Economists As Bullying Witch Doctors

Esther-Mirjam Sent has a work in progress regarding how Herbert Simon made an ass of himself in debating with progressive mathematicians, who did not approve of Samuel Huntington joining the National Academy of Sciences. She included two wonderful quotes from one of the mathematicians, Neal Koblitz regarding economist misuse of mathematics.

Sent, Esther-Mirjam. 2008. “Mathematical Verbiage as a Witch Doctor’s Incantation? Herbert Simon vs. The Mathematics Community.” unpub.

Koblitz, Neal. 1988. “A Tale of Three Equations: Or the Emperors Have No Clothes.” The Mathematical Intelligencer, 10: 1, pp. 4-10.

10: “Mathematical verbiage is being used like a witch doctor’s incantation, to install a sense of awe and reverence in the gullible and poorly educated.”

Koblitz, Neal (1981) “Mathematics as Propaganda.” in Lynn Arthur Steen, ed. Mathematics Tomorrow (New York: Springer-Verlag): pp. 111-120.

Koblitz (1981) had noted: “Mathematics can be used to mystify and intimidate rather than to enlighten the public.”

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