Academic groupthink

I found the clip via Bryan Caplan.

Like Caplan I’m not convinced this is a serious problem. It is a real issue, but not an actual serious problem.

As I explained in The Case Against Education, educators simply aren’t very persuasive, so they do far less intellectual damage than you’d think.

In the humanities and social sciences what matters more is that you attended uni, not so much what you actually learnt (or didn’t learn).

One problem I do have with Daniel Klein’s argument is that if the mechanism he describes is correct, then there are too many (not too few) non-left academics in academia. All up, however, an interesting presentation.

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19 Responses to Academic groupthink

  1. mareeS

    We escaped university via vocational training in journalism and architectecture in the 1960s, cadetships rather than apprenticeships, and have had good lifelong careers, retired after selling a multi$$$$ media company.

    Our children chose against university, one went to mining, the other to hospitality, both are now in senior management roles in their 30s without the whiff of a university degree.

    They have gotten their promotions by sheer commonsense management ability. Mostly learned from commonsense people.

  2. Tel

    If Bryan Caplan’s case against education (which is really a case against the present day school system, not education in general) is correct and the entire purpose of a degree is “signalling” then the SJW’s have essentially guaranteed the complete and total razing of the entire US tertiary institutions.

    Think about it this way: as an employer you don’t care too much what your new hires know, because mostly you will need to train them on the job anyhow. You want people not too disruptive, who can stick at something for a while, and at least have the capability of paying attention and learn what you teach them. Once upon a time, university qualifications would at least deliver these basic qualifications … now they deliver the opposite. *WHOOSH* game over.

  3. stackja

    Why are there so many ‘silly’ courses in universities? Practical courses seem thin on the ground.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    I suppose the “silly “courses are to give what looks like gainfull employment to the huge number of so called “academics” paid for in public funds ,
    Cant have them hanging about doing nothing can we ?

  5. Boambee John

    Dr Fred

    It would often be better to have them “hanging about doing nothing”, rather than what too many do, which is actively harmful.

  6. Roger

    As I explained in The Case Against Education, educators simply aren’t very persuasive, so they do far less intellectual damage than you’d think.

    The state of mind of young university educated sjws suggests otherwise.

  7. Rob MW

    As I explained in The Case Against Education, educators simply aren’t very persuasive, so they do far less intellectual damage than you’d think.

    That’s good, for a minute there I thought gravity was a hoax.

    Given their job description; what are educators not very persuasive at; facts, near facts, alternate facts or plain straight out bullshit ? If their oral skills and insight are shit, what are the taxpayers paying them for ? Which textbooks produce facts, near facts, alternate facts or plain straight out bullshit that the educators use to support persuasion/oral skills or insight ?

    What a damn mess.

  8. One ScoMo doesn’t make a Spring

    I worked with an excellent colleague who would not be promoted cos she did not have a degree.
    Last year she Left the company and her old department imploded. Competitor picked her up pays her more money, and gives her more respect. Her approach is all about delivering outcomes. Her replacement focused on a new approach , a different model …. results? What are they??
    She celebrated her birthday last weekend 60 yo and going strong.

  9. Siltstone

    educators simply aren’t very persuasive,

    Time to and get another job then Sinc?

  10. Sinclair Davidson

    Made this far without being found out …

  11. faceache

    My son-in law is doing a degree in Psychology. At the moment they are doing a lot on addiction and recovery. As an alcoholic with 16 years sobriety I asked him if he would like to read the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” the basic “text” of AA which suggests to us alkies a way of getting sober and staying sober. He ain’t interested. What? Indicative of a lot of stuff these days. Get rid of what actually works.
    And I think this is funny. When the Book was written (1935) everything referred to “he” “his” etc. A female fellow AA member decided to go through her Book and and pencil in “he and she” and “his and her” every time she came across those pronouns. Got to about page 50 before she got well enough to realise how bloody silly doing that was.

  12. iain russell

    I was operated on by two university trained surgeons two years back. They did a fantastic job. Here’s a 0230am toast to ‘groupthink’!

  13. JohnJJJ

    I’ve worked at quite a few Universities and it is all obvious what is happening. The student pays $3000 per subject ( 10 lectures), there are 40 students in the class, the lecturer is paid max $300 per lecture. So of the total income $120,000, the person who teaches gets $3000, i.e. 2.5%. Where does the rest go? What are the students really paying for?
    Hence it has little to do with learning.
    If the teacher is good, they don’t get paid more. There is no incentive to be excellent. The best a lecture can do is agree with their superiors and hope to be promoted. So they choose the amorphous signalling issues: environment, climate, diversity, equity… All the scammers at Uni are big on these issues.
    So everyone who floats to the top games the system. The students know this.
    The Australian university would be defunct if we didn’t speak English. Foreign students (and HECS) keep the whole charade going.

  14. CameronH

    If this isn’t a serious problem why does the insanities, such as white privilege, extremist environmentalism, and radical anti male feminism, find it’s way from the universities and into our legal system and government programs.

    Why has radical and extremist environmentalism now main stream in both major political parties and increasingly in the administrative state and the judicial system, see above post about the NSW court decision on the coal mine as well as the destruction of our electricity supply system?

    I could point to other areas where radical and extremist ideology now governs our laws, example with the Family Law Courts and the latest anti male domestic violence laws.

    This is a serious problem and the so called conservative side of our political elites are either too stupid to notice or are to cowardly and spineless to do anything aboput it. Appeasement and capitulation seems to be their consistent approach.

  15. Rococo Liberal

    ”So they choose the amorphous signalling issues: environment, climate, diversity, equity”

  16. Dr Fred Lenin

    JohnJJJ, these days everything needs a huge adminisrtstive group ,a lot of highly paid people sort of making sure nothing goes wrong ,and when they stuff up it is of course not their fault. Its another way of keeping the huge number of graduates from the universities off the dole .

  17. Dr Fred Lenin

    I rememberv hearing an Oxford professor saying .”those who come here have been told by others they are one IN a million ,when they get here they find ,they are one OF a million “,sobering thought that.

  18. James Hargrave

    Indeed, university admin is surely the great employment backstop for all those mediocre arts graduates being churned out by the (probably vegan) sausage factories

  19. Roger W

    Seems to me that, generally speaking, “conservatives” are happy to debate issues, meaning the “left” always get a say. The ‘left” never wants to debate issues, always wants obedience and will enforce groupthink ruthlessly, so the opposite ideas can never get a say. Have this happen long enough and you have the situation today shown in the early graphs in the talk, where one side will come to increasingly dominate.

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