Recently, the soft side has been vigorously attacking the hard side and the hard side does not seem to be defending itself anymore. The extremely soft segments forced Lawrence Summers, an eminent economist and an extraordinary university leader, to resign. There are many episodes behind the Summers controversy. However, the main lasting consequence of this story for the big picture is clear: the resignation was a significant victory of the soft side in the culture wars.The rest is can be found at Culture wars: hard vs. soft sciences
Soft sciences make students memorize a certain amount of material and insights that are not related with each other, and if they are, the relations are comprehensible to most ordinary people. This lack of unifying structure is often compensated by artificially invented principles which usually means a political ideology. The right ideology is chosen according to the ability of their proponents to convince others, according to their face, vocabulary, friends, political allies, and according to the people whom they eat with and sleep with. What matters is whether you belong to a group that is being liked by others or viewed as a politically correct group. Depending on the mood in the society, being a Jew or a woman can be a tremendous advantage or a tremendous disadvantage. Social sciences sensitively depend on the political twists in the society and they magnify their effects which is why they are also controlled by groupthink most of the time.
Monday, July 10, 2006
This topic comes up in the comments here pretty often. Here is a nice little rant from Luboš.
Posted by chuck at 4:33 PM