'An Appalling Report'

Started by Homo Aestheticus, October 20, 2008, 07:11:33 PM

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karlhenning

Quote from: G$ on October 29, 2008, 04:56:21 PM
Is it just me, or does this statement sound a little strange?  :D

It's tantamount to "water is wet," yes.

PSmith08

Quote from: karlhenning on October 29, 2008, 06:02:12 PM
It's tantamount to "water is wet," yes.

It's even more banal than that. At least you can define "wet" in a coherent and consistent way that takes into account all potential variations on "wetness." Try doing that for intellectual ability. You are, then, just assigning quantities to qualitative (and frequently biased) judgments, running them through some statistical processes, and then pronouncing them highly significant because they return axiomatic results. It's bad science and worse math. Indeed, I dare not apply the term mathematics to this neat trick, since a result in math has a sort of absolute, objective meaning -- while this sort of faulty quantification and its attendant results are just gibberish.

Nicking the great teacher Ms. Hoover, what has been said here is tantamount to "water is cromulent."

Florestan

#42
Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on October 29, 2008, 02:20:39 PM
"simple truths"

I fear "simple truths" as the Devil. Truth is never simple, otherwise everybody would be able recognize it and we'd have no need for philosophy or science.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on October 29, 2008, 02:20:39 PM2. Approximately half of all people are below average in intellectual ability.

Please:

(a) define intellectual ability
(b) define its average
(c) explain how the above statistics was arrived at.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on October 29, 2008, 02:20:39 PM3. Too many people are going to college.

Please explain us how the optimum number of college-attending people can be calculated and, based on that and the actual college-attending population, let us know what is the excedent percentage.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on October 29, 2008, 02:20:39 PMAmerica´s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted.

History teaches us that a country with very well-educated intelectual elites but with poor-educated and ignorant masses has no future. As Simon Bolivar, a true liberal of the old school,  excellently put it: An ignorant people is the blind tool of its own destruction.

The real issue is, IMHO, the prevailing educational philosophy which results not in too many people being educated but, on the contrary, in too many people not being educated. (I'm talking about people who do go to high-schools and colleges, mind you!).
Melody is the essence of music. — Mozart

greg

Quote from: JCampbell on October 29, 2008, 05:57:07 PM
Greg, I don't know, but that is by far your funniest avatar yet! ;D I majorly lol'd!
just thank drogulus.  0:)

Homo Aestheticus

Quote from: Florestan on October 30, 2008, 01:00:36 AMPlease:

(a) define intellectual ability
(b) define its average
(c) explain how the above statistics was arrived at.

Florestan,

On page 1 (my 203rd post) I cited the Gardner model of human abilities but just to reiterate:

Just about everyone understands what below average means for some of the abilities. Either you know people who fit the bill or you fit it yourself.

For example, aout half of us are below average in bodily-kinesthetic ability. We were picked late when choosing teams for playground games. Or we weren´t good enough to try out for varsity. Perhaps you liked playing some sports but you couldn´t make your body do the things some of your friends could do. If it´s not true of you, these statements are probably true of the people you know.

Many of us are below average in certain kinds of spatial ability. If you had to take shop class you could not make the band saw cut the wood into exactly the right shape. Everything you nailed or glued together was a little bit off. Or perhaps you go to art museums and cannot figure out why some people spend so long looking at one painting. What more is there to see after the first glance?... If not true of you these statements are probably true of the people you know.

Many of us are below average in musical ability. You cannot carry a tune very well and never got the hang of a musical instrument your parents made you practice as a child. If you learned to read music it was like a poorly learned foreign language.... your linguistic ability let you memorize the grammar and decode the symbols but the poety escaped you. You learned the technical difference between  C-major and F-major but you could not listen to compositions and recognize the difference. If not true of you these statements are probably true of people you know.

Many of us are below average in certain interpersonal skills. Perhaps you are painfully shy. Perhaps you are socially abrasive, don´t read body language very well or find it hard to empathize. If not true of you, these statements are probably true of people you know.

Many of us are below average in certain intrapersonal abilities. Perhaps we procrastinate. Perhaps we are careless or fearful and choke under pressure, occasionally break your word or give up if the going gets tough. If not true of you these statements are probably true of people you know.

In short, just about everyone understands from personal and vicarious life experiences what below average means for bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal ability and for the aspects of spatial ability associated with hand-eye coordination and visual apprehension.

It´s only when we come to linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities (which are the main abilities associated with intellectual/academic) that we are told that we can expect everyone to do well.

The point I am making, Florestan, is that our culture of educational romanticism is imposing immeasurable costs on children and their futures because it is pursuing egalitarian ideals of educational achievement (e.g. all children should perform at grade level) at the expense of attainable egalitarian ideals of personal dignity.

Josquin des Prez

The real issue is that our schools have become vagina vocational centers:

http://www.mensaction.net/video/Vagina-Vocational-Centers.html

;D

Florestan

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PM
For example, aout half of us are below average in bodily-kinesthetic ability. We were picked late when choosing teams for playground games. Or we weren´t good enough to try out for varsity. Perhaps you liked playing some sports but you couldn´t make your body do the things some of your friends could do. If it´s not true of you, these statements are probably true of the people you know.

That physical qualities of people are not the same for everyone is a truism.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMMany of us are below average in certain kinds of spatial ability. If you had to take shop class you could not make the band saw cut the wood into exactly the right shape. Everything you nailed or glued together was a little bit off.

That some people are better than other at handiwork is a truism as well.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMOr perhaps you go to art museums and cannot figure out why some people spend so long looking at one painting.  What more is there to see after the first glance?...

That different people have different tastes is a truism, too. But in this respect you have to take in account that taste can be educated.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMMany of us are below average in musical ability. You cannot carry a tune very well and never got the hang of a musical instrument your parents made you practice as a child. If you learned to read music it was like a poorly learned foreign language.... your linguistic ability let you memorize the grammar and decode the symbols but the poety escaped you. You learned the technical difference between  C-major and F-major but you could not listen to compositions and recognize the difference. If not true of you these statements are probably true of people you know.

This happens to be true of me, I'm a musical illiterate. But I happen to know a few adults and children who've started playing an instrument at a very early age and they are quite good at that. Maybe the children will not become professional performers, nor have the adults became; they are engineers, physicians or even manual labourers. But they will always be able to perform at enough good level for them to have fun and enjoy that.

Two more comments here:

Had I been exposed to music-making and musical theory early in childhood perhaps I too would have learned to read, write and perform music. Actually, as a schoolboy I was dreaming about learning to play the flute. For several reasons this dream never came true, and sometimes I feel frustrated for lacking an opportunity to be educated in matters musical.

Had my acquaintances not been exposed to music, on the basis of the theory that they are below average anyway, they would have never been able to play the violin or flute or piano or whatever it is they play, and a major source of joy and spiritual uplifting would have been denied to them.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMMany of us are below average in certain interpersonal skills. Perhaps you are painfully shy. Perhaps you are socially abrasive, don´t read body language very well or find it hard to empathize.

Another truism.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMMany of us are below average in certain intrapersonal abilities. Perhaps we procrastinate. Perhaps we are careless or fearful and choke under pressure, occasionally break your word or give up if the going gets tough.

Yet another one.

To summarize, no one will deny the evident validity of the above points, with the caveats I made. Yet none of them have anything to do with "intellectual abilty" as long as you do not provide its definition, which you didn't

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMIt´s only when we come to linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities (which are the main abilities associated with intellectual/academic) that we are told that we can expect everyone to do well.

If the point is that we can expect every child, except the mentally retarded, to learn to read, write and perform basic arithmetic calculations, I do agree. I can't remember anyone of my elementary school mates not being able to do it. Of course, some read quicker than others, some had a more beautiful handwriting than others, some could tell seven times eight in a second while others needed half a minute. But after finishing school, all of them could read a newspaper, write a love-letter and keep their household bookings. Now, would you agree these are average intellectual abilities?

(BTW, half of all people being below average is a mathematical nonsense. The very meaning of average implies that most of people are there.)

If the point is that we can expect everybody to be able to read and understand Dante, Milton or Faulkner; everybody to be able to understand calculus; everybody to be able to learn statistical thermodynamics --- I of course disagree. This is why we have high-schools and colleges / universities: for anyone who is interested to pursue their education at higher levels. I agree that not everyone is apt for college, or even for high-school. But I see no reason whatsoever to deny elementary education to any child.

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 03, 2008, 01:34:59 PMThe point I am making, Florestan, is that our culture of educational romanticism is imposing immeasurable costs on children and their futures because it is pursuing egalitarian ideals of educational achievement (e.g. all children should perform at grade level) at the expense of attainable egalitarian ideals of personal dignity.

Agreed. But then again, the problem is not that there too much people in schools, high-schools and colleges; the problem is that schools, high-schools and colleges fail to properly educate them.

Melody is the essence of music. — Mozart

Florestan

And if you need proof that some universities have ceased to be places of learning and study and have became a mixture of tavern and brothel this "appalling report" will suffice.

Quote from: Brian on November 03, 2008, 08:21:34 PM
Hmm ... brief rundown of peculiar Rice University events!

- "O-Week." The week before school starts, freshmen get "oriented" through various handy information sessions, as well as ridiculous rallies and 2AM runs to the local "House of Pies." The week concludes with "Disorientation," which is a campus-wide drunken party.
- "Night of Decadence." This is also a campus-wide drunken party. Basically, a theme title is chosen based on the quality and obviousness of its innuendo (for example: KryptoNOD: Superman Dat Ho, or James Bondage), and then people dress up to resemble the theme (this year being "KryptoNOD," it was superhero costumes), using as little clothing as possible. At least two of my friends have seen females naked for the first time just by standing on a sidewalk near the party. NOD is more than a little ridiculous. This is the party that the good people of Houston used to be allowed into, until the school realized that creepy street people were ogling the Rice girls. The Rice police department and EMS services charge $7,000+ to staff this one-night event.
- "Willy Week." This is also a whole week. Basically, Monday through Thursday, the various residential buildings play pranks on each other. Then, Thursday night, there is a campus-wide drunken party, followed by, on Friday, another campus-wide drunken party, followed by, on Saturday, a campus-wide drunken party from roughly 6 am to 10 am, at which point (you are not expecting this) we have the largest water balloon fight in world history. Every year. Not kidding. Last year's was something like 4 times the previous Guinness record. We used ... crap ... was it 200,000 water balloons? Anyways, after this there is a ritual entitled "Beer Bike," a relay race involving chugging beers (or water for under-21-ers) and bike racing. After this, there is ... a campus-wide drunken party.  ;D
- "Bacchanalia." I'm feeling like you guys can figure this one out.  ;D

For the record, I managed to miss most of the events of "Willy Week" because my oldest and best friend was in town, and I hadn't seen her in several years. I was a security officer for Night of Decadence last year, which was quite an experience. Yeah. Did I mention that, academically, Rice's peer institutions include Harvard, Yale, Duke, Northwestern and Stanford?

;D ;D
Melody is the essence of music. — Mozart

karlhenning

I've learnt something reading this thread.  When Eric sticks to basic truisms, he doesn't go far wrong.

Beyond that, is the mischief  8)

PSmith08

Quote from: karlhenning on November 04, 2008, 01:40:53 AM
I've learnt something reading this thread.  When Eric sticks to basic truisms, he doesn't go far wrong.

Beyond that, is the mischief  8)

Can it be said to be a truism if its proponent thinks it a new and earth-shattering revelation? Would that we all could take axiomatic propositions to heart to the degree that, as far as we know, such propositions are the only ideas we've (n)ever had.

karlhenning

Quote from: PSmith08 on November 04, 2008, 03:24:32 AM
Can it be said to be a truism if its proponent thinks its a new and earth-shattering revelation?

Look, wheels are round. So why do we all need to go to college?

PSmith08

Quote from: karlhenning on November 04, 2008, 03:26:13 AM
Look, wheels are round. So why do we all need to go to college?

I know, right? Nothing could be simpler. Such argumentation will now be a part of my daily life:

Cars have wheels. Therefore, I deserve half your sandwich.
The sun is bright. Why can't I eat ice cream in class?
Movies are fun. Give me $20.

What do you mean I'm not six years old?

Homo Aestheticus

Patrick and Karl,

You are missing the broader point.

Let me put it this way:

Think of a time when you were a child and some smiling, well-meaning person in authority said ´You can do it if you try´... and you knew you couldn´t. I will go first.. I was eight or nine years old, it was Little League, it was the last inning, the Bruins were behind and I (usually a bench-warmer) was coming to bat. Inexplicably, the coach chose this moment to go up and down the bench assuring everyone that I, statistically the worst hitter not just on the Bruins but in my town´s entire Little League, would get a hit and win the game. More than almost 2 decades later, the memory of going up to the plate after that pep talk and, of course, striking out is seared into my psyche... There are other bad experiences from academic settings as well.

Now it´s your turn. Whatever painful experience comes to mind, it surely has something in common with mine. When your smiling, well-meaning person in authority said... ´You can do it if you try, and you knew it was not true, the well-meaning person was not raising your self-esteem. Not getting you to find untapped resources within you.... He was humiliating you.

Now imagine having substantial intellectual shortcomings. It is in the nature of any school system that your shortcomings will first become humiliatingly public to your classmates when you are about 6 years old, and that you will have to live with that kind of humiliation until you leave school. There´s no way to avoid it completely. If you are in a school that tracks by ability, you will know you are in the class for dummies. If you are in a school that does not track, you will be the kid who doesn´t know the answer when the teacher calls on you, or the kid on whom the teacher never calls because you won´t know the answer (and everybody knows why the teacher never calls on you).... But at least the schools can avoid making it worse.     

Homo Aestheticus

Florestan,

Quote from: Florestan on November 03, 2008, 11:37:38 PMI agree that not everyone is apt for college, or even for high-school. But I see no reason whatsoever to deny elementary education to any child.

Of course not... And of course parents and teachers should encourage children to try hard. It is a good thing to teach children that they should not give up easily. It is better to push a child farther than he can go (occasionally) than not push at all. But one of the responsibilities of parents and teachers is to appraise the abilities that a child brings to a task.

One of the most IRRESPONSIBLE trends in modern education has been the reduction in  rigorous, systematic assessment  of the abilities all of the students in their care. To demand that students meet standards that have been set without regard to their academic ability is wrong and cruel to the students who are unable to meet those standards.




karlhenning


Florestan

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 04, 2008, 06:57:26 AM
To demand that students meet standards that have been set without regard to their academic ability is wrong and cruel to the students who are unable to meet those standards.

Be careful! You're employing the very language of the "educational romanticists" you so abhor.  :)
Melody is the essence of music. — Mozart

Josquin des Prez

#56
Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 04, 2008, 06:57:26 AM
One of the most IRRESPONSIBLE trends in modern education has been the reduction in  rigorous, systematic assessment  of the abilities all of the students in their care. To demand that students meet standards that have been set without regard to their academic ability is wrong and cruel to the students who are unable to meet those standards.

So? You are employing the very same type of flawed logic that is causing our educational standards to be lowered across the board so that nobody is left behind. I thought the purpose of our scholastic institutions was to educate people, not to make sure their feelings didn't get hurt in the process.

Florestan

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on November 04, 2008, 07:07:05 AM
So? You are employing the very same type of flawed logic that is causing our educational standards to be lowered across the board so that nobody is left behind. I thought the purpose of our scholastic institutions was to educate people, not to make sure their feelings didn't get hurt in the process.

Exactly.
Melody is the essence of music. — Mozart

Joe_Campbell

Quote from: The Ardent Pelleastre on November 04, 2008, 06:56:29 AM
Patrick and Karl,

You are missing the broader point.

Let me put it this way:

Think of a time when you were a child and some smiling, well-meaning person in authority said ´You can do it if you try´... and you knew you couldn´t. I will go first.. I was eight or nine years old, it was Little League, it was the last inning, the Bruins were behind and I (usually a bench-warmer) was coming to bat. Inexplicably, the coach chose this moment to go up and down the bench assuring everyone that I, statistically the worst hitter not just on the Bruins but in my town´s entire Little League, would get a hit and win the game. More than almost 2 decades later, the memory of going up to the plate after that pep talk and, of course, striking out is seared into my psyche... There are other bad experiences from academic settings as well.

Now it´s your turn. Whatever painful experience comes to mind, it surely has something in common with mine. When your smiling, well-meaning person in authority said... ´You can do it if you try, and you knew it was not true, the well-meaning person was not raising your self-esteem. Not getting you to find untapped resources within you.... He was humiliating you.

Now imagine having substantial intellectual shortcomings. It is in the nature of any school system that your shortcomings will first become humiliatingly public to your classmates when you are about 6 years old, and that you will have to live with that kind of humiliation until you leave school. There´s no way to avoid it completely. If you are in a school that tracks by ability, you will know you are in the class for dummies. If you are in a school that does not track, you will be the kid who doesn´t know the answer when the teacher calls on you, or the kid on whom the teacher never calls because you won´t know the answer (and everybody knows why the teacher never calls on you).... But at least the schools can avoid making it worse.     
http://www.takimag.com/site/article/the_bell_curve_tolls_for_thee_especially_at_school/
You mean "let some other guy put it this way"

karlhenning

Quote from: JCampbell on November 04, 2008, 07:38:58 AM
You mean "let some other guy put it this way"

Expecting Eric to write his own material is . . . cruel!

;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D