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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Scientist,current issue, features radical opinions on tenure

Should tenure disappear, instead of profs who question the system?

You know you are living in uncertain time when all the old truths and the old professors are, like, salad. Should tenure lose tenure, The Scientist asks. Plusa, Richard Gallagher on what tenure is good for. A while back, I wrote a piece on the problems with peer review as well.

While I am here, here's Robert Higgs at Lew Rockwell, on the general atmosphere:
Researchers who employ unorthodox methods or theoretical frameworks have great difficulty under modern conditions in getting their findings published in the "best" journals or, at times, in any scientific journal. Scientific innovators or creative eccentrics always strike the great mass of practitioners as nutcases – until their findings become impossible to deny, which often occurs only after one generation's professional ring-masters have died off. Science is an odd undertaking: everybody strives to make the next breakthrough, yet when someone does, he is often greeted as if he were carrying the Ebola virus. Too many people have too much invested in the reigning ideas; for those people an acknowledgment of their own idea's bankruptcy is tantamount to an admission that they have wasted their lives. Often, perhaps to avoid cognitive dissonance, they never admit that their ideas were wrong. Most important, as a rule, in science as elsewhere, to get along, you must go along.

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