Re: virus: Holy Fire
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 01:22:44 -0500 (CDT)

On Mon, 26 Nov 1956, David Leeper wrote:


> Heart Of The Matter:
> Tarot & Company have survived to this day in the face of opposition from
> every quarter, from religion to science and everything in between.
> These meme complexes use memes such as "Predict the future" to infect.
> Without such a meme the entire complex would have become extinct a long
> time ago. We could learn alot from these "psuedo-sciences".
> Mathematics, on the other hand, is officially sanctioned by the powers
> that be, offers high-paying jobs, and so on, and yet only a small
> portion of the population understands it.

1) No. Not when major universities like Rochester want to outright
destroy their mathematics departments! [And are....]

2) The pay pales compared to computer science [programming, systems
analysts, etc.]. At K-State, many mid-level CIS courses are so devoted
to instruction that they just blow way students blinded by $$ and armed
with total incompetence. There's a lot of those students.
When I took CIS 500 as an undergraduate pretending to be a dual
major in CIS and Mathematics [before I realized that CIS is more like
Engineering than like Arts and Science; K-State officially shifted it
25 out of 60 dropped on Last Day to Drop with a W.
19 out the remaining 35 FAILED.
CIS is apparently worth the above risks. Mathematics isn't.

3) Only a small proportion of the population has the combined physical
endurance and physical capability to understand it.
I do mean physical capability. Considering the research based off
of Piaget, it is NOT demeaning to say someone cannot understand College
Algebra, let alone Calculus, matrices, or the higher mathematics.
Abstract formal reasoning is the very last stage of thought to be
physically enabled in humans, and its development isn't reliable yet.
This area would benefit from genetic engineering technology. Even
something like 'electronically simulated sex' combined with in-vitro
fertilization would help here.
[US education system-specific stuff] The reason we don't teach college
algebra to 6th graders is they are physically incapable of understanding
it, whereas when they hit 8th grade, their brain has matured to the point
where they have a chance at understanding it. Possibly.
As for physical endurance: The last I checked on it, the brain is
the ultimate oxygen hog in the body. I have no reason to believe it is
exempt from lactic acid and other syndromes of anaerobic activity.
Can you imagine someone who regularly goes to a classroom, sits down, and
submits to ninety minutes of pain, watching their vision shift in an
attempt to ruin their glasses by becoming too acute, studying their
script to know when a break MUST be taken regardless of the lecture? All
of this in the name of learning? Or deliberately tolerating such effects
while working? This sounds like athletic training, not academia, right? ;)

/ Kenneth Boyd