[IAEP] Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?

mokurai at earthtreasury.org mokurai at earthtreasury.org
Sun Jun 12 11:04:04 EDT 2011

On Sat, June 11, 2011 7:32 pm, Christoph Derndorfer wrote:
> Hi all,
> thanks to Twitter I stumbled across a very interesting blog post called
> "Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?"
> (http://larrysanger.org/2011/06/is-there-a-new-geek-anti-intellectualism/).
> Particularly in combination with the author's replies
> (http://larrysanger.org/2011/06/geek-anti-intellectualism-replies/) to
> many of the comments his original story received after being widely
> spread via Slashdot, Twitter, blogs, etc. this make for fascinating
> weekend read.

The Two Cultures (C. P. Snow) strikes again. To me, this smacks of sour
grapes. It's too hard for me, therefore it isn't worth doing.

There is a lot of wasted space in academic publications, particularly in
those branches of philosophy and theology that waste efforts on proving
what everybody knows that turns out not to be the case. One of the best
parts of my time in college was digging through many of the most famous
examples to understand why, and to pick out the gems amid the trash. Part
of the problem has been that it was illegal, and considered immoral, to
publish the truth on almost anything to do with the secular and religious
ruling classes in ages past. The history of restrictions on speech
gradually giving way, and the establishment of a considerable degree of
freedom of speech (beginning in Holland during its 90 Years War with the
Spanish Empire and Inquisition) is one of the greatest adventures in human

I align myself with John Alexander Smith (1863–1939), who said,

    Gentlemen, you are now about to embark on a course of studies which
will occupy you for two years. Together, they form a noble adventure.
But I would like to remind you of an important point. Nothing that you
will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest
possible use to you in after life, save only this, that if you work
hard and intelligently you should be able to detect when a man is
talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole,
purpose of education.

Smith was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. Statement
recorded in 1914.

It was certainly the main point that Socrates taught, according to the
early Platonic dialogues. Plato himself put out some of the rottenest rot
in history later on, especially in The Republic.

> I definitely haven't managed to wrap my head around all of it but as a
> geek-dominated community working on education projects I feel some the
> things being discussed there potentially also apply to our own efforts.

We are taking pretty much the opposite point of view in the Replacing
Textbooks program. Save the baby, and use the bathwater to water the lawn.

> Cheers,
> Christoph
> --
> Christoph Derndorfer
> co-editor, www.olpcnews.com
> e-mail: christoph at olpcnews.com
> _______________________________________________
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Edward Mokurai
ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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