Sunday, December 9, 2018

Yet Another Campus Hate Crime Hoax

By Professor Doom

     Today I’m writing during a 6 hour stint in a chemo chair, as this is my status all 5 days (I’m out now, as I write my posts in advance). My apologies if I’m a bit vague at times, but the fatigue hits me harder when I get home.

      A few weeks back, some anti-Trump goober supposedly sent pipe bombs to a bunch of anti-Trump representatives (Clintons, Soros, CNN, etc), covered his van in fresh Pro-Trump stickers and waited to be arrested.

       Because none of the bombs exploded, had no chance of exploding, were basically movie props, he’ll likely receive a reduced sentence (and justifiably so). The goober was in Broward county (the same county that produced that weird school shooting which in turn produced those weird anti-gun kids), a heck of a coincidence. The goober lived in a van, and, obviously, isn’t very bright, and yet somehow he managed to get addresses of people that, frankly aren’t exactly in the yellow pages, managed to get the intercontinental packages to all arrive on the same day (trust me, this is tough), managed to use couriers so he must have flown to New York and other places to set this all up to get simultaneous delivery…and yet the mainstream media dares not consider the bizarre issues here, much less utter the word “hoax.”

      While the mainstream media insists the guy was a Republican and calling him the Magabomber…there are plenty of pieces that just don’t fit that narrative, but the media as always will lie by omission. It’s clear he’s a Democrat before he started sending fake bombs, he only follows liberals on Twitter, for example.

       Anyway, the Left sure does like to hoax itself. It’s an everyday event on campus, the rare thing is it even coming close to the making the news. A recent incident managed it:

      I’m not even going to try to recall the number of times females have sent death threats to themselves…I can’t recall a single time a male has done this, perhaps a gentle reader can identify such a case.

       The hoaxer in this case is a “member of the LGBT” community, as they say, a rich source of hoaxers to be sure (though not by any means the only source).

The latest in a long string of hate-crime hoaxes comes from Ohio, where a woman claimed she received death threats — only for police to discover she sent the threats to herself.

       Most hoaxes are quietly buried because they stay on campus. When the police get involved, it becomes a public matter, and so harder for the campus leaders to squelch.

      The Student Senate devoted time to discussing the notes. An emotional Ayers claimed she was “angry, frustrated and disappointed” after the first threat, and called her parents to tell them about it. Because two of the messages were found in her Student Senate desk, the threats were at first believed to have come from another member of the organization.

      At first, the threats have to be taken seriously, so off it goes to various student groups, and the Diversity Fiefdom is only too happy to get involved…each hoax costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars of wasted time, I assure the gentle reader.

Ayers went on to call the threat sender cowardly, weak, and worthless, according to the Post.

      It sure makes my teeth itch when I see a hoaxer act so brave like this, and my teeth itch in a very special way from seeing it so much. I appear to be the only one to notice, though, as they always get heaps of praise loaded on them for their “courage” in standing up to…themselves?

On Monday, Ayers was arrested by OU police for sending the threats to herself. She was charged with making three false reports to police. A false report of this nature is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. She faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.

     And, game over. She went to the police. Oops. Considering the damage she’s caused, the fine is miniscule. In addition to all the expense, you can bet yet another $100,000 assistant Diversity Commissar will be hired as well.

      I’m not saying there are no people out there who really hate LGBT members to the point of violence, I’ve never met one or even heard of one personally, but I can accept they exist. But bottom line, most people just hear of the death threats like the above. Few hear the revelation that it was all yet another hoax, much like with our “MAGAbomber,” as those reports get buried. If we subtracted all the hoaxes from our collective consciousness, we’d realize that world isn’t nearly so filled with violent racism that needs to be PUNCHED as the Left is constantly screaming at us to believe.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Result Of Common Core? The Worst ACT Scores In A Decade

By Professor Doom

     I recently realized this is the most time I’ve spent off campus in, well, my adult life, so allow me to wander off campus in my writings as well, at least for a little.

“…Back in 1952 the Army quietly began hiring hundreds of psychologists to find out how 600,000 high school graduates had successfully faked illiteracy. Regna Wood sums up the episode this way:

After the psychologists told the officers that the graduates weren’t faking, Defense Department administrators knew that something terrible had happened in grade school reading instruction. And they knew it had started in the thirties. Why they remained silent, no one knows. The switch back to reading instruction that worked for everyone should have been made then…”

      I’ve written of Common Core before, several times even. It’s been very clear for a very long time that something is very wrong in public school system. While the above hints that an easy solution would be to revert to known, successful methods of teaching children, that option never seems to be on the table.

     The reason for this, I believe, is that if someone can come up with a method of teaching children, any method even incrementally superior to what we’re disastrously doing now, they get the endless rewards of being an Education guru (that, so far, such gurus have all been utter failures doesn’t seem to impact the rewards, however). There’s just no way to take credit for “let’s just use what we’ve known works based on the last few thousand years,” after all.

     So, it doesn’t matter that Common Core ignores science, that it further separates parents from their children (by changing the methods so much that parents can’t help their children learn, a critical part of learning), that it “teaches” in ways that any experienced teacher knows can’t possibly be effective…Common Core it is.

      The gentle reader might be curious how that could be, but part of the reason (beyond simple governmental force) is the effectiveness of Common Core is backed by “studies.” I’ve seen many such studies, and even when they’re blatantly rigged to generate positive results using statistical manipulations up to outright fraud, it doesn’t matter: nobody dares question these things.

      So, the fantastically rigged studies show Common Core is amazing, simply amazing, when it comes to the success of their weird, nearly inhuman, ideas about how to teach children. What happens in the real world when kids are subjected to Common Core?

     So, there it is, then. You can certainly criticize standardized tests, but the fact remains whatever the ACT measures…our students have less of it, thanks to Common Core.
Only 40 percent of high school students met the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math. That’s down from an ACT high of 46 percent in 2012, and the lowest mark since 2004, the ACT report noted.

     I remind the gentle reader around 70% of high school students go on to college after graduation. When one considers only 46% (more like 40% today, thanks to Common Core) of graduates are ready for college, that means we have a large number of kids flowing on to campus who demonstrably are not ready for campus.
      The reason nobody asks our leaders in higher ed about this obvious discrepancy is similar to why nobody ever challenges those fake studies showing the efficacy of Common Core.
“We should be concerned as a country,” said Matt Larson, immediate past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “There’s a need to restructure how high-school mathematics teaching and learning is done in the United States.”

     The ACT basically measures two things, math skills and English skills. It’s clear Common Core has failed to help our kids with math, and I must particularly grieve over this. Is Common Core better with English?

The report also noted that high school graduates college readiness in English is also slipping. The report said 60 percent were considered ready, based upon their scores, a drop from 64 percent in 2015. The 2018 level was the lowest since current benchmarks began to be used, ACT said.

      More failure. Not to worry, I suppose, as I’m sure some new method of teaching (something called “Homeland Core,” perhaps) will be invented soon, and there will be plenty of studies showing how great it is.
      But, honest, we really have known since the 50’s how we can easily improve our public education system, and at least one school is getting a clue:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Higher Ed Chart Of The Day

     As I recover from a 40 hour week of chemo, I’ll take the lazy route and just look at a picture, explaining how every single one of the bars is somewhat mis-representative, and how they all represent failure, often on an obvious level.

      The first bar, full time faculty, requires the second bar to think there might be a problem—faculty have not increased relative to students. One might think the failure to increase might not be so bad (particularly with that last bar so high), but there’s deception here.

      Admin have taken to awarding themselves faculty positions, even when they clearly do not teach or do research. The most outstanding example of this would be the president of Penn State, who received a 600k a year tenured faculty position as part of overseeing the Sandusky affair, but many colleges classify all the library staff as faculty, and even some fiefdoms, even if, at best, all they ever do is run a few workshops, still grant faculty status to all the royalty there. In terms of teaching, the number of actual “full time faculty” in the sense most people outside the industry think of them, has dropped off, particularly in relation to students.

      This is a dated chart, but as of 2011 enrollments were likely up 91% (probably down from that in 2018). This huge push to slam everyone into college has been most detrimental. College really was intended for people that could handle serious work, and the only way to accommodate the extra students was to lower standards, to the point that college graduate IQ is in free fall today. That 91% increase is a testament to the massive failure of our “leaders” in higher ed to restrain their greed. Despite the dated-ness here, keep in mind the loans of students in this chart are mostly still unpaid.

      Full time administrative numbers are up, way up, far past faculty and even students. The whole point of good administration is to do so effectively and at low cost. That one bar demonstrates clearly how badly our leaders have failed, all the more so since they’ve done nothing for the students any more than they’ve done for higher ed.

      The fourth bar reinforces the point. In every other industry, there’s an economy of scale…all those extra students should have brought the cost per student, i.e., the tuition, down, and yet tuition nearly tripled. Yet another demonstration of the tremendous failure of our leaders in higher ed.

       And now the fifth bar, which reveals the reality of education. While “real” faculty numbers have dropped in a way that’s difficult to measure, the soaring numbers of part-time faculty, generally paid so little they qualify for welfare and get no benefits, reveal that most courses are now taught by these minimum wage (at best) workers in higher ed. The people at the top of higher ed are making fortunes, but the actual teachers make nothing, being at the bottom of a Ponzi scheme.

     But it’s even worse than that. Our kids are being shoveled into higher ed with the premise that “education” means “money,” but they’re being taught by the most educated members of our society…who are getting no money.

      I assure the gentle reader, though this chart is from 2011, very little is different today, except possibly tuition being much higher. All this failure has been purchased at great expense via the student loan scam. Just shut it down already.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Community College As Road To Nowhere

By Professor Doom

    “Come to the community college! We’re cheap!”

--typical promotion for a CC

     Unlike universities, community colleges can spring up very quickly. You don’t need departments, you barely even need faculty. All you need are some administrators to hire cheap adjuncts, cut-and-paste the curriculum used at a nearby legitimate school…and you’re basically set.

     This simple set up does allow for cost-cutting, and students are quite justified in expecting, and getting, lower prices for their courses and degrees. Of course, the savings here are illusory: the coursework often doesn’t transfer (some 80% of students are victimized like this), and even whole degrees from a community college can be of no value. 

How can there be a savings when everything you get there is worthless? I’ve made this observation before, even documented it enough, but a recent article has a few things to add:

     It doesn’t take long to see the author here has thought about the kind of money being wasted on community colleges:

…the next time there’s a public event to celebrate the opening or expansion of a community college, it might make sense to bring both: cut the giant check with the giant scissors to signify the money being wasted.

      I hope someday someone sits down and does the math on these things, as the money spent is extraordinary. I don’t know for sure, but it’s quite possible, if, in lieu of a CC, the community simply erected a mosquito breeding ground and paid the associated health costs of mosquito-borne diseases, that it would come out better off than the sheer waste of a community college.

What community colleges represent is clear. They were the first higher education institutions in the community at a time when four-year colleges and universities were inaccessible to all but a small segment of the population. As the first open-enrollment institutions, they revolutionized accessibility in an era before a college degree became the sine qua non of the labor market.

     A big problem of what happened to higher ed was our “leadership” turned into plunderers. Yes, absolutely, there was a time in the not-too-distant past where community college represented a real opportunity to move ahead in a cheaper and more convenient way than going to university.

      Our leaders plundered that reputation, and many CCs are now unhinged, with most of what goes on in the classrooms outright fraudulent, and the courses which honestly admit what they cover are   90% high school level or lower, and accreditation does nothing because they’re in on it. Meanwhile, the leaders rake in the loot as reward for “growth” of the school.

      While CC admin say they’re doing a great job, the real world knows otherwise:

Employability is a huge problem for associate degrees. The more problematic associate programs are for students who don’t plan to end there; over 80 percent of students who enroll in associate programs at community college intend to transfer to four-year institutions. Of course, only 32 percent actually do within six years, and fewer than 15 percent earn a bachelor’s degree in that time frame. The trouble is transfer. A GAO report from last summer revealed that students who transfer lose 43 percent of credits they’ve earned, which means even more time for life to get in the way.

      Goodness, such miserable percentages…how can any community think of a CC as a boon when the facts say otherwise?

     Part of the problem of the useless of the CC degrees is from the core structure of the school: the faculty are irrelevant, being merely a collection of whoever admin can scrape together to serve administrative whims as cheaply as possible. How can there be a coherent degree program under such circumstances? It’s simply not possible, as any faculty with any standards are quickly removed…standards cut into growth.

      Another trick CC’s use to make their communities think they’re a benefit are dual enrollment programs, i.e., programs where the high school students get college credit by going to the CC. Sounds great, right? How’s that work out?

Dual enrollment has the same fundamental challenge as free community college: It may be free, but where does it get you?

     Again, if the credits don’t transfer, or at least transfer meaningfully, there’s no benefit to teaching the high school kids with adjuncts instead of high school teachers…well, beyond paying a bunch of CC admin $100,000 a year apiece to crow about how great they are.

      I’m close to finishing up the first 50% of the brutal chemo that gives me a chance of survival…I can’t help but draw parallels between the futility of fighting this cancer for decades now and fighting the immense fraud of our typical community college system.

      Yes, I know, someone will chirp in with “but CC really helped me out!” but much like with that one guy who actually recovers from cancer…it’s something of a fluke, and at some point we need to take a more realistic look at what we’re doing here, to see if we yet have the will to fix things.

       Somehow, I suspect that time is not yet here.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Supreme Court And The Student Loan Scam

By Professor Doom

     I often request an end to the student loan scam, but I seldom discuss why we have so many of our kids ready and willing to destroy themselves with student loans. Even if we destroyed the supply (student loans), we’d still have immense demand for accredited college degrees.

      So as I sit here being pumped through gallons of assorted drugs to stop a cancer a doctor first told me would be “no problem” in 2004, I thought it best to review how we ended up in this mess, particularly since it involves the Supreme Court (the composition of which is a major concern of late).

    Yet records for new college enrollment continue apace.”

      I should point out this article is a little old; in 2014, perhaps, enrollments were rising, but there’s been a clear trend the last few years where enrollments dropped (especially at converged schools). Ignoring the dated information, there are a few relevant things said here.

The only thing Americans, Right and Left, seem to agree on is that college is an unquestionable good.

      The above, of course, is part of the reason for the huge demand. It is, of course, wrong. Experienced welders can make $100,000 a year because of the demand for such skills, and it takes less time to get experience as a welder than it does to get a 4 year degree, the latter of which is deeply unlikely to lead to a job paying anywhere near $100,000…not even factoring in the debt, of course.

      Yes, it’s crass to equate a college degree to money, but that’s part of the problem. “Education” and “college” are being treated as synonyms today, even though anyone who wants can get a free education by going to the library (or this “internet” thing people are buzzing about), whereas college generally requires a large and massive debt…and doesn’t promise an education.

       Now, I do believe education is an unquestionable good…but where does the Supreme Court come into this?

…overturning Griggs v. Duke Power Company…

    This 1971 court case planted the seed leading to the destruction of higher education today. I concede I’m not one to follow the Supreme Court closely; the only reason I even cared a little about Kavanaugh was because of the outrageous treatment of him in response to the utterly baseless accusations, many of which were irrelevant on the face of it (seriously, who cares what he did in high school?).

     The basics of the case:

The saga began in 1969 when Willie Griggs, a black man born in the segregated South, decided he was overdue  for a promotion. In order to get one, per Duke Power Electric Company rules, he had to pass two aptitude tests and possess a high school diploma. Griggs smelled racism. The tests surveyed employees on basic math and intelligence questions. None of Duke’s fourteen black workers passed. Griggs and twelve others sued the company for discrimination. A district court and federal appeals court accepted Duke’s claim that the tests were designed to ensure that the plant operated safely. Duke bolstered its case by pointing out that it offered to pay for employees to obtain high school diplomas and that white applicants who failed to meet the requirements were also denied promotions. 

     Bottom line: companies used to use internal aptitude tests to determine who could advance. The weapon of RACIST, blunted today after decades of heavy use, was quite sharp 50ish years ago:

Griggs found that if blacks failed to meet a standard at a higher rate than whites the standard itself was racist—a legal doctrine known as disparate impact. 

      And…game over. Just like that, companies were hard pressed to use aptitude tests, unless those tests gave the same results for blacks as whites. I really feel the need to point out that, in higher education, blacks and whites are not equal, either (and do note any two different groups are “not equal,” as that comes with the territory of being different)…but for some reason our government won’t charge itself with racism by pushing the wildly disparate impact of student loans on blacks. For some reason, indeed.

“What is required by Congress is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment when the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification,” Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in Griggs. “Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the common sense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality.” Burger may have intended to free America of bureaucracy, but his decision in fact bestowed that title—“masters of reality”—on college administrators.

     So instead of letting companies determine who should work for them based on tests and demonstrations of ability, they had no choice but to rely on the integrity of college administrators to supply that information.


The solution for businesses post-Griggs was obvious: outsource screening to colleges, which are allowed to weed out poor candidates based on test scores. The bachelor’s degree, previously reserved for academics, doctors, and lawyers, became the de facto credential required for any white-collar job. 

      With now the only way to advance in life restricted to “first, get a college degree” the demand for higher education sky-sky-skyrocketed. Our kids coming out of high school had it drilled into their heads that college was the only choice for a decent human being…while, quietly the pay for trade skills headed up, due to basic supply and demand.

Diplomas do little to alter the dynamics of innate ability and intelligence—even less so now that institutions have lowered standards. The knowledge gap between college seniors and freshmen is negligible (see: Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses). Other studies have found that class ranks at graduation closely mirror testing ranks upon matriculation. If businesses could recruit and screen candidates using testing metrics, it would allow workers to begin their careers earlier, advance quicker, and do it debt-free.

     This is such a great article, filled with important information. Not only does it provide a workaround for the huge problem facing higher education, it even clears up a myth I’ve been told, many times:

The lie that props up our Big Education regime is that the GI Bill, which paid for World War II veterans to attend college, produced the upward mobility and economic boom of the postwar period. It’s a heartwarming story, the veteran who would have been a dust farmer but for the grace of government generosity. But it just isn’t true. Only one out of every eight returning veterans attended college. The rest, the vast majority, benefited from something even more egalitarian: aptitude testing. The format favors raw talent above all else, allowing companies to hire high-potential candidates from any background and groom them to fit the company’s needs.

      Now, see, 1 out of 8, the top 12.5%, is probably about the right percentage of people who should be going to college. No, I’m not being elitist, and considering the marginal pay of most college degrees I’m certainly not trying to shut people out of college, but our current system where most high school graduates go to college, and most leave years later deep in debt, with no useful skills, and often without even a degree, is obviously wrong.

     Now, the demand to go to college was great, but how to pay for it? Here come the student loans…

Colleges, aware of their newfound utility and the easy money pouring in from student loans and Pell grants, jacked up prices. Education costs, as George F. Will has noted, grew 440 percent in the post-Griggs era. That trend continues today. The Project on Student Debt found that total college loans increased 6 percent annually between 2008 and 2012. The average student today takes out nearly $30,000 in debt to buy a ticket to the good life.

     Again, this is dated…but imagine starting life deep in debt with nothing to show for it. This is the fate of most of our kids in college today, and it all started with the cry of RACIST, which the Supreme Court heard and responded to (improperly) in 1971.

     Maybe we as a country should start paying attention to the Supreme Court after all, since their decisions can damn generations of young people.

How the Supreme Court Created the Student Loan Bubble

Friday, November 23, 2018

Feminist Re-Write of Mein Kampf = Publishable “Science.”

By Professor Doom

     While the hard sciences are not immune to the big problem in published scientific research—much of it cannot be reproduced—the “soft” sciences, that is to say the topics which didn’t even used to be called sciences (eg, they’re called “social sciences” now, but used to just be “social studies” a generation ago) are rife with “research” which barely qualifies as such.

      Scholars have long known about this problem, but there’s little we can do. The “ivory tower” nature of higher ed means we generally don’t stick our noses in other departments…even when those departments are far too arrogant to just leave everyone else alone (hi Education!).

     A group of scholars, so tired of having admin say “look at the sheer quantity of peer reviewed articles those social sciences departments get published! You other scholars SUCK!” finally decided to demonstrate what a farce the far-Left of those sciences are:

…medieval religious scholar Helen Pluckrose, author and mathematician James Lindsay, and philosopher Peter Boghossian—revealed that they had pulled the greatest academic stunt in history. Over the course of ten months, they wrote 20 hoax papers in a field they termed “grievance studies,” and then proceeded to seek distribution in the world’s finest academic journals. Fully seven of the twenty were approved; four were actually published, and another three were in the process of publication. The authors were even asked to peer-review other papers based on the expertise they displayed in their academic papers.

      Article I’m quoting from is by Ben Shapiro. I’m not a huge fan of his, he’s a little hit and miss in his observations. Anyway, so three guys got together and just cranked out hoax papers that sounded nice, to see if it was as easy as it seemed to get published in these very light fields.

       What topics did they address?

“Going In Through The Back Door: Challenging The Straight Male Homohysteria, Transhysteria and Transphobia Through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use.” This masterpiece appeared in Sexuality and Culture. Its thesis: straight men should be anally penetrated by sex toys in order to become more receptive to feminism and transgenderism, and to fight rape culture.

     The gentle reader should take extra time to consider the above paragraph, to understand how truly off-the-wall “research” in these bizarre fields is. The “research” such as it, is simply an argument for anally penetrating straight men, there’s no actual evidence provided it would help fight “rape culture,” even if such exists at all.

 “Human Reactions To Rape Culture And Queer Performativity At Urban Dog Parks In Portland, Oregon,” as published in Gender, Place and Culture. This article theorized that heteronormativity was underscored by watching dogs have sex with each other. This piece received an award for excellence.

      Again, the above isn’t research, it’s just an argument (at best). And yet somehow papers like this bear just as much weight as a paper detailing a new cure for a disease, an easier method of solving difficult mathematical problems, or a method for saving an entire species of plant. You just crank this crap out, arguing the ridiculous—but politically correct!—thing, and receive awards for it.

      Why would scholars do such a thing?

What was the goal of the hoax? The authors explained that they had amassed evidence that there is “a problem with bias in fields influenced by critical constructivist approaches and assumptions.”
That’s no shock. Constructivism is perhaps the most idiotic philosophy at work today in education, and it is also one of the most prominent. The authors of the hoax describe constructivism thusly: “an overarching (almost or fully sacralized) belief that many common features of experience and society are socially constructed. These constructions are seen as being nearly entirely dependent upon power dynamics between groups of people, often dictated by sex, race, or sexual or gender identification.”

      Shapiro is being a little kind here, as there’s more to it. As more and more (garbage) papers like this get published, they gain a credibility far beyond what they deserve. Ultimately, it leads to falsehoods like “men and women are the same” because “we have many, many, scientific research papers saying as much,” even as the scientific papers provide nothing beyond politically correct words.

Constructivism turns all of that on its head. In the view of constructivists, meaning is assigned by the powerful; there is no such thing as truth to be discovered. That means that all language is malleable, all realities mere social constructions. And that means that education is all about tearing away at reality rather than learning about it.

     To clarify: this is ultimately why this crap is so easily published. Since there is no objective truth, no need for actual, reproducible, experiments, all you need do to be successful is toe the party line.

       Another site gives a more thorough discussion of all the scholars did to perpetrate/justify their hoax. They really were thumbing their nose at the whole debased system:

Another tough one for us was, “I wonder if they’d publish a feminist rewrite of a chapter from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” The answer to that question also turns out to be “yes,” given that the feminist social work journal Affilia has just accepted it. As we progressed, we started to realize that just about anything can be made to work, so long as it falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates understanding of the existing literature.

      Even the works of Hitler can be politically correct now, as long as the right groups are targeted…yikes.

To summarize, we spent 10 months writing the papers, averaging one new paper roughly every thirteen days. (Seven papers published over seven years is frequently claimed to be the number sufficient to earn tenure at most major universities although, in reality, requirements vary by institution.)

      These papers were cranked out, every other week, with the authors just taking wild shots at what topics might be publishable, and little care to any actual scholarship.

      Based on their success in creating publishable gibberish, journals asked more of our hoaxing authors:

  • 4 invitations to peer-review other papers as a result of our own exemplary scholarship. (For ethical reasons, we declined all such invitations. Had we wished to fully participate in their culture in this way, however, it would have been an unrivaled opportunity to tinker with how far we could take the hypothesis that the canon of literature within these fields gets skewed in part because the peer-review process encourages the existing political and ideological biases.)

      Wow, what a missed opportunity to get inside the sausage factory. Oh well. I point out that the above offers were made despite the authors going out of their way to be terrible scholars:
Our papers also present very shoddy methodologies including incredibly implausible statistics (“Dog Park”), making claims not warranted by the data (“CisNorm,” “Hooters,” “Dildos”), and ideologically-motivated qualitative analyses (“CisNorm,” “Porn”). (NB: See Papers section below.) Questionable qualitative methodologies such as poetic inquiry and autoethnography (sometimes rightly and pejoratively called “mesearch”) were incorporated (especially in “Moon Meetings”).

      The above really highlights the standards for publishing in these fields. I feel the need to highlight what happened here: admin, not scholars, took it upon themselves to give scholars awards for research. Your typical administrator in higher ed today isn’t a scholar, and is far more likely to be an ideologue than anything these. In any event, all admin can do is count the number of papers published; they simply cannot consider quality, relevance, or standards.

      And so journals in less legitimate fields publish nearly everything, in a quid pro quo process with authors at other journals.

     In any event, the authors of these fake studies have demonstrate their point quite well about the fundamental fraud of these fields.

       Too bad admin doesn’t care about fraud…they’re too busy counting the number of papers published to care, after all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Endumbening Of Humanity

By Professor Doom

     I’ve written before that college graduate IQ is in freefall; within a decade it’s quite  possible that the IQ of a college graduate will be below average.

      But what happens if “average” a decade ago is higher than it is today?

     Intelligence is a difficult thing to define, much less precisely measure, but it’s been suspected that, for the last few decades, whatever intelligence is, we have less of it now.

“Every year, the students get weaker…”
--a professor explaining things to me in 1985.

     Mostly I write about higher education, and anecdotes there are rife that something is going on. That said, professor complaints about the steady drop in student ability are about as old as the universities themselves. The article I cited above inadvertently points out the legitimacy of the concerns right off the bat:

In November, the European TV channel Arte aired an hourlong documentary, Demain, tous crétins?Tomorrow, everyone’s an idiot?—on a topic that would seem to be of great importance...The same documentary has also been released in the U.S., with the less provocative title Brains in Danger?. (It’s now available for streaming on Amazon Prime.)

     We should have been concerned about this years ago, when we first started pointlessly changing the language around to “less provocative” terms. Time and again I’ve seen people abandon reason in the face of “offensive” language, failing to comprehend that there’s more to an argument than whether you like the ideas or not.

Starting in the 1980s, Flynn documented “massive gains” in mean IQ, starting with Americans, whose scores had soared by 14 points since 1932. The Flynn effect has since been well established across at least 34 countries; on average, scholars say IQs have increased by several points per decade.

      The Flynn effect has been a curious thing, but I’ve always felt a big reason for it is people are just more familiar with the “strange” questions you find on intelligence tests. In any event, for several decades, intelligence was heading up, and nobody argued that this was happening.

      It’s heading down now. As the measurement methods are the same as before, we’re less concerned about whatever “it” is we’re measuring.

      It’s happening, so the next question is “why?” The claims of poor schooling, immigration, smart people have fewer kids, and quite a few similar ones can be dismissed with a study which specifically focuses on brothers in Norway:

What they found is that for Norwegians born between 1962 and 1975, IQs increased within each family by 0.26 points per year: Younger brothers had slightly higher scores than their older siblings, relative to expectations. (The researchers had to control for the more general fact that older siblings tend to have higher IQs than younger ones.) From 1975 until 1991, this tendency reversed, with test scores dropping by 0.33 points per year within each family.

     Using brothers means that the “fewer kids” argument is meaningless, Norway (at the time of this study) had minimal immigration, and the schools there are known for being quite good…and certainly not known for decaying over the handful of years between use by one brother and the next.

      0.33 points per year might not seem much, but this means in less than 3 generations (60 years), the average IQ will drop down to 80—mentally disabled by today’s standards, but it could be “average” in 2080.

      Despite the design of the study, it relies on the standard (and obviously wrong) reasons for the decline:

What could be endumbening Norwegians, then? The authors note several possible factors, among them worsening health and nutrition, a decline in the quality of education, detrimental changes to media exposure, and the indirect effects of immigration.

     The article helpfully supplies better answers:

…the IQ decline might be caused by chemical pollutants.
That’s the theory posed by Paris-based endocrinologist Barbara Demeneix. In her 2017 book from Oxford University Press, Toxic Cocktail: How Chemical Pollution Is Poisoning Our Brains, Demeneix argued that hormone-twisting industrial poisons have so interfered with human thyroid function that the species has been thrust into “a sort of brain evolution in rather rapid reverse”—which includes among its symptoms, she says, the gradual diminishment of the human intellect, and increasing rates of autism and ADHD.

    Of course, to be able to address this question we’d need to study a population which isn’t exposed to “hormone twisting industrial poisons,” extremely problematic in the modern world. I guess we could try using some of the few stone-age tribes we have left, but I can see people disputing the results of such a study.

     We have a bit of a bigger problem with the claim that it’s about hormones and poisons:

According to the numbers, the Great Endumbening isn’t merely absent here in North America; our test results suggest that, by and large, Americans’ IQs are still increasing

      I’m quite confident Americans are exposed to just as much (and likely more) as Norwegians. I’m not taking much comfort in that, since whatever’s affecting humans over there can quite reasonably affect humans over here at some point.

     If trends continue, in three generations a Norwegian college graduate will struggle to operate a broom with much efficiency…even if American college graduates are ahead of that, will it be by much?