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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interesting Article in Ed Chronicle

Someone seems to have written a chapter of bad academic history:  See


Anonymous said...

Hmm...wonder what authorities would say if they know about Larry Burns's summer class in Communications, you know, the class of athletes that then went to Greece?

Anonymous said...

It’s really laughable that the Communications Department offers a course like that, which I assume was approved by the department chair, the college dean, and that august body known as the Faculty Senate, a know-nothing, do-nothing course that has the substance of cotton candy and corn dogs.

Where's the academic rigor, the intellectual challenge?

Just another example of why UT will always be mired in the bottom tier of the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of universities.

Anonymous said...

UNC Chapel Hill: The Sokal Hoax, The Happy Hoax and now Rocks For Jocks and Grade-Gate – Oh My!

Dr. Faustus a.k.a. Johnny Academia bargains for his soul with the PC Mephistopheles, Mr. Louis Cypher.

This thread plays right into our wheelhouse of criticizing (pseudo) academic PC motivated malfeasance and related issues in higher education.

The athletic controversy referenced in the article at the head of this thread is typical of the sort of athletic corruption that plagues college sports and all sports – but it is especially instructive to us because of the involvement of elements of college pseudo-academic PC gone wild (yet again…).

And in addition to the “course” referenced in the above comments there are COUNTLESS other examples at UT of powder-puff courses - in the Ed College, Women's Studies and all over campus in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Take your pick. There’s a cottage industry among college students nationwide devoted to identifying the BS Easy-A colleges, programs, courses and profs.

UNC Chapel Hill was also ground zero for the legendary Sokal Affair – something academics should sadly be all too familiar with it, but for those who may not be, see here:

Bogus, biased and politicized “research” in substantive academic disciplines has occurred far too often – increasingly because of increasing pressure on researchers to get the “right” (i. e. politically correct) answers and findings in their research work – particularly with respect to hot button issues like human intelligence, race, sex, gender, global warming, etc.

Here is a more recent well-publicized example of bogus academic work involving the widely cited and highly popularized work of a current UNC Chapel Hill professor – which is especially interesting because it also involves Alan Sokal reprising his role as academic debunker.

In another article about Barbara Fredrickson’s debunked work below, masters student Nick Brown, who originally began to question the work because it simply appeared on the face of it to be too absurdly neat and arbitrary said: 'If you want to be an academic whistleblower you have to be prepared to lose your job. I’m able to do what I’m doing here because I’m nobody.'

Man don’t we (JdS) know it!!

One more article on the same incident.

At issue is,

1. How such bogus academic work manages to so often pass peer review muster and make its way to publication in academic journals, books and widespread acceptance among academics and the general populace (particularly in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – and in assorted pseudo-academic disciplines, notably Education, etc.).

Answer: Because the peer review process too often involves critique by predisposed and biased fellow travelers who are often inclined to overlook – whether intentionally or unintentionally – obvious errors or biases in research, because of one or more factors, including strong undue outside political and/or academic influence and coercion, and/or their own personal biases, and/or ignorance, and/or academic or ideological predilections, or career ambitions).


Anonymous said...

UNC cont.

2. Why, once the errors have been discovered and pointed out – it is not absolutely mandatory for academics to formally respond to criticisms and to then systematically either appropriately amend or retract the work – and moreover be required to formally follow established protocols to ensure that all affected parties are notified of said amendments or retractions AND that measures are taken to retract all secondary citations AND to see to it that only the amended work can be cited in the future or, in the event of total retraction, that the work cannot be cited at all by other researchers and writers.

Note, for instance, that there IS mention of the debunking of Fredrickson’s work in the Wikipedia article about her below (retrieved 10/29/2014).

At least since the advent of the post-1960’s postmodern Academy, it has become increasingly possible for academic known to be utterly bogus to be allowed to nonetheless persist and be cited at will ad infinitum by anyone who may either be ignorant of the facts or intentionally interested in promoting bogus academic or political agendas.

This has the effect of seriously undermining the integrity of academic work, bringing it down to the level of utterly unaccountable and unscrupulous pulp romance or New Age book publishers, who are absolutely free to publish and sell books filled with utter garbage, so long as their remains a sufficient market of lowbrow, deluded ignoramuses willing to pay for it.

It is this sort of pervasive sloppy self-policing in academia that has allowed politicized, PC pseudo-academic disciplines and Marxist-Feminist Postmodern gibberish to persist and percolate through the Academy and popular culture long after it was well-established and recognized by anyone with a clue that it was all sheer nonsense and propaganda.

Such bogus, biased, meaningless, mediocre and toxic (pseudo)-academic work makes all serious scholars and researchers look bad.

The work of all of the usual suspects in the postmodern science wars and culture wars should either be formally retracted by those in the relevant disciplines or, barring such a voluntary house cleaning, be systematically and rigorously critiqued, debunked and expunged by roving bands of conscientious academic ghost busters like Alan Sokal.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been following Larry Burns' Twitter feed? He was in London for the Detroit Lions football game last weekend and tonight he's at the home opener. Is he paying for these tickets and taking vacation time?

Or are we paying for him to go on these vacations through these ridiculous "partnerships" with sports teams? I hear all in these sports contracts are well into the 7 figures combined.

Seems like "the Relevant University" is more about Mr. Burns feeling relevant personally in Detroit and Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that everybody at UT is starting to see what Larry Burns is all about--himself.

Anonymous said...

Some follow-up on the above, etc.

Is academia’s terrible secret the same as Joe Gould’s Secret?

Why we (JdS) post here:

We have explained “elsewhere” at great length our history, motivations, views, controversies, methods, etc. but the ASC blog meisters have, for reasons best known to them, elected not to allow us to post a link here to said comprehensive blog post “elsewhere” – so, very briefly…

Some time ago we were forced into quasi anonymity by the local and regional PC Thought Police (academic and otherwise). We subsequently found free speech sanctuary here, for which we have repeatedly expressed our gratitude. We chose this blog because it was already well-established and was read by our intended audience – academics and other thoughtful people and community leaders.

At the end of 2013 we intended to move on to other endeavors, but for reasons explained in detail “elsewhere” we were compelled to return for a curtain call.

Some have contended the readership of the ASC blog is exceedingly sparse, but we can unequivocally state that, to the delight of many and the great chagrin of others, the blast radius of our own posts here has extended to at least a 500 mile radius from ground zero – having wreaked a combination of widespread amusement, gut busting laughter, great admiration and yes, a notable degree of outrage and havoc among those who have found themselves at the pointy end of our criticism.

Moreover, the fallout from our humble postings here has been detected as far away as both the east and west coasts.

Never underestimate the power of the written word – especially when what is written is true, funny and well-written.

Now on to the follow-up material.


Anonymous said...

Follow up cont.

For those who may not have taken time to read the linked articles in our previous post above, here are some excerpts from one of them – The Daily Beast article – linked below. Note that before moving to UNC Chapel Hill, Barbara Fredrickson was a professor for 10 years at the University of Michigan (where she did much of the work criticized below).

“It’s not a great time for psychology. Diederik A. Stapel, a Dutch social psychologist, has recently confessed to serial fraud. That he gamed the peer review process of his field’s best journals so often and for so long calls into question the quality-control mechanisms of academic psychology. If garbage can pass peer review, as long as it is well-written and well-formatted garbage, then the authority conferred by appearing in peer-reviewed publications would seem to be slight.

That the flaws of Fredrickson and Losada’s study were eventually exposed may seem like a sort of success, but they probably would have gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been such a blockbuster paper. If it was cited 1,000 times, how many other academic research psychologists actually read it? Twenty? Two hundred? It is not heartening that it took eight years for a grad student to catch the bogus math…

…Finally, most work in the psychological and social sciences suffers from a lack of conceptual rigor. It’s a bit sloppy around the edges, and in the middle, too. For example, “happiness research” is a booming field, but the titans of the subdiscipline disagree sharply about what happiness actually is. No experiment or regression will settle it. It’s a philosophical question.

Nevertheless, they work like the dickens to measure it, whatever it is—life satisfaction, “flourishing,” pleasure minus pain—and to correlate it to other, more easily quantified things with as much statistical rigor as deemed necessary to appear authoritative. It’s as if the precision of the statistical analysis is supposed somehow to compensate for, or help us forget, the imprecision of thought at the foundation of the enterprise.

It’s interesting that Fredrickson in Positivity avoids the term "happiness," because she feels "it's murky and overused." One may say the same of "positivity." There is definitely murk…

…The problem is not that Fredrickson is a bad research psychologist. The problem is that she’s one of the best. This is how it’s done by chaired professors at major universities at the top of the game. Filigrees of rhetorical precision atop unsteady pillars of conceptual bluff. Now and again, someone sees through the decorative math, but the semipro philosophizing just goes on and on.

As the great economic historian Deirdre McCloskey once wrote, "The scientist is always trying to persuade people that her evidence is just like the proof of the irrationality of the square root of two. If she can get people to agree that she has demonstrated the impossibility of monetary policy under rational expectations, she can knock of work early." Or, one might add, land a mass-market book contract, give a TED talk, and make more than few bucks consulting.”

Respectfully submitted,


Anonymous said...

Lord, let the bullshit is clear that the publisher of this stuff shops around, can bloggie move it along?

Job's Daughter said...

This is what is so great about Bloggie!

In the name of First Amendment freedoms he will accept (if not embrace) the most odiferous of doggerel deposited upon his doorstep. For example, JdS is certainly full of it -- and compelled to share.

So God Bless Bloggie, who (perhaps only out of morbid curiosity) offers this sturdy soap box in support of JdS and every other creep with a complaint that has ever crept out of an Uncanny Valley.

Anonymous said...

well, there are plenty of things I not longer read, no longer do, no longer watch, and no longer listen to - as I do not believe that the display of each persons' first-amendment rights are all of equal value or equal worth.
Thanks and So-long.

Anonymous said...

Posting moronic treatises in a moderated blog has nothing whatsoever to do with First Amendment rights or so called free speech issues. Get real. No one has a constitutional right to post in a blog. Bloggie moderates this blog; he just doesn't moderate it to keep posts on topic. His gatekeeping is hidden because we never see the posts he rejects. And the idiot who keeps posting these stupid lectures and has a hair up his backside about an "ism" that was barely relevant 20 years ago isn't a free speech candidate but a psychiatric intervention candidate: in the past he's actually responded to his own posts in an attempt to create a buzz about them. Also take note of the "JdS aka..." moniker, which he gave to himself in a childish attempt to give his postings and identity credibility, and to suggest he has a "presence" on this blog. The simple fact is almost no one even reads these long ramblings and almost no one ever replies to them, except to comment on how puerile they are and/or how much they destroy the topic at hand. The only presence he has on this blog is the one he has created in his own mind. It's pitiful, however it is certainly true that the tread usually just dies after his ramblings.

Anonymous said...

We wondered why Bloggie approval is necessary for posting and then Bloggie likens his approved posting as doggie doo. Too bad, readers of this blog just have to wade through it or not bother. I guess I am joining the not bother.
If Bloggie depended upon circulation,, what am I saying? circulation loves the bizarre, even "college circulation".
Still too bad.

Anonymous said...

One final point, I promise. My interest in this Blog was that I thought that I believed (and still do) that the regime of LLJ made public speech such a risk that few were willing to speak the truth, especially from the perspective of actually seeing how politics and sausage were made (messy). I mistakenly perceived the blog as a type of "Sojourners Truth", at least between the lines. But the Bloggie-approved lines are so dense and full of excrement that any truth about the LLJ administration at UT (not just in A&S - all of UT) is lost. Goodbye and thanks for listening. Signing off.

Bloggie said...

Bloggie is just so . . . culpable. Instead of confessions, Bloggie should perhaps offer referrals to therapeutic services for poor ambivalent souls.