Home > Science > Pointy-headed academics

Pointy-headed academics

No, I’m not talking about our governor’s recent remarks. I’m talking about a silly Agape Press column, entitled The Science of Wisdom. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Science? Agape Press? You may as well get a hamster to discuss the pros and cons of a single payer healthcare system. And you really wouldn’t be wrong.

Ms. Jimenez babbles about color TV for a bit (apparently, she didn’t have enough of a column and needed pointless filler) before she gets to the point:

One mental shift has made an impact every bit as dramatic on modern life as color television. It is hard to conceive of a university without a department of sociology, but in fact, no sociologists even existed to set sail and land on Plymouth Rock with the Pilgrims in 1620.

Sociology bashing. Interesting. She continues with an explanation of sociology and other related inanities before getting here:

So, what was the world like before sociologists began to engineer and quantify human behavior? How did humans seek solutions to human problems? How did we organize life?

This is not idle speculation. As a nation, we have nearly stopped thinking and acting unless we can open our briefcase and pull out a three-inch file of social statistics and research to support our views. Consider the following ….

I know what she means. Just the other day I was in the SUB and was wondering how exactly I would go about buying a soda. Do I go into one of the shops, grab one, pay, and say thank you? Or do I yell at some random person, demanding he or she fetch me one while I urinate on the stairs? It was a confusing situation. Thank goodness I had the latest sociological research on me to consult.

Solomon’s wisdom is often cited in a famous incident in which two women came before him with a baby, each claiming to be the mother. Solomon ordered the child be cut in half, and by observing each woman’s reaction, determined the true mother. Today, we have case workers, MSWs for sure, who interview the entire family and neighborhood, cite studies on mother love and bonding, and make their final report in triplicate.

Or in September 2004, behavioral research on 1,792 adolescents proved that teenagers who watch a lot of television with sexual content are twice as likely to engage in intercourse than those who watch few such programs. Katie Couric’s reaction was a brief, “Duh?”

For all of our numbers and studies and statistics and analysis, have we really advanced beyond the centuries-old wisdom that informed men’s hearts and guided their steps? And is it just possible that social scientists have found ways to add and subtract research that would justify why a lemming should follow his brother over the cliff?

I am amazed that people think like this. Yes, we see studies that conclude obvious things. People then sneer at the silly academics. If only they lived in the real world, they’d know these things are obvious. Yet, when something’s published that contradicts cherished assumptions, we don’t chide those who carried out the research for wasting time on such a subject (we may attack them in defense of our own dogmas, but that’s another issue). So we find value in the studies that give us new conclusions, but criticize the ones that reach “obvious” conclusions. But how are we to distinguish between them? If we knew the conclusions beforehand, we wouldn’t need the study. So if the overall pursuit of such knowledge is good (and who would say that it isn’t?), we have to accept the “obvious” with the groundbreaking. To attack people for studies that conclude the “obvious” is pure anti-intellectualism.

But hey, that’s what Agape Press is here for.

As a side note, her website is a complete pain in the ass.

Categories: Science
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: