Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness - Anti-intellectualism

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March 4th, 2003


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01:22 am - Anti-intellectualism
In my experience, a distrust of both intelligence and education is more common in the US than in Western Europe, and is most definitely not to our credit. Here is one example of this way of thinking from a right-wing governor of a right-wing state. This is a classically anti-intellectual article, in addition to being dismissive of important issues and ideas, the typical complaint of the anti-intellectual is heard - they can't understand something at first glance and so it must therefore be nonsense. The fact that such opinions are far more common among people with right-wing views is one of the primary reasons I have little respect for many of them. Of course, this person and others of his ilk are naturally believers in sociobiology, it's a "science" whose whole purpose is to twist allegedly scientific data so that it can be used to support popular prejudices.

gacked from lediva who stated that she is currently in the fascinating-sounding "Bodies & Boundaries" course he dismisses.

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Comments:


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From:andrewducker
Date:March 4th, 2003 04:26 am (UTC)
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I'm sure some of the courses are fascinating. But others of them do seem (to me) to be deliberately biased in ways that I find nonsensical.

It always amuses me, for instance, to find people in social sciences still debating the theories of Freud and Jung. Or covering areas that harder sciences have pretty well staked down.
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From:heron61
Date:March 4th, 2003 04:47 am (UTC)
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It always amuses me, for instance, to find people in social sciences still debating the theories of Freud and Jung.

No one outside of the fringes of pop-psychology completely believes in Freud anymore, and while I've seen some excellent historical data about why his theories are incorrect, many psychologists find him useful, but as a starting-point, not as a final answer.

Or covering areas that harder sciences have pretty well staked down.

Like what? If we are talking about social science, there is quite literally nothing about human behavior or psychology that has been proven with genetics or other hard sciences. At best, there are some interesting correlations, but there is to my knowledge no evidence of causation or proof of how genetics influences human behavior or psychology. OTOH, I have been many geneticists overstate what they know.

If you are not talking about human behavior, then I'm curious about what social science ideas you are talking about.
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From:lediva
Date:March 4th, 2003 09:14 pm (UTC)
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No one outside of the fringes of pop-psychology completely believes in Freud anymore, and while I've seen some excellent historical data about why his theories are incorrect, many psychologists find him useful, but as a starting-point, not as a final answer.

As I understand it, Freud is thought of as having a few good ideas (like the concept of the unconscious mind). I've had psychology profs describe him as a genius in ideas who wasn't so swift about the actual proof. Even the more serious psychoanalyst people these days are combining their theories with experimental work.

Anyway, Freud's theories have been tossed in the ideological blender over the years through Lacan, Melanie Klein, Judith Butler and any number of other postmodern theorists.

No, this isn't related to my thesis in the slightest, why do you ask? :)

[User Picture]
From:nosrialleon
Date:March 4th, 2003 09:08 am (UTC)

Anti-intellectualism

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This has been making the rounds on my friends list, and not only do I (and most of my friends) resemble it, it brings an interesting perspective to the whole 'intellectual/anti-intellectual' diad.
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From:heron61
Date:March 4th, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Anti-intellectualism

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Most definitely, especially since almost all national politicians are socially comfortable extroverts, because any other sort of person is unlikely to get elected.
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From:varro
Date:March 4th, 2003 11:29 am (UTC)
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Or Keating sees hot-button words in the college catalogs his children got, and writes about some of the courses to inflame readers with high-school and college-age children.

Never mind the fact that no one forces students to take these specialized courses, and those colleges that do have a non-Western Core requirement usually have a wide choice of courses to fulfill it.

It's funny that National Review publishes articles like this, yet powerful conservatives still end up sending their children to the "elite" schools they decry. Did Dubya send his daughters to Hillsdale College, Liberty University, or Grove City? Nope....they ended up going to the Sodom of UT-Austin and the Gomorrah of Yale.

(Side note: Keating suggests Engineering as a major. 1.) There's no guarantee the courses will turn them into a conservative; in fact, the technical expertise learned there might make them become an evil EPA or OSHA bureaucrat. 2.) Plenty of good and conservative-friendly schools, like the University of Chicago, my alma mater, don't have engineering programs.)
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From:heron61
Date:March 4th, 2003 12:31 pm (UTC)
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It's funny that National Review publishes articles like this, yet powerful conservatives still end up sending their children to the "elite" schools they decry. Did Dubya send his daughters to Hillsdale College, Liberty University, or Grove City? Nope....they ended up going to the Sodom of UT-Austin and the Gomorrah of Yale.

It seems almost certain that the goal of such rants is not to warn people about the "dangers" of such courses or to avoid the top school as to attempt to convince the elite to put pressure on these schools to attempt to remake them into a more right-wing model. Hi btw, I didn't know you had an LJ.
[User Picture]
From:temima
Date:March 4th, 2003 02:25 pm (UTC)

tongue in cheek, or something

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I wonder if someone finds a 'white privilege' gene, leading to lack of empathy, blaming others who look differently for your mistakes and uncontrollable circumstances, fear of change and other cultures, and sense of entitlement, would guys like that be jumping over socio-biology. I am not saying that nothing is dependant on genetics--hell, the schooling I got rooted for a 'human language as innate' view--but it is not all.

I still need to look up references on sex differences in reading and learning disorders (I have not forgotten, I just get distracted).

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