Thursday, December 13, 2007

One man's twaddle

National Review commenter George Leef spends 90% of his posts on the high cost of college, but the other 10% are on ... why it's not worth it anyway. Here he is the other day on academic "scholarship":
Professors at most colleges and universities these days have to publish their research in order to win tenure and impress fellow academics who might some day offer them a better job. Often that research is of extremely dubious value and only gets published by university presses. Mal Kline of Accuracy in Academia writes here about some examples.
I didn't include the link to AiA (use your imagination, or click through if you must). I draw your attention to the phrase I have embolded. You can tell, you see, that Professor Davidson's "research" is of dubious value because he could only get it published by Oxford U. Press, where it can hardly be expected to sell very many copies, instead of a real publisher – like, say, Regnery. They probably didn't even get him on Larry King, to promote that – what was it again? – "radical interpretation" business. Nobody's buying your radicalism, Dr. Smartypants!

What a tool. Oh, but we're not done:
In his recent book Education's End, Professor Anthony Kronman of Yale laments the damage that has been done by the "research ideal" that has come to dominate higher education. He writes, "In the natural and social sciences, the goal of an ever-closer approximation to the truth seems entirely reasonable....In the humanities, this is less clear." Kronman is too polite to blurt out the truth — a lot of academic research is just twaddle.
Damn humanities – they'll ruin it for everybody. (Yet I agree that some people would be better off not publishing ... )

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