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Darwinism and popular culture: PayPal co-founder on Darwin’s effect

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At TechCrunch (Apr 10, 2011), Sarah Lacy catches Peter Thiel in a politically incorrect moment in “We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet. It’s Higher Education.”:

the idea that attending Harvard is all about learning? Yeah. No one pays a quarter of a million dollars just to read Chaucer. The implicit promise is that you work hard to get there, and then you are set for life. It can lead to an unhealthy sense of entitlement. “It’s what you’ve been told all your life, and it’s how schools rationalize a quarter of a million dollars in debt,” Thiel says.[ … ]

But Thiel’s issues with education run even deeper. He thinks it’s fundamentally wrong for a society to pin people’s best hope for a better life on something that is by definition exclusionary. “If Harvard were really the best education, if it makes that much of a difference, why not franchise it so more people can attend? Why not create 100 Harvard affiliates?” he says. “It’s something about the scarcity and the status. In education your value depends on other people failing.

Whenever Darwinism is invoked it’s usually a justification for doing something mean. It’s a way to ignore that people are falling through the cracks, because you pretend that if they could just go to Harvard, they’d be fine. Maybe that’s not true.”

The article is nuanced, and the writer challenges Thiel in some constructive ways.

Hat tip: Five Feet of Fury

Higher education in a capitalistic society means nothing but a heads up. Anyone can succeed where its fair and square. it just works out higher education people are generally smarter or come from smarter parents. I don't know if the teaching makes a difference or what is taught. Probably not. the onlt complaint that is fair against the higher or winning the prize education that can be made is where issues of identity interfere with the American people. Foreigners or affirmative action or segregated ethinc groups over represented or indeed the need for money are the only important problems with higher education. However these are general problems about who gets what and deserves what and who doesn't. Of coarse higher education needs more creationism introduced in a equal way to students. Robert Byers

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