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Why STEM is objectively superior to non STEM degrees. Watch

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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    If we're having a debate, it's better to use formal language - it's more precise, without ambiguity.
    As little as I care for ambiguity, I'm not sure I agree - but I'll try and humour you!


    Not quite. It's a definition we must both agree on before we make our first chess moves. If your references to a particular word or phrase does not correspond to my references, and these ambiguities are not cleared up, then it is impossible to make any progress in terms of persuading the other or learning from the debate.



    I refer to "functioning society" as economically and socially well developed, with basic human needs met. It's not a rigorous definition by any means, but if we were to search for one then it's best to look at literature within sociology/economics about satisfying human needs and wants as well as capturing other concepts like social mobility, etc.

    Utility in an economics sense isn't that subjective.



    It depends what we're referring to, if it's the course content then only specialist jobs. If it's analytical/transferable skills developed then graduate jobs as a whole. A scientific mind is always valuable.



    That's an interesting statement, analytical in the sense that you're interpreting data in a scientific way? I'm sure philosophy, English language/literature, etc can be analytical too - but it's a different kind of analysis.



    I've been having this back-and-forth with Princepie and we still haven't come up with a rigorous definition of STEM. I've personally defined it as anything highly scientific in its analytical methods. Personally, I'd group Social Science as a subset of Science, but less empirical because the complexity is higher and it's harder to isolate variables.



    It's back to the utility concept again. I go by "if we didn't have these people performing these roles, would we be more or less able to satisfy peoples wants/needs in pursuit of happiness?" If the degree subject had a chronic shortage, would there be an issue for future generations?

    The junior doctors employment contracts case illustrate that society clearly does need doctors (many of whom feel dissuaded), many of them, who need to study Medicine. If we reached a true breaking point where there's only as many doctors per capita as Sub Saharan Africa, then greater numbers of people would suffer and die.

    By extension, Medicine degrees are "superior" in the sense that if it were scrapped, human civilisation becomes less sustainable/worse for all.



    The problem with sciences like these is that it's really hard to avoid biases, isolate the variables, and interpret the data correctly.

    Education does improve employment propects in professional jobs, STEM providing an easy route into careers that express a clear preference/requirement for it, which increases income/job-security. I suppose it's hard to determine whether STEM specifically has a meaningful difference.

    Human happiness in itself is tricky, there are some things that provide a lot of hedonistic happiness but in the long term causes overall suffering, like binge eating unhealthy food. I still think it's one of the better indices to use when we're talking about whether it's worth making the investment in science education.

    If not "better" in the easily measurable indices, STEM degrees creates excellent (critical) minds, which in itself is quite the achievement.
    I don't want to get too caught in the details because I think for the most part we probably do agree.

    I'm sure it's perfectly true that some degrees are better than others according to some metrics, but I think we come very close to just defining our conclusion to be true when stretching the definition of STEM to include, economics, law, social sciences etc., which definitely don't fall within a conventional definition of STEM. If we select which subjects to include in STEM based on their utility (which you may not necessarily be doing directly, but the result seems curiously similar), it shouldn't then come as a surprise that STEM degrees tend to have higher utility than non-STEM!

    As I say, my main point is that showing STEM scores better on any metric - no matter how important we think it might be - doesn't demonstrate that STEM is objectively superior.



    That's an interesting statement, analytical in the sense that you're interpreting data in a scientific way? I'm sure philosophy, English language/literature, etc can be analytical too - but it's a different kind of analysis.
    Not necessarily data and not necessarily in a scientific way. It's a different kind of analysis, but still very important - arguably more so as a life skill. I always find it remarkable how many physics, maths etc. students seem to be so bad at critical thinking. Of course, there isn't really any scientific interpretation of data in mathematics, theoretical physics etc. either.
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    STEM focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It's very empirical and analytical, based on real world - and theoretical, thought - experiments and observations.

    Social Science is STEM-lite, a hazy science of human behaviour that doesn't fit neatly in to Science vs Humanities. It's still empirical and analytical and based on logic, it just happens to be a little less clear what the findings mean. It has to be interpreted.

    Humanities involves itself with creative and cultural studies, like Art or Drama or History or Philosophy or Languages.

    EDIT - I noticed I made a mistake, I should have split up Business from Social Science, my bad.
    you might be interested to learn that logic is a humanities subject
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    Logic in and of itself doesn't tell us anything about the Universe, it's really the applied logical reasoning with information that's functionally useful. It provides a framework, but scaffoldings alone makes no building.
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    you might be interested to learn that logic is a humanities subject
    Formal logic is taught in some mathematics courses and (afaik) all computer science courses as well as philosophy ya know

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    (Original post by Implication)
    Formal logic is taught in some mathematics courses and (afaik) all computer science courses as well as philosophy ya know

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    and math is taught by politics courses, doesn't mean math is a social science
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    and math is taught by politics courses, doesn't mean math is a social science
    i really don't think it's that obvious that logic is a 'humanities subject'. arguably it's a branch of mathematics (or the other way around). i mean all science is philosophy but that doesn't mean we say it's humanities...
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    and math is taught by politics courses, doesn't mean math is a social science
    Proper maths is not taught in politics courses. Proper logic is taught in mathematics courses.

    I am not, however, saying that STEM is in anyway superior to non-STEM.
    (I would argue that M is superior to non-M subjects, but I am clearly biased)
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    (Original post by Implication)
    i really don't think it's that obvious that logic is a 'humanities subject'. arguably it's a branch of mathematics (or the other way around). i mean all science is philosophy but that doesn't mean we say it's humanities...
    well if all science is philosophy, and philosophy is humanities, then surely all science is humanities.

    but that wasn't the point i was making. i consider logic to be philosophy used by mathematicians rather than vice versa because i think that figuring out which logical system is correct is a purely philosophical activity, and that historically, apart from a few exceptions (boole, fuzzy logic) all the major advances in logic have either been made by philosophers or by mathematicians working on things that would today be called philosophy.
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    well if all science is philosophy, and philosophy is humanities, then surely all science is humanities.

    but that wasn't the point i was making. i consider logic to be philosophy used by mathematicians rather than vice versa because i think that figuring out which logical system is correct is a purely philosophical activity, and that historically, apart from a few exceptions (boole, fuzzy logic) all the major advances in logic have either been made by philosophers or by mathematicians working on things that would today be called philosophy.
    I don't think you can just go ahead and neatly seperate everything into one subject or another because subjects have overlap. Logic is both a part of philosophy and of mathematics, just as graph theory is a part of both mathematics and computer science. You could quite easily argue that any subject is a subfield of philosophy, even if you were to do that and say that this means that all of science is contained within the humanities (though I'm not really sure that philosophy should be called a humanity, and that, like everything else the humanities are just a subfield of philosophy) someone can still say that the STEM-subfield of the humanities is 'better' than the non-STEM subfield.

    tbh I'd probably put logic at the top of the subject tree, above both philosophy and mathematics, though you could easily debate this.

    I also don't see history as a good reason to continue considering a subject as a subfield of another subject if it makes more sense to be defined differently.
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    (Original post by happyrubbit)
    You could quite easily argue that any subject is a subfield of philosophy...
    ^this

    And proof: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipe..._to_Philosophy
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    Instead of arguing about how much better a STEM degree is/might be, you could actually go try and achieve something with your own life..?
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    well if all science is philosophy, and philosophy is humanities, then surely all science is humanities.

    but that wasn't the point i was making. i consider logic to be philosophy used by mathematicians rather than vice versa because i think that figuring out which logical system is correct is a purely philosophical activity, and that historically, apart from a few exceptions (boole, fuzzy logic) all the major advances in logic have either been made by philosophers or by mathematicians working on things that would today be called philosophy.
    eh you could be right, i just don't think it's that obvious really. it's really quite hard to squeeze some things into the binary.

    on a side note, i think asking 'which logical system is correct?' is a very loaded question
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    This would have been 10x funnier if OP was in uni
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    I'm off to do a maths degree shortly and can't help but feel I have a better work ethic than those off to do psychology for instance -__- ... judging by those I know off to do such degrees
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    as someone who's off to do maths at uni this is like my favourite picture ever ahh
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    Funny how most politicians and a ton of civil servants have non-STEM degrees then? PPE + Law are pretty solid.
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    I studied Management and marketign and now work at Google. I also had to fight off many other job offers from the NHS and many other companies .
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    I cannot believe people would give a troll with a username like that and a STEM-fetish this much attention.

    The only reason these threads keep being made is because you all stoop to their level.
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    (Original post by STEMisSuperior.)
    Yeah, the campus looks really nice and combining the courses are great. Would definitely recommend but i didnt initially apply for maths and econ, just Maths then requested to transfer. I personally didnt want to live in london and didnt like UCL maths that much but they're good for more of the applied stuff (guess thats what counts). But yh, all the best in the future. Note this is more of my alter ego speaking lol
    Why dont you want to live in London?

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