Learned idiocy

Thomas Lifson
Robert Godwin, the often-brilliant proprietor of One Cosmos, offers some comments of relevance to the puzzle I mentioned in the previous blog post on leftist Jews trying to be "constructively" critical of anti-Semitism on the left.  He is speaking at a broader level, but I believe that the phenomena are related:

Why is it that the the smartest people are often the most unintelligent? Why is academia full of presumably bright people with such foolish or shallow ideas? And why do so many of them think the same way? Why are they so predictable? (And please, I am speaking of generalities here; I am well aware of the exceptions.)

Academia seems to be a culture, like the MSM, that is simply so permeated with the leftist worldview -- and all of its many hidden assumptions -- that it is utterly blind to those assumptions. And because academics mostly associate with their own psychoclass, they come to regard their worldview as normative instead of an aberration -- even an illness of the soul. Thus, they may not be so much arrogant as clueless. And the more elite the university, the more predictable they are. For
example, professors at so-called "elite" universities are much more likely to be irreligious than those from junior colleges and state universities. It's like a Darwinian process of natural selction, in which the dark academic environment selects only the metaphysically blind, who are somehow able to "see" there, like those fish at the bottom of the sea.

I've mentioned before that I have a relative by marriage who is a renowned historian. I remember once having a conversation with him in which I brought up the obvious innate differences between male and female nature. Not only did he disagree with me, but he insisted that I show him the data that I relied upon to arrive at this conclusion. There seems to be a sort of mental disability that can afflict the overly-educated person, so that he can no longer understand certain things that have always been known -- and in a way, cannot not be known. Something interferes with the "naturally supernatural" process of direct "internal" knowing, and must be replaced from the outside with "data" or an empirical study. I suppose it's analogous to someone who only ate processed food. Eventually they would lose their taste for natural foods. Compared to a fried academic Snickers bar, an intuitive apple just won't do.

I think it is entirely fair to say that the vast majority of academic "product" is merely junk food for the mind (as always, we are speaking of the humanities, or subhumanities, to be exact). No, I don't have a study to prove that, but how would one go about doing so, anyway? Let's just say that for me, most academic books and papers are so tedious, or tendentious, or narrow, or poorly written, or frankly perverse, that a normal person would want nothing to do with them.


Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Larwyn
Robert Godwin, the often-brilliant proprietor of One Cosmos, offers some comments of relevance to the puzzle I mentioned in the previous blog post on leftist Jews trying to be "constructively" critical of anti-Semitism on the left.  He is speaking at a broader level, but I believe that the phenomena are related:

Why is it that the the smartest people are often the most unintelligent? Why is academia full of presumably bright people with such foolish or shallow ideas? And why do so many of them think the same way? Why are they so predictable? (And please, I am speaking of generalities here; I am well aware of the exceptions.)

Academia seems to be a culture, like the MSM, that is simply so permeated with the leftist worldview -- and all of its many hidden assumptions -- that it is utterly blind to those assumptions. And because academics mostly associate with their own psychoclass, they come to regard their worldview as normative instead of an aberration -- even an illness of the soul. Thus, they may not be so much arrogant as clueless. And the more elite the university, the more predictable they are. For
example, professors at so-called "elite" universities are much more likely to be irreligious than those from junior colleges and state universities. It's like a Darwinian process of natural selction, in which the dark academic environment selects only the metaphysically blind, who are somehow able to "see" there, like those fish at the bottom of the sea.

I've mentioned before that I have a relative by marriage who is a renowned historian. I remember once having a conversation with him in which I brought up the obvious innate differences between male and female nature. Not only did he disagree with me, but he insisted that I show him the data that I relied upon to arrive at this conclusion. There seems to be a sort of mental disability that can afflict the overly-educated person, so that he can no longer understand certain things that have always been known -- and in a way, cannot not be known. Something interferes with the "naturally supernatural" process of direct "internal" knowing, and must be replaced from the outside with "data" or an empirical study. I suppose it's analogous to someone who only ate processed food. Eventually they would lose their taste for natural foods. Compared to a fried academic Snickers bar, an intuitive apple just won't do.

I think it is entirely fair to say that the vast majority of academic "product" is merely junk food for the mind (as always, we are speaking of the humanities, or subhumanities, to be exact). No, I don't have a study to prove that, but how would one go about doing so, anyway? Let's just say that for me, most academic books and papers are so tedious, or tendentious, or narrow, or poorly written, or frankly perverse, that a normal person would want nothing to do with them.


Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Larwyn