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The Absent Minded ProfessorHD ((INSTALL))

According to the article, the noted American philosopher Roderick Chisholm believes that the reason that atheism was so influential a generation ago is that the brightest philosophers were atheists; but, he says, today many of the brightest philosophers are theists, and they are using a tough-minded intellectualism in defense of that theism.

The Absent Minded ProfessorHD

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We may safely infer that with marine animals of all kinds there has been alarge amount of migration due to climatal and other changes; and when wesee a species first appearing in any formation, the probability is that itonly then first immigrated into that area. It is well known, for instance,that several species appear somewhat earlier in the palaeozoic beds ofNorth America than in those of Europe; time having apparently been requiredfor their migration from the American to the European seas. In examiningthe latest deposits, in various quarters of the world, it has everywherebeen noted, that some few still existing species are common in the deposit,but have become extinct in the immediately surrounding sea; or, conversely,that some are now abundant in the neighbouring sea, but are rare or absentin this particular deposit. It is an excellent lesson to reflect on theascertained amount of migration of the inhabitants of Europe during theglacial epoch, which forms only a part of one whole geological period; andlikewise to reflect on the changes of level, on the extreme change ofclimate, and on the great lapse of time, all included within this sameglacial period. Yet it may be doubted whether, in any quarter of theworld, sedimentary deposits, INCLUDING FOSSIL REMAINS, have gone onaccumulating within the same area during the whole of this period. It isnot, for instance, probable that sediment was deposited during the whole ofthe glacial period near the mouth of the Mississippi, within that limit ofdepth at which marine animals can best flourish: for we know that greatgeographical changes occurred in other parts of America during this spaceof time. When such beds as were deposited in shallow water near the mouthof the Mississippi during some part of the glacial period shall have beenupraised, organic remains will probably first appear and disappear atdifferent levels, owing to the migrations of species and to geographicalchanges. And in the distant future, a geologist, examining these beds,would be tempted to conclude that the average duration of life of theembedded fossils had been less than that of the glacial period, instead ofhaving been really far greater, that is, extending from before the glacialepoch to the present day.

Well...the above paragraph expresses lovely thoughts but is little different from the use of judgy words. The big problems involve the reinforcement structure currently in place in university and scientific systems. I very much like and respect my department chair, but those behaviours he wanted to promote will not occur unless we get reinforced for them and are not penalized if these behaviours lead to reduced research productivity. Universities (especially R1) have evolved into a factory model where the production of widgets (i.e., refereed journal publications and grant funds) lead to status, promotion, salary, and power. Unless the desired behaviours that we should, ought, must, or needs have direct positive effects on the production of widgets or the nature of what academics are reinforced for doing, then there will be no systemic change. The factory model also leads to a class system in which those in power work to maintain their power and those actually manufacturing the widgets (i.e., postdocs and grad students) receive low pay, have low status, and are constantly reminded of their low status by people in power.Since the late 1970s the trend is to fetishize business models and structures in politics, government, public policy, and universities. The focus on efficiencies, productivity, competition, and short-term fiscal outcomes creates specific culture. Peter Higgs, of Higgs-boson particle and Nobel Prize fame, said that he was not productive enough to thrive in modern academia. I am sure someone of that talent would have thrived in modern academia, but I am not sure he would have discovered his namesake particle. The short-term factory model keeps universities from achieving potential. Although there have always been some problems, academia has also seen an increase in the common concerns of business such as fraud, financial mismanagement, lawsuits, chasing status and public recognition, and worrying more about the metrics of success (e.g., what is your h-index?) than actual success in the important work we were trained to do. Sorry for the political rant. The point is that there is a huge amount of inequality built into the current university system of reinforcement for scholars. To expect scholars with power to voluntarily give their power to others against their own interests solely to create a more just world is not especially realistic. Many of the rants I hear about the current state of academia are equivalent to cries that people should give up their jobs and their salaries and donate everything to the poor. There may be a few saints who do such a thing, but it is unlikely to affect the level of systemic change required to have a more equal society in university settings.

There is much blogging and twitter discussion about the how students and faculty work. There seem to be a variety of styles, methods, and approaches to getting work done. Some are consistent with the way I work and others seem downright bizarre. I want to make the case for being mindful, flexible and open minded about the specific approach that students and scholars take to scheduling and work habits. You may think that you are a night owl or binge writer now, and those things might work for you now, but be open minded. Changes in your life and work may necessitate incorporating major new work habits. 041b061a72


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