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Author Topic: Education and the modern generation  (Read 4960 times)

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Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #100 on: May 24, 2013, 09:24:46 AM »
What Oniya said.

And I share trieste's distaste for calculus.  god, I was miserable that semester, all I needed or could stand of the thing.

Chemistry majors have to take three semesters of calculus. Three.

More if they *cough* don't pass the first semester. >.>;;

The Arabic nations did have a very advanced grasp of mathematics (the word 'algebra' comes from the Arabic 'al-jabr', meaning 'restoration')  As for calculus, however, I think your teachers may have been referring to Madhava of Sangamagrama who was from India.  Isaac Newton gave calculus more applied usage in his work in physics.  (I once took a class in physics that was done for the person who hadn't yet taken calculus.  It was horribly clunky.  When you know the math behind how position over time relates to velocity, and velocity over time relates to acceleration, it all fits neatly together.)

I much, much, much prefer calculus-based things to be taught with calculus. Generally, the calculus that is involved in Classes That Aren't Calculus is fairly simple and really not that involved, so it's not, like, scary-Calculus. The stats class I just took was for people who hadn't taken calculus, and after spotting a couple equations that looked suspiciously like derivations, I started going and just looking up the calculus method of doing them. It ended up being much easier.

And as for astronomy, early medieval Persians (and maybe Indian astronomers before them) seem to have been the first to notice the patch of dim light in Andromeda that we now know is the neighbour of the Milky Way, the closest big galaxy, excluding the small satellite galaxies of our own. The ancient Greeks didn't notice it, although they had plenty of astronomers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy#Observation_history

The best part about learning about the heavenly bodies was learning about the myths that went along with their names. ^_^

Now I demand you all stop hijacking this thread! *flees while cackling*

Online Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #101 on: May 24, 2013, 09:27:23 AM »
*sits up stiffly*

I'm not hijacking.  I'm educating the modern generation.  It's right there on the tin.

*flees, giggling*

Online Valerian

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #102 on: May 24, 2013, 09:29:12 AM »
I was reading a book just the other day where they mentioned that Newton originally used the word "fluxions" for his new math.  It's probably better that "calculus" won out.

Erm.  Also educational?  At least potentially helpful in trivia contests?

*flees after Oniya*

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #103 on: May 24, 2013, 10:04:46 AM »
Piping in for the value of the humanities in education! You math/science types will ultimately be lost without us!

*waves philosophy pennant meekly*

Online Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #104 on: May 24, 2013, 10:12:37 AM »
Einstein himself recognized this. 

Quote
Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I
cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image:

science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

An excerpt from Albert Einstein’s “Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium” From Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #105 on: May 24, 2013, 10:18:42 AM »
Einstein himself recognized this. 

An excerpt from Albert Einstein’s “Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium” From Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941.

I don't know that every major in the humanities and liberal arts would appreciate being compared to religion haha.

However, I'm familiar with the quote, and the good Mr. Einstein's feelings towards religion, and feel that the term as he uses it might be more accurately captured by Theology. Regrettably, strong theological traditions are lacking from many modern, popular religious practices.

Speaking on the liberal arts in general though, I'm often frustrated by those who say the career best suited to those who study them is to become a teacher or professor in the discipline themselves, perpetuating a cycle of impractical academic theories and speculation.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #106 on: May 24, 2013, 10:19:59 AM »
*pushes herself up after Trie scuffled into her*

I'm not hijacking either. I'm um...medicating for general moderation.  :D

*ties Trie's hands behind her back and urges her to stop preparing for her fifth nervous breakdown*


Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #107 on: May 24, 2013, 10:21:25 AM »
Chaoslord29,

No need for meekness, you do have allies here! *waves a Philosophy pennant while wearing her "I.T. is It!" shirt.

Ummmm..... Trie's hands are tied behind her back?  Ahhh... we are in serious danger of derailment here.

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #108 on: May 24, 2013, 10:24:47 AM »
*pushes herself up after Trie scuffled into her*

I'm not hijacking either. I'm um...medicating for general moderation.  :D

*ties Trie's hands behind her back and urges her to stop preparing for her fifth nervous breakdown*

At least it's not her nineteenth.  (Yes, I took some music courses too!  Math and music are intrinsically linked.  Woot!  Back on topic!)

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #109 on: May 24, 2013, 10:26:02 AM »
Chaoslord29,

No need for meekness, you do have allies here! *waves a Philosophy pennant while wearing her "I.T. is It!" shirt.

Ummmm..... Trie's hands are tied behind her back?  Ahhh... we are in serious danger of derailment here.

Well now that there's too of us . . . I suppose we can relentlessly banter back and forth till we invent a new field of science XD

Maybe something that can get us back on the rail as it were: A problem that I've predicated some of my particular career in both philosophy and political science on is that of human decision making and free will. Not that I want to turn this into a huge free will debate, but I would like to pose that without philosophy to speculate as to the precise nature of the expression of will, doesn't science reduce us to simply automatons? And doesn't that have rather disconcerting implications for society, unless political science intervenes to mitigate them?

Offline Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #110 on: May 24, 2013, 10:31:15 AM »
I'm in a STEM field. Philosophy is an integral part of my field. If someone were to say that philosophy is useless or shouldn't be taught to STEM students, it would be a very ignorant thing to say.

Thankfully no one in this thread has yet.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #111 on: May 24, 2013, 10:34:40 AM »


Chaoslord29,

Are humans rational animals, or simply rationalizing animals?  That's another way to pose the question.  I think that the ability to ask the question is something of a positive answer that "yes we do have free will- to a point".  I don't view it as a binary condition, but rather as a sliding scale.

And the second question....  yes. Political Science always ahas a place, regardless of the answer.

Neysha,

I don't think that you do believe philosophy is useless, but it is very easy to read your presented position as supporting that view.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #112 on: May 24, 2013, 10:42:03 AM »
Thankfully no one in this thread has yet.

But it's something I hear engineering/business/chem/pharmacy/computer science majors say all the time.


Chaoslord29,

Are humans rational animals, or simply rationalizing animals?  That's another way to pose the question.  I think that the ability to ask the question is something of a positive answer that "yes we do have free will- to a point".  I don't view it as a binary condition, but rather as a sliding scale.

See, I don't think that it does; at least in part, because of an answer like the one you gave. People are inclined to believe in Free-Will, I think, or at least, not to worry about it, because if they were constant worrying about free will or believed they didn't have it in the first place, they would find less meaning in their lives. In other words, rationalizing to the effect that we do have free will may very well be a sort of anthropic evolutionary adaption: as our ancestors developed a level of consciousness capable of speculating in regards to their own free will, those who spent too much time worrying about it, or else saw that their lives had no meaning because of it, were less likely to survive. Meanwhile, those who believed in their own free will, and perpetuated that belief, derived greater meaning from their lives and were more likely to proliferate, regardless of any factual basis for the idea.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #113 on: May 24, 2013, 10:46:48 AM »
I... wait, what?

Et tu, Healergirl? :P

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #114 on: May 24, 2013, 10:56:41 AM »
caoslord29,

Good answer.

But here is another argument in favor of the existence, indeed,  the burden of free will. 

Alcohol.

It has  been argued quite seriously that the invention of beer was crucial for human development because fermented grain allowed us to deaden our awareness of our own weight of responsibility for our actions in our lives.

It has also been argued that a factor in the rise of agriculture was to provide a more reliably available  feedstock for fermentation thn the occasil self-fermenting beres found while gathering, but that is a separate chain of discussion.i

In short, I am arguing that if we do not have free will, we would not find mind-altering substances so attractive, because these substances reduce our will, our control, leaving our genetically programmed instincts and behaviors a far freer rein.

Trieste,

*blinks innocentishly*  Oh I would never take advantage of you, Trie.

  Unless you asked me to, of course.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #115 on: May 24, 2013, 11:04:07 AM »
caoslord29,

Good answer.

But here is another argument in favor of the existence, indeed,  the burden of free will. 

Alcohol.

It has  been argued quite seriously that the invention of beer was crucial for human development because fermented grain allowed us to deaden our awareness of our own weight of responsibility for our actions in our lives.

It has also been argued that a factor in the rise of agriculture was to provide a more reliably available  feedstock for fermentation thn the occasil self-fermenting beres found while gathering, but that is a separate chain of discussion.i

In short, I am arguing that if we do not have free will, we would not find mind-altering substances so attractive, because these substances reduce our will, our control, leaving our genetically programmed instincts and behaviors a far freer rein.

Trieste,

*blinks innocentishly*  Oh I would never take advantage of you, Trie.

  Unless you asked me to, of course.

Ah, but mind altering substances don't necessarily reduce free-will, so much as the alter the state of our conscious minds, which may or may not have free will in the first place. If anything, that suggests to me some further proof for the notion that the perception of free will is a by-product, a backfiring even, of the cognitive processes which also produce in human beings a higher degree of consciousness of self and actions than in most other animals. The consumption of substances which reduce that perception are appealing therefore, because they remove that perceived burden of responsibility, whether it factually exists or not.

Again, not wanting to totally derail this into a discussion of free-will and all that, but the point remains: These are questions that are not strictly defined within the realm of science, or else, if they are so, then their are some rather interesting and potentially negative repercussions that we would have to face.

For me, the biggest problem is that of agency. If the actions of other animals can be perfectly captured in purely deterministic (or at least probabilistic) function of firing neurons in their brains in accordance with natural laws of cause and effect, by what agency do human beings exercise a greater degree of control over their own actions?

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #116 on: May 24, 2013, 11:08:45 AM »
I'm extremely impressed that you're able to ignore everything I've stated up to this point

You know, getting cross at being confronted with your own reckless statements really won't change the fact that you made them.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #117 on: May 24, 2013, 11:16:29 AM »
Chaoslord29,

Oboy.  I don't have answers for those points.  I have arguments, but that is not the same thing, and I'm not sure there are definitive answers anyway.  Yet.

I will say that recent studies into neurochemistry and MRI analysis of brain activity under various conditions and stimuli,  are opening doors that nearly everybody, of whatever belief or creed, will find something not to like about whatever comes out of them.

Offline Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #118 on: May 24, 2013, 11:17:49 AM »
You know, getting cross at being confronted with your own reckless statements really won't change the fact that you made them.

I'm here for a discussion, not for debasing myself by offering credence to your nauseating Limbaughesque gotcha moments. I understand its easier for you to respond to only one out of context line as opposed to holding a discussion, but please don't get so cross when you're confronted for it. :(

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #119 on: May 24, 2013, 11:20:00 AM »
Don't I know it XD

Fortunately, no one who criticized my senior thesis did at the time.

But at a more fundamental level, unless you can prove that an individual human being can exercise some sort of conscious control over past events/fundamental fuctions of physical "laws", it's rather difficult to prove we aren't autamatons. Fortunately, as I understand Quantum Physics, we can't actually rule either of those things out  ;D

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #120 on: May 24, 2013, 11:21:25 AM »
Okay...

I'm extremely impressed that you're able to ignore everything I've stated up to this point and snip it down to one sentence and be capable of managing a response. You'll have a bright future at Fox News.  :P

So now quoting your actual words is "ignoring everything you've stated"? I'd really love to know how that works.

Thankfully no one in this thread has yet.

But yes, I do find possessing anything more then a basic knowledge of most humanities to be rather disposable unless its in a field one is pursuing or a hobby or passion or something they themselves choose to make an investment in.

Pretending you didn't say it doesn't work very well when we can go back and see it for ourselves. You have said that humanities are disposable. You have said repeatedly that they should be de-emphasized electives. You have specifically included philosophy in this. These are indisputable facts. I want to know how you reconcile this with the foundational necessity of philosophy to the programs you do support. This is not a "gotcha", and your ad-hominems are not distracting anybody from the central point.

Philosophy is foundational to science. How do you expect to have a strong science program without any emphasis on philosophy?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #121 on: May 24, 2013, 11:22:09 AM »
Louise smiles at the restrained Trie, while thinking of Aristotle's statement that man is different from all animals through his ability to laugh.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #122 on: May 24, 2013, 11:23:33 AM »
I'm here for a discussion, not for debasing myself by offering credence to your nauseating Limbaughesque gotcha moments.

Also probably not a good idea to cite Limbaugh (or Fox News for that matter) when you're the one who's employing the "how dare you quote me accurately, I shall rage!" tactic. Ephiral said you were being dismissive of the humanities, you plainly were, nothing unfair or inaccurate has been said about your position, get off your high horse.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #123 on: May 24, 2013, 11:24:52 AM »
As to the free will question: The first and most important question is to define "free will". This is nowhere near as obvious as it is typically taken to be.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #124 on: May 24, 2013, 11:26:49 AM »
So now quoting your actual words is "ignoring everything you've stated"? I'd really love to know how that works.

Pretending you didn't say it doesn't work very well when we can go back and see it for ourselves. You have said that humanities are disposable. You have said repeatedly that they should be de-emphasized electives. You have specifically included philosophy in this. These are indisputable facts. I want to know how you reconcile this with the foundational necessity of philosophy to the programs you do support. This is not a "gotcha", and your ad-hominems are not distracting anybody from the central point.

Philosophy is foundational to science. How do you expect to have a strong science program without any emphasis on philosophy?

And you folks are needlessly fixating on somebody who isn't ruling out the humanities as unnecessary in the first place, and attempting to vilify them using their own words.

Quote
. . . disposable unless its in a field one is pursuing or a hobby or passion or something they themselves choose to make an investment in.

That right there is the most distinguishing feature to me. I'm in the field of political science, which has far reaching ramifications, so I study it more specifically. I study philosophy as a passion, and because I believe it provides an excellent foundation for other knowledge, science, argumentation, everthing-else.

It seems to me that all Neysha is saying is that the engineer/chemist/physicist/etc. shouldn't be required to take anymore humanities courses than necessary to help them gain an appreciation and respect for their study and utility. Not that they are unnecessary/masturbatory as a whole.

As to the free will question: The first and most important question is to define "free will". This is nowhere near as obvious as it is typically taken to be.

Please spare us your deepity. The definition of free will which we are operating upon and within has been sufficiently illuminated, I should think, by the arguments posed thus far, on both sides.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 11:28:36 AM by chaoslord29 »