Nobody criticizes the sculptor for the clay that ends up on the floor, and clay is heavy. We carve away bits, they have no mass and don’t need to be swept up, all we have to do is cut them away, revealing the final program.
Programming may not be (all) math, but it's not art, either.
Maybe the kind of common 8-5 office programming around buisness logic is not, but to design any bigger project is definitely art.
How do you make a statue of an elephant?
If you don't have a reasonably detailed idea of what you want and how to achieve it, you are unlikely to get it.
That is also a useless analogy. Do bridge builders get to test and re-test their bridges in the real, non-simulated world? Can they instantly make a copy of their bridge with a few critical differences and see how the two behave? Can they re-build their bridge in minutes?
Metaphors aside, I think history is ample evidence that "coding your way around a problem" rather than conceptualizing a solution first is a perfectly valid way to approach professional programming. It's not the only way, and it has drawbacks which others have pointed out here. So does the conceptualize-first approach: you might solve the wrong problem, make something inelastic in the face of changing requirements, or fall into the psychological trap of being attached to your mental model even when it turns out that you really didn't think of everything and have to make changes on the fly.
I'm really tired of people being dogmatic about either approach ("move fast and break things/pivot; anyone else isn't really interested in getting stuff done!", "you're just a messy code monkey unless you can hold the solution in your head before you start!"). It's almost always veiled arrogance rather than honest improvement-seeking, in my experience.
> I'm really tired of people being dogmatic about either approach
Exactly - and the implication that I am being dogmatic is a straw man. I am simply opposed to arguments that depend on poor analogies.
Furthermore, all of the bad things that you say can happen if you try to think ahead are as least as likely to happen if you don't, and especially if you have gone in the wrong direction for some time (I know the latter is a manifestation of the sunk-cost fallacy, but it happens a lot on real projects.)
Oh wait that is actually how architects work. In fact at my work we have multiple CAD designers(not architects though) and it's not uncommon for them to completely throw away a design and start over. I think code should be mostly the same.
Of course, but the Apollo 11 lunar lander was created without the aid of ubiquitous desktop computers. I imagine the SpaceX guidance/control software was written in a way that less resembles bridge-building/Apollo 11 lunar landers and more like the organic processes we see elsewhere in the software industry.
If Neo were to build a bridge in the Matrix, chances are his processes would bear little resemblance to those of the Army Corp of Engineers.
For the guidance/control systems, I bet you're wrong.
Software is a design practice/process. Not a building process. Any analogy should be to the design phase of other engineering disciplines.
The CAD designers absolutely test if things work. Why do you think almost every engineering bureau has 3D printers.
Sure, but it is not the only one. You are allowed to think at other levels, and it can be quite useful, especially on larger systems.