12-13-10, 01:43 PM #1
Are physicists and mathematicians nobler than most intellectuals?
12-13-10, 02:17 PM #2
Certainly they can and many of them are. To think otherwise would be only fooling yourself.
12-13-10, 04:26 PM #3
Nobler? Nah, just better. It goes :
Mathematicians > Physicists > Chemists/Biologists > Engineers > Computer Scientists > *
There's a joke along the lines of biologists think they are chemists, chemists think they are physicists, physicists think they are mathematicians and mathematicians think they are god.
Ironically its often the most ignorant who think their abilities are better than reality bears out. I think this partly is due to the fact they don't realise just how far from the forefront of research they are. I remember someone on another forum saying "You can take maths after high school? How much more than there be?". Look at hacks like Reiku/Green Destiny/[put sock puppet here]. He'll spend ages writing a BS essay on something he thinks is high level and in fact its on things expected of undergraduates. When challenged he quotes basic definitions found in the opening pages of 1st year textbooks. How many other cranks fall into the same category? How many times did Jack_ think he was pushing people's grasp of relativity when in fact he was failing on such a basic level that he wasn't grasping assumed knowledge for even an introductory 1st year course in relativity?
People make the mistake of conflating confidence with arrogance. I get called arrogant and pompous because I'm familiar with things I happen to have spent time learning and understanding. If I gave someone a book I'd never read and told them to go away for a year and to study that book every day then a year later I'd damn well hope they know more about it than me. Yes, I'm aware there's a fine line which separates them (and I do dance across it occasionally ) but being confident is not a bad thing.
On a TV program (which can also be found on YouTube) called 'The Atheist Experience' someone once called in whining about how science is too 'exclusive' because creationism isn't published in reputable journals and how unaccreditted PhDs should be valid and its unfair to exclude creationist 'science' from being taught in schools. The host pointed out that in anything where we give a damn about the outcome we want experts to be doing them. We want experienced, competent pilots to fly our planes. We want excellent athletes to play our sports. We want well trained soldiers to fight for us. In anything where the results matter experience, training, ability and competency are required. People give a shit about science, its important, and people who know their shit shouldn't be afraid to say it.
Step outside their area of expertise and you'll find the vast majority of scientists will have no problem saying "I don't know, this isn't my thing". The same most definitely cannot be said for cranks, eh Eugene ?
12-13-10, 06:23 PM #4
Noam Chomsky's analysis is a bit stupid. He's saying "intellectuals are just sheep that support the existing power structure...unless they aren't, at which point they are punished." Basically, unless you're overturning the applecart and supporting radical politics (like his libertarian socialism) you're a simple lemming. In other words, only intellectual anarchists are truly independent and, wouldn't you know it, Noam happens to style himself as an independent intellectual anarchist!
Expanding on this, how would one differentiate between a pseudo-intellectual lemming, and a genuine intellectual that happened to truly (and independently!) find the existing power structure appealing? Not always, but sometimes popular things are popular for a valid reason.
12-13-10, 07:50 PM #5
What is so stupid about the claim of there being a tremendous number of historic examples that illustrate Chomsky's thesis and also citing undeniable instances?
And why is that so unbelievable?
Chomsky's assessment of himself is obviously correct.
Chomsky answered that. Pseudo-intellectual lemmings all laude the magnificence of their own leaders.
12-13-10, 09:23 PM #6
Well if I respond this thread will probably get moved to politics or philosophy, which is fine I suppose...
Originally Posted by Eugene
Originally Posted by Eugene
There is another answer here, one which I happen to believe in. Any system or organization that contributes to one's self-worth, we deem important. The mechanic claims that changing your oil regularly is one of the most important things you can do, the computer geek says it's backing up your files, and the Pastor says it's attending church. I remember in high school there was a movement to ban the homecoming king and queen ceremony with claims that it was an oppressive throw-back to a misogynist ritual that ultimately created the feeling of rejection and resentment for most. Strangely, none of the leaders of the movement were in danger of being elected as royalty...point being they downplayed, even attacked, an organization because it devalued their self-worth (in their eyes).
So, IMO, what Noam is pointing out is that most intellectuals derive their self-worth by systems that exist in the status quo, while he envisions himself even more "valuable" in a world of a radically different political nature.
12-13-10, 11:22 PM #7
12-13-10, 11:27 PM #8
Yes, I did miss that. Please inform Noam that I find most Anarchists to be idiots. Therefore, combining our arbitrary definitions, we have concluded that the world is completely devoid of intellectuals. (at least in this thread? beat you to it, AN!!)
12-13-10, 11:28 PM #9Originally Posted by Eugene
Pseudo-intellectual lemmings all laude the magnificence of their own leaders.
12-13-10, 11:47 PM #10
Chomsky is wrong about anthropogenic global warming. But physicists are clearly wrong about idolizing Albert Einstein.
12-14-10, 01:01 AM #11But physicists are clearly wrong about idolizing Albert Einstein
12-14-10, 01:17 AM #12
12-14-10, 03:09 AM #13
i idolize anyone who can add and subtract
12-14-10, 07:21 AM #14
12-14-10, 07:49 AM #15
The mathematician John von Neumann famously said, “Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.” I say, anyone who abuses their children by indoctrinating them with the song, "Divine Einstein!" is also living in a state of sin.
12-14-10, 08:22 AM #16
12-14-10, 08:57 AM #17
You got that wrong. The old joke goes like this: "Biologists think they are Biochemists, Biochemists think they are Physical Chemists, Physical Chemists think they are Physicists, Physicists think they are gods, And God thinks He is a Mathematician."
While there is always some truth in a good joke, we shouldn't be flippant when confronted with serious challenges.
I believe it's reasonable to hypothesize that the slavish loyalty that political scientists have for existing power structures should also appear in religionists, evolutionists and physicists. Thus, if most political scientists can easily overlook atrocities, such as Gaza being an open air prison, then religionists can be wrong about God, evolutionists can be wrong about common descent and physicists can be wrong about physics. And since most mathematicians appear to be just as cowardly as the entire human race, then even that intellectual class is not exempt from being slavishly loyal to existing power structures.
12-14-10, 09:08 AM #18
In English please.
"Physicists can be wrong about physics" is not a meaningful argument.
A 'Yeah so?' comes to mind.
12-14-10, 09:26 AM #19
As the only real experience I have with this one is a friend who gets drunk then makes mathematical jokes that even they can't translate after sobering I don't know how much of an opinion I can supply.
12-14-10, 09:39 AM #20
I remember reading this statistic some time ago, and it's always stuck with me. As far as all-around intelligence, having graduate students of every ilk, I have to say the smartest and most eclectic are typically physicists. This can be evidenced by the fact that large numbers of physicists don't even do physics, or anything really related to physics.