On 17/06/15 18:51, Richard Bornat wrote:
Sent from my iPhone
On 17 Jun 2015, at 15:35, David Barbour
On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 2:43 AM, spir
Have you noticed the official retraction of "the camel has 2 humps", a good comment bu
"retraction watch" on that fact, and that very "smart" (lol) paper by Jeff Atwood (of
coding horror) about the story:
Jeff Atwood's article is dated 2006, after the original paper. The retraction
That said, the original article was obviously bad science anyway. A simple
alternative hypothesis to explain the same evidence: some people came into the
class with more knowledge of programming, and the teacher allowed the others to
fall further behind.
One shouldn't jump to that conclusion. In all the experiments we did, the
effect persisted in the subgroup which claimed experience, and was equally
present in the subgroup which claimed none. See
The retraction deals with replications and contradictory experiments.
Lister and Teague have observed the same phenomenon, and proposed an
The original 'paper' was hysterically over enthusiastic, but the phenomenon
occurred, and occurs. But perhaps not always. Both facts require explanation.
I agree. The problem I meant to point to does not lie in the facts (which are
concrete phenomena); it does not mainly lie in the experiment, whether it was
well or badly done, since experimenters and scientists in general are not
supposed to be perfect, are they? It lies in the massive claims and echoes in
the scientific and pedagogic and programming communities that this very
experiment is good science actually confirming our prejudices, and far enough
for us to quietly rest on them (the prejudices).
There is, there was, very very few look at the bigger/global/systemic picture of
how our civilisation literally fabricates such phenomena, and our education,
including programming curriculae, not the least. This, in part by adopting and
replicating and amplifying other prejudices (eg about skills and talents, or
about learning/teaching methods, or about genders and races and classes...).
Remember: as long as programming was supposed to be an "inferior" and easy task
(like and similar to secretariat), it was a job for women (and thus badly paid,
however the supposed "labor market").
Today programming is hard and highly abstract; we approach it with dogmas and
norms that have long proved their falsity, and teach it via curriculae and
methods that have long proved their failure, in other supposed hard and abstract
domains (maths, languages, psychology, economy, anthropology,... pedagogy).
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