OK... I'm sure I'm going to get tons of emails on this one, most of them blasting me for my manifest stupidity and not "staying abreast" of things. So be it. Because I rather suspect that the point of this will be lost to those inclined to send emails to me blasting me. Years ago, in graduate school, I wrote a paper for a very famous Eastern Orthodox theologian, taking issue with certain trends in academic views of theology, one of which was the so-called "Hellenization of the Gospel," by which is meant that the "early simple Gospel of Jesus" became overladen with terms borrowed from Greek philosophy, and ever-afterwards there was a growing complexification. This of course, spawned a movement to get rid of all that Hellenistic husk and get back to the pure unvarnished "kernel" of things, and as a result, there was more complexification. One might say, what resulted was massive confusion and an inability to get anything done, because there were no more agreed-upon conventions of technical jargon.

All this, of course, is to greatly over-simplify things, but I've always thought there were profound methodological parallels between theology and mathematics (yea, I know... it sounds colossally stupid, but I beg my readers' patience, because I'm just a hack from South Dakota). Anyway, in my little paper, I resorted to the time-honored tradition of allegory: what would happen, I asked, if one complained of the undue "Hellenization of mathematics," with all those pi's, psi's, chi's, capital Sigmas, alphas, betas, and other Hellenizations that clutter the symbolism of mathematics, making it "opaque and obscure to the average user". Far better, I argued, to invent a completely new, and more "accessible and culturally relevant" set of symbols, and school a new generation in their use.

As one can imagine, the result of such an experiment would be chaos.

Well, Mr. S.S. shared this video, and mind you, while I have no time for videos, the mathematical nature of it caught my eye, so I watched it rather than immediately hitting the "delete" button as I normally do when people send me videos.  When I watched, I couldn't help but think of my old paper:

Now, I have no idea if this new convention is part and parcel of common core, or not. Perhaps I am even "mis-remembering" things: but as I recall when I was taking my mathematics courses in junior high and high school, this expression was equivalent to 6/2(1+2), and that one performed the operations in parenthesis first, then multiplication, then division, &c, giving the result 6/2(1+2) = 1. But no, as the video points out, that's an "older" usage, because the new convention is to perform operations from left to right, giving 6/2 = 3 x (1+2) = 3 x 3 = 9.

(And here, let us note, we're not even dealing with the undue Hellenization of mathematics, but the undue Arabization of mathematics, since we're using Arabic numerals.) But regardless of who is to blame for this cultural invasion, the point remains, regardless of which one is the "conventional" and therefore the "correct" method, when one changes conventions abruptly, one gets confusion, as is evident from the numerous comments below the video. Even Mr. S.S., who sent the link, stated that to him, the answer was "1", but that was because he learned "the old math." Well, call me old-fashioned, but that's the way I remember it too.

One can imagine the frustration of parents who might have learned the older conventions, helping their children with their homework, and submitting papers that are marked wrong because of a change of convention which they knew nothing about. Extend the principle for a moment, and imagine similar results applied to - for example - equations for satellites or space probes, with one team working with one set of conventions, and another working with another. One might have space probes that, rather than orbiting Mars, go careening into it. Oh, wait... that's already happened when a few years ago, NASA informed us that the crash of a space probe on Mars was due to the fact that one team was using Imperial measures in its calculations, while everyone else, following the older convention, was using metric.

Oops... I guess there's no accounting for taste.

So what's my high octane speculation here? Well, forget about gender neutral language and all the tinkering going on in the "soft" disciplines; if one wanted to really sow confusion into a population, and to dumb an entire population down, why not just arbitrarily change mathematical conventions, but do so stealthily: change them here in this region, but not over there in that one... and then when confusion results, enjoy the collapse of the idea that mathematics is the one "hard science" that always gives the same answers. The epistemological damage that this can do to a culture already reeling from the death of a thousand other progressivist paper cuts is immense. Changing the conventions and customary usages is all about the process, you see, and it's the process that counts... exempla gratia, the above example.

But if you think that example is a "little over the top" then consider this article sent by Mr. H.B.:

3 Examples That Show How Common Core Is Destroying Math Education In America

Now, if you're like me, you're old fashioned and still send paper checks in the mail to pay your bills. I do it, because I want a hard copy record because I don't trust my bank or my electric company or internet company (or any other company)to keep accurate records for me, just as I don't trust a product named "Kindle" to have the best interests of books and literacy in mind. So, imagine trying to balance your checkbook using the the second method of performing subtraction in the first example from the article above. My check register simply doesn't have enough spaces to do it. And perhaps that's the point: one generation does things "the old way," and balances its checkbook. The new generation can't balance the checkbook(if they even use one), because there aren't enough ledger spaces to do it and voila, one can rack up more and more "servicing fees" on a clueless "de-arithmetized" generation.

Call me crazy, but if I can think of it, then there's no doubt in my mind that the sinister doctors of edublither thought of it long ago. And that, I suspect, is the real point of Common Core and every other nutty project to come out of our Colleges of Edubabble and Psychoblither, out of the methodology courses and Gramscian social and multicultural experiments: it's a form of epistemological warfare.

(Heavy sigh.) Ok, rant over.

See you on the flip side...


Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. OrigensChild on July 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

    With “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone…” playing in the background:

    So the real point of the culture war is to tear down the whole culture itself–starting with theology and philosophy, then language, civility, morality and politics, then economics, then mathematics–the final absolute. This now means you can further compartmentalize science and engineering and create a new feudal/caste system based on ignorance…. How disgusting. But, hey, that’s how the Central Ignorance Administration works–and it’s a federally funded and compartmentalized adjunct to our government. Everyone knows the model works well there! NOT!!!

  2. rich overholt on July 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm

  3. TRM on July 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    It comes down to how many terms are in
    6 / 2(1+3) =
    If you want 1 for the answer you need explicit brackets.
    6 / (2x(1+3))
    but 3 terms due to a lack of brackets
    6 / 2 x (1+3)

    I was taught it equals 1 as the 2 is implicitly associated with the (1+3) as a single term. The real answer is 9 due to implicit association being an assumption (ASS-U-ME) not a rule. I curse my grade school math teacher 🙂

    Along the way I learned the value of brackets. Use them often to be clear which terms are to be grouped together.
    But don’t use them as much as LISP programmers. The joke is LISP stands for “Lost In Stupid Parentheses” :).

    • Scott S on July 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      I’m the S.S. (yes I’m of German heritage and no I never asked my parents) who sent Dr. Farrell this article. While I agree with the good doctor’s conclusions regarding our western indoctrination system, I do not think the answer is simply 1. The answer is 1 or 9 based on human convention. The convention I was taught leads to 1. If the intent is to educate, rather than to confuse, indoctrinate, and accept the Godoogle, then this would be a great example of the perils of human convention and the need to avoid resorting to it if at all possible. Learning to accurately and completely define your thoughts and communicate them in such a way that they are universally understood is the essential point of studying mathematics within a general curriculum.

      • Phil the Thrill on July 24, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Interesting point, Scott. Our good doctor has described himself as a hack from South Dakota, but we all know to credit him with gentleness and modesty (gotta be strong to be gentle, gotta be fabulous to be modest). I must confess that I am a stoner college dropout from Southern Nuttifornia, who found math to be a burdensome toil, rather than a pleasurable exercise; thus, my qualifications for even hanging out here are open to question.
        Be that as it may, I offer this opinion: I would agree that any equation which can be demonstrated on an abacus, or even with a fistful of toothpicks, is a pure mathematical expression, and will only have one correct answer. An equation to which conventions of interpretation may be applied, by which more than one “correct” answer may be determined, is not a pure mathematical expression.
        (Geez, my head is starting to hurt already.) We already have legalese, which is a language made of English words but with its own dictionary (where “understand” means not to “comprehend”, but to “stand under”). It seems to me that Common Core math is the numerical equivalent of legalese, with the end game being that we all doubt our own capacity to be certain of anything.

    • Eve Leung on July 24, 2017 at 2:19 am

      Now I learn something new, next time if my kid has to answer question like this, I will tell them to write –

      OM = 9
      NM = 1

      OM stands for old method, NM stands for new method LOL

    • Phil the Thrill on July 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I can’t duplicate TM’s math. I see it thus:
      The problem is stated, six divided by the product of two and one plus three.
      First, determine one plus three, which is four.
      Next, determine the product of two and four, which is eight.
      The problem, thus simplified, is now stated: six divided by eight; or, six, cut up into eight equal pieces (the answer being, 3/4).
      This can be demonstrated with toothpicks. I believe the above problem to be a pure mathematical expression, not open to conventions of interpretation.

  4. Aridzonan_13 on July 22, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Rant well taken.

  5. goshawks on July 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Miles Mathis has an ‘open letter’ to the perps and their peons (rearranged for brevity):

    “We know these people have god complexes, but rather than ridicule that, I would work with it. I would say to them that this god complex would be far easier to maintain – and to sell to themselves – if they looked more like gods in their own eyes. To see what I mean, return to the pet analogy.* Does someone who tyrannizes his pets look like a god to anyone? Does he look like a god to the pets? No. Does he look like a god to himself? No. He just looks like a sad human-being picking on those weaker than him.

    If these people stop, it will not be because they are concerned that YOU are miserable. They have ways to put that out of mind. It will be because THEY are concerned that they are miserable. They have purchased every other form of mitigation for their misery, to no effect, so they may be intrigued by my claim of a cure…

    A saint treats all creatures well only because he or she loves them, and for no other reason. A turned demon treats all creatures well because he likes how it makes him feel. He chooses the light side not because it is the only thing he can do, but because it is better for him than the dark side.

    …it is entirely possible I am a turned demon. It is possible we all are. By that, I do not mean that we were actual consorts of Satan; only that we are beings that chose to leave the dark side because it wasn’t doing anything for us. We were assured that wearing the black hat was more thrilling, but found with experience it wasn’t so. Even Yoda tells us the dark side is more seductive. But is it? Not really. It is sold with a greater fanfare, but I have found its levels of seduction to be minimal. I am a demon that has been seduced by the light side.

    Those currently running society don’t suddenly have to become saints for things to change. They just have to come to the (perhaps wholly selfish) realization that ruling a contented society is far more pleasant and satisfying FOR THEM than tyrannizing one.

    If aliens are watching us – as some think – and if they were given permission to break the non-interference clause, they would change human society most quickly by targeting a few dozen people. If they replaced the right 50 people, say, with benevolent look-alikes, human history would reverse overnight.

    With that idea in mind, ask yourself how that could be achieved without alien interference. …here’s an idea: why not talk to those 50 directly, as if they are actually human beings? Instead of assuming they are evil lizard people, transported from the 9th circle of Hell, why not talk to them as if they have ears and a conscience? You plant the seed where it has to grow.

    You see, the irony of it is, if you can convince them that They Will be Happier Themselves after the revolution, you don’t even have to have a revolution…”

    * “As a good analogy, think of domestic pets. Dogs or cats in a house run by intelligent and kind people are glorious little beasts, loving and happy around the clock. Their fur glows, they are beautiful and shining, and they purr or wag for hours on end. Conversely, dogs or cats in a house run by corrupt and predatory people are likewise corrupt. They are dirty, ugly and miserable. They tend to be either vicious or neurotic. … As pets are a reflection of their owners, citizens are a reflection of their leaders.”

    • Sandygirl on July 23, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Spiritual law says we all have free will, we get to choose, every single day. If the 99 percent of us choose benevolence I can guarantee that the 1 percent would lose power very quickly. A neighbor’s dog just bit my granddaughters leg two days ago and now the whole neighborhood knows where that dog lives. Now that this neighborhood is much more aware it puts the focus on the dog. As long as the dog isn’t rabid and too far gone, Fido has a choice to make. It would help him tremendously if he had some benevolent guidance.

    • Ninharsag on July 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      what a wonderful collection of truisms. thank you for sharing. it’s encouraging to see so many wise people communicating such positive messages to the world.

      i’m a newbie on this site, but kudos to Dr. Farrell, the Giza Death Star and its readers. looking forward to much growth… thanks!

  6. lazer-eye on July 22, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Sorry, but once again you guys are just slandering the genius behind Amarakoon Edgeucayshun. It’s called that for a reason and that reason deserves to be honored. You can see by its name alone that it’s the most avant garde academic theory that a nation could want, because it puts us on the “edge” of something. A brilliant, innovative, and original approach to teaching, it brings to light for the first time in our nation’s history, just what the word “edge” is doing in the word “edgeucayshun” and that’s important. What it’s telling us is that it puts us on the edge of something, i.e., it “cayshunates” us, so to speak. Just what that something is I’m not quite sure. I think it’s what we do to cashews when we don’t need them anymore. Well, something like that. Anyway it obviously has a long lexiconical or lexicographical history throughout the annals of Americana. It also has a lot to do with gonads, as proven by the fact that those who created it seem to have a superabundance of them. I think the “Amarakoon” part of that term actually stems from the legends surrounding Daniel Boone, who is well-known to have worn koon-skinned caps and if you believe those same legends, just happened to be a giant himself in the realm of gonads too. So keep in mind that when you slander Amarakoon Edgeucation, you are slandering our forefathers, and might even be calling into question your own sexuality. I think all of us should just go back to consuming and producing gadgets that nobody wants. Life’s easier that way.

  7. chris on July 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Yay I got it right. And I learnt mayh before common core (1983 birth year)

    • chris on July 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm


      Of course

  8. Jon on July 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    This is yet another in along line of campaigns to make people stupid.

    Building on the “it means whatever I want it to mean” school of thought, it destroys the connections to historical reasoning and mathematical proofs which determined WHY one did algebraic operations in certain order. Whoever came up with this method was either a complete idiot or completely evil.

    I guess it is “politically correct” math, because everything starts from the left.

    As someone who studied lots of math throughout middle, high school, and college (I was a math major in college and originally headed for a career in theoretical math – until I discovered there wasn’t one open to me), I find this idea so completely ignorant and backward that I can’t find word strong enough without resorting to Marine-style swearing (a two word phrase, first word rhymes with “duster”).

    That anyone so blisteringly stupid would be allowed to design curriculum is a certain sign of the end times (at least for America). We have become “Idiocracy.”

    Even though I have watched marginally performing people being promoted to positions which they are clearly incapable of handling (usually for “politically correct” reasons), I had always thought that logic and reason would prevail in education.

    Boy, was I ever wrong.

    As each generation is successively made more remote from history and the progression of knowledge, they become more and more susceptible to accepting such blithering nonsense as the math shown above, because they simply don’t understand why things are the way they are.

    People with no understanding of where words come from (language history and etymological roots), have more trouble spelling and using words properly. I am constantly amazed at the incredibly poor language skills of the people engaged in “communicating” for society: writers, journalists, academics, etc. I would have been flunked out of school for the kind of language use which is now common in public, official channels.

    Now we see the same thing happening in math. People with no idea of how the rules for solving equations were developed over thousands of years will have no idea why the above example is so mind-numbingly wrong.

    Adding in the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality to justify incompetence for the sake of “self-esteem” (which that kind of shallowness doesn’t really help), and you have the perfect recipe for creating a world of brain-dead sheeple consumer/slaves, which Gen X and Gen Y are swiftly becoming.

    I’m glad I’m not young and having to face the incredible mess this kind of thing is creating for very many more years. The only thing I can hope is that some spark of humanity is left which can rekindle true human society. I have heard that Gen Z is a lot sharper, and will possibly have none of this nonsense.

    We shall see.

  9. Robert Barricklow on July 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I saw the answer immediately as 1. When the order went as-backwards, I got sick. My God, they’re changing what had thought as the incorruptible language of mathematics. Again, “they” have proven themselves as wannabe Gods. Whom, I’m afraid the whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. If there was any doubt about where the madness abounds;
    it’s simple math that will give 1[or, is it 9?] the answer?

    • Robert Barricklow on July 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Of course, they/re changing language all around us to incorporate more power and less resistance. They’re despicable beyond measure. Honor certainly doesn’t exist in their universe. They’d probably use it for target practice.

    • Robert Barricklow on July 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      With these Gods of madness as AI’s imprimatur….
      What can go wrong?

  10. marcos toledo on July 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I have to admit I have always been bad at math even when using a calculator. But the Rub Goldberg subtraction example tales the cake I tend to round off to the nearest whole number when calculating and tend add a little so as not to come off short. This is the continuing of sowing confusion among the public there is one problem with these mind games. Our overlords may fall victim to this in the end do they really know what is real in the end away.

  11. goshawks on July 22, 2017 at 11:41 am

    What the he ll? As an engineer, this kind of ‘restructuring’ of basic math conventions is EXCEEDINGLY dangerous. (Has April 1st arrived early?) Bridges being designed wrong dangerous! Who got this past any standards committee? If true, bbaadd news!

    • Joseph P. Farrell on July 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      I know…. it’s frightening, isn’t it?

  12. enki-nike on July 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Part of the problem here is that the presentation/visualization of the arithmetical expression is in conflict with the rules for order of operations. If it is instead expressed as 6/2 x (1+2) it is more natural to arrive at the “correct” answer.

    • Joseph P. Farrell on July 22, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Granted, but again, my point isn’t about expression, but the conventions for dealing with an ambiguous expression, which seem to have been (deliberately?) changed since I learned them.

  13. moxie on July 22, 2017 at 11:15 am

    They’re certainly scrambling our mathematical intuition, and much more.

  14. WalkingDead on July 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Interesting, I wonder if this might not be part of Ben Rich’s “error” in the equations. Or, as some have proposed, the “old masters” made elementary mistakes in the base equations which were then carried forward with no one questioning their work.
    I also would have thought the correct answer was “1”, guess I’m dating myself there. The “correct” answer goes against what I was “taught” in school. It would seem, the obfuscation of mathematics goes all the way back to the late 50’s and beyond.
    Just how many “Steven Hawkins” have there been, anyway? And, whats the point of keeping a “dead” mathematician around.

  15. Kristan Payne on July 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Before Common Core and the “new” math, there was a beauty in the timeless and cultureless universality of math. I was trained as a math teacher but chose to devote my life to raising my children rather than tech in my own class. For years I subbed and raved about the beautiful nature of mathematics whenever I could. I remember teaching 5th grade students to derive the Pythagorean Theorem and a couple actually followed all of it. The rest at least understood that the formula comes from somewhere concrete. That is all being destroyed. The first sign was the use of calculators in middle school. I banned them but was overruled. The second sign was when my children started doing upper level math but not expected to show their work. I demanded they still showed step by step how they arrived at an answer. How else can I check it for errors? Little wonder that in my son’s college calculus class many students only provided answers on a rare take-home exam. The professor was not pleased and gave a pop quiz the very next class.
    Mathematics is taught to train our brains to think logically and create systems of thought. That can not happen in our current education system. Our children…no, our whole society is set up to fail.

  16. Lost on July 22, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Sorry, but the video example is pointing at something important: How we approach even basic maths influences the answer. Indeed math is not universal, to approach universality the careful pre-delineation of givens ahead of time is necessary. 2 times the radius of circle times Pi only equals a circle’s circumference if the circle is constructed on a perfectly flat plane.

    The flaws in the “perfect logic” of mathematics are entirely unrelated to the bizarre and complexified methods of subtraction detailed in the ZH link. And as I suspected, the ZH source is dubious. Please, Hillsdale College for journalism and Robert Novak as a respected person. Novak was forever inventing reasons to have invaded Iraq, once you mention him, you’re not going to get treated seriously on any subject–even the time of day expressed in pre-agreed upon units.

    • Phil the Thrill on July 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

      I was known to lay off constructing tree forts/digging holes in the back yard/etc., in order to go inside and watch Evel Knievel stand before the cameras, in his regal, patriotic vestments, and extol the virtues of eating a good breakfast and doing one’s homework. So that should date me somewhat.
      As I watched the math video, I did the work mentally myself, and came up with one, and I remember being schooled in these operations in junior high…I guess they call it middle school, these days.
      I have no confidence that I could now find, within a short period of time, a public-school-educated young person who could solve this problem. The sad fact is, I know some very smart young people who, these days, would rather drop out of high school, risking all the implications of such an act, than to resist the strong intuition that they are simply being fed a load of B S.

      • Lost on July 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm



        It’s not real complicated, the order in which one does things can some times produce different results.

        • Phil the Thrill on July 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm

          You SO flatter yourself. I actually meant to place a stand-alone comment, NOT reply to you. You strike me as a girl who is averse to sawdust on the barroom floor–not at all my type, dear.

          • Lost on July 23, 2017 at 11:51 am


            “You strike me as a girl who is averse to sawdust on the barroom floor–not at all my type, dear.”

            Can’t speak to your bar-room proclivities. Can speak to your sexualized assumptions, will refrain though.

            I suggest you read the TPM point above.

  17. Katie B on July 22, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Just imagine if the produce of this system grow to have their twitchy fingers hovering over the big red button. This will end well. Perhaps that’s the point. Scattered people over the earth, sowing disharmony and discord and every way they can. I wonder what effect that has on the grid?

  18. basta on July 22, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Well not to nitpick but Arabic is written from right to left so if there was an “Arabization” in mathematics going on then the equations would be solved from right to left and the answer written at left.

    Sharia math! Coming soon from heirs of the Frankfurt School infiltrators who have wrecked education and Western society. Why? Because traditional left to right honors the patriarchy and validates the fascist right. Forward!

  19. DanaThomas on July 22, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Sounds like yet another a psy-op run to see just how far people can be manipulated, this time with a “Tower of Babel” flavour of scrambling communications. However, as in the world of “undocumented accounting adjustments” I’m sure that when it comes to calculating their own salary or commissions these “brilliant” people will suddenly become extremely precise, especially if the “brand new” formula reduced their income to zero.

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