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Thursday, September 06, 2012

The immoral mind of Marc Hauser

It's a serious blow to the "morality evolved" crowd when one of its chief proponents, Harvard's Marc Hauser, has been found to have engaged in scientific misconduct in attempting to find evidence to support his theories of moral evolution:
Marc Hauser, a prolific scientist and popular psychology professor who last summer resigned from Harvard University, had fabricated data, manipulated results in multiple experiments, and described how studies were conducted in factually incorrect ways, according to the findings of a federal research oversight agency posted online Wednesday.

The report provides the greatest insight yet into the problems that triggered a three-year internal university investigation that concluded in 2010 that Hauser, a star professor and public intellectual, had committed eight instances of scientific misconduct. The document, which will be published in the Federal Register Thursday, found six cases in which Hauser engaged in research misconduct in work supported by the National Institutes of Health. One paper was retracted and two were corrected, and other problems were found in unpublished work.

Although Hauser “neither admits nor denies committing research misconduct,” he does, the report states, accept that federal authorities “found evidence of research misconduct.”

According to the federal findings:

-Hauser fabricated data in a 2002 Cognition paper that was later retracted, which examined monkeys’ ability to learn patterns of syllables. He never exposed monkeys to a particular sound pattern described in the experiment, despite reporting the results in a graph.

-In two experiments, researchers measured monkeys’ responses to patterns of consonants and vowels, a process called “coding” their behavior. Hauser falsified the coding, causing the results to pass a statistical test used to ensure that a particular finding was not just a chance result. Colleagues coding the same experiments came up with different results. Hauser “acknowledged to his collaborators that he miscoded some of the trials and that the study failed to provide support for the initial hypothesis,” the report said.

-A paper examining monkeys’ abilities to learn grammatical patterns included false descriptions of how the monkeys’ behavior was coded, “leading to a false proportion or number of animals showing a favorable response,” the findings stated. In an early version of the paper, he falsely reported that all 16 monkeys responded more strongly to an ungrammatical pattern than a grammatical one. Records reviewed by investigators found that one monkey responded in the opposite way and another responded equally. Hauser claimed that the behavior was coded by three scientists, when in fact he was the only one who measured their behavior. Then, when the manuscript was revised, he provided a false numerical description of the extent of agreement among multiple observers in coding behavior, despite being the only observer. All issues were corrected before publication.
I've read Hauser's Moral Minds twice, and while it is head-and-shoulders above the likes of Dawkins and Harris, I did not find his arguments particularly compelling, for the most part, not that I wasn't above citing them in my incomplete debate with Dominic.

Labels:

68 Comments:

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 06, 2012 4:16 PM  

I can tell by his eyes he looks like a criminal. Possibly also an arsonist.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 06, 2012 4:43 PM  

Let it be known to dupes everywhere: scientists can lie too. Especially when they are ideologues who are trying to prove an idea which they already believe to be correct. Did we not learn anything from Kinsey's own falsified data on human sexuality?

Blogger CR106 September 06, 2012 5:07 PM  

For those with any doubt that the graduate professions select for ideology, please read Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds. I have no doubt that these guys are lying to support the majority view.

Blogger David the Good, AKA Vidad the Magnificent September 06, 2012 5:18 PM  

@Idle Spectator

(choke! HA!)

Anonymous Tom B September 06, 2012 5:28 PM  

Moral Minds was required reading for a Ethics and Biology Seminar I had.

I was the only openly religious person there, and all it took to absolutely destroy Hauser's argument was to show that, contra to Hauser, most of the world operates on a dyadic level concerning self worth -i.e. feeling "shame" imposed upon you by others, not one based on internalized and individualistic feelings of "guilt". I then went through John 8:1-8 and it was all the rebuttle I needed.

"A" for the class.

Anonymous Jim September 06, 2012 5:33 PM  

"my incomplete debate with Dominic"

Other debates went nowhere too. I wondered what happened to the debate with the former Christian atheist who unconvincingly said you used obscurantism to obscure his lack of knowledge of theology. I thought you should have simply ended it instead of saying you will continue the debate with a side show. He already lost the debate.

As for the topic, does this mean science is not self correcting? It is self refuting.

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 06, 2012 6:13 PM  

For those with any doubt that the graduate professions select for ideology, please read Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds. I have no doubt that these guys are lying to support the majority view.

Of course. Most people have literally no idea how corrupt academia has become over the years. It is getting worse every year with all the money flowing in. Even in the hard sciences and engineering most resistant to it, professors are still in a liberal university environment. Affirmative action is still practiced. Graduate students are afraid of pissing off their faculty advisor. And new professors desperately want tenure.

Academia has the general population by the scrotum as you need a BS or BA degree for entry level positions. They have way too much power.

Now add Title IX to the sciences. Stick a fork in it, academia is done. Thank Science for the internet.

Schmidt was fired from his position of 19 years as Associate Editor at Physics Today for writing the book on the accusation that he wrote it on his employer's time. In 2006, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, it was announced that the case had been settled, with the dismissed editor receiving reinstatement and a substantial cash settlement. According to the article, 750 physicists and other academics, including Noam Chomsky, signed public letters denouncing the dismissal of Dr. Schmidt.

Someone hit a nerve. Now I must read it.

Anonymous Gen. Kong September 06, 2012 6:41 PM  

.... fabricated data, manipulated results in multiple experiments, and described how studies were conducted in factually incorrect ways.

Typical "ethical" academic science fetishist behavior in other words. Lysenko lives on in the great Cathedral of Cthulhu.

Blogger Ryan B September 06, 2012 7:01 PM  

So a prominent, powerful, tenured scientist is outed by his own graduate students and the lesson you take from this is, "Most people have literally no idea how corrupt academia has become over the years...Graduate students are afraid of pissing off their faculty advisor. And new professors desperately want tenure."

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 06, 2012 7:15 PM  

So a prominent, powerful, tenured scientist is outed by his own graduate students and the lesson you take from this is, "Most people have literally no idea how corrupt academia has become over the years...Graduate students are afraid of pissing off their faculty advisor. And new professors desperately want tenure."

Yes, you see it is where we take an example, and draw a trend from it. Unless of course you think that is the only example of misconduct. The fact that it is a "prominent, powerful, tenured scientist" just reinforces my point further about the corruption.

I bet you think all criminals get caught too.

The short bus is... that way. //points
If you put down the See N' Say toy and run you might be able to catch it. Remember, the cow says moo!

Anonymous rogerthat September 06, 2012 7:44 PM  

Ok, so he just proved that morality is not *completely* evolved yet...

Anonymous smiley September 06, 2012 8:16 PM  

VD:

Do you believe relative morality is possible on atheism? Why do you think rational atheism necessarily leads to sociopathy?

Anonymous The Stranger September 06, 2012 8:30 PM  

@Smiley: TIA is two bucks.

Anonymous George September 06, 2012 9:17 PM  

VD Said:

"It's a serious blow to the "morality evolved" crowd when one of its chief proponents, Harvard's Marc Hauser, has been found to have engaged in scientific misconduct in attempting to find evidence to support his theories of moral evolution:"

Actually, it's merely a blow to Mr. Hauser's reputation, and nothing more.

Anonymous George September 06, 2012 9:19 PM  

Of course you could also argue, if you were VD, that the various moral transgression among Christians is a serious blow to the "objective, god-given morality" crowd. But no one serious would make that claim.

Anonymous MendoScot September 06, 2012 9:34 PM  

Of course you could also argue, if you were VD, that the various moral transgression among Christians is a serious blow to the "objective, god-given morality"

Hauser was making false claims regarding new knowledge, not failing to adhere to the old.

All subsequent work based on his fabrications is now inherently suspect. He poisoned the well.

Anonymous smiley September 06, 2012 9:34 PM  

@The Stranger:

Actually, it's free, I downloaded it and read back it when it was available for free download on this blog.

If a man is clinical psychopath, then yes, it is, in light of the absence of objective morality, irrational to suppress his psychopathic urges, so long as there are policemen around the corner. But if he's a normal, empathetic individual? Is it necessarily irrational that he should adopt a moral lifestyle?

Anonymous smiley September 06, 2012 9:49 PM  

From another blog post, VD said:

"I believe that the vast majority of Western atheists are good people who irrationally, but understandably, subscribe to the morality dominant in their culture. I believe that a small minority of atheists are rational sociopaths - unfortunately, these are the ones who seem to have the will to power."

Why is it necessarily irrational to adopt the dominant morality? It would be irrational to declare this morality objective, but how is it irrational to live by the values one has been brought up with?

Anonymous Godfrey September 06, 2012 9:56 PM  

I'm shocked... shocked I tell you!

Anonymous zen0 September 06, 2012 10:01 PM  

Why is it necessarily irrational to adopt the dominant morality? The choice to adopt the dominant reality, if only arrived at because it is dominant, is irrational. It is not necessarily irrational if one has rationally concluded to follow it based on a rational examination of the morality itself.

Note that the quote you use does not use the terminology "necessarily". You have imposed it outta yer own head.

If you live by the values you have been brought up with without rational examination of those values, then it is an irrational choice.

Anonymous Godfrey September 06, 2012 10:06 PM  

"Why is it necessarily irrational to adopt the dominant morality? It would be irrational to declare this morality objective, but how is it irrational to live by the values one has been brought up with?"

How can a rational man of ingegrity hold to values that are at odds with the obvious observable reality of the world around him? I’m not being facetious. I would really like to know the answer because it would make this existence much easier to bear.

Anonymous smiley September 06, 2012 10:21 PM  

Let me just say, that contrary to the impression I might have given off, I don't have a real opinion on this topic, but still wanted to hear what people here have to say. Here, I opened a thread asking this very question, and argued in favor of adopting the dominant morality being irrational:

http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=37783

"The choice to adopt the dominant reality, if only arrived at because it is dominant, is irrational. It is not necessarily irrational if one has rationally concluded to follow it based on a rational examination of the morality itself."

So how do you rationally examine them, given that there is no objective standard on atheism to judge these actions by? (this is an assumption I'm operating under, but there are theists who disagree). The only way would be to see if they 'feel' right, but your 'feeling' is to a large degree a product of the society you're born into. So to use that, it seems, would be circular.

Still, despite these intuitions being a product of society, one can argue that adopting them as a way of living is not irrational. You will be accepted by society and you'll feel good obeying them.

"How can a rational man of ingegrity hold to values that are at odds with the obvious observable reality of the world around him?"

How are they at odds?

Blogger Ryan B September 06, 2012 10:25 PM  

Yes, you see it is where we take an example, and draw a trend from it. Unless of course you think that is the only example of misconduct. The fact that it is a "prominent, powerful, tenured scientist" just reinforces my point further about the corruption.

I bet you think all criminals get caught too.


Example: Some priests and youth group leaders molest children (all it takes is finding out one example for you to draw a trend, but there are far more examples than one), so therefore most priests and church youth group leaders are pedophiles. At least one bishop or cardinal hides a priest from prosecution and therefore we draw the trend that most bishops and cardinals hide pedophile priests. Thus Christianity in general is directed primarily toward allowing pedophiles access to children.

Marc Hauser example: You find one prominent scientist who has done something wrong. You find out about it because someone inside of science blows the whistle. You conclude that most scientists are acting immorally. But, given how you want to "take an example and draw a trend from it", you must necessarily also conclude that most graduate students would blow the whistle on their professors. See how that works?

By definition you can't draw a "trend" from a single example. Though with your intellectual skills I'm impressed you can even find the "short bus"...that's a big concept for you.

Anonymous zen0 September 06, 2012 10:39 PM  

So how do you rationally examine them, given that there is no objective standard on atheism to judge these actions by?

Rationality and objective standards are not the same. You are intent on confusing yourself.

I will no longer interfere with your self-flagellation.

Anonymous smiley September 06, 2012 10:43 PM  

Why do you think I'm "intent on confusing myself"?

Blogger Ryan B September 06, 2012 10:55 PM  

smiley, here's the difference between atheism and religion, in terms of standards of morality:

If you're religious, you subjectively choose one of the world's religions (or make your own) and it provides a prepackaged moral system. One system may be objectivily correct, but given that the vast majority of people who grow up in Christian households grow up to be Christian and the vast majority of people growing up Muslim in Afghanistan end up Muslim (and so on with the other religions), you are fighting an uphiull battle there. Though you may have been brainwashed into the religion when you were too young to make a real choice, you've still subjectively chosen which religion (and moral system) to follow.

If you are an atheist, instead of choosing a prepackaged moral system, you choose each element from the many possible moral systems that you find most moral. You can still have overarching rules such as the Golden Rule or use concepts like the Veil of Ignorance, but fundamentally you are thinking for yourself and subjectively choosing the best seeming moral path for each moral choice.

It's not that one is objective and one is subjective. It's that one is a subjective choice of an entire moral system as a package and the other is a subjective choice of each element of a moral system.

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 06, 2012 11:23 PM  

Marc Hauser example: You find one prominent scientist who has done something wrong. You find out about it because someone inside of science blows the whistle. You conclude that most scientists are acting immorally. But, given how you want to "take an example and draw a trend from it", you must necessarily also conclude that most graduate students would blow the whistle on their professors. See how that works?

No, I didn't conclude that at all. I concluded scientific fraud like this is another pizza slice of fraud you find in academia. Read the original post again.

Also, how hard is it to whistleblow anonymously on your professor even when afraid of him?

Your kung fu is weak. Only the penitent man shall pass.

By definition you can't draw a "trend" from a single example. Though with your intellectual skills I'm impressed you can even find the "short bus"...that's a big concept for you.

Sure you can. Take for instance the single example: 2 + 2 = 4.
I can draw from it... 2 = 4 - 2
Or... 0 = 4 - 2 - 2

And somehow, possibly, vaguely, maybe, hypothesize... -2 = 4 - 2 - 2 - 2
Negative numbers? Now we're REALLY getting crazy!

Can you see the trend? Good. Unless of course you are confusing this with drawing with your oversized crayons, such as connecting a minimum of two dots for a literal trend line.

Blogger rcocean September 06, 2012 11:57 PM  

Just another "fake but accurate" atheist.

Blogger Ryan B September 07, 2012 12:06 AM  

Your numerical examples aren't "trends." They're properties of numbers and arithmetical operators. And I'm very glad you included:
Also, how hard is it to whistleblow anonymously on your professor even when afraid of him?

I'm glad you agree with me. Science is self-correcting. Since whistleblowing is easy in science (as you just implied), we should expect frauds to be called out. Think about it ... doing almost any kind of science nowadays requires working with lots of people. If it is easy to be a whistleblower and you're collaborating with lots of people, then the whistle will be blown on you. Brilliant!

Anonymous kh123 September 07, 2012 12:08 AM  

One Cheka agent under Beria shoots another agent who was Yezhov's man. But both were under Yagoda at one point, so both will be done away with by the time Beria comes to his end.

SELF CORRECTION!

Anonymous kh123 September 07, 2012 12:14 AM  

...And, I might add, the length of time any one head of the Organs is in control has more to do with efficiency (quantity) and with which way the wind blows on the morrow than it does with any concept of arriving at the truth of the matter.

Millstone grinding industriousness.

Anonymous Rip September 07, 2012 12:31 AM  

Take home message: "people are corruptible, and everything they write down is influenced by their biases".

Think on it ;)

Anonymous Rip September 07, 2012 12:45 AM  

I can see the slogans from his supporters now: "At least he wasn't preaching morality to the masses while poking children in their asses"

Yeah, not so much of a "blow", rather a bad apple being exposed as a fraud. It happens quite frequently, as a matter of fact.

Anonymous map September 07, 2012 1:10 AM  

For the whistleblowing...

How do we know that he did not blow the whistle because he was screwed over in some way by the prof? That is not self-correction.

Blogger Huggums September 07, 2012 1:23 AM  

You couldn't make this stuff up. No one would believe it. Also, this is completely OT, but I think it's very important and I think I'd like to see your take on it, Vox.

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 07, 2012 1:52 AM  

Your numerical examples aren't "trends." They're properties of numbers and arithmetical operators.

AHAHAHAHAHA!
Are you fucking kidding me? I owned you using first-grade arithmetic.

You don't think the properties of numbers and arithmetic (binary of the form +: Z x Z --> Z) operators form trends? What do you think mathematicians sit around doing all day? You know, besides being virgins. How about something even simpler, like a sequence with 5 elements increasing by 1 sequentially, since that last example was too complicated: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

RyanB: "Nope, nope. You can't deduce any trend here with this one example. It's unpossible."

"You know, I noticed a trend the other day of a lot of people robbing this liquor store while wearing shoes."
"I'm sorry, Ryan B says that does not exist, because that is not a trend, merely the property of how people work while wearing shoes."

I'm glad you agree with me. Science is self-correcting. Since whistleblowing is easy in science (as you just implied), we should expect frauds to be called out. Think about it ... doing almost any kind of science nowadays requires working with lots of people. If it is easy to be a whistleblower and you're collaborating with lots of people, then the whistle will be blown on you. Brilliant!

Dude using that logic, if someone whistleblows about the terrible cookies I baked, and then the next time I make the cookies taste better, I've self-corrected the cookie baking process. HOLY SHIT MAN! That's amazing! Somebody call Betty Crocker.

Besides, what does science being self-correcting have to do with corruption in academia? Also, for someone defending hard science so much, why am I owning you with arithmetic? Are you a professional biologist by any chance?

Anonymous VryeDenker September 07, 2012 3:50 AM  

And yet just yesterday someone told me that "science is true, whether you believe it or not".

Anonymous kh123 September 07, 2012 5:05 AM  

"If it is easy to be a whistleblower and you're collaborating with lots of people, then the whistle will be blown on you."

Good to know that the American political system is completely free of corruption, thanks to the free press.

Blogger Ryan B September 07, 2012 6:30 AM  

why am I owning you with arithmetic?
Because you're not; you're deluding yourself.

Blogger Ryan B September 07, 2012 6:37 AM  

Or, to be clearer, a sequence of number can have a trend, but it is not a trend, it is a sequence. The fact that 2+2 = 4 and 4-2 = 2 is because we defined the + operator one way and the - operator another way. The fact we consistently define those such that 2+2=4 and 4-2=2 is not a "trend", it's a property of the operators.

I've yet to see you use logic once. You've said that the whole process is corrupt because young academics need to cheat to get ahead and grad students are too afraid to out them. You used an example of a tenured professor who got outed by his grad students to illustrate that. Then you said that it is in fact easy to out a professor you are afraid of, negating your first argument that academics get away with it because their students are afraid to out them. You've run yourself around in circles and now you're helplessly lost, only able to groundless ad hominem attacks. Why don't you try, just once, to give evidence and a chain of logic whereby you go from this one case (or other cases you cite or a study on academic dishonesty) USING EVIDENCE AND SOLID, CONSISTENT REASONING to get to your conclusion that all (or even most) of academia is corrupt.

Blogger Ryan B September 07, 2012 6:39 AM  

"If it is easy to be a whistleblower and you're collaborating with lots of people, then the whistle will be blown on you."

Good to know that the American political system is completely free of corruption, thanks to the free press.


Is it easy to blow the whistle in politics? I've always heard it was not.

You do realize you guys could get yourself out of having talked in circles by just going back to your original argument that it is hard to blow the whistle. But I guess then you'd have to admit the possibility that there might be one or more scientists with integrity, and that would ruin your entire worldview.

Anonymous Kickass September 07, 2012 7:21 AM  

Ryan B dude shut up. Freakin atheist never stop prostelitizing. I feel persecuted, we need some legislation!

Anonymous Vic September 07, 2012 8:28 AM  

Yes, I feel my whole worldview shaken by the fact that it is easy to blow the whistle on corruption in science.

http://www.richardsternberg.com/smithsonian.php

I think a little research on the topic would take some of the wind out of Mr. B's sails.

The scientific establishment is just as likely to ostracize individuals who stray from the prevailing dogma as any other religious cult in existence.

Anonymous kh123 September 07, 2012 10:39 AM  

"But I guess then you'd have to admit the possibility that there might be one or more scientists with integrity, and that would ruin your entire worldview."

Stickwick has apparently ruined all of our arguments regarding Science - according to Ryan above - simply by existing. Woe is us.

Anonymous kh123 September 07, 2012 10:43 AM  

Is it easy to blow the whistle in politics?"

Duh. Look at how many people are involved, including the press and the voting public.

Blogger WATYF September 07, 2012 10:51 AM  

Ryan B said: smiley, here's the difference between atheism and religion, in terms of standards of morality: If you're religious, you subjectively choose one of the world's religions... If you are an atheist, instead of choosing a prepackaged moral system, you choose each element from the many possible moral systems that you find most moral... It's not that one is objective and one is subjective. It's that one is a subjective choice of an entire moral system as a package and the other is a subjective choice of each element of a moral system.

This argument fails in several ways.

1) It assumes that people choose religions based on the moral worldview that they "subjectively" want to adhere to. This may come as a shock, but many religious adherents choose their religion based on evidence and then adhere to whatever moral system comes along with it despite any difficulty that may come along with that.

2) The atheist has no means by which to determine if elements from various moral systems are "moral". You can't look at Christianity and Islam and Judaism and Buddhism (et al) and pick out the "moral" parts of those systems unless you already have a system of morality by which to judge the various parts of those systems. As usual, this is classic Question Begging (as that is the only way that an atheist can arrive at anything that they call "moral").

3) Most importantly, the whole argument is irrelevant because it's trying to avoid addressing the nature of the moral system by instead focusing on how that moral system may have been "chosen". Even if we grant that the choice of a pre-packaged moral system was done subjectively, the system itself would still be objective (if, indeed, it was true), and the alternative (atheist self-created moral system) would still be a bunch of subjective and meaningless nonsense. In other words, even if I pick my moral system by flipping a coin, if that coin happens to select the moral system that is based on an actual Deity, then it would be an objective system and the means of selection wouldn't matter.

WATYF

Anonymous John Regan September 07, 2012 11:02 AM  

Speaking of Dawkins, what a rube:

http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/ignorant/

Anonymous CaptDMO September 07, 2012 1:16 PM  

Trends?

The report provides the greatest insight yet into the problems that triggered a three-year internal university investigation...

How long, how much "investigation", before those of moral evolution ejected Larry Summers?

Anonymous HH September 07, 2012 1:32 PM  

what is the back story here ? why are we interested in this ?

Is it that the existence of morals proves the existence of God ... ?

Blogger Ryan B September 07, 2012 2:23 PM  

You can't look at Christianity and Islam and Judaism and Buddhism (et al) and pick out the "moral" parts of those systems unless you already have a system of morality by which to judge the various parts of those systems.

But if only one religion is true (as many religions, including Christianity espouse), then only one of their moral systems could be based on an objective truth. So does that mean all the other moral systems of all the other religions "would still be a bunch of subjective and meaningless nonsense"?

You in fact have no moral system at all if the only thing preventing you from doing horrible things to other people is that an invisible daddy in the sky will punish you if you do those things. It's like saying a 2 year old has a moral system when they don't misbehave in front of mommy for fear of punishment. The only true moral system is one that is self-imposed. Otherwise you're just acting to minimize your own punishment and you would see nothing wrong with doing whatever you feel you can get away with, because the only reason to behave morally is to avoid punishment/gain reward. How sad a life, to never truly want to do good and always wish that you could rape, murder, and steal at will while the only thing preventing you is the specter of eternal punishment. Do you truly have no empathy for other people? I'm sorry that you have to go through that.

Anonymous Idle Spectator September 07, 2012 2:59 PM  

Or, to be clearer, a sequence of number can have a trend, but it is not a trend, it is a sequence. The fact that 2+2 = 4 and 4-2 = 2 is because we defined the + operator one way and the - operator another way. The fact we consistently define those such that 2+2=4 and 4-2=2 is not a "trend", it's a property of the operators.

So, you just agreed with me that I can take a single example, and deduce a trend from it, thereby contradicting what you said previously. Good job at owning yourself.

Vox, I really need a gilded statue of a little boy in a wheelchair now for being a cruelty artist.

This is awarded to Idle Spectator for his post on 9/7/12, whereby he owned his opponent by counting to five.

I do not really have any speech prepared. But I'd like to thank my hands, for without them it would have been harder to count to five.

Blogger Duke of Earl September 07, 2012 7:15 PM  

You in fact have no moral system at all if the only thing preventing you from doing horrible things to other people is that an invisible daddy in the sky will punish you if you do those things. It's like saying a 2 year old has a moral system when they don't misbehave in front of mommy for fear of punishment. The only true moral system is one that is self-imposed. Otherwise you're just acting to minimize your own punishment and you would see nothing wrong with doing whatever you feel you can get away with, because the only reason to behave morally is to avoid punishment/gain reward. How sad a life, to never truly want to do good and always wish that you could rape, murder, and steal at will while the only thing preventing you is the specter of eternal punishment. Do you truly have no empathy for other people? I'm sorry that you have to go through that.

Well you just failed moral philosophy 101. Would you like to sit again?

Anonymous Bobo September 08, 2012 4:08 AM  

http://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/a-misdirected-hate/

Atheist morality.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 08, 2012 3:54 PM  

Where did Ryan B go?!

I was just starting to have fun. I had kicked over the wheelchair, and was about to kick him when he has down.

Blogger Ryan B September 09, 2012 12:03 PM  

Why don't you try, just once, to give evidence and a chain of logic whereby you go from this one case (or other cases you cite or a study on academic dishonesty) USING EVIDENCE AND SOLID, CONSISTENT REASONING to get to your conclusion that all (or even most) of academia is corrupt.

Sorry, Idle, my toddler is far more clever than you are, and far more aware of his own limitations. It's not really any fun to argue with an imbecile who doesn't present any actual arguments. If you actually take a stab at the above maybe I'll come back, but otherwise you can enjoy making yourself feel good about yourself by writing things you think are clever but aren't.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 10, 2012 12:35 AM  

Hey, he actually came back.

It's not really any fun to argue with an imbecile who doesn't present any actual arguments

I am making them, but you are too handicapped to see them. This is fun, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. It's time for the punchline.

USING EVIDENCE AND SOLID, CONSISTENT REASONING to get to your conclusion that all (or even most) of academia is corrupt.

You ready for your next sequence?

From my original post (That's why I told you to read it again) on 9/6/12:

{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9}

1: College tuition is going up four times the rate of inflation. Even when point 3 applies.
2: Graduate students are afraid of pissing off their faculty advisor, since they have to run by them in order to graduate with a Masters or Ph.D. These graduate degrees are needed because of point 3 and point 6.
3: Academia has the general population by the scrotum as you need a BS or BA degree for entry level positions that should not require them. This also leads back to point 1.
4: Affirmative action is practiced in the hard sciences and engineering, along with the rest of the university system, corrupting the process of hiring for talent. See point 5.
5: Title IX will be applied to the sciences and engineering, corrupting it further. See point 4.
6: Degrees are being devalued due to point 3, even when getting more expensive by point 1.
7: There is a surplus of graduate students leading to exploitation and back to point 2.
8: There is a surplus of people with graduate degrees, forcing them to become exploited adjuncts, or float around in post-doctoral positions, allowing the university system to exploit them. Point 9.
9: Research fraud with are Marc Hauser here is the tip of the iceberg, since points 4 and 5 also lead to fradulent research projects.

See all the elements in the sequence relate to each other? See how I hit undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, and research academic levels?

I counted to nine this time! That was fun.

//kicks him when he's down

Blogger Ryan B September 11, 2012 2:36 PM  

(1) has some truth to it. You don't cite any sources and I've seen varying estimates and it depends on the time frame you're looking at, but yes college tuition is certainly increasing faster than inflation. Some instituions, like Harvard, merely eat up the increase with bigger and ibgger subsidizes for undergraduates, but many do not.

(2) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. In the context of an article about how graduate students outed their professor for dishonesty, where is your evidence that graduate students are primarily afraid of pissing off their advisors more than they are concerned for starting out high quality research careers of their own?

(3) Sure, though you don't cite your sources AND an educated populace has other advantages. Moreover, companies wish we had MORE skilled American workers. See, for example:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444840104577549131609451256.html
http://wraltechwire.com/business/tech_wire/opinion/blogpost/11156118/
http://www.jobs-council.com/recommendations/prepare-the-american-workforce-to-compete-in-the-global-economy/

Also having more skilled workers would put us in a better condition to compete globally for good jobs. The number of good jobs in America is not fixed; it can be increased if we had better qualified workers.

(4) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. I see way more white faces than minority faces in the hard sciences and engineering (with the exception of particular nationalities of Asians in some disciplines, but they are not benefiting from affirmative action). This means citing sources that affirmative action is occurring at an important level in these positions AND that it is causing problems. Further this point seems unrelated to points 1-3 and 6-9, or at least you don't relate them to those points. How are they related?

(5) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. This means citing sources that Title IX hiring is occurring at an important level in these positions AND that it is causing problems. Further this point seems unrelated to points 1-3 and 6-9, or at least you don't relate them to those points. How are they related?

Blogger Ryan B September 11, 2012 2:37 PM  

(6) Please cite sources. Also make clear statements. So you are saying no one values degrees (point 6) and that everyone values degrees, even people who shouldn't value them (point 3)? Or are you just saying that the expected income of a newly minted degree holder is lower than it used to be? That statement would be patently untrue, as those who have less than an Associate's degree have seen their real incomes decrease in the last decade while those with a Bachelor's have seen it increase (as have people with master's PhDs and professional degrees). See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States, which cites sources to this effect.

(7) Please cite sources. Do you mean a surplus in graduate students in STEM fields? In all fields? In STEM fields in big research universities? What exactly? Also, if degrees are being devalued, as you state in 6, why would more people be getting them? Do you not believe in the laws of classical economics? If something is worth less, fewer people will be willing to pay for it.

(8) Please cite sources. Do you mean a surplus in graduates in STEM fields? In all fields? In STEM fields in big research universities? What exactly? And according to the median household income data, on the whole they are doing just fine (even if some of them do not end up as tenure-track professors in R1 institutions).

(9) You are making quite the statement that hiring women and minorities leads to fraud. I'm sure some women and some minorities commit fraud, as do some whites and Asians. What evidence do you have that it is at a higher rate? Please cite sources. Or are you saying white and Asian men feel like they need to commit fraud to compete with the women and minorities? Again, please cite sources, and make clear statements. What evidence do you have that Marc Hauser is just the tip of the iceberg? Why is it any more logical to think that people under the pressures you talk about above (without citing any evidence of them) would allow more fraud to take place instead of being more likely to point the finger at fraudsters so that more tenure-track positions open up? Indeed, if there is a scarcity of big R1 tenure track positions, wouldn't the BEST thing a graduate student or post-doc could do for himself be to get a tenured professor fired and open up one more of the scarce positions for himself or herself?

No, all the elements in the sequence do not relate to each other. You "hit" each academic level, but you provided no information, cited no sources, and made contradictory arguments.

I am quite impressed by your ability to count to 9. It did deserve that exclamation point as it was the most impressive achievement you've made.

Again, my toddler is far better at constructing reasonable arguments than you are. Good thing you're not my kid or you'd never convince me to buy you ice cream.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 2:51 PM  

You actually replied again? I thought all the stuff I listed was rather obvious to anyone actually paying attention.

Please cite your sources

My sources are: real life.

That's because this stuff is rather obviously in the public domain. I suggest a quick google search is in order.

Google.com
That should get you started. But you want specifics? If you insist...


(1) has some truth to it. You don't cite any sources and I've seen varying estimates and it depends on the time frame you're looking at, but yes college tuition is certainly increasing faster than inflation. Some instituions, like Harvard, merely eat up the increase with bigger and ibgger subsidizes for undergraduates, but many do not.

So tuition is going up way too fast. And your point is?


2) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. In the context of an article about how graduate students outed their professor for dishonesty, where is your evidence that graduate students are primarily afraid of pissing off their advisors more than they are concerned for starting out high quality research careers of their own?

See, again we are back to that "real life" thing. The reason you shoundn't piss off your advisor is they help select classes for you, give TA assignments, clear the way for research opportunities, and either sit or know the people who sit on your dissertation commitee to approve your Ph.D among other things. This does not even get into things like graduate students needing to stay in school to keep their student visa. Kinda gets in the way of that "high quality research career." See how... self-evident... this idea is?

http://www.dissertationadvisors.com/articles/dissertationwritingadvice.shtml
My favorite quote: "Count the cost of a bad advisor. By the time a student gets to the thesis or dissertation “proposal to do research,” they have already paid 2-3 years of tuition, books, and fees, and more expense looms ahead for an indefinite period of time. They may have lived in undesirable places. They may have lost wages because they were geographically tied to the degree-granting university and unable to seek the best paying job elsewhere. They have lost 2-3 years of life when they could have been doing something more enjoyable and less costly in time and money, which is why graduate students may become doormats for bad advisors. They are afraid their entire investment will be lost if they protest their treatment."

Google search for "abusive phd advisors": 977,000 results.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 2:52 PM  

(3) Sure, though you don't cite your sources AND an educated populace has other advantages. Moreover, companies wish we had MORE skilled American workers. See, for example:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444840104577549131609451256.html
http://wraltechwire.com/business/tech_wire/opinion/blogpost/11156118/
http://www.jobs-council.com/recommendations/prepare-the-american-workforce-to-compete-in-the-global-economy/

Also having more skilled workers would put us in a better condition to compete globally for good jobs. The number of good jobs in America is not fixed; it can be increased if we had better qualified workers.


Why do you assume having a college degree makes you educated or skilled?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-01-18-littlelearning18_ST_N.htm
My favorite quote: "Nearly half of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don't make academics a priority, a new report shows."

This study is common knowledge and has been floating around for a while. Where have you been?
Colleges don't make academics a priority. So why do students still bother attending, besides enjoying football games and pot? Oh, I know, what I said previously: Academia has the general population by the scrotum as you need a BS or BA degree for entry level positions that should not require them. I should not need a BA in sociology to work in an office cubicle.

Google search for "no gains in learning undergraduates": 3,380,000 results.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 2:54 PM  

(4) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. I see way more white faces than minority faces in the hard sciences and engineering (with the exception of particular nationalities of Asians in some disciplines, but they are not benefiting from affirmative action). This means citing sources that affirmative action is occurring at an important level in these positions AND that it is causing problems. Further this point seems unrelated to points 1-3 and 6-9, or at least you don't relate them to those points. How are they related?

Of course you see more white and asian faces in the sciences and engineering: they do more. That does not change the fact that affirmative action is practiced, placing minorities in positions they did not earn due to skin color, thereby corrupting the hiring process.

It seems unrelated to 1-3 and 6-9 because it is. Read what I wrote again.
This is related to point 5, because Title IX and affirmative action are both ways of corrupting hiring in the mold of social engineering.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/01/not-catching-up-affirmative-action-at-duke-university.html
My favorite quote: "The shift of black students across majors is dramatic. Prior to entering Duke, for example, 76.7% of black males expect to major in the natural sciences, engineering or economics but only 35% of them actually do major in these fields (almost all Duke students do graduate so this result is due to a shift in major not dropping out). In comparison, 68.7% of white males expect to major in sci/eng/econ and 63.6% of them actually do graduate with a major in these fields (this is from Table 9 and is of those students who had an expected major). White and black females also exit sci/eng/econ majors at high rates, although the race gap for females is not as large as for males. The authors do not discuss the consequences of dashed expectations."

Google search for "stem majors affirmative action": 2,190,000 results.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 2:56 PM  

(5) Please cite your sources. You are just making unsubstantiated claims here. This means citing sources that Title IX hiring is occurring at an important level in these positions AND that it is causing problems. Further this point seems unrelated to points 1-3 and 6-9, or at least you don't relate them to those points. How are they related?

You're a bit slow, aren't you? They haven't started practicing Title IX yet, but are planning to in the next couple of years. Read what I wrote again. "Title IX will be..."

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/20/usa-whitehouse-titleix-idINL1E8HKJNC20120620
My favorite quote: "New guidelines will also be issued to grant-receiving universities and colleges to help institutions comply with Title IX rules in the science, technology, engineering and math fields."

Google search for "title ix science": 4,800,000 results.


(6) Please cite sources. Also make clear statements. So you are saying no one values degrees (point 6) and that everyone values degrees, even people who shouldn't value them (point 3)? Or are you just saying that the expected income of a newly minted degree holder is lower than it used to be? That statement would be patently untrue, as those who have less than an Associate's degree have seen their real incomes decrease in the last decade while those with a Bachelor's have seen it increase (as have people with master's PhDs and professional degrees). See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States, which cites sources to this effect.

Make clear statements? College degrees being devalued is not clear enough? It's basic supply and demand. The more degrees you grant, the less any individual degree is worth. Again, we are back to that "real life" thing instead of intellectual models.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121623686919059307.html?mod=yhoofront
My favorite quote: "For decades, the typical college graduate's wage rose well above inflation. But no longer. In the economic expansion that began in 2001 and now appears to be ending, the inflation-adjusted wages of the majority of U.S. workers didn't grow, even among those who went to college. The government's statistical snapshots show the typical weekly salary of a worker with a bachelor's degree, adjusted for inflation, didn't rise last year from 2006 and was 1.7% below the 2001 level."

Google search for "college degree devaluation": 287,000 results.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 2:59 PM  

(7) Please cite sources. Do you mean a surplus in graduate students in STEM fields? In all fields? In STEM fields in big research universities? What exactly? Also, if degrees are being devalued, as you state in 6, why would more people be getting them? Do you not believe in the laws of classical economics? If something is worth less, fewer people will be willing to pay for it.

A surplus in stem fields? Yes.
A surplus in all fields? Yes.


"Also, if degrees are being devalued, as you state in 6, why would more people be getting them?" Do you by any chance have Down's Syndrome? If a bachelor's degree does not distinguish you in the job market (see previous point about degrees being devalued), you go back for a MA or Ph.D. to distinguish your job application. The cycle then repeats itself. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This next piece of data is great, because it shows humanities graduate students are even worse off than people in stem subjects. Again, back to "real life" - everything said is blatently obvious. Everyone paying attention knows graduate students get the shit teaching jobs among other things.

http://changinguniversities.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-use-and-abuse-of-graduate-students.html
My favorite quote: "One thing that Cohen does not examine is the fact that because so many grad students are teaching undergraduate courses, there is not reason to hire professors with doctorates to teach undergrad classes. In other terms, grad students unknowingly produce their own future unemployment.

One would think that universities would realize that the current system exploits grad students and trains them for jobs that don’t exist, but instead of reducing the number of doctoral students and increasing the number of professors with PhDs, universities are continuing to hire people off of the tenure track as they accept more graduate students into their doctoral programs."

Google search for "exploit graduate students": 9,450,000 results.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 3:01 PM  

8) Please cite sources. Do you mean a surplus in graduates in STEM fields? In all fields? In STEM fields in big research universities? What exactly? And according to the median household income data, on the whole they are doing just fine (even if some of them do not end up as tenure-track professors in R1 institutions).

A surplus in stem fields? Yes.
A surplus in all fields? Yes.

The information in this next link has literally been floating around in various forms for years. But we'll use the Economist this time.

http://www.economist.com/node/17723223
My favorite quote: "In research the story is similar. PhD students and contract staff known as “postdocs”, described by one student as “the ugly underbelly of academia”, do much of the research these days. There is a glut of postdocs too. Dr Freeman concluded from pre-2000 data that if American faculty jobs in the life sciences were increasing at 5% a year, just 20% of students would land one. In Canada 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year before tax—the average salary of a construction worker. The rise of the postdoc has created another obstacle on the way to an academic post. In some areas five years as a postdoc is now a prerequisite for landing a secure full-time job."

Google search for "too many graduate students": 4,500,000 results.


(9) You are making quite the statement that hiring women and minorities leads to fraud. I'm sure some women and some minorities commit fraud, as do some whites and Asians. What evidence do you have that it is at a higher rate? Please cite sources. Or are you saying white and Asian men feel like they need to commit fraud to compete with the women and minorities? Again, please cite sources, and make clear statements. What evidence do you have that Marc Hauser is just the tip of the iceberg? Why is it any more logical to think that people under the pressures you talk about above (without citing any evidence of them) would allow more fraud to take place instead of being more likely to point the finger at fraudsters so that more tenure-track positions open up? Indeed, if there is a scarcity of big R1 tenure track positions, wouldn't the BEST thing a graduate student or post-doc could do for himself be to get a tenured professor fired and open up one more of the scarce positions for himself or herself?

No, I said hiring women and minorities leads to fraudulent research projects because you are putting them in research positions they cannot compete in. So corners will be cut.

Here's one example:

http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/special/gilmer-gloria_HAIRSTYLES.html

OOOOOOOH, ETHNOMATHEMATICS!? Why didn't I think of that one? I was busy with partial differential equations. Sign me up!

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 12, 2012 3:04 PM  

The above looks like a ton of writing, but really Google did most of the work for me.



No, all the elements in the sequence do not relate to each other. You "hit" each academic level, but you provided no information, cited no sources, and made contradictory arguments.

List the "contradictory" precisely. To quote the movie The Princess Bride, I don't think that word means what you think it means.


Again, my toddler is far better at constructing reasonable arguments than you are. Good thing you're not my kid or you'd never convince me to buy you ice cream.

I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I am trying to make you look stupid for the readers following along because I write for the lulz. So far, I have succeeded admirably, as I owned you by counting to five and reduced you to going "well, unless I have the actual paper in front of me that says tuition is going up too fast, it must not be true."

"You know, unless I have documented cellular proof and roentgenograms showing bones that conclude that people on average have two legs, it must not be true..."

Yeah, thaaaaat's definitely going to be a winner.

Blogger Ryan B September 12, 2012 11:09 PM  

Many of your points are wrong and inflammatory but I have to get back to my real research. Since you are keen on "real life" evidence around...you claim that PhD holders, masters degree holders, and bachelors degree holders are doing worse now. The economic data show that those with less education are doing terribly. And yet the American GDP is not collapsing. So someone must be winning. And what degrees do the winners have? I can tell you I didn't have the skills for my straight-out-of-college $120k/year job until after I went to college. And now in my 2nd Ivy League school for a PhD (I chose to leave that job for) the women professors are as talented as the men and I am getting amazing opportunities.

Blogger Ryan B September 13, 2012 12:07 AM  

Also...capitalism...if the degree is not worth it, people won't pay. Or do you not believe in capitalism?

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 13, 2012 1:16 PM  

Many of your points are wrong and inflammatory

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


Since you are keen on "real life" evidence around...you claim that PhD holders, masters degree holders, and bachelors degree holders are doing worse now. The economic data show that those with less education are doing terribly.

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


And yet the American GDP is not collapsing.

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


So someone must be winning.

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


And what degrees do the winners have? I can tell you I didn't have the skills for my straight-out-of-college $120k/year job until after I went to college.

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


And now in my 2nd Ivy League school for a PhD (I chose to leave that job for) the women professors are as talented as the men and I am getting amazing opportunities.

What does this have to do with corruption in academia, or any of the points I made?


Also...capitalism...if the degree is not worth it, people won't pay. Or do you not believe in capitalism?

Where's the list of "contradictory arguments" I supposedly made?

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