Saturday, July 30, 2005

Alternate Mathematical Reality

The following quotation is taken from "Arab Civilization and Its Impact on the West" by Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Sindi. The complete document can be found at Arab Alternate Reality along with various links to rabid antisemitic literature including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Dr. Sindi also thoughtfully offers a large gallery of antisemitic caricatures that would have warmed Adolph Hitler's heart and found a welcome place on a bulletin board in the SS barracks at Auschwitz.
"The Arabs and Muslims contributed more to the field of mathematics, the basic foundation of modern civilization, than any other people in history. To the magnificent Arab civilization the world owes algebra, algorithm (logarithm), arithmetic, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, the decimal system, and the brilliant "zero". The revolutionary "zero", which gave us what is referred to in the West as the Arabic decimal numeration system, did not originate in India as some Western historians claim but was rather developed in ancient Iraq by the Neo-Babylonians maybe as early as 500 BCE. [21] American mathematics Professor Karl J. Smith indicated in his textbook, The Nature of Mathematics, that while the ancient Indians developed mathematical digital symbols, their numeration system offered no advantage over other earlier systems because it did not contain a "zero" or use a positional system. [22] Although the Arabs’ Semitic ancestors in ancient Iraq developed the “zero”, it was only through the great post-Islamic Arab civilization that it was incorporated into the main body of the general mathematical theory. It took Europe almost 300 years to finally accept the "zero" as a gift from the Arabs. The Arabic numerals were simultaneously expressed in somewhat two different figures or forms, one Abbasid (the eastern style which most Arabs currently use) and one Andalusian (the western style which is used today in the Arab Maghrib countries of Northwest Africa). It was this Arab Andalusian form of numerals (i.e., 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9) that the West and the rest of the world eagerly adopted; hence the worldwide label "Arabic numerals"
None of the above is true. So-called Arabic numerals, including zero, were invented around 400 A.D. in India. Arab mathematicians first became aware of this system of notation about 377 years later. The Arab mathematicians who made use of them properly referred to them as Indian numerals (أرقام هندية, arqam hindiyyah). Until the modern era it was only Arab mathematicians who used this system. Arabs involved in commerce used a method very similar to the Greek and Hebrew systems. It entailed the use of letters of the alphabet. The first set of nine letters corresponded to the numbers 1-9, the second to 10-90 and the third to 100-900. It had no symbol for zero nor did it allow decimal fractions. Arab astronomers used a base 60 Babylonian scheme that did allow for fractions and a zero.

The Italian mathematician Leonardo Pisano also known as Fibonacci made the formal case for general adoption of the Indian system in a book published in 1202. However, the system did not come into general use in the Western world until the invention of the printing press 250 years later. The Arab world followed suit centuries later. The complete truth of the matter can be found in the pertinent Wikepedia entry.

Dr. Sindi claims to have taught at a number of California colleges and universities. It is regrettable that young and impressionable American students were exposed to this bigoted, ignorant, delusional creature in the guise of an instructor.

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