The reason why poor teaching survives

Filling the pail

If you were an engineer who was operating under a misconception about the laws of physics or the properties of different materials then your bridges would fall down. It wouldn’t matter whether you appealed to authenticity, excellence, creativity, inclusivity or anything else for that matter, the fact that your bridges fell down would be a problem. Your failure would be obvious and apparent to all. In the ancient world, you might have suffered a grisly fate and so I think it is no coincidence that columns and arches were understood pretty early in our history.

By Gun Powder Ma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Hadrian’s Arch, Jordan (By Gun Powder Ma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons) Medicine offers a more complex picture. On the one hand, a surgeon who kills his patients is going to run into trouble. However, if the alternative to surgery is certain death then even poor-quality, insanitary surgery might persist until something better comes along…

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