Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sign of the Times Regarding Concealed Carry

http://www.gunauction.com/news/index.cfm/august-31-2012/physics-prof-rebuffed-canceling-classes-carry-student/

The sentiment in favor of CCW is apparently strong enough that a leftist physics professor has been reprimanded for threatening not to teach students with concealed weapons (how would he know?).

Of course, as Gary Kleck and other criminologists who have actually studied would agree---although they'd probably nuance and hedge so as to be less blunt:

Anyone who reduced the crime rate of the general population to that of CCW holders SHOULD (but wouldn't) win a damned Nobel Peace Prize. 

What is it anyway with physicists?  They're cut from the same cloth typically as engineers of the various flavors (lots could have and almost did choose the other path back in college), but engineers seem on the whole a lot more grounded and have a lot more children.  Is it the fact that they're mostly dependent on academia for their livelihood and have less options outside it?

6 comments:

Ryu said...

It seems like everyone at universities is liberal. They have to be in order to hold down a job there.

Physicists, and indeed, many scientists, do work that is not immediately useful or interesting. So they write grants and lie to get them filled. Engineers must use technology to serve human life.

Jehu said...

Ryu,
We have a fair number of physicists and the like where I work, but we use them for useful things and they seem less leftist than their university counterparts. But they're the exception to the rule I agree.

bonald said...

The biggest difference I see is that physicists have intellectual pretensions, while engineers are more likely to see their work as a skill or job like any other. Self-identification with the intellectual elite creates strong pressure to conform to their ideology.

There are a number of secondary factors. Two have already been mentioned: living in an academic environment and being dependent on government grants. The fact that materialism places such epistemic importance on physics may mean that more atheists are drawn to the field. The historical high visibility of Jews in physics may also have helped underscore its reputation as an anti-Christian field.

Compared to other academic disciplines, I don't think physics is so bad. I've been working in physics departments for about a decade, and I'm rarely put in uncomfortable situations. Approximately 100% of the faculty, postdocs, and graduate students are liberals, but the amount of institutional genuflection to Leftism is fairly small. I've never had to undergo diversity training or seen religious believers ridiculed in classes or seminars (at lunch with faculty, yes, but what do you expect?). The things we study are irrelevant to the ruling ideology, so there is no pressure on us to reach agreeable conclusions. (Things may be different for those doing climate modeling.) Overall, I'd say it's a pretty good field for a nonliberal hiding in academia.

Jehu said...

Physics and chemistry at least have the appeal to reality, or at least experiment, to keep them from going totally off the rails like most of the social sciences. Perhaps the mark of the maturity of a scientific discipline is the emergence of an allied engineering field?

Nick B Steves said...

So all we need to do is come up with for-profit skills like Public Policy Engineering, Ethical Engineering, Humanities Engineering, and of course Womens' Studies Engineering, and the problem of academia would be solved.

Jehu said...

Nick,
Very funny---hopefully nobody will do so though, it'd be a shame for the prestige of engineering to be hijacked in the same way that of 'Science' has.