Monday, February 10, 2020

University academics are a bunch of worthless lying wankers

In a recent discussion on Fakebook, someone recently told me, "Colleges, universities are the very best dollars we spend on promoting, preserving democracy, freedom, peace in the world. I would gladly increase the number of such institutions, allow more foreign students, such education, and enlightenment."

I responded that universities have also become somewhat the wellspring of incoherent groupthink, rather than the shield from it that they used to be, and that it would be interesting if we could measure and quantify how much democracy, freedom, and peace they've added to the world, rather than just throw that out there as an unfounded, unscientific statement.  However, accurate numbers for these things would probably be hard to determine.

University staff often talk about broadening people's horizons. Once again, they provide no quantification of that, it's just something unfounded they like to say to sound impressive.

Some say that overall, universities have been a force for improvement of humans, advancement, spread of knowledge (some of it even useful and applicable!), and importantly a source generally of peace and fellow understanding, even if those things lack some sort of quantification.

Why are universities the only bastion of education, peace, freedom, and advancement? One could equally argue that any educational institution can be those things. Certainly there are many companies in the world that work towards such things as well. In my experience, other than the professional degrees that universities offer, a university degree is simply proof to an employer that you can endure the drudgery required for educational success, and can therefore endure the drudgery needed for job success. Such degrees are simply pieces of paper that say you belong to the middle class. Do they signal the trinity of drudgery enduring characteristics they're looking for, intelligence, conscientiousness, and conformity? Maybe. Do they give you useful life skills? Almost certainly not.

Some other learning instituitions and organizations such as Zoos, Arboretums, Museums, Aquariums, Buddhist temples and other enclaves might function the same as well, though not as large, pervasive or easily accessed. It can be argued that that universities are more than merely places of "credentialing" versus what could be deemed more important:  the take aways from such experiences, people's personal growth from classroom and individual experiences they take in. However, I have a PhD in neuroscience, and if I think back on my university experiences, there was very litte enjoyment of life, little gained to share from attending classes, labs, writing papers, and my overall experience was that acadmics and their kin are far too optimistic and see the world throgh rose colored glasses with regard to the importance and value of what they do.

Do universities provide a qualification of broadened intellectual horizons through degrees? If you have a BSc, a BA, a Masters, or a PhD, you have surely obtained a broader education and understanding of the world than you had before? There are criticisms to be made of US universities. Those running them are often motivated more by money than intellectual excellence. For example, the university president who is more interested in the football team than how well the assistant professors are paid is a cliche, but it has some truth to it.

The more common criticism from the political right is that university graduates tend towards more centrist or left-wing political views. While some professors do say dumb things, no doubt, most of this effect is surely down to the fact that the more educated you are, the less easily you're duped into believing populist nonsense (such as climate change denial) while also being more able to function in a global economy than a non-graduate. So the criticism is really that universities make people smart, which seems to me a very stupid thing to worry about, especially for a country like the US that depends on highly-educated people to compete economically.

It has been said that if I thought a science degree didn't give me essential life skills, it must be that I'm delusional, since the scientific method is the single most effective way so far designed to understand how the world works. There is nothing in human experience that is better. This why your computer works, why your medications work, why aeroplanes don't fall out of the sky, and why we know dinosaurs walked the Earth millions of years ago.

I get that other life skills like empathy and self-confidence can be learned outside of university, but those skills can be found in people with science and arts degrees too, and the whole anti-intellectual streak running through modern conservative politics is really just a way to delude the uneducated. It's not just done in bad faith, since the people saying it all went to law school, but it's also dangerous as it celebrates ignorance as something that makes a person "a real American", when surely America should be proud of its enormous intellectual achievements, which lead the world in pretty much every scientific and artistic field.

Yes I have a PhD in neuroscience, I studied and worked in universities for 17 years, and now I work in the electronics industry. I have personal interests in diverse fields:  botany, biology, robotics, electronics. I've been programming computers since I was 11, built two of my own 3d printers, built my own quadcopter "drones", and I've been growing cacti and succulents for about 25 years and am a member of the local society. There's very little, if any, of my university training that makes itself useful in my current life and I would never want to work with the overinflated egos of the bumbling semi-autistic people who work at universities ever again in my life. Spending all that time at universities held my life back and kept my horizons small. Being a scientist was the worst job ever. I'd rather be dead than go back to that crap. But yeah science is good, just don't make me do it as a job, with those people, ugh. I have too much personality to be in a lab.

Aside from professional degrees, a university education for the most part is a chance for the children of the wealthy to party, get drunk, and screw around for four years. Then they spend the rest of the their lives doing the same thing. A degree is largely just proof to an employer that you can endure the drudgery needed for job success.

University experiences do differ of course. Some people get to attend the top Playboy magazine-rated "party schools", and the experiences, learning, really mostly "discipline" acquired serves them quite well.

Evidently, I'd learned masses from university, since my PhD in neuroscience wasn't genetic or picked up by watching TV. So everything I was saying about my apparent success was down to my higher education. And yes, a university degree reflects a number of qualities, usually proportional to the difficulty of the course and the intellectual rigour of the university.

Yet they felt I was saying "college sucks" despite all of that. Sure, students enjoy themselves, and yes, some people disapprove of that sort of thing (mostly the people who didn't get invited to those sorts of parties in my experience).

But if you're honestly saying that university is pointless and people can self-teach themselves neurobiology or any other modern scientific discipline -- I just don't believe you. And if you're saying that all scientists are socially inept morons incapable of working in teams or producing anything useful -- again, I just don't believe you.

And deep down, nor do you.

Not everyone is cut out for academic life. Limited job security, the continual hunt for research grants, the politicking. Wasn't for me, but if I'm honest, I wasn't smart enough to push the cutting edge of science forwards either. So like you, I'm a regular Joe doing a job (in my case, a science teacher) but I don't begrudge my peers who were a success.
Like "physical fitness", "success" in life has several measures, metrics. To/for me you are an exemplary sample of success as a person, human.

What a load of crap.  I learned more from 8 years working at a major semiconductor manufacturer than in all my years at universities. University may work for most people but it didn't work for me. Don't belittle my experience of it. The best people don't work at universities, probably not as science teachers either. Americans are not well educated in the sciences overall, which says a lot for their science education.

What do you propose would be better than higher education?

Life experience and useful job skills. As opposed to the isolation and coddling given to people at universities. Many universities focus on impractical nonsense. Many people could do better and would now think better of these places if they had the financial opportunity to go to a better education in something practical. Unfortunately universities and the education system in general are designed so that only the children of the wealthy can afford the courses that allow them to become wealthy people themselves. There's a big push for STEM education these days. There are going to be a lot of disappointed people like myself when they figure out that a job in science is mostly a lot of boring lab work with poor pay. And we have so much scientific knowledge these days that we can't use. Look back on the last 20 years and you'll see most advances have come not from science but from engineering. Yet still the academics gesticulate and theorize that they're making the world go around, despite ample evidence to the contrary. A hobbyist-enthusiast such as yourself who doesn't work at a university makes more contribution to the world of marine biology than most of the wanks working in universities.
I also traveled more in my 8 years at a major semiconductor manufacturer than I did in 17 years at universities. All that worldly experience is worth vastly more than any time at a fucked university, where people are put through the educational meat grinder and come out as conformist ground beef wearing identical vertically pin striped shirts.

As I often say, life is much like driving on the highway: if you sit behind a slow idiot you won't go any further or faster than the idiot. Go ahead, change lanes and overtake them, leave them behind to eat your dust.
Similarly, the best people don't work at universities, so if you're followong them, where will you end up?

You're genuinely making my point for me. Without those X years at universities getting your science degree and subsequent post-graduate education, the Y years you've been in industry wouldn't have happened. End of discussion.

Would you genuinely visit a doctor who picked things up as he went along, but never went to medical school? Would you fly in an aeroplane built by someone who'd never even done a Engineering 101? Of course not.

You're right: not everyone is cut out for academia. I wasn't, and nor, seemingly, were you.

You may well be right that you and I make more useful contribution outside of universities. As my dad would ask me, "What possible use are ammonites?" He was proud of me, for sure, but his point had merit: not every bit of research is going to make the world a better place. The tricky bit is predicting which bits! Think about CRISPR -- based on how bacteria defend themselves against viral infections!
To follow on; I doubt that many (modern) "big" projects (new medicines e.g.) would come about sans group efforts (at learning institutions; Oh, including the structure of DNA.). I know of quite a few "spin offs" (co.s) here in San Diego that have/had their origins at UCSD for instance.

And how did I get that job at a major semiconductor manufacturer? Not with my degree. No, I retrained at a small school for IT because the PhD I'd spent most of a decade getting wasn't worth a shit in the real world. Toilet paper. I think I'll make a YouTube video of me pissing on it and setting it on fire. Come to think of it, my YouTube channel probably makes about as much money as a postdoc, i.e. not much.

Mate; I do count you as a friend (someone you turn on to good things you've found, and vice versa), and an intelligent, generally "well-adjusted" person, and you're doubtless correct about your own/personal experience, but you're just wrong here. Let's get out adventuring and grant some time to chat.

I've no doubt that my personal university experience is very different than most. Come out and shoot rockets with us in the desert in early March, no stupid degree in bumbling crap required, just practical hands on actual doing of things, as opposed to making bits of paper that hardly anyone reads.

Scientific progress; technology, commerce, medical care... civilization is built upon those bits of paper. As Neale mentioned w/o said "method"; "we" wouldn't be "here". I say excelsior!
What do you think a bunch of coddled academics thought of me when they saw me back then, a muscular giant with hairy forearms, long haired and scruffy, who talked and smoked and swore like a working class ocker, wore jeans and dirty old t-shirts, and wasn't too good with personal hygiene? They immediately pigeon holed me into "not scientist material". But of course they wouldn't say that because they wouldn't get the money coming into their labs for having another student, and can ride that gravy train and long as they could keep suckering me. Incompetent mentors. Now I work in the electronics industry in California. Literally billions of people use the technology that I was a small part of developing. Fuck those academic wanks.
The commercialization of science, I love it, takes science out of the hands of the wanks and puts it into use for society, what a noble cause, better than wanking around the musty Halls of academia like a monk in a monastery.
You talk of engineering &, medicine, professional degrees that lead to professions. I'm not talking about those and never was, sorry if it seemed that way. I exclude those because they are practical applications of science that contribute to society. I'm talking about academic wankery. The robotics club here in SD for example, partly run out of UCSD. One of their grand goals: to make toy cars that can drive themselves around a toy track. Meanwhile we have real self driving cars on real roads, not some academic toy. Wankery.
Also consider that you haven't had a normal job in decades but here you are telling me about the virtue of universities. Hmmm 🤔

Are experiential phenomena (merely) limited to first hand experience David? Lo dudo.
And mate, this dragging out scant arguments is beyond boring.
Surely the robotics people 'playing' with toy cars are designing fast control systems that could run the next generation of self-driving cars? If those toy cars can react quickly to obstacles, sense their environment, and make choices (the trolley problem is the obvious example) then those exact same technologies can graduate to real cars in the future.

I get the impression you're simply critical of what is done in many universities, and not against the idea of university education. That's fine, and I can get behind that too. Universities are increasingly run as for-profit institutions more interested in sports franchises and corporate sponsors than anything else! So some skepticism is worthwhile. But I'd warn against throwing out the good with the bad.

Even bob himself says he works in the "pet fish business". Not at Scripps Institute for Oceanography or the Scripps Birch Aquarium or some other university research institution, but in "business". Because that's where the money is. The commercialization of science once again, for the benefit of society, not just for the benefit of someone's frivolous dream chasing.
There's much I could say about neural network driven cars and neural network robotics in general. From my observations and playing around with them, it's clear that the real world is just too complex for robots, and things that humans do so easily and that we take for granted are extremely difficult for robots to do. Then of course, if we built a system as complex as a human that can do all the things a human can do, it would make mistakes just like a human does. But of course the university types simply gloss over all this with their big talk when addressing the largely-science-ignorant public and the politicians that make funding decisions. This type of bluster can be seen clearly when people talk of going to Mars, completely ignoring the known health effects of space radiation once you get outside the earth's magnetic field, the health effects of long term exposure to zero gravity while travelling to and from Mars, the high levels of radiations on the surface of Mars, etc etc. Are we going back to the Moon first to develop and test the technologies needed for Mars? No, no one is talking about that, we've been to the Moon already, people want to hear the fantasy about going to Mars.
Similar big talk is made about nuclear fusion as a source of "unlimited clean energy from hydrogen fusion", but if you delve below the surface you'll find absolutely no talk of fusing hydrogen among nuclear fusion researchers because the temperatures and pressures required for that are far beyond the capability of any reactor currently imagined. They're just doing the tritium-deuterium reaction, same as they've been doing for 50+ years, and not a single watt of electricity has been generated in all those decades of research.
As they say in sales, Where's there's ignorance [in this case, about science], there's the opportunity to exploit that ignorance. The talk is always big, the results are always small to nonexistent. They're coddled by the system and can't produce on deliverables.

Martin Farnham, blech. An academic through and through. Same guy who fell absolutely silent when I shit-stirred him about the outcome of the Mueller report. So sure and certain beforehand, then zero response to my replies on his threads afterwards. Now he's trying to be vague to try and look like he has some higher privileged knowledge. I'm so glad I left academia and those kinds of self-satisfied twits.
MON 2:28 PM

Who ever would have thought when we were kids that Universities would come to be the wellspring, and not the shield against, incoherent Group-Think ? Foucault & co have a lot to answer for
TUE 10:21 AM

Some new updates towards the bottom of the page.

You removed a message
TUE 1:50 PM

good read.

Y'know this cuddling up to Iran and Isis shit - i dont know if you know, but at least 3 European states have been taking returned ISIS fighters and not only NOT prosecuting them, but giving them welfare BONUSES. 'reintegration packages' , front of the queue for public housing and stuff

Yeah some of that liberal pussy crap is unbelievable. Europe could end up being the next Islamic caliphate in 20 years time.

Balkanisation of France and Sweden most likely 1st dominos, most likely before 2035. And those warlord cunts in the European Union establishment who made a fuckton of money on the disintegration and contracted rebuild of Yugoslavia will overseee it all. Treacherous demons. Foxes and henhounds.

Yeah OK, I haven't been following. I'm a neophyte to this whole business.

They should have balkanized iraq

THU 12:27 PM

I just unfriended a bunch of university wanks on fartbook. I spent 17 years in a university career doing pointless shit for people who contribute bugger all to society, but nonetheless they strut about acting like they're important and have giant egos and think they make the world go around by studying irrelevant crap and thinking about things. For the most part they're people from fairly wealthy families for whom employment and income have never been a major concern and so they've been able to pursue frivolous dreams. They become isolated and coddled by the university system, like monks in a monastery, which happens to be the same culture from which universities are derived. My dislike of them knows no bounds. The likes of Martin Farnham and Caroline blackmore and so on can burn to death in a fucking forest Fire for all I care about their theoretical gesticulating and zero experience book-knowledge.

You removed a message

"I've been wanking around in the sleepy halls of academia my whole life and that makes me a know-it-all about everything". You can almost see the cum spurting out of their wanking cockhead mouths. After 17 years in that shit, yeah I'm bitter.

Caroline blackmore, still in the same ANU wanking shithole where I saw her 30 years ago. What's that universities say about broadening people's horizons? It just bullshit, they don't have any data to quantify how much they broaden anyones horizon. They just like to talk big talk.

and what's more, theyve become drunk on the power of Social Engineering

Did you ever watch that Evergreen College series where social justice warriors, radicalised by their faculty, took the Dean hostage for 2 days and hunted a professor with baseball bats because he refused to participate in a racial segregation exercise ?

No haven't watched it but might give it a go.

search youtube for Mike Nayna's channel

he did the best work on it. Also Benjamin Boyce

Here I am in electronics engineering, and literally billions of people are using the LTE technology that I was a part of developing. Currently I work in a company where me and the 4 guys I work with have added tens of millions of dollars of value to our company over the last year. Meanwhile there are a bunch of university wanks theorizing and gesticulating and publishing little bits of paper in journals that hardly anyone reads, and are thoroughly convinced they're making a big difference in the world, and have an ego to match this false belief. Even great universities like UCSD have courses like "The sociology of African dance". Failing dickheads. And you can never convince them otherwise because their delusions have reached the level of a mental illness.

I'll check it out.

Cell phone industry that makes tens of billions a year and is used by billions of people, or theoretical wankery that is a burden to society and produces fuck all. Yeah I'm glad I switched to cell phone industry.

pragmatic electronics vs ivory tower arrogance. i suppose youd be at great pains explaining to Caroline Blackmore that Transistors arent sisters of transgender ppl

Same thing with the Robotics club here in San Diego, a bunch of university wanks with the grand goal of creating toy cars that can drive themselves around a toy track. Meanwhile we already have real self driving cars that drive on real roads, not fucking academic toys and wanking garbage. Universities are the wellspring of worthlessness. Anyone worth a shit in the world works in business and contributes something to society. They don't sit around at some fucked university making irrelevant toys.

OK, sent myself a reminder about the Evergreen College series.

if youre ever arguing with a Humanities academic about the utility and trajectory of their work, just drop a video link of that into the convo, immediately theyre on the back foot

Seen Thu 1:17 PM
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