On 17/06/15 18:51, Richard Bornat wrote:

Sent from my iPhone

On 17 Jun 2015, at 15:35, David Barbour 
<dmbarb...@gmail.com<mailto:dmbarb...@gmail.com>> wrote:

On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 2:43 AM, spir 
<denis.s...@gmail.com<mailto:denis.s...@gmail.com>> wrote:
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 
in 2014.

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 
explanation. See 

The original 'paper' was hysterically over enthusiastic, but the phenomenon 
occurred, and occurs. But perhaps not always. Both facts require explanation.

Richard Bornat

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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