This is a worrying idea

It’s true that none of these projects saved Covid patients dying of respiratory failure. But in the long run, the pandemic may give proponents of the humanities an unexpected opening to change the way we train doctors and think about health care.

So the same tossery – post-modernism and critical studies essentially – that has destroyed the humanities should now be extended to technical fields.

Oh Joy.

39 thoughts on “This is a worrying idea”

  1. Those humanities people think the rest of us do not read or look at art or debate philosophy nor any of the things they hold to themselves, while simultaneously knowing little to nothing of various bit of reality the rest of us need to deal with. Supply and Demand, Conservation of Energy, Entropy and so on. They at least unashamed, if nit proud, of not knowing. The fact is that they don’t know the second law of thermodynamics, but we know about their stuff because it is rammed down our throats on a daily basis.

  2. Interesting to see that she advocates a return to magic. I wouldn’t mind but I don’t really think the witch doctor in a mask prancing around me and shaking his rattle would work.

  3. @Rhoda
    The problem isn’t that they don’t know the second law of thermodynamics, it’s that they think they do. They miss out the condition that it refers to a closed system, hence the panic which says we’re doomed because we’ve going to run out of energy. Someone should point out the big hot star in the sky. (Matt Bellamy in particular should take note.)

  4. From the article:

    The U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, better known as the boards, contains no humanities component

    Thank fuck for that, eh?

    I continue to believe that the study of history and philosophy is beneficial, or at least that it would be, if it did not happen in the confines of a modern university. However, reading the self-important wibble from the historian writing the article and those quoted in it, I think it’s best to raze their faculties to the ground and sow that ground with salt.

  5. On the other hand, Boganboy, I’m beginning to suspect a psychosomatic dimension to covid. Why else would states that ignore it do better than states that panic?

  6. “I continue to believe that the study of history and philosophy is beneficial, or at least that it would be, if it did not happen in the confines of a modern university.”

    There’s plenty of study of history and philosophy in Uni’s that’s beneficial, especially in the “technical” subjects, given that it’s rather important to know exactly how we’ve come to understand certain things, and where we went wrong along the way.

    Of course, this isn’t proper history and/or philosophy according to the Humanities wafflers, but who cares?

  7. Does your system take links to Bitchute vids Tim? Trying to link a vid there and my post vanishes when I press comment button.

  8. @MC – April 11, 2021 at 11:28 am

    From the article:

    The U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, better known as the boards, contains no humanities component

    Thank fuck for that, eh?

    Indeed… I’d guess that it’s fairly light on astrophysics as well.

  9. C.P. Snow railed against this in his essay, The Two Cultures

    A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?[5] I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question – such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had.

  10. I was thinking of C P Snow when I wrote my comment, but just thought it was obscure enough not to be mentioned, with a mention of the second law as a reference for those who remembered. Snow was a little concerned maybe that the senior civil servants of those days were educated in classics, dead languages, history and such but didn’t know how the world worked. What we have now is worse. A good proportion of the population is not educated in humanities or science, but in feelies. That is how they believe, for example, in renewable power generation. They are confident that their own determination that it will work is enough. And nothing is done to disabuse them of the ideas they hold. Mere reality cannot be taught to them except the hard way.

  11. ” Why else would states that ignore it do better than states that panic?”
    Because states with low population densities and young populations are more likely to ignore it, I suppose.

  12. I have a problem with people asking “what is the Second Law of X” because I can’t/don’t remember them as indexed items. I can reel off all the laws of thermodynamcs and explain what they mean, but not in order, and so could not answer that question.

    Oi, quickly, what’s the Fourth Commandment? What SYS call number is fork()? Quick, without looking them up! etc.

  13. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    Does your system take links to Bitchute vids Tim? Trying to link a vid there and my post vanishes when I press comment button.

    That’s more of a feature than a flaw, Ecks.

  14. “what’s the Fourth Commandment?” I learnt off the telly that the answer to that changes depending on whether you are a Protestant or a left-footer. But is it true? The lesson I mean, not the Commandment.

    ” I can’t/don’t remember them as indexed items”: I don’t share that problem but I do have the identical problem with Newton’s Laws of Motion. I have completely internalised them but can’t tell you which is which.

  15. @jgh It’s ok to look them up. The important thing is that you understand enough to look them up, and understand what you find when you do. Sometimes when you look them up you learn more, as I did just now, discovering the fork() syscall number for the more common systems is going to be 2 or 57.

  16. Another big problem with arts graduates running the place is that they can easily be taken in by pseudo-science, since they’re not equipped to spot the difference.

  17. What SYS call number is fork()?

    That’s a trick question. Not only does it depend on the particular flavour of the OS, it can also depend on the architecture it’s compiled for!

  18. I’m afraid that even those science-trained are capable of being misled by ideas that are politically driven, backed up with everything from cherry-picked data to downright fabrication, delivered along with a religious fervour that labels scepticism as the work of the devil.

  19. Commandments: the version in Exodus or the one in Deuteronomy?

    Which did God Really Mean? Tricky, eh?

  20. If I sent blank posts Dennis they would still have both more style and substance than your best day.

    Posts holding up fences have more wit and wisdom than your ink spilling. Indeed in your firearms fumbling you have probably shot fence posts brighter than yourself.

  21. @ dearieme
    In my Bible both sets are the same apart from unimportant variations in the wording which could be due to translators.
    “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy” and “Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy” have no significant difference.
    So what version do you have that makes them mean different THINGS?

  22. Reading the full article, it gives the impression that the humanities proponents see their chosen profession as unlikely to make as much money as hard physics, chemistry or maths, and want to get a piece of the high-paying medical action….

  23. There is a reason the charlatans of wokery have turned their baleful attentions to mathematics and the hard sciences. They hate and fear objectivity, falsifiability, and the classical scientific method. The sjw brigade are scared of that because they themselves are convinced that racial and sex differences in cognitive ability are bound to be thrown into sharp relief. They are basically wedded to racist and sexist stereotypes themselves, and this animosity of theirs lets the cat out of the bag. Their mindset is blacks can’t do it, so no-one must be permitted to do it.
    As a physics trained engineer, now retired, I can say that those disparities exist, though how much is down to core intelligence and how much to other factors (motivation, perseverance, work ethic ) is impossible to discern.

  24. @John 77: there are chaps who understand OT Hebrew who try to work out what the differences mean. Exegesis it’s called. Mind you the meanings of the commandments must presumably depend in part on their context, on the society they were intended to apply to. Since nobody knows with much confidence when the different bits of the OT were written and finalised then it must be hard to interpret them with any certainty.

    Anyway here’s a chap who knows more about it than I do.
    https://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_10commandments1/

  25. I know which of Newton’s Laws is which because writing N2L on many mechanics exercises to justify equating an F with an ma left a mark.

    I can never, however, remember which is Boyle’s Law, which is Charles’ and so forth. Indeed I can’t even remember the form they take. That’s mainly because I realised early on that the Ideal Gas Law (pV=nRT) encompasses everything one needs to know…

  26. TomJ: +1

    As for learning the important stuff, there is probably a fair number of CP Snow’s highly educated who fundamentally haven’t the capacity to learn it. Their minds just don’t work that way. I was good at maths from an early age, got Grade 1 at O level, and an A at A-Level (no A* then). However I also took Further Maths, and to my surprise and shock, only got a D. Then I studied Electronics at uni, and the first year maths started to get hard, and I really struggled with vector analysis and EM theory. So I definitely had a learning limit that hit me before maths graduate level. I could, however, have just been lazy I suppose.

    So I think that a lot of these people run into the buffers with STEM stuff in secondary school so they just go with the art/humanities stuff. They may even enjoy it.

  27. @ dearieme
    Yeah, I’ve heard of exegesis, which is stuff experts explain to me and what I explain(ed) to my kids. I agree with everything you say in your first paragraph.
    The link in your second paragraph, however … this guy is discussing monuments in the USA erected by some minority group. Exodus does not number the Commandments and there are many more after the first ten (or eleven, Exodus 20 splits the second of D’s ten in two) so it is reasonable to query “Ten” but all (or almost all) his other complaints relate to the monuments rather than the *insignificant* differences between the two records. Whether you list all family members, or all family members and servants, to constitute the household who must not work on the Sabbath is *not* significant (except, maybe, to Americans).
    One of the first things I was taught about Exegesis 50 years ago, is that the OT that we inherited is the combination of two sets of records from the Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah) kingdoms which explains my childhood puzzlement about why Kings and Chronicles: there are two records written from different viewpoints and/or with transcription errors and we don’t know which one is correct.

  28. Michael van der Riet

    I majored in Eng Lit. A novel can be summed up in a single sentence. Eight hundred page Middlemarch for example is a soapie about inheritances. To sum up Intro to Organic Chemistry, also eight hundred pages, would take about sixteen hundred pages.

    Richard Feynman in his famous monologue known as Ode to a Flower explains that when he looks at a rose, he sees everything that his artist friend sees, and he sees things that his artist friend can’t. As a humanities graduate who has worked in accounting, startups and turnarounds all his life, and dabbled in STEM, I acknowledge that the humanities are vastly overrated. Although being able to sound philosophical is of great help in meeting women.

  29. To sum up Intro to Organic Chemistry, also eight hundred pages, would take about sixteen hundred pages.

    Well, one of the first things that my organic chemistry lecturer said at university was “Organic chemistry is easy, there are only four types of reactions; Addition, Substitution, Elimination and Rearrangement”. Of course, you might say the same thing about maths, add, subtract multiply and divide, looking over your shoulder at BODMAS.

  30. The Pedant-General

    TMB, and of course The great Michael Flanders actually referenced CP Snow is his intro speech to that…

  31. Michael van der Riet,

    “As a humanities graduate who has worked in accounting, startups and turnarounds all his life, and dabbled in STEM, I acknowledge that the humanities are vastly overrated. Although being able to sound philosophical is of great help in meeting women.”

    One of the problems with a lot of the humanities is that there’s no real-world feedback loop.

    If you study veterinary medicine, you go and do a job making Fido better. The knowledge acquired is tested, quite seriously, in the real world. If you don’t know what you’re doing, Fido dies.

    What happens if you get archaeology wrong? At worst, a telly programme will be wrong. The material effect of this on people’s lives is pretty much zilch. It becomes a subject detached from reality. And one of the effects of this is that it gets much more political interference. If you look at stories from archaeology, they tend to find evidence for the prevailing establishment narratives, for example there were lots of non-white people who built Britain, there were women in non-traditional roles. Why wasn’t this spotted before? *crickets*

  32. The Meissen Bison

    BoM4 – What if you get a pandemic wrong? Or base modelling on crazy assumptions and fiddled data?

    Bad things happen – noone to blame!

  33. “”One of the problems with a lot of the humanities is that there’s no real-world feedback loop.”

    Feature, not a bug.

    Tractor Gent, I hit exactly the same plateau in maths after school. I had two As at A level, taking pure and applied separately. Could not relate to the more advanced stuff at all. Second top of the top set at a top grammar and couldn’t do it. So who the hell can? The guy who was better than me took holy orders and became a theologian.

  34. That plateau. I hit it twice, to my knowledge. Once in maths, sadly about halfway through the A level syllabus. Simply could not, at all, get my head around how you compose equations. Solving them, largely by rote, OK, -ish. But setting them up? Not a clue. The other was in music. The jump from Grade VI – mostly about playing – to Grade VIII – much about music itself – was one I couldn’t manage.

    Ah well…..

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