Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bias is Crippling Our Society

I read an article the other day which adds more data points to my hypothesis that Americans are becoming more biased, but not more discerning. From an article in the Independent, I provide the following.

A survey by Civic Science, an American market research company, asked 3,624 respondents: “Should schools in America teach Arabic numerals as part of their curriculum?” The poll did not explain what the term “Arabic numerals” meant.

Fifty-six per cent of people say the numerals should not be part of the curriculum for US pupils, according to research designed to explore the bias and prejudice of poll respondents.

Wow, that is a lot of people--but even more telling is the actual number of people who felt that Arabic numerals should be taught in American schools. The study reported:

Some 2,020 people answered “no”. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said the numerals should be taught in US schools, and 15 per cent had no opinion. [color and emphasis added]

Only 29 percent of the respondents felt that the numerals should be taught in American schools! Astounding. I believe that 100 percent of American schools teach Arabic numerals as part of their curriculum! And they teach the numerals from Kindergarten onward!
Seventy-two per cent of Republican-supporting respondents said Arabic numerals should not be on the curriculum, compared with 40 per cent of Democrats. This was despite there being no significant difference in education between the two groups.
“They answer differently even though they had equal knowledge of our numerical nomenclature,” Mr Dick said. “It means that the question is about knowledge or ignorance but [also] something else – prejudice.”
So what are Arabic numerals? 

The digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are referred to as Arabic numerals. The system was first developed by Indian mathematicians before spreading through the Arab world to Europe and becoming popularised around the globe.

The very people advocating against teaching Arabic numerals would not be able to do simple math, manage their bank accounts or even make a telephone call without the numerals. The alternative? Roman numerals?

The Big Bang!
I found the article to be very interesting. There was another interesting question in the survey which also highlighted the bias in our society.

Another poll question was worded: “Should schools in America teach the creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre as part of their science curriculum?”
Seventy-three per cent of Democrats answered “no”, compared to 33 per cent of Republicans – with some respondents on either side presumably assuming Lemaitre’s theory was related to intelligent design.
In fact, the Belgian priest was also a physicist who first discovered the universe was expanding and proposed its origins lay in the explosion of a single particle - an idea that became known as the Big Bang theory.

Finally, the last paragraph of the article simultaneously sad and funny:

Civic Science's research is reminiscent of a 2015 survey that found 30 per cent of Republicans supported bombing "Agrabah", the fictional city where Disney's Aladdin is set.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

No comments:

My Zimbio
Top Stories