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Doug_S. comments on Eutopia is Scary - Less Wrong

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 January 2009 05:28AM

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Comment author: Doug_S. 12 January 2009 08:22:53AM 3 points [-]

postulating that talking about science in public is socially unacceptable, for the same reason that you don't tell someone aiming to see a movie whether the hero dies at the end. ... I started thinking that, well, maybe it really would be a good idea to get rid of all the textbooks, all they do is take the fun out of science.

Maybe they should exist, but shouldn't be thought of and written like textbooks. Maybe they should be like video game walkthroughs. You use them when you're stuck, as a last resort. Or, you just go dive right in, because you want to play optimally and make sure that you explore everything.

Of course, it's kind of hard to make learning many sciences into an experience that is like exploring a video game, because most people don't have the equipment on hand to, say, recreate the experiment that led Rutherford to hypothesize the existence of the atomic nucleus. On the other hand, you could make mathematics into a much more game-like experience, by simply presenting progressively harder problems and challenging students to come up with methods to solve them.

You may or may not be aware that mathematics in the Middle Ages was a highly competitive endeavor, with new problem-solving techniques, such as the general solution to the cubic equation, being carefully guarded trade secrets that mathematicians would use to challenge and one-up one another other.

Comment author: pnrjulius 07 June 2012 01:21:35AM *  4 points [-]

Of course, it's kind of hard to make learning many sciences into an experience that is like exploring a video game, because most people don't have the equipment on hand to, say, recreate the experiment that led Rutherford to hypothesize the existence of the atomic nucleus.

We could simulate those experiments though! We could literally make "The History of Science: The Video Game."