Lex wrote:I would much rather have surgery performed on me by a doctor who skimped on classical studies and focused on his specialty. Likewise with riding in an airplane; I would much rather it was designed by a geeky engineer who really knows his aerodynamics or stress mechanics any day over one who skimped on those to study classics.
Interesting how the doctors seem to disagree with you...
<devil's advocate / flame retarding suit on>
Yeah. Interesting how those doctors you are quoting are in academia, and all the quotes that have dates are from the 1940's at the latest....
Borealis wrote:"The careless or the superficial man is not suited either to the practice of medicine or to the conduct of experiments for the elucidation of medical problems...
I agree with what this literally says about carelessness. I disagree with what it implies; that a man must study Greek and Latin, or he is careless. A man can make a careful study of anything; Greek and Latin, or Javanese, or the social life of ants... or medicine. It matters not what he is studying, as long as he does it with care. And, studying Greek and Latin will not make a careless man careful.
As for superficiality, I stand by what I said earlier. If I am going into heart surgery, I want that man to know everything he possibly can about heart surgery and cardiac care. I don't care one whit if he is not a well-rounded individual, as long as he is good as what he specializes in. And it stands to reason that every hour spent studying the classics is one hour that was not spent studying medicine.
Borealis wrote:Now there has been found nowhere a better training for the thinking apparatus of the young than the study of Latin and Greek.
I am a believer in specificity in study, for the most part. If you want to be good at medicine, study medicine. If you want to be good at Greek, study Greek. Yes, studying anything
is good for keeping one's mind active, so that it does not atrophy in later years. For this, the classics are as good as anything else. But I can't understand why the study of the classics is "better training for the thinking apparatus" of an aspiring doctor than the study of medicine. I can't see that there would be much "carry-over" from one field to the other.
Borealis wrote:And the direct value of Greek and Latin, especially of the former, as aids to the exact meaning of medical terms, as shown by their derivatives, is disputed by no one.
I would imagine one can familiarize oneself with the Greek- and Latin-based medical vocabulary without reading Caesar and Xenophon.
Greek and Latin will not make one a better doctor, lawyer, baker, Indian chief, or person. Besides improving your vocabulary, all it will do is give you some (IMO) very interesting, but useless and esoteric, knowledge. If we want Greek and Latin to be taught more than they are now, I think we should be honest about the limitations of these subjects. If you make the study of the classics seem like those Ronco do-everything gadgets you see on TV ("It slices! It dices! It makes julienne fries!"), people's "bullshit detectors" will light up, they will (rightly) intuit that studying dead languages and 2000 year old books can't possibly do everything for them that is claimed, and they will reject the idea of studying the classics and go back to watching "Joe Millionaire".
<devil's advocate / flame retarding suit off>
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!