Subject: Re: one small function
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 04:05:06 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Nils Goesche
| Now, my question was, is this because of the /book/ or only because of
| the /course/;

  I only argue that books that expand on ideas affect people in many
  strange ways.  The book clearly has partial "blame" because it erects its
  own context without sufficient ties and references to the world around it
  to make it clear that it is a wonderful story, not a description of the
  real world.  Since most people are not trained in integrating what they
  hear with what they know, the creation of a context _outside_ of their
  normal frame of reference is _dangerous_.  Bridging between the context
  of a book/idea and the real world is very necessary.  The course and the
  professor would both have to be _exceptional_ to bridge the context of
  SICP with the real world of programming computers.  (I would argue that
  the same is true for K&R's C book, because it also creates a very simple
  world/context that simply is not real and which has deluded C programmers
  that they live in the "virtual world" that C is good at programming in.)

| If this is the case in such courses, I think it is really not justified
| to blame the book if something bad comes out of them (of course I don't
| know how such courses look like at American universities, sorry about
| that).

  When _would_ it be justified to blame the book?

| I know what you mean, and you are right.  But don't forget that there are
| always a few, very few, among these idiots who are only `sleeping' and
| might, at some time, `awake'; much of the teaching effort is all about
| making those `sleepers' awake.

  That was very poetic and beautifully said.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.