Category Archives: Academia

Stop Trusting the Experts! by Bruce Abramson

There’s nothing more overrated in American life than degrees, especially those from so-called elite institutions. From Bruce Abramson at realclearpolitics.com:

 
Stop Trusting the Experts!
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to meet someone who “follows the science.” I count on such folks to teach me some science that I do not yet know. Being scientifically literate, I like to start by asking them some basic questions:

How are key data terms defined? How are data collected and reported? What theories guided the design of the models that process the raw data? What studies validated the models? How sensitive are the models to variations in inputs? How well do the models perform using historical data? Do the models have a track record at prediction — and if so, how well have they done? What alternative hypotheses were considered? How were the hypotheses tested?

Anyone surprised by such questions can’t plausibly claim to understand the science, much less to follow it. Most likely, they’ve confused “the science” with a selected scientist, a claimed scientific consensus, or the scientific establishment. Or, worse, partisan politics masquerading as science.

The confusion stems from a common misconception — an improper line many people draw between scientists working for corporations and scientists working for universities or government agencies. While most people understand that corporate scientists tend to support positions that serve corporate interests, many have been fooled into believing that academic and government scientists serve objective scientific truth.

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Academia And The Tragedy of The Smart Kids, by Paul Rosenberg

Education is supposed to stimulate and expand minds, not stifle them, particularly not the brightest minds. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

 

There are a lot of very bright people ensconced in academia, and that’s a tragic thing, for them and for us all. Academia, you see, abuses and limits their talents.

To put it simply and directly, academia has sequestered and drained many of the best minds of our era. Academics know this and complain about it among themselves, they just don’t see any alternative. (The 21st century status quo rests upon people seeing no alternative.)

For every famous academic there are hundreds of others, laboring for unimpressive rewards and a very narrow slice of recognition.

I know this because I’ve been skating around the edges of academia for a long time. I’ve never been a member of the club, but I’ve known and loved people on the inside, over multiple decades.

Smart kids are drawn to academia because it promises them a life of the mind, while being properly supported and respected. That appeals to them and especially to those who were abused for being smart.

What happens then, however, is that they are made to work stupidly hard and long to find a slot in some academic structure. It’s abuse, in my view.

Entry into the precious slot, however, isn’t really based upon ability or hard work: it’s based upon servicing the lord of that structure. Academia, you see, is feudal. Most academics, certainly the young ones, are little more than serfs. And if they want to get ahead, they must be very careful to serve the theories and whims of their lords.

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Saving Civilization, by Robert Gore

sydney_opera_house_-_dec_2008

Savagery or civilization?

Imagine you had been picked as a juror for the Derek Chauvin trial. Before you hear a shred of evidence, you very well might make a decision most people would not only admit was the better part of valor, but that harmonized perfectly with prevailing morality.

Your pretrial verdict? Guilty. There had been threats since Chauvin was charged with second and third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter that acquittals would provoke rampaging riots. After the riots last summer, no one could doubt the threats’ credibility. A guilty verdict on all counts could avoid injuries, deaths, and billions of dollars in property damage. Against those consequences, what do the rights or the life of a policeman matter? You’re predetermined verdict is for the greater good.

Even if such considerations never entered your head, you’d need extraordinary courage and independence to impartially hear the evidence and if you thought it warranted, vote for acquittal. You’d have to withstand pressure from your fellow jurors. You’d run the risk that your personal information was leaked by some mainstream or social media scumbag and mostly peaceful thugs showed up at your door. You might be canceled out of a job, your business network, and your social circle. Your privacy would be obliterated and reputation ruined in the wilting glare of nonstop publicity and odium. Politicians and other public figures would denounce you.

The chance that one such person would land on the jury was remote, the chance of twelve nonexistent. Under the inverted standard of justice that prevailed, the outcome was always going to be dictated not by the facts of the case, reasoned consideration of the evidence, deliberation, and the applicable law, but by “social considerations,” which is a polite way of saying the mob.

The mob hailed the verdict as justice. It’s the same justice as John Gotti’s three acquittals after his goons intimidated jurors. Chauvin was guilty unless proven innocent beyond a “reasonable” doubt as defined by the mob. In the same vein, the policeman who shot and killed Ashley Babbitt at the Capitol is not guilty—without a trial—because that’s what the mob demanded. Such blatant contradiction is mob justice.

A morality that confers “rights” on mobs and strips those of an individual is the morality of savages. Maxine Waters is a savage, but so too are the members of the Minneapolis City Council who agreed to pay George Floyd’s estate $27 million before Chauvin’s trial had begun, the judge who recognized the prejudicial unfairness of Waters’ inflammatory statements but passed the buck for doing anything about it to the appellate courts, and the political, media, and celebrity jackals from Joe Biden on down who’ve been howling for Chauvin’s conviction since Floyd’s death.

Whatever the justifications they cite for their pre-verdict demands, they are implicitly insisting that Chauvin’s rights are of no consequence. When the “rights” of some outweigh the rights of one, anything goes. There are people who call for reducing the world’s population to 500 million, which implies a genocide of over 7 billion. That such people are on university faculties rather than denounced and shunned as advocates of mass murder shows just how far the barbarism of collectivist justification has advanced, even when the collective embraced is a fraction of the number of individuals whose lives are to be canceled!

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Service and sacrifice are the watchwords of government, the ultimate mob. Who’s served and who’s sacrificed? There has never been a government that has not arrogated to itself the privilege of using force and fraud to strip individuals of their production, their property, their rights, their liberty, and ultimately, their lives. That privilege is governments’ defining essence and is the privilege that has always threatened humanity. The rationales and rhetoric are invariably collective: the demands of the mob supersede individual rights and individual justice.

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The Tightening of the NATO Noose, by Brian Cloughley

Encircling the country that has the world’s largest land mass is an impossibly tall order. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:

NATO’s military noose round Russia’s borders is being tightened in order to force Moscow to react to surging provocation, Brian Cloughley writes.

One of the most recent developments on the NATO front line was a meeting of the so-called ‘Bucharest Nine’ which the analytical agency Stratfor states “is a group of NATO’s easternmost members, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of these countries share strategic interests on issues such as deterring potential Russian aggression, keeping close cooperation with the United States, diversifying their sources of energy, and developing joint infrastructure projects.” The purpose of the video get-together, attended by President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, was, according to the US-NATO military alliance “to take the agenda forward” in its mission “to consolidate views on issues of interest in the Alliance for the participating nations, and to support joint security projects.”

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery. The Taliban have no intention of permitting democracy in Afghanistan, when they eventually take over, after NATO’s retreat, and the country will be plunged into a maelstrom of theocratic bigotry and barbarity.

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Two ways to push back against the Cultural Revolution, by Simon Black

By now the pictures of empty shelves where Pepsi products have been all bought out next to shelves groaning with Woke Coke products have become iconic. People are paying attention to which institutions are toeing the Woke line. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Fourteen year old Gao Yuan was attending a boarding school in China when the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966. And that’s when his life changed forever.

Even though the communists had won the Chinese Civil War and been in total power since 1945, Chairman Mao still believed that there was too much capitalist influence in China.

So he decided to completely rewrite literature, history, and the entire education system.

School instruction switched from teaching math and science, to activism.

Students like Gao Yuan were encouraged to find and punish “revisionists” who sought to undermine the revolution’s progress, including their own parents and teachers.

One teacher fell under suspicion because, even though he routinely spoke of China’s natural beauty, he didn’t ever praise Chairman Mao.

Other teachers were denounced for wearing western clothes or engaging in borgeois activities—  like drinking wine or buying an expensive radio.

Gao Yuan liked his teachers and hesitated to participate. But he was even more afraid of being labeled an evil revisionist himself. So he joined the mob and began accusing teachers and parents.

The assistant headmaster committed suicide when accused of revisionism. Gao Yuan found his body, and even though he had liked him, Gao assumed the suicide proved the man must have been guilty of thought crime.

Another teacher died under mysterious circumstances. Soon the rest of the faculty fled, and the school fell under the control of the students.

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I Will Not Be Scienced! by Ann Coulter

It’s amazing how close “I will not be scienced!” sounds to “I will not be silenced!” From Ann Coulter at townhall.com:

 
I Will Not Be Scienced!

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

After a year of being browbeaten by “the scientists” not to wear a mask, to wear a mask, to wear double masks, to get vaccinated and still wear a mask, our analytic overlords are still no closer to determining the tiny little issue of where this virus came from.

Recently, the widely respected science writer Nicholas Wade published an article in Medium pushing the idea that — contrary to what “the scientists” assured us — COVID-19 might have come from the Wuhan virology lab, not the wet markets.

According to Wade, the virologists attacking the lab theory were claiming scientific certainty for something unknowable, and at least one of them has a gigantic conflict of interest. Even at a time when “TRUST THE SCIENCE!” has become a liberal mating call, I’m shocked at the deceptions of these guys.

Wade cites two groups as leading the attack on the lab theory.

Kristian G. Andersen, [Tweet him] a professor of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute in California, was the lead author of a paper published in Nature Medicine on March 17, 2020, claiming: “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

Talk about influential — not only did The New York Times cite Andersen, but I did!

Now, a year later, Wade says, “Dr. Andersen and his colleagues were assuring their readers of something they could not know.” While Andersen claimed that two of the virus’s characteristics couldn’t be made in a lab, Wade describes exactly how they could be.

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2.4 Million US College Students Face Vaccine Mandate, Immune or Not, by Ivan Pentchoukov

An interesting legal point: if a student gets a vaccine to be able to go to college and the student subsequently has an adverse reaction or dies, is the college liable? From Ivan Pentchoukov at theepochtimes.com:

 
More than 180 college and university campuses across the United States are requiring more than 2.4 million students to produce proof of vaccination against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus to attend in-person classes this fall, regardless of whether the students have acquired immunity to the virus.

The number of schools with a mandate is likely to grow by then, especially if the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval for one or more vaccines in the coming months. None of the schools currently accept acquired immunity as an exemption from the vaccination mandate, even amid evidence that prior infection results in broad and lasting protection from the virus, according to an Epoch Times review of more than 130 university vaccine mandate notices and immunization requirement pages.

Only a handful of the four dozen schools contacted for this article offered direct responses for why infection-conferred immunity isn’t being considered as an exemption. The vast majority responded by referencing their immunization exemption rules, which don’t address acquired immunity. When pressed for an answer, several schools said they couldn’t offer more information, while others said they are still finalizing their policies.

The few that responded pointed to guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises people to still be vaccinated because “experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.”

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

“BSU will not be offering exemption based on prior infection,” Dr. Christoper Frazer, executive director of the Wellness Center at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, told The Epoch Times.

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When it comes to woke tyranny, are the worms beginning to turn? by Andrea Widburg

You would think people would start to object to being labeled “racist” solely on the basis of skin color, to quite apologizing for crimes they never committed, and to grow disgusted with the nauseating genuflection to the new racial totems. From Andrea Widburg at americanthinker.com:

For three days, I’ve had sitting on my virtual spindle a post that Bari Weiss, formerly of the New York Times, posted on her Substack page.  It’s entitled “I Refuse to Stand by while My Students Are Indoctrinated.”  The author isn’t Weiss but is, instead, Paul Rossi, a math teacher at Grace Church High School in Manhattan (annual tuition: $57,330).  On Friday, Weiss added another open letter, this from Andrew Gutmann, a parent who had just pulled his daughter out of Brearley, another expensive private school (annual tuition: $54,000).  Both are horrifying exposés of and attacks against the woke culture saturating these institutions.

Both letters are long and don’t yield easily to a brief summary.  I’ll quote a few select paragraphs from each, but you must read them to get the full flavor of the Maoist madness at these institutions.

Paul Rossi, the teacher, writes that Grace Church is focused on “‘antiracism’ training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to [my students] and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding.”

Rossi perfectly describes the self-hatred, mental repression, cognitive dissonance, and pure racism this training inculcates into young minds:

My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.”

Rossi describes how, during a segregated “whites only” student and faculty Zoom meeting, he spoke out, inspiring the students to speak out, too.  This was a bad thing.

I was informed by the head of the high school that my philosophical challenges had caused “harm” to students, given that these topics were “life and death matters, about people’s flesh and blood and bone.” I was reprimanded for “acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs.” And I was told that by doing so, I failed to serve the “greater good and the higher truth.”

He further informed me that I had created “dissonance for vulnerable and unformed thinkers” and “neurological disturbance in students’ beings and systems.” The school’s director of studies added that my remarks could even constitute harassment.

Rossi was then denounced over the school announcement system.  There’s more.  Read it all, because it’s important.

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The Racist Incident That Wasn’t, by Dinesh D’Souza

If the supply of racist incidents is insufficient, they’ll just have to make some up. From Dinesh D’Souza at theepochtimes.com:

Commentary

The students, administration, and faculty of Albion College in Michigan were driven into a frenzy a couple of weeks ago when racist and anti-Semitic graffiti surfaced in a dorm stairwell and photos were posted to a local news Facebook group.

The photos included messages such as “White Power” and “KKK.”

Now the campus police have discovered that a 21-year-old black student was responsible. He has admitted creating the graffiti, and video evidence corroborates his confession, police said.

Here we go again! Another fake racial incident, another hoax perpetrated by a supposed victim. This is Jussie Smollett all over again. Fake racial incidents are now commonplace both on campus and in the culture. So the first interesting question is: Why would someone seek to orchestrate a horrific event that didn’t really happen?

It can’t be that the perpetrators, from Smollett to the black student at Albion, are merely trying to call attention to a social problem so that it can be promptly addressed. Blacks didn’t have to stage lynchings in the late 19th century, because tragically there were a lot of them going on in plain sight. Moreover, why would Smollett and his campus counterparts seek to pin the blame on innocent parties for what they did not in fact do?

A good way to understand this bizarre phenomenon is to turn to the discipline of economics, and specifically to the law of supply and demand. It seems that, both on the university campus and in the culture, the demand for racism exceeds the supply. To put it differently, there’s an enormous desire to find racism, and there’s not enough racism to be found.

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No, it is not elitist to correct students’ spelling, by Frank Furedi

Nor is it elitist to refuse to hire someone who can’t spell, or write and talk proper English. From Frank Furedi at spiked-online.org:

Some universities now claim it is ‘white, male and elitist’ to expect students to have good English.

I wasn’t surprised when I read that some British universities are adopting the philistine policy of not marking students down for spelling and grammar errors. Nor was I surprised to learn that sections of British higher education have embraced the anti-intellectual practice of ‘inclusive assessment’. The aim of this is to narrow the attainment gap between white and black, Asian and ethnic-minority students.

Unfortunately, this strategy of ‘narrowing the attainment gap’ is not about levelling upwards with high-quality academic teaching. Rather, the advocates of ‘inclusive assessment’ are more interested in lowering the already low expectations that universities have of students from certain backgrounds.

One of the key tactics of the inclusive-assessment outlook is to brand genuine academic expectations and standards as ‘elitist’. This is why some university administrators are instructing academics not to lower students’ marks for spelling mistakes – because good English is increasingly seen as an elitist demand; as something associated with the ‘homogeneous, north European, white male elite’.

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