> With regard to "calculators are there, and are unavoidable", > two (imperfect) analogies come to mind : > > 1. Anabolic steroids are readily available, we should not > discourage our student athletes from using them, and
> instead use the steroids to bring our students to new > levels of athletic achievement.
Hmm... Definitely a flawed analogy, unless Arun suggests that calculators stimulate growth in the mind the way steroids stimulate muscle growth. I've heard no-one suggest that.
> 2. Machines exist to do virtually any physical activity and > can do it better and safer and faster than humans.
> We will therefore teach our students to be couch-potatoes.
"The-mind-is-a-muscle" again. Do minds really atrophy when not used in the ways Arun thinks they should be used?
> 3. Since our writing tools are so much better than Shakespeare's > quill and inkpot, our students will be much better writers > than Shakespeare.
Compare the quality of a student's word-processed and laser-printed document with the quality of a Shakespearean folio. Our students' "writing" *is* better than Shakespeare's in the aspects that our "so much better" writing tools are tools to work with. But the fundamental writing tool is the mind; minds today are in general no better--and no worse--than they were in Shakespeare's time.
> There is an old proverb that goes something like :
> "Knowledge in a book is like money that has been lent; > when needed, it is not available." >
> To that I would add "mathematics in a calculator".
The conclusion is clear: We should prohibit books as well as calculators.