[Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists

Joseph Robertson theotherjo at gmail.com
Sun May 2 13:44:57 CDT 2010

Coffee humor DJ. Life to me is coffee humor. Thanks for bringing me back
around to the basics.

On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM, Dhananjaya <
djgarcia at improbablystructuredlayers.net> wrote:

> Ryan,
> You are absolutely correct. I should have said "I dislike bad use and abuse
> of generalizations", which as you correctly point out is just a common (and
> highly useful) mechanism for dealing with information. And hate IS such a
> strong word as Joe mentioned.
> I generalized the use of generalizations :(. Looks like I fell for the same
> bad habit in criticising it! Chalk it up to hasty composition. The
> humanity!
> Cheers,
> DJ, getting ready to brew some Guatemalan espresso
> -----Original Message-----
> Date: Sat, 1 May 2010 20:51:53 +0000
> From: "Ryan M. Ward" <silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com>
> To: <homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com>
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists
> Message-ID: <SNT127-W41F257CD1D49C6AED996FAFDF00 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> I agree with your basic premise here, that skill at anything comes from
> interest and love of the craft. I do agree completely that
> love/interest/ambition/(insert favorite appropriate word) is the primary
> root here.
> As far as generalizations, I am not quite certain exactly what you mean by
> generalizations, if you mean classifying members of a group into subgroups
> based on common characteristics with the intent to draw inferences about
> the
> members of the group based on those common characteristics, then what's to
> hate. Generalizations in and of themselves are not bad things. If fact, I
> argue that the ability to generalize is very important to us as humans.
> Take two Huskies- different dogs, different DNA,etc... but many common
> traits- they are both huskies. The breed huskie is in fact a
> generalization.
> Two different huskies have an astronomical amount of dissimilar traits, but
> the few that are common between them make them huskies.
> Instead of the need to consider every single individual member of the dog
> species, we have grouped together large chunks of the species into
> subgroups
> which share common traits(we call these subgroups breeds). This gives us
> the
> ability to make certain assumptions about the breed as a whole.
> Generalizations become unhealthy when we cling to them too tightly and take
> them seriously to an inappropriate level or if we over generalize or
> inappropriately generalize (Such as racial stereotypes).
> In this discussion, we noticed a trend- speaking typically, amateur
> baristas
> tend to do a better job at making coffee than professional baristas (or
> whatever each particular person's take was on it, I am using this one for
> illustrative purposes- and yes I acknowledge that this was not, strictly
> speaking, the original topic of discussion). We then began to discuss why
> this is the case. We then determined what was different between amateurs
> and
> professions- namely pay. When then attempted to determine how this might
> affect different in cup quality and end product.
> So, my point here is that yes we did use some generalizations but none of
> which we took too seriously (See Mike's point, in which he used a
> counterexample to the generalizations we used). Generalizations allowed us
> to consider all members of the coffee craft simultaneously- but broken up
> into broad categories, without the need to consider individual members
> (unless appropriate to do so). Generalizations are our friend. They are why
> biologists have a job (and most scientists for that matter).
> Your point, however, is well received in that often times we fail to see
> generalizations for what they truly are: tools- we either take them to
> heart
> too much or we apply them inappropriately (Logicians recognize a logical
> fallacy called a 'hasty generalization' basically you apply a
> generalization
> argument before establishing that such a generalization is appropriate).
> What we were interested in during this discussion was not individual
> baristas, we were interested in the traits associate with broad groups of
> baristas and how those traits affect their work. We need a thought tool to
> do this. Generalizations are the appropriate tool. If you can think of a
> better one to use to have such discussions, I would love to hear about it
> because I would really like to win the Fields Medal, but have not come up
> with any good ideas yet to do so :)
> --
> Ryan M. Ward
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