In an article that all students and parents willing to sign loan guarantees should read, James Barham indulges in a bit of fun at the expense of the tenured nonsense vendors of the modern Arts faculties*:
Of course, Olasky is well aware of the fundamental problem. In the article, he even mentions a wonderful spoof of “postmodern theory” called the “pomo random generator.”
You just feed a title or a topic sentence into this wonderfully witty piece of software, and it randomly generates a complete essay written in the echt-pomo, gobbledygook, academic style that is indistinguishable from the real thing—and much less labor-intensive than physicist Alan Sokal’s famous 1996 hoax paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries.”
So, here is clearly one place where universities could cut costs: Fire all the pomo professors and procure the same “benefit” that their “research” provides to society at much less expense by means of the pomo random generator!
While we’re at it, maybe we could convince some enterprising young programmer to render a similar service for evolutionary biology. All you’d need would be a “Darwin random generator” to come up with a plausible-sounding, unfalsifiable Just So Story for any given biological trait, and you could eliminate a whole line item from the NSF’s annual budget.
Just think: Everybody could be an evolutionary psychologist, without the risk of getting exposed, like Hauser and Stapel. See, those guys’ problem was that the whole system was not yet 100% nonsense all the time. Just most of the time. But the updated Random Darwin Generator system would be certifiably free of that defect.
* Which should have been shut down in 1968, as soon as it became apparent that they could not distinguish meaningful text from nonsense. Note: It is true of many other fine citizens can’t either, but those people do not expect degrees or a salary for their disability.
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