There is a subject that I’ve wanted to broach on this site but have been avoiding doing so. To have a starting point for this conversation, read this article first.
Now, with that out of the way, let me establish my limited bona fides on this subject. I have degrees in economics and political science. I’ve spent 20 years in the world of speech and debate and have had the opportunity to do loads of research in the social sciences, philosophy, and law. I know lots of people who have gone to grad school and have earned PhD’s in the humanities and social sciences.
I’m now in the beginning stages of the other side of academia. I wouldn’t dare call myself a scientist yet, but I’m living, sort of, in the culture and am getting deeper in it by the day.
At this point I can safely say that there is a significant culture gap between the hard sciences and non-sciences. The author of the above article has it dead on the money. People in the hard sciences are …….. nicer.
In fact, I’m probably the biggest dick I’ve come across so far.
Itâ€™s not just the people and the social climate either. There is a relevance to even, what at first may seem like, insignificant research. If you’ve ever read the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, in the second book there is a scene where someone at the second foundation is shown the big cube of all the knowledge the second foundation has created. The narrator was responsible for one tiny part of what was a giant mass of tiny text projected onto a wall. Hard science research feels like that, where as most research in the humanities in the social sciences and humanities seems very ephemeral.
There is a ton I could write on this subject of the hard sciences vs. the non-sciences, and I’m not sure I’m at the point where I can coherently say everything I want to say. I will certainly have more to say on the subject which will probably piss off a great many of the people I know.
I’ll end for now by posting a link to an article written by Noam Chomsky on why the obscure language used by post-modernists is not the same as technical language used by scientists. (I’m not a big Chomsky fan, but he’s on the money on this issue)