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The Anti-intelligence Climate Of Academia And It's Negative Effects


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#18 Ken

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:38 PM

One problem with good students asking even good questions, is it can take away class time from everyone else. For example, say the teacher is talking about electrons orbiting the nucleus like the planets orbit the sun, This is an elementary way to introduce the atom, but is a good building block for what will come next. A bright student who is reading way ahead brings up wave functions.

Avoidance may not be the teacher avoiding this good question. It is more complicated than that. If they try to answer that question they may lose most of the class, who is just getting their hands on the orbit analogy. Even if they wanted to explain wave functions, at what level do you do that? Do you use the phD version for this bright college sophomore, which may make him feel embarrassed? Or do you dumb it down to the level of what that bright student might understand. Even if you chose that, you may also need to build other background, since he may not know all the jargon and math for how even the simple answer is derived. In the mean time, this private tutorage during class time is not fair to the other 25 students who are not being taught. You may lose them, as they get bored and begin to phase out. If the phase out happens, when you go back to the formal lessons, getting them back becomes another problem.

Many professors use a lecture format to avoid interruptions so they can keep the ball rolling for all. The extra questions is where office time comes in. But even that is more geared to help the students who are having problems with the lessons. There are only so many hours, and so many students, so it makes no sense to give all that time to one student, who already knows the lessons, at the expense of the many students who need help.

One solution for the bright student is to volunteer to tutor. This frees teacher time so he/she will have more time to answer some of the more interesting but unrelated questions.



I've been sitting at the computer waiting for the Florida State football game to start and started cleaning out some old, old files. I came across one that several of us came up with in the faculty lounge during our "gossiping" many years ago - think Arpanet days. :rolleyes:

Somehow, my low intellect gave me a faint notion that somehow this might be appropos to the discussion - but don't count on it since I've been exposed as an intellectual fraud with low IQ. :)

STUDENT RAISE OF GRADE FORM

Dear Professor __________________________ Date: __________

My grade in _________________ should be raised from _____ to _____

because:

____ There must be a mistake somewhere.
____ I actually studied for this exam.
____ I was not well at the time of the examination.
____ My mind always goes blank during an examination.
____ This grade ruined my prospect of getting a scholarship, a job, a life, a place in medical school.
____ This is the only course in which I received a poor grade.
____ The grade grieved my mother (or father), whose pride I am.
____ I knew the right answer but I wrote down the wrong answer by mistake.
____ I was unable to study due to the pressing demands of fraternity or sorority activities/political demonstrations/sports events/jail/family crises/roommate suicide/gambling debts/litigation.
____ Conditions in the room were not conducive to concentration.
____ The examination was unfair and unfairly distributed over the subject matter.
____ I have to work after school and nights; therefore I should be given a break.
____ I am married and have a family; therefore, I should be given a break.
____ I am alone in the world; therefore I should be given a break.
____ I was under stress; therefore I should be given a break.
____ I no speak English good - give me break.
____ I would have done much better if I had taken the examination given to one of the other sections.
____ The person I got the notes from had neglected to write down several key points, and I should not be penalized for his/her laxity.
____ Several people around me copied from my paper during the examination yet they received higher grades than I did. Surely this is not fair.
____ The questions were ambiguous, and therefore my answers should be graded according to the reasonable interpretations I made of your question.
____ Many of the questions could not be answered with straight facts; they were matters of opinion. I should not be penalized just because my opinions differ from those of the instructor.
____ I know many people in the class who do not work as hard as I do and who got a better grade. I am recognized among my classmates as a good and conscientious student; just ask any of them.
____ I circled the right answers on the question booklet, as you can now see, but when transferring the information to the answer sheet I inadvertently marked the wrong blanks. Of course a University student should not be penalized for petty clerical errors.
____ I have studied this subject from the broad philosophical viewpoint and therefore was unable to answer you detail-oriented, technical questions.
____ I am philosophically oriented to the realm of ideas; I respond to the sweep and scope of great intellects. My work is beyond the interest in petty details and parrot-like memorizing of those who are merely students.
____ At the time of the examination I was suffering a severe case of cognitive dissonance and was incapable of coping with the stress of the hour.
____ It is not a higher grade I seek; I care nothing about grades; I think grades are wicked and I disapprove of them. However, this pernicious system of which I am a victim requires grades for achieving success, and therefore I seek a higher grade.

Signed
___________________________________________



:winknudge:

#19 Kriminal99

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 09:36 AM

I think I included a link to my Curriculum Vitae in my response to Tormod's Achievement thread. Basically my career path was shaped to some extent by availability of funding during the Viet Nam war, a secondary interest in a non-biological area in Psychology which resulted in substantial off-campus consulting, and early promotion to Professor and department chair for the last 28 years of my academic experience.

Perhaps your pre-judgements of a slacker like me are justified.

Or not. :rolleyes:


Slacker has nothing to do with it. The question is how smart are you, and the answer isn't given by any of that information. The fact that you keep trying to replace measures of intelligence with measures of effort says volumes though. It's surprising how far you can get using social skills as a crutch and making minor revisions to other people's work. I guess all the truly competent people have high paying jobs in the private sector.

Not surprising that your joke grade appeal form (as if people like you had the authority) starts off funny and then as you get to the bottom you get to failed mocking of legitimate arguments against the grade like a difference of opinion, and force memorization of petty details like the page number in the book of some piece of information. I can just picture the initial chuckles trailing off into nervous laughter as you guys read these.

#20 Ken

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:14 AM

Slacker has nothing to do with it. The question is how smart are you, and the answer isn't given by any of that information. The fact that you keep trying to replace measures of intelligence with measures of effort says volumes though. It's surprising how far you can get using social skills as a crutch and making minor revisions to other people's work. I guess all the truly competent people have high paying jobs in the private sector.

Not surprising that your joke grade appeal form (as if people like you had the authority) starts off funny and then as you get to the bottom you get to failed mocking of legitimate arguments against the grade like a difference of opinion, and force memorization of petty details like the page number in the book of some piece of information. I can just picture the initial chuckles trailing off into nervous laughter as you guys read these.


:D You are a hoot!

Did you attempt to read my published papers? :rolleyes: According to Science Citation Index they have been cited in a respectable number of papers in the specific area of investigation. But perhaps your idiosyncratic criteria have more significance. B)

As far as income as a measure of success or competence...I made more money doing outside consulting one day a week than my faculty salary, throughout my working career. Income measures financial comfort, it certainly isn't an exclusive measure of competence.

And finally, there is nothing in that form that talks about page numbers; the reference is to the details of course-work. And those last items made it to the form because they occur with such depressing frequency. B)

#21 Kriminal99

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 11:30 AM

:D You are a hoot!

Did you attempt to read my published papers? :rolleyes: According to Science Citation Index they have been cited in a respectable number of papers in the specific area of investigation. But perhaps your idiosyncratic criteria have more significance. B)

As far as income as a measure of success or competence...I made more money doing outside consulting one day a week than my faculty salary, throughout my working career. Income measures financial comfort, it certainly isn't an exclusive measure of competence.

And finally, there is nothing in that form that talks about page numbers; the reference is to the details of course-work. And those last items made it to the form because they occur with such depressing frequency. B)


idiosyncratic is when people do things just because it's what other people do and not because it has any logical validity. A logically sound criteria that is difficult for you to understand is not idiosyncratic.

Considering you can't write a paper without citing other papers, even if you come up with the topic completely on your own without reading any other papers, it isn't necessarily meaningful to have your work cited. I have cited plenty of trivial works claiming things that were just blatantly obvious logical extensions of basic facts that I didn't even read but rather just skimmed for a quote related to my argument. If you don't, a bunch of low intelligence people assume you plagiarized something since they don't understand the ability to reason long distances from whats already known using careful reasoning.

#22 Ken

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 11:33 PM

idiosyncratic is when people do things just because it's what other people do and not because it has any logical validity. A logically sound criteria that is difficult for you to understand is not idiosyncratic.


It is useful to get at least some of the details of vocabulary right when you wish to share your powers of thought.

Definitions of idiosyncratic on the Web:

•peculiar to the individual; "we all have our own idiosyncratic gestures"; "Michelangelo's highly idiosyncratic style of painting"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

•Idiosyncrasy, from Ancient Greek , idiosynkrasía, "a peculiar temperament", "habit of body" (, idios "one's own", , syn "with" and krasis "mixture") is defined as an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person or group, and is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiosyncratic

•Peculiar to a specific individual; eccentric
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/idiosyncratic

•idiosyncracy - Alternative spelling of idiosyncrasy
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/idiosyncracy

•Odd, personalized, peculiar, eccentric and often out of context. People with autism often have idiosyncratic movements, speech, and behaviour.
access.autistics.org/resources/glossary/main.html

•Relating to or marked by an idiosyncrasy
www.timeswellness.com/index.aspx


BTW, what are the characteristics of a "logically sound criteria (sic) for you to understand"?

Being "logical" demands a little more than romancing your viewpoint. You confuse the issue when you describe your thoughts as logical rather than as reasoning that you personally feel is rational. At some point I think you have to justify the repeated claim of logic with some demonstration that the target of your criticism has made an error in either a basic premise or drawn some conclusion that illustrates a logical fallacy.

Considering you can't write a paper without citing other papers, even if you come up with the topic completely on your own without reading any other papers,


That comment suggests to me that you may have missed the purpose of citation in a journal article, and indeed in the "logical" flow of such an article reporting the results of investigation. I don't want to put words in your mouth but that sounds more like a student's perception that more citations means higher grades, that citations are the cosmetics that "dress-up" a report. If you are truly exploring new ground then there may be little of relevance in the literature, but realistically that's not likely. You can't go forward without some sense of what has gone on before.

The actual purpose of citations is to put an historical context on the current investigation and to share that context with readers who may not have had much exposure to specific issues present. It's convenient, and aids communication, if journal articles are organized in such a way as to lead to relatively easy comprehension of the issues involved. That rationale has led to the formulation of several different writing standards.

The accepted standard for published reports in the sciences follows those set by the American Psychological Association in the early part of the 20th century. They have been adopted by the majority discipline-focused journals.

The organization is based on a reasonable formula for presenting such reports. It consists of an ordered series of sections that provide one way to make the words more intelligible.

Section 1. The Introduction. This section places the question under examination within a historical perspective. It starts with a fairly general statement about the topic, reviews the history of research exploring both the notable dead-ends and the studies that appear to have moved the topic closer to understanding. The intro terminates with a statement of the problem cast in terms that would allow observation, collection of data, and subsequent analysis and interpretation. This last statement is usually referred to as the hypothesis.

Section 2. The Methods Section In this section the author describes, in detail, how the investigation was conducted. The level of detail must be sufficient to allow trained colleague the opportunity to replicate the study and/or to decide whether the method is reasonable or not. This section, following a "logical" flow is usually divided into several sub-categories.

Section 2a. Subjects A description of the selection procedures for subjects, or a description of the specific physical or biological measurable characteristic that defines the data of the investigation.

Section 2b. Apparatus. The instruments used to actually measure the data. Again, enough detail that someone else could conduct a replication.

Section 2c. Procedure. Essentially how the first two components will be brought together. The actual steps taken with either individual subjects, grouped subjects. Similarly with the phenomena of interest in a "physics" experiment.

Section 3. Results. A presentation of the data, either raw or summarized in simple statistics (means, t-tests, ANOVA, etc., etc. No interpretation, just an accurate report.

Section 4. Conclusion, The appropriate place for the author to attempt to interpret the data. Separating Results from Conclusions gives the reader the opportunity to draw and compare their conclusions with those of the author.

Section 5. References. The details of the location of articles previously cited. It gives the reader the opportunity to read those sources and determine whether the reader accepts the relevance, or author's conclusions about relevance. References also provide a path to other references for readers new to a subject to inform themselves of the state-of-the-art.

I would suggest that citations are not lipstick on pig, or a means to a higher grade, but rather that they are an indispensable part of the search for understanding and one would skip them at their own intellectual peril.


it isn't necessarily meaningful to have your work cited. I have cited plenty of trivial works claiming things that were just blatantly obvious logical extensions of basic facts that I didn't even read but rather just skimmed for a quote related to my argument. If you don't, a bunch of low intelligence people assume you plagiarized something since they don't understand the ability to reason long distances from whats already known using careful reasoning.



Again, I don't want to read too much in your comments, but this paragraph could easily lead one to suspect that you cherry-pick for support of your presentation. If the only reason one "skims" quotes is to provide some inoculation against charges of plagiarism then I personally think that much is lost, and regardless of intellectual prowess one could easily skim their way into error.

In my unique, and idiosyncratic B) view, your approach to understanding leaves you very vulnerable to missing much, or most, of the information that could provide you with a sound basis for achieving your goals. But I am pretty sure that you would disagree.

Ciao,

#23 Kriminal99

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 09:46 AM

I wasn't giving a definition I was giving an example...

If you check the definition you'll see that it says defining characteristic of a person OR GROUP.

Any belief that is not based on deductive reasoning from trivially agreed upon facts is idiosyncratic. Meaning it's just a peculiar fluke that the group arrived upon that belief and would not be repeated independently (not that independently could be achieved on this planet at this point).

You may believe that the conventions of the network you are a part of have some meaning because there are a number of people involved in it. However I think that in the grand scheme of things, it is wrong and will eventually be replaced. The reductions in tenure and cut funding mean that even people who do not understand it at this level are beginning to lose faith in Academia. I think it will eventually be nothing more than a unique attribute of a backwards time in the history of the quest for knowledge.

Sometimes people don't see the difference between logical arguments and any other because they aren't conditioned properly to recognize logical arguments. It starts when you are a kid and several of the needs in the hierarchy of needs are just skipped altogether because of the peaceful existence afforded by modern society. Instead of trying to understand the world around them, people today just skip straight to trying to get attention from each other. Instead of properly categorizing the things they see, they just think about how they can tell other people about it. Instead of focusing on the context of the situation even when people are involved, they just focus on responding to the people in a way that will get them attention.

I can't show you what a logical argument is if you've been conditioned to equate truth with social convention. At best it is like trying to build a sphere with square blocks.

However, I can describe it anyways. To start off with, there are implied rules any time you debate an issue with others. These rules are derived from the fact that the whole purpose of debate is to arrive at a better understanding for all. Anything that works against this purpose is a violation of the rules.

For the people I described above, secretly this isn't the purpose of debating. They don't usually say so, because they know it isn't socially acceptable to say that the purpose of debate is to look smart, or to discredit the person deviating from their tribe's beliefs, or whatever else. But those kinds of things are their secret goals. As such they violate these rules ALL THE TIME, and if you try and point the rules out they usually still don't get it and try to act you are being overly technical or something.

When it's a social setting they will admit it sometimes, reasoning that any discussion in a social setting is for the purpose of having fun even if it otherwise would be a debate. But really they think it should be that way all the time and carry that same attitude into the work setting or any other place where a serious debate takes place.

On the other hand people with the proper conditioning think the rules should be followed ANY time two people disagree on something, because it's important to use every opportunity to arrive at a better understanding.

Some of the rules basically equate to like a foul in a sport, in that they are just slow things down a bit. Like yelling over the other person. Saying you are right and the other person is wrong, rather than just proving it. Insulting the other person.. etc.

Others have a worse effect of stopping the debate or potentially arriving at a false conclusion. For instance, instead of providing a counter argument you might say that other people disagree with your opponent. This prevents any further understanding from being arrived upon - unless it so happens that the other person so values the source you mention that they themselves decide to take a break and look at what that person had to say. But that's totally up to them, and trying to force it on them is silly because the only way to be so sure is if you understand yourself the logical counter argument that source would present in which case you could just present it.

#24 Ken

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:25 AM

I wasn't giving a definition I was giving an example...

If you check the definition you'll see that it says defining characteristic of a person OR GROUP.


You are simply cherry-picking a secondary definition that occurs infrequently. Its clear from the context that I used the term based on the primary definition. If you examine the "trivial" details of the etymology of the word - given in at least one definition - it is obvious the idio refers to self, or person.

Any belief that is not based on deductive reasoning from trivially agreed upon facts is idiosyncratic. Meaning it's just a peculiar fluke that the group arrived upon that belief and would not be repeated independently (not that independently could be achieved on this planet at this point).


Are all "facts" trivially agreed upon? No facts are based on consensus derived from careful examination and testing?

You may believe that the conventions of the network you are a part of have some meaning because there are a number of people involved in it. However I think that in the grand scheme of things, it is wrong and will eventually be replaced. The reductions in tenure and cut funding mean that even people who do not understand it at this level are beginning to lose faith in Academia. I think it will eventually be nothing more than a unique attribute of a backwards time in the history of the quest for knowledge.


Could you give me, at least, some idea about how knowledge will be accumulated, analyzed, subjected to repeated tests, and eventually achieve tentative acceptance in the absence of anyone passing on existing knowledge and the knowledge to systematically acquire that sophistication?

The content of the Internet didn't just spring into existence when the first inter-computer connection was made. Everything you see as Internet knowledge was put there by somebody. I would respectfully suggest that one should consider the possibility that some of that content is fallacious.

That might lead you to consider how one learns to separate the wheat from the chaff. If all can be accomplished by the application of sheer intellect, in the absence of any knowledge-base, then we might as well burn all the books.

Sometimes people don't see the difference between logical arguments and any other because they aren't conditioned properly to recognize logical arguments. It starts when you are a kid and several of the needs in the hierarchy of needs are just skipped altogether because of the peaceful existence afforded by modern society. Instead of trying to understand the world around them, people today just skip straight to trying to get attention from each other. Instead of properly categorizing the things they see, they just think about how they can tell other people about it. Instead of focusing on the context of the situation even when people are involved, they just focus on responding to the people in a way that will get them attention.


That strikes me as a rather "idiosyncratic" definition of logic and logical argument. It would be interesting to see how it would be received in the Philosophy sub-forum.

I can't show you what a logical argument is if you've been conditioned to equate truth with social convention. At best it is like trying to build a sphere with square blocks.


Social convention? I think not. In my view you are simply arguing that your beliefs are logical because they seem reasonable to you.

However, I can describe it anyways. To start off with, there are implied rules any time you debate an issue with others. These rules are derived from the fact that the whole purpose of debate is to arrive at a better understanding for all. Anything that works against this purpose is a violation of the rules.

For the people I described above, secretly this isn't the purpose of debating. They don't usually say so, because they know it isn't socially acceptable to say that the purpose of debate is to look smart, or to discredit the person deviating from their tribe's beliefs, or whatever else. But those kinds of things are their secret goals. As such they violate these rules ALL THE TIME, and if you try and point the rules out they usually still don't get it and try to act you are being overly technical or something.


You seem to know an awful lot about the innermost motivations of a lot of people you've never met. And you have failed to specify any "rules" of logic several times in this discussion.

When it's a social setting they will admit it sometimes, reasoning that any discussion in a social setting is for the purpose of having fun even if it otherwise would be a debate. But really they think it should be that way all the time and carry that same attitude into the work setting or any other place where a serious debate takes place.


You really seem to take these cynical and negative attitudes about other people in very large bites.

On the other hand people with the proper conditioning think the rules should be followed ANY time two people disagree on something, because it's important to use every opportunity to arrive at a better understanding.

Some of the rules basically equate to like a foul in a sport, in that they are just slow things down a bit. Like yelling over the other person. Saying you are right and the other person is wrong, rather than just proving it. Insulting the other person.. etc.

Others have a worse effect of stopping the debate or potentially arriving at a false conclusion. For instance, instead of providing a counter argument you might say that other people disagree with your opponent. This prevents any further understanding from being arrived upon - unless it so happens that the other person so values the source you mention that they themselves decide to take a break and look at what that person had to say. But that's totally up to them, and trying to force it on them is silly because the only way to be so sure is if you understand yourself the logical counter argument that source would present in which case you could just present it.


I'll have to re-read this last pair of paragraphs to figure out just what you are saying. What I get from my initial reading is sense that you equate agreement among people as solely an act of social interaction, without regard to the reasons that agreement might exist. Perhaps I've misunderstood your position. But, if I am correct than I see the "logical" extension of that position to be intellectual anarchy.

Operating in a data-free environment, with no application of formal, or informal, logic and rejecting ideas simply because they don't seem reasonable to someone without data means that any one's personal "logic" is supreme. In that case why would anyone put their personal logic subordinate to yours?

Or do you claim omniscience? :rolleyes:

#25 Qfwfq

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:25 AM

I don't see the point of citing only to avoid being accused of plagiary. What makes more sense is to be aware of results already published in order to waste less of one's own time and effort. Either case would hardly apply to a trivial corollary anyway.

of a person OR GROUP.

It is quite obvious that, when the term is applied to a group:
  • It is used in refernce to the group rather than to an individual of that group.
  • It indicates how the group differs from other people, rather than how individuals are similar to the rest of that group.
The reason is of course that the word's meaning is being extended (from an individual to a group). It seems simply logical to me...:shrug:

#26 Kriminal99

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 12:22 PM

Adhering to meaningless traditions or conventions is idiosyncratic - it's the wrong way to go about things and just what people do when life is too cushy for them to do things because it's the most useful thing to do rather than because it will get them brownie points with others... But wait! A lot of people do that, right? So it can't be idiosyncratic. But ah - idiosyncratic can apply to a group. Get it now?

It also denotes idiosyncrasy because the person's identity is lost when they do this, and their idiosyncrasies are the group's idiosyncrasies. The group is idiosyncratic because it consists of people who do things because they are tradition/convention and not because they are good things to do. So the person and the group are both idiosyncratic.

"idiosyncratic is when a person does things just because that's what everyone in a group does" - see the connection?


Anyways how a word is used depends on the circumstances and there is no universal rule for the use of a word. There is just a given person's ability to follow the chain of reasoning resulting from a particular use of a word. There are formal proofs that you cannot guarantee the resulting meaning of a word when applied to a given situation.

When applied to a group, the obvious interpretation of the etymology is the group's self.

Of course all of this about definition is irrelevant anyways. The reason that the part about groups is in the definition is because people like me argued that a group of people can be idiosyncratic and an individual (perhaps a member of another group) who they disagree with not if the individual's beliefs are more justified than the group's beliefs.

Trying to point to a definition to win an argument is fallacious. The point of an argument is to imply that definitions need to be amended. Sometimes it's a person's definition of something that needs to be amended and sometimes it is a group's (or dictionary's) definition that needs to be amended. In this case it was not necessary because the definition of idiosyncratic already allows for the use I implied.

When I write a paper, people often fail to understand my motivation for going in that direction. They see a paper that is in a different direction from what everyone else is doing, and assume that I read

#27 Kriminal99

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:21 PM

Are all "facts" trivially agreed upon? No facts are based on consensus derived from careful examination and testing?



Could you give me, at least, some idea about how knowledge will be accumulated, analyzed, subjected to repeated tests, and eventually achieve tentative acceptance in the absence of anyone passing on existing knowledge and the knowledge to systematically acquire that sophistication?

The content of the Internet didn't just spring into existence when the first inter-computer connection was made. Everything you see as Internet knowledge was put there by somebody. I would respectfully suggest that one should consider the possibility that some of that content is fallacious.

That might lead you to consider how one learns to separate the wheat from the chaff. If all can be accomplished by the application of sheer intellect, in the absence of any knowledge-base, then we might as well burn all the books.



That strikes me as a rather "idiosyncratic" definition of logic and logical argument. It would be interesting to see how it would be received in the Philosophy sub-forum.



Social convention? I think not. In my view you are simply arguing that your beliefs are logical because they seem reasonable to you.



You seem to know an awful lot about the innermost motivations of a lot of people you've never met. And you have failed to specify any "rules" of logic several times in this discussion.



You really seem to take these cynical and negative attitudes about other people in very large bites.



I'll have to re-read this last pair of paragraphs to figure out just what you are saying. What I get from my initial reading is sense that you equate agreement among people as solely an act of social interaction, without regard to the reasons that agreement might exist. Perhaps I've misunderstood your position. But, if I am correct than I see the "logical" extension of that position to be intellectual anarchy.

Operating in a data-free environment, with no application of formal, or informal, logic and rejecting ideas simply because they don't seem reasonable to someone without data means that any one's personal "logic" is supreme. In that case why would anyone put their personal logic subordinate to yours?

Or do you claim omniscience? :rolleyes:


There are plenty of ways that things like sample bias or poor interpretation of experimental results can result in a "carefully examined and tested fact" being incorrect, consensus or not. If there is no reason to doubt an experimental result, then I am counting it as agreed upon.

People say things all the time like "X has been proven by SCIENCE ™!!" when really it is a disputed interpretation of some trivial facts.

If you tell me that the percent of genes responsible for differences between races is tiny, and smaller than the percent responsible for differences between individuals, I'll believe you. If you then tell me that race is meaningless, I will laugh at you.

The answer of how to separate the wheat from the chaff is really fundamental to what we are talking about. I believe that for 90% of the academic network, the answer to this question is to look at what "everyone else is doing". This is wrong and results in all sorts of problems. If my professor goes to a convention where the people all agree on a particular approach to a problem and highlight the downsides of opposing approaches, hes going to come back with the idea in his head that the opposing belief is "chaff". Meanwhile another group is doing the same thing but in reverse.

The ability to OBJECTIVELY separate the wheat from the chaff comes from analytical reasoning skills. Those skills can be used to derive rules, and those rules can be implemented into some kind of forum where people can provide arguments subject at all times to those rules.

The idea is to separate the acquisition of data from experimentation and the interpretation of that data. We don't need and shouldn't trust scientist's to interpret, though they can as normal citizens. We just need them to gather the data.

What definition are you saying I gave for "logical argument"? I described why average people cannot tell the difference between logical and illogical arguments. I suppose you could say that I was implying that a logical argument is that which logical people clearly see to be true. However it is still possible to outline specific rules that a logical person would use. It's not idiosyncratic if it is true.

You say "Social Convention? I think not" because social convention dictates that you not say that you equate social convention and truth. But actions speak louder than words. If you stood in front of a thousand people who all believed something, could you tell them they were wrong? Would you ever have even developed a belief in disagreement with them in the first place? For the vast majority of people the answer is no. For me it is yes, if I deduced that they were wrong about something using observations from the physical world. I am not talking about if they believed something obviously wrong, which would probably never happen. I am talking about something you had to think about to realize, and would have to get them to think about to realize as well (which they would most likely be unwilling to do).

To answer your last question, the answer is that objective truth comes from confrontation of opposing ideas, while following the implied rules of debate. This is not the focus of academia.

#28 Ken

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:53 PM

There are plenty of ways that things like sample bias or poor interpretation of experimental results can result in a "carefully examined and tested fact" being incorrect, consensus or not. If there is no reason to doubt an experimental result, then I am counting it as agreed upon.

People say things all the time like "X has been proven by SCIENCE ™!!" when really it is a disputed interpretation of some trivial facts.

If you tell me that the percent of genes responsible for differences between races is tiny, and smaller than the percent responsible for differences between individuals, I'll believe you. If you then tell me that race is meaningless, I will laugh at you.

The answer of how to separate the wheat from the chaff is really fundamental to what we are talking about. I believe that for 90% of the academic network, the answer to this question is to look at what "everyone else is doing". This is wrong and results in all sorts of problems. If my professor goes to a convention where the people all agree on a particular approach to a problem and highlight the downsides of opposing approaches, hes going to come back with the idea in his head that the opposing belief is "chaff". Meanwhile another group is doing the same thing but in reverse.

The ability to OBJECTIVELY separate the wheat from the chaff comes from analytical reasoning skills. Those skills can be used to derive rules, and those rules can be implemented into some kind of forum where people can provide arguments subject at all times to those rules.

The idea is to separate the acquisition of data from experimentation and the interpretation of that data. We don't need and shouldn't trust scientist's to interpret, though they can as normal citizens. We just need them to gather the data.

What definition are you saying I gave for "logical argument"? I described why average people cannot tell the difference between logical and illogical arguments. I suppose you could say that I was implying that a logical argument is that which logical people clearly see to be true. However it is still possible to outline specific rules that a logical person would use. It's not idiosyncratic if it is true.

You say "Social Convention? I think not" because social convention dictates that you not say that you equate social convention and truth. But actions speak louder than words. If you stood in front of a thousand people who all believed something, could you tell them they were wrong? Would you ever have even developed a belief in disagreement with them in the first place? For the vast majority of people the answer is no. For me it is yes, if I deduced that they were wrong about something using observations from the physical world. I am not talking about if they believed something obviously wrong, which would probably never happen. I am talking about something you had to think about to realize, and would have to get them to think about to realize as well (which they would most likely be unwilling to do).

To answer your last question, the answer is that objective truth comes from confrontation of opposing ideas, while following the implied rules of debate. This is not the focus of academia.



It's difficult to discuss beyond your lack of experience and subsequent speculations about how Science operates, what happens at conferences, or even how the buzz words you throw around about experimental methodology originated within the scientific community. I'm sorry, but you just draw an unrealistic picture of what actually occurs.

"People" may talk about Scientific Fact. Scientists don't. The [facts] of Science are the data, the observations under controlled circumstances that can be observed by others who set the same conditions of measurement. Theories are simply attempts at explanation that move us from uncertainty towards less uncertainty. Perhaps graduate students believe that they can reach Absolute Certainty, Truth, and the True American Way - but reasonably well-trained researchers understand both the strengths and the weaknesses of their methods of inquiry.

A good intellect that attempts to operate in a data-free state is doomed to misapprehension and any hope of reaching any valid conclusions. The intellect is the tool, the data is the material to which the tool must be applied.

You may be as bright as you think, and claim, but in my opinion you have really shackled your understanding by ignoring the material, the data, relying solely on things that you appear to have never really and objectively investigated.

Let me suggest, as a way forward for you, that you take some advanced course-work in both the history of Science and the Philosophy of Science. But, of course, that's a choice that only you can make.

Peace Grasshopper,

#29 Ken

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:16 PM

Adhering to meaningless traditions or conventions is idiosyncratic - it's the wrong way to go about things and just what people do when life is too cushy for them to do things because it's the most useful thing to do rather than because it will get them brownie points with others... But wait! A lot of people do that, right? So it can't be idiosyncratic. But ah - idiosyncratic can apply to a group. Get it now?

It also denotes idiosyncrasy because the person's identity is lost when they do this, and their idiosyncrasies are the group's idiosyncrasies. The group is idiosyncratic because it consists of people who do things because they are tradition/convention and not because they are good things to do. So the person and the group are both idiosyncratic.

"idiosyncratic is when a person does things just because that's what everyone in a group does" - see the connection?


Anyways how a word is used depends on the circumstances and there is no universal rule for the use of a word. There is just a given person's ability to follow the chain of reasoning resulting from a particular use of a word. There are formal proofs that you cannot guarantee the resulting meaning of a word when applied to a given situation.

When applied to a group, the obvious interpretation of the etymology is the group's self.

Of course all of this about definition is irrelevant anyways. The reason that the part about groups is in the definition is because people like me argued that a group of people can be idiosyncratic and an individual (perhaps a member of another group) who they disagree with not if the individual's beliefs are more justified than the group's beliefs.

Trying to point to a definition to win an argument is fallacious. The point of an argument is to imply that definitions need to be amended. Sometimes it's a person's definition of something that needs to be amended and sometimes it is a group's (or dictionary's) definition that needs to be amended. In this case it was not necessary because the definition of idiosyncratic already allows for the use I implied.

When I write a paper, people often fail to understand my motivation for going in that direction. They see a paper that is in a different direction from what everyone else is doing, and assume that I read



Channeling George Orwell? Impressive piece of Double-Speak. Definitional anarchy results in little or no communication.

If you use idiosyncratic definitions in your writing you have little excuse to whine about someone else's failure to understand any of your message. :rolleyes:

#30 Kriminal99

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:32 PM

It's difficult to discuss beyond your lack of experience and subsequent speculations about how Science operates, what happens at conferences, or even how the buzz words you throw around about experimental methodology originated within the scientific community. I'm sorry, but you just draw an unrealistic picture of what actually occurs.

"People" may talk about Scientific Fact. Scientists don't. The [facts] of Science are the data, the observations under controlled circumstances that can be observed by others who set the same conditions of measurement. Theories are simply attempts at explanation that move us from uncertainty towards less uncertainty. Perhaps graduate students believe that they can reach Absolute Certainty, Truth, and the True American Way - but reasonably well-trained researchers understand both the strengths and the weaknesses of their methods of inquiry.

A good intellect that attempts to operate in a data-free state is doomed to misapprehension and any hope of reaching any valid conclusions. The intellect is the tool, the data is the material to which the tool must be applied.

You may be as bright as you think, and claim, but in my opinion you have really shackled your understanding by ignoring the material, the data, relying solely on things that you appear to have never really and objectively investigated.

Let me suggest, as a way forward for you, that you take some advanced course-work in both the history of Science and the Philosophy of Science. But, of course, that's a choice that only you can make.

Peace Grasshopper,


Junk Science happens all the time, and the reason it happens is because the only thing standing in it's way is a small pool of paper conferred experts who do not all have the analytical skills to properly critique their "peers", or may have other motivations than the search for truth motivating their review process. Then this junk science reaches the rest of society including people with said analytical skills, and becomes a big joke and makes the academic network look silly.

That thing about race being meaningless was a real campaign based on the mentioned scientific data championed by real (but obviously biased) scientists whose work had been peer reviewed. Their work motivated conditioning programs for children on pbs (public broadcasting system in US). One of the guys behind it was arguing for it on another forum to which I asked two simple questions... Can a black person have a white child and are black people less likely to sunburn? The guy went berserk calling me an armchair psuedoscientist and then soon after the campaign subsided. The person responsible for the research mysteriously continued to promote his work as if he had never said race was meaningless to begin with.

I don't have a problem with data. The problem that I have is that knowing what to do with data is more difficult and important than being able to acquire more data. When you know what to do with data, you amazingly need far less of it to reach useful conclusions.

There are dozens and dozens of rules of inference that people so conditioned could try and lay out one by one, but no one would listen. Most people truly do not care, even if they are scientists. And if they did care, they probably would have figured out a lot of them on their own. So then what? Try to condition people to make them care? I think that is what societies like Sparta where trying to do more so then prepare their people for war. It's not likely to happen nowadays.

I think the answer is to create that forum where only properly reasoned arguments can be heard. Such a forum would need more properly conditioned people than available to moderate it, and thus it's purpose might decay or be distorted over time. If that knowledge could be embedded into something that would not die and could do more than a person could at the same time, then such a forum could be possible. I think such a thing is possible.

P.S. You were using the definition of idiosyncratic to try and win an argument. It's not definitional anarchy to reinterpret the meaning of a propaganda loaded word and not the definitions of simple utility words. Also it's not idiosyncratic because it's true and therefore objective.

What do you think the purpose of a word like idiosyncratic is supposed to be? It implies that the idiosyncratic trait is not objectively valuable which opens the door for just the sort of exploration of true meaning that I went through... If the nazi's called a sole human rights protester in a particular neighborhood idiosyncratic would you not see the irony?

#31 Ken

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:14 PM

Junk Science happens all the time, and the reason it happens is because the only thing standing in it's way is a small pool of paper conferred experts who do not all have the analytical skills to properly critique their "peers", or may have other motivations than the search for truth motivating their review process. Then this junk science reaches the rest of society including people with said analytical skills, and becomes a big joke and makes the academic network look silly.


Have you ever considered that you are an "unconfered" expert? :D

You apparently are a student. You lecture people here who have research careers, some of whom have taught research methods since before you were likely born. And you continue to reject data as junk science because you think you can achieve understanding by sheer self-confirmed intellect.

The discussion keeps getting sillier and sillier.

That thing about race being meaningless was a real campaign based on the mentioned scientific data championed by real (but obviously biased) scientists whose work had been peer reviewed. Their work motivated conditioning programs for children on pbs (public broadcasting system in US). One of the guys behind it was arguing for it on another forum to which I asked two simple questions... Can a black person have a white child and are black people less likely to sunburn? The guy went berserk calling me an armchair psuedoscientist and then soon after the campaign subsided. The person responsible for the research mysteriously continued to promote his work as if he had never said race was meaningless to begin with.


Other than your complaints about lack of appreciation of your genius by "collar-shirted, sneaker-wearing" furriners, what real experience do you have with people of other races, cultures, or ethnicity?

In this country race is a factor in academic success only to the extent that race has been a controlling factor in educational opportunities. You need to get some comprehension of conflated variables.

I don't have a problem with data. The problem that I have is that knowing what to do with data is more difficult and important than being able to acquire more data. When you know what to do with data, you amazingly need far less of it to reach useful conclusions.


That statement suggests that you found advanced, or even fundamental, Statistical Analysis too "trivial" to learn.

There are dozens and dozens of rules of inference that people so conditioned could try and lay out one by one, but no one would listen. Most people truly do not care, even if they are scientists. And if they did care, they probably would have figured out a lot of them on their own. So then what? Try to condition people to make them care? I think that is what societies like Sparta where trying to do more so then prepare their people for war. It's not likely to happen nowadays.


Militaristic social conditioning just possibly has little to do with teaching critical thinking. :rolleyes:

I think the answer is to create that forum where only properly reasoned arguments can be heard. Such a forum would need more properly conditioned people than available to moderate it, and thus it's purpose might decay or be distorted over time. If that knowledge could be embedded into something that would not die and could do more than a person could at the same time, then such a forum could be possible. I think such a thing is possible.


You just described, in a nutshell, the existing community of skeptical, self-critical, open-to-revision based on data, community of Science.

Now that you have re-invented the wheel, are you going to go for spokes?

P.S. You were using the definition of idiosyncratic to try and win an argument. It's not definitional anarchy to reinterpret the meaning of a propaganda loaded word and not the definitions of simple utility words. Also it's not idiosyncratic because it's true and therefore objective.



No, I've already shared with you my views about the foolishness of attempting to "win arguments" in a forum discussion. That's really a juvenile approach to this avenue of conversation. I use the definition because you misuse it so often. :P

What do you think the purpose of a word like idiosyncratic is supposed to be? It implies that the idiosyncratic trait is not objectively valuable which opens the door for just the sort of exploration of true meaning that I went through... If the nazi's called a sole human rights protester in a particular neighborhood idiosyncratic would you not see the irony?


No need for your inferences. The root origin of the word tells you exactly what it's purpose is.

•Idiosyncrasy, from Ancient Greek , idiosynkrasía, "a peculiar temperament", "habit of body" (, idios "one's own", , syn "with" and krasis "mixture") is defined as an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person or group, and is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiosyncratic


And that definition is right from the web, so how can you question it? :D

I have made an effort with you because that's what teachers do. "You can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher".

You have started a number of threads that all promote your view, through a keyhole of experience, that the academic experience is useless based on your seeming reluctance to engage any ideas that you prejudge as trivial.

I realize that life is easier if one simply doesn't make the effort to wait to make judgements until there is enough information to judge, that its easier to dismiss what others offer by self-confirming beliefs in one's intellectual superiority, and that letting Internet searches from secondary, tertiary, and further removed sources dictate your education is easier than actually examining objectively the primary sources from which all those Internet blogs are spawned.

It's easier but it does not bring any hope of achieving any real knowledge.

I wish you well. I do believe, however, that you will continue to handicap yourself with cynicism, prejudgement, and what sounds suspiciously like intellectual laziness.

I'll just read each new thread you begin with a sad shake of my head.....

Ciao,
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#32 maikeru

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 09:01 AM

It means people with high IQ's are better. Period.


"Better" at what?

#33 Kriminal99

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 02:58 PM

"Better" at what?


Extracting information from their environment, making decisions, creating novel solutions to novel problems etc.

#34 Kriminal99

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 03:25 PM

In this country race is a factor in academic success only to the extent that race has been a controlling factor in educational opportunities. You need to get some comprehension of conflated variables.



That statement suggests that you found advanced, or even fundamental, Statistical Analysis too "trivial" to learn.



Militaristic social conditioning just possibly has little to do with teaching critical thinking. :rolleyes:



You just described, in a nutshell, the existing community of skeptical, self-critical, open-to-revision based on data, community of Science.

Now that you have re-invented the wheel, are you going to go for spokes?



No, I've already shared with you my views about the foolishness of attempting to "win arguments" in a forum discussion. That's really a juvenile approach to this avenue of conversation. I use the definition because you misuse it so often. :P



No need for your inferences. The root origin of the word tells you exactly what it's purpose is.



And that definition is right from the web, so how can you question it? :D

I have made an effort with you because that's what teachers do. "You can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher".

You have started a number of threads that all promote your view, through a keyhole of experience, that the academic experience is useless based on your seeming reluctance to engage any ideas that you prejudge as trivial.

I realize that life is easier if one simply doesn't make the effort to wait to make judgements until there is enough information to judge, that its easier to dismiss what others offer by self-confirming beliefs in one's intellectual superiority, and that letting Internet searches from secondary, tertiary, and further removed sources dictate your education is easier than actually examining objectively the primary sources from which all those Internet blogs are spawned.

It's easier but it does not bring any hope of achieving any real knowledge.



Any individual is much more likely to put forth the effort to understand accomplishments of members of their own culture and when such individuals constitute the majority members of that culture have a huge advantage.

While "Dr. Ahkbeeb" may accept dealing with a majority of Caucasian or other professors at whatever conferences he attends, when given any amount of power he may still be likely to marginalize Caucasian students and exaggerate accomplishments of arab students. This was the whole reason for the affirmative action program

I have a background in probability theory and statistical analysis, both in academics and in industry. Useful deductive reasoning involves collecting only very strong correlations and seeing what you can determine from those.

The problem is that deducing things of value like this requires higher intelligence (the more the better), as high level abstract generalizations may have such correlations that can be reasoned with to determined important parts of the puzzle.

Some people for instance can't even tell the difference between a cat and a dog because the extent of classes their brain generates from looking at them are furry, and 4-legged. I learned this from talking to a colleague who works in Special Education. These people would tell you any cat/dog is just as likely to bark as it is to meow. They could try and come up with statistical analysis of bark and meow probabilities for different regions of the world (If they didn't have similar problems with statistics). This is how people like you appear to people like me.

Seeing the issue so clearly makes me wonder if it is even possible to lead someone to create the higher level classes needed to follow the reasoning, or if it is permanently futile to try and reason with people of lower intelligence. However I suspect that the issue is less one of complete inability and more one of unwillingness from people who falsely believe themselves to be as competent as possible.

At least in the latter case people could be conditioned and forced to listen to those of higher intelligence to the point where they may be able to understand.

The relationship between analytical skills and chaotic (not militaristic) conditioning is fairly simple. There is an hierarchy of needs. Analytical skills are a tool to satisfy the need for security. Most people in modern developed societies are conditioned to consider this need trivial, and their reasoning develops in such a way to allow them to most easily persuade and move other people like them (this only requires rhetoric not reason).