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Concept of zero

Reader comment on item: On New York's "Khalil Gibran International Academy"

Submitted by Mark Farber (United States), Mar 17, 2007 at 11:20

If this school is going to teach myths such as the Arab "invention" of the concept of zero, it's already starting on the wrong foot. Zero, as we understand it in the West was discovered and elaborated upon in India between the first and fifth centuries A.D., before there was any Islam. As far as I know, the zero as a conceptual construct of nothingness, has only been hit upon three times, in one form or the other...by the Babylonians, Hindus and Mayans, and only the Hindus developed that concept to the level that we understand it today.

No doubt, Arabs as they spread their faith by the sword throughout Hindu lands learned of the zero concept, and it eventually came to the West, probably from Spain. But if this is the level of historic accuracy the new school is going to promote, I would suggest close and continuing oversight of its operations.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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