What I Teach My Students

The Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins has it out for me again and I responded.

Now, Americans for “Truth” About Homosexuality is piggybacking on her cause.

Of course, Higgins is correct about Hemant Mehta, a supposedly “Friendly Atheist” blogger and high school math teacher who not only can’t seem to understand the difference between “hate and bigotry” and disagreeing with homosexuality, but whose lack of judgment (i.e., using the F-word on a blog surely read by many of his students) makes him a poor role model for youth. But the biggest problem for Neuqua Valley students and their parents is Mehta’s vocal atheist activism. Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom. — Peter LaBarbera, www.aftah.org

(If you use one interpretation, he makes it sound like I’m a “supposed” math teacher… I’m amused.)

These people don’t simply “disagree” with homosexuality — they want to make it impossible for students to be comfortable embracing their sexuality. That’s why we have to continue to call them out when they lie about our LGBT friends.

That last sentence from Porno Pete gets to me, though:

Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.

Oh man… they’re totally onto me!

It’s true, I use the classroom as my bully pulpit to influence kids about all things irreligious and sexual.

For example:

Some numbers are imaginary… just like God

If you draw one period of a basic cosine graph, it looks like cleavage

The average of a set of numbers doesn’t always appear in the set of numbers

When someone says he can “prove” something, you should look for the flaw in his work

If you want to remember which trig functions are positive in a particular quadrant, remember the acronym: All Strippers Take Cash

If you want to balance a baby, you must find its center of gravity

The truth about Venn Diagrams

Oh, and I spent a whole unit talking about “Logs”…

AFTAH must warn the parents!

  • Hitch

    You should have shown them what a hyperbole is, they are not even tangent, it all in the imaginary half-plane. It’s really hard to square this. Period (2*PI).

  • Aegis

    Looks like you’re guilty as sine, Hemant.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    I may have to move closer, just so my kids will be able to take your math class.

  • Lisa

    I cannot explain how much I wish you were my math teacher in high school.

  • JimG

    You’re in trouble now, Hemant. You know humorless fanatics won’t understand satire. They’re going to start waving all these around as admissions of what you really do teach in math class, just as they occasionally get hysterical about stories from The Onion.

  • Bob

    Clearly, in Higgins’ book, 2 + 2 = 666.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Does she not realise that by targeting you as an atheist she actually strengthens your position within your job? It is still illegal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of religion (or lack of religion) isn’t it?

  • Justin

    Ditto as Lisa says. I had really cool math teachers in high school, but I would have liked you.

    Took me nearly 3 minutes to find where the problem in your faulty proof was. That’s a good one. Can I steal it?

  • Hitch

    Forgot to mention that in the above proof God = (a-b) and this is the reason why God can be used to prove anything.

    (Students who get this get an A+ for having fully understood the rules of arithmetic).

  • Evilspud

    My physics teacher rarely talked about religion, but in the corner of the classroom, he kept a small granite slate inscribed with a scarlet A. Does that mean he should be fired?

  • Jim H

    Justin, it took me a year to see the flaw: the year before I took algebra. My 7th grade math teacher was not Hemant, and he couldn’t explain why my leap was wrong. The given was x = 5x, and I could see that x had to be zero, but I didn’t have the math to explain it. Neither did Mr. Kempf. At least I had the excuse of a 7th grade education (even worse, in catholic school).

  • Trace

    “But the biggest problem for Neuqua Valley students and their parents is Mehta’s vocal atheist activism. ”

    Yes, that has to THE biggest problem!

  • Trace

    has to=has to be

  • ccubeman

    I wonder what the something is that’s whispering to Porno Pete. Could it be… sata…

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    They “disagree” with homosexuality?

    You can’t disagree with homosexuality any more than you can “disagree” with black people being black, or an entire gender. It’s who they are, and they can’t change that without some serious brainwashing (or skin pigmentation/gender reassignment).

  • Marta

    I also really wish I had you as a teacher :(

  • http://petursey.wordpress.com Pete in the Netherlands

    I think the evil old witch has nothing better to do than persecute someone who’s obviously very good at their job…none of my maths teachers could make it as interesting as you did in one post !

    I emailed the bigoted christofascist yesterday expressing my disapproval and got a long rambling bitter nasty reply from the old trout quoting bible verses at me..

    I can’t see how she can “disagree” with my biological makeup…but then they believe anything handed to them in a book of bronze age fairy tales translated by modern day money grabbing parasites !

    What you do in your spare time..ie atheist activism has zero to do with your job as a teacher.

  • ed42

    I fixed the quote to make it true:

    “…It is a fact that public schools, particularly high schools, expose students to numerous resources and activities that espouse, either implicitly or explicitly, unproven and controversial “progressive” theories on the nature and morality of GOD, while at the same time censoring all resources that espouse dissenting views. This ideological monopoly transmogrifies education into indoctrination.” — Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute

  • Dusty

    Step 5 in the Faulty Proof is “Divide by (a-b)”. If a=b, then a-b=0. Ya’ can’t divide by 0.
    Prizes for me?

  • Iason Ouabache

    FLAWLESS VICTORY!

  • Deiloh

    Oh no, the children might read the eff word on the internets…

    Anyway. When I help my son with his math homework, I’m thinking the boobies and strippers is a great idea. Too funny.

  • plutosdad

    She may as well say “I support your right to free speech, I just think if you use it to say things I don’t like you should never work again, that’s all.”

    I suppose people like these two liked it better before we had a 1st Amendment, back when christians could murder uppity women for being witches, and persecute and run Catholics and other fake christians out of town. I’m sure she’d be up in front with the torches and pitchforks. That’s the kind of people they are, and the world the the West will become if they get control again.

    Mass murder over ideology happens still, and happened in the west not so long ago. It starts with people like those two.

    The best thing we can do is continue to ridicule them and let them embarrass themselves as much as possible.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    I “disagree with homosexuality” but I am not a bigot. Why? Because I disagree with my homosexuality – as in I am not homosexual and have no interest in that.

    What would make me a “bigot” – simple if I disagreed with someone else’s homosexuality. It’s in the definition of the word for goodness sake.

  • Matt

    Not too long ago in our history, we could have seen another common claim:
    “The [AFTAW] Truth About Women has been made necessary by the absolute censorship in public education of traditional views of women in society (baby machines and house wives). It is a fact that public schools, particularly high schools, expose students to numerous resources and activities that espouse, either implicitly or explicitly, unproven and controversial “progressive” theories on the role of women in society, while at the same time censoring all resources that put women where they belong (in the kitchen). This ideological monopoly transmogrifies education into indoctrination.”
    - Some dead misogynistic bastard
    P.s. Laurie Higgin, get back in the kitchen and fix me a sandwich like a good traditional woman. :P

  • Alexis

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.” But aren’t the class room and the blog non-overlapping magesteria?

  • Richard P.

    I bet your getting a lot more hits. Great to have an arch nemesis (or as Carlos would say, your own petty tyrant). I wonder how many eyes have combusted when they have come here, or does that just happen on satanic sites?

    Is this a satanic site? Hemant are you really a covert agent for the devil? Are you really a sower of the devils seed? Funny how the devil always uses nice people for their agents, like math teachers and priests.

    Don’t forget to look up the great baby recipes while your here. Nothing like succulent baby to curb the appetite.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I love math jokes. Be careful. The people at Americans for “Truth” About Homosexuality may not be able to tell that you’re joking.

  • Ali

    During exam time we used to remember the correct quadrants by the expression.

    “Backward ACTS”

    Sounds a little bit rude if you have an awfully British sense of blue humour, anyway I’m sure if you phrase this in the correct way with maybe a cheeky wink you can promote a fun sex position in your classroom.

    It would be very “Atheist” of you to warp you innocent minds in this way I’m sure.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    If you would have been my math teacher in high school, I may have ended up liking math more than I did (i still don’t like it as a 46 yr old adult)

    Keep calling them out, but also keep an eye on your back since these people don’t give two shits about you or your teaching career. They are so bent on their agenda that responsible treatment of humanity doesn’t factor into their equation.

  • Alexis

    I asked:

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.” But aren’t the class room and the blog non-overlapping magesteria?

    I realized the answer:

    Not if you’re a fundy!

  • EMB

    I could imagine parents being somewhat unhappy with even the “clean” versions of mnemonics like “All Strippers Take Cash”; it seems like they’re just a way to replace understanding with memorization. This sort of thing probably helps with passing tests and such in the short term, but is unlikely to provide any long-term educational value.

  • Jonas

    For those who saw your div by (a-b) or zero immediately, here’s one I found when I was in High School:


    e^i(pi) + 1 = 0 –> Euler’s Identity.
    – 1 from both sides:

    e^i(pi) = -1
    – Square Both Sides:

    e^(2(pi)i) = 1
    – Natural Log Both Sides:

    2i(pi) = 0 :
    – Divide by sqrt(-4) both sides:

    pi = 0 :
    —————–

    First time I did that, I was like wait what did I do wrong?

  • sc0tt

    If you draw one period of a basic cosine graph, it looks like cleavage

    Maybe it’s just me… but that looks like a vagina.

    Also, be careful integrating e to the x… for sure don’t write it on the blackboard (do they still have blackboards?)

  • TychaBrahe

    OK, I’ll be the lone voice of dissension. I wouldn’t want you to teach my kid about trig functions in the quadrants with “All Strippers Take Cash,” anymore than I appreciated being taught to recognize resistors using the phrase “Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.” There’s enough negative pressure on girls who like math without bringing in the image of women who trade sexual accessibility for money. You wouldn’t teach the order of operations with, “Everyone really must die, and soon,” would you?

    I don’t have a ready replacement, because we didn’t learn a mnemonic for that, but why not “All Ships Take Cargo,” or “Alyson Stoner – Too Cute”?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    @TychaBrahe — Actually, what I use in class is “All Students Take Calculus”

  • http://thenaturalbuddhist.blogspot.com JohnFrost

    Holy crap, Hemant, you know they’re not going to understand sarcasm!

  • http://zheshiwoying.blogspot.com/ AwesomeCloud’s Mom

    They should be more appreciative. Some students may actually try harder at math if they know their math teacher is human and knows about things like sex and the F word. I know I would’ve.

  • http://twitter.com/jtradke jtradke

    Homosexuality does not agree with me. Gives me indigestion.

  • GentleGiant

    “But the biggest problem for Neuqua Valley students and their parents is Mehta’s vocal atheist activism.”

    However, THEIR very vocal Christian activism isn’t a problem (especially since it actually targets a specific minority in society?)???
    Hypocrisy much? On top of their other despicable ways, of course.

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.”

    Couldn’t this be construed as libel? I mean, they’re attacking your professional integrity.

  • Judith Bandsma

    I really can see students spending their summers hunting for their teachers’ websites. :P Right!

    Do you think maybe they object to you so much because you teach that pi 3.0 and that goes against the bible?

  • Judith Bandsma

    Ok, I used the ‘not equal’ bracket symbol and it didn’t show up so that should read:

    “…you teach that pi does not equal 3.0…”

  • MissAJ

    Math… makes my head hurt.

    And how DARE you write about how people should think for themselves and not hate people based on their sexual preference on your PERSONAL website. What a terrible role model that makes you. [/sarcasm]

  • plutosdad

    Of course pi is evil, it doesn’t even end! This never ending “eternal” number is the mathematician’s form of blasphemy, literally making themselves equal with God by saying “you can write forever and never reach our number.” Everyone knows the infinite and eternal is the provenance of God alone.

  • Richard Wade

    But the biggest problem for Neuqua Valley students and their parents is Mehta’s vocal atheist activism.

    Only if they hate freedom of speech and freedom of religion as much as you do, Pete.

    Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.

    “Something” tells you? Oh, that slightly metallic voice you hear as if it’s with your ears instead of in your head? Probably not a reliable source, Pete. Go back to the doctor and renew your clozapine.

  • Richard Wade

    Homosexuality does not agree with me. Gives me indigestion.

    Don’t swallow.

  • jose

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.”

    Cree el ladrón que todos son de su condición.

  • Neon Genesis

    “Of course, Higgins is correct about Hemant Mehta, a supposedly “Friendly Atheist” blogger and high school math teacher who not only can’t seem to understand the difference between “hate and bigotry” and disagreeing with homosexuality, but whose lack of judgment”

    How is the AFA supporting the criminalization of homosexuality not hate?

    ” (Did he just write that I’m a “supposed” math teacher?)”

    I think what they mean is that you’re supposedly a friendly atheist and also a math teacher.

  • Valhar2000

    To those who were as creeped out by Jonas’ thing as I was, here is an explanation of what is wrong with that proof.

  • giovanni

    I feel I should stick up for sqrt(-1). The number i gets a bad rap because the whole “imaginary” name stuck. But really there’s no need to say it’s as imaginary as God. That’s just low. :)

    i is just as real as any other number we use (which, depending on your philosophical views, may not be very real at all, but whatever). It certainly is understandable and obeys consistent laws of behavior, which already gives it a leg up on God.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    Aside from being dead wrong, Higgins & Co. are humorless. As Hemant shows in his post, humor and irony is what we have going for us, and I think these are the ideal weapons with which to fight back. I think we should ridicule the hell out of them.

    Also: I love how they insist upon a distinction between “hate and bigotry” and “disagreeing with homosexuality.” You can’t “disagree” with homosexuality! Not anymore than you can disagree with heterosexuality, or being left-handed, or anything else that occurs naturally in nature. Oh right, they think it’s a choice, a “life-style.” Not very intelligent are they?

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    Well, at least you know you’re doing something right when you manage to piss off TWO right wing organizations!

  • Kimberly

    Haha! I love this post!

    (I’m a big math nerd)

  • Ben

    “Something” tells you?

    This is the sign of quality journalism. It’s equivalent of “sources say” and “some people believe”. In other, more accurate words: “nobody I’ve met says or believes this, and I haven’t experienced it myself, but I’ll report it anyway in the hope you believe me”.

  • http://how-to-blogg.blogspot.com/ Hubert

    a-b=0 and you can’t divide by zero. Ah crap people already beat me to it above.

  • http://crumbleincromwell.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Being a History Teacher I use SEX all the time for essays. Students think it is great!

    Statement

    Example

    eXplanation

    I could use SEE but that is not nearly as fun :)

  • http://findingmyfeminism.blogspot.com/ Not Guilty

    Well looking at all that math stuff gave me flashbacks to highschool. Math and me are not friends; I see numbers and my brain shuts down. Good timing, it’s bed time!

  • Dan W

    Funny post, Hemant. Unfortunately, fundies and sarcasm generally don’t mix. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laurie Higgins and Peter LaBarbera actually think you were being serious here. Too bad, really. :)

  • http://glennsogge.blogspot.com FormerComposer

    You forgot to extend your sqrt(-1) = God.

    sqrt(-1) is i
    therefore, I = God.
    QED

  • Haley

    @Chris: My English and History teachers use PEE. Make a Point, give an Example, and Explain. We already get odd looks from other students when we ask each other how many times we PEE’d on our essays, so I can only imagine how great your version must be to use!

    Anyways, I think this lady needs to get a life. Her kids are in a high school (public, if I’m not mistaken), and she thinks they haven’t already been exposed to opposing religious beliefs, homosexuality, or even the “F” word? She reminds me of an old friend’s mom who didn’t allow her teenaged kids to watch anything that wasn’t rated G or listen to anything but Christian rock and the Beach Boys….which still seems really random.

    Hemant, I would love it if you could teach at my school next year if you promise to teach culinary arts as well. I need new baby recipes. :D

  • Ann

    Wait a second, so your lack of judgement in using the F-word on your blog makes you a horrible role model? They really shouldn’t be talking about bad role models when their pastors and priests are stealing from them and raping their children. Jeez.

  • Hannah C

    I think your post and everyone else has covered this pretty well.

    But I just have to say, they are so concerned with you saying “fuck” on here.
    Do they know how teenagers talk? We hear that everyday at school.

  • http://www.thatpinkmouse.com/bloggy Jenny Bliss

    wow if they hate people swearing they’d better stay far away fom Father Ted ^_^ (i love that show lol) dunno why but these people remind me of those over protective parents who if they could would wrap their kids in bubble wrap and keep them inside a bubble all their lives never letting them experiance the outside world in any shape or form (or is that just me? hehe)

  • Moose

    “The average human has one breast and one testicle…”

    I laughed and cried when I saw that one. Bravo!

    Seriously-perhaps some law student predisposed to atheism could peruse this bint’s (and her wannabe bastard spawn’s) “emissions” and scan for libel?

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.”

    If not yet, I feel it’s only a matter of time before they stray from “The Truth” (something the righteous always seem to think they have an exclusive on) and say something truly stupid-and actionable.

    After that-methinks its lawsuit time, with “Ms Higgins” thrown in as an accomplice.

    Metah-you could be a very rich man already!

    (I’m also certain you’d blow it on charity-you fool…)

  • lurker111

    What, you haven’t told the poor darlings about the Witch of Agnesi?

  • Citizen Z

    To those who were as creeped out by Jonas’ thing as I was, here is an explanation of what is wrong with that proof.

    To put it simpler terms, the problem is when Jonas squared both sides. You can’t do that and still expect to get a proper equality. Otherwise you could just prove 5 = -5 with that method.

  • Enrys

    Oh shit we need to protect our kids from FUCK first than ATHEISTS second!

  • Lynet

    Citizen Z,

    To put it simpler terms, the problem is when Jonas squared both sides.

    No, it’s not that, it’s that the exponential function is no longer one-to-one when it gets used in the complex plane — so you have to be careful when trying to invert it using the natural log.

    Basically, it’s no longer true in the complex plane that you can conclude a=b from exp(a)=exp(b).

  • Carol B

    @Lynet — are you sure? I thought it was when cos(i) of exp(a)=exp(b) was converted to the (n-ab) power, then the inverted regression couldn’t possibly function as a derivative of the log. Unless you took a more accurate p-value, of course, but then you’d still have trouble with the complex plane via the tangential sequence. You know?

    But then, Hemant always did have some fuzzy math. He just can’t help it.

  • muggle

    Maybe, Hement, if you’d been my high school math teacher (which would have been a miracle given that you weren’t born yet), I’d comprehend your post and 90% of the comments.

    In any case, this woman really needs a life. And really needs to let her kids have a life. She is doing them more harm than you could ever dream of doing. I’m 52 and still getting over my mother never letting us out into the evil world of teen life. Makes socializing as an adult rather devilish.

  • Sarah

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.”

    something tells me that history and science aren’t all that christian teachers are talking about in their classrooms.

    i think it is rather funny that they are so scared of atheists and the word “fuck.” i just hope these people do not jeopardize your job.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X