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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social changes that may impact the intelligent design community

American scholar Victor Davis Hanson points out that the university as a standard setter of any kind is coming under well-deserved scrutiny, along with its instruments, such as peer review and tenure.
The old notion that America's most successful citizens are turned out by prestigious four-year universities -- the more private and Ivy League, the better -- overseen by disinterested professors is also nearing an end. Private for-profit trade schools and online colleges are certifying millions in particular skills.


Meanwhile, the high jobless rate among recent college graduates, who are burdened by thousands of dollars in student loans, is starting to resemble the Freddie Mac- and Fannie Mae-spawned financial bubble of 2008, in which millions of indebted and unemployed borrowers could not pay back exorbitant federally insured home loans. The notion that parents are going to keep borrowing $200,000 to certify their children with high-prestige BA degrees that don't necessarily lead to good jobs seems about as wise as buying a sprawling house that one can't afford.


[ ... ]


A therapeutic college curricula and hyphenated "studies" courses have not made graduates better-read or more skilled in math and science. For many employers, the rigor of the new BA is scarcely equivalent to that of the old high school diploma. The global warming/climate change/climate chaos "crisis" has reminded Americans that careerist university Ph.Ds can be just as likely to fudge evidence and distort research as political lobbyists. The old blanket respect for academia and academics is eroding.")
Last year, at a science journalists' conference at Carleton University, a lobbyist dismissed Climategate to the gathering as just routine private correspondence.

That just showed the distance between his assumptions and mine. The climate group came off sounding like a stinkpot cabal who should all be reassigned separately to unrelated projects and kept away from manipulating news. If we can't get better interpreters than that, we may as well not hear climate news. (Whatever happens will happen anyway, but there would be one fewer toxic workplace in the meantime.)

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