Possession of Ph.D. versus ability to reason

The decision of UK academic union to boycott Israel threw into sharp relief the difference between one’s possession of an academic title and his or her ability for general reasoning.

The Arab-Israeli conflict being a textbook property dispute, where Israelis claim the title to the land from which their ancestors were expelled long ago, and which was taken over by Arabs during Arab empire-building exercise, with further entanglements due to land purchases, British mandate, division by the UN, Arab non-recognition of the legality of the division, and Arab wars against Israel, the issue is not clear-cut. Is Palestine an occupied Arab land? Or an occupied Jewish land? Only 99 British Ph.D.s had sufficient reasoning ability to refuse to be drawn into having an opinion about something so entangled, and where an opinion would be of no value to either science or scholarship. 158 showed complete lack of the ability to reason by voting “yes.”

At least two lessons should be learned from this vote. First, it tells us something about the nature of terrorism, because one popular theory of its origin states that terrorists are poor and uneducated, and hence are susceptible to propaganda and brainwashing. The British vote gives an empirical proof that the theory of poverty and lack of education as the root cause of terrorism is nonsense – British Ph.D.s are both well-paid and well-educated, and yet are ready and willing to be victims of propaganda and brainwashing.

Secondly, given that most British academics are unable to reason – why go study in England? Why invite them to teach?

Update: Edward Costello writes:

The 158 Ph.D.s voting "yes" tend to validate the wry remark someone once made that some Ph.D.s can be categorized as individuals who learn more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.