Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Thanks to J. Max Wilson for helping me discover this commentary on academia by Orson Scott Card.

I have personally encountered theoretics in my education, especially my graduate education, and was sadly able to understand the entire course description he posted. I enjoyed Card's illumination of the cause and effects of theoretics in academia (I also enjoyed the words of Lee Smolin which Card quoted extensively). One thing that was not discussed was the facet of theoretics which makes it so hard to detect and dislodge in a timely manner - it is as hard to prove any theoretics-cloaked groupthink right or wrong as it is to prove that String Theory is right or wrong. Like String Theory, we tend to assume that the groupthink is right in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary (this is the benefit of doubt).

In my studies the groupthink was about concepts such as constructivism, learning objects, and simulations. Like String Theory, all of them have proven to be ethereal, and like String Theory none have managed to be the grand unifying theory that their original proponents seemed to hope.

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