the science that attempts to describe the properties of the physical world”.

  187. Harmon is expressly frustrated with the dearth of Black fields medal winners and seems to think that we could create a black fields medalist simply by handing the medal out to a black mathematician. In her estimation, higher maths is an art and whose math is the best is subjective, so we ought to just hand the medal out to a black so the racists lose a talking point. We will then, of course, make a movie about this black fields medalist and it will be widely popularized that this is the best mathematician of all time.

    But I’d like to understand where she expects this black fields medalist to come from. It seems only 3 black people have medaled in the math Olympiad in recent years? Compared to probably a thousand non black medalists in the same timeframes. Has there ever been a black math Olympiad participant who got a gold in the history of the competition?

    We’ve seen hundreds of medalists from poor or backward countries. Maryam mirzhakani placed first and one two golds. She later went on to win a fields medal, despite coming from a clearly biased country against women. Bigotry did not stop her, nor did it keep the world from recognizing her talent.

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    • Replies: @James Speaks

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?
     
    Yes. We need a new discipline. Call it Black Maff Studies.

    "Two mofo plus two ho be like, you gnome saying?"

    , @Jack D

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?
     
    TBH, she would be cool with that, yes.
    , @MarkinLA
    Every middle school math teacher immediately recognizes the smartest kid in the class. Every high school math teacher does as well. The school counselor would pass this information along. The kid would even be encouraged to take classes at the local JC.

    The idea that there is some black Terence Tao out there slipping through the cracks is ridiculous.
  188. @MarkinLA
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward – the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    I am not sure this has anything to do with what I wrote or even makes sense. I never said there needed to be mathmatical descriptions of physical properties for them to be useful only that when we do find such properties, they behave according to other generalized rules of mathematics that can be proven.

    Taking Ohm's law If we have R1, R2, and R3 and put them in series we know the resistence of R1,R2,R3 = R3,R2,R1 when we design a circuit. Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold. The fact that it does is useful to circuit designers.

    Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold.

    Of course it does. The relationship is a result of the physical properties of resistors and the nature of resistance. If resistors had a different physical property (e.g. if they were diodes) then R1,R2,R3 might NOT be equal to R3, R2, R1. Ohm is merely describing the physical property of resistance mathematically. It’s like writing down the notes to a birdsong.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn't mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world. The fact that it does allows us use mathematics in our circuit design and to design even more complex circuits and have high confidence that it will work before we comit it to hardware.

    Anyway, I think you are off on some tanget.
  189. @Spangel
    Harmon is expressly frustrated with the dearth of Black fields medal winners and seems to think that we could create a black fields medalist simply by handing the medal out to a black mathematician. In her estimation, higher maths is an art and whose math is the best is subjective, so we ought to just hand the medal out to a black so the racists lose a talking point. We will then, of course, make a movie about this black fields medalist and it will be widely popularized that this is the best mathematician of all time.

    But I’d like to understand where she expects this black fields medalist to come from. It seems only 3 black people have medaled in the math Olympiad in recent years? Compared to probably a thousand non black medalists in the same timeframes. Has there ever been a black math Olympiad participant who got a gold in the history of the competition?

    We’ve seen hundreds of medalists from poor or backward countries. Maryam mirzhakani placed first and one two golds. She later went on to win a fields medal, despite coming from a clearly biased country against women. Bigotry did not stop her, nor did it keep the world from recognizing her talent.

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    Yes. We need a new discipline. Call it Black Maff Studies.

    “Two mofo plus two ho be like, you gnome saying?”

  190. @Spangel
    Harmon is expressly frustrated with the dearth of Black fields medal winners and seems to think that we could create a black fields medalist simply by handing the medal out to a black mathematician. In her estimation, higher maths is an art and whose math is the best is subjective, so we ought to just hand the medal out to a black so the racists lose a talking point. We will then, of course, make a movie about this black fields medalist and it will be widely popularized that this is the best mathematician of all time.

    But I’d like to understand where she expects this black fields medalist to come from. It seems only 3 black people have medaled in the math Olympiad in recent years? Compared to probably a thousand non black medalists in the same timeframes. Has there ever been a black math Olympiad participant who got a gold in the history of the competition?

    We’ve seen hundreds of medalists from poor or backward countries. Maryam mirzhakani placed first and one two golds. She later went on to win a fields medal, despite coming from a clearly biased country against women. Bigotry did not stop her, nor did it keep the world from recognizing her talent.

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    TBH, she would be cool with that, yes.

  191. @Spangel
    Harmon is expressly frustrated with the dearth of Black fields medal winners and seems to think that we could create a black fields medalist simply by handing the medal out to a black mathematician. In her estimation, higher maths is an art and whose math is the best is subjective, so we ought to just hand the medal out to a black so the racists lose a talking point. We will then, of course, make a movie about this black fields medalist and it will be widely popularized that this is the best mathematician of all time.

    But I’d like to understand where she expects this black fields medalist to come from. It seems only 3 black people have medaled in the math Olympiad in recent years? Compared to probably a thousand non black medalists in the same timeframes. Has there ever been a black math Olympiad participant who got a gold in the history of the competition?

    We’ve seen hundreds of medalists from poor or backward countries. Maryam mirzhakani placed first and one two golds. She later went on to win a fields medal, despite coming from a clearly biased country against women. Bigotry did not stop her, nor did it keep the world from recognizing her talent.

    Is Harmon’s suggestion that we overlook the thousands of people who showed better problem solving at the events such as the Olympiad, and give the fields medal to some black person simply to stick one to the racists?

    Every middle school math teacher immediately recognizes the smartest kid in the class. Every high school math teacher does as well. The school counselor would pass this information along. The kid would even be encouraged to take classes at the local JC.

    The idea that there is some black Terence Tao out there slipping through the cracks is ridiculous.

  192. @Jack D

    Nothing in the physical world demands that this relationship hold.
     
    Of course it does. The relationship is a result of the physical properties of resistors and the nature of resistance. If resistors had a different physical property (e.g. if they were diodes) then R1,R2,R3 might NOT be equal to R3, R2, R1. Ohm is merely describing the physical property of resistance mathematically. It's like writing down the notes to a birdsong.

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world. The fact that it does allows us use mathematics in our circuit design and to design even more complex circuits and have high confidence that it will work before we comit it to hardware.

    Anyway, I think you are off on some tanget.

    • Replies: @James Speaks

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world
     
    This is stupid. Ohm's Law was written after the observation. To prove R1+R2+R3 to equal R3+R2+R1 all we need to do is think about what it means; the electric potential energy lost in a resistor that is converted to thermal energy does not depend on which order the resistors are in. It only depends on voltage and current.

    Your argument is specious.
  193. @International Jew
    Maybe the math profession can keep the diversicrats at bay by renaming some famous theorems, the way we rename streets. One that suggests itself right away: the Cauchy-Schwartz Inequality, renamed as "The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Inequality".

    Another one to consider: rename Lorenz Contraction "Mofo Contraction"...ok, maybe.

    I thought you were going to rename it the Cauchy-Schvartze Inequality.

  194. @syonredux

    or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention,
     
    Yeah, I mean, we all know that proper social/educational intervention can overcome genetics. For example, note how women have overtaken men in the 100 meter dash......

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability,
     
    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90....

    which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    See, if a guy with a 98 IQ is properly motivated......

    I mean, there is a lot of truth in that. Having a higher IQ generally means you learn more quickly, make more connections between things, and forget less. But a very motivated person can easily outcompete a more intelligent person with lower motivation. It’s like how a fit 70 year old might not be able to beat a fit 30 year old in an athletic competition, but he could definitely beat a lot of out-of-shape 30 year olds.

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    There is no underlying theory of brain-mind in IQ Test Score Psychometrics....therefore, therefore there is no serious computational model underlying and guiding IQ Test Score Psychometrics...other than:intelligence is whatever IQ tests measure...a tautology.....as shallow as you can get.....
  195. i guess steve is ultimately motivated by his having been adopted.

    this is sad.

    i recommended one of his articles, and the response was, “he’s adopted.”

    it’s sad that steve never criticizes capitalism in name or otherwise.

    low IQ i guess.

    SAD!

  196. evil rich people can rely on stupid poor people like steve to obscure and distract.

    this is sad.

  197. @Reg Cæsar

    Not math, but this Quora thread name-drops a few African-American CS professors:
     
    Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book about late-talking children called (surprise!) Late-Talking Children, inspired by his own experience with his son. And John Sowell went into the field as well, though not in academia.

    Our three were all late-talkers, but obviously quite smart. And now they won't shut up. I'd be more worried about early talkers. Late talking might be even scarier to blacks, since their physical maturity tends to come more quickly.


    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348829140l/429768.jpg

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/photo.jpg


    This is John Sowell when he was two years old and still nearly two years away from talking. Today he is 32 years old, single, and has a bachelor's degree in statistics, with a concentration in computer science. He works as a computer programmer for a multinational corporation. His hobbies include bowling, music, and creating computer games. His early childhood is discussed in Late-Talking Children by Thomas Sowell.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/newbook.html
     

    the proper use of the GULAG was for thomas sowell and kindred.

    once white people stop hating white people then utopia.

  198. @Spangel
    So I fished around the internet and it seems that all the numbers I’m finding align with each other. College board estimated that there is a max of 1000 blacks who could get an SAT score between 750 to 800 compared to 1600 whites and 29k Asians. The actual last count was 244 blacks who scored 750 or above.

    That is comparable to 2016 ap calculus AB scores of around 1400 blacks getting 5s out of 70k 5s total. In calc bc it’s 764 out of 60k 5s.

    I think you’d have to have to be able to get a 750+ Math SAT score to get *any* kind of a quant phd. If we’re talking between 250 and 750 blacks per year that could do that, then we account for the fact they these people would be spread over all quant fields- PhD in stats, math, quant finance, physics etc. seems like there could only possibly be a few dozen blacks per year that could pursue a math PhD (or else there would be no black physicists at all...). And then some of those would go into industry. How many blacks per year would even be left to pursue academia?

    Hey, maybe we could bring 13 up to 20 tenured math professors, but it seems like there is a clear dearth of talent. Where does Harmon think we are going to find these extra potential black mathematicians? Among the blacks who aren’t taking the SAT?

    I got a 720, first try, in the ’70s — based only on being good at stuff like doing sports stats in my head and pure test-taking ability. I could never do even a shred of calculus, trig, geometry or even much algebra. Is that weird or normal?

    • Replies: @EH
    Not so weird, you could probably do most areas of math, at least up until the math-major-only classes, if you had been given some motivating interest in them rather than classroom aversive conditioning. But as actually taught and published, one can't pretend high-level academic math isn't a form of aversive conditioning. I would object to most of it being used on prisoners in Guantanamo.
  199. @Reg Cæsar

    Not math, but this Quora thread name-drops a few African-American CS professors:
     
    Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book about late-talking children called (surprise!) Late-Talking Children, inspired by his own experience with his son. And John Sowell went into the field as well, though not in academia.

    Our three were all late-talkers, but obviously quite smart. And now they won't shut up. I'd be more worried about early talkers. Late talking might be even scarier to blacks, since their physical maturity tends to come more quickly.


    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348829140l/429768.jpg

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/photo.jpg


    This is John Sowell when he was two years old and still nearly two years away from talking. Today he is 32 years old, single, and has a bachelor's degree in statistics, with a concentration in computer science. He works as a computer programmer for a multinational corporation. His hobbies include bowling, music, and creating computer games. His early childhood is discussed in Late-Talking Children by Thomas Sowell.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~liuna/newbook.html
     

    And because the child had parents who were concerned with his intellect and encouraged him to cultivate it, he is a success in a STEM field.

    Surprise–environment, not heredity.

    Can’t wait to hear your rationalizations.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    And Mrs Sowell carried John rather than Mr Sowell, because of sexism and "conditioning". Environment, not heredity.

    Do you have any more pointless comments to make?
  200. @wiseguy
    I hope I’m not missing something, but hasn’t anyone pointed out that math is not the “queen of the sciences?” That title belongs to theology.

    Beat me to it.

  201. @Jack D

    A Bantu or Xhosa Ramanujan would have vanished without a trace.
     
    I think you are overstating the case. You are right that Brahims (like the Ashkenazi Jews of E. Europe and the Japanese) were a literate people with their own traditions of intellectual endeavor and so took eagerly and easily to Western learning when it was made available to them, like seeds cast into fertile soil. Whereas sub-Saharan Africa was an intellectual desert, bereft even of a written language let alone a system of mathematics.

    But, the British set up schools everywhere and promising youths might be trained in the ministry, law, etc. The first black South African to matriculate through the University of the Cape of Good Hope (founded in 1873) was Simon Peter Sihlali in 1880 (30 years before Ramanujan's time) , who then became a minister. If Sihlali had demonstrated Ramanujan's vast mathematical talent the British would have put him on the boat to Cambridge too, I have no doubt.

    FerCRissake, Indians invented mathematics.

  202. because the disgusting “people of walmart” aren’t explained by the pseudo-science of HBD.

    they are explained by a sick society.

    HBD assumes that the locus of pathology is always the individual… (because HBDers have low IQs and are “turned out” by rich people like mssr kraft.)

    when the locus of pathology is the society.

    you’re down with strike & mike or you’re down with mossad.

    btw, i know first hbd the power of genes.

    i am a genuine BGI volunteer but my father, his brother, and his sister…

    huntington’s.

    no kidding.

  203. @Mr. Anon

    Apparently it is you who does not know what the word “genetic” means. You are using it as an antonym for something learned or enculturated, roughly to mean “incapable of alteration.” Most people around here also use the word as a shorthand for talking about nucleic acids. Commonly, both meanings are combined, and both are incorrect. The combination of the two is profoundly incorrect.
     
    It is not incapable of alteration. Natural selection does alter genetic traits over time. It is incapable of alteration within a human lifetime with the kind of social or economic interventions that Ms. Harmon is talking about. If your genes predispose you to have sub-standard intelligence (I am by the way, not speaking of race here - while there are differences between races there is a lot of variability within races, as everyone knows) then no amount of coddling, exhortation, or special treatment is going to make you brilliant. Such interventions may grant you greater knowledge, instill some discipline, and generally be favorable, but they will not turn a dullard into a genius.

    Sucks for you, I guess.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    As far as I can tell, I'm a lot smarter than you. Not that that is much of a hurdle. I haven't detected a scintilla of intelligence from you, nitwit.
  204. @Lin
    Y1 = aX^2 + bX + c
    Y2 = dX^2 + eX + f
    What is Y1 in terms of Y2?
    Looks like grade 10 math.
    ………..
    I think I posted this before, there's a 'simple' math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can't do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1

    I think I posted this before, there’s a ‘simple’ math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can’t do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1

    Sounds like this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure. What’s to prove?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_(mathematics)#Definition

    • Replies: @KL
    @Lin, @El Dato

    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1
     

    this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure.
     
    Yes, @Lin needs to define (-1) and "times". There are a surprising number of proofs online. You could start with the Peano Axioms, and show that the integers are a unitary ring. Most engineering majors could not do this.
    , @Lin
    (I am a math major myself..)
    You don't exactly need to go into 'abstract' algebra (BTW, the real number system is a an 'ordered field'). Not that difficult actually:
    (-1)+(+1) = 0 --------- (a)
    multiply both side of (a) by (+1) and then by (-1):

    (-1)(-1) + (-1)(+1) = (-1)0 = 0 ---------(b1)
    (+1)(-1)+(+1)(+1) = (+1)0 = 0 ---------(b2)
    (b1) - (b2): (-1)(-1) + (-1)(+1) - (+1)(-1) - (+1)(+1) = 0 - 0 = 0
    (-1)(-1) = (+1)(+1) = 1 because multiplication is commutative (-1)(+1) = (+1)(-1)
    QED

  205. @Anonymous

    But mathematics research is funded largely by taxpayers. Federal agencies distributed some $350 million in grants to American universities for basic math research alone in 2016.
     
    Math research involves pencil, paper, and what the Germans call "Sitzfleisch", the ability to spend endless hours at a desk doing grueling work. In other words, it doesn't really cost anything. What these people are calling for of course is not spending millions more on pencils and paper, but millions more to be siphoned off by universities and administrators.

    Nowadays you also get to use some solid computational devices for experimental mathematics, or may encode many lines of theory in Coq or similar. Which is fun.

  206. @Jack D

    The physical world has properties that can be decribed in mathematical terms. To our advantage, the relationships that we can prove about these mathematical properties also seem to hold in the physical world.
     
    No, you are the one who has this ass backward - the physical world has always (or at least for a long time) existed but then humans developed the math to describe it. Resistance in electrical circuits existed before Ohm was able to describe it algebraically. Resistance is not a physical manifestation of algebra, algebra is a symbolic representation of a physical reality.

    Not being able to describe certain problems mathematically is not necessarily a complete impediment (though it sure makes things easier). In the Medieval world they had no calculus to calculate the load bearing capacity of arches so they would just build them taller and thinner until they collapsed and then the next time they would build it back slightly less tall and somewhat thicker.

    Yes, but there is a mysterious all-too-perfect intertwining of Math and (High-Energy, as opposed to Heuristic Make-It-Work for the Engineer) Physics about which we don’t know where it comes from.

    Penrose was talking about that in his fat kill-me-with-abstract-concepts tome “The Road To Reality” back in 2000.

    More recently there is this popular-science article in the new Yorker:

    https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/a-different-kind-of-theory-of-everything

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unreasonable_Effectiveness_of_Mathematics_in_the_Natural_Sciences

    "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences" is the title of an article published in 1960 by the physicist Eugene Wigner.[1] In the paper, Wigner observed that the mathematical structure of a physical theory often points the way to further advances in that theory and even to empirical predictions.
     
    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html
  207. If there are two normal distributions, A and B, with the same standard deviation, σ, and A’s average is one standard deviation greater than B’s average, then at +σa (taking the A distribution’s average as the reference; if taking the B distribution’s average as the reference, the equivalent would be +2σb) the A/B ratio will be 0.158655/0.027500 = 6.973846.

    At +2σa (or +3σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.027500/0.001350 = 20.370370 (approximately; it’s not actually a repeating decimal, as values were rounded).

    At +3σa (or +4σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.001350/0.000032 = 42.187500.

    At +6σa (or +7σb), the A/B ratio will be (1.973*(10^(-7)))/(2.56*(10^(-10))) = 770.703125.

    (I suck at arithmetic, so I’m not sure if the above is correct)

    Suppose the white IQ distribution was normal and with a σ of 15 points, and so was the black IQ distribution (that’s not really the case, the black σ is reportedly smaller, around 12 or 13 points, but rounding the cows for now). If one needed to score 190 in an IQ test to be a professional mathematician (not the case, but still), for each 770 white professional mathematicians, you’d expect to have 1 black professional mathematician.

    Which is pretty sad for the blacks.

    But you’d still expect to see -many dozens- of black professional mathematicians, provided the total number of professional mathematicians (as in, worldwide) was much, much greater than 770 (which I suspect it to be). (Of course, the world isn’t just black and white; there are other populations: East Asian mathematicians, Jewish mathematicians, etc.)

    The point is that, if in a population of -thousands- of professional mathematicians there are less than a dozen black professional mathematicians, then there might be some other influence besides IQ. It’s not certain; it may be just IQ after all. But is that for sure?

    Cochran (with the late Harpending) had mused about how, if you had two professional mathematicians of equal IQ (”talents”?), but one of them ”had a life”, that one would be ”far less productive”. Expanding on that a bit, maybe high IQ blacks — the whole hundred of them — are not as interested in (or obsessed with) mathematics as whites and yellows are, and that might have small environmental component to it (as in, ”shared environment” rather than ”nonshared environment”).

    Or not. But one would have to look into it to know. (Possibly this is the case, people have looked into it, and I’m just ignorant)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    If you are real good with math and you want to be a college professor and are more outgoing, economics or MBA schools pay well and you can make lots of money consulting. I think the highest paid professor at Harvard U. might be Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, and the highest paid professor of Harvard College is Roland Fryer, a bright black economist.
    , @res
    If you want to do calculations like this Emil's tail effects calculator is handy:
    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/understanding_statistics/?app=tail_effects
  208. @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[375] wrote:

    The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc.
     
    All true, bnt, in the end, theorems are nice.

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Anonymous also wrote:

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.
     
    Well... I, and I suspect most physicists, would agree that many mathematicians seem almost eager to separate their work from any real-world applications. This was not always true: Gauss, for example, was happy to metaphorically "get his hands dirty" with actual problems in celestial mechanics and even surveying (!), and that helped motivate some of his best mathematical work. I agree that physics and engineering examples could really help pedagogically: indeed, lots of engineering schools and physics departments just teach much of the math themselves (this is not optimal, but the math department seems uninterested).

    And, there are some areas (notably information and error-correction theory, in which I have worked myself) where the distinction between math and engineering can be hard to draw.

    Yet, math is not really physics, and we physicists need it not to be. We need the rigor and the theorems sitting there in the background, even if we often forget the details in practice.

    But, it sure would be nice if we could teach mathematicians to speak in English, at least the form of English used in other STEM fields!

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Excellent. Edsger W. Dijkstra would certainly appreciate.

    This is coming more and more.

    Coders doing wild coding based on brianwaves and heuristics without the associated proof of adherence-to-specs and upholding-of-safety-invariants will eventually become a bit old-fashioned.

    Just this month in CACM there is an article on “Separation Logic”, which I don’t get yet:

    https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2019/2/234356-separation-logic/fulltext

    Amazing numbers:

    *Interactive verifiers* have been used to prove small, intricate algorithms. A recent paper reports on the verification of low-level concurrent algorithms including a CAS-lock, a ticketed lock, a GC allocator, and a non-blocking stack. An emphasis is placed on reusability; for instance, the stack uses the GC allocator, which in turn uses a lock, but the stack uses the spec of the allocator and the allocator uses the spec rather than the implementation of a lock.

    The verifiable C logic has been used to prove crypto code. For example, OpenSSL’s HMAC authentication code, comprising 134 lines of C, was proven using 2,832 lines of Coq.

    A larger example is the FSCQ file system. The code and the proof are both done in Coq, taking up 31k lines of proof+code. This compares to 3k lines of C for a related unverified file system. Although the initial effort, which included development of a program logic framework in Coq, took several person years, experiments show incremental, lower cost when modifying code+proof.

  209. @adreadline
    If there are two normal distributions, A and B, with the same standard deviation, σ, and A's average is one standard deviation greater than B's average, then at +σa (taking the A distribution's average as the reference; if taking the B distribution's average as the reference, the equivalent would be +2σb) the A/B ratio will be 0.158655/0.027500 = 6.973846.

    At +2σa (or +3σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.027500/0.001350 = 20.370370 (approximately; it's not actually a repeating decimal, as values were rounded).

    At +3σa (or +4σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.001350/0.000032 = 42.187500.

    At +6σa (or +7σb), the A/B ratio will be (1.973*(10^(-7)))/(2.56*(10^(-10))) = 770.703125.

    (I suck at arithmetic, so I'm not sure if the above is correct)

    Suppose the white IQ distribution was normal and with a σ of 15 points, and so was the black IQ distribution (that's not really the case, the black σ is reportedly smaller, around 12 or 13 points, but rounding the cows for now). If one needed to score 190 in an IQ test to be a professional mathematician (not the case, but still), for each 770 white professional mathematicians, you'd expect to have 1 black professional mathematician.

    Which is pretty sad for the blacks.

    But you'd still expect to see -many dozens- of black professional mathematicians, provided the total number of professional mathematicians (as in, worldwide) was much, much greater than 770 (which I suspect it to be). (Of course, the world isn't just black and white; there are other populations: East Asian mathematicians, Jewish mathematicians, etc.)

    The point is that, if in a population of -thousands- of professional mathematicians there are less than a dozen black professional mathematicians, then there might be some other influence besides IQ. It's not certain; it may be just IQ after all. But is that for sure?

    Cochran (with the late Harpending) had mused about how, if you had two professional mathematicians of equal IQ (''talents''?), but one of them ''had a life'', that one would be ''far less productive''. Expanding on that a bit, maybe high IQ blacks -- the whole hundred of them -- are not as interested in (or obsessed with) mathematics as whites and yellows are, and that might have small environmental component to it (as in, ''shared environment'' rather than ''nonshared environment'').

    Or not. But one would have to look into it to know. (Possibly this is the case, people have looked into it, and I'm just ignorant)

    If you are real good with math and you want to be a college professor and are more outgoing, economics or MBA schools pay well and you can make lots of money consulting. I think the highest paid professor at Harvard U. might be Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, and the highest paid professor of Harvard College is Roland Fryer, a bright black economist.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    The University of California maintains a public, searchable database of salaries.

    https://ucannualwage.ucop.edu/wage/

    I confess, I did look up a couple of my graduate school professors from back east, who are now grey eminences at Berkeley. I was happy to see they’re paid very well.

    As you might expect, most of the high-six figure salaries are earned by medical school professors. It’s really a bi-modal distribution.

    PiltdownCousin2, who for a while was a department chair in physics,
    said he was tasked with hiring a couple of superstars and given a budget of $500 k each, circa 2008. But he said the typical full professor in his field makes about $200-250k. He was talking HYPSMC

  210. If Goins voted for Obama and then Hillary Clinton….he voted to import Chinese and Hindus. The question I would ask Goins is this:Do you support importing Hindu and Chinese Legal Immigrants? If so why?

    I suspect that Goins’ real gripe is that America was…and is too white….

    Richard Taylor is an elite mathematician who is an expert on Galois Representations(you all know who Galois was…right?….the guy who got his head blown off in dual)…his father is a well known cosmologist who was a former actor. His father the cosmologist Richard Taylor used to do a radio call in show where he gave advice on dating and sex…..true story…

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    The set theory concept of transitivity very nicely and precisely captures the notion of Racial Tribal Membership...Steve’s notion of race as an extended family.....I leave this as an excercise for Steve’s readers.....
  211. @War for Blair Mountain
    If Goins voted for Obama and then Hillary Clinton....he voted to import Chinese and Hindus. The question I would ask Goins is this:Do you support importing Hindu and Chinese Legal Immigrants? If so why?

    I suspect that Goins’ real gripe is that America was...and is too white....

    Richard Taylor is an elite mathematician who is an expert on Galois Representations(you all know who Galois was...right?....the guy who got his head blown off in dual)...his father is a well known cosmologist who was a former actor. His father the cosmologist Richard Taylor used to do a radio call in show where he gave advice on dating and sex.....true story...

    The set theory concept of transitivity very nicely and precisely captures the notion of Racial Tribal Membership…Steve’s notion of race as an extended family…..I leave this as an excercise for Steve’s readers…..

  212. @MarkinLA
    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn't mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world. The fact that it does allows us use mathematics in our circuit design and to design even more complex circuits and have high confidence that it will work before we comit it to hardware.

    Anyway, I think you are off on some tanget.

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world

    This is stupid. Ohm’s Law was written after the observation. To prove R1+R2+R3 to equal R3+R2+R1 all we need to do is think about what it means; the electric potential energy lost in a resistor that is converted to thermal energy does not depend on which order the resistors are in. It only depends on voltage and current.

    Your argument is specious.

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    Is that valid with nonlinear effects? I don’t know...but perhaps MarkLA was thinking in terms of nonlinear resistors and nonlinear effects.....
  213. @Calvin Y Hobbes
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in America is 1 to 7.
    The ratio of blacks to non-blacks in the NBA is 3 to 1.
    So blacks are overrepresented by a factor of 21 in the NBA.

    The 0.7 percent of blacks in the population of mathematicians described in the article amounts to an underrepresentation by a factor of a little less than 21.

    Someone should ask Amy Harmon about why she thinks blacks are as overrepresented in the NBA as they are underrepresented among research mathematicians.

    Calvin, AND mathematicians don’t have sponsors and sneakers with their name on them.

  214. @prime noticer
    the least important thing in the world. akin to why are there no indians in sports.

    prime, What Indians, Blue dot or whoo whoo?

  215. @Christopher Chantrill
    OK. So Good Little Girl Amy Harmon is writing what she has been carefully taught, from year to year, to hate and to fear, etc.

    But I would hate to be the quota black math professor pretending that I understand what all the other on-the-spectrum math whizzes are talking about.

    See Amy, math is not like a bunch of Mean Girls saying "I can't believe he came up with that equation." It is something completely beyond your ken.

    “But I would hate to be the quota black math professor pretending that I understand what all the other on-the-spectrum math whizzes are talking about.”

    The assumption of course is that the 1 doesn’t get what’s going on. There is every possibility to believe that he understands that and more.

    The observation itself is only silently less than valid than — the assumption that the one black is to some quota as opposed to having earned his position regardless of quota or that quota is by definition an indication of less qualified.

    • Replies: @bomag

    There is every possibility to believe that he understands that and more.
     
    Hardly.

    You don't evince much understanding of the issues.

    One often hears, "my car breaks down all the time." The car doesn't literally experience one break down immediately after the previous one is corrected; there is an understanding that this speaks to a relative frequency. But this has to be explained to you, after which you still won't understand.
  216. Sigh, ok add to my growing list of reparations….all blacks will now be known as Mathematicians. Or Doctors, or lawyers, or physicists. Whatever.

    • Replies: @res
    Rocket surgeons.
    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rocket%20Surgeon
  217. @International Jew
    Ooh, that must be Amy Harmon in the photo, talking to the black man. Big girl. Applying Sailer's Law of Female Journalists, I'm trying to imagine what kind of world she'd be considered hot in.

    And I'm not making much progress.

    There are two writers named Amy Harmon, so be careful which is which.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Our Amy Harmon:

    https://www.pulitzer.org/cms/sites/default/files/styles/bio_photo/public/bio-photo/AmyHarmon1.jpg

    The other Amy Harmon:

    https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1341709289p5/5829056.jpg
  218. @AndrewR
    I mean, there is a lot of truth in that. Having a higher IQ generally means you learn more quickly, make more connections between things, and forget less. But a very motivated person can easily outcompete a more intelligent person with lower motivation. It's like how a fit 70 year old might not be able to beat a fit 30 year old in an athletic competition, but he could definitely beat a lot of out-of-shape 30 year olds.

    There is no underlying theory of brain-mind in IQ Test Score Psychometrics….therefore, therefore there is no serious computational model underlying and guiding IQ Test Score Psychometrics…other than:intelligence is whatever IQ tests measure…a tautology…..as shallow as you can get…..

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    By the way, even though my views 0n IQ Test Score Psychometrics are basically very similar to views of Nicholas Taleb....However, Taleb is arrogant and odious fat Arab.....and therefore, I am going to give you IQ Test Score Enthusiats some ammo to “shoot” back at Taleb....just to be a nasty fuck....

    Ask Taleb why the math mumbo jumbo about measure theory(countably additive measure specifically) and Jenson’s inequality...nonlinear correlations....doesn’t apply to Astronomy and Geophysics where searching for correlations are really important....I seriously doubt that any working Astronomer and Geophyscist knows anything about measure theory and Komogorov’s measure theoretic axiomatic foundations of probability theory.....

  219. @adreadline
    If there are two normal distributions, A and B, with the same standard deviation, σ, and A's average is one standard deviation greater than B's average, then at +σa (taking the A distribution's average as the reference; if taking the B distribution's average as the reference, the equivalent would be +2σb) the A/B ratio will be 0.158655/0.027500 = 6.973846.

    At +2σa (or +3σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.027500/0.001350 = 20.370370 (approximately; it's not actually a repeating decimal, as values were rounded).

    At +3σa (or +4σb), the A/B ratio will be 0.001350/0.000032 = 42.187500.

    At +6σa (or +7σb), the A/B ratio will be (1.973*(10^(-7)))/(2.56*(10^(-10))) = 770.703125.

    (I suck at arithmetic, so I'm not sure if the above is correct)

    Suppose the white IQ distribution was normal and with a σ of 15 points, and so was the black IQ distribution (that's not really the case, the black σ is reportedly smaller, around 12 or 13 points, but rounding the cows for now). If one needed to score 190 in an IQ test to be a professional mathematician (not the case, but still), for each 770 white professional mathematicians, you'd expect to have 1 black professional mathematician.

    Which is pretty sad for the blacks.

    But you'd still expect to see -many dozens- of black professional mathematicians, provided the total number of professional mathematicians (as in, worldwide) was much, much greater than 770 (which I suspect it to be). (Of course, the world isn't just black and white; there are other populations: East Asian mathematicians, Jewish mathematicians, etc.)

    The point is that, if in a population of -thousands- of professional mathematicians there are less than a dozen black professional mathematicians, then there might be some other influence besides IQ. It's not certain; it may be just IQ after all. But is that for sure?

    Cochran (with the late Harpending) had mused about how, if you had two professional mathematicians of equal IQ (''talents''?), but one of them ''had a life'', that one would be ''far less productive''. Expanding on that a bit, maybe high IQ blacks -- the whole hundred of them -- are not as interested in (or obsessed with) mathematics as whites and yellows are, and that might have small environmental component to it (as in, ''shared environment'' rather than ''nonshared environment'').

    Or not. But one would have to look into it to know. (Possibly this is the case, people have looked into it, and I'm just ignorant)

    If you want to do calculations like this Emil’s tail effects calculator is handy:
    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/understanding_statistics/?app=tail_effects

    • Replies: @adreadline

    If you want to do calculations like this Emil’s tail effects calculator is handy:
    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/understanding_statistics/?app=tail_effects

     

    Thank you.
  220. @Buffalo Joe
    Sigh, ok add to my growing list of reparations....all blacks will now be known as Mathematicians. Or Doctors, or lawyers, or physicists. Whatever.
  221. @MEH 0910
    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933319494975488

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933321235681281

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933322670051328

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933324473618432

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933325908070402

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933327422279680

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1098933328974098439

    “Does the fact that black Americans score lower on IQ tests, on average, let other Americans off the hook for the extreme racial imbalance in research math?”

    Besides all her other drivel, which might be excused due to ignorance, this idea that “Americans” are on the hook for the lack of black mathematicians is so insulting. Talk about a conspiracy theory! As Public Enemy once rapped, it takes a nation of millions to keep us down. But of course there is no evidence that anyone, let alone the entire white population, is working to keep blacks from being successful. But she takes the absurd defamation to the extreme and with a straight, scolding face claims Americans, I assume of the white bent, are conspiring to keep blacks out of, of all things, Math academia.

  222. Horny Mama says blacks are “underrepresented” in math departments. But, by the same “logic”, couldn’t we say the same about snakes, spiders, and sailfish?

  223. Damned if you don’t, damned if you do.

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    I have no idea what she's talking about.
  224. @Steve Sailer
    There are two writers named Amy Harmon, so be careful which is which.

    Our Amy Harmon:

    The other Amy Harmon:

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Amy Harmon #2 (not "our" Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    "Our" Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?
    , @ben tillman
    That lighting is shockingly unflattering. Why would she choose to use that pic with the awful shadow above her left nostril?
  225. Amy Harmon at the NYT:

    No one tallies the number of black mathematicians in those departments, but as best I can tell, there are 13. That comes to seven-tenths of 1 percent of the total -— perhaps as far as any job classification gets from accurately reflecting the share of black Americans in the general adult population, which stands at 13 percent.

    It’s a fair bet that most math Ph.Ds. got 750 or above on the Math SAT. How do blacks do on the Math SAT? Of those who score 750 or above on the Math SAT, what proportion are black? How does this compare with Amy Harmon’s tally indicating that blacks comprise 0.7% of math professors ?Journal of Blacks in Higher Education: The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT College Admissions Test provides us with the answer.

    In 2005, 153,132 African Americans took the SAT test. They made up 10.4 percent of all SAT test takers…
    If we raise the top-scoring threshold to students scoring 750 or above on both the math and verbal SAT — a level equal to the mean score of students entering the nation’s most selective colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, and CalTech — we find that in the entire country 244 blacks scored 750 or above on the math SAT and 363 black students scored 750 or above on the verbal portion of the test. Nationwide, 33,841 students scored at least 750 on the math test and 30,479 scored at least 750 on the verbal SAT. Therefore, black students made up 0.7 percent of the test takers who scored 750 or above on the math test and 1.2 percent of all test takers who scored 750 or above on the verbal section.

    Blacks comprised 0.7% of those who scored 750 or above on the Math SAT, and also comprised 0.7% of Math professors. Looks to me as if there is no racial exclusion at all in doctoral level mathematics. On the contrary, Math SAT scores and blacks as math professors track very well.

    This article was published in 2006, so the news has been out there for quite a while. It doesn’t say much for Amy Harmon’s information searching abilities that she is apparently unaware of it. One would think a journalist would be adept at information searching, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for Amy Harmon.

  226. @El Dato
    Yes, but there is a mysterious all-too-perfect intertwining of Math and (High-Energy, as opposed to Heuristic Make-It-Work for the Engineer) Physics about which we don't know where it comes from.

    Penrose was talking about that in his fat kill-me-with-abstract-concepts tome "The Road To Reality" back in 2000.

    More recently there is this popular-science article in the new Yorker:

    https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/a-different-kind-of-theory-of-everything

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unreasonable_Effectiveness_of_Mathematics_in_the_Natural_Sciences

    “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” is the title of an article published in 1960 by the physicist Eugene Wigner.[1] In the paper, Wigner observed that the mathematical structure of a physical theory often points the way to further advances in that theory and even to empirical predictions.

    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html

  227. @syonredux

    or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention,
     
    Yeah, I mean, we all know that proper social/educational intervention can overcome genetics. For example, note how women have overtaken men in the 100 meter dash......

    or that high I.Q. is key to math ability,
     
    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90....

    which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
     
    See, if a guy with a 98 IQ is properly motivated......

    Newton? Probably had an 85 IQ. Gauss? No more than 90….

    Yes, but they are European, so this is centigrade IQ, not fahrenheit IQ like we use in the states. Adjust it what we use over here and those guys are geniuses!

  228. @War for Blair Mountain
    There is no underlying theory of brain-mind in IQ Test Score Psychometrics....therefore, therefore there is no serious computational model underlying and guiding IQ Test Score Psychometrics...other than:intelligence is whatever IQ tests measure...a tautology.....as shallow as you can get.....

    By the way, even though my views 0n IQ Test Score Psychometrics are basically very similar to views of Nicholas Taleb….However, Taleb is arrogant and odious fat Arab…..and therefore, I am going to give you IQ Test Score Enthusiats some ammo to “shoot” back at Taleb….just to be a nasty fuck….

    Ask Taleb why the math mumbo jumbo about measure theory(countably additive measure specifically) and Jenson’s inequality…nonlinear correlations….doesn’t apply to Astronomy and Geophysics where searching for correlations are really important….I seriously doubt that any working Astronomer and Geophyscist knows anything about measure theory and Komogorov’s measure theoretic axiomatic foundations of probability theory…..

  229. @MEH 0910
    Our Amy Harmon:

    https://www.pulitzer.org/cms/sites/default/files/styles/bio_photo/public/bio-photo/AmyHarmon1.jpg

    The other Amy Harmon:

    https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1341709289p5/5829056.jpg

    Amy Harmon #2 (not “our” Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    “Our” Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Amy Harmon #2 (not “our” Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.
     
    Which is the long way of saying she just looks like Andie McDowell.
    , @JMcG
    That’s the smirk of a toad with James Watson’s scalp on her belt.
    , @AnotherDad

    “Our” Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?
     
    Yeah, she's a perfectly pleasant looking woman. (Looks feminine, not like a man.) She isn't one of these smart, but ugly women out to make the world pay for its unfairness. I don't think the underlying issue here revolves around her looks.

    I think it's the religion thing you mentioned above:


    Since according to her faith (and by faith I don’t mean Judaism) there are no genetic differences in abilities in human populations then if any differences exist in the real world they can only be the result of racism, lack of opportunity, poor schools, etc.


    This racial blank slatism is her replacement--i'm guessing--for Judaism. This gal is clearly not without some personal energy and intelligence--though from her writing, i can guess she really skews verbal, she doesn't really seem to have any "feel" for what math is about. But it's all misdirected.

    She would have been far better off in an earlier time getting hitched to a nice Jewish boy, getting her dose of religion at the synagogue on saturday and directing her energies into raising a passel of smart, well-behaved kids.


    Unfortunately, she's not alone. There are just boatloads of these gals who have misdirected their lives away from the momming they're suited for, over to blabbing about politics or social science, with a mental makeup--full of feelings--ill suited in terms of rationality, logic or numeracy, to the task.

    And seriously, no one should be blathering on about nurture\nature--certainly taking the nurture side--unless they have had at least two kids. There reallly ought to be law.
  230. Amy Harmon destroys the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule and relishes her accomplishment.

    Next task: Convince the world that our civilization is stagnating because we do not have enough black mathematicians.

    What is next?

    Convincing the world that there are countless white Michael Jordans out there whose incredible basketball talents are being buried by racist preconceptions?

    What could the NBA be today if these white Michael Jordans could only be allowed to compete in the NBA?

  231. @PhysicistDave
    Well, at leas this is both funny and true:

    But research mathematicians frequently suggest that their work is closer to poetry or painting than other sciences, a concept perhaps best-illustrated by an XKCD cartoon bearing the legend “Fields Arranged by Purity,” with physicists claiming dominion over chemists, biologists, psychologists and sociologists, all spaced the same width apart (“it’s nice to be on top”) until the figure representing the mathematicians, far off in the distance, turns to notice the cluster to her left. “Oh hey,” she says. “I didn’t see you guys all the way over there.”
     
    Pure math is very, very hard, even for those of us in STEM subjects. Your odds of becoming a full professor are not great, and you can make more money as an engineer.

    It really is possible that black kids who are smart enough to hack STEM but who come from a poor background look at the economics and say, "Thanks but no thanks: I'm doing engineering."

    I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    (I'm not ruling out the possibility that Professor Goins has indeed been treated unfairly. There is a lot of viciousness in academic politics towards people of all races.)

    >I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    I do believe it is mostly choice based, though this not for an entirely flattering reason: I believe that women tend to be saner than men, on average. I’m not being facetious. Autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychopathy, prophet complexes, the extremes of genius and retardation writ large, “exotic brain chemistry” has always been disproportionately male. It is probably intrinsically linked to testosterone, so my guess is that short of mass biological engineering, it will always be. And the kind of obsessive, all-canceling drive you need to survive and thrive in theoretical physics or math these days often requires you be at least a little eccentric. Do women exist that would want to sacrifice their lives, fiscal and personal, to this? Yes. But if the men who are willing to do this are a very small minority, they are a very, very small minority.

    They also give birth, and despite all the discrimination laws in the book, I’ve known PIs who have flat out refused to give postdoc appointments to pregnant women, or even married women who weren’t ruling out kids. (There are countries that handle this a lot better than the US does, most notably Germany and Israel.) Women-especially ones who want families-quite rationally look at the costs of an academic career, then look at their skill set, and decide that they’d like to spend their lives doing something other than producing papers that might, at best, win them the admiration of 100 people around the globe and a lead conference talk in Japan.

    • Replies: @res

    I believe that women tend to be saner than men, on average.
     
    One theory is that men only having a single X chromosome contributes to this.
  232. @James Speaks

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world
     
    This is stupid. Ohm's Law was written after the observation. To prove R1+R2+R3 to equal R3+R2+R1 all we need to do is think about what it means; the electric potential energy lost in a resistor that is converted to thermal energy does not depend on which order the resistors are in. It only depends on voltage and current.

    Your argument is specious.

    Is that valid with nonlinear effects? I don’t know…but perhaps MarkLA was thinking in terms of nonlinear resistors and nonlinear effects…..

    • Replies: @James Speaks

    Is that valid with nonlinear effects? I don’t know…but perhaps MarkLA was thinking in terms of nonlinear resistors and nonlinear effects…..
     
    Is Ohm's Law valid for nonlinear effects? The way you derive Ohm's Law for resisters in series assume linear behavior (or approximation thereof). MarkLA was commenting on how the Commutative property of Real numbers did not have to apply to Ohm's Law.

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world.
     
    But he was saying this in response to JackD

    Of course it does. The relationship is a result of the physical properties of resistors and the nature of resistance. If resistors had a different physical property (e.g. if they were diodes) then R1,R2,R3 might NOT be equal to R3, R2, R1. Ohm is merely describing the physical property of resistance mathematically. It’s like writing down the notes to a birdsong.
     
    Mathematics is just a way to manage the concept of numerical values. Subsets of math, algebra of real numbers, for example, are applicable to physics when the physical laws line up with the mathematical laws.

    Ohm's Law assumes linear behavior, thus the associative property holds.
  233. @El Dato

    I think I posted this before, there’s a ‘simple’ math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can’t do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1
     
    Sounds like this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure. What's to prove?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_(mathematics)#Definition

    ,

    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1

    this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure.

    Yes, needs to define (-1) and “times”. There are a surprising number of proofs online. You could start with the Peano Axioms, and show that the integers are a unitary ring. Most engineering majors could not do this.

  234. Amy Harmon is a Barbarian in the sense of those who sacked Rome. Someone who sides with barbarians as they gather at the gates to destroy our civilization. A traitor.

  235. @MEH 0910
    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1099089636759097356

    https://twitter.com/amy_harmon/status/1099089638331944960

    Damned if you don't, damned if you do.

    I have no idea what she’s talking about.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    I will translate into reality:

    “Who do they make eye contact with? Not you.''

    Colleagues in a math shop talk meeting avoid making eye contact because they know that if Prof. Blackety Black catches your eye, the result will either be a) he will say something really dumb that shows that he really isn't keeping up with the discussion but everyone else will have to pretend that it was an intelligent and appropriate remark or (b) he will change the subject to the empowerment of black youth, etc.


    "And then when they do that, you feel very measured in what you say. Because you feel like you have to say the right thing, every time you speak.'

    Prof. BB, not being completely dumb (at least with respect to social interactions) senses the above and tries his best to sound intelligent (which is painful to listen to) but it's beyond his capabilities so at some point he switches to plan B and changes the subject to the empowerment of black youth.

    This is all a natural consequence of Affirmative Action and mismatch. Prof. BB could be the best, most inspiring teacher of 1st semester calculus to undergrads at a small liberal arts college but at the big league research university where he has ended up, he is in over his head and the result is painful to everyone including Prof. BB himself.
  236. @Jack D
    Amy Harmon #2 (not "our" Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    "Our" Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?

    Amy Harmon #2 (not “our” Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    Which is the long way of saying she just looks like Andie McDowell.

  237. @MEH 0910
    Our Amy Harmon:

    https://www.pulitzer.org/cms/sites/default/files/styles/bio_photo/public/bio-photo/AmyHarmon1.jpg

    The other Amy Harmon:

    https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1341709289p5/5829056.jpg

    That lighting is shockingly unflattering. Why would she choose to use that pic with the awful shadow above her left nostril?

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Maybe I was unfair in the choice of picture for our Amy. Let me try again:

    http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/x_large/public/201611/111716_KM_slotaamyharmon.JPG
    , @William Badwhite
    maybe to detract attention from her beaver teeth?
  238. @ben tillman
    I have no idea what she's talking about.

    I will translate into reality:

    “Who do they make eye contact with? Not you.”

    Colleagues in a math shop talk meeting avoid making eye contact because they know that if Prof. Blackety Black catches your eye, the result will either be a) he will say something really dumb that shows that he really isn’t keeping up with the discussion but everyone else will have to pretend that it was an intelligent and appropriate remark or (b) he will change the subject to the empowerment of black youth, etc.

    “And then when they do that, you feel very measured in what you say. Because you feel like you have to say the right thing, every time you speak.’

    Prof. BB, not being completely dumb (at least with respect to social interactions) senses the above and tries his best to sound intelligent (which is painful to listen to) but it’s beyond his capabilities so at some point he switches to plan B and changes the subject to the empowerment of black youth.

    This is all a natural consequence of Affirmative Action and mismatch. Prof. BB could be the best, most inspiring teacher of 1st semester calculus to undergrads at a small liberal arts college but at the big league research university where he has ended up, he is in over his head and the result is painful to everyone including Prof. BB himself.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  239. @Steve Sailer
    If you are real good with math and you want to be a college professor and are more outgoing, economics or MBA schools pay well and you can make lots of money consulting. I think the highest paid professor at Harvard U. might be Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, and the highest paid professor of Harvard College is Roland Fryer, a bright black economist.

    The University of California maintains a public, searchable database of salaries.

    https://ucannualwage.ucop.edu/wage/

    I confess, I did look up a couple of my graduate school professors from back east, who are now grey eminences at Berkeley. I was happy to see they’re paid very well.

    As you might expect, most of the high-six figure salaries are earned by medical school professors. It’s really a bi-modal distribution.

    PiltdownCousin2, who for a while was a department chair in physics,
    said he was tasked with hiring a couple of superstars and given a budget of $500 k each, circa 2008. But he said the typical full professor in his field makes about $200-250k. He was talking HYPSMC

  240. Steve, I submitted a comment ~ two hours ago, with a link. Where is it?

  241. @ben tillman
    That lighting is shockingly unflattering. Why would she choose to use that pic with the awful shadow above her left nostril?

    Maybe I was unfair in the choice of picture for our Amy. Let me try again:

  242. SJWism aside, diversifying academia could be a very good thing for the culture war. Most far left ideologues are white academics, their numbers should be thinned by non-whites.

  243. Everything Amy Harmon writes comes from the same place: hostility towards white goyim. It’s the Unified Field Theory of Amy Harmon. Or Amy’s Butterknife. Choose your metaphor.

    It’s no surprise. There are hundreds of similar cases out there. I mean, haven’t you spent fifteen minutes with Blue Check Twitter?

  244. @nebulafox
    >I do always wonder why leftists never consider the possibility that people make choices: e.g., the fact that few women go into physics is probably due to the fact that most girls choose not to go into physics because it is hard and has poor job prospects. It is mainly (a minority of) guys, like me, who are obsessed enough with physics to do it anyway.

    I do believe it is mostly choice based, though this not for an entirely flattering reason: I believe that women tend to be saner than men, on average. I'm not being facetious. Autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychopathy, prophet complexes, the extremes of genius and retardation writ large, "exotic brain chemistry" has always been disproportionately male. It is probably intrinsically linked to testosterone, so my guess is that short of mass biological engineering, it will always be. And the kind of obsessive, all-canceling drive you need to survive and thrive in theoretical physics or math these days often requires you be at least a little eccentric. Do women exist that would want to sacrifice their lives, fiscal and personal, to this? Yes. But if the men who are willing to do this are a very small minority, they are a very, very small minority.

    They also give birth, and despite all the discrimination laws in the book, I've known PIs who have flat out refused to give postdoc appointments to pregnant women, or even married women who weren't ruling out kids. (There are countries that handle this a lot better than the US does, most notably Germany and Israel.) Women-especially ones who want families-quite rationally look at the costs of an academic career, then look at their skill set, and decide that they'd like to spend their lives doing something other than producing papers that might, at best, win them the admiration of 100 people around the globe and a lead conference talk in Japan.

    I believe that women tend to be saner than men, on average.

    One theory is that men only having a single X chromosome contributes to this.

  245. From Amy Harmon’s NYT article:

    No one tallies the number of black mathematicians in those departments, but as best I can tell, there are 13. That comes to seven-tenths of 1 percent of the total — perhaps as far as any job classification gets from accurately reflecting the share of black Americans in the general adult population, which stands at 13 percent.

    It’s a fair bet that most math Ph.Ds. got 750 or above on the Math SAT. How do blacks do on the Math SAT? Of those who score 750 or above on the Math SAT, what proportion are black? How does this compare with Amy Harmon’s estimate that blacks comprise 0.7% of math professors?

    An article entitled “The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT College Admissions Test,” which is found in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (2006), gives us that information.

    In 2005, 153,132 African Americans took the SAT test. They made up 10.4 percent of all SAT test takers…
    If we raise the top-scoring threshold to students scoring 750 or above on both the math and verbal SAT — a level equal to the mean score of students entering the nation’s most selective colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, and CalTech — we find that in the entire country 244 blacks scored 750 or above on the math SAT and 363 black students scored 750 or above on the verbal portion of the test. Nationwide, 33,841 students scored at least 750 on the math test and 30,479 scored at least 750 on the verbal SAT. Therefore, black students made up 0.7 percent of the test takers who scored 750 or above on the math test and 1.2 percent of all test takers who scored 750 or above on the verbal section.

    Blacks comprised 0.7% of those who scored 750 or above on the Math SAT, and also comprised 0.7% of Math professors. Looks to me as if there is no “racial exclusion” – Amy Harmon’s words- at all in doctoral level mathematics. On the contrary, blacks’ Math SAT scores and blacks as math professors track very well. (no link because my comment with link has not been approved, while many comments without links, posted after my comment, have been approved.)

    • Agree: bomag
  246. Anonymous[415] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon7
    If you don’t take real math, you don’t know how hard it is to “get” some of these subjects.

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall. About 1 person in a million is that tall; I'll bet there aren't 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.

    And I'll tell you something else. It's as easy for pure math professors to tell who has the talent to do pure math as it is for basketball coaches to see who the tallest kid on the team is. You just can't fake being 7 feet tall.

    Imagine being a 6'4" guy; you're thinking "I'm in the 99th percentile for height, baby! I'm tall." Then you stand next to a guy who is at the 99.999th percentile for height and you look like somebody's kid brother.

    It would be unimaginably embarrassing for someone without authentic math ability to be given a pure math professorship through affirmative action. As embarrassing as someone 6'4" contesting a jump ball against a guy 7'2". Everyone in your field would know. It's different from fields where you can bulls**t your way to a degree.

    “I’ll bet there aren’t 200 adults in the USA with the native talent to become a pure math prof at a major institution.”

    There are ~130 R1 universities per a Carnegie study. [This makes sense if you think of about 1 public and 1 private per state (some of course have a little more, some less).] Looking at a couple schools, I see ~60 tenure-track faculty (not postdocs, not emeritus). So that is ~7800 positions.

    Plus you have some equivalent positions in US industry, government, national labs, etc. So probably something north of 10,000 positions. Maybe cut it in half to take out applied math and stats. So ~5,000 plum positions.

    Obviously there are some people in the population with sufficient talent who don’t chose to be Northwestern pure math profs. Feynman won the Putnam but chose physics because pure math was too un-applied. Who knows what the factor is, but it’s got to be higher than 1. If you figured 2:1, that gets you to 10,000 again. 4:1 gets you to 20,000.

    So, I think your “200” is a couple orders of magnitude low.

    P.s. Please don’t tell me that only the superstar faculty members can be considered. If you do that, you’re being like football fans who think every position can only be staffed by an all-pro to be considered OK. It doesn’t correlate to objective reality for “a starting wide receiver is a starting wide receiver”

    P.s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem

  247. @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[338] asked me:

    What is so hard about [pure math]?
     
    Hmmm...

    Have you gone through all of Gilkey's book on the heat-equation proof of the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem? Page by page? And understood it all?

    Or better still, the Wiles-Taylor proof of Fermat's Last Theorem?

    And, for extra credit, the entire proof of the classification theorem for finite simple groups? You only get the full extra credit if you find all the errors (there are plenty!).

    If you've done all that, I salute you and can only say that almost everyone, including professional mathematicians, finds what I have just described to be quite hard.

    Indeed, I am certain beyond reasonable doubt that no single human being has ever carried out all three of the tasks I just proposed.

    On the other hand, if you are seriously asking what it is that makes pure math difficult, I suppose the basic problem is its distance from the mundane reality that humans evolved to deal with. E.g., modern math routinely deals not only with spaces of more than three dimensions but also with infinite-dimensional spaces of various sorts. It is routine to assume that we have somehow made an infinite number of arbitrary choices (that this can be done is guaranteed by the so-called "Axiom of Choice"), that we have completed mathematical structures with an infinite number of elements, and so on. And all this is not some arbitrary impediment to the student: you need to do some of this sort of thing even to understand areas of math relevant to physics and engineering (e.g., Fourier analysis).

    Furthermore, higher math involves visualization of very peculiar objects, grasping very long chains of reasoning, and understanding a large number of rather arcane definitions. In the back of your mind, you need to keep some archetypical examples that show you what motivates the whole logical structure, as well as a number of standard "counter-examples" that help prevent you from making "obvious " assumptions that are in fact false.

    And, you have to get familiar enough with all of this, at least in the field you are working in, that it becomes second nature to you, and seems almost "obvious."

    Everything I've just said assumes that your teachers and textbooks are doing their best to help you along in this process. Unfortunately, as a number of us have discussed, that is not always the case.

    I've known a number of math professors as well as brilliant prodigies: I have never met one who really found "pure math" easy, just not quite as hard as most people find it.

    Greg LeMond: “It never gets easier. You just go faster.”

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  248. @El Dato

    I think I posted this before, there’s a ‘simple’ math problem most non-math major science/engineering grads can’t do off-hand:
    To prove: (-1) times (-1) = +1
     
    Sounds like this directly follows from the properties of a commutative ring structure. What's to prove?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_(mathematics)#Definition

    (I am a math major myself..)
    You don’t exactly need to go into ‘abstract’ algebra (BTW, the real number system is a an ‘ordered field’). Not that difficult actually:
    (-1)+(+1) = 0 ——— (a)
    multiply both side of (a) by (+1) and then by (-1):

    (-1)(-1) + (-1)(+1) = (-1)0 = 0 ———(b1)
    (+1)(-1)+(+1)(+1) = (+1)0 = 0 ———(b2)
    (b1) – (b2): (-1)(-1) + (-1)(+1) – (+1)(-1) – (+1)(+1) = 0 – 0 = 0
    (-1)(-1) = (+1)(+1) = 1 because multiplication is commutative (-1)(+1) = (+1)(-1)
    QED

  249. Anonymous[140] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave
    Anonymous[375] wrote:

    The misconception is that the presentation of rigorous, highly formalized proof and theory mirrors the actual nature and practice of mathematics. As if mathematicians simply just stare at a set of axioms and mechanically churn out theorems through some completely opaque process. In reality, you do math like any other intellectual activity – you make guesses, look at examples, test your conjectures with observations, etc.
     
    All true, bnt, in the end, theorems are nice.

    I have actually proved theorems in work I did in engineering, because I needed to know that the algorithms worked not simply in the fairly large number of examples I had checked empirically but always.

    Anonymous also wrote:

    There are prominent mathematicians who believe that math is a part of physics and natural science, and that the separation of math from physics in the 20th century has been disastrous for math and math pedagogy.
     
    Well... I, and I suspect most physicists, would agree that many mathematicians seem almost eager to separate their work from any real-world applications. This was not always true: Gauss, for example, was happy to metaphorically "get his hands dirty" with actual problems in celestial mechanics and even surveying (!), and that helped motivate some of his best mathematical work. I agree that physics and engineering examples could really help pedagogically: indeed, lots of engineering schools and physics departments just teach much of the math themselves (this is not optimal, but the math department seems uninterested).

    And, there are some areas (notably information and error-correction theory, in which I have worked myself) where the distinction between math and engineering can be hard to draw.

    Yet, math is not really physics, and we physicists need it not to be. We need the rigor and the theorems sitting there in the background, even if we often forget the details in practice.

    But, it sure would be nice if we could teach mathematicians to speak in English, at least the form of English used in other STEM fields!

    Yeah, math is pretty annoying that they use Fraktur letters (how do you even pronounce those), weird boldface and whatever you call that thing with the extra lines in it (A with an extra line on the side), upside down A. Oh…and the more annoying Greek symbols like squiggle and other squiggle (I refuse to learn their names).

  250. @Spangel
    Is there data on how many blacks get 5s each year on the calculus AB or BC exam? Calc ab is not even that hard. Few would call it a math geek class or anything, but I can hardly imagine being able to get a math PhD if you can’t get a five on the calc ab exam. Plus, calc ab is widely available, even in low performing schools. I would think that the vast majority of blacks who showed promise would have access to calculus ab and apart from that we could look at the ratio of blacks in the class compared to those who got fives to get a picture of the amount of blacks with the most baseline requisite apitude to become a mahematician. Granted, it takes a lot more than a five in calc ap classes, but you have to be able to do at least that.

    And how many blacks progress from ashme to anime? Any data on that?

    https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/the-challenge-of-black-students-and-advanced-placement/

    (I think you could have Googled some studies instead of the lazy question.)

  251. “They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, ”

    So why not, say, teach everyone to have O- blood? Would make the world somewhat more efficient.

    How stupid is this person?

  252. @Johnny Rico
    Sucks for you, I guess.

    As far as I can tell, I’m a lot smarter than you. Not that that is much of a hurdle. I haven’t detected a scintilla of intelligence from you, nitwit.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    Congratulations.
  253. Anonymous[140] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    The poster boy for this is Ramanujan. Even 100 years ago when there was no internet and even books barely made it to the backwaters of India, Ramanujan was able to teach himself math and then make important breakthru contributions of his own. And even the horrible racist British could not deny his talent and brought him to Cambridge. But there was no Ramanujan of Kenya or Ramanujan of Nigeria.

    Ramanujan was an incredible find but it’s a sample of one and can really be argued both ways (e.g. what if Hardy hadn’t noticed him).

    However, I would argue it is easier to move quality work nowadays regardless of if you are off the beaten track. Examples are Gregori Perelman living with his Mom and publishing an amazing result on Arxive. Or Yitang Zhang, whose work was immediately credited and approved by the top math journal despite nobody knowing the fellow.

    All that said, one can wonder if Zhang might have produced more if his academic career had not been side tracked. Or even Perelman. Although it becomes a question how much is the fault of the system or the men to not adjust to it.

  254. Man you do kvetch a lot! These days I jusy scroll throigh the greybox (designed and efficient and doing nothing but raising the blood temperature of everyone who reads it) and hope that your own text will actually include a good joke or a unique insight. But lately you’ve even been outsourcing those to the occasional perspicacious commentator.

    I get that you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You don’t have the large swinging balls that Ann Coulter has but, surprisingly, you have more horse sense. You may be accomplishing more for whatever can be salvaged of Trumpism by not attacking Donald Trump’s ego every day than Ann accomplishes by doing just that.

    Then again, Ann’s right. She swung for the fences and replaced both Money and God with Trump!© and published “In Trump We Trust” and somehow – maybe because she’s an aging woman with F-you money – she was able to quickly notice that she’d been conned (I knew Trump was conning all along but I’m still inctedibly happy that he won) and Ann admitted her mistake(!) and I’ve gotta give her mad props for that. A Big Man should be careful not to lose his base before he gets a new one but Ann did it.

    On that actual subject, I had predicted that Trump would swing hard left on whatever issue energized Democrats in The Current Year and would totally sell out his base and not built The Wall and would thereby lose the most vociferous Trumpists but gain “a strange new respect” by the media and even by some prominent Centrist-Leaning Democrats. Granted he’s been trying to do that since Day 1 but, to my surprise he has not been doing it well. It may be that he’s just too old to pull off that trick but I wouldn’t bet against him. If he is as sane and healthy and not-under-indictment as he was in 2016 then you bet your ass he will won 2020 too.

    But anyway, I get that you don’t have target-rich Obama-Era stuff to write about like when “microagressions” and “transgenderism” were created (as anything but a joke aboit weirdos) but we elected “Grab-em-by-the-Pu**y” as a middle finger to those guys and rhey have since become weaker rather than stronger on a very steady basis. They only #metoo each other while their formerly-petrified patrons now just pat their heads and patronize them with peons about the principles of black panther.

    So you’re basically left with using Google Alerts to get red signal alerts about every stupid of untrue thing anyone of note says anywhere and then you…kvetch about it. A LOT.

    Hey, I still check out your writing regularly out of habit but man I wish you’d pivot so you can be entertaining and uniquely insightful again instead of just offering up generic spam to the dregs of humanity.

    Just don’t make Donald-cum-Jared’s mistake. Get some good sleep before you pivot.

  255. @Simon in London
    >>" There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc. "<<

    German science gave the world rockets.
    Jewish science gave the world A-bombs.

    Two great tastes that taste great together!

    When it comes to stuff like Freudian psychology I guess the Nazis did have a point, though.

    Sometimes I think Freudian psychology is just projection. A Freudian slip, on the other hand, I have been told, is when you say one thing and mean your mother.

  256. @Known Fact
    I got a 720, first try, in the '70s -- based only on being good at stuff like doing sports stats in my head and pure test-taking ability. I could never do even a shred of calculus, trig, geometry or even much algebra. Is that weird or normal?

    Not so weird, you could probably do most areas of math, at least up until the math-major-only classes, if you had been given some motivating interest in them rather than classroom aversive conditioning. But as actually taught and published, one can’t pretend high-level academic math isn’t a form of aversive conditioning. I would object to most of it being used on prisoners in Guantanamo.

  257. @Jack D
    Amy Harmon #2 (not "our" Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    "Our" Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?

    That’s the smirk of a toad with James Watson’s scalp on her belt.

  258. @EliteCommInc.
    "But I would hate to be the quota black math professor pretending that I understand what all the other on-the-spectrum math whizzes are talking about."

    The assumption of course is that the 1 doesn't get what's going on. There is every possibility to believe that he understands that and more.

    The observation itself is only silently less than valid than -- the assumption that the one black is to some quota as opposed to having earned his position regardless of quota or that quota is by definition an indication of less qualified.

    There is every possibility to believe that he understands that and more.

    Hardly.

    You don’t evince much understanding of the issues.

    One often hears, “my car breaks down all the time.” The car doesn’t literally experience one break down immediately after the previous one is corrected; there is an understanding that this speaks to a relative frequency. But this has to be explained to you, after which you still won’t understand.

  259. The New York Times seems to have turned off the comments section for this Harmon article — even within the few comments that were allowed before the shut-off, a bit too much truth was sneaking through.

  260. @Mr. Anon
    As far as I can tell, I'm a lot smarter than you. Not that that is much of a hurdle. I haven't detected a scintilla of intelligence from you, nitwit.

    Congratulations.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    With your witty repartee and a nickel you could buy a gumball.
  261. @ben tillman
    That lighting is shockingly unflattering. Why would she choose to use that pic with the awful shadow above her left nostril?

    maybe to detract attention from her beaver teeth?

  262. @Johann Ricke

    But what this means is that even in the best of circumstances (and most blacks don’t have the best of circumstances – they are raised mostly by ghetto mothers and not Asian Tiger parents)
     
    Considering that whites obtain better educational outcomes for Asian adoptees than Asian adoptive parents, I'm not sure the Asian Tiger Mom thing is a help rather than a hindrance. What's more likely is that where the parents fit the Tiger Mom profile, the kids' natural talents are stifled at a young age in favor of areas orthogonal to those talents.

    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don’t have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II. When Richard Feynman taught in Brazil, he only encountered two Brazilians that had a good grasp of physics, whereas the rest had just memorized textbooks. Of the two Brazilians with a good grasp, one was not educated in Brazil and the other had taught himself during World War II.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don’t have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II.
     
    I doubt it's conformity, so much as lives shaped from an early age by oppressively helpful parents, generation after generation. The Chinese hoi polloi, for instance, have been anything but docile - fully 1/3 of China's 2200-year history after unification involved dynasties (Han, Ming and CCP) started by commoners who organized rebel armies that toppled the ancien regime. And there are numerous other commoners who came within a whisker of seizing the throne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Zicheng https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan It's hard to think of too many other places where commoners rose to the top via armed revolution and established ruling families that dominated for centuries - that's generally been the role of the aristocratic contenders lying in wait or similarly aristocratic foreign invaders.

    On a more prosaic level - just take a lot at the entrepreneurial energy of ethnic Chinese immigrants in the US. From myriad small businesses to former and current Fortune 500 companies like AST Research, Garmin, Computer Associates, Wang Labs, Nvidia and ATI Technologies, ethnic Chinese don't seem particularly content with working for someone else.

    In contrast, England's most well-known peasant revolt was headed by Wat Tyler. Not only was he unable to wipe out the Plantagenets - he lost his head before mounting a credible challenge to the incumbents.

    Re scientific research, it was over 1000 years after first contact with the Romans that Germans began producing any real contributions to the mathematical and scientific canon. I only have access to English language sources, but my (dilettanteish) impression is that science and math were never particularly particularly prestigious in China until the dawn of the 20th century. Maybe I'm being overly deprecating of the traditional Chinese view, but it seemed as if practitioners were viewed as jumped-up tinkers and blacksmiths, maybe a step up from street performers, and certainly not the kind of thing the cultivated man got up to. And even in the 20th century, the existence of all-powerful government bureaucracies meant that the best and the brightest tended to gravitate towards government positions, where they'd attempt to get as close to the throne as they could.
  263. @res
    If you want to do calculations like this Emil's tail effects calculator is handy:
    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/understanding_statistics/?app=tail_effects

    If you want to do calculations like this Emil’s tail effects calculator is handy:
    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/understanding_statistics/?app=tail_effects

    Thank you.

  264. @War for Blair Mountain
    Is that valid with nonlinear effects? I don’t know...but perhaps MarkLA was thinking in terms of nonlinear resistors and nonlinear effects.....

    Is that valid with nonlinear effects? I don’t know…but perhaps MarkLA was thinking in terms of nonlinear resistors and nonlinear effects…..

    Is Ohm’s Law valid for nonlinear effects? The way you derive Ohm’s Law for resisters in series assume linear behavior (or approximation thereof). MarkLA was commenting on how the Commutative property of Real numbers did not have to apply to Ohm’s Law.

    No just because in mathematics A + B + C = C + B + A doesn’t mean it has to work with resistors in series in the physical world.

    But he was saying this in response to JackD

    Of course it does. The relationship is a result of the physical properties of resistors and the nature of resistance. If resistors had a different physical property (e.g. if they were diodes) then R1,R2,R3 might NOT be equal to R3, R2, R1. Ohm is merely describing the physical property of resistance mathematically. It’s like writing down the notes to a birdsong.

    Mathematics is just a way to manage the concept of numerical values. Subsets of math, algebra of real numbers, for example, are applicable to physics when the physical laws line up with the mathematical laws.

    Ohm’s Law assumes linear behavior, thus the associative property holds.

  265. @Jack D
    Amy Harmon #2 (not "our" Amy) looks like Andie McDowell with a bad case of Resting Bitch Face.

    "Our" Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?

    “Our” Amy has a goofy smile but at least she is smiling and is not some Madame Mao type. Or do I detect a hint of a smirk?

    Yeah, she’s a perfectly pleasant looking woman. (Looks feminine, not like a man.) She isn’t one of these smart, but ugly women out to make the world pay for its unfairness. I don’t think the underlying issue here revolves around her looks.

    I think it’s the religion thing you mentioned above:


    Since according to her faith (and by faith I don’t mean Judaism) there are no genetic differences in abilities in human populations then if any differences exist in the real world they can only be the result of racism, lack of opportunity, poor schools, etc.

    This racial blank slatism is her replacement–i’m guessing–for Judaism. This gal is clearly not without some personal energy and intelligence–though from her writing, i can guess she really skews verbal, she doesn’t really seem to have any “feel” for what math is about. But it’s all misdirected.

    She would have been far better off in an earlier time getting hitched to a nice Jewish boy, getting her dose of religion at the synagogue on saturday and directing her energies into raising a passel of smart, well-behaved kids.

    Unfortunately, she’s not alone. There are just boatloads of these gals who have misdirected their lives away from the momming they’re suited for, over to blabbing about politics or social science, with a mental makeup–full of feelings–ill suited in terms of rationality, logic or numeracy, to the task.

    And seriously, no one should be blathering on about nurture\nature–certainly taking the nurture side–unless they have had at least two kids. There reallly ought to be law.

    • Agree: Ibound1
  266. @Johnny Rico
    Congratulations.

    With your witty repartee and a nickel you could buy a gumball.

  267. @obwandiyag
    And because the child had parents who were concerned with his intellect and encouraged him to cultivate it, he is a success in a STEM field.

    Surprise--environment, not heredity.

    Can't wait to hear your rationalizations.

    And Mrs Sowell carried John rather than Mr Sowell, because of sexism and “conditioning”. Environment, not heredity.

    Do you have any more pointless comments to make?

  268. @Sergeant Prepper

    No kidding. A person with the ability to become a full professor in pure math (as opposed to applied math) is probably more rare than a person who is 7 feet tall.
     
    In high school, I thought I was pretty good at math. Then I went to university to study engineering, and came across a guy who was so much better at math than me (or anyone else, including most of the professors) that I realized immediately just how mediocre I really was. He was a racehorse running against donkeys. Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I'm pretty sure he sucked at preaching.) Go figure.

    Sad part of the story is that the brilliant bloke had some sort of nervous breakdown, found Jesus, and now makes his living as a priest. (Never heard one of his sermons, but I’m pretty sure he sucked at preaching.)

    Not all priests give sermons. Many teach, work in archives, and do other things.

    All this talk about genetics here often forgets that the field was essentially founded by an academic monk.

  269. @passive-aggressivist
    Amy, show us on the doll where the white scientist touched you

    Her problem is presumably a lack of male contact.

  270. @Logan
    That's not it at all.

    Those who want to become math geniuses only need to spend 10,000 working at it.

    Clearly, that should say “10,000 hours.”

  271. @Triumph104
    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don't have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II. When Richard Feynman taught in Brazil, he only encountered two Brazilians that had a good grasp of physics, whereas the rest had just memorized textbooks. Of the two Brazilians with a good grasp, one was not educated in Brazil and the other had taught himself during World War II.

    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don’t have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II.

    I doubt it’s conformity, so much as lives shaped from an early age by oppressively helpful parents, generation after generation. The Chinese hoi polloi, for instance, have been anything but docile – fully 1/3 of China’s 2200-year history after unification involved dynasties (Han, Ming and CCP) started by commoners who organized rebel armies that toppled the ancien regime. And there are numerous other commoners who came within a whisker of seizing the throne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Zicheng https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan It’s hard to think of too many other places where commoners rose to the top via armed revolution and established ruling families that dominated for centuries – that’s generally been the role of the aristocratic contenders lying in wait or similarly aristocratic foreign invaders.

    On a more prosaic level – just take a lot at the entrepreneurial energy of ethnic Chinese immigrants in the US. From myriad small businesses to former and current Fortune 500 companies like AST Research, Garmin, Computer Associates, Wang Labs, Nvidia and ATI Technologies, ethnic Chinese don’t seem particularly content with working for someone else.

    In contrast, England’s most well-known peasant revolt was headed by Wat Tyler. Not only was he unable to wipe out the Plantagenets – he lost his head before mounting a credible challenge to the incumbents.

    Re scientific research, it was over 1000 years after first contact with the Romans that Germans began producing any real contributions to the mathematical and scientific canon. I only have access to English language sources, but my (dilettanteish) impression is that science and math were never particularly particularly prestigious in China until the dawn of the 20th century. Maybe I’m being overly deprecating of the traditional Chinese view, but it seemed as if practitioners were viewed as jumped-up tinkers and blacksmiths, maybe a step up from street performers, and certainly not the kind of thing the cultivated man got up to. And even in the 20th century, the existence of all-powerful government bureaucracies meant that the best and the brightest tended to gravitate towards government positions, where they’d attempt to get as close to the throne as they could.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    That bunch of drivel you posted is now the rule rather than the exception on this site. You win.
  272. @Johann Ricke

    Asian conformity is a hindrance. It is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Asia. They don’t have permission to think outside of the box. All but two of the ethnic Asian Fields Medalists were educated in the West. One of the two, Kunihiko Kodaira of Japan, had to teach himself during World War II.
     
    I doubt it's conformity, so much as lives shaped from an early age by oppressively helpful parents, generation after generation. The Chinese hoi polloi, for instance, have been anything but docile - fully 1/3 of China's 2200-year history after unification involved dynasties (Han, Ming and CCP) started by commoners who organized rebel armies that toppled the ancien regime. And there are numerous other commoners who came within a whisker of seizing the throne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Zicheng https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan It's hard to think of too many other places where commoners rose to the top via armed revolution and established ruling families that dominated for centuries - that's generally been the role of the aristocratic contenders lying in wait or similarly aristocratic foreign invaders.

    On a more prosaic level - just take a lot at the entrepreneurial energy of ethnic Chinese immigrants in the US. From myriad small businesses to former and current Fortune 500 companies like AST Research, Garmin, Computer Associates, Wang Labs, Nvidia and ATI Technologies, ethnic Chinese don't seem particularly content with working for someone else.

    In contrast, England's most well-known peasant revolt was headed by Wat Tyler. Not only was he unable to wipe out the Plantagenets - he lost his head before mounting a credible challenge to the incumbents.

    Re scientific research, it was over 1000 years after first contact with the Romans that Germans began producing any real contributions to the mathematical and scientific canon. I only have access to English language sources, but my (dilettanteish) impression is that science and math were never particularly particularly prestigious in China until the dawn of the 20th century. Maybe I'm being overly deprecating of the traditional Chinese view, but it seemed as if practitioners were viewed as jumped-up tinkers and blacksmiths, maybe a step up from street performers, and certainly not the kind of thing the cultivated man got up to. And even in the 20th century, the existence of all-powerful government bureaucracies meant that the best and the brightest tended to gravitate towards government positions, where they'd attempt to get as close to the throne as they could.

    That bunch of drivel you posted is now the rule rather than the exception on this site. You win.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    That bunch of drivel you posted is now the rule rather than the exception on this site. You win.
     
    I see it as a matter of comparing notes and testing beliefs rather than winning or losing. Because what do you really win here? The right to waste endless amounts of time talking with people with different views from yours about subjects far removed from the everyday trials of life? The right to attempt to convince someone of the truth of your views, whom you don't know from Adam, who will never change his views no matter you say and will never benefit you or yours in any concrete way?
  273. @Triumph104
    That bunch of drivel you posted is now the rule rather than the exception on this site. You win.

    That bunch of drivel you posted is now the rule rather than the exception on this site. You win.

    I see it as a matter of comparing notes and testing beliefs rather than winning or losing. Because what do you really win here? The right to waste endless amounts of time talking with people with different views from yours about subjects far removed from the everyday trials of life? The right to attempt to convince someone of the truth of your views, whom you don’t know from Adam, who will never change his views no matter you say and will never benefit you or yours in any concrete way?

  274. An open letter to SCOTUS from professional physicists
    drafted by the Equity & Inclusion in Physics & Astronomy group

    Dear Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States,

    We are writing to you today as professional physicists and astrophysicists to respond to comments made by Justices in the course of oral arguments of Fisher vs. University of Texas which occurred on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. First, we strongly repudiate the line of questioning from Justice Antonin Scalia based on the discredited Mismatch Theory [1]. Secondly, we are particularly called to address the question from Chief Justice John Roberts about the value of promoting equity and inclusion in our own field, physics.

    ******
    Before Justice’s Scalia’s remarks on black scientists, Justice Roberts asked, “what unique perspective does a minority student bring to physics class?” and “What [are] the benefits of diversity… in that situation?” Before addressing these questions directly, we note that it is important to call attention to questions that weren’t asked by the justices, such as, “What unique perspectives do white students bring to a physics class?” and “What are the benefits of homogeneity in that situation?” We reject the premise that the presence of minority students and the existence of diversity need to be justified, but meanwhile segregation in physics is tacitly accepted as normal or good. Instead, we embrace the assumption that minority physics students are brilliant [6] and ask, “Why does physics education routinely fail brilliant minority students?”

    ******
    [6] Leonard, Jacquelyn, and Martin, Danny B. (Eds.). The Brilliance of Black Children in Mathematics: Beyond the Numbers and Toward New Discourse. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers. (2013)

    [emphasis mine]

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