Friday, March 09, 2012

The Secret Life of Books, Part II

Continuing the Rabett Run investigation into the corrupting ways that books ruin our children's lives, Eli steals shamelessly from Ed Darrell this most enchanting fable (which also won the Oscar for animated shorts).  Roger approves, and recommends you visit the bathtub early and often, (damn it there is a link on the left) if for nothing else for Ed's recent post on statistical shenanigans in educational testing.


Antiquated Tory said...

That was beautiful!

Off topic, but because bunnies don't believe in open threads, I'd like to point you to this post on Renaissance Mathematicus in defense of Tycho Brahe, specifically for the closing paragraph:
I believe getting the story right is not just an academic matter. Part of the problem science is having today with various “deniers” is rooted in that which turns Thony Christie into the HISTSCI_HULK. In an article in the January issue of The Physics Teacher I argue that the way history of science is commonly presented conveys an idea that answers in science are easy, and that the wrong answers come from human folly. Thus Brahe becomes the blunderer who didn’t get the answer right because he wanted the Earth to be the center of the Universe. The problem with such myths is that they hide the real difficulty in getting the right answer in science. “Deniers” claim that the real answer is out there, but is being hidden by powerful forces — and they can wrap themselves in the mantle of science “history” with its stories of people who don’t want to see the real answer (like Brahe, supposedly), and who might persecute those who do (“Look what they did to Galileo!”). So the real story, that the most accomplished astronomer of the day argued for an immobile Earth using a darned solid scientific argument, matters. It shows that answers are not easy in science, and that good scientists follow the data, not what they want to be true.

Ed Darrell said...

Thanks for the plug, Eli, and thanks for the great reference, Antiquated Tory.

For some reason, all this hubbub about books puts me in mind of the story behind Shakespeare's line, "Kill all the lawyers."

It's the bad guys planning to kill the lawyers -- because lawyers defend human rights and civil rights, especially people who do things destructive to tyranny, like teachers who teach kids to read books.

The books of Morris Lesmore are magic -- but are they more magic than other books like, say, Huckleberry Finn or Silent Spring or "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman"?

Kevin O'Neill said...

Apropos of books - most of the 'Online Textbooks' links in your sidebar are broken.

owlbrudder said...

Wonderful! I have posted the link for my writers' group to enjoy. Thank you.

PS: Captcha = 'poomag'. I thought that was WSJ "8-)