Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bullshit Watch: "The Embrained Body Of A Child: On Neurodidactics And Edusemiotic 21st Century Becoming Machines"

   For the record and again: I think that it's good to try to think about crazy things in crazy new ways. Or, rather: it can be. It can also be bad. E.g. if you mistake a crazy-ass, probably-incoherent shot in the dark for a serious hypothesis. Or something worse than that. 
   The problem with the bullshittified sectors of academia isn't that they're willing to try out crazy ideas. The problem is that [there's just way too much] crazy ideas over there. [And, it seems, way too little non-crazy.] In fact, bullshit like that linked is almost unmitigated gibberish. And with no effort ever to honestly evaluate it. And as for trying to clarify it enough to be able to test it empirically...well, that's just the kind of suggestion we'd expect from a straightwhitemale and his superprivilege and Western logic and isn't it?
   It should go without saying that I would fight any effort to restrict academic freedom. However, the other side of the coin here is that this stuff is utter bullshit. And not hard-work, good-try, struck-out-swinging bullshit. But rather: execrable, irresponsible, worse-than-nothing-at-all, actually-makes-people-dumber bullshit. Suppose 10-80% of everybody in several disciplines scattered across different colleges of universities were suddenly to be converted to Scientology. And so they begin allowing pro-Scientology  arguments and biases to enter into their courses--after all, it's what they actually think is true. And a very large percentage of academic scholarship/research takes on a decidedly Scientology-y bent. We wouldn't take an ax to academic freedom--but we wouldn't do nothing, either. It really is important to oppose this sort of thing with our own teaching and research. I try to. And that doesn't mean: I counter-brainwash my students. Rather: I try to fill them in to the fact that there are some extremely weird views that infect the academic mind--and, undoubtedly, some of their courses. I'm absolutely sure I don't always get the balance right. Especially when I find myself in a rush, I know I lose my facade of neutrality. But I try hard to alert them to the situation. 
   We could really use another Sokal hoax...though we needn't always swing for the fences. It's often the case that people just need to hear someone say something and lights start to go on for them. Many times in my life I've just heard someone say some words, and I've thought: Jesus Christ that is so obviously true...and it was right there in front of me all the could I not have seen it???
   Anyway. I'm probably getting more than a little crazy about this sort of thing. [And by 'probably' I mean: obviously.]

(h/t J. Carthensis)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the problem is crazy ideas. I'm actually pretty tolerant of crazy ideas. The brain-in-the-vat is actually a damn good intuition pump when discussing idealism/realism, for instance. The issue is you need to be really methodologically careful when discussing them, which of course makes you much more immune to craziness in the first place while the careless are attracted to it like moths to fire. So you get a situation where crazy ideas are decent indicators of methodological issues, even though they are actually fairly useful in the right hands.

The bullshit of the academy's intellectual armpit is deep. It is a complete overthrow of reason in favor of a (failed) ideology and outright fabrication to prop everything up. Some of the stuff they discuss has merit (gender obviously is socially formed to some extent, just from a signaling perspective), but they cannot be the ones to discuss it because they are so intellectually malevolent. And also, by spreading their bullshit, they are preserving a deeply dangerous political ideology, instead of doing what an intellectually responsible person would do: figure out then teach why it went wrong.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I completely agree with this.

1:26 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

The mark of an educated mind is the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it, after all.

12:10 AM  

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