Higher education is the advanced study of the “arts, sciences and humanities.” The assumption is that these are opinion-free disciplines, yet it is acknowledged that the performing arts, painting, languages and other studies have “schools of thought” or “modes of artistic expression.” Such disciplines have permissible opinions.
That recognition is not universally applicable. Journalism, history, philosophy, law, economics, political “science,” psychology, sociology, gender, ethnic and religious studies and others are broadly opinion-directed but advertised as opinion-free model-building. They are not free from learned ignorance. Actually, their “core values” flow from non-religion (Mathematical determinism), including the desire to practice ahistorical leveling.
Even the “sciences” do not escape opinions. Granted, destructive interrogation is theory-free, but has limited extension. Nonetheless, most “sciences” want universal applicability, so Theory-dependent forms of depth perception creep into them.
Universal human-based or human-independent knowledge is in disarray! Little of it is theory-free, but rather is grounded in uncalibrated opinions; “saving (some of) the appearances” that masquerade as theory-free knowledge. Supposedly, multiple observations (with narrow error bandwidths) from multiple probable sources can be dovetailed into consensus! Paradigm consensus reigns – and requires some firm-handed discipline of dissent. Such “higher education” is biased! Paradigms are refined “worlds on paper!” Galileo would not be impressed!
A further complication is that paradigms may be segregated from each other – to avoid the appearance of a lack of universal monotruth. This is obvious in arenas such as psychology, sociology and economics. University “A” may teach “X” but University “B” teaches “Y.” Thus the appearance of teaching opinion is avoided on each specific campus! Woe to the student who wants to study both X and Y on the same campus!
X and Y illustrate polyscience – science, falsely so-called! Combined with the earlier mentioned conglomeration of Theory, unruly Mathematics, and paradigm exclusivity, such choices and opinions taint the search for knowledge. Dominant individuals, faculty tenure and the constant need for “research” grants further stifle creativity and the search for truth. “Ivy-league” U’s are in the forefront of the P U culture.
Apologists for the P U system may say they merely differentiate between fact-based and faith-based knowledge. Their choice of words is biased. Actually, they are paradigm-based, not fact-based! Paradigm-based knowledge seeks Universal Truth; faith-based knowledge seeks revealed and accessible truth. Theory-free knowledge is close to those who seek accessible truth.
College students are victimized by this institutional “treadmill.” The helicopter ride to the mountaintops mentioned in an earlier article is a thrilling introduction to the achievements of the Acts 17 mindset! Even the science major has to take “core-curriculum” courses – to be proper elite citizens. To ask “soft-science” college students, “In which polyscience are you getting your degree?,” would be offensive.
P U dominance impacts the “man-on-the-street.” The P U’s provide elite “education,” so is it any wonder that they (and their students) lose the ability to see reality or speak common-sense! The “man-on-the-street” senses a chasm opening between him, his children, common-sense and his own tax dollars!
This chasm is politely ignored, but it defines some political battle lines! Elitist core values threaten civil society. It is better to keep-the-faith and be theory-free.