The numeric argument sometimes goes like this: If Arabs and
their Muslim partners didn't invent Arabic numerals and the cipher system then
they couldn't have developed mathematics, astronomy, geometry and the other
sciences and arts.
Another argument goes like this: Why is it so important to
call numerals "Arabic" or "European" or "Sindhi" or "Indian" or "Hindu"?
Can't we call "universal numerals", or "our numerals"?
The numeric argument is simple: People do not usually invent
something complex unless they have a need to do so. Arabs, or more correctly
Arabians, are the oldest trading nation on Earth. Traders need a numeric
alphabet, as all traders know, and they need a literary alphabet.
the majority of people do not need to call "Arabic" numerals
anything but "Arabic" numerals.
Let's for a while leave the cipher system aside and deal with
Nothing comes from nothing, the saying goes, so numerals,
like all other important things, must have an origin. Because Arabians, then
Arabs and Muslims, were traders, they needed to develop special signs to
communicate numbers. It follows that their numerals, or their Eastern Numerals,
existed before other flavors of numerals, such as the Western Numerals.
But both sets of numerals look different or are they?
Think of scripts.
Arabs and their Arabian ancestors use a right to left
literary script. Their numeric script generally should be the same, otherwise the
hand of a writer recording text and numbers would be moving right, left, left,
right, which is not practical.
Europeans, and before them some Andalusian and Sicilians,
used a left to right literary script. At first, those concerned recorded their
numbers right to left. When demand to use numbers increased, somebody had to
come up with an idea to match the orientation of literary and numeric scripts.