[Haskell-cafe] About scandalous teaching

jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr
Thu Oct 18 05:01:57 EDT 2007

Dipankar Ray decided to invest himself after my last grumbling concerning
the uselessnes of recalling that Haskell may be presented in schools in
a very bad way. 

> JK, of course there are foolish teachers out there. I don't think Felipe 
> was suggesting that this teacher had the right idea, nor that he himself 
> was going to stop haskelling anytime soon. But when people in relative 
> power say wrong things, it makes it harder for junior colleagues (or 
> students) to establish credibility, with other colleagues and students.

I *never* implied that. I suggested only that - after the statement of
A. Coppin that 100% of the world ignores/despises Haskell - coroborating
such a statement by a clearly inadequate example is not serious. 

> You may be of the opinion that such colleagues and students are fools, or 
> beyond help.

I would *NEVER* say that, and I never did. On the contrary, my philosophy
addressed to young was always: be *proud* that you began to learn sthing,
since you *progress*. Potentially, you are more valuable that old guys
who know everything they think they need... (*) If I blessed Felipe, I am
terribly sorry. But I will fight with all arms against our
auto-flagellation, and the "victimization" atmosphere! This is a road to

> ... and we should all cultivate self-confidence.

Yes, absolutely. Without exaggeration... Perhaps the Feynman's wife phrase
which became the book title "What Do You Care What Other People Think" is
not the way of selling Haskell, but - please - there is a well known
personage in the Great Literature, somebody really nice, but *absolutely*
bad example to follow: Eyore, the Winnie the Pooh friend... 

> You mention MS Research supporting the Simons - well, MSR 
> does so in part because both of them (and their colleagues at MSR 
> Cambridge) are tireless evangelists, who are fantastically generous with 
> their time, ideas, and code.

Not only that, of course, there are plenty of tireless evangelists who
got no support. I wanted to point out that there are people/institutions
who dispose of non-negligeable resources, and who decided to *invest* in
people who do - apparently - an ever unpopular branch of programming theory
and practice. 


(*) OK, an absolutely irrelevant anecdote. 

Quite a time ago, far east of Poland (now Ukraine). An old Jew enters a
train in a small station at his shtetl, enter the compartment, and - shock:
he sees therein two well known Rebbis, wise men, very famous in the region. 

Oh, my! thinks he, what a chance. Now I will learn something, since they
will probably engage in an extremely profound and enlightening discussion. 

But hours pass, the train is slow, nothing happens...
After three hours, our hero is worried. He dares to open his mouth:
"Excuse me, Rebbe. I apologize for interrupting your meditation, but aren't
you the well know Rabbi from Pinsk?"
 - Yes, indeed.
"And other gentelman..., I know you as well! You are the most well known
thinkers of the region. Now, please, tell me, why do you remain silent,
having such an opportunity to exchange some ideas, points of view, etc.
I really hoped I would profit from your presence, it would be a godly gift
for me!" 

 - "Well" - the Rabbi smiles. "You are right, we are wise men.
My neighbour is really very, very wise. He knows everything.
Actually, I know many, many things myself as well.
Why should we waste time on discussions? We won't learn more... 


Jerzy Karczmarczuk 

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