A Critique of Scientism

Biologist Austin Hughes hits the nail on the head when the writes of The Folly of Scientism in the New Atlantic.

Central to scientism is the grabbing of nearly the entire territory of what were once considered questions that properly belong to philosophy. Scientism takes science to be not only better than philosophy at answering such questions, but the only means of answering them. For most of those who dabble in scientism, this shift is unacknowledged, and may not even be recognized. But for others, it is explicit.

Don’t believe scientific academics practice scientism?  Want to make some heads explode? Just suggest that a logic course, taught in the Philosophy Department, be allowed to satisfy the undergraduate requirement for a math course.  Grabbing, indeed.

Tip from American Digest.

Do You Spell FAIL with Green Letters?

More and more of all this hippy-dippy green energy bullshit we’re saddled with is turning out to be a collection of Really Bad Ideas:

The only upside I see is that some of our more obnoxious greeny hipsters will tool around town on their BikeShare bikes and get clocked by some drunk in an SUV.

STEM Shuck and Jive

It’s an article of faith in my profession that America has a chronic shortage of scientific and engineering professionals, so there’s a constant imperative to recruit more students into the STEM disciplines.  Turns out this is a wee bit exaggerated:

The Georgetown study estimates that nearly two-thirds of the STEM job openings in the United States, or about 180 000 jobs per year, will require bachelor’s degrees. Now, if you apply the Commerce Department’s definition of STEM to the NSF’s annual count of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, that means about 252 000 STEM graduates emerged in 2009. So even if all the STEM openings were entry-level positions and even if only new STEM bachelor’s holders could compete for them, that still leaves 70 000 graduates unable to get a job in their chosen field.

There are STEM boosters who think that a little remediation, a few hours of mentoring, and a whole lot of rah-rah will turn this guy into a robotics engineer.

SomeSmartShitI don’t think so, any more than it would make him a concert pianist.

Tips from Gary Jones and Happy Acres.

Think Twice about Grad School

The ‘market” for professors is pretty skimpy

today’s academic job market is a “market” in the sense that one stall selling fiddlehead ferns in the middle of a strip mall is a “farmer’s market.” In the place of actual jobs are adjunct positions: benefit-free, office-free academic servitude in which you will earn $18,000 a year for the rest of your life.

It is a bit better for us statisticians, but even there, the majority of jobs are in government, not academia.

Tip from the Instapundit.

The Man Who Defected to North Korea

Anyone who believes in something for nothing is already half on the road to being swindled.

Fortunately, millions who have defected to the People’s Democratic Republic of California are finding it easier to escape.

Update (22 July).  And then there’s this poor mook who’s looking for an Islamic paradise.  Tip from Via Meadia.