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Old 2008-09-12, 13:49   #23
R.D. Silverman
 
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Nov 2003

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
OK guys.
This once unmissable thread has been rendered obsolete
by the freakish discovery of a second prime.
That's no excuse to hijack it for "Silverman Bashing"

David
People can bash me all they want. I have a thick skin.

Society today, as a whole, seems to want instant gratification.
They resent any attempt by knowledgeable people to enforce
any intellectual standards. It is part of the "dumbing down of
America".

It is my right to try to insist upon academic integrity from those
who pose questions.

Hasn't it occured to anyone that those people presenting poorly-posed
questions are being SELFISH??? They expect others to take
time to answer, but they themselves can't take the time to either acquire
needed backgound or to take the time to properly formulate their question.
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Old 2008-09-12, 14:11   #24
masser
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Hasn't it occured to anyone that those people presenting poorly-posed
questions are being SELFISH??? They expect others to take
time to answer, but they themselves can't take the time to either acquire
needed backgound or to take the time to properly formulate their question.
What is worse, IMO, is they expect others to take the time to interpret their poorly-worded questions. "Well, you know what I was trying to say..." Clarity IS a major requirement of mathematical discourse.
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Old 2008-09-12, 14:15   #25
R.D. Silverman
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Housemouse View Post
RDS You have obviously never taught at the junior college level.

There is no limit to how dumb a question can be.

But I never berate a student, like you do here.

I am not arguing against the content of the questions.
I am arguing against failing to take the time to pose it
properly! I am arguing against intellectual laziness.
I am aguing against those who want us to spend time answering
questions, while being unwilling themselves to take time to both
forumulate them properly and acquire the necessary background.

Those of you who oppose my philosophy remind me of people
who want to stop keeping track of wins/losses in U.S. little league
[i.e. competitive baseball for kids for those of you who do not live
in the U.S.]. Their argument: "It might hurt the ego of someone
to tell them that they lost or failed". These same people always
want to promote Johnny to the next grade, even when Johnny was
a complete failure. "We can't tell Johnny that he failed; he might be
insulted"......
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Old 2008-09-12, 14:28   #26
Patrick123
 
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Jan 2006
JHB, South Africa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
... These same people always
want to promote Johnny to the next grade, even when Johnny was
a complete failure. "We can't tell Johnny that he failed; he might be
insulted"......
I had a similar problem here in South Africa when my youngest son was in primary school. He had all of his math answers right, but only got 7 out of 10. The kid next to him, although he had some answers wrong, got the same! The reason that the teacher gave was that the other kid went the 'extra' mile and drew pretty little pictures around the answers!!
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Old 2008-09-12, 15:47   #27
lycorn
 
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Sep 2002
Oeiras, Portugal

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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Society today, as a whole, seems to want instant gratification.
They resent any attempt by knowledgeable people to enforce
any intellectual standards. It is part of the "dumbing down of
America".
It is my right to try to insist upon academic integrity from those
who pose questions.
I have deliberately stayed out of this battle of words about Dr. Silverman´s "methods", as I do not consider myself in a position that allow me to objectively assess them.
But I have to say that I´m 100% with him as far as the above quote goes. We are in the middle of a dangerous process of "dumbing down the so called developed countries", not only America. It is urgent that we raise the standards used to assess the students at school, for example. A typical phenomenom in some countries (Portugal included...) is to reduce the number of students that fail their examinations at the end of the academic year, by lowering the difficulty of the tests. This is good for the governmental statistics, of course, but in the long run may prove disastrous for the general level of technical knowledge, and even civic attitude, in the country. That´s the problem of the instant gratification replacing the real achievements we all should be aiming at.
In that sense, we lack people like Dr. Silverman. One may note like his style, but he fights for values of paramount importance in the society, like the intellectual honesty, and the acknowledgement that only through work and personal endeavour should one be rewarded.
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Old 2008-09-12, 16:49   #28
Jwb52z
 
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Sep 2002

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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
When the question makes sense......
When you have already taken the time to try to find the answer...
When it is clearly posed......
When you have the prerequisites to understand the answer.......
When you have proofread the question....

A person posing a question needs to show that he/she has spent some
time on it already
.

The basic topic discussed herein is Number Theory. Discussion of
Number Theory requires some mathematical maturity. It requires
some intellectual maturity. It requires an understanding of basic
algebra. This is not a forum to discuss jr. high school algebra.

When a student walks into class unprepared and lacking the pre-requisites
the teacher has the right to say: "you are not ready for this course. It
has pre-requisites."

Rather than labelling nonsensical questions as gibberish, I could simply
say "you lack the backgound to discuss this. Go acquire the pre-requisites."

Would you prefer that response????
What I would PREFER is a proper and accurate response, on the level of the person asking, regardless of what you think of them or their supposed lack of readiness and preparation for the question or its answer.
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Old 2008-09-12, 16:52   #29
Jwb52z
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
People can bash me all they want. I have a thick skin.

Society today, as a whole, seems to want instant gratification.
They resent any attempt by knowledgeable people to enforce
any intellectual standards. It is part of the "dumbing down of
America".

It is my right to try to insist upon academic integrity from those
who pose questions.

Hasn't it occured to anyone that those people presenting poorly-posed
questions are being SELFISH??? They expect others to take
time to answer, but they themselves can't take the time to either acquire
needed backgound or to take the time to properly formulate their question.
You're right, I do object to being "enforced" on anything in just the same way you object to homophobes or Sarah Palin. I haven't read this entire thread, as I post as I go, so I will assume for now that you have already answered why you think you have a right to insist or enforce anything. after this post of yours.
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Old 2008-09-12, 16:56   #30
Jwb52z
 
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Sep 2002

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Quote:
Originally Posted by masser View Post
What is worse, IMO, is they expect others to take the time to interpret their poorly-worded questions. "Well, you know what I was trying to say..." Clarity IS a major requirement of mathematical discourse.
What is so horrible about having to go back and for for a while trying to figure out what a person means? I must be the only person who doesn't mind working with a person where they are without expecting them to learn a subject before wondering something out of nothing more than sheer simple momentary curiousity.
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Old 2008-09-12, 17:17   #31
Jwb52z
 
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Sep 2002

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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
I am not arguing against the content of the questions.
I am arguing against failing to take the time to pose it
properly! I am arguing against intellectual laziness.
I am aguing against those who want us to spend time answering
questions, while being unwilling themselves to take time to both
forumulate them properly and acquire the necessary background.

Those of you who oppose my philosophy remind me of people
who want to stop keeping track of wins/losses in U.S. little league
[i.e. competitive baseball for kids for those of you who do not live
in the U.S.]. Their argument: "It might hurt the ego of someone
to tell them that they lost or failed". These same people always
want to promote Johnny to the next grade, even when Johnny was
a complete failure. "We can't tell Johnny that he failed; he might be
insulted"......
All I'm doing is arguing against your immoveable expectations of people who simply might just be curious, but aren't academically inclined. They still deserve an answer, and I do mean "deserve". It's only lazy if you have your kind of expectations of people who simply wanted to ask a question that was just that, not intending or interested in anything else but that one piece of information as an answer. As for your Little League analogy, this, in my view, has nothing to do with self esteem or ego, but just common human decency when speaking to people. You don't always need to tell people something just because it is true when it is not a life or death or morality matter or something else of that level. Academics isn't on that rung of the ladder of importance, or do you really think it is?
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Old 2008-09-12, 17:27   #32
masser
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwb52z View Post
Academics isn't on that rung of the ladder of importance, or do you really think it is?
Yes it is.

Look at how the Bush administration has played fast and loose with Climate Science. Consider all those folks that want to push their religious beliefs into science classrooms. Think about Constitutional Law (the protection of our rights); it is an extremely important "academic science" where clear, precise language is absolutely necessary.
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Old 2008-09-12, 17:29   #33
Jwb52z
 
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Sep 2002

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lycorn View Post
I have deliberately stayed out of this battle of words about Dr. Silverman´s "methods", as I do not consider myself in a position that allow me to objectively assess them.
But I have to say that I´m 100% with him as far as the above quote goes. We are in the middle of a dangerous process of "dumbing down the so called developed countries", not only America. It is urgent that we raise the standards used to assess the students at school, for example. A typical phenomenom in some countries (Portugal included...) is to reduce the number of students that fail their examinations at the end of the academic year, by lowering the difficulty of the tests. This is good for the governmental statistics, of course, but in the long run may prove disastrous for the general level of technical knowledge, and even civic attitude, in the country. That´s the problem of the instant gratification replacing the real achievements we all should be aiming at.
In that sense, we lack people like Dr. Silverman. One may note like his style, but he fights for values of paramount importance in the society, like the intellectual honesty, and the acknowledgement that only through work and personal endeavour should one be rewarded.
I'm not for lowering standards in most cases, but what do you suggest be done when an ever increasing amount of people don't, can't, or won't achieve or excel? What good do standards do that no one has or could achieve at a point in history beyond those who are of the ultra-genius level? We don't want a "rule by genius only" kind of world, do we? Wouldn't that mess up the whole idea of being judged by your peers? Perhaps there should be one standard or rating system of success and achievement for the uber-genius type such as Dr. Silverman and a separate one for regular people who just simply want to get through life with as little hassle and such as possible and never mix the two.
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