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  1. #31
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucieCat View Post
    Ah that makes sense. I may have taken it too literally.
    I can see where you are coming from. Really, critical thinking should be taught before college. Still, I think that it could be very difficult for someone to learn it outside of an educational setting. At least in the US, I do not believe the current culture encourages it. Of course, this is generalized, but that's the overall feel I get.

    Still, having professors not receive public money would sort of be a strange balance since many universities receive funds from their respective states. So it would be a tricky situation for those schools.

    Still, I think there are worse things for the government to tax for. Well, I mostly think it is a huge problem that the government uses funds allotted for one purpose for other purposes. For example, the government is basically going to eventually drain the social security system within the next few years for other purposes. So they're basically stealing money that people have paid in to a system that will supposedly help them as retirees. However, the younger generations paying that tax won't have social security themselves.

    I'm an advocate for cutting spending across the board, though without tax cuts (if we are going to pay the national debt, they may need to be higher). The use of public money is just so fiscally poor. Honestly, the national debt is ridiculous. Still, no one would actually want to go along with where I think the cuts should be. Well, at least not in the government.
    I'm not saying professors shouldn't receive public money, just that they should use it to perform some useful social function to the taxpayers like teach critical thinking and professional skills, which I see as useful. I do think some in academia might enjoy the prestige more than giving back, though of course that's neither here nor there.

    To the public spending thing you bring up, when people tell me they want to have more money in the government by raising taxes, I like to point out that tax rate and tax revenue are two different things. Tax rate being how much you pay in tax taxes as a percent of your income and tax revenue being how the economy responds to such taxation. For example, if cutting taxes stimulates business and increases growth, the money the government has may actually be higher than before the tax cuts. This assumes tax rate is above 0 percent.

    Also, trying to decrease debt by increasing taxes is exactly what fiscal conservatives call throwing the burden on the taxpayer. I understand the argument of progresive taxation, that its gonna be the rich paying and they can afford to pay, but the problem is if growth dies down as a result of excessive taxes, the government will have less money anyways....like I said tax rate vs tax revenue.

    You can't pay off national debt. The government owes a debt to itself, in other words to the taxpayer. Throwing the burden on the taxpayer is thus a contradictory solution.

    I'm not actually for cutting things like social security, medicare or medicaid, if the tax revenue goes up as result of tax cuts, there will be more to fund these things...at least if Republicans want to keep them funded. This is the explanation behind rich countries and rich regions having more money to fund their public services with than ones where growth is bad and people are poor...

    I feel Republicans do a poor job of explaining these concepts to people though, where is Thomas Sowell when you need him, haha.

    Btw, please do tell me: is my explanation of tax rate vs tax revenue clear? I just want to know if I'm explaining it well...testing my teaching skills.
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  2. #32
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    It probably depends how you would mean "worth it".

    In terms of money and job outlook etc , it may be difficult to justify it.

    But if it is something you're totally passionate about and would find really rewarding AND you have a strong network (including family/other people who can financially support you while you are searching for work and don't have to take any job possible immediately after graduating to support yourself) then it might be a good idea. The people I know who have done well with a degree like that come from a strong financial background (grew up pretty well off) and were able to take their time after completing their dissertation and wait to get a job that they liked and that used the degree.
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  3. #33
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    I wish we all lived in a society in which you could just take time out to study whatever took your fancy just out of interest at any point in your life without it fucking up your prospects.

  4. #34
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    I think if we're going to have college professors acting like an elite intellectual family, that contributes nothing except an aura of intellectualism, they shouldn't do it on public money. I believe that was his point.

    I do think alot of academic culture is about showing how smart you are, sure there is nothing wrong with being smart, nor with showing it off but mental gymnastics should be financed by private money, what does it contribute to the taxpayer to see their money invested in some professor publishing his research on X topic which will have no connection to his life. I'm pretty into intellectual stuff myself and I respect people who are well read and can debate with me, but those are my personal interests.

    Not saying that education contributes nothing, btw, if its well done it contributes alot, I agree that teaching critical thinking skills is as important as offereing training for a profession, but critical thinking can be learned outside of public education, whereas with training its either college or an apprenticeship, I'm a big fan of critical thinking I do think it can be taught in school but since it can be learned outside of it I understand why many universities are placing an emphasis on training above socratic method, so to speak.
    Well put, yes agreed. I wasn't talking about say a high school teacher teaching say math etc. I was talking about the self referential, self serving 'intellectuals' (ironically the smartest people usually don't go into academia at least not as their full time career).

    Usually primary and higher education don't really pay enough to attract that particular class of parasites. I take issue with the generalized use of public funds to pay for bullshit degrees that add nothing or even negatively impact society (ie: gender studies for example) and I am against the coning of inexperienced young people with the promise of illusory job prospects - expect usually as professors to perpetuate the pyramid scheme.

    A person at 18 really doesn't have the funds to pay tens of thousands for studying hobbies. Their priority is to get marketable skills as to be able to survive in the adult world. It can be tempting for some to postpone adulthood by extending their studies or even staying in academia in roles that add nothing to society at large and can only survive via the aforementioned (the pyramid scheme style coning of the young and naive & theft via governement funding).

    If research has values there'll be plenty of private businesses willing to sponsor students. Academia is the only field where a writer can easily have a comfortable level of living for writing stuff that generally doesn't interest anyone.

    Yes there are some valuable fields, but they are few and far between. Say you have a phd in mathematics. For most PHD holders does it really mean anything except that they're smart - for STEM fields at least - , which can be figured out with a 1 hour IQ test rather than 8 years of higher education ? I think that if companies weren't afraid of getting sued left and right for discrimination they'd generally rather get a smart 18 year old (relative with the demands of the job) with 0 debt than same person at age 24 or 26 with 150,000 usd in debt - and hence requiring higher pay for the same job so that they can actually pay their loan and feed themselves concurrently.

    @LucieCat
    Furthermore it hurts women in my view to just make it a 'norm' to go through higher education - say you finish your studies at 24-25 - so you have what 4-5 years to start a career then if you want children you have to cross your fingers that you'll have the time to find a partner you actually want to spend your life with and pretty much have to either stop working or pause work for a while, especially if you don't plan to abandon your kid at 6 months (which causes massive amounts of distress for babies and attachement issues later in life). Imagine if the same women could start work at 18 - and be 12 year into their career if they want to have a kid or 3 starting at 30. Wouldn't that be more beneficial for women, couple and a better work life / personal life balance ?
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  5. #35
    Phase-shifted beam Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    Just imagine for a second that when you give an advice you actually had to invest real money into the outcome.

    Would you invest into @Warrior 's HISTORY PHD and expect to get your money back ? Really ?
    I would gladly invest in history degrees. Whether @Warrior is a suitable candidate for such a program, I cannot tell. I would want the positions reserved for the best and most motivated students.

    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    Spoken like someone who doesn't have a real job.

    a) that cliched line about how "we need historians because of some hypothetical situation", yeah sure, it'd be nice to have a handful of these - easily covered by hobbyists. what do you do with the other tens of thousands of people with useless degrees? Let tax payers 'take care of it'? because nothing says useful to society like confusing marketable skills with hobbies.

    Clearly, it does speak of good judgment, we should totally trust the views of people who can't figure out what university / college is for and elevate them as wise men and women in the public consciousness. yeah. right.

    What other strawmen do you guys use to prop up your egos ? Imagine that the rest of us philistines just can't possibly understand the depth of your non-existent accomplishments? I've studied plenty of topics at PHD levels - in my free time - because they are hobbies. I don't expect to be paid for it because I'm a grown up.
    What other ad hominem attacks do you have up your sleeve for when you cannot muster a coherent reply? Sure, you may recognize my example from a Tom Clancy novel, but we have been there already in many real life situations. Cuban missile crisis comes to mind, also the elusive "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, and now what N Korea is up to. I guarantee physicists are not the ones to provide insight into what that regime is up to, though we might help with some intel gathering technology. It will be those who have followed the history of that region that have the best chance of providing useful info, other than direct witnesses (e.g. defectors).

    As for the highlighted, it is off-topic, borders on more ad hominem, and does not merit reply.

    I provided @Warrior with the insight I have gained from my study and life experience. He can balance that with the input of others, including yourself, in deciding what is the best course of action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    I think if we're going to have college professors acting like an elite intellectual family, that contributes nothing except an aura of intellectualism, they shouldn't do it on public money. I believe that was his point.

    I do think alot of academic culture is about showing how smart you are, sure there is nothing wrong with being smart, nor with showing it off but mental gymnastics should be financed by private money, what does it contribute to the taxpayer to see their money invested in some professor publishing his research on X topic which will have no connection to his life. I'm pretty into intellectual stuff myself and I respect people who are well read and can debate with me, but those are my personal interests.
    Where are you getting your information on academic professions and accomplishments? In other words, what leads you to write the highlighted? I see what look like quite a few significant assumptions being made in this thread, not all by you.

    Quote Originally Posted by agentwashington View Post
    ...It does look like academia needs better PR, but ... Meh. Every layman seems to think they know about academia and their "ivory towers". And nobody considers the fact that we don't actually NEED to have every aspect of society governed by some outdated economic theory from the 1700s.
    Academia may need better PR, and may need to realign their research priorities. I can tell you, though, that those priorities are already 95% determined by funding. If anyone thinks that what academics research is irrelevant, they need to go after the sponsors, not the researchers. I changed my dissertation topic at the last minute due to a change in sponsor. No big deal, I learned many of the same things and applied many of the same methods. Don't think, though, that any of us got to research just what we felt was important. It has been a long time since it worked that way, if ever it did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    You really believe that gathering information via Google is equivalent to going to college? This is statement is precisely why I feel teaching critical thinking skills is crucial, because working in a structured environemt with other people who often have more experience helps you challenge your blind spots. Also, since we live in an information age, not being able to distinguish between quality information and poor information, even misinformation, is key.
    This cannot be overemphasized. It is a main reason why my main volunteer activity is science outreach with school students. The younger they are introduced to these concepts and skills, the better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    I think there should be different options for people to pursue. Apprenticeships should focus solely on professional training. Associate and bachelor's degrees should focus more on teaching professional skills, with critical thinking being a secondary priority. A masters degree should focus on developping critical thinking, with professional skills a secondary priority, and PhD level should be all about research and critical thinking, the degree for "philosopher kings", if you will.
    I disagree here. Critical thinking should be taught before college, to everyone. Yes, PhD work is for true scholarship, for those advancing the field itself. Much job training, though, can be accomplished better on the job, though apprenticeship programs. We should have far more of those. Not everyone needs to go to college, and not going to college should not be viewed as a sign of laziness, lack of intelligence, or poor job prospects.
    Last edited by Coriolis; 12-23-2017 at 11:42 PM. Reason: removed extraneous info
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  6. #36
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I disagree here. Critical thinking should be taught before college, to everyone.
    Actually, we agree on this, critical thinking should be taught in grade school. I was just saying different degrees in college should focus on a different priority in terms of what its goal is.

    Perhaps some courses should focus more on critical thinking whereas others should focus more on professional skills, of course the best way to acquire those are through experience, I found that I learned much more about the job through internships than through theoretical classes.
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  7. #37
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Academia may need better PR, and may need to realign their research priorities. I can tell you, though, that those priorities are already 95% determined by funding. If anyone thinks that what academics research is irrelevant, they need to go after the sponsors, not the researchers. I changed my dissertation topic at the last minute due to a change in sponsor. No big deal, I learned many of the same things and applied many of the same methods. Don't think, though, that any of us got to research just what we felt was important. It has been a long time since it worked that way, if ever it did.
    Good point. Resources always determine what's going to be produced, and so aren't necessarily neutral. I was referring to the usage of classical liberalism to "debunk" the need for academia because I think it is such an implicitly bad argument.

    Regardless of its flaws, it's still a lot more different and productive than some users on this site would like to pretend it is.

    I share your judgment on the first point of your post.

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  8. #38
    cute lil war dog Bush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Not sure what is being debated here, an idea or dog icons? You're comparing me to another member, which by the way you write that it doesn't sound you like this member very much, so touché.
    There's no better dog icon. End of discussion.
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  9. #39
    Noncompliant Yuurei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    I agree it is too bad that being smart labels you as being "overqualified" and that people see that as a threat. Conversly, I do think that it's good that you don't need to go through 8 years of college to be able to work your way up in the business or professional world, frankly that would be a loss of time.

    I think having a masters is fine though, most job ads I run into look for a bachelors and/or masters, having a masters as your highest degree is probably the sweet spot when it comes to finding a job, PhD tends to intimidate people though, I'm not saying it's impossible to find a job with a PhD, you're probably going to have better chances with a PhD than with nothing, it also depends on the field you work in, in science for example a PhD is good I would imagine even in the private sector, though we'd have to ask Coriolis. Summons @Coriolis

    I also think academia and the business world value very different things, academia values book smarts where business values street smarts applied to markets and finance, it's naturally a very different mentality as the nature of the work and its finality is very different. I'm not placing one above the other really, I think in life its good to have both book smarts and street smarts, they're not mutually exclusive.
    Having a PHD does not make you smart-a complaint I have often heard from my friends in the biochem industry.

    They often have PHD’s apply who know almost nothing. It is mostly because of they ways in which they are taught, parroting what they are told with zero understanding of the subject itself and no concept of real world application. If it isn’t something they have not before they cannot figure it out because they only know what they textbook has told them.

    I actually ran into this in HS. I am not a computer person and never wanted to be but I figured that I had better learn so I took a programming class.
    Every assignment was a pre-written program which we copied with no knowledge of the language. In the end I came away with no more knowledge than before and only frustration and even greater distain for the subject.
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  10. #40
    Armchair Explorer Doctor Anaximander's Avatar
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    I think it's something best paired with another degree unless you just want to teach it or write about it.
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