[FoRK] Advice From An Old Programmer

Gary Stock gstock at nexcerpt.com
Thu Jun 23 12:11:51 PDT 2011

Aaron nails it.

In fact, a century ago -- when the US was flirting with its peak of 
global political, economic, scientific and every other sort of power -- 
we ~did~ teach Joe Citizen about programming.

Except... we called it "Latin," or "Debate," or "Logic."

I have before me my Aunt Marie Stock's "Argumentation and Debate" (J. 
Walter Reeves, 1917) which she used in "II Hr, Three Rivers High School, 
" autographed by her friends from the class of 1929.  It's not her Logic 
textbook (locked away in the other room), but even the brief examples in 
the Debate text are more training in logic than most schoolkids get today.

If members of Congress -- or even half the media -- had those basics in 
their heads, we wouldn't suffer with many of the ridiculous problems we 
face today...


On 6/23/11 2:03 PM, Aaron Burt wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:36:59AM +1000, Jeremy Apthorp wrote:
>> Why does Joe Citizen need to know anything about programming?
>> This is like insisting that everything would be better if every child
>> understood calculus, or psychology, or Shakespeare. Everyone has different
>> interests and different dispositions. While I agree that people should know
>> that programming is a* *thing they can possibly pursue, they needn't be
>> forced to do something they hate and will never use.
> Why do we (try to) teach our kids geometry and algebra, grammar, history,
> chemistry, geography or creative writing?  Back when we were a 1st-world
> country, we even taught them some classical and modern drama, visual art,
> music, biology, and even some random sports and fitness practices.
> Automation/programming is a way of thinking about how we accomplish things.
> It is becoming relevant to any task we might want to do more than once.
> We are replacing ourselves with robots.  We better know how that works.

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