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Once upon a time I took a drawing class in college. The teacher had been teaching art classes for about 20 years. One day early in the class, the subject of 'people who can't draw' came up -- of which there were, as I recall, about five in this particular class of ~20. His opinion was that, yes, some people can't draw. And in his twenty years of teaching people from the age of 5 to 95 he's encountered precisely two such poor souls.

Our class didn't provide him with a third example. Now consider, say he teaches four classes per year (he doesn't teach only at the university). Take an average class size of twenty. That's 1600 people. So the odds of a random person picked off the street really not being able to draw is about 0.125% (with rounding).

You may argue that people who 'can't draw' don't sign up for art class. But he doesn't teach just people who volunteer. He teaches at lower level schools and at nursing homes. Further, some people who think they can't draw take classes anyway as an attempt to 'better themselves'.

To be more specific, by 'draw' I mean the ability to produce, say, a drawing of a person's face that the average viewer would call 'good art' and have no trouble matching with the actual person it was an image of, even if they'd never met them before.

I wonder, have you taken an art class? If so did the teacher actually teach you things -- like blind contour drawing, foreground/background, hot/cold coloring, etc. -- or did they just say 'watch me do this and then you do it'? Did they run you through drills and make you keep all your drawings so you could compare results? Did they explain how to suggest shape by varying the thickness of a line? And then make you practice for a half an hour? And then make you practise again the next day? Did you work at it for four hours a day, five days a week for six weeks?

If you haven't done these things than you can't legitimately say you can't draw, IM(NSH)O, you can only say that, unlike people who could play Mozart after merely being shown what the keys of a piano do, it's not an innate ability.

And now, after much ado, my personal opinion:

I don't see how programming is any different.

Speaking as someone who can draw pretty well, and who can do mathematics and physics even better, and therefore, presumably, knows something about what it takes to do each, I can say that I quite definitely don't experience any 'different mode of thought' when I'm doing these three rather different things. The main difference between drawing a person's hand and showing that a given set of sets defines a topology is the degree of hand-eye coordination required to ensure success.

</down with the art-science dichotomy rant>


In reply to Re: Re: Re: Re: How do you critique another person's code? by scott
in thread How do you critique another person's code? by Rhose

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