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Do you think that Richard Dawkins is an intellectual snob? Watch

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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    They're also notorious for employing extremely intelligent people who are trained in understanding and processing complex data, something which can not be said for the general population. You cannot seriously be arguing that most people who voted in the referendum genuinely had a working understanding of what the EU was when poll after poll revealed a shocking level of ignorance amongst the general public.
    So academics all work in the same field and that field being heavily EU/Brexit related...

    I suppose Brian Cox can use his physics to solve the question of Brexit.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I never claimed that I respect opinions. You presented the view that people in Universities are 'notorious' for 'inbreeding' with people of 'similar views'. So I asked you whether you befriend and date people with different political and social perspectives to your own. Because if you don't, then your suggestion that humans outside of Universities are better at making reliable political decisions falls down. I mean it wasn't really standing up very well as it was, but that was one of the more glaring issues :p:

    And no, sorry... I don't respect you. But I also don't feel morally obliged to respect somebody who starts out by claiming I live in 'La la land' and that I'm 'inbred'
    Surprisingly it's the natural response to prejudiced academics like Dawkins who dismiss people outside of academia as drunken and stupid (which is incredibly ironic).

    Let me tell you what I mean by inbreeding. Say you're an academic (you are, but let's consider a different one), you have students, you prefer your students to have views similar to your own (this happens even in the most rigorous science) hence there's a cycle. Fresh ideas get pushed out. Yes, often these ideas are ridiculous and conspiracy theories, those can get stuffed as they're clearly wrong, but when it comes to institutions like the EU, prejudiced academics (and students especially) do my head in. They've never worked in the EU in their lives, their claim to a privileged position is absolutely baseless.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    He is and I strongly dislike the man, although he is absolutely correct here.



    It's a fairly accurate statement given that the single strongest determining factor for voting outcome in the referendum was level of education, with overwhelming support for continued membership at the highest level of education.
    I'm not arguing with the statistical relationship. I just think its a poor use of language. It comes across hysterical.

    Language is important. It like saying "almost no black people are educated". There are lower levels of educational attainment among black children. That is empirically true but if you want to talk about it, you need to be careful to raise yourself precisely and avoid the use of emotive language.
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    (Original post by Scrotumus Cicero)
    How many of these academics have actually worked at the EU? Yet they comment on it like they know everything. I do not pretend to have expertise in an industry i've never been employed in, that's called prejudice and leads to ridiculous conclusions.

    How can an academic have scientific evidence about something they've never worked in? Scientists do experiments.
    Oh dear :sigh:
    Lets start at the beginning shall we?
    There are lots of different things that can provide information about the world. Academics who research policy tend to refer to sources such as information that is made available by governments and organisations like the EU. They use methods such as interviewing people who work in the EU, and tracing the history of policies and outcomes. They also refer to research that other academics, think tanks and states have conducted. Knowledge is collectively built in this way. The particular source that a study uses to verify a finding depends on what the research question is, and what the most sensible way to gain information to answer it was. It also depends on what material and sources are possible to gather. In policy research, which is a social science, there are quite a few different research approaches.

    If you read about an academic study or finding that you don't believe, I recommend googling it and reading their methodology and sources to gain a better understanding of how they arrived at the point that they made, and why.

    In addition to following professional methodological standards, all published research needs to be peer reviewed. I'm sure you assume that getting research published is easy, and that those reviewing what you write are like minded. But actually that isn't true. Academia is a very competitive environment. There are not enough jobs to go around, and people fiercely compete for funding, jobs, prestige and influence. Academia tends to be very strict and cutthroat. Any aspect of your research that is done poorly or not thought through very well, or not substantiated with reliable sources... that tends to get picked up on and brutally attacked, because of this environment. So in reality it is actually quite hard to get research published, and in order for it to be released it has to match up to a very high standard when it comes to accountability about the research process and the data used.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Oh dear :sigh:
    Lets start at the beginning shall we?
    There are lots of different things that can provide information about the world. Academics who research policy tend to refer to sources such as information that is made available by governments and organisations like the EU. They use methods such as interviewing people who work in the EU, and tracing the history of policies and outcomes. They also refer to research that other academics, think tanks and states have conducted. Knowledge is collectively built in this way. The particular source that a study uses to verify a finding depends on what the research question is, and what the most sensible way to gain information to answer it was. It also depends on what material and sources are possible to gather. In policy research, which is a social science, there are quite a few different research approaches.

    If you read about an academic study or finding that you don't believe, I recommend googling it and reading their methodology and sources to gain a better understanding of how they arrived at the point that they made, and why.

    In addition to following professional methodological standards, all published research needs to be peer reviewed. I'm sure you assume that getting research published is easy, and that those reviewing what you write are like minded. But actually that isn't true. Academia is a very competitive environment. There are not enough jobs to go around, and people fiercely compete for funding, jobs, prestige and influence. Academia tends to be very strict and cutthroat. Any aspect of your research that is done poorly or not thought through very well, or not substantiated with reliable sources... that tends to get picked up on and brutally attacked, because of this environment. So in reality it is actually quite hard to get research published, and in order for it to be released it has to match up to a very high standard when it comes to accountability about the research process and the data used.
    :sigh:

    I don't think it needs saying how poor this actually is as a research method. Stop pretending to be science.
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    (Original post by Scrotumus Cicero)
    Surprisingly it's the natural response to prejudiced academics like Dawkins who dismiss people outside of academia as drunken and stupid (which is incredibly ironic).
    I don't like him either, and I think a lot of the things he says are unrelated to his academic research, which means they don't reflect on science or the academic process at all. Just on him being a prize *****
    Let me tell you what I mean by inbreeding. Say you're an academic (you are, but let's consider a different one), you have students, you prefer your students to have views similar to your own (this happens even in the most rigorous science) hence there's a cycle. Fresh ideas get pushed out. Yes, often these ideas are ridiculous and conspiracy theories, those can get stuffed as they're clearly wrong, but when it comes to institutions like the EU, prejudiced academics (and students especially) do my head in. They've never worked in the EU in their lives, their claim to a privileged position is absolutely baseless.
    What evidence do you have that this happens? I've marked hundreds of undergraduate essays in a Politics department. A lot of my students have dramatically different political and moral views to my own, but I have given top marks to students who presented views like these with appropriate academic rigour. And by that, what I mean is that they provided evidence to back up any factual claims they made about the world (like you are neglecting to do right now), and provided logical reasoning to explain why they thought what they thought, and why they thought others should think the same... for cases where the suggestion was not something that could be verified factually.
    Also I liked it when students in my classes had unusual or 'fresh' ideas, because it meant that people in the class talked more, rather than sitting in silence. It can be hard to get a good seminar going if everybody already thinks the same thing.
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    (Original post by Scrotumus Cicero)
    :sigh:

    I don't think it needs saying how poor this actually is as a research method. Stop pretending to be science.
    How poor what is?
    I mentioned several methods. Which one don't you like and why?
    Also, please tell me how you would research the EU (small tip, you need to specify a specific question first).
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    I would say he is pretty rational.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    What evidence do you have that this happens? I've marked hundreds of undergraduate essays in a Politics department. A lot of my students have dramatically different political and moral views to my own, but I have given top marks to students who presented views like these with appropriate academic rigour. And by that, what I mean is that they provided evidence to back up any factual claims they made about the world (like you are neglecting to do right now), and provided logical reasoning to explain why they thought what they thought, and why they thought others should think the same... for cases where the suggestion was not something that could be verified factually.
    Also I liked it when students in my classes had unusual or 'fresh' ideas, because it meant that people in the class talked more, rather than sitting in silence. It can be hard to get a good seminar going if everybody already thinks the same thing.
    How close are you to your colleagues? OK, I won't say all academics are like that, it was brash, for that I apologise, but it does happen, it is my experience, things will be discussed in seminars but you'll never get funding to publish unless you go to a different university which agrees with you.


    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    How poor what is?
    I mentioned several methods. Which one don't you like and why?
    Also, please tell me how you would research the EU (small tip, you need to specify a specific question first).
    I do not think a complex institution like the EU can be understood by an observer using trivial techniques such as interviews. The very nature of the EU as quite a social institution means the people who you interview will know how to slime their way out of it in the first place! I am not discouraging research, knowledge, or anything like that, I am encouraging a different approach to it. One based on experience.

    If I wanted to research the EU I would apply for a job and see what it is actually like working there. Not sitting on the sidelines coming up with theories based on what some official told you (and had to tell you, because it's their job)
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    Although Mr D has said many unforgivable things about Religion, his views on the Brexit tragedy are very sensible.
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    (Original post by Scrotumus Cicero)
    How close are you to your colleagues? OK, I won't say all academics are like that, it was brash, for that I apologise, but it does happen, it is my experience, things will be discussed in seminars but you'll never get funding to publish unless you go to a different university which agrees with you.
    What experience? You can't allude to 'experience' and just rely on me to take you on your word that it is actually relevant experience. You made a factual claim, but didn't provide any evidence that you knew anything about it, and how you knew that.

    It is usually not Universities that allocate funding, but the national research councils, and some other independent and international funders. And there are certainly biases in which kinds of research get approved, but it tends to be the case that the bias is towards the kind of research that is likely to get more results, fast, and the sort that has a bearing on policy choices. So more quantitative social science research is funded than smaller scale exploratory studies.
    I do not think a complex institution like the EU can be understood by an observer using trivial techniques such as interviews. The very nature of the EU as quite a social institution means the people who you interview will know how to slime their way out of it in the first place! I am not discouraging research, knowledge, or anything like that, I am encouraging a different approach to it. One based on experience. If I wanted to research the EU I would apply for a job and see what it is actually like working there. Not sitting on the sidelines coming up with theories based on what some official told you (and had to tell you, because it's their job)
    But you just went on about how people in these jobs can't be relied on to provide useful information? :p: So why would becoming one of them be any better? :p:

    That's great for allowing you to derive information for yourself about the EU, but how about everyone else? If you're working full time in an EU job, how will you have time to publish research about the EU? You might have time to write one or two Op Eds, and sure... people would take into your account your experience and find it interesting. But you wouldn't have time to do very much. So if humanity wants collective knowledge of the EU, somebody is going to have to have the money and the time to spend on putting together the vast amount of detail and information that is out there into something that can actually be used and digested by the public/policy makers etc.

    A researcher could also put together much more information and much more reliable information than an individual working in the EU could, though. This is because the researcher has time to spend on going through complete records of the EU, going through it's history and law and gathering mass scale statistics connected to particular policies and strategies. Many people would fairly enough think that you, the lone EU worker, would be a biased source, since you are so close to the problem, and so subjectively attached to it, that you would not be best placed to see the big picture.

    Interviewing is just one method that is sometimes used for some research questions. Usually it is used in conjunction with other methods. You're right that the EU is complex, and the research that is conducted on it is equally complex. It brings together a lot of different kinds of data, and a lot of different research strategies. As I said before, if you disagree with a particular study you have to look at it and the method they used, rather than dismissing it out of hand.

    As to interviews being 'trivial' as research methods, that's actually nonsense.
    Human beings aren't cells or molecules that can be put in a petri dish. There are some very specific things we can learn about humans experimentally, but for large scale social institutions like the EU, traditional scientific methods obviously can't help. So you have two choices: either give up and don't try and research humans and societies at all. Or use the philosophy behind the scientific method to find alternative methodological strategies for observing humans as accurately as you can. To do that we do things like compare and contrast different countries and different organisations to see what patterns we can find when it comes to which policies had what effect. We gather statistical information, and analyse existing legislation and policy. We draw on press releases, we survey, we interview. Some studies involve ethnography, where the researcher spends several weeks or years in situ as a participant observer. All of these are ways of observing the social world and understanding it. Microscopes and titration kits are not. But the procedures and principles are the same.
    Even if they were not... as I said... you have a choice. Either give up on trying to research policy, society and human behaviour because it's hard and because you can't put humans in petri dishes. Or try, and do it as best you can. The best that social researchers can do is still a heck of a lot more accurate and indicative than what your mate told you at the pub, because we are thorough, we have time, we have funding, and we gather as complete a record as we can from every possible source of information that is relevant.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    He is and I strongly dislike the man, although he is absolutely correct here.



    It's a fairly accurate statement given that the single strongest determining factor for voting outcome in the referendum was level of education, with overwhelming support for continued membership at the highest level of education.
    You don't have to be 'educated' to think that Britain should be a sovereign and self-governing country. It's actually incredible how so many highly 'educated' people are so ignorant and stupid on matters away from their discipline.

    Dawkins is usually a fairly objective and rational person, but his political views seem to be very ill-informed. He shows no intellectual maturity on politics.
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    He's right, brexit was something that really hit the feelings of closeted racists and people who are miserable with their lives. Brexit made these people believe that their problems would be solved by leaving the EU.

    The remain side however had research and solid evidence which clearly outlined the economic ramifications of leaving as well as the international appeal Britain has gained which is in part due to our access to the single market.

    The brexit vote was a vote from the heart, where miserable people thought things would get better. The remain vote was people who had brains and used it to vote sensibly and pragmatically.
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    He is and he prides himself in that.
    If you're going to be a snob about anything, being one about knowledge isn't the worst.
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    He's an idiot! Has no idea what he's on about.
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    (Original post by Ladbants)
    He's an idiot! Has no idea what he's on about.
    Who you calling an idiot, this guy literally invented memes.
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    (Original post by Just a Bloke)
    .
    Thanks for sharing, very interesting!

    Aside from the sentence regarding 'almost every educated person' which Just a Bloke debunked (though I feel he intended it as more of a generalisation than a factual statement) I do agree with what he says (that such a decision shouldn't have been put to a referendum, especially a straight majority one. Unfortunately the UK government doesn't seem to be particularly good at following the advice of experts on specific topics, they tend to go for a more instinctive/emotional approach.

    I like Richard Dawkins and almost always agree with what he has to say. He doesn't always come across in a great way to me though, I find in particular that his non-science based writing makes him come across like a bit of a stubborn insert-negative-word. He writes in a way that puts me immediately on the defensive, like he's saying I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG, rather than, I understand why you think/feel like that, here is what I think, perhaps I can persuade you.

    I feel like, to me personally, he normally comes across a lot better in video. I think the main issue in this one was the way he used the term educated people; you know what he meant (people who have more knowledge about the issue in hand, usually from study or reading) but if you weren't listening fully to the whole thing it can easily come across as a very elitist us vs. them thing... us educated people didn't want to leave but the stupid ones voted for it anyway!! Especially as he says the 'almost all' thing, he's basically saying 51% of the country is uneducated (which they possibly are in the sense that he means, but that doesn't mean they are stupid).
 
 
 
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