Sunday, September 13, 2015

Microaggressions Are What You Get From An Exhausted Science

As any science progresses, it solves successively smaller and smaller problems. For example, in physics, Newtonian mechanics explained large-scale behaviors. For most people, it's all the physics they need to know. From there, physics went on to smaller and smaller problems until now they're looking into subatomic particles. Unless they uncover clean energy sources, most people's lives will never be affected by the results of this research.

When I was taking theoretical math courses at UCSD, I asked my professors where their research was used. Some of them grew angry that I would ask such a question. All of them were confused and none of them gave a real answer. They didn't answer because they didn't know. Their research was so esoteric that it was useless to everyone who wasn't also a theoretical mathematician.

What happens when sociology and related sciences hit the wall? What happens when there's nothing of any real value left to discover? Wouldn't you end up with microaggressions and critical race theory? Utter gibberish posing as research and discovery?

And yet, on they trudge, discovering ever smaller angels on ever smaller heads of pins. After all, if you said that we've reached the end of meaningful research in these fields, it would threaten a whole bunch of academics.

Are sociology and ethnic/gender studies the 2015 version of buggy whip manufacturers facing the advent of the automobile?

I own a car, but I still want to support the poor, beleaguered buggy whip industry so I use both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spent several years (usually I say, "flushed too many years of my life and too much money down the toilet") pursuing a PhD in literature. I dropped out somewhere when I realized I was akin to Sisyphus, and that I would never reach to top of the hill -- i was never going to get to even ABD status, because every semester, something else was added to my load. While I am a little bitter -- money I'll never see again and the years I could've spent working in a real job -- I also feel a dodged a bullet.

It seems to me that one of the reasons* that humanities dissertations are stuck in the realm of critical theory b******tttis because there isn't a whole lot left to WRITE about many of the subjects. I'd there really anything NEW and WORTHWHILE to write about Shakespeare? About Tolstoy? About Flannery O'Conner? Not really. So they don't into some nonsensical feminist-Marxist-queer-fillintheblank theory and cram their subject matter into it.

It is REALLY time to rethink" research " for PhD candidates.

* -- I think it's also why course subject matter is going down the toilet, too. These PhD students spend so long working on their nonsensical dissertation that THEY CANNOT LET GO OF IT. After they get a job, they KEEP TEACHING THE STUPID THING. It does no student any good to study that crap.

BTW, back in the 1990's, I think Harry Kemelmen touched on this tangentially in one of his Rabbi Small books. There was a murder involving a plagiarized dissertation over an obscure "poetaster." Which I think says something about how low he thought dissertation topics could go.