We should be more skeptical of PhDs

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mirror93
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We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by mirror93 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:20 pm

I see religious people and new agers constantly quoting people with PhD to confirm their bogus theories... problem is, we never know who's behind the PhD, until we do a little bit more of research.
We never know if the person who owns the PhD had a personal agenda or purpose before, such as this person here: https://spiritualityexplained.com/ he has a PhD, is constantly posting on quora new age BS misguided as neuroscience, and I religious people quoting him as a proof because of his PhD.. even a hippie can get a PhD..
just pointing out this :bear:
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Monster » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:33 pm

I agree with you. The second worst employee at my current job (the guy in question is no longer with us) had a PhD and he sucked ass.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:08 pm

I recall an episode of Hell's Kitchen, where a guest had a dispute with the a waiter, saying that because he had a PhD, it meant that the waiter was wrong because he didn't have one. I think his PhD should be revoked.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Wordbird » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:06 am

landrew wrote:I recall an episode of Hell's Kitchen, where a guest had a dispute with the a waiter, saying that because he had a PhD, it meant that the waiter was wrong because he didn't have one. I think his PhD should be revoked.
It probably already was, which is why he felt the need to do this.

(Lol. In all seriousness I'd usually be on the side of the customer by default because I've taken some serious {!#%@} from food establishments... and no one will actually cook me a well-done hamburger to this day... but an ad verecundiam of this proportion deserves some kind of logic bomb.)

My honest assessment of this topic is that there's too much money in "science" (and I'm placing it in quotes to denote the things people "study" that now qualify as "science") to trust anything that comes out of the peer-reviewed false trust mill.

Let me give you an example. Let's say I own a cookie company. I know cookies are unhealthy as all flaming diabetical food addiction, so I make some token gesture like replacing the butter in my cookies with seagull oil, and I need people to trust that seagull oil is the healthiest thing since sliced rocks.

So I offer a ton of money to researchers who can prove this. They know where the money's coming from even if it's not explicit. Research is part of the free market, and he who doesn't please the customer... loses.

Now all this fakery gets "peer-reviewed" but it doesn't mean a hill of soybeans because every other researcher also knows not to rock the golden boat.

I get the consumer trust, everybody buys seagull oil cookies, and some shill of a scientist gets recognition.

Everybody wins, except the rubes eating seagull oil for five times the price of normal cookies, thinking it protects them from cancer.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Monster » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:22 pm

James Randi had a few things to say about PhD recipients. For example, when they get a PhD, they lose the ability to say "I don't know."
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:08 pm

A sweeping generalization is applying a general rule to a specific instance (without proper evidence), and a hasty generalization is applying a specific rule to a general situation (without proper evidence). For example: You get what you pay for.Jan 26, 2015
What is the difference between hasty generalization and sweeping generalization?
httpshttps://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/qa/Bo ... ralization
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by busterggi » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:22 pm

Are you impuning my PhD in Medieval Metaphysics from Arkham University? Because its done wonders on my resume. True.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:19 pm

Five minutes on Google reveals that "Himalayan Goji juice" is nothing more than common wolfberry, grown in China, and cheaply abundant because it hadn't found much of an export market.

Until a man named Earl Mindell saw a marketing opportunity to rebrand this mundane product, making astounding claims and touting a Ph.D which he obtained from Pacific Western University, a diploma mill which conducted no classes, and only required payment in exchange for a Ph.D. I was offered a "distributorship" of this product, through a multi-level marketing (a.k.a. pyramid scheme.) I was to get rich by selling a 1-liter bottle of the stuff for about $50. No thanks.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:32 pm

I refused to go on from a masters to a Ph.D. I saw it as a bit too restricting on the type of work I wanted to do.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by mirror93 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:53 pm

I can name a few others...

Rudolph Tanzi (Ph.D) is friends with Deepak and his contents are new-agey and Chopra-like
Fred Alan Wolf, (Ph.D) Was in movies like 'the secret' and 'what the bleep do we know' spewing woo
John Hagelin (Ph.D) another con-artist who got Ph.D only to spew new age bs
Amit Goswami (Ph.D) same as all above
etc...

In quora you will find many hippy-like, buddhist-like "Ph.Ds" talking about religious or spiritual nonsense and some people quote them as a final source of truth that can't be confronted of because his/her 'degree' he/she always has to be "right", only to find that all these people were already into woo before their Ph.D
Last edited by mirror93 on Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:58 pm

Thousands and thousands of Ph.Ds. and you find ... four that aren't kosher. Do you think all black people sell crack and belong to gangs?
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by mirror93 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:02 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:Thousands and thousands of Ph.Ds. and you find ... four that aren't kosher. Do you think all black people sell crack and belong to gangs?

Did you even read what I said? I find random unknown people with PhDs on quora spewing new age and spiritual bs almost everyday. These 4 are the the famous ones. Did you know that even David Eagleman is now talking with gurus around the world? I can name a few others that are into this non dual buddhist BS stuff that is contaminating science
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:03 pm

My question still stands.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by TJrandom » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:00 am

landrew wrote:I refused to go on from a masters to a Ph.D. I saw it as a bit too restricting on the type of work I wanted to do.
Same here. The Ph.D. would have only paved a road into academia, and I didn`t have that interest or need. As they say - those who can, do, while those who cannot, teach.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:06 am

There are Ph.D. qualified idiots. But there are a lot more that are smart people. Having an advanced degree indicates both intelligence and persistence.

Of course, quoting a person with a Ph.D. in divinity is not achieving anything. Degrees in science, engineering and medicine are far more likely to indicate someone worth quoting.

Let me also add that tests of general intelligence have consistently shown the impact of education. Every extra year in school or university adds about 3 points to the IQ. The many years required to get a Ph. D. is also going to raised IQ to the point of significantly higher intelligence.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Austin Harper » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:53 pm

I don't know who said this originally (it's attributed to lots of people), but I like it:
Experts are those who know more and more about less unless until they know absolutely everything about nothing at all.
Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:58 pm

It depends whether your work drives you to a PhD, or the PhD drives you to find easy status in society without much effort.
Tenure is becoming a thing of the past. Coasting on your letters isn't as easy as it once was.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:40 pm

Not all Ph.D. people end up in academia. A lot wind up in industry, or in research. One of the people I respect the most is a Ph. D. who was general manager of a factory. He is smart and used the very best management methods.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:43 pm

Millions of Ph.Ds in the world.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Wordbird » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:11 am

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:My question still stands.
The answer is that the "not all" is what the OP is arguing. Not all doctorate holders are trustworthy. It's not a trustability stamp. It shouldn't be treated as one.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:22 am

We shouldn't trust anyone who hasn't proven trustworthy. This is not news.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:56 am

All a PhD proves, is that someone had the ability to obtain a PhD. That's not the ability to hold a job, do simple tasks, be trusted with the keys to the place, or earn your pay. I believe I heard somewhere that there are a shocking number of PhDs driving cabs for a living. Personally, I've seen some strange things. One person, after having spent years earning his PhD, chose only to work in a bookstore, spending most of his time sitting behind the counter, reading books. He refused all offers to sit on boards, work or consult. He just wanted to be "left alone."

A PhD is a great tool if you use it. It can enable you to do great things, explore new knowledge and write great books, but like any tool, it's only that without someone using it properly. We all know about the "professional student." Someone who has fallen in love with academic life, can't bear to leave, so continues to accumulate degrees for years.

Imagine, as an employer, looking at a resume with five masters degrees or several PhDs. It seems to me that most of them would want to give it a pass because of what it says about someone who has over-educated themselves to such a level. I knew a young lady, quite brilliant, who completed a series of five masters degrees, all in different fields of engineering and biology. She landed a job at the local K-mart working at the garden center. Sadly, it only lasted about a week. I don't know the details, but it's difficult to imagine that you could do such a job without the education getting in the way at some point. Being employable is definitely a life skill you don't learn in graduate school.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:39 pm

Hmmm

It seems to me that here is a case of sour grapes. Resentment of successful people.

Certainly there are a few Ph.D qualified people who lack what it takes. But statistically, a Ph.D is a very good predictor of competence and success. If a person has Ph.D in a particular field and writes about that field, I for one will take their views seriously.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:44 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Hmmm

It seems to me that here is a case of sour grapes. Resentment of successful people.

Certainly there are a few Ph.D qualified people who lack what it takes. But statistically, a Ph.D is a very good predictor of competence and success. If a person has Ph.D in a particular field and writes about that field, I for one will take their views seriously.
Sweeping generalizations based on outliers is a rule of the Internet.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by landrew » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:53 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Hmmm

It seems to me that here is a case of sour grapes. Resentment of successful people.

Certainly there are a few Ph.D qualified people who lack what it takes. But statistically, a Ph.D is a very good predictor of competence and success. If a person has Ph.D in a particular field and writes about that field, I for one will take their views seriously.
I didn't want to give the impression that most PhDs were a failure. Only that I have found it more common than I had expected.
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Dr_Dickie » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:28 pm

As someone who has one, and has worked almost exclusively with PhDs for years, most PhDs I know are quite bright and quite capable. But, as there always is with humans, there are some real idiots out there. A PhD is very esoteric in nature, and even a very illogical and ignorant person can earn one if they apply themselves to that specific topic and persevere. And I am speaking of scientific PhDs here. Most people would not do that if they were not endlessly curious and quite capable of learning, but it happens.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Walter » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:40 pm

Today, it is very important to be skeptical of the PhD. After World War II and the drastic lowering of standards for graduate work, the PhD essentially became a marketing tool. I remember my college’s brochure in 1969 “half of our faculty has the PhD degree!!”

The modern PhD has no relation to the one which my grandfather obtained in 1927 at Yale. He was hired by a geology department, the chairman having the M.S. degree. That is actually a little funny.

In 1947, after three years in the Army Signal Corps, my father went by Cal Tech for his M.S. in Electrical Engineering. Industry was not about to let him go to graduate school for two or three more years. However, his supervisor told him to apply for a Graduate Work in Industry program where he could work on his PhD, on his own time. Damn funny. Nine years later, he was awarded the PhD.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:28 am

"Industry was not about to let him go to graduate school for two or three more years." Eh?
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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Poodle » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:05 pm

A PhD is a PhD. We should be as skeptical of the general views of the possessor of a PhD as we are of those of any other person, especially if those views have nothing to do with the subject matter of the PhD in the first place. A PhD does not confer superhuman intellect on its holder, nor does it indicate that the holder regularly contributes to discussions way outside its subject.
On the other hand, it can be a pretty good guide that you're talking to someone who might know something.

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Re: We should be more skeptical of PhDs

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:36 pm

One of the most thoroughly researched, solidly argued and well presented Ph.D. theses I've ever read was in the area of Art History. The material on James Montgomery Flagg was largely new to me and quite fascinating. He used his own head as he model for the "I want you for the U.S. Army" Uncle Sam.
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