0764: "One Two"

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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:14 am UTC

mythago wrote:Wow, that takes me back. I haven't heard the "you liberal arts people have it so eaaaaaasy" whine since college, which was many-many-lots years ago. (Note that Randall's not mocking anthropologists, but "anthropology majors".)

Strangely, I have an engineering degree, and was still at the end of the "you guys never do any work" jokes. As Software Engineering students, we were expected to do most of our work in our own time, since you can just get on a computer or meet for group projects or design/document stuff at any time, while the ChemEng students, for example, had multiple 6 hour labs in a week for just one unit. Result: We had 12 contact hours in a week, other engineers had 40.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Phish » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:16 am UTC

Who's up for a rousing game of "Spot the anthropologists in the thread"?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:23 am UTC

Gobo wrote:One wonders when some physicist is going to cross disciplines and finally solve all of the soft sciences' research questions. Imagine the accolades that person would receive.


There are some physicists who think they can do this, especially in the cognitive sciences. And let me tell you, it is fucking annoying. I don't mind physicists working in neuroscience because they bring valuable skills to the table. What I hate is reading a paper about consciousness by three physicists. Or a book. You can dig out some threads in the Science board where you have a bunch of physics students who have read these books trying to argue with people who actually study the mind and brain. It is slightly ridiculous.

sje46 wrote:Anthropology not only uses falsifiable methods, but is also a science. Why has Randall gone so low to insult entire fields without understanding them? That's what dickheads do to make them feel superior to others.


I was a psych major in college (and I am a grad student in it now... but at least my concentration is called "cognition and neural systems") and so I think I can shed some light on the situation. Most people think Psychology is about Freud, feelings, therapy, unicorns, rainbows, and so on. And for a percentage of psychologists, it is. But for some of us, it is vision, memory, brain structures, cellular neuroscience, computational models, and so on. Consequently, I find myself explaining on the fora that a good amount of psychology is full blown science, and not a pseudo or social science. If psychology is less than science, many biologists who study animal behavior, evolution, or cellular biology would have to be relegated to "social science" status. A major gripe of mine is that introductory psychology courses don't really explain that psychologists do things beyond the puppies and rainbows despite covering the brain and sensory systems. At least they slam self-help books and psychoanalysis.

With anthropology, people think of cavemen and people with bones in their noses. But in reality there is more to it than that. And by making this comic, Randall has shown that he doesn't know what he is talking about. He is an artist and t shirt salesman with an applied physics degree. I don't see where he gets off acting like this.** And to be honest, the Physics, Computer Science/Engineering department at CNU isn't exactly the most rigorous in the world. And worse, I honestly think that the Psychology degree I got there taught me more about the scientific method/theory/philosophy than the other science departments. Between the present comic and this one: http://xkcd.com/435/ I have to wonder if he is an elitist. The "applied" argument is wrong on so many levels. Reductionism anyone? Read some chaos and complexity theory. And don't get me started on string theory....I honestly believe that string theorists can't call themselves scientists (totally different thread....).

**I think the comic itself is pretty good. Just not the alt text.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Kalos » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:26 am UTC

Ah yes, the guy who got fired from NASA and fell back on drawing stick figures and selling T-shirts themed with said stick figures is clearly in a position to comment on real scientists.

Why are hard science majors always determined to dig at every other major anyway? You never see business majors trying to bring down the philosophy kids, then again, business majors probably don't have to justify anything to anyone because they know they'll make about twice as much as anyone else for filling out spreadsheets.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Minthulf » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:29 am UTC

This begs the question. What is primitive? and how are you judging primitive?

As to the alt. text... it's the second sentence that makes the thing unfunny. Pity then.

As to the science or not science thing. It depends how one understands science. I understand science to be the aplication of the scientific method to gain knowledge. Social sciences are sciences by this understanding, whereas mathematics and computer science are not.
By another reckoning the opposite holds, however I find that the definitions of science that include math but not social sciences are quite arbitrary.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby a_passing_lunatic » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:31 am UTC

Oh darlings, you've all misread him. He's clearly taking the piss out of self-important undergraduates, and good on him for it. Bunch of tools the lot of 'em.


(except me).
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby ZLVT » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:35 am UTC

I did science/arts (inc. some anthro) for 2 yrs at uni and now I've done 2 yrs of languages. I'd certainly say sciences are a lot harder and take more time. I don't think it's insulting.

I also disagree with the common line that there's no such thing as a primitive culture/language
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby mythago » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:38 am UTC

faunablues wrote:I noticed that my liberal-arts-major friends always seemed to have more free time than the science/math ones. I didn't really mind the "extra" work though, because I'd rather read pages and pages of biology than write essays for a degree. It might not take as much time to write an essay (even a good one) than to pass a science exam, but it's oooh so painful. I usually score better in English-type things, but I'd rather do calculus that write more crap on the "meaning" of the mandatory reading.
I admit, though, I was a bit jealous of their apparent care-free college career come graduation, when everyone seemed relieved that all that "work" (partying until the day before the term paper was due) was over. What they said - it's not about anthropologists, but anthropology majors. Some people choose the reputed "easy track" and that's exactly what they get, only to deny it later.


But aren't you actually the one who chose the "easy track"? As you say, it was actually less work and brain-strain for you to do calculus or take a science exam to write an English essay. For you, an engineering degree was the path of least resistance. Unless you're defining the ease of a major strictly in terms of the number of hours spent on classwork, which is probably not where you want to go with this, both you and your liberal-arts-major friends were choosing the track that was the easiest for you and your strengths, talents and interests.

And then there's the issue of confirmation bias; when we believe in a stereotype, like "liberal arts majors goof off all the time and engineers are gearheads chained to their desks", we discard evidence that doesn't fit and seize on evidence that does. You see your French Literature-major friend partying while you're studying for a test and think "Must be nice to have an EASY major," but you don't hear her grumbling about pulling all-night research on her term paper while her CS-major friends are dicking around in the computer lab, playing LAN games on "lab time" while their code ostensibly compiles.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby weex » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:39 am UTC

a_passing_lunatic wrote:Oh darlings, you've all misread him. He's clearly taking the piss out of self-important undergraduates, and good on him for it. Bunch of tools the lot of 'em.


Yes, maybe this is the beginning of Randall dropping the ties to college and beginning to write more on life after college/graduate school. I do commend Randall for the courage to aim at anthropology majors as the collateral damage injuring many other not-physics/math/chem majors is quite extensive.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby lolgoggles » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:41 am UTC

Alt text:Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.


...okay, we all know he dishes humanities students whenever he can, but did he just put down everybody who isn't currently getting a science degree?

Does anybody know if there's somewhere where you can see xkcd without adding to this page's hit counter?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Mavrisa » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:41 am UTC

phantomb wrote:... the only group that should be boasting about work load is engineers. Holy crap do those guys have it tough.

:cry: That is NOT what I want to hear going into engineering next year...

Also, I winced when I read the alt text. Is it just me, or has he been doing that more often lately?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Minthulf » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:42 am UTC

lolgoggles wrote:
Alt text:Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.


...okay, we all know he dishes humanities students whenever he can, but did he just put down everybody who isn't currently getting a science degree?

Does anybody know if there's somewhere where you can see xkcd without adding to this page's hit counter?


Why would you want to do that?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby niky » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:45 am UTC

Is it sad that, as an education major, I laughed out loud at the alt-text? Loud enough to actually post about it, after lurking here for months.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:48 am UTC

Not cool, not funny, not a good comic. It seems like the image is just a placeholder giving opportunity for writing the alt-text soapbox.

What does it say about Randall that he has the free time to slam anthropology majors by writing a Sesame Street based comic about them?

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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby mythago » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:50 am UTC

Mavrisa wrote:
phantomb wrote:... the only group that should be boasting about work load is engineers. Holy crap do those guys have it tough.

:cry: That is NOT what I want to hear going into engineering next year...


Meh. Part of college life is bitching and moaning about how much work you have and how much harder your major is than everybody else's (regardless of what your major actually is). If you don't believe me, and also don't mind pissing off everybody in earshot forever, wait until you're at a party where all a bunch of your fellow students are grumping about their workload: pipe up with "Really? I mean, the subject matter is certainly challenging, but I don't find that there are a ridiculous number of hours put in at all. In fact the workload is quite manageable and I have a reasonable amount of free time!"

In any case, speaking from a post-college vantage point, anybody who is a single, childless undergrad lacking significant external burdens (working full-time to pay their way through, primary caretaker for a sick parent) really has no effin' clue about just what "backbreaking workload" or "killer schedule" actually mean. I went to school with single parents who worked during the day and took classes at night and didn't have Mommy or Daddy funding their education; those people have the right to kick any whiny undergrad in the jimmy, in my opinion.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Lanfranc » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:51 am UTC

So, yeah:

Physics: Thow some stuff into the LHC, smash it together, and see what comes out.

Anthropology: Investigate and try to understand foreign cultures with entirely different languages, social structures and conceptual frameworks from your own, while at the same time trying not to let your own prejudices and cultural conceptions affect your analysis.

Yeah, it should be obvious that physics is the harder subject here.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:56 am UTC

ZLVT wrote:I also disagree with the common line that there's no such thing as a primitive culture/language


Depends on what you mean by primitive, which is a pretty loaded word. What do you mean by primitive?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:57 am UTC

phantomb wrote:
ZLVT wrote:I also disagree with the common line that there's no such thing as a primitive culture/language


Depends on what you mean by primitive, which is a pretty loaded word. What do you mean by primitive?


haha

he's making fun of subjectivist, anti-scientific anthropologists

and it works, it's really clever
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:08 am UTC

Turing Machine wrote:
haha

he's making fun of subjectivist, anti-scientific anthropologists

and it works, it's really clever


I'm not following you. The word primitive carries a lot of baggage. To call a culture primitive in a pejorative sense is ethnocentrism, the evaluation of another culture according to the standards of one's own culture. This is generally frowned upon by all anthropologists. The same is true of languages and linguists.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby iforgotmyusername » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:10 am UTC

Noticing the subject matter of this comic, I'm pretty convinced that Randall hates anthropology because it invents a way to refute his mathematician's pride over "primitive cultures" who are indifferent towards the "elegance of numbers".
Btw, a better example than the Pirana in this case would be the Inuktitut language, which simply does not have numbers and borrows all the words that reference to number from English.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:13 am UTC

phantomb wrote:
Turing Machine wrote:
haha

he's making fun of subjectivist, anti-scientific anthropologists

and it works, it's really clever


I'm not following you. The word primitive carries a lot of baggage. To call a culture primitive in a pejorative sense is ethnocentrism, the evaluation of another culture according to the standards of one's own culture. This is generally frowned upon by all anthropologists. The same is true of languages and linguists.


yes

excellent parody
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Kalos » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:15 am UTC

mythago wrote:In any case, speaking from a post-college vantage point, anybody who is a single, childless undergrad lacking significant external burdens (working full-time to pay their way through, primary caretaker for a sick parent) really has no effin' clue about just what "backbreaking workload" or "killer schedule" actually mean. I went to school with single parents who worked during the day and took classes at night and didn't have Mommy or Daddy funding their education; those people have the right to kick any whiny undergrad in the jimmy, in my opinion.

Couldn't agree with this more. I''m three years into a degree in CS and I think there's been a grand total of two classes I've needed to study for, both of which simply focused on areas I wasn't particularly talented in. Neither of those classes were mathematics or physics. Sure, my coding projects can be time-consuming, but they're rarely difficult. I spend more time a week at work of caring for a sick parent than I do actually doing homework... and then comics like Xkcd come around and make me downright ashamed to be in the category that the guy who got fired from NASA considers to be a "real" field.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:29 am UTC

mythago wrote:Meh. Part of college life is bitching and moaning about how much work you have and how much harder your major is than everybody else's (regardless of what your major actually is). If you don't believe me, and also don't mind pissing off everybody in earshot forever, wait until you're at a party where all a bunch of your fellow students are grumping about their workload: pipe up with "Really? I mean, the subject matter is certainly challenging, but I don't find that there are a ridiculous number of hours put in at all. In fact the workload is quite manageable and I have a reasonable amount of free time!"


I did almost exactly this in third year: we had a unit called Hardware Fundamentals 100, which was basically an overview unit from boolean algebra and logic gates through various hardware topics to assembly code. Despite being a first year, first semester unit, a quirk of our course structure meant that software engineers in my year didn't take it until third year, second semester: which meant having about 10 people bored out of their minds because we knew most of the content, while the first year students slowed down the lecturer by asking the same questions every 5 minutes.

The WebCT forums for the unit were full of threads titled "This unit is too hard", so one night when I was working late on an assignment(for a different unit) in one of the computer labs with a bunch of friends, I posted the "Is this unit too easy?" thread, and my friends chimed in with agreement about how the unit could be more in depth on each subject, and how it would be nice if the lecturer didn't keep going over the same content. Somehow, in a unit that only had about 40 students, and only 3 weeks left before the end of exams, almost a thousand posts were made in that thread before we were locked out of the system. (And, I just realised, being that the other students were CS students, it is quite likely that at least one of them is active on these forums. Hi guys!)
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Ghandi 2 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:34 am UTC

RANDALL MUNROE is accusing other people of being pedantic and having too much free time? What the fuck?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby blueberry » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:52 am UTC

I want to believe that this comic is a magnificent troll to piss off all social science majors and supporters. Because I love xkcd and I read every update. I'd be fine with the offense (I can laugh at my major), but this one was not even funny. :|

That said, I REALLY would like to see Randall take a tiny inch sized fragment of a bone and determine if it's human, what bone it is, and what side of the body is from. That's something I can do in my sleep. Also, once he has gotten up at 5 a.m. to travel across the state to work a 21 hour workday in some small town in the middle of nowhere because some inmate said he killed his girlfriend 30 years ago and the cops want you to excavate a whole damn hill to try and find her, only to turn up nothing, he can tell me I have loads of free time. And once he has handled, dissected, and processed decomposing human bodies several times in a row he can tell me it's easier.
That's my anthropology.

Don't say that my master's degree is easy, gives me loads of free time, or is of less value.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Gorak » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:54 am UTC

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Sesame Street


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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby ohaus » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:57 am UTC

Man, I read this and thought it was a pun on "one too many", as in "i've had one too many to drink".

And i thought "Primitive Cultures" must be a movie studio or band or something. and the alt-text just confused me. Didn't expect to see a pages-long argument over college majors.

I just must be stupid or something
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Domovoi » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:02 am UTC

Way to accuse people of not being real scientists, mr. T-shirt salesman.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby blueberry » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:07 am UTC

Domovoi wrote:Way to accuse people of not being real scientists, mr. T-shirt salesman.


And I bought a lot of them. :( And quite a few people in my department read xkcd.
This sucks.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Singulaire » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:09 am UTC

You know, I used to think that XKCD attracted people of higher than average intellect. Regardless of how reading this thread affected my conception, I now know that the nature of the comic has no bearing on the ability of its readers to distinguish seriousness from jest.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Domovoi » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:12 am UTC

Singulaire wrote:You know, I used to think that XKCD attracted people of higher than average intellect. Regardless of how reading this thread affected my conception, I now know that the nature of the comic has no bearing on the ability of its readers to distinguish seriousness from jest.


The thing is, insulting people can be really funny, even to the ones being insulted, if you pull off the insults in an amusing way. For examples of this, see SMBC, South Park, Bill Hicks and many others. For an example of how it doesn't work when you leave out the funny, see the alt text of the latest comic. It also works better when people cannot instantly turn your joke around and use it against you.

I figured that this would not have to be spelled out to people of higher than average intellect, but I now know that the acumen of XKCD's readership has no bearing on their discernment of the more basic aspects of comedy.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Flashbullzeye » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:14 am UTC

For the love of God. All of you shut up and go to sleep. You're just going to forget about it over the weekend and be excited to read whatever JOKE (cause that's what Randall does is write jokes about the sciences) he posts on Monday. Stop feigning this deep offense from a guy you've never met because he cracked wise about your field of study.

I can't believe THIS is what finally got me to register on this forum...
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby libra » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:23 am UTC

GyRo567 wrote:nested bit clipped
CorruptUser wrote:nested bit clipped
reduviid wrote:nested bit clipped
melthengylf wrote:nested bit clipped

There are plenty of non-sciences that are useful. :]

Not to mention:-
Sciences that are useful
Sciences that are non-useful
Non-sciences that are non-useful

and anything else.

Always leave room for "anything else." That's where all the new stuff comes from.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby libra » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:25 am UTC

Phish wrote:Who's up for a rousing game of "Spot the anthropologists in the thread"?

I'm up for a rousing game of "avoiding all the trolls here and buggering off to a more enlightened thread."
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby mrdarkavocado » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:28 am UTC

I found today's comic a little bit disconcerting, not to mention some of the animosity toward the so-called social sciences found on this forum. I guess everyone likes to feel superior once in awhile.

I am myself an anthropology student, though I don't give a flying fuck about whether people consider it a science. Cultural anthropology at least obviously isn't one at the present time. I just chose to study this shit because I like bones.

I guess it just seemed weird that he saw fit to imply that people who study this subject are lazy time-wasters. It's not really true and seems almost like it was meant to be pointedly offensive.

Or perhaps we're all just taking it too seriously.

Whatever, I still love so much of this comic.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Domovoi » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:29 am UTC

libra wrote:
Phish wrote:Who's up for a rousing game of "Spot the anthropologists in the thread"?

I'm up for a rousing game of "avoiding all the trolls here and buggering off to a more enlightened thread."


"Pish! People who don't agree with me? No unending stream of praise for the things I find enjoyable? Clearly these people are not as enlightened as I am!"
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby JJRJR » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:32 am UTC

Full Disclosure - I'm graduating in May of '11 after 5 years, a nervous breakdown, and a triple major in Political Science, Philosophy, and English. I plan on attending graduate school to pursue my interest in either legal philosophy or epistemology.

I can say that after editing my roommate's (in medical school right now) papers during Freshman and Sophomore year that it is simply a matter of perspective when judging the difficulty or value of one's major. My roommate couldn't write a coherent paper to save his life nor could he solve problems that weren't somewhat covered already in his texts. I found the same is generally true of many "science" majors. While I hate making generalizations like that, particularly given the fact that many modern college students care far less about the subject matter and more about the title "college graduate", it is hard to ignore the elitism, based in specific personalized values, that is endemic of certain fields, be it science, engineering, or the arts.

In my particular university all philosophy and political science classes are open to anyone who meets the prerequisites while all science (mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, etc.) classes are open only to those within the major. While I understand the limited extent that this is to serve those students with, supposedly, strict educational regiments; it does not excuse the fact that there are Bio majors, who have never heard of, much less read, Descartes, Hume, Chalmers, or the Churchlands, taking a 400 level course on the mind-body problem when I am unable to register for 200 level mathematics courses that are complimentary to my study of linguistic-logic problems despite having met all the prerequisites (including introductory courses that were useless beyond allowing me to enter more advanced classes).

An additional point -- I'm of the school of thought that believes the human mind is ultimately capable of being fully understood, but until that day, the so-called soft sciences are faced with the far more difficult job, in my opinion, of studying something that is, to this point, beyond our grasp, the mind, while the 'hard' sciences are allowed to deal, more or less, in absolutes.

/end rant/

JJR ii

PS. I just saw the irony in name-checking Chalmers, a predominant philosopher in questions of Consciousness who is also a mathematician (I believe) by trade, in a post railing against discrimination by those in the "Sciences" towards those in Philosophy and soft sciences

PPS. No insult is intended toward anyone, physicists, doctors, anthropologists, lawyers, evolutionary biologists, and ethicists are all important individuals to our society with similar levels of education. For anyone to posit that any one group is somehow superior to another is to discount the intellectual value that a particular group adds to both our society and our culture.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby scottyb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:51 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:And don't get me started on string theory....I honestly believe that string theorists can't call themselves scientists (totally different thread....).

String. Thread. Heh. I'm snickering.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby littlelj » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:00 am UTC

YAY LINGUISTICS COMIC!!!111!!ZOMG!1!!!

Anthropology is indeed totally :roll: .

Linguistics, on the other hand, spans disciplines as diverse as physics, biology, computer science, sociology (hmm, undermines my point slightly), anthropology (damn), history (that's more like it) and psychology, often in the same undergraduate course. We shared papers with the medics, natural scientists, etc. It IS proper science.
Dudes, I'm a woman.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Felstaff » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:15 am UTC

Indeed a below-the-belt remark to anthropologists. I wonder if there are any misanthropic anthropologists.

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