Re: The Bible According To Conservative Judaism
- From: r norman <r_s_norman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 01 May 2010 11:36:49 -0700
On Fri, 30 Apr 2010 17:41:17 -0700 (PDT), el cid
On Apr 30, 6:16 pm, r norman <r_s_nor...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Thu, 29 Apr 2010 06:49:26 -0700 (PDT), Mitchell Coffey
On Apr 28, 10:37 pm, r norman <r_s_nor...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Wed, 28 Apr 2010 07:05:15 -0700 (PDT), MitchellCoffey
On Apr 27, 10:06 pm, John Wilkins <j...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
In article <kpuet5l39beqtfncbd2557l0do3tq3j...@xxxxxxx>, r norman
On Wed, 28 Apr 2010 09:40:23 +1000, John Wilkins <j...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Burkhard <b.scha...@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 27 Apr, 18:59, John Wilkins <j...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:...
I think that you might be missing a point here: oral traditions are
reliable because a *teacher* has passed them on (in the minds of those
who rely upon them) and teachers can correct misunderstandings.
Actually, this is somewhat true - scientific textbooks carry all kinds
of mistakes that specialists in the field correct when teaching their
students. Gould called them "clones".
But then, when I was a young academic, I once went after the lecture
through the lecture theatre and had a look at the scribbles on left
behind notes - never did that again, I need to preserve _some_ self-
It's a kind of academic Dunning Kruger effect: no academic should ever
know what their students think of them, if they wish to be able to
Back in the early days, I team-taught an Intro Zoology course with
about 300 students. Occasionally when the other guy was lecturing I
would sit in the back of the auditorium. It was an entirely different
world back there! People were sleeping, talking, playing cards, doing
homework, whatever. You couldn't really hear the lecturer anyway or
see what was on the blackboard. I quickly learned to teach to the
front half of the class -- the only possible strategy in that
situation. Years later, in a different institution, a policy was
instituted to have no lectures larger than about 75 students, about
the most you can actually maintain some personal contact with.
The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor used to teach Intro Psych in
the big concert hall auditorium with more than a thousand students.
That is insane. Maybe they still do??
And years ago a heard a possibly apocryphal story about students at
the Sorbonne in Paris going on strike. They created havoc by all
showing up for their classes and massively overfilling the lecture
halls that could never hold the actual class enrollment.
I had a class last semester that was so big I had to deliver the
lecture twice, once at 8am Monday, and once at 9am Monday. Almost
nobody was able to grasp the material, me included...
When I was an undergraduate many of the introductory courses were just
this, lecture classes with 300 - 700 students. Yet in this system we
also met several times a week in groups of ~8 with one of the graduate
assistants. This system worked well, imparting of knowledge-wise, in
point of fact. Also, regardless whether it was conducive to actual
learning, it allows one bragging rights not otherwise available under
systems of mass education. This system allowed me, in reward for a
knack for standardized tests, to be instructed in this high-volume
manner by numerous persons of international fame within their fields,
including two future Nobel Prize winners and John Searle.
It depends, I suppose, on what one thinks to be the purpose of having
schools of vasty education - and only a paid university fund raising
hack would actually claim that, e.g., one could in any circumstances
have been taught Intro-to-Microeconomics better by Gerard Debreu than
by any earnest holder of a Masters degree at a community College.
(John Searle was another matter.) Yet I prefer having had it this
way: I learned passable micro eventually - would have no matter what -
and could truthfully say in job interviews and internet discussions "I
studied economics under Gerard Debreu."
(In fact, the professor who taught me micro best was an excellent
though Chicago School fellow name Ernie Nadel. Impressed? Didn't get
tenure; neither would this thoughtful but insufficiently published
instructor have been mentioned in job interviews.)
When you get past intro courses who teaches it starts to matter, but
by then the classes are smaller. The current system maximizes the
number of graduates who can claim they were taught by accomplished
academics; it may be a con, but it works for the students as well as
faculty and university.
Go to the right school and you can get it all -- top faculty in
(relatively) small classes.
I went to CalTech where they only accepted a total of 180 freshmen
each year. I don't know what they do now, but then the "large
lectures" in the intro courses were then 180 max with 10 sections of
18 to 20 to be handled by grad students.
As to the lecturers: Linus Pauling gave every one of the GChem
lectures. George Beadle was in charge of Intro Biology and gave a
significant number of lectures but Meselson (of Meselson-Stahl
semiconservative replication) talked about DNA -- he hadn't yet done
that experiment but I recall he talked about the idea of doing it.
Richard Feynman was preparing his "Intro" Lectures for use the next
year but practiced on us four or five times. He also personally took
the recitation section for declared physics majors in place of the
grad student so he could practice the rest of his lectures with that
group. I later had Roger Sperry for neurobiology . But that is only
five nobelists (six Nobel prizes if you count Pauling getting two).
OK. So who taught you economics?
As I recall, economics was a required subject for every science major
(as distinguished from the engineering majors) in the junior year.
There wer two faculty, Easy Sweezy and Crocky Brockie, if I recall
correctly. I cannot remember which I had but I do remember one
question on the final exam: "Some economists predicted that after the
end of WW II agricultural prices would rise; other economists
predicted that they would fall. Show why both were right."
After the war, there was a shortage of pre-printed price stickers
so when the supply of price stickers ran out for a given price,
they had to either increase or decrease the price.
That might have got you a B- from Easy Sweezy. Crocky Brockie would
have flunked you.
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