The SOS, this time from George Will

Comforting to see that belief in science remains the one truism….

Rev the Scientific Engine
in the Washington Post, Monday, Jan 03, 2011

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One Response to The SOS, this time from George Will

  1. Kelli Barr says:

    “Granted, political correctness and academic obscurantism in some disciplines – mostly the humanities and social sciences – of some elite universities have damaged the prestige of the institutions and irritated substantial portions of the public. But the public should not now be punished by penalizing, with diminished funding, the scientific disciplines that have been mostly innocent of the behaviors that have sometimes made academia a subject of satire.”

    An especially horrendous statement. Does he believe it’s academic obscurantism that has spurred backlash against humanities and social sciences disciplines? Are the sciences not just as obscure and prone to influence by political forces?

    What he crucially ignores is the economic motivations surrounding academic downsizing en masse. Perhaps the public views these former disciplines as obscure, but if true, this would only indicate that Americans have been persuaded by the economic arguments for the existence of universities. In other words, the cry against irrelevance in academic humanities and social sciences is entirely a product of Americans accepting the argument that universities are businesses. After all, one never hears of universities closing scientific departments – the surplus value scheme is not a death sentence for them.

    The author should take a few minutes to examine the “decline” in funding of academic science relative to the decline in funding of other disciplines. It isn’t near as staggering as he wants you to believe.

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