Academics Fear People. They Study Them & Wish They Could Shut Them Up

We are going to explore, in a series of posts, the Mind of The Academic. There is much to say on this depressing-yet-amusing topic, which by itself is worthy of consideration, but which becomes a crucial subject when we realize the role academics play in our Expertocracy.

Before we get to the meat of it, and although we have done untold scores of these in the past, let’s go through a current example to fix our subject. And before you pretend to be “outraged”, we do of course speak of the average academic. I am sure that you, dear reader, if you are an academic are not in this class.

We have the peer-reviewed paper “Christ, Country, and Conspiracies? Christian Nationalism, Biblical Literalism, and Belief in Conspiracy Theories”—nice alliteration!—by the impossibly named team of Brooklyn Walker and Abigail Vegter, in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Which is like The Vegan’s Guide To Steak. The pretense is the same.

The opening sentence of the Abstract: “When misinformation is rampant, ‘fake news’ is rising, and conspiracy theories are widespread, social scientists have a vested interest in understanding who is most susceptible to these false narratives and why.”

I’ve said something like the following many times: Academics make their living coming up with small twists and additions in the theories to which their individual fields are beholden. Some of these are even true and useful. Academics are proud of their intelligence, and magnify its importance. They view themselves benevolently and with great esteem.

This is why they find it disconcerting to discover they are not as loved by ordinary folk as they love themselves. “Here we are,” say academics, “thinking great thoughts, really quite terrific deep thoughts, thoughts meant to benefit all of personkind, thoughts which because we thought them are obviously true and beautiful, and therefore should be believed by everybody. So why don’t they?”

So, being academics, and needing to “do research”, they research this most pressing question. Hence this paper, and the many like it.

Now you cannot read these papers profitably without knowing their implicit premise, which is the (near) infallibility of the ideas of academics. They take this as a given, though they allow the ideas to have a small “plus or minus”. This is why an academic in one field, say law, will automatically assent to ideas of academics from another field, like climatology. For instance, an academic lawyer told me the other day while arguing about something entirely different than the climate, “Oh and climate change is real.” He meant this to sting, thinking it would. Why he thought it would is the point of this article.

Second sentence of the Abstract: “Recent research suggests Christians are especially susceptible to belief in conspiracy theories in the United States, but scholars have yet to ascertain the role of religiopolitical identities and epistomological [sic] approaches, specifically Christian nationalism and biblical literalism, in generalized conspiracy thinking.”

Christians in this country, at least those who hold (to some level) orthodox beliefs, are the people least likely to buy fashionable academic theory, and so are most in need of studying. Proof of that is in the last paragraph of the paper:

The deleterious effects of conspiracy thinking have been made evident in recent years. From vaccine refusal to an insurrection, the acceptance of conspiracy theories has had a devastating effect. History tells us that Covid denialism and QAnon will fade at some point and new conspiracy theories will arise, presenting their own challenges to the fabric of the country. Scholars and pundits alike have a vested interest in predicting who will be most susceptible to the conspiracy beliefs of tomorrow. We help tell this story by demonstrating how both Christian nationalism and biblical literalism are correlated with increased conspiracy thinking in the United States.

QAnon was an asinine belief, it’s true, held by beaten people anxious to escape our growing insanity, which itself was caused in large part by academics. Which academics cannot see. They are blind to their own faults. QAnon theory was matched by academics trusting their own plan—they always trust their own plan—with covid, such as imposing lockdowns, criminalizing masklessness, forced vaccinations (take it or lose your job) and a plethora of other idiocies, all believed contrary to all plain evidence.

Non-academics citing that evidence they call “denialism”. Which it is. It is denying the preeminence and correctness of academic theory. Which is not allowed. We know this is true because the academics who wrote this paper are not in any medical or similar field. They study politics, and accept unquestioningly what other academics in medicine told them to believe.

As lagniappe, the peer-reviewed paper “Anti-science conspiracies pose new threats to US biomedicine in 2023” by some recent academic, who does know some medicine. Emphasis on some (he opens by wringing his hands about a mysterious ailment called “long covid”).

Our author is deeply worried people not like him are allowed to publicly criticize academics, which criticism he calls “threats”. He says “anti-science aggression,” by which he means, and only means, open pubic criticism, “is causing a substantial loss of human life, possibly in the hundreds of thousands according to some estimate” He asks the government act. He says they must “consider launching a federal plan to preserve science and protect American scientists.”

They are extremely sensitive creatures, these American scientists.

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Categories: Culture

21 replies »

  1. We are ever so smart, but the people don’t like us. Therefore, send us money — lots of it.

  2. We are ever so smart, but the people don’t like us. Therefore, send us money — lots of it.

    Paul H, this is funny (and true) if you you are talking about Trump.

    QAnon was an asinine belief, it’s true, held by beaten people anxious to escape our growing insanity, which itself was caused in large part by academics.

    Perhaps, you give academics too much credit. The Invisible is whispering to me that Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson (and Trump) are complaining that you are not giving them credit.

    [T]hey find it disconcerting to discover they are not as loved by ordinary folk as they love themselves.
    I judge that average academics are no different from you. Just like you, they believe they are looking for facts and writing for their readers (mainly, people who work in the same area). I know of colleagues who were upset when referees misunderstood or gave unfavorable reports on their papers. I’d say that what ordinary folk think of them or their work is probably the last thing on their mind. Briggs, didn’t some academics just ignore your email when you asked them if they could respond to your criticism?

  3. “Pose new threats to ‘Murican biomedicine in 21dickety-doo…”

    Translation: “These neanderthal taxpayers might get our precious government funding cut! How will we do gain-of-function research in our Ukrainian and Chinese laboratories now???!!!”


    Translation: “These KKKristian parenting persons won’t let us cut off the peckers and tits off their spectrum offspring! Outlaw the Bible! All its fearmongering about Marks of the Beast and globo-homo-whores is coincidental misinformation that lacks the vital context that we are doing exactly all of those things for the good and betterment of world society!”

  4. JH-

    When The Invisible Government you protect, tithe, worship and glorify listens and acts on the advice of a Jones or a Tucker, the world would actually be a better place.

    Trump might need money, after all Biden’s already getting plenty of it from Burisma; for all those books of his, chock full of presidential academic work, I’m sure! The common conspiracy theorist keeps on winning where all of JH’s academic friends continue to fail! Won’t someone weep for all those papers printed and nothing to show for it? Poor po’ Democratic Academics… They should adopt a conspiracy or two so that their work might better accord with reality.

  5. The current wave of “vaccine refusal” stuff is interesting because refusing the jab is now by far the majority position. According to the CDC only 17% of the population has gotten the “updated bivalent booster.” Of course people who didn’t take the jab in the first place aren’t going to get the booster, but even if we restrict to the formerly “fully vaccinated” (i.e. those who got two initial doses) the majority still didn’t get the booster. About 3 in 4 of those who took the initial jabs did not get the updated booster.

    So at this point to talk about the horrors of “vaccine refusal” we must talk about a “conspiracy theory” which has duped nearly everyone in the country. But no one can take that seriously at this point, since most people decided they were done with getting updates and ended up being fine anyway. Furthermore, everyone knows at least one person who bragged about being fully boosted and then got a bad case of COVID anyway.

    So the discussion of vaccines must be kept to the abstract. Some deplorable people, not you and no one that you like!, some time in the past didn’t take some jab, and that caused some problems in the past. Don’t think too hard about which jabs were necessary or what exactly the harm was. Just get mad at the anti-vaxxers (which we assure you that you are not, even if you aren’t “fully boosted.”)

  6. We need to take back out language from those who have appropriated words for themselves.
    When they try to gaslight us on resistance to WEF-generated restrictions, tell them we are protecting democracy and remind them that following the dictates of unelected oligarchs is anything but democratic.

    Refer to transgenderism as “gender denial.”

    Ask them how people of non-Agean ethnicity referring to themselves as “lesbian” is NOT cultural appropriation.

  7. “When misinformation is rampant, ‘fake news’ is rising, and conspiracy theories are widespread, social scientists have a vested interest in understanding who is most susceptible to these false narratives and why.”

    Quite agree. But we all tend to think it’s only the other guy who’s susceptible to fantastic, tendentious nonsense, while our own assessments are purely logical and correct. If you’re on the left you tend to think all those right wingers are brainwashed fools, and if you’re on the right you think the same of the left. Both sides agree men are prone to illogical, mendacious nonsense. Both sides are correct. It’s often difficult to evaluate information in a dispassionate, logical way. Men are not logical machines, do not have all the facts, and can never know all causes. A situation calling for humility. I look back on certain things I used to believe with amusement and horror. Probably there are things now I think are true that are hogwash, and obvious truths to which I am oblivious. That’s life.

    And yet we all seem to agree there is a right and wrong, that truth exists and that men can know it. Else, why argue? And there does seem to be some occult power that delights in setting man against man, that feeds on conflict and chaos, and that many foolish men, both left and right, serve a perverse or ignorant appetite for feeding the devil. Not a lot can be done to change that. But a man does have the power to change his own mind, and heart, and maybe even help a neighbor.

  8. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE anounces the death of the EXPERT, and the rebirth of PHILOSOPHY. Many will be called, few will be chosen (the reason for all this hysteria).

  9. I will admit that talk of ‘conspiracy theories’ make my eyes glaze over.

    –>”The deleterious effects of conspiracy thinking have been made evident in recent years. From vaccine refusal to an insurrection, the acceptance of conspiracy theories has had a devastating effect.”

    I don’t even know how to parse this assertion. Is “vaccine refusal” a conspiracy? A conspiracy theory? By whom? For what purpose? To what end?

    So-called conspiracy theories are an all-purpose closure of any possible discussion of an issue or question–as if merely stating “conspiracy” explains all.

    Isn’t a “conspiracy theory’ an example of “begging the question,” the logical fallacy of assuming the conclusion?

  10. “Conspiracy Theory” means “unapproved narrative.” You can claim something that doesn’t require any conspiracy, and which can be backed up with facts, but it’s still a “conspiracy theory” if it isn’t approved by the experts and the government. Conversely, you can make up completely off the wall nonsense including conspiracies and it will not be considered a “conspiracy theory” as long as it is approved.

    For example, look at this recent study in the UK:

    Note how the idea that there was a global effort to get everyone vaccinated in the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they wanted to or not, is listed as a “conspiracy theory” instead of an “observable fact.” Similarly the idea that in America and Europe there are more non-whites and immigrants is a “conspiracy theory”; the study doesn’t even bother to phrase the “theory” in such a way to suggest that someone is planning this. Simply noticing that the demographics of Europe and America are changing is to believe a conspiracy theory.

    Similarly in the middle the study disapproves of the observation that people are less likely to believe the government due to how they handled COVID-19. Keep in mind that the government not only lied about things like the effectiveness of masks or how the jabs worked, but they later were forced to admit that they lied. But even with this, you are a “conspiracy theorist” for recognizing that you were lied to and distrusting future information.

    But things really become clear in the charts with actions “linked to” conspiracy theories. They lead off with:

    “A protest or rally against government or media misinformation linked to Covid-19.”

    “A protest or rally against a lockdown imposed by the government that you did not agree with.”

    How dare you conspiracy theorist peasants think that you should be told the truth or given a say in government policy! Accept the approved narrative without question!

    (All that being said, since “conspiracy theory” just means “unapproved narrative” it doesn’t follow that every “conspiracy theory” is true, though some are. For example, the Q-Anon business was bologna right from the start, but as it was unapproved bologna it was a conspiracy theory. In contrast the idea that the Russians hacked into our voting machines during the 2016 election and changed votes from Hillary to Trump was NOT a conspiracy theory, despite being false and involving a conspiracy, since it was approved.)

  11. “Conspiracy Theorist “, like “Racist!”, or “Far-Right” are loaded words intended to produce an emotional response leading to automatic predictable pre-programmed anti-intellectual behaviour on the conditioned and groomed part of the manchurian population who are trained to salivate hersterically at the correct vocal and textual cues of their master’s voice.

    Observe JH upon seeing the letter ‘Q.’

  12. My favorite moment during the height of the Q freak out from our ‘betters’ was the journo lady asking Trump about people saying that the elites are satanic pedophiles and they think they should be stopped and Trump said what’s wrong with that? Lol What’s wrong with wanting to stop people doing that? And she was just stunned and didn’t know what to say. She was not expecting that reply.

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