Math: Gift from God or Work of Man?

John Allen Paulos in his Who’s Counting column at ABC News:

Math_god_070830_msSchool begins again, and we read more about the intrusion of pseudoscience into school science curricula in this country, particularly into the study of biology and evolution.

The motive, despite the claims of proponents of intelligent design and other bogus “disciplines,” has been religious. Although some of the creation scientists’ arguments presented have a probabilistic flavor, the mathematics curriculum has seemed somewhat resistant to this trend. Recently a number of readers have sent me course descriptions from various schools that suggest otherwise, however.

The issue is complicated (perhaps too complicated for a column), but I’ll also briefly discuss the relevance of evolution to a more defensible, but still flawed argument relating religion and mathematics.

Consider first a Baptist school in Texas whose description of a geometry course begins:

Students will examine the nature of God as they progress in their understanding of mathematics. Students will understand the absolute consistency of mathematical principles and know that God was the inventor of that consistency. They will see God’s nature revealed in the order and precision they review foundational concepts while being able to demonstrate geometric thinking and spatial reasoning. The study of the basics of geometry through making and testing conjectures regarding mathematical and real-world patterns will allow the students to understand the absolute consistency of God as seen in the geometric principles he created.

I wonder if the school teaches that non-Euclidean geometry is the work of the devil or at least of non-Christians.

More here.