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My Ph.D is bigger than yours

  1. Jun 22, 2004 #1
    have you ever wondered about a conversation that goes like this

    " how can you prove (fill in blank) wrong ? you don't even understand the math "

    " who supports you in the community ? Are you respected ? "

    " Do you have a Ph.D ? Why should I believe your theories ?"

    " Look up MIT (conjoint project) That's me in the blue shirt "

    " You should know that (so and so) is a genius) which means your words are (fill in cursing) "
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2004 #2
    State your point.
  4. Jun 28, 2004 #3


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    We live in a world in which you can spend every minute of every day arguing crackpot theories with some nobody. If somebody has credentials, and you don't, why should I listen to you instead of him.

    If you don't have the knowledge base (mathematics) to understand why you might be wrong, why should I bother to listen to you. When I make a proposition, the first critic who must be convinced is me. If you lack the basic education in the subject matter, your first critic is unqualified to refute your argument.

  5. Jun 28, 2004 #4
    Basic Knowledge

    I would also add that "basic knowledge" is not all its cracked up to me.

    Sometimes basic knowledge = basic indoctrination, and therefore preconceives and filters any alternative view on subjects hitherto misunderstood.

    In maths, basic knowledge IS essential.

    In theoretical subjects/cutting-edge stuff, basic knowledge can often be a handicap...
  6. Jun 29, 2004 #5

    This, I like. Very Much. :approve:
  7. Jun 29, 2004 #6
    RE: "Sometimes basic knowledge = basic indoctrination, and therefore preconceives and filters any alternative view on subjects hitherto misunderstood."

    Just about everyone that has crafted new profound theories had solid foundations in basic knowledge. You don't think Planck knew statistical mechanics? You don't think Heisenberg and Bohr and Born and Pauli knew classical mechanics?

    Newton was right, you make new discoveries by standing on the shoulders of giants. But you need to climb on their shoulders first, and such an elevation in understanding requires solid instruction in basic knowledge.

    I am trying to conjure a single name of someone who formulated a profound theory that didn't know the basic knowledge of the related subject matter, and I am drawing a blank.
  8. Jun 29, 2004 #7


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    How about einstein?
  9. Jun 29, 2004 #8


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    Einstein had an excellent education in Physics. Though his math was a bit weak. The reason he was working in a patent office was due to a personality conflict with a professor at his university. he was unable to get a recommendation for a position at a university.
  10. Jun 29, 2004 #9


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    BTW, in the germanic university systems of the time (including Netherlands, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland) you didn't normally get a university position after your PhD. You went off and taught secondary school or something (patent office) for a few years, and then did a bigger and better thesis called a Habilitation, which if you passed got you to an unpaid lecturing postion at the university called a Private Docent (Privatdozent). Then if you shaped up you could start up the faculty ladder. Einstein got so famous with his publications that he was able to bypass this normal career path, except just at the start. He seems to have always avoided teaching when he could.
  11. Jun 29, 2004 #10
    Einstein in fact did teach math and physics at the secondary level.

    RE: "How about einstein?"

    I would think someone with a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich with a dissertation titled "On a New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" would know something about physics fundamentals.
  12. Jun 29, 2004 #11
    instead of getting bogged down in what a bunch of hairless monkey's think is proper- or worry about these monkey's cliques and primitive group behaviors- I simply look at an Idea and judge it by my own sense of feel/logic- [more often then not however- ideas which come without a solid root in established mathematics/physics often flail and die when poked with the horse**** probe]

    a human being can come up with revelations- but typically it's a lucky memetic accident- just the right memes in the right neural nets emerge something interesting/useful- but don't try to give credit to the monkey- who would be masturbating and rutting around in it's own feces if it weren't for some serious social programming-


    /:set\AI transmedia laboratories

  13. Jun 29, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Tone it down setAI. You can make your point without the colorful language.
  14. Jul 1, 2004 #13
    Admit it, Ivan. You like it when he says 'monkey'.
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