Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Science is Hard

It’s a burning issue: why aren’t more college students majoring in science?

It’s not for lack of desire. It’s not because they don’t know where the jobs are.

The real reason, according to a study performed by Ralph Stinebrickner and Todd Stinebrickner  is that science is hard. (Via Matthew Yglesias)

Students fall back into Humanities and Social Sciences courses because those are easy.

The Stinebrickners write:

We find that students enter school quite optimistic/interested about obtaining a science degree, but that relatively few students end up graduating with a science degree. The substantial overoptimism about completing a degree in science can be attributed largely to students beginning school with misperceptions about their ability to perform well academically in science.

It appears that the rampant self-esteemism that infects America’s schools has produced students who cannot do college level work in any discipline where they will be subjected to objective evaluation. Better yet, their self-esteem has been inflated to the point where they do not even know how little they know.

Let's not forget, if you want to major in science you really have to do the work. Apparently, these students did not learn a work ethic in high school.

Can schoolteachers be sued for malpractice?


Anonymous said...

... And the humanities and social sciences are easy because content interpretation and "analytical research" today are purely subjective, brought on by the atomizing impact of relativism. You can believe in unicorns. The world can be whatever you want it to be, and the inverse so much more. Just take a victimized worldview/perspective (while studying in the ____ Studies department), write a bunch of papers, get a degree, realize there are no jobs, go to grad school, get a PhD, get hired by a university because of your "creative, groundbreaking research," and the fantasy can go on forever! One needn't grow up, the unicorns can still come out and play. And you've got 40 years to pay off those pesky student loans...

Science ruins everything. Science shows there are no unicorns. And that sucks, man, because we all want to believe in unicorns.

Or do we?

Relativism is destroying our civilization because it is turning us into uncritical, un-creative, atomized, antisocial children who believe in unicorns and think we should be able to make a living off of that because its important to us. We are productive, contributing members of society because we say so. And that's enough. Why do we need anything else? Everyone is equal, right? What everyone thinks, believes in and dreams about is equally important, right? "Of course!" cheers the educational establishment.

The real world must be absolutely terrifying to such people. A university career in the social sciences (or administrative position, where you can take social science courses for free) must be a nice respite from such demands. And with tenure, it can prevent adulthood forever!

And that is grounds for malpractice.


Bobbye said...

The World has all of the STEM grads it needs, plus more. Businesses would like them cheaper of course.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...


Science shows that it is reasonable to assume that there are no unicorns within a limited frame of reference.

Science is also relative. It is necessarily constrained to a limited frame of reference. Outside that frame, where trials are reproducible and testable, there is philosophy or religion.

From the human perspective, most of the universe is a philosophical construct, which we accept as an article of faith. We assume that it exhibits certain characteristics, but that knowledge is inferred through various proxies, which are then locally interpreted.

Sam L. said...

Yglesias agrees that science is hard and students unprepared? Teachers' Unions gonna get him for that.

Can they be sued? Don't know. Ought to be. "It's for the children."

Anonymous said...

Where there's money to be made, people will do strange things. Here's Glenn Hubbard's recent WSJ piece on the "immorality" of the current student loan at our colleges, whic has little to do with educating students, and everything with the direct cash he leans provide to higher education administration bloat:


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry.... Glenn Harlan Reynolds on that linked WSJ piece above.


Dennis said...

Much of this was precipitated by "feminism." Was not one of their major themes that we have to get rid of male "linear thinking."
After years of this constant barrage against " males and linear thinking," because the vast majority of the teachers are women and feminists, we have handicapped and created disincentives to the very people and thinking that produces those who would go into Science. An aside here. I received my current alumni book and there was an article written by a woman expounding how women are a large majority of universities. (58-60 percent.} Among the little gems was the fact that boys do well on tests, but don't get good grades in class. Some how this proved that women were better, implied. The question should have been why would boys do well on tests and then not do well in the classroom?
Actually I believe that if we had more people with STEM oriented degrees we would be able to counter much of the "junk science" that exists today. Much of the problem with the population as a whole is that true science is so willfully ignored throughout the education system. Applied science creates new jobs in areas that did not exist a few years ago. The space program created many areas of employment that we take for granted today. Many of the people injured on the battlefield own their lives to science.
I would rather have far more STEM graduate instead of the overabundance of lawyers we have today.

Anonymous said...

... And the parents and teachers and universities (and outsourcing firms) in other countries are catching on...
As a STEM professional who has to compete, I have at times been forced to go offshore to get large projects done.
And I know several competitors and colleagues who make this a primary practice, with no apologies. They get the engineering labor they need at the rate usually half what they could get in the States (IF they can find the labor)
There are a lot of high school STEM programs trying to get kids interested early, but the other laws of laziness, entitlement, short-term thinking, ??, get them into college programs like "women's studies" and "sports journalism"
I remember planning my career (and, therefore, my college study) by looking up the expected demand for each of the careers I had affinity for.
What demand would they predict for "sports journalism?!"

Dennis said...

For your edification: http://www.propublica.org/article/boys-in-custody-and-the-women-who-abuse-them

Anonymous said...

n.n: I agree with your thoughts on philosophy and religion, and the philosophical construct of how we understand much of the universe. But true science is not relative. There is nothing relative about the re-entry trajectory during a return trip from the moon. We got to the moon and back on Newtonian physics, slide rulers and computer power that's equivalent to a scientic calculator today. That doesn't allow for a lot of dialogue about relative feelings. But perhaps I'm not understanding your point about relativism...

Dennis: I agree with your points about STEM. However, there are lots of sports journalism jobs today to numb the minds of young men. The problem is supply and demand... there are a lot of young men vying for very few spots in sports media. Few end up on ESPN. In fact, my wife asked me this last night: "What's up with two chicks anchoring Sports Center?" So maybe there aren't jobs for young men, but eye candy to attract young men. And video games.

Sam: "For the children," indeed.