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Re: Nothingness @ SEP

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  • John J. Gagne
    Kaz: The term creativity implies working within some establish frame of reference/rule/ or guidelines. As you gain more proficiency and knowledge with respect
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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      Kaz:

      The term creativity implies working within some establish frame of
      reference/rule/ or guidelines. As you gain more proficiency and
      knowledge with respect to the given craft an ability to be "creative"
      within the limits of the given establishment results in highly
      structured and very complex (beautiful/elegant) creations.

      An innovator is someone who (like Hendrix) achieves this beauty via
      straying too far from the establishment. This requires a greater
      amount of imagination (as apposed to creativity).

      It all depends, if you want to be a part of a given "establishment"
      then you must agree to be "creative" as apposed to rebelliously
      innovative. The irony is, to be appreciated for being rebelliously
      innovative you must build an establishment and enforce working within
      it too…

      Just my 2 cents.

      John J. Gagne


      --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, KAZ <kazvorpal@...> wrote:
      >
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: feedbackdroids
      > To: ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:34:49 PM
      > Subject: [ai-philosophy] Re: Nothingness @ SEP
      >
      > > I know what you're saying [the usual bewailment], but I put it to
      you
      > > that, anyone who is seriously worried about his creativity being
      > > scrunched by the educational system, probably doesn't have much
      in
      > > the first place, and probably "should" go to school as his best
      > > option. The creative person will use "any" knowledge available to
      him
      > > as a bootstrap, rather than a hindrance, and school will not
      destroy
      > > him.
      >
      > Bullshit. For artists especially, the regimentation of being
      trained in "proper techniques" in a bureaucratic education system is
      often more harm than good. If Jimi Hendrix had been carefully trained
      by masters of Jazz like John McLaughlin, then he would have
      undoubtedly been hired by Miles Davis, who passed him up because he
      didn't have the rote, conformist chops which Jazz demanded at the
      time...but he also would never have been BETTER than McLaughlin. And,
      as we all know, that guy wasn't fit to lick Jimi's boots. Don't get
      me wrong; McLaughlin is my favorite Jazz guitarist...but the
      regimentation of having someone else's techniques and ideas imposed
      on you creates an upper limit to what you can achieve.
      >
      > Hendrix played the two bass strings of the guitar with his thumb,
      which is absolutely verbotten to this day by EVERY guitar
      teacher...yet is something EVERY truly great guitarist I can think of
      does at least on occasion. It's a damned good thing that he was able
      to develop the techniques which fit best with his on natural mindset,
      not the ones which are most reliable for cranking out tolerable
      guitarists en masse from some school.
      >
      > The same is true of graphic art, cooking, whatever else you'd want
      to label as primarily creative, but which some school would treat as
      primarily a matter of technique.
      >
      > Hell, the same's true of soft sciences, as well. How many
      potentially good economists have ended up being Keynesian or Marxist
      morons because that's how they've been programmed in school? How many
      real intellectuals ended up being filled with the kind of
      pseudointellectual pablum we saw in that guy's paper? How many
      theoretical physicists might have actually come up with some of THE
      answers, but were drilled on a precise set of "facts" (which some
      troublemaking jerk later proved to be bullshit) until they couldn't
      see the truth?
      >
      > > Related story. When I was in grad school, a friend of mine got a
      bug
      > > up his crotch, and wrote up a proposition for his preliminary
      exam
      > > related to how university wasn't a very good place to get a real
      > > education. Something along the lines of what was said by the
      > > previous poster. I could only think "WHY do this?", and told my
      > > friend it was a bad idea [poster shakes his head]. But he did,
      and
      > > failed his exam, and left the uni to work on a shrimp boat, of
      all
      >
      > The lesson: Higher education is the training ground for conformity.
      >
      > Good thing YOU learned the lesson, or else you might be on that
      shrimp boat, too.
      >
      > --
      > Words of the Sentient:
      > The system just doesn't work, the nation's strict drug laws cause
      more
      > problems than the drugs themselves. --Judge James Gray
      >
      > E-Mail: KazVorpal@...
      > Yahoo Messenger/AIM/AOL: KazVorpal
      > MSN Messenger: KazVorpal@...
      > ICQ: 1912557
      > http://360.yahoo.com/kazvorpal
      >
    • jrstern
      this is all OT, but ... ... which is absolutely verbotten to this day by EVERY guitar teacher...yet is something EVERY truly great guitarist I can think of
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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        this is all OT, but ...

        --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, KAZ <kazvorpal@...> wrote:

        > Hendrix played the two bass strings of the guitar with his thumb,
        which is absolutely verbotten to this day by EVERY guitar
        teacher...yet is something EVERY truly great guitarist I can think of
        does at least on occasion.

        Well, I have a version of this that doesn't require the negative view
        of education you seem to hold.

        It's a personal meme of mine that elite software developers have
        found an approach to programming that the great masses have been
        educated against. I believe that if you watch a hot programmer and
        analyze what s/he does, they will be seen to be doing X. However, we
        are all taught versions of Y in school, and if you ask even a hot
        programmer what s/he's doing, what you get is a recitation of Y that
        they were told in school, even though that does not match their
        personal practice.

        Now, I know a couple of hot programmers who may have gone to college,
        but did not major in computer science, probably took no more than an
        intro programming class if that (any auto-didact tends to have gaping
        holes in their skills, even if they are excellent in spots, but
        that's another story). But I certainly know hot programmers who have
        various computer science or engineering degrees as well. So what we
        have are people who transcend their lack of education, or their
        education, doesn't really seem to matter as far as that goes.
        Education can tell you P is good and Q is bad, but even if they get
        the evaluations wrong, at least you leave aware of both P and Q and
        don't spend your life reinventing them.

        I don't know. Maybe it's impossible to teach excellence in any
        field, or we'd all be Tiger Woods, or Albert Einstein. But that's
        not exactly a call to close down all schools, or for golfers to
        experiment with holding the club in their teeth.


        > Hell, the same's true of soft sciences, as well. How many
        potentially good economists have ended up being Keynesian or Marxist
        morons because that's how they've been programmed in school?

        Potentially good? I'm sure there are a lot of potentially good X who
        never get around to trying X, that's just the human condition. Call
        it the Frame Problem. :) I don't deny your statement, I just can't
        imagine what you think the alternative is, other than some kind of
        laisse faire, tabula rasa, brute empirical, romantically naturalized,
        best-of-all-possible-worlds purple-hazed dreamland. But if you're
        selling tickets to go there, save me one!

        Josh
      • feedbackdroids
        ... you ... in ... him ... destroy ... trained in proper techniques in a bureaucratic education system is often more harm than good. Bulsshit, to use your
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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          --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, KAZ <kazvorpal@...> wrote:
          >
          > ----- Original Message ----
          > From: feedbackdroids
          > To: ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:34:49 PM
          > Subject: [ai-philosophy] Re: Nothingness @ SEP
          >
          > > I know what you're saying [the usual bewailment], but I put it to
          you
          > > that, anyone who is seriously worried about his creativity being
          > > scrunched by the educational system, probably doesn't have much
          in
          > > the first place, and probably "should" go to school as his best
          > > option. The creative person will use "any" knowledge available to
          him
          > > as a bootstrap, rather than a hindrance, and school will not
          destroy
          > > him.
          >
          > Bullshit. For artists especially, the regimentation of being
          trained in "proper techniques" in a bureaucratic education system is
          often more harm than good.


          Bulsshit, to use your term. I think you've been brainwashed by
          behaviorist propaganda.

          To the exact contrary, you are a human and you have a "choice". You
          always have a choice. Try reading Dennett, "Freedom Evolves", instead
          of Watson and Skinner. If your artists cannot see this, it's their
          own damn fault. People aren't pigeons.


          >>>>>
          If Jimi Hendrix had been carefully trained by masters of Jazz like
          John McLaughlin, then he would have undoubtedly been hired by Miles
          Davis, who passed him up because he didn't have the rote, conformist
          chops which Jazz demanded at the time...but he also would never have
          been BETTER than McLaughlin. And, as we all know, that guy wasn't fit
          to lick Jimi's boots. Don't get me wrong; McLaughlin is my favorite
          Jazz guitarist...but the regimentation of having someone else's
          techniques and ideas imposed on you creates an upper limit to what
          you can achieve.
          >>>>


          Only if you're a pigeon.


          >>>>
          Hendrix played the two bass strings of the guitar with his thumb,
          which is absolutely verbotten to this day by EVERY guitar
          teacher...yet is something EVERY truly great guitarist I can think of
          does at least on occasion. It's a damned good thing that he was able
          to develop the techniques which fit best with his on natural mindset,
          not the ones which are most reliable for cranking out tolerable
          guitarists en masse from some school.
          >>>>


          Hendrix was certainly the king [although probably more so related to
          drug-induced hallucinations than anything else], but I'll compare him
          to Clapton any day.


          >>>>
          The same is true of graphic art, cooking, whatever else you'd want
          to label as primarily creative, but which some school would treat as
          primarily a matter of technique.
          >
          > Hell, the same's true of soft sciences, as well. How many
          potentially good economists have ended up being Keynesian or Marxist
          morons because that's how they've been programmed in school? How many
          real intellectuals ended up being filled with the kind of
          pseudointellectual pablum we saw in that guy's paper? How many
          theoretical physicists might have actually come up with some of THE
          answers, but were drilled on a precise set of "facts" (which some
          troublemaking jerk later proved to be bullshit) until they couldn't
          see the truth?
          >>>>


          I had this problem with my own grad school advisor. Few of my
          research findings agreed with his pet theory, and his ego wouldn't
          allow it. This may have helped squash my research publication output,
          but not my feelings on the matter.

          There IS a difference.


          >>>>
          > > Related story. When I was in grad school, a friend of mine got a
          bug
          > > up his crotch, and wrote up a proposition for his preliminary
          exam
          > > related to how university wasn't a very good place to get a real
          > > education. Something along the lines of what was said by the
          > > previous poster. I could only think "WHY do this?", and told my
          > > friend it was a bad idea [poster shakes his head]. But he did,
          and
          > > failed his exam, and left the uni to work on a shrimp boat, of
          all
          >
          > The lesson: Higher education is the training ground for conformity.
          >>>>


          Well that certainly was my friend's feelings on the matter. Squashed
          by academic egotism, on several accounts.

          However, the lesson my very intelligent friend failed to learn
          was "how to play the game" without getting his own ego smashed in the
          proces. That's the real lesson to be had from all this. Education and
          life. But don't be a Skinnerist shill. You have a choice.


          >>>>
          > Good thing YOU learned the lesson, or else you might be on that
          shrimp boat, too.
          >>>.


          Poster is ROTFLOL. If you knew my life, you'd know how comical your
          statement is.

          However, I'll give you this. I can spot one of your subject group a
          mile away. But my feeling is, as was the original point, I don't
          think many of them ever were very creative people to start with. We
          are taking creativity here.
        • feedbackdroids
          ... I think you and Kaz are over-looking a fundamental issue here. College is not the end of education, it s only the start of education. It doesn t brand
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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            --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@...> wrote:
            >

            > So what we
            > have are people who transcend their lack of education, or their
            > education, doesn't really seem to matter as far as that goes.
            > Education can tell you P is good and Q is bad, but even if they get
            > the evaluations wrong, at least you leave aware of both P and Q and
            > don't spend your life reinventing them.
            >


            I think you and Kaz are over-looking a fundamental issue here. College
            is not the "end" of education, it's only the "start" of education. It
            doesn't brand you for life, unless you're pretty damn dull to begin
            with. [and if you're this way, they you get what you merit in any case].

            This is especially true in engineering. Despite what scuttlebutt you
            may hear in school, the heuristic in the engineering profession is that
            you learn to be a "real" engineer via practical experience AFTER you
            graduate college, using your schooling mainly as a base to start from.
          • jrstern
            ... College ... case]. Hear-hear! ... that ... Hear-hear! Josh
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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              --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, "feedbackdroids"
              <feedbackdroids@...> wrote:
              > I think you and Kaz are over-looking a fundamental issue here.
              College
              > is not the "end" of education, it's only the "start" of education. It
              > doesn't brand you for life, unless you're pretty damn dull to begin
              > with. [and if you're this way, they you get what you merit in any
              case].

              Hear-hear!


              > This is especially true in engineering. Despite what scuttlebutt you
              > may hear in school, the heuristic in the engineering profession is
              that
              > you learn to be a "real" engineer via practical experience AFTER you
              > graduate college, using your schooling mainly as a base to start from.

              Hear-hear!



              Josh
            • KAZ
              ... College ... case]. Except what you re saying fails completely to focus on the fact that education is not supposed to be about teaching you WHAT to think,
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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                --- In ai-philosophy@ yahoogroups. com, "feedbackdroids"
                wrote:
                > I think you and Kaz are over-looking a fundamental issue here.
                College
                > is not the "end" of education, it's only the "start" of education. It
                > doesn't brand you for life, unless you're pretty damn dull to begin
                > with. [and if you're this way, they you get what you merit in any
                case].

                Except what you're saying fails completely to focus on the fact that education is not supposed to be about teaching you WHAT to think, the way it is now. It's supposed to be about teaching you HOW to think...but even then, only about helping you master your OWN way of thinking and learning. And then giving you access to existing knowledge and ways of looking at things, not trying to force them upon you over your own.

                But that's what modern education is about; feeding you existing ideas, and attempting to make those the ideas YOU have.

                What could be more horrifying than that the modern composition and research courses force you to ONLY give existing arguments and ideas, never anything completely your own? If you can't footnote someone ELSE saying it, you'd better not put it in the paper. This is the antithesis of what education should be. You should be learning to express your own ideas intelligently, not that doing so will be punished.

                And because our current education system is anti-originality, anti-creativity, anti-imagination -- whatever semantics one desires -- you can't simply say "hey, you're supposed to go out and do the REAL learning afterward", because you just spent two-to-eight years being taught NOT to do that. And, because of that, you've mostly just wasted your time, even if you can overcome this programming later.

                > This is especially true in engineering. Despite what scuttlebutt you
                > may hear in school, the heuristic in the engineering profession is
                that
                > you learn to be a "real" engineer via practical experience AFTER you
                > graduate college, using your schooling mainly as a base to start from.

                And this is a sign of something good about higher education?

                No way...engineering school SHOULD teach you, or better still give you a chance to learn for yourself, the things which instead you're stuck having to pick up after you graduate with a piece of paper which apparently has only bureaucratic validity.

                That you end up having to go on and learn the stuff later just supports my criticism of higher education.

                And, worse, you learn a lot of really stupid crap while being "trained" as an engineer, and CANNOT always unlearn it easily.

                I dunno how many times I've been brought in on a project, as a consultant, where I did in a matter of weeks what an entire team had failed to do in months or years...invariably, there are members of the team who have far more formal training than me, and that's often their problem. They decide they must follow one of the prescribed development methods...which is stupid even if you're using old-school systems, writing a compiled, standalone program or something. But if, say, you're writing a website using middleware script and a huge database, then Waterfall or whatever is like developmental suicide...and setting aside one third of your time for planning, one third for development, and one third for testing is the realm of idiots.

                When using a non-compiled system, or a soft-compiled one like Java or C#, the best thing to do is start creating a basic, working model of the application /immediately/, and to "test" it continually during the development process. This should all start even during the requirement-gathering phase. But anyone trained as an engineer in the old compiled-application days tends to refuse to adapt to this way of thinking, making a project explode in time cost.

                Likewise a graphic arts / desktop publishing guy who's migrated over into web design tends to try to force web applications into a static design, unable to adapt to the user's conditions and preferences...essentially he wants a series of pre-designed pamphlets to hand to the user to read, except with hyperlinks. Why? Because that's how he was trained to think of design in school.

                Neither one was taught to find what works best for himself, in a given situation. Their learning is all conned by rote. MAYBE they can overcome this, but then why the hell did they waste all their time with the schooling in the first place?

                --
                Words of the Sentient:
                It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to
                mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry.
                -- H. L. Mencken
                E-Mail: KazVorpal@...
                Yahoo Messenger/AIM/AOL: KazVorpal
                MSN Messenger: KazVorpal@...
                ICQ: 1912557
                http://360.yahoo.com/kazvorpal
              • jrstern
                ... that education is not supposed to be about teaching you WHAT to think, the way it is now. It s supposed to be about teaching you HOW to think...but even
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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                  > Except what you're saying fails completely to focus on the fact
                  that education is not supposed to be about teaching you WHAT to
                  think, the way it is now. It's supposed to be about teaching you HOW
                  to think...but even then, only about helping you master your OWN way
                  of thinking and learning. And then giving you access to existing
                  knowledge and ways of looking at things, not trying to force them
                  upon you over your own.

                  OK, you'd prefer the Socratic method, or sort of a guided
                  apprenticeship. And of course no bad guidance. Sort of a Zen
                  approach, but that's a tad difficult in engineering topics, I think!

                  Is it not Oxford and/or Cambridge which are/is famous for working
                  this way even today? Most American universities, of course, don't
                  work this way at the undergrad level, but then again, many/most do,
                  to some extent, for doctorates.


                  > No way...engineering school SHOULD teach you, or better still give
                  you a chance to learn for yourself, the things which instead you're
                  stuck having to pick up after you graduate with a piece of paper
                  which apparently has only bureaucratic validity.

                  There is a long-standing gap between academia and industry, no
                  argument there. OTOH, maybe it's better that way.


                  > When using a non-compiled system, or a soft-compiled one like Java
                  or C#, the best thing to do is start creating a basic, working model
                  of the application /immediately/, and to "test" it continually during
                  the development process. This should all start even during the
                  requirement-gathering phase. But anyone trained as an engineer in the
                  old compiled-application days tends to refuse to adapt to this way of
                  thinking, making a project explode in time cost.

                  Oh, I don't know. Agile methods (nee "iterative") have only been
                  around now for about twenty, twenty-five, maybe thirty years, but
                  because of that academy/industry gap, it still isn't *always* taught
                  today, but it's mostly taught.

                  Let me surf a moment.

                  http://find.stanford.edu/search?
                  q=agile&site=stanford&client=stanford&proxystylesheet=stanford&output=
                  xml_no_dtd&restrict=stanford_engineering&btnG.x=14&btnG.y=11
                  agile: about 80 results

                  http://find.stanford.edu/search?
                  q=waterfall&restrict=stanford_engineering&btnG=Google+Search&site=stan
                  ford&output=xml_no_dtd&client=stanford&btnG.y=11&btnG.x=14&proxystyles
                  heet=stanford
                  waterfall: about 54 results

                  ... and a lot seem to be comparing and contrasting agile and
                  waterfall.

                  I'll agree with you this far, that the gap between academy and
                  industry is still very, very wide, preventing feedback that would
                  probably help the academy more than it would help the industry. But
                  really, I think the academy in computer science has been pretty much
                  dead since the Internet bubble inflated, if not earlier.

                  Another huge gap seems to be in journalism, where j-schools seem to
                  stlil be trying to teach how to print media or network broadcast
                  television, where the Internet and other technologies now allow for
                  feedback, wide competition, and narrowcasting.

                  And in medicine, oh, don't even get me going on that, they are still
                  teaching eighteenth - or eighth - century science, and depending
                  on "practice" to fill the gap. Worse than computer science!
                  Grrrrrr ...

                  But I still view these as things not broken in principle.

                  Josh
                • feedbackdroids
                  ... creativity, anti-imagination -- whatever semantics one desires -- you can t simply say hey, you re supposed to go out and do the REAL learning afterward ,
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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                    --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, KAZ <kazvorpal@...> wrote:
                    >


                    > And because our current education system is anti-originality, anti-
                    creativity, anti-imagination -- whatever semantics one desires -- you
                    can't simply say "hey, you're supposed to go out and do the REAL
                    learning afterward", because you just spent two-to-eight years being
                    taught NOT to do that. And, because of that, you've mostly just
                    wasted your time, even if you can overcome this programming later.
                    >


                    Too bad for you if you bought the indoctrination is all I can say.
                    Now you feel bad. So, you did learn something after all.



                    > > This is especially true in engineering. Despite what scuttlebutt
                    you
                    > > may hear in school, the heuristic in the engineering profession
                    is
                    > that
                    > > you learn to be a "real" engineer via practical experience AFTER
                    you
                    > > graduate college, using your schooling mainly as a base to start
                    from.
                    >
                    > And this is a sign of something good about higher education?
                    >
                    > No way...engineering school SHOULD teach you, or better still give
                    you a chance to learn for yourself, the things which instead you're
                    stuck having to pick up after you graduate with a piece of paper
                    which apparently has only bureaucratic validity.
                    >


                    College lasts for 4 years, and your life will go on for roughly
                    another 60 years. And there is only so much that can be jammed into
                    those 4 years. In engineering, this is little more than presenting
                    the basics in several different areas. In general, engineering
                    courses present fairly objective material, and not indoctrination,
                    which may be more prevalent in non-professional areas of liberal
                    arts. Essay exams in most non-sciences like psychology and history
                    are very open to interpretation. [ohh, did I say psych?].

                    The piece of paper you get in engineering says only that you have met
                    the "minimum" requirements of the profesion, so the employer has some
                    idea you know the basics.



                    >
                    > That you end up having to go on and learn the stuff later just
                    supports my criticism of higher education.
                    >


                    Exactly wrong, for the reasons I gave. There is only so much can be
                    jammed into 4 years of school.


                    >
                    > And, worse, you learn a lot of really stupid crap while
                    being "trained" as an engineer, and CANNOT always unlearn it easily.
                    >


                    Oh, stop crying already. Tell yourself that it IS possible to teach
                    an old dog new tricks, instead.


                    >
                    > I dunno how many times I've been brought in on a project, as a
                    consultant, where I did in a matter of weeks what an entire team had
                    failed to do in months or years...invariably, there are members of
                    the team who have far more formal training than me, and that's often
                    their problem. They decide they must follow one of the prescribed
                    development methods...which is stupid even if you're using old-school
                    systems, writing a compiled, standalone program or something. But if,
                    say, you're writing a website using middleware script and a huge
                    database, then Waterfall or whatever is like developmental
                    suicide...and setting aside one third of your time for planning, one
                    third for development, and one third for testing is the realm of
                    idiots.
                    >


                    Now, this is certainly possible. However, 2 things. First, they don't
                    bring you in on projects where you know nothing about the subject
                    matter, rather on something you're an expert on. Eg, you're not gonna
                    be hired to consult on nonlinear fluid dynamics on low-vacuum high-
                    temperature situations [if that's not your field].

                    Also, we were taking about creative people before, and now you're
                    talking about dullards. Those are the people I said merit there
                    situation, in any event.

                    Realize that, to a large extent, school is geared to the common-
                    denominator, in which case it's great for them, but shouldn't in any
                    event radically kill the mind of someone with more on the ball. Which
                    was the original point. Many people see school as simply what they
                    have to do to get on with the rest of their lives. Sounds like you've
                    been consulting for that group, unfortunately.



                    > When using a non-compiled system, or a soft-compiled one like Java
                    or C#, the best thing to do is start creating a basic, working model
                    of the application /immediately/, and to "test" it continually during
                    the development process. This should all start even during the
                    requirement-gathering phase. But anyone trained as an engineer in the
                    old compiled-application days tends to refuse to adapt to this way of
                    thinking, making a project explode in time cost.
                    >
                    > Likewise a graphic arts / desktop publishing guy who's migrated
                    over into web design tends to try to force web applications into a
                    static design, unable to adapt to the user's conditions and
                    preferences...essentially he wants a series of pre-designed pamphlets
                    to hand to the user to read, except with hyperlinks. Why? Because
                    that's how he was trained to think of design in school.
                    >
                    > Neither one was taught to find what works best for himself, in a
                    given situation. Their learning is all conned by rote. MAYBE they can
                    overcome this, but then why the hell did they waste all their time
                    with the schooling in the first place?
                    >


                    To get a job, of course.
                  • KAZ
                    ... From: feedbackdroids To: ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, September 1, 2006 2:32:30 PM Subject: [ai-philosophy] Re: Education ... No, I m
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 2, 2006
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                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: feedbackdroids
                      To: ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Friday, September 1, 2006 2:32:30 PM
                      Subject: [ai-philosophy] Re: Education

                      > Too bad for you if you bought the indoctrination is all I can say.
                      > Now you feel bad. So, you did learn something after all.

                      No, I'm entirely autodidactic; even when I take a course, I learn pretty much everything before it comes up in class.

                      But this is how schools work, and it's not acceptable. It makes them a farce, a waste of time that is necessary only for bureaucratic reasons.

                      > College lasts for 4 years, and your life will go on for roughly
                      > another 60 years. And there is only so much that can be jammed into
                      > those 4 years. In engineering, this is little more than presenting
                      > the basics in several different areas. In general, engineering
                      > courses present fairly objective material, and not indoctrination,

                      No way. A lot of what you learn when studying engineering is HOW to do things, and it's always outdated...even aside from how even the modern way to do things is often not what would be best for the individual.

                      > which may be more prevalent in non-professional areas of liberal
                      > arts. Essay exams in most non-sciences like psychology and history
                      > are very open to interpretation. [ohh, did I say psych?].

                      Psychology is indeed not a science at all; it does not, and at least for ethical reasons cannot, follow anything resembling scientific methodology.

                      > The piece of paper you get in engineering says only that you have met
                      > the "minimum" requirements of the profesion, so the employer has some
                      > idea you know the basics.

                      Except you often do not. My very first hardcore tech job, way back when, was one where I happened to walk into a business on the day their recently-hired, Masters degree-touting programmer quit because he claimed what they wanted him to do was impossible. I'd answered the ad two weeks late, but fortunately I looked at what they wanted and said "this is easy, THIS is how I'd do it", and they hired me without looking at my (empty) resume. The task he'd told them couldn't be done in a year was done, better than expected, in two months, by me alone...using mostly what I'd taught myself or learned while working for them.

                      What they teach future engineers is often worse than nothing at all.

                      > > That you end up having to go on and learn the stuff later just
                      > > supports my criticism of higher education.

                      > Exactly wrong, for the reasons I gave. There is only so much can be
                      > jammed into 4 years of school.

                      Yeah, our education system is quite focused on blaming its lack of results on what it CAN do, despite the cold, hard fact that almost any other method works better. You stick someone in an actual engineering situation for four years, and he'll come out knowing more than he did in the four years at school. This proves that more could be taught.

                      That kind of excuse reminds me of how public schools whine about not having enough money, as if that were their problem, but:

                      (A) They got dramatically superior results, years ago
                      (B) they get FAR more money now than back when they had better results, even adjusted for inflation
                      (C) Private schools get a fraction of the money, on the median, but have better median results.

                      > > And, worse, you learn a lot of really stupid crap while
                      > > being "trained" as an engineer, and CANNOT always unlearn it easily.

                      > Oh, stop crying already. Tell yourself that it IS possible to teach
                      > an old dog new tricks, instead.

                      But there's no REASON for them to teach the wrong things in the first place. It's education incompetence.

                      > Now, this is certainly possible. However, 2 things. First, they don't
                      > bring you in on projects where you know nothing about the subject
                      > matter, rather on something you're an expert on. Eg, you're not gonna
                      > be hired to consult on nonlinear fluid dynamics on low-vacuum high-
                      > temperature situations [if that's not your field].

                      I've actually been brought onto projects where I knew nothing of the technology, and still solved their problems for them.

                      But that's irrelevent, because I'm also frequently being brought in to save a project whose team are experts in the technologies involved. They usually have more formal training than I, and chose the technology they're using specifically because it's their specialty, whereas I am not a specialist at the same tech. For example, they are all PERL coders, while only about one in four projects I take are PERL, or they're all Cold Fusion developers, which I use on perhaps a third of my web-oriented contracts.

                      Hell, right now I'm working on an MCSD in C# .NET, I thought I'd take a short-cut versus teaching it to myself by taking a ridiculously expensive certification course...and I'm ending up having to teach myself, because the way the Microsoft-certified instruction system tells you to do things is a joke, and would leave me as incompetent as the guys I'll eventually end up rescuing.

                      And before you blame MS, I'm guessing that the SCJP course I've paid to take next is at least as bad, if not worse, from what I've seen so far.

                      Last time I pay for tech training.

                      > Also, we were taking about creative people before, and now you're
                      > talking about dullards. Those are the people I said merit there
                      > situation, in any event.

                      No, this is all even more true of creative people. If Hendrix had indeed studied Jazz Performance in college, he almost certainly would have ended up an inferior guitarist, compared to being a complete autodidact. Genius /can/ be subsumed by enough regimentation.

                      > Realize that, to a large extent, school is geared to the common-
                      > denominator, in which case it's great for them,

                      No, this kind of education is bad for everyone, including the commoners.

                      Everyone learns fastest when studying in the way which works best for them, specifically. Forcing everyone into mass-education-production classes produces results inferior for all, not just the dumbest and smartest. It's like being forced to work with a union contract, versus being hired and paid individually. Everyone is different in SOME way, and one-size-fits-all doesn't take advantage of that.

                      > > Neither one was taught to find what works best for himself, in a
                      > > given situation. Their learning is all conned by rote. MAYBE they can
                      > > overcome this, but then why the hell did they waste all their time
                      > > with the schooling in the first place?

                      > To get a job, of course.

                      That's like saying that the reason you gave the cop a blowjob was to keep him from breaking your tail light and ticketing you for it.

                      The problem is in the first impediment, not what someone ends up doing to get around it.
                    • feedbackdroids
                      ... say. ... pretty much everything before it comes up in class. ... them a farce, a waste of time that is necessary only for bureaucratic reasons. ... Ho,
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 3, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, KAZ <kazvorpal@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > ----- Original Message ----
                        > From: feedbackdroids
                        > To: ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com
                        > Sent: Friday, September 1, 2006 2:32:30 PM
                        > Subject: [ai-philosophy] Re: Education
                        >
                        > > Too bad for you if you bought the indoctrination is all I can
                        say.
                        > > Now you feel bad. So, you did learn something after all.
                        >
                        > No, I'm entirely autodidactic; even when I take a course, I learn
                        pretty much everything before it comes up in class.
                        >
                        > But this is how schools work, and it's not acceptable. It makes
                        them a farce, a waste of time that is necessary only for bureaucratic
                        reasons.
                        >


                        Ho, hum, now you're boring me. Not everyone is an autodidact. I
                        suspect very few people are. You're comparing yourself to everyone
                        else, and finding everyone else deficient. Eh.

                        I put it to you that, for ALMOST everyone, college is one of the best
                        experiences of their lives, whether they ever actually realize it or
                        not. Introduction to new ideas and new people from many different
                        areas that they'd probably never experience by skipping college. If
                        all you want to do is to "train" people for a specific task, that's
                        one thing, that's why they have A+ programs, MS certification, etc.
                        What you get is a guy who might know 1 or 2 tools, but has little
                        breadth. OTOH, college introduces people to a much wider world that
                        what you're talking about. It's all about breadth.

                        As far as what people learn in engineering programs being obsolete by
                        time they graduate, there is some truth in that. Largely because
                        engineering is changing so fast. However, all of the "basics" that
                        engineers learn, like calculus, physics, chemistry, circuit theory,
                        fourier transforms, thermodynamics, mechanics, etc, are timeless. It
                        provides a foundation upon which to continue learning the new stuff
                        for the next 60 years.





                        > > College lasts for 4 years, and your life will go on for roughly
                        > > another 60 years. And there is only so much that can be jammed
                        into
                        > > those 4 years. In engineering, this is little more than
                        presenting
                        > > the basics in several different areas. In general, engineering
                        > > courses present fairly objective material, and not
                        indoctrination,
                        >
                        > No way. A lot of what you learn when studying engineering is HOW to
                        do things, and it's always outdated...even aside from how even the
                        modern way to do things is often not what would be best for the
                        individual.
                        >
                        > > which may be more prevalent in non-professional areas of liberal
                        > > arts. Essay exams in most non-sciences like psychology and
                        history
                        > > are very open to interpretation. [ohh, did I say psych?].
                        >
                        > Psychology is indeed not a science at all; it does not, and at
                        least for ethical reasons cannot, follow anything resembling
                        scientific methodology.
                        >
                        > > The piece of paper you get in engineering says only that you have
                        met
                        > > the "minimum" requirements of the profesion, so the employer has
                        some
                        > > idea you know the basics.
                        >
                        > Except you often do not. My very first hardcore tech job, way back
                        when, was one where I happened to walk into a business on the day
                        their recently-hired, Masters degree-touting programmer quit because
                        he claimed what they wanted him to do was impossible. I'd answered
                        the ad two weeks late, but fortunately I looked at what they wanted
                        and said "this is easy, THIS is how I'd do it", and they hired me
                        without looking at my (empty) resume. The task he'd told them
                        couldn't be done in a year was done, better than expected, in two
                        months, by me alone...using mostly what I'd taught myself or learned
                        while working for them.
                        >
                        > What they teach future engineers is often worse than nothing at all.
                        >
                        > > > That you end up having to go on and learn the stuff later just
                        > > > supports my criticism of higher education.
                        >
                        > > Exactly wrong, for the reasons I gave. There is only so much can
                        be
                        > > jammed into 4 years of school.
                        >
                        > Yeah, our education system is quite focused on blaming its lack of
                        results on what it CAN do, despite the cold, hard fact that almost
                        any other method works better. You stick someone in an actual
                        engineering situation for four years, and he'll come out knowing more
                        than he did in the four years at school. This proves that more could
                        be taught.
                        >
                        > That kind of excuse reminds me of how public schools whine about
                        not having enough money, as if that were their problem, but:
                        >
                        > (A) They got dramatically superior results, years ago
                        > (B) they get FAR more money now than back when they had better
                        results, even adjusted for inflation
                        > (C) Private schools get a fraction of the money, on the median, but
                        have better median results.
                        >
                        > > > And, worse, you learn a lot of really stupid crap while
                        > > > being "trained" as an engineer, and CANNOT always unlearn it
                        easily.
                        >
                        > > Oh, stop crying already. Tell yourself that it IS possible to
                        teach
                        > > an old dog new tricks, instead.
                        >
                        > But there's no REASON for them to teach the wrong things in the
                        first place. It's education incompetence.
                        >
                        > > Now, this is certainly possible. However, 2 things. First, they
                        don't
                        > > bring you in on projects where you know nothing about the subject
                        > > matter, rather on something you're an expert on. Eg, you're not
                        gonna
                        > > be hired to consult on nonlinear fluid dynamics on low-vacuum
                        high-
                        > > temperature situations [if that's not your field].
                        >
                        > I've actually been brought onto projects where I knew nothing of
                        the technology, and still solved their problems for them.
                        >
                        > But that's irrelevent, because I'm also frequently being brought in
                        to save a project whose team are experts in the technologies
                        involved. They usually have more formal training than I, and chose
                        the technology they're using specifically because it's their
                        specialty, whereas I am not a specialist at the same tech. For
                        example, they are all PERL coders, while only about one in four
                        projects I take are PERL, or they're all Cold Fusion developers,
                        which I use on perhaps a third of my web-oriented contracts.
                        >
                        > Hell, right now I'm working on an MCSD in C# .NET, I thought I'd
                        take a short-cut versus teaching it to myself by taking a
                        ridiculously expensive certification course...and I'm ending up
                        having to teach myself, because the way the Microsoft-certified
                        instruction system tells you to do things is a joke, and would leave
                        me as incompetent as the guys I'll eventually end up rescuing.
                        >
                        > And before you blame MS, I'm guessing that the SCJP course I've
                        paid to take next is at least as bad, if not worse, from what I've
                        seen so far.
                        >
                        > Last time I pay for tech training.
                        >
                        > > Also, we were taking about creative people before, and now you're
                        > > talking about dullards. Those are the people I said merit there
                        > > situation, in any event.
                        >
                        > No, this is all even more true of creative people. If Hendrix had
                        indeed studied Jazz Performance in college, he almost certainly would
                        have ended up an inferior guitarist, compared to being a complete
                        autodidact. Genius /can/ be subsumed by enough regimentation.
                        >
                        > > Realize that, to a large extent, school is geared to the common-
                        > > denominator, in which case it's great for them,
                        >
                        > No, this kind of education is bad for everyone, including the
                        commoners.
                        >
                        > Everyone learns fastest when studying in the way which works best
                        for them, specifically. Forcing everyone into mass-education-
                        production classes produces results inferior for all, not just the
                        dumbest and smartest. It's like being forced to work with a union
                        contract, versus being hired and paid individually. Everyone is
                        different in SOME way, and one-size-fits-all doesn't take advantage
                        of that.
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