Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

More light shed on why Darwinism hard to dislodge

arroba Email

Over at The Best Schools, James Barham introduces an updated preface by Pierre van den Berghe, author of an older classsic on the ways academic life subverts honest enquiry:

1. Perhaps the most glaring change facing job-seeking PhD holders is a sharp deterioration in career opportunities and employment conditions. A glut of PhDs in many fields produced a shift from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. When AG appeared in 1970, US academia was approaching the end of its enormous expansion, becoming the juggernaut of world higher education. PhD production continued unabated, but job numbers stagnated or even contracted. Colleges and universities began to restrict tenure-track positions, and created a rapidly growing, semi-nomadic proletariat of instructors and lecturers on one-year, often part-time contracts, paid on a per-course basis. By now, this new class of itinerant PhDs approaches one fourth or even one third of the faculty at many institutions, and ekes out poverty wages by laboring at one-fourth or less the income of tenure-track faculty. Before that, large state and private universities employed (and continue to employ) hordes of cheap graduate students as TAs to teach many of their lower division courses; but it was not so exploitative, in that it was an apprenticeship in teaching with a reasonably good chance of a cushy academic job after four or five years of indenture.

2. It might be thought that these tremendous savings in wages to the colleges and universities would be passed on as reduced tuition for students, but the reverse happened. As a powerless, captive constituency, students were soaked with tuition bills rising at double the rate of general inflation. The return on educational investment started to sink, especially at non-elite institutions, because the cost of education became essentially unrelated to its quality. Mediocre and poor schools charge almost as much as the Ivy League for crummy degrees, and thus face the prospect of well-deserved extinction.

Two glaring consequences of tuition inflation and degree degradation are a ballooning student debt burden with a galloping default rate, and the parasitic growth of highly dubious private institutions for profit. These “universities” offer mostly online instruction, which they produce cheaply and sell dearly to marginal students who frequently drop out with huge debts. The institutions pocket largely Federal loans to students, the taxpayers are left with the cost of defaulted loans, and the students get the royal shaft. More.

The admins with whom Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) clashes on basic civil liberties for students and the student ‘crats who enthusiastically snuff out such liberties are probably best understood as serfs who can only survive by getting government union jobs restricting the rights of others. See, for example, “Disinvitations of U commence speakers rise dramatically over 15 years.”

In the current academic environment, Darwinism can be collapsing as an overarching research paradigm for decades before the fact is acknowledged among the tenured Darwin faculty and their studentcrats.

Here is the original 1970 book, updated and online, same venue:

By Pierre van den Berghe

New 2015 Preface — An Update of Sorts

Original Preface and Front Matter

Chapter 1 — The Protective Myths

Chapter 2 — The Academic Pecking Order

Chapter 3 — The Lean Years: Apprenticeship

Chapter 4 — Career Strategies

Chapter 5 — The Fat Years: Salary, Tenure, and Promotions

Chapter 6 — Teaching: What to Do About It

Chapter 7 — Publishing: How to Do It

Chapter 8 — Grants, Research, and Foundations

Chapter 9 — Conclusion

Note: A version of this story appeared at Blazing Cat Fur

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Robert writes, "The big answer is that the schools must be obedient to the people of a nation. The schools all belong to us." Not necessarily. Public, secular schools who receive funding from the government in the form of student loans and grants, yes, they do technically belong "to the people." But private universities whose funding comes from private investors and endowments...not so much. "Or go to another country. That will shut them up since only North america is worthwhile to come to." It consistently amazes me how someone who believes in the Bible, which includes the scripture at Acts 10:34, 35 where it clearly states that God is not partial can be so racist and nationalistic. Your hypocrisy is showing. Barb
It's because our intellectual culture vets all comers to make sure that nobody who disagrees is permitted a position in the establishment. EvilSnack
Schools are made of people who being proud of their schools insist on basic conformity to conclusions. No outlaws please we are academia. The big answer is that the schools must be obedient to the people of a nation. The schools all belong to us. We determine issues of freedom of teaching students. Nobody else is to say anything on content as long as content is on subject. Creationism is on subject for sure. The present censorship is a historic rejection of the rights of man and nations and the right to truth. Just not enough people care. Thats why the more attention the more people care and the more will demand freedom. Or go to another country. That will shut them up since only North america is worthwhile to come to. Sorry England. its over. blame Punk music. Robert Byers

Leave a Reply