By Laurence Chisholm Young
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Additional info for Mathematicians and Their Times: History of Mathematics and Mathematics of History
Neither had the freedom of the U . S . press, and the capacity for invention by American newsmen, reached their present prestigious heights. The balance has been restored: the assumption that the West is more free from wishful thinking, is wishful thinking. We are back in the old paradox that all Cretans are liars. It is remarkable that Loria mentions the palatable past phenomenon at all; and he certainly leans over backwards at times, Got to glorify some countrymen. Here it is my turn to lean over backwards as a Westerner.
On the contrary, it is because of their contact with the East, that they were able to become founders. It was no accident that these founders happened to be born in territories bordering oriental Kingdoms and for a while subject to them. Moreover, Herodotus tells u s that Thales predicted the eclipse 585 BC, which ended a war by stopping a battle between the Medes and the Lydians. This prediction would hardly have been feasible, without a knowledge of Babylonian observations indicating approximate periodicities, and of course it would be made rather easy by them.
I say t r e a s u r e s : I was t a u g h t t o v a l u e Greek thought. We have of c o u r s e only a f r a c t i o n of t h e g r e a t works o f Ancient Greece; t h e m i r a c l e of t h e i r p r e s e r v a t i o n i s wasted on a g e n e r a t i o n t h a t h a r d l y r e a d s any g r e a t works a t a l l . ” Why indeed t r o u b l e t o r e a d a t a l l ? O r f o r t h a t m a t t e r , t o t h i n k ? The m i r a c l e , t o my mind, i s t h a t t h e r e w a s ever a time when i t w a s n o t s o : o r t h a t man ever managed t o evolve from t h e a p e , o r the ape from t h e dead p r i m i t i v e d u s t .
Mathematicians and Their Times: History of Mathematics and Mathematics of History by Laurence Chisholm Young