On Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM, Wayne Bishop <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > But again, technology has moved on, and therefore pedagogy (potentially). >> > > For some things, certainly. But mathematics remains mathematics and > compromising it to genuflect to "technology" is not an appropriate part of > your "therefore". > > Wayne > > This attitude is prevalent and I'm suspicious of it.
There's this aloof snobbery of mathematicians towards engineers that gets cultivated in Anglo academics (at least) i.e. it by now seems engrained in English itself that math is "pure" (and pure is consider good, like refined white sugar) whereas engineering is "get your hands dirty" mulatto (hybrid, impure).
The main reason computer science was made a "science", it seems, was to keep its infernal "machines" aka "engines" out of the rarefied white collar world of the kempt Oxford-style Gothic campus.
Schools "of technology" like MIT were allowed to have lots of computers (ENIAC-looking), but those campuses looked more like factories to begin with and also have gas fired turbines and other such vulcan machinery.
Engineers are blue collar / dirty, hands blackened with soot. Mathematicians have a mere pencil behind the ear and stare over their horn-rimmed glasses at the dirty dwarf-like computer people in the overalls and say sneering things, as it befits a gentleman to say when the riffraff get uppity.
All this seems a tawdry kind of theater that the unwitting, the newborns, the newbies, wander into. They're not properly briefed. No one warns them what they're in for. They get "tracked" and "tested" for various kinds of aptitude but no one bothers to tell them the lay of the land e.g. Calculus Mountain (up ahead, in high school) will be used to weed and winnow, after which your will have to decide if you're a "real mathematician" whatever that means.
"Real mathematicians" need to keep their distance from lowly "technology" an attitude the percolates into K-12 and infects it. The reflexes are there, at that level too, but no one studies the anthropology.
If computer technology was your first love (the great toys), maybe you'll need to choose. But then people like Wolfram come along and cloud the picture. Is Mathematic mathematics? There's an infernal machine involved. The culture stutters and stammers (for decades on end) unable to make up its mind. Painted into a corner. By English. Good show.
Again, it seems to boil down to stereotypes and affectations of character more than to the actual nuts and bolts of any discipline.
Because of such embedded unexamined bigotry of the mathematically aloof, I've become disenchanted with English-the-language, as it seems an anthropological pattern that has outlived its usefulness (if it ever had any) by many generations, yet English hasn't the anti-bodies.
I find myself hoping these silly holdover tribalisms haven't infected all languages so deeply. Wishful thinking perhaps.