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56 Percent Of Americans Don't Think We Should Teach Arabic Numerals In School

author

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockMay 16 2019, 12:37 UTC

Alexey Godzenko/Shutterstock

If you grew up in America, you've probably used Arabic numerals pretty much every day of your life in some way. Same if you're English, French, or from most other countries. 

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Even in China and Japan, where other numerals are used (零,Yī, 二, Èr, 三, for example), Arabic numerals are still regularly employed. Unless you're reading this in ancient Rome, you probably use them too.

Nevertheless, a survey conducted by poll company Civic Science has found that 56 percent of Americans would like Arabic numerals (which are the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9, used in every number right up until infinity) banned in schools. America, your prejudice is showing.

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In the survey, 3,624 people were asked: "Should schools in America teach Arabic Numerals as part of their curriculum?" to which 2,020 people (56 percent) said "no", and just 29 percent actually said "yes".

The survey was designed to show the tribal impulses of people to answer a question without understanding it first, along their own biased lines.

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"Our goal in this experiment was to tease out prejudice among those who didn't understand the question," Civic Science's CEO John Dick explained on Twitter.

"Most people don't know the origins of our numerical system and yet picked a tribal answer anyway. You can argue that one is worse than the other but both prove a similar point."

Fifty-six percent is a lot of people to both not realize that the numbers we use are Arabic numerals and to say they shouldn't be taught in schools.

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However, this bias wasn't unique to people prejudiced against the word "Arabic". The survey also posed the question "Should schools in America teach the creation theory of Catholic priest Georges Lemaître as part of their science curriculum?" to which 53 percent of respondents said "no".

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Which is a shame because while Georges Lemaître was a Catholic priest, his "theory of creation" was the theory that the universe is expanding, which was soon confirmed by Hubble and is now better known as the Big Bang theory.

"Sorry to break this to everyone but it appears neither side has a monopoly on blind prejudice," Dick wrote. "Either that or 73% of Democrats believe schools shouldn't be teaching students about the Big Bang Theory."

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Rather than just answering "don't know", it appears to be pretty common to answer along prejudiced lines. In December 2015, Public Policy Polling released results of a poll that showed 41 percent of Trump supporters (and 19 percent of Democrats) supported bombing Agrabah, a fictional city from the Disney cartoon Aladdin, Snopes reports.

[H/T: Snopes]


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