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simplyeric comments on Guessing the Teacher's Password - Less Wrong

62 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 August 2007 03:40AM

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Comment author: simplyeric 14 March 2010 04:04:31PM *  6 points [-]

"Okay, but there's one innocent interpretation even here. People learn language, and when we learn language we copy the verbal behavior of other people.

This is not innocent! Just because everyone does it, doesn't make it okay. You can't trust your instincts! ...."

We have to be careful about the notion of "can't trust your instincts." There is a fundamental process of language aquisition I think we'd be hard pressed to deny. This is similar to learning about thermodynamics. The first word we know is "mommy" (often, +/-). At this stage, and for a long time, we don't understand what it really means, this concept of "mother" (and many of us never will). How is that different than "conduction"? You have to start somewhere, and necessarily small.

On the other hand, the notion in teaching that you have succeeded if they know the passwords is insidious and lazy. The big password fetish nowadays is standardized tests: if the students test well, then you've succeeded in teaching them well. It's passwords with no follow-up, no synthesis.