Friday, December 20, 2013

One in a thousand


Good evening. The organizers have seen fit to place me on the schedule between you and dinner. So I will be mercifully brief.

As Terry mentioned, we had the awesome task of reviewing 150 promotion files last year. The word "awesome" can mean many things. Here it means humbling. It was humbling to review the impressive files of the full professor candidates. Our university is fortunate to have such tremendously accomplished faculty.

Terry, the Provost, and I upheld the highest standards in full professor promotion cases. Each and every person being honored here tonight has made important contributions to scholarship and learning, and is an invaluable member of our university community.

A final remark before we eat our rubber chickens. It is often said that we are entering or have entered the age of the knowledge economy -- that a person's contributions will be from their knowledge, intelligence, and creativity. But when an attorney prepares a case it is for her client. When a Google engineer develops a new algorithm, it is for Google -- for money. Fewer than one in a thousand individuals in our society have the privilege, the freedom, to pursue their own ideas and creations. The vast majority of such people are at research universities. A smaller number are at think tanks or national labs, but most are professors like yourselves. It is you who will make the future better than the past; who will bring new wonders into existence. Your work may be largely invisible to our fellow citizens, but the future owes its greatness to you. My sincere congratulations.

41 comments:

Rudel said...

Tenured professors are indeed a uniquely privileged group. I just wish that society did not spend so much money on the neo-Marxist, post-structuralist, objective reality denying, stupid ass fucks who comprise the vast majority of the humanities faculty.

David Coughlin said...

I'm curious why you threw post-structuralists in there.

Rudel said...

Surely you jest. Physicist Alan Sokal's famous post-structuralist hoax that was accepted for publication speaks for itself. At any rate post-structuralism is as anti-empirical as structuralism is, it merely tries to improve upon it. It has no basis in fact and makes no sense. No one in their right mind takes the *meaningless* maundering of Foucault or Derrida seriously (or hasn't even entertained this sort of solipsistic nonsense since David Hume put idealism on the dustheap centuries ago.) For a rigorous critique I suggest reading John Searle's searing criticisms in Beyond Poststructuralism.

http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01495-4.html



BTW, this is in no way a full fledged endorsement of Searle or Quine who ***like all philosophers*** keep trying to sneak metaphysics back into the conversation. Ontology and qualia indeed. By definition, "meta" physics doesn't exist. As Hume once said "in the end it all comes down to probabilities."

David Coughlin said...

I see what you are saying but I can't relate to it as criticism. None of those things that you listed is really a whole theory of anything, and that there are people whose job it is to endorse and indulge them to their unnatural ends is unfortunate. I agree with you on that. Though I don't know that we have an objective and systematic way to dole out cash for the research of them. We have, in general, the bias that the arts and humanities are valuable, and we are going to spend money on them. It is a basic result of social choice theory that when the dole goes out, someone is going to relatively make out like a bandit. C'est la vie.

Rudel said...

These people have an agenda that is no less than to drive a stake through the very heart of Western Civilization *including* quite obviously the sciences. That Stephen Hsu actually celebrates this sort of "research" is a disgrace and makes him seem like nothing but a bureaucratic careerist with no regard for truth.

Diogenes said...

charles murray has called the american academy today "the work of the devil". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VTQ-dBYSlQ



steve really is incapable of understanding such criticism. the originator of the terms introvert/extrovert, carl jung, defined an extrovert as an amoral sheep-person, one who assumed whatever affect or attitude predominated in his milieu. as monty python has it, there is nothing more dangerous than a clever sheep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vkw2DdoskPY

Diogenes said...

then hume wasn't a very good student of himself. he would have been the first to say that probability is not an aspect of the thing in itself but rather a means whereby the human mind describes the ding an sich. of course, it is now believed by most physicists that irreducibly random behavior is actually an aspect of the thing in itself. that is, qm describes the way things are in themselves.

maybe it was the eudaemonic pie people i first heard use the phrase "irreducibly random".

of course to push away metaphysics is itself a metaphysical position. but as much as pragmatists would like the truth to be reducible to the useful, it isn't. not entirely.

isn't it a mystery how far science has come? how far the universe has been made into a mental construct? idealism is the only explanation for this. that is, the stuff of the universe is mind stuff. as one prof of mine said, "atoms are perfect." that is, they are real platonic forms.

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David Coughlin said...

I can't see your point through your anger at Steve for whatever grudges you hold against him. I don't recall Steve ever citing himself without attribution. For whatever points you would like to invent, I will leave their discussion until there is evidence that validates them.

Rudel said...

He just claimed to be instrumental in promoting 150 professors. I can guarantee you that all the post-modernists and critical studies "researchers" are bad people.

Rudel said...

Michigan State investigates professor who tells students "Republicans raped this country." Also accused of harassing students who deviate from his politically correct line.


http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2013/09/michigan_state_professor_tells.html



I can tell you I come from a long line of Republicans that BUILT this country (for money no less - OMG!) and we didn't need any commie professors from MSU in order to do it. This guy should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

LondonYoung said...

Yeah, I am afraid this comment is redundant, but Profs who are almost always too scared to say or publish anything politically incorrect for fear of losing their juicy sinecures cannot honestly be said to be pursuing their own ideas. Steve is braver than most, but the shackles of a profit motive are still lighter on the wrists and ankles than those of political correctness.

David Coughlin said...

Of the dozen or so full professors I that I know, only one is an effete schmuck resting on his laurels. The rest are hustling and driven by their work. I have grown to be pretty hard-working though, and they are the people that I relate best to.

the duke of leinster said...

even if they "taught" they'd be thieves. anyone past age 13 who needs a classroom is too dumb to be in college. and even worse, the biggest cause of increases in tuition at 3x the rate of inflation is administrators salaries, and administrators do nothing whatsoever except hold meetings where they talk about when to hold the next meeting.

the duke of leinster said...

he has no "grudges" anymore than one who hates child molesters has a grudge against any particular chi-mo. formal education in the united states is proximally and for the most part a criminal enterprise.

the duke of leinster said...

it's not just the humanities profs rudel. the nat sci profs for the most part pursue totally useless trivia. they lie to their funders about the utility of their research, and they're paid to travel the country to talk about their research. even nat sci is for the most part merely an extremely sophisticated form of entertainment for scientists and nothing more.

the duke of leinster said...

in general those in occupations which do not involve the creation or distribution of physical things are liberals and those engaged in productive labor are conservatives in economic matters at least.

thus one sees that the liberal rich have made their money in nonproductive industries. london young is unusual.

Rudel said...

I owned a house in the Berkeley Hills for 20 odd years and while all the neighboring profs in STEM worked hard the humanities professors were either nonsensical postmodernist wimmin or drunk and stoned cynical louts.

David Coughlin said...

Your comment was not redundant, it was on target. The problem is the university system, not necessarily the people who populate it. The endemic culture, I think, is a side effect of the system, not the other way around.

Chris Adami said...

For what it's worth, Steve, well said. I think I am aware of this privilege every day. I tell people that I would try to do what I do everyday, without pay, and I would fight for the right to do so. And they all wisely council me to not tell anyone.

Chris Adami said...

Whoever you are Rudel, but if you are unable to show enough judgement when you teach a class, such as this MSU prof obviously is culpable of doing, then perhaps you should not be a professor. That has nothing to do with content of speech, only with judgement. Really. Also: Republicans built this country?

Bobdisqus said...

http://m.research.stlouisfed.org/fred/series.php?sid=MEHOINUSMIA672N&show=chart&range=max&units=lin

What multiple is appropriate?

Bobdisqus said...

Chris, so you don't object to the content just his judgement in allowing himself to be captured presenting it in his course content. You seem to doubt that it is possible Republicans contributed to the building of this nation. Whoever you are.

Sometimes Steve lets his hubris loose I think it good that he get called on it. He knows himself to be the product of the loaded dice of the genetic lottery. Granted he has worked to make value from that start. Steve sometimes forgets that physicists and university administrators are not the center of the universe.

Rudel said...

You seem to be unaware that the Republican Party ran this country while it industrialized for half a century after they won the Civil War. Also that the war was about protective tariffs and free labor. You undoubtedly got your education at the incompetent hands of the politically correct academics I have rightfully railed against here.

Rudel said...

A salary multiple of zero is appropriate for many humanities professors nowadays.

Rudel said...

Bullshit. No rational person works for free, especially if one has a family to support. The wretched existence due to inadequate compensation of graduate students and postdocs is amply documented (if by nothing else their own whining about it.) The whole educational edifice that is supported by the absurd idea that all God's chlluns need a four year degree is about to come crumbling down anyhow. Young graduates can't afford to pay back their student loans and college tuition increasing some four times the rate of inflation will see to that.

DK said...

It was humbling to review the impressive files of the full professor candidates.


Bullshit. All Associate Professors eventually become Full. Just a matter of time and persistence - no awesomeness required. You know that full well. As well the fact that the contributions of the majority that you promoted (rubber-stamped, in truth) range from minor to useless.

Rudel said...

If you go to the MSU site you will see that they divide Associate Professors into two groups, tenure track and fixed term who they pay considerably less.

DK said...

Associate Professors are not tenure track. They already have tenure and the only practical thing that distinguishes them from full professors is salary and retirement perks. What you have in mind has nothing to do with Steve's post - Research Assistant Professors (glorified post-docs, basically).

the duke of leinster said...

lincoln was the first gop prez. he frred the slaves. i'm sure rudel would have been a yellow dog dem had he grown up in the south.

the duke of leinster said...

you are right. formal ed in the us is proximally and for the most part a criminal enterprise. but the problem is college per se not the humanities and not that too many go to college. it is human nature to assume that social institutions have no inertia, stand or fall by something like a vote every generation. this is the opposite of the truth. the lecture and the classroom were anachronisms with the re-introduction of paper into europe and with guttenburg. the professor whether nat sci, engineering, or english is a THIEF. it really is that simple. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VTQ-dBYSlQ

i would volunteer to play the role of blokhin if only i weren't killing poland's upper class but killing professors and high school teachers.

i can honestly say that EVERY SINGLE SECOND i spent in a classroom after age 13 was a waste of time. and i'm a volunteer for steve's bgi study, so i'm not coming from the philistine/stupid camp.

Rudel said...

Not according to MSU, hence this faculty member:

Bernstein, Marc S Associate Professor-Tenure System - 2013 salary - $63,224
versus
Bernardo, Theresa M Associate Professor-Fixed Term - 2013 salary - $135,112

Looks like the bastards are cheapskates for those on a tenure track.

the duke of leinster said...

the same people who hate class LOVE class when it's academic class.

the duke of leinster said...

hmmm...i thought the war was about paid labor.

but you might like this rudel, after you're done watching the 700 club.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VTQ-dBYSlQ

the duke of leinster said...

"The problem is the university system, not necessarily the people who populate it."

that's like saying the problem is the politics not the political class. the categorical imperative requires that one never participate in an evil system. "act as if the maxim of your action were by your will made a natural law." when peopl;e refuse to participate in the system it ceases to be. when people stop voting the sham of "democracy" can't continue.

the duke of leinster said...

the philosophy professor whose specialty is ethics is especially hateful. if he could tell the difference between right in wrong in anything he would quit and get a real job.

the duke of leinster said...

one needn't hold a grudge against a particular child molester to know he is evil. steve does more evil than the average chi-mo.

David Coughlin said...

the categorical imperative requires that one never participate in an evil system.

That
is a fine, principled opinion and entirely impractical. When there is a
hegemony, which is what the arguments are supposing here, then there
are significant penalties for dissension. Moreover, the 'payoffs' for
revolution probably only outweigh the penalties when the revolution is
assured [and maybe not even then]. So the only 'rational' time to be in
favor of a revolution, in this case, is after it has happened [or not
to play the game at all. but that solution is ex
system
]. The status quo is incredibly stable. The system
enables the hegemony, and the hegemony enforces political alignment.

Rudel said...

A depressing but accurate Hobbesian viewpoint.

the duke of leinster said...

obviously there are penalties for dissension even though they are de facto not de jure. but this should not be a consideration EVEN IF you have dependents. but the penalty isn't execution or the gulag. capital has triumphed by excluding the useless and giving the useful proles too much too lose. be a man.

Jorge_Videla said...

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress
depends on the unreasonable man."

You are morally infantile.

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