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(**ThyBlackMan.com**) I firmly believe that if students, from Day One, were introduced to the enigmas at the heart of science, they would be much more likely to master the nuts and bolts. I wish that when I was a lad we were told that Rene Descartes’ X and Y coordinate system, the basis of calculus, the measuring tool of the sciences, was revealed to him one night in a dream. That Isaac Newton spent more time on alchemy and ancient Egyptian and Hebrew texts than on Chemistry and Physics. That Norbert Wiener, Father of Cybernetics, the study of communication in machines and living organisms, solved his most famous problem by examining the details of a dream of a subordinate. That Alan Turing, the Father of the Computer, launched his ground-breaking study while trying to determine if spirits live on after death and if the living can contact them. Were I told all this, I doubt that I, like many others, would have looked at Math and Science amiss.

Why did they wait until page 811 of my 814 page Physics textbook to inform me that everything solid is really only waves of energy? The average, even college educated, individual is convinced that everything, absolutely everything, has a logical explanation. The ongoing discoveries and advances in science, for the layman, are proof positive of this. The average person would be shocked to learn that atoms are not solid things at all. And to the extent that they do, in fact, exist, they are “*waves of probability*!”

Also, any conceivable logical system has to hold as true some ideas that it cannot possibly prove to be so. Furthermore, the three thousand year old absolute truths of Euclidean geometry are not absolute at all. Parallel lines can, under certain conditions, actually meet, and a plane is not necessarily flat. And, there are “*real numbers*” that cannot be expressed in a “*rational*” fashion, and scientists regularly work with “*imaginary numbers.*” It is as if textbooks are trying to hide these fundamental disconnects between our common sense understanding of reality and the actually quite murky concepts it rests upon. Mystery stimulates inquiry, and so they thereby relinquish a most powerful learning tool.

Most know who Albert Einstein was, and have some even if vague idea of what *he* discovered, the Theory of Relativity. As strange and counter-intuitive as Relativity appears, it nonetheless makes perfect sense, as its equations amply prove. But logic apparently breaks down on the sub-atomic level. Minute “*things*” pop in and out of existence, and can communicate with each other though separated by vast distances. And the “*real*” solid world we live in is composed of atoms which are made up of nothing but probability, which is not a thing at all.

Einstein, supremely logical as he was known to be, could not accept these contradictions. He spent the last 30 years of his life trying to sort things out, but could not. In the 60 years since his passing, theorists all around the world have picked up the torch searching, so far in vain, for Science’s Holy Grail, what they have dubbed “*The Theory of Everything*.” Should this not be laid out at the outset of any Physics class? Rather than presenting Western Science as the supremely confident, invincible mechanism for uncovering absolute truth, why not portray it as it really is, a three thousand year old turbulent struggle with fits and starts all along the way? Just as adolescents are insecure, so too is the very Science that they study. We should not hide, but instead show if not emphasize, this commonality, like themselves all Science is only human.

Meanwhile, many a student, struggling with math and science, is nonetheless an avid science fiction fan. Isn’t it ironic that though they might not understand the formulas, the recipes, that undergird science, they are nonetheless exploring and thinking through the continuing arc of scientific discovery and the cumulative effects of the scientific enterprise on the overall society.

Yes, it is true that some science fiction fudges the science with, for example, ideas like warp drive. However, it is this very straying from science fact that provides a great opening for real learning. Imagine if the first day of Physics class, the instructor were to play the closing scene in every Star Trek episode. Captain Kirk says, “*Ahead Warp Factor Five, Mr. Sulu!*” And then she turns to the class and asks, “*Is that possible?*” Thereby initiating a free-wheeling exchange in which the students themselves, piecing together the different bits and levels of knowledge they possess on the matter, enter into a full blown discussion, and begin to develop an understanding, of the theory of relativity.

We have the world’s best college and university system, but our primary education is sorely lacking. US elementary students do very poorly in math. Meanwhile, Baseball and Basketball are two beloved sports, and therein statistics rule the roost. However, though many a baseball game stretches beyond the three hour mark, and announcers end up talking about everything under the sun, they never mention, not even in passing, how batting averages are determined. This while millions of youths, struggling with math on a daily basis, are hanging onto their every word.

How about, and we are not talking about a math lesson, how about just mentioning that a batting average is the number of hits over the number of times at bat, or flashing a chart with this information for a second or two? And then there is ERA, earned run average, on base percentage and an endless number of other stats, again, not a lesson, but at some point at least touch on how they are arrived at.

Math and science, admirably break things down into their constituent parts and processes, but at the same time that everything is composed of parts, everything is also a whole, Science and Education included. Thus, present Science not just in particular pieces, but as a whole robust, intriguing enterprise. And let us not confine learning to the classroom but use all the tools we have at our disposal to promote genuine learning and discovery, and not just as youths but throughout all the days of our lives.

Staff Writer; **Arthur Lewin**

This talented author has just published a *NEW* book which is entitled; **AFRICA is not A COUNTRY!**.

For more articles written by this talented brother click on the following link;**https://thyblackman.com/?s=lewin**.

Arthur: The mathematical concepts that you have discussed,geometry, algebra calculus present mental exercises for the brain in accordance with a particular logos and these pragmatic exercises for the brain were invented and are utilized by different nations. You are correct in your analysis of mathematical contributions globally. Confusion also comes with not knowing how to follow the mathematical order set down symbolically in the problems and or formulas presented. I am of the opinion that children should be taught mathematics at an early age and each step of the advancement towards higher ordered mathematical thinking explained along the way. The truths of mathematics can be taught to all races of mankind given the thinker commits himself to the logical truths of math that can be taught as expressed logical symbolism. Dr. Albert Einstein formulated his theories of relativity and special relativity years ago much of which is now considered law but the full truths of his mathematics have yet to be fully realized, and it is still unknown if our mathematical concepts fully dovetail with reality.Survival dictates that we learn how to develop higher ordered thought processes and mastering mathematics is one way to do it.

One of the reasons that people have trouble understanding calculus is that the elements leading up to it are not presented in organic fashion.

The student is not told that humankind, as a whole, created calculus. Egypt gave us Geometry, the Arabs gave us algebra, the Europeans developed Analytic Geometry, a way of translating Geometrical concepts into Algebraic ones, and vice versa. This led directly to calculus which elucidated ideas implicit in Egyptian thought.

Arthur; You are correct on both points observed to include the origin ( Africa ) of such modes of thought. Socrates had to “drain the cup of hemlock ” meaning ” that he was given the death penalty by his own people for espousing and attempting to introduce such modes of thought ( Socratic Method ) in the western world which through one’s own careful analysis and evaluation of one’s own thoughts leads to a better understanding of self. Ours ( empirical science ) is a science of sense impressions. There is nothing in mind ( one’s attention/memory )which was not first in senses and as Emanuel Kant pointed out in his ” Critique of pure and practical reasoning ” we do not all have the same senses by which to observe reality therefore we need eye glasses, microscopes,hearing aids and telescopes. The ability to see clearly helps us to understand what we are observing. Science helps us to both think and see clearly. The whole is always greater than its parts. A religious person could postulate that this phenomenon is an example of god’s mathematics.

Thanks, Pelvo White. Let me pick up on two of your points. You note that Rene Descartes observed “that the only proof of being is thought,” “I think therefore I am.” This relates to the ancient African instruction, “Know thyself,” “All knowledge is self-knowledge.”

You also observe that, “the present day western world teaching pedagogy is by design deliberately taught by degrees.” So you are saying the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Also, it is hard to grasp the whole when focusing on each miniscule part, and it is difficult to understand the parts if we do not see the whole.

The fathers of contemporary scientific practice ( empirical science ), men like Rene’ Descartes who stated the Latin phrase ” cogito ergo sum ” which means ” I think therefore I am. ” Recovered the world as thought postulating that the only proof of being is thought.As an educator, it never ceased to amaze me how little many African Americans knew about science. We wear wrist watches, use remote controls and drive automobiles but many cannot explain the science involved in the invention and usages of these things let alone conceptualize scientifically the association of the micro and macro worlds. Contemporary science does not adequately put forth the oneness of all things scientifically. We have a problem associating sand with crystal glass and glass to gas and gas to liquids etc. We have a problem scientifically quantifying perceivable reality because of the way science and math are presented to us. The present day western world teaching pedagogy is by designed deliberately taught by degrees. and it is for this reason African we as African Americans must make a special effort to truly educate ourselves in mathematics and science, logic and philosophy.