Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rant Time!

All too typical of social-science/humanities reporting in the media--it just seems like pandering to the audience. The fact is, there is no way to determine if two groups of human subjects are the same or different, and that is why this field (outside of demographics) is more stagnant than Okefenokee. What really disturbs me, though, is how quickly it devolves into political and philosophical arguments which have no empirical merit; for example, telling future students that students want to "own" their education or some other load of unprovable hogwash. The result is a divorce of brain and behavior, and large sums of limited taxpayer dollars spent on useless certificates, courses, and most annoying to me, professional "consultants". Some people are actually convinced that a child with extensive brain damage might actually have a fully intact capacity to think and reason and therefore we should spare no cost to have this child in school. Some are convinced that a severely retarded child with barely any intellectual capacity can write poetry if someone just holds their finger to letters on a board (just a like a Ouija board--but hey, some people believe in ghosts too). It's as though the last two centuries of medical science don't exist. The result is that people talk about "intervention", without being able to define what it is, how to measure it, or even care whether or not it works. And this is true whether you're talking about reading or behavior in general. It's as though if you just have a coach sitting next to a kid, that will create something that is not there--an understanding, an ability, a motivation. And *that* is the real story here--why do people believe in such easily falsifiable hogwash? Would someone hire a violin teacher for 20 years for a child, even though year after year that child showed no interest, or ability, or improvement of any kind. And now there are parents that believe that vaccines cause autism, which is as substantiated as the belief that devil cults cause cancer. Why do people have to believe in something that some evil, sinister force is out to get them? Or that the pretense of doing something is the same as doing something worthwhile? Answer *that*, and then you have a story. Otherwise it's just a load of **** filling up space in the newspaper.

Women, Work and a Name Change - Economix Blog -

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