#6401

roseweird posted:

Gibbonstrength posted:

roseweird posted:

oh i didn't talk about education, well, computers are better than teachers in 95% of cases too

false

why



theres a growing pile of research showing that face-to-face interaction trumps remote learning in every way. its also beneficial to enter the meatspace and socialise with other people and have that mix of socialising and learning that makes life enjoyable. its also better than sitting in your room smoking weed. not saying you do that but lots of people do

#6402

thirdplace posted:

locking people with no shared interests or goals into a room is a terrible way to teach how to interact with people in "Real Life"


lol of course it isn't

#6403
[account deactivated]
#6404

roseweird posted:

i don't mean computers should become the primary caretakers of people but that computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress in many subjects, like language and math, and they can rapidly create individualized educational materials that let students develop their skills freely and efficiently


can you expand on this? i'm aware of online learning stuff involving connecting students with tutors but that's a bit different from a computer creating material tailored to a specific student

#6405
the only other animals that have division of reproductive labor (non-parents teaching culture and behavior to the next generation, like teachers in school) are the eusocials

Edited by toyotathon ()

#6406

toyotathon posted:

the only other animals that have division of reproductive labor (non-parents teaching culture and behavior to the next generation, like teachers in school) are the eusocials


this is not true

#6407
Bee Movie But The Bees Have Division Of Reproductive Labor (Non-Parents Teaching Culture And Behavior To The Next Generation, Like Teachers In School)
#6408

tears posted:

toyotathon posted:

the only other animals that have division of reproductive labor (non-parents teaching culture and behavior to the next generation, like teachers in school) are the eusocials

this is not true



what are the exceptions, where the norm is raising children that aren't the animal's own

#6409

roseweird posted:

i don't mean computers should become the primary caretakers of people but that computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress in many subjects, like language and math, and they can rapidly create individualized educational materials that let students develop their skills freely and efficiently

teachers are great when they are experts at something you spend a lot of time studying on your own (probably with a computer) and they are available for you to develop your understanding.


"computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress"

who do you think writes the computer programs that measuring progress? are you saying computers are better at marking tests? are you imagining some kind of machine learning system that evaluates essays or something? ML doesn't teach itself, it learns to reproduce the patterns that are put into it. the choices around what rules you define for both ML and even just marking a test are both obviously human-produced concepts of how to evaluate.

as far as individualized educational materials yes but that is also due to a series of rules which are originated by people, and how to design these kinds of cybernetic interactions (in the original meaning of the word, a closed loop) is not an art which is known well enough or safely enough that you can just point humanity at it and go "ahah lol there you go, you solved teaching!" what are you teaching?

the problem of teaching is not "how do we possibly tell a child or another person a thing", we are really great at that, it's deciding what is actually important to teach someone, and there is a lot more that goes into a teaching environment than figuring out how good someone can reliably reproduce a single data point. unless you just want to produce empathy-free doctors and engineers, which i guess a lot of people do want to produce these days.

i guess it's not surprising to read the suggestion of "let's remove one of the most basic human-human relationships, teaching, from society" from the author of that big hit, "let's cleanse the earth of males". real fan of your work thanks

#6410
anyway i went to a fucking piece of shit conference thing today that someone helpfully invited me to and it turned out to be a bunch of fucking investors and lawyers radiating garbage waves out of their slimy faces and i hope a skyscraper-sized meteor impacts central london soon
#6411
[account deactivated]
#6412

drwhat posted:

"computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress"

who do you think writes the computer programs that measuring progress? are you saying computers are better at marking tests? are you imagining some kind of machine learning system that evaluates essays or something? ML doesn't teach itself, it learns to reproduce the patterns that are put into it. the choices around what rules you define for both ML and even just marking a test are both obviously human-produced concepts of how to evaluate.

as far as individualized educational materials yes but that is also due to a series of rules which are originated by people, and how to design these kinds of cybernetic interactions (in the original meaning of the word, a closed loop) is not an art which is known well enough or safely enough that you can just point humanity at it and go "ahah lol there you go, you solved teaching!" what are you teaching?

the problem of teaching is not "how do we possibly tell a child or another person a thing", we are really great at that, it's deciding what is actually important to teach someone, and there is a lot more that goes into a teaching environment than figuring out how good someone can reliably reproduce a single data point. unless you just want to produce empathy-free doctors and engineers, which i guess a lot of people do want to produce these days.

i guess it's not surprising to read the suggestion of "let's remove one of the most basic human-human relationships, teaching, from society" from the author of that big hit, "let's cleanse the earth of males". real fan of your work thanks



really owning me with your "maybe you didn't know that people have to write computer programs" argument

#6413
also my cat refuses to eat wet food, i don't know why that is, what a little weirdo lol
#6414
[account deactivated]
#6415
yeah she like licks some of the gravy and then won't touch it. if i cook some chicken she'll only eat it if i pull it into tiny pieces and give them to her in my hands. she's an idiot, she's just a cat
#6416
[account deactivated]
#6417

roseweird posted:

computers are better than teachers in 95% of cases too


this is definitely not true, and i think one important way to understand that is that all "education software" is designed to produce rote repetition of tasks that are easily mechanically evaluated. i want to emphasize "designed" here because even if you are using education software the design and the implementation has to be consciously designed so that the repetition (which has always been a huge part of learning, it's not something that we can now only do because of computers) is presented in a way that the tendencies that it trains are valuable relative to the learning goals of the people implementing and maintaining it.

ignoring the fact that people are necessarily consciously designing education software leads also leads to an analytic dead end if your goal is a materialist criticism of the direction of modern education, since the education system is an important means of reproducing the bourgeois strata and renewing bourgeois ideology to face new contradictions. focusing the analytical lens on the computer obscures this more crucial element, which is certainly not unique to software based education programs. the more crucial task is to understand how these material elements will express the class structure in capitalist society and contribute to its reproduction, eg by introducing into poor communities increasingly automated (and necessarily poorer quality, though not necessarily due to the automation) education tools, by understanding the constraints placed on the production of such software by the material and ideological requirements of contemporary capitalist production, or the role it would play in new trends in bourgeois propaganda.

also ive spent a ton of time troubleshooting really shitty education software, its just really bad

#6418
[account deactivated]
#6419
i don't want my child to learn from a computer, a disgusting vector of capitalist values, made by capitalists for capitalists. i prefer a teacher, a nazi bureaucrat who is paid a comfortable middle class salary every year in exchange for turning children into amerikans.
#6420

lo posted:

roseweird posted:

i don't mean computers should become the primary caretakers of people but that computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress in many subjects, like language and math, and they can rapidly create individualized educational materials that let students develop their skills freely and efficiently

can you expand on this? i'm aware of online learning stuff involving connecting students with tutors but that's a bit different from a computer creating material tailored to a specific student



no

#6421
[account deactivated]
#6422
yes i want cowering chimps i'm roseweird mfers watch out i'm from the future and i'm coming for you with a ray gun if you have a y chromosome that's what i'm all about lmao
#6423

roseweird posted:

middle klass



why don't we do this anyway

#6424
[account deactivated]
#6425

roseweird posted:

i don't want my child to learn from a computer, a disgusting vector of capitalist values, made by capitalists for capitalists. i prefer a teacher, a nazi bureaucrat who is paid a comfortable middle class salary every year in exchange for turning children into amerikans.


the nazi bureaucrat is there either way and focusing on the presence of absence of computers in classrooms obscures this

#6426
[account deactivated]
#6427
fascinating c_man but i just remembered i can do anything i want with my time
#6428
[account deactivated]
#6429
[account deactivated]
#6430
nobody else thinks it's weird how we are in a very tiny group of animals where from child to adulthood we are half-raised by non-mothers, to improve fitness of non-biological offspring

pretty weird social system for an animal. typically animal parents up fitness for just their own kids.

okay bye

#6431
#6432
Cuckoos and Cowbirds through extortion. much like their other capitalist peers. Also ants farm aphids I think. Wolves raise human children lost in the wild traditionally, some of them even went on to do debatabley great things like found Rome. I also remember watching a show about a guy raised by butterflies. Oh yeah and guerillas raised like three people temple gradin, tarzan, and some other people. Check mate atehtits
#6433
on thanksgiving i got together with a bunch of high school friends, all of whom now have kids. one of the kids is four and wanted to show me his educational games; it was teaching phonics and he had a pretty good grasp of them for a four year old. however since it was a touchscreen and was as shitty as every other touch screen, he'd correctly identify the phenome, try to touch the right answer, but it would input as if he had not and give him the wrong answer feedback. i tried to be like "no dude you were totally right" but he insisted that he was not and could not be convinced otherwise and it was a little heartbreaking
#6434
sorry tears and anyone else who is or plans to be a teacher, wish i hadn't reduced my thoughts on a complex topic to a provocative phrase and some rude responses to responses to it
#6435
i loved my elementary school teachers more than my parents. they were really the most positive force in my life until i went to middle school and got straight f's. my third grade teacher gifted me an older encyclopedia set, bringing in one volume a day until i had them all. rip mrs. schoebel.
#6436

roseweird posted:

lo posted:


roseweird posted:


i don't mean computers should become the primary caretakers of people but that computer programs are a lot better than humans at measuring progress in many subjects, like language and math, and they can rapidly create individualized educational materials that let students develop their skills freely and efficiently


can you expand on this? i'm aware of online learning stuff involving connecting students with tutors but that's a bit different from a computer creating material tailored to a specific student



no


ok, i just wasn't really sure what you meant

#6437

roseweird posted:

sorry tears and anyone else who is or plans to be a teacher, wish i hadn't reduced my thoughts on a complex topic to a provocative phrase and some rude responses to responses to it


Im sorry for cracking wise too but really it was just an excuse to say "bleep bloop"

#6438

roseweird posted:

wish i hadn't reduced my thoughts on a complex topic to a provocative phrase and some rude responses to responses to it


actually, that was Really Good, and you needn't regret, imhoooo

#6439

roseweird posted:

sorry tears and anyone else who is or plans to be a teacher, wish i hadn't reduced my thoughts on a complex topic to a provocative phrase and some rude responses to responses to it


im not mad at you, im mad that post like this

toyotathon posted:

nobody else thinks it's weird how we are in a very tiny group of animals where from child to adulthood we are half-raised by non-mothers, to improve fitness of non-biological offspring

pretty weird social system for an animal. typically animal parents up fitness for just their own kids.

okay bye



cut-rate e.o. wilson-richard dawkins nazi science crap gets a pass

#6440

Against “Sociobiology”

Elizabeth Allen, Barbara Beckwith, Jon Beckwith, Steven Chorover, and David Culver, et al.
November 13, 1975 Issue

In response to:
Mindless Societies from the August 7, 1975 issue

The following letter was prepared by a group of university faculty and scientists, high school teachers, doctors, and students who work in the Boston area.

To the Editors:

Beginning with Darwin’s theories of natural selection 125 years ago, new biological and genetic information has played a significant role in the development of social and political policy. From Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest,” to Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, and now E. O. Wilson, we have seen proclaimed the primacy of natural selection in determining most important characteristics of human behavior. These theories have resulted in a deterministic view of human societies and human action. Another form of this “biological determinism” appears in the claim that genetic theory and data can explain the origin of certain social problems, e.g., the suggestion by eugenicists such as Davenport in the early twentieth century that a host of examples of “deviant” behavior—criminality, alcoholism, etc.—are genetically based; or the more recent claims for a genetic basis of racial differences in intelligence by Arthur Jensen, William Shockley and others.

Each time these ideas have resurfaced the claim has been made that they were based on new scientific information. Yet each time, even though strong scientific arguments have been presented to show the absurdity of these theories, they have not died. The reason for the survival of these recurrent determinist theories is that they consistently tend to provide a genetic justification of the status quo and of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race or sex. Historically, powerful countries or ruling groups within them have drawn support for the maintenance or extension of their power from these products of the scientific community. For example, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. said.

The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest…. It is merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.

These theories provided an important basis for the enactment of sterilization laws and restrictive immigration laws by the United States between 1910 and 1930 and also for the eugenics policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany.

The latest attempt to reinvigorate these tired theories comes with the alleged creation of a new discipline, sociobiology. This past summer we have been treated to a wave of publicity and laudatory reviews of E. O. Wilson’s book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, including that of C. H. Waddington . The praise included a front page New York Times article which contained the following statement

Sociobiology carries with it the revolutionary implication that much of man’s behavior toward his fellows…may be as much a product of evolution as is the structure of the hand or the size of the brain.

Such publicity lends credence to the assertion that “we are on the verge of breakthroughs in the effort to understand our place in the scheme of things” (New York Times Book Review, June 27). Like others before him, Wilson’s “breakthrough” is an attempt to introduce rigor and scope into the scientific study of society. However, Wilson dissociates himself from earlier biological determinists by accusing them of employing an “advocacy method” (deliberately selecting facts to support preconceived notions) generating unfalsifiable hypotheses. He purports to take a more solidly scientific approach using a wealth of new information. We think that this information has little relevance to human behavior, and the supposedly objective, scientific approach in reality conceals political assumptions. Thus, we are presented with yet another defense of the status quo as an inevitable consequence of “human nature.”

In his attempt to graft speculation about human behavior onto a biological core, Wilson uses a number of strategies and sleights of hand which dispel any claim for logical or factual continuity. Of the twenty-seven chapters of Sociobiology, the middle twenty-five deal largely with animals, especially insects, while only the first and last chapters focus on humans. Thus, Wilson places 500 pages of double column biology between his first chapter on “The Morality of the Gene” and the last chapter, “From Sociobiology to Sociology.” But Wilson’s claim for objectivity rests entirely upon, the extent to which his last chapter follows logically and inevitably from the fact and theory that come before. Many readers of Sociobiology, we fear, will be persuaded that this is the case. However, Wilson’s claim to continuity fails for the following reasons:

1) Wilson sees “behavior and social structure as ‘organs,’—extensions of the genes that exist because of their superior adaptive value.” In speaking of indoctrinability, for example, he asserts that “humans are absurdly easy to indoctrinate” and therefore “conformer genes” must exist. Likewise, Wilson speaks of the “genes favoring spite” and asserts that spite occurs because humans are intelligent and can fathom its selective advantages. Similar arguments apply to “homosexuality genes” and genes for “creativity, entrepreneurship, drive and mental stamina.” But there is no evidence for the existence of such genes. Thus, for Wilson, what exists is adaptive, what is adaptive is good, therefore what exists is good. However, when Wilson is forced to deal with phenomena such as social unrest, his explanatory framework becomes amazingly elastic. Such behavior is capriciously dismissed with the explanation that it is maladaptive, and therefore has simply failed to evolve. Hence, social unrest may be due to the obsolescence of our moral codes, for as Wilson sees it we still operate with a “formalized code” as simple as that of “members of hunter-gatherer societies.” Xenophobia represents a corresponding failure to keep pace with social evolution, our “intergroup responses…still crude and primitive.”

This approach allows Wilson to confirm selectively certain contemporary behavior as adaptive and “natural” and thereby justify the present social order. The only basis for Wilson’s definition of adaptive and maladaptive, however, is his own preferences. While he rejects the “advocacy approach” and claims scientific objectivity, Wilson reinforces his own speculations about a “human nature,” i.e., that a great variety of human behavior is genetically determined, a position which does not follow from his evidence.

2) Another of Wilson’s strategies involves a leap of faith from what might be to “what is.” For example, as Wilson attempts to shift his arguments smoothly from the nonhuman to human behavior, he encounters a factor which differentiates the two: cultural transmission. Of course, Wilson is not unaware of the problem. He presents (p. 550) Dobzhansky’s “extreme orthodox view of environmentalism”:

Culture is not inherited through genes; it is acquired by learning from other human beings…. In a sense human genes have surrendered their primacy in human evolution to an entirely new non-biological or superorganic agent, culture.

But he ends the paragraph saying “the very opposite could be true.” And suddenly, in the next sentence, the opposite does become true as Wilson calls for “the necessity of anthropological genetics.” In other words, we must study the process by which culture is inherited through genes. Thus, it is Wilson’s own preference for genetic explanations which is used to persuade the reader to make this jump.

3) Does Wilson’s analysis of studies in nonhuman behavior provide him with a basis for understanding human behavior? An appeal to the “continuity of nature” based on evolutionary theory will not suffice. While evolutionary analysis provides a model for interpreting animal behavior, it does not establish any logical connection between behavior patterns in animal and human societies. But Wilson requires such a connection in order to use the vast amounts of animal evidence he has collected. One subtle way in which Wilson attempts to link animals and humans is to use metaphors from human societies to describe characteristics of animal societies.

For instance, in insect populations, Wilson applies the traditional metaphors of “slavery” and “caste,” “specialists” and “generalists” in order to establish a descriptive framework. Thus, he promotes the analogy between human and animal societies and leads one to believe that behavior patterns in the two have the same basis. Also, institutions such as slavery are made to seem natural in human societies because of their “universal” existence in the biological kingdom. But metaphor and presumed analogy cannot be allowed to mask the absence of evidence.

4) Another way Wilson confronts the difficulties in making the jump from non-human to human societies is by the use of ad hoc arguments. For example, a major problem exists in Wilson’s emphasis on innate biology: how can genetic factors control behavior if social structure within a group can change rapidly over the course of just a few generations? Wilson, of course, does not deny the enormous flexibility and rapid change in human action. But Wilson admits that according to standard population genetics, this period is far too short for the changes observed. He turns instead to the “multiplier effect,” which is a concept borrowed from economics. He uses this “effect” in an attempt to show how small genetic changes can be amplified enormously in a limited time span. But nowhere does Wilson present any basis for introducing the multiplier. A crucial point in Wilson’s explanation remains purely speculative. Further he relies on the unproven assumption that genes for behavior exist.

5) Many of Wilson’s claims about human nature do not arise from objective observation (either of universals in human behavior or of generalities throughout animal societies), but from a speculative reconstruction of human prehistory. This reconstruction includes the familiar themes of territoriality, big-game hunting with females at home minding the kids and gathering vegetables (“many of the peculiar details of human sexual behavior and domestic life flow easily from this basic division of labor”—p. 568), and a particular emphasis on warfare between bands and the salutary advantages of genocide. But these arguments have arisen before and have been strongly rebutted both on the basis of historical and anthropological studies. (See, for instance, A. Alland, The Human Imperative or M. F. A. Montagu, Man and Aggression.)

What we are left with then is a particular theory about human nature, which has no scientific support, and which upholds the concept of a world with social arrangements remarkably similar to the world which E. O. Wilson inhabits. We are not denying that there are genetic components to human behavior. But we suspect that human biological universals are to be discovered more in the generalities of eating, excreting and sleeping than in such specific and highly variable habits as warfare, sexual exploitation of women and the use of money as a medium of exchange. What Wilson’s book illustrates to us is the enormous difficulty in separating out not only the effects of environment (e.g., cultural transmission) but also the personal and social class prejudice of the researcher. Wilson joins the long parade of biological determinists whose work has served to buttress the institutions of their society by exonerating them from responsibility for social problems.

From what we have seen of the social and political impact of such theories in the past, we feel strongly that we should speak out against them. We must take “Sociobiology” seriously, then, not because we feel that it provides a scientific basis for its discussion of human behavior, but because it appears to signal a new wave of biological determinist theories.

Elizabeth Allen, pre-medical student, Brandeis University; Barbara Beckwith, teacher, Watertown Public High School; Jon Beckwith, professor, Harvard Medical School; Steven Chorover, professor of psychology, MIT; David Culver, visiting professor of biology, Harvard School of Public Health, professor of biology, Northwestern; Margaret Duncan, research assistant, Harvard Medical School; Steven Gould, professor in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University; Ruth Hubbard, professor of biology, Harvard University; Hiroshi Inouye, resident fellow, Harvard Medical School; Anthony Leeds, professor of anthropology, Boston University; Richard Lewontin, professor of biology, Harvard University; Chuck Madansky, graduate student in microbiology, Harvard Medical School; Larry Miller, student, Harvard Medical School; Reed Pyeritz, doctor, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston; Miriam Rosenthal, research associate, Harvard School of Public Health; Herb Schreier, psy chiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital. (Affiliations for identification only.)

Editors’ Note: We regret that C. H. Waddington, who would have been asked to reply to this letter, died on September 26.