An argument for dozenalism — hexnet.org

Link: http://hexnet.org/library/hexnet/dozenal

An extract from that article:

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow—proper aliens, in ships and crap—they would, I believe, be astonished and dismayed to see us using a decimal radix as the basis of our mathematics and of our civilization. They would wonder how we got as far as we did using a counting system derived, ultimately, from the rather incidental number of prehensile outcroppings on our hands. And I have to wonder myself. I am at least mildly embarrassed to be associated with a species so dependent on such a nonsensical and counterproductive system. Dozenalism, in various forms, has had its triumphs throughout history. Next to decimalism, it is by far the most prominent and well-represented grouping value across all fields of human endeavor. We are therefore not starting from nothing—momentum and history are on the side of the dozenalist cause.

It is true that decimalism has never been as entrenched in human affairs as it presently is. Converting to dozenal at the dawn of the modern era, when Indo-Arabic numbers were first gaining a foothold in the West, would have been a relatively simple affair. That window of opportunity, however small it may have been, is now long closed, and we are left with a system ingrained into the fabric of our very thoughts themselves.

Yet it is equally clear that the decimal hegemony will only continue to gain ground unless and until it is challenged rigorously, rationally, and openly by those of us who see a better way. And in our modern age of internet publishing and what have you, we have an opportunity unique in the history of human affairs since the dawn of mathematics to get our message out to a wider audience. I believe the case for dozenalism is compelling and overwhelming. If presented with a reasonable argument, I think people are capable of changing. With the aid of computer software, programming libraries, conversion tools, et cetera, the change need not be as onerous as it may have seemed to previous generations. As noted previously in this article, computers do not care, architecturally, what radix human-readable numbers are presented in. It does not change their underlying binary arithmetic at all. It is true that many low-level functions in modern computer systems would have to be rewritten, but to do so would not be earth-shattering, nor would it challenge the integrity of our technological infrastructure.

I believe that, with a focused and sustained effort, we can make the dozenal radix coequal to decimal in popular culture as well as in scientific and mathematical use by the end of this century. (Or grossury?) It is incumbent upon those of us who understand the argument for dozenalism to present it forcefully, enthusiastically, and clearly at every reasonable opportunity. If this is done effectively, I have no doubt the natural course of human events will trend more and more towards a dozenal future.

Read and enjoy the whole article here.

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Published in: on 11/09/2012 at 12:36  Leave a Comment  

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