Friday, April 23, 2004

Higher Education

There is an excellent article at Techcentral Station today entitled "The Professoriate and the Truth."

Here's a few choice excerpts with comments:

Most relativists, however, are not consistent. Their actions are at odds with what they claim to believe because no sane person could seriously hold the pernicious and absurd beliefs to which relativists are committed. This is shown every time relativists consult a physician, not a faith healer; call a plumber to unclog a sink, not a magician; want rapists prosecuted, not held up as role-models; and send their children to school, not to a shopping mall.

True enough, these type of absurdist beliefs seem to abound. I find it irritating.

In discussing students, Kekes says:

Doing well is severed from intelligence and hard work. Students see this, it makes them cynical, saps their motivation, and, since learning is often hard, it makes them flock to what are known as "gut courses," that is, courses in which they can count on getting high grades without much effort.

I can certainly relate to this. Even in a field as demanding as Aerospace engineering (which I chose at least in part because it IS difficult) there are certain teachers and classes that are quite easy and a waste of time.

Professors tend to be intelligent and analytical, consequently it is most unlikely that the deplorable state of higher education I have been describing would be news to them.

I think that Kekes is underestimating the power of self-delusion. These people have convinced themselves of something that is manifestly wrong; the only way to do that is to lie to yourself. The problem with that is before long you can't tell the difference between lies and truth (which does make them good little relativists). I think that many don't think that higher education is in a "deplorable state." This type of relativistic self-delusion is a big part of the problem. I have no idea how to burst this kind of idiot bubble, because it's obvious the truth isn't enough.

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