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Time to fight post-modernism

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Working in a university I have, over the last 6 months and on several separate occasions, had to come up against the 3rd rate intellectual nonsense that is post-modernism. The post-modernists have infiltrated the Bachelor of Educations taught around the country, not to mention the humanities. This has corrupted how kids are being taught in school and in particular how science is being taught in high school (which s what I care about). Now they are taking over the leadership of universities and are starting to hollow out Bachelor of Science or Engineering programs with vacuous subjects. If you haven't been exposed to what post-modernism is, like me until about 6 months ago, you should. From what I gather it is the belief that no knowledge is better than any other, with the implication that my crazy beliefs are just as relevant as your scientific-based evidence/data etc. They see everything, all human interactions, in terms of power struggles -- who has it and who is doesn't. 

I have also discovered this Canadian Professor who seems to be trying to figure stuff out in his own mind, and has copped a lot of flack for it. Most recently he gave this talk, see video, in which he lays down the gauntlet. It is full of good stuff: government funding of unis, AI, a new basis for studying the humanities and a call to arms to starve the post-modernists. All of this may seem over the top if you haven't been exposed to it....but as I say this is highly relevant to what I see wrong in my own university.

 

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I'm not new to post modernism. I have a friend that I argued with vociferously against for years that science was simply another belief system. He was a masters student in medieval literature from the University of Melbourne. I'm calling that humanities. The argument goes that I had no basis to doubt religion based on what I would refer to as an objective basis.

My objective basis was defined as the repeatability of experimental results. The failure of any one experiment causing the theory to require further synthesis or to be thrown out altogether. This is how I understand the scientific method. Not a belief but a method. Not as simply my own objective view but a collective view and an acceptance of the results by the overwhelming majority of folks that study the topic and whom have conducted the same experiment and achieved the same result. This is what I consider to be objective. The subsequent argument is made that they have simply repeated my flawed subjective experiment. I always counter with the fact that the theory has lead to concrete outcomes. The internet being the most tangible. It doesn't work by virtue of some fluke.

My bachelors degree was in environmental science. I've completed four courses since and I am now enrolled in a yet another, a masters in data analytics. This doesn't make an expert in anything other than what I have studied mind you and I don't claim that it does.

However, I can honestly say that business is not interested in such high falutin' concepts of subjectivity vs objectivity. And it is the new god. They are interested more in "how do I sell more of my sh*t" concepts. I understand that if I show up to an interview a start spouting post modernist psychobabble that I'm unlikely to obtain a position. The philosophy whilst interesting has no basis in reality and the idea of everyones subjective opinion being equally valid is anathema to common sense.  But common sense is anathema to post modernism.

It seems that the whole philosophy is the new Luddism. Or perhaps the new creationism. But that is actually my subjective opinion. :)

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Solomon is by far the better person to comment on this topic.

The last 20 years have seen a western world ruled by the elite; by elite intellectuals as well as the moneyed class and big end of town. The problem is that the 99% have not seen the benefits of policies based on with "trust me, I'm an expert". So there is wide scepticism in the broader population that spills over into education and academic discourse. In some ways, this scepticism is warranted. The knowledge of today will look naive and ignorant compared with the body of knowledge 50 years from now. We all just have to do the best as we know how right now, but there are no guarantees that we have the complete picture.

The 99% don't know what to 'believe'. Without the educational background or intellectual horsepower, most experts' opinions have to be accepted as an article of faith. We now experience a backlash of this faith in the last few years. Unfortunately, this has spilled over into the idea of empirical science. All that matters these days is the 'narrative'. It is not about the data anymore, it is more about how you curate, cleanse, and interpret the data. Media doesn't help with sensationalising second and third grade science headlines. Is fat good for you in your diet or not? Is caffeine harmful? Are pharmaceutical drugs effective and safe? How is a layman supposed to make sense of the latest studies, when these studies are often misreported by media and direct access to publications is prohibitively expensive?

So I understand the sentiment, although I despair at the lack of scientific rigour of post modernism.

Edited by AndersB

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Funnily I came across Peterson about a fortnight ago while I was rummaging through youtube videos. Seems like a smart guy.

He's also starting his own online university to take on traditional ones.

When I'm not so tired I might add my two bobs worth... but alas not now with a splitting headache.

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On 8/6/2017 at 9:10 AM, cobran20 said:

Surely not every liberal... :o

And surely some conservatives crave power? I can think of a couple off the top of my head.

 

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[3] One-Party Rule – Progressive Democrats have not moved to officially ban other political parties, but the fact that in many cities and states Republicans can no longer win control of either the legislative or executive branches of government under any foreseeable circumstances is extremely troubling.  A full analysis would be too lengthy to present here, but it appears that in at least some of these places, Democrats have secured a permanent governing majority in every election by means of special favors and income redistribution.  Republicans cannot match Democrats there except by playing the same game and in effect becoming Democrats themselves.  Under such conditions, there is no need to officially ban the GOP.

Republicans seem to be playing the game somewhat better than the Democrats. Their gerrymandering is far superior at the moment.

Republicans are so much better at gerrymandering than the Democrats

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When the investigation gets to the data analytics bit it will be interesting.

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37 minutes ago, tor said:

When the investigation gets to the data analytics bit it will be interesting.

Gerrymandering down to the street level by all accounts

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On 06/08/2017 at 5:07 AM, AndersB said:

Solomon is by far the better person to comment on this topic.

Thanks Anders, but its all "gobbledly gook" to me.

This article by Prof Daniel Palmer of Monash University makes a pretty good fist of it however. At the end of the article he suggest post-modernism (I'm never sure whether it should be hyphenated or not) is now out of fashion. But take a look at what's on the forthcoming academic menu!!!

Human beings are relentless at following fads. We are herd/tribal creature. We follow the crowd. Fascinate me with flattery and I'm yours. I think the academic world got lost on airy fairy land, and took a whole lot of us with them.

Philosophy and idealogy are intent on seeking meaning, even when meaning and purpose may not exist. We have battered truth to death, and now we are trying to relocate reality.

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Australia has been theorised by Paul Taylor and Paul Foss, editors of the influential journal Art & Text, as already postmodern, by virtue of its culture of “second-degree” – its uniquely unoriginal, antipodal appropriations of European culture.

If the language of postmodernism waned in the 1990s in favour of postcolonialism, the events of 9/11 in 2001 marked its exhaustion.

While the lessons of postmodernism continue to haunt, the term has become unfashionable, replaced by a combination of others such as globalisation, relational aesthetics and contemporaneity.

I'll leave my attempt to comment on this subject at that. Contemporaneity....... Hehehe.

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Here's an interview that is quite topical at the moment (I haven't watched it yet):

 

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