|The comment about "al-gebra" was actually more truthful than maybe you realize.|
Few people know that the term "algebra" is a european alteration of the arabic math procedure known as "al-jabara", meaning "the reduction".
I believe its creator was a prolific arab known as Al-Kwarzhimi, whose other invention employed a pattern of logic to design procedural branching diagrams that were later named in honor of him: the algorithm.
Pro-Muslim types are usually quick to try and lay claim to al-Kwarzhimi's achievements, as a "glorious example of the Golden Age of Islam". But that sobering truth is, people like al-Kwarzhimi, Sir Isaac Newton, and other Objectivist thinkers achieve in spite of the oppression of their religion-dominated societies, not because of them. While they live, the religions that dominate their lands usually have either a suppressive or reluctantly tolerant attitude towards these "fountainheads". Once they make their achievements, however, the religion-syndicates are quick to declare their achievements as a result of the religious presence in the land, and as an actual product of the religion.
Did I mention before how much I utterly fucking HATE religion?
Anyhow, in al-jabara, a standardized protocol has been designed to employ a series of logically true steps, to rearrange and reduce known and unknown values (constants and variables) so that ultimately, all the knowns end up on one side of the equal sign, while all the unknowns end up on the other, and the final result is a reduction to x equals some definite value or variable rate.
It's fascinating to me that this word meaning -- and all that it implies and would otherwise be of enormous benefit to struggling algebra students -- is not taught to algebra students at all. I have found in my own tutoring of the subject of algebra, that many so-called "math dummies" are actually much more savvy at math than their counterparts, once their eyes are opened to things like this. But then again, this is to be expected in a country with a "Burger King employee" educational system: don't teach organizing concepts, just incomprehensible procedures, a mentality affectionately and contemptibly known as "plug and chug".