T Nation

Fantastic Moments, Higher Education


Couple of interesting pieces in the news..

This op-ed afrom a political science professor against the flag burning amendment:

"Flag burning was thrust into the public eye following an arrest of a young man during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas. The man identified himself as a member of a group calling itself the Revolutionary Youth Brigade. He was charged with a violation of the Texas Desecration of Venerated Objects statute.

In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed an appellate court decision that the man was within his First Amendment rights. Wasting no time, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act just months after the ruling. Wasting no time, the Supreme Court ruled that the Flag Protection Act was inconsistent with First Amendment freedoms and thus unconstitutional.

It seems unlikely that the Supreme Court would now uphold an amendment prohibiting flag burning, even with the change in the court's composition.

(emphasis added)


A political science teacher. Wow.


Second, a rather unique study. Take it for what it's worth, even if just a chuckle:

"The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product ? the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity,? he explained.

?But formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility."

"When formal education continues into the early twenties," he continued, "it probably, to an extent, counteracts the attainment of psychological maturity, which would otherwise occur at about this age.?

Charlton pointed out that past cultures often marked the advent of adulthood with initiation ceremonies.

While the human mind responds to new information over the course of any individual?s lifetime, Charlton argues that past physical environments were more stable and allowed for a state of psychological maturity. In hunter-gatherer societies, that maturity was probably achieved during a person?s late teens or early twenties, he said.

?By contrast, many modern adults fail to attain this maturity, and such failure is common and indeed characteristic of highly educated and, on the whole, effective and socially valuable people," he said.

People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.."

(emphasis added)


We've all known this for years - finally there is some science behind it. ;>


Holy crap.


Even if academics are immature, this doesn't say anything about the root of the behavior. It could simply be that people who are immature are attracted to academia, not that the actual process delays maturity.


Good stuff.


I shall never cease to be amazed at the stupidity of self-professed experts.


On related subject, namely looking to credentialed "experts" for opinions outside their areas, enjoy this on Prof. Chomsky:



I think that looks more like the result of armchair pondering than a real study. I have reached similar results in my own /"study/", by the way.