Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beyond Deometry

Beyond intelligent design, beyond deometry, there is the calculus of fundamentalism. Harpers has up some excerpts of a precalculus textbook from (racist, xian fundamentalist) Bob Jones University. The text finds creative ways to mix ideological indoctrination and mathematical instruction. Here is a taste of Original Sine:
A person is eccentric if his behavior deviates from normal. Jesus Christ expects His disciples to be eccentric, since living a Christlike life is not normal in this world (Titus 2:14). Likewise, in mathematics, conic sections are eccentric if they deviate from a circle. Eccentricity is a measure of this deviation. The eccentricity of an ellipse (e) is the ratio of focal distance (c) to the length of the semimajor axis (a): e = c⁄a. Since c and a are distances and c < a, the eccentricity of any ellipse is 0 < e < 1.
I wonder. Is their children learning?

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