The Downfall of the Ivy League

 

What do I find in my evening bookmark collections but a podcast hosted by one of my favorite public figures, interviewing my all-time favorite public figure. I hereby present Victor Davis Hanson on the Jordan B. Peterson Podcast:

The ostensible topic is the self-immolation of the Ivies in their insane pursuit of “equity” in place of merit.  The conversation is as erudite as one would expect from either of these two, and explores a number of related side issues.  A fine helping of eviscerated sacred cow is served, in multiples, each seared to perfection.

It is too wide-ranging a discussion to summarize as I would wish, but the cuts are the finest.  Highly recommended.

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  1. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    My favorite sacred cow moment is when the theory of multiple intelligences gets it in the neck from Peterson, in a heated moment where he is throwing the education departments of higher education under the bus.

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Sounds excellent, and it’ll fill the first half of my drive home on Thursday.  Thanks!

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Must watch

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    JBP+VDH=FTW!

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Is destroying” or “Has destroyed”?

    • #5
  6. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    David Foster (View Comment):

    “Is destroying” or “Has destroyed”?

    I can sum that up from the discussion:  the corpse doesn’t yet know that it is dead.

    • #6
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    BDB (View Comment):

    JBP+VDH=FTW!

    Could only be improved by +WFB, but he wasn’t available, sadly. 

    • #7
  8. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    I liked the part where the guys are boggling at how Stanford has almost as many administrators as students, and likening the former to commissars, and Dr. Hanson mentioning how such officials – ones with lots of power and little or no ability – were thick in the Soviet army in 1941. Only because Stalin himself made big changes fast were the Nazis stopped short of Moscow. Nobody said this, but the implication to me at least was: to fix American universities, It’s Gonna Take A Stalin.

    I watched only the first 45 minutes, so maybe this point was made later in the show. Another point possibly made, or conceded, was that Silicon Valley’s response to the devaluation of an “Ivy League” diploma – ignore credentials and just test job candidates in-house – was illegal. I thought Griggs vs. Duke Power established that. Maybe only for electric companies, not for “tech” companies.

    • #8
  9. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    John H. (View Comment):

    I liked the part where the guys are boggling at how Stanford has almost as many administrators as students, and likening the former to commissars, and Dr. Hanson mentioning how such officials – ones with lots of power and little or no ability – were thick in the Soviet army in 1941. Only because Stalin himself made big changes fast were the Nazis stopped short of Moscow. Nobody said this, but the implication to me at least was: to fix American universities, It’s Gonna Take A Stalin.

    I watched only the first 45 minutes, so maybe this point was made later in the show. Another point possibly made, or conceded, was that Silicon Valley’s response to the devaluation of an “Ivy League” diploma – ignore credentials and just test job candidates in-house – was illegal. I thought Griggs vs. Duke Power established that. Maybe only for electric companies, not for “tech” companies.

    Sort of, as I understand it.  Employers are not allowed to test for IQ *unless they are the government*.  Instead, they must test for specific skills.  The line is heavily eroded in modern “symbolic analysis” work like programming and systems management (even when the systems are made of people), and all of the upstream (design, theoreticals).

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I listened to the conversation. These two are the best of us, for sure. :)

    That said, I think it is long past time to find other ways for identifying potential than using the standardized SATs and IQ tests. I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. And I really like achievement tests. The College Board has created some fantastic achievement tests in biology and foreign languages. I’m sure the others they offer are excellent too.

    Show students the ladder they need to climb. Make it as clear as possible.

    God gave me a firsthand view of language development in the three babies I watched grow up. :) The human mind–heart, soul, neurons, and synapses–is a very complicated place, and Mozart’s doesn’t look like Shakespeare’s. The idea that there’s some test that can see what’s up there is so ridiculous to me I just can’t take it seriously.

    If SATs and IQ tests have ever accurately analyzed human intelligence, it was probably in the past, long before we became Peter Drucker’s “knowledge-based society” of today.

    The postwar advances in the sciences alone should give all of the Ivies pause in tinkering with their successful methods for educating young people, especially in testing and measurement.

    On the other hand, the issue of our time–like it or not, because of the weapons of mass destruction we have built–is how we will bring all of the ethnic and religious and geographic entities together to work for world peace and prosperity. If we are perceived as racist and isolationist, we will not be able to lead the world. Perhaps the Ivies are going in the right direction in focusing on the diversity of their student body. The Ivies harmed the “USA brand” mightily over the last thirty years in focusing on isolated incidents of racism-driven events. They own this catastrophe. Perhaps they realize they need to fix this–it’s coming back to bite them too now–and the only way to do that is to spend a few years going full tilt at “diversity, equity, and inclusion [and belonging].” As it stands right now, because of our mass media, the entire world is striving to not be racist the way the United States supposedly is. Nice going, Ivies.

    I can only see the past. I can’t see the future. I don’t know if they right or wrong in the direction they are going. I see the hazards ahead as Jordan Peterson and Victor Davis Hanson see them, but it’s possible it will work out the way it is supposed to in the end. The Ivies don’t like to fail, and they don’t like to be irrelevant.

    • #10
  11. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Listening now. Two of my favorite explicators.

    • #11
  12. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MarciN (View Comment):
    That said, I think it is long past time to find other ways for identifying potential than using the standardized SATs and IQ tests.

    Aptitude tests aren’t going away.  They are too useful in the real world.  That’s why the government had to make it illegal for corporations to use them.  Can’t dismantle the meritocracy as long as they are around.

    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.

    This is precisely what Jordan disparaged.  This idea is popular but does not stand up to the facts.  Every separate measure of multiple intelligence ever devised has been shown to be closely correlated with Spearman’s “g”.  It is a bogus idea meant to sooth the feelings of poor performers.

    And I really like achievement tests.

    These are not nearly as predictive of future performance as aptitude tests.  They are great for rewarding past performance.   Decent for predicting the future, but not as good as the SAT and friends.

    The College Board has created some fantastic achievement tests in biology and foreign languages.

    Again, good for rewarding performance, less so for predictions.

    I’m sure the others they offer are excellent too.

    The College Board has been doing everything in their power to make testing more woke.  Which means less excellent.  In general, I’m not a fan.

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I haven’t listened yet, but I’d say the problem with higher education (not just ivies) is less who they admit (although the anti-white male discrimination is disgusting) and more the content of what they teach. And it begins in grade school now. 

    If we want to see all races get ahead, educate students, don’t indoctrinate them. Hillsdale is attempting this K through 12 and through graduate school. I know of no other institution making this effort this broadly. 

     

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    That said, I think it is long past time to find other ways for identifying potential than using the standardized SATs and IQ tests.

    Aptitude tests aren’t going away. They are too useful in the real world. That’s why the government had to make it illegal for corporations to use them. Can’t dismantle the meritocracy as long as they are around.

    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.

    This is precisely what Jordan disparaged. This idea is popular but does not stand up to the facts. Every separate measure of multiple intelligence ever devised has been shown to be closely correlated with Spearman’s “g”. It is a bogus idea meant to sooth the feelings of poor performers.

    And I really like achievement tests.

    These are not nearly as predictive of future performance as aptitude tests. They are great for rewarding past performance. Decent for predicting the future, but not as good as the SAT and friends.

    The College Board has created some fantastic achievement tests in biology and foreign languages.

    Again, good for rewarding performance, less so for predictions.

    I’m sure the others they offer are excellent too.

    The College Board has been doing everything in their power to make testing more woke. Which means less excellent. In general, I’m not a fan.

    I’ve seen the same thing.

    Then why do you trust their PSATs and SATs?

    • #14
  15. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Phil Turmel: the self-immolation of the Ivies in their insane pursuit of “equity” in place of merit.

    Sadly, it’s more than just the Ivies. A lot of colleges and universities seem to be run by little Maoists and Stalinists.

    • #15
  16. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    That said, I think it is long past time to find other ways for identifying potential than using the standardized SATs and IQ tests.

    Aptitude tests aren’t going away. They are too useful in the real world. That’s why the government had to make it illegal for corporations to use them. Can’t dismantle the meritocracy as long as they are around.

    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.

    This is precisely what Jordan disparaged. This idea is popular but does not stand up to the facts. Every separate measure of multiple intelligence ever devised has been shown to be closely correlated with Spearman’s “g”. It is a bogus idea meant to sooth the feelings of poor performers.

    And I really like achievement tests.

    These are not nearly as predictive of future performance as aptitude tests. They are great for rewarding past performance. Decent for predicting the future, but not as good as the SAT and friends.

    The College Board has created some fantastic achievement tests in biology and foreign languages.

    Again, good for rewarding performance, less so for predictions.

    I’m sure the others they offer are excellent too.

    The College Board has been doing everything in their power to make testing more woke. Which means less excellent. In general, I’m not a fan.

    I’ve seen the same thing.

    Then why do you trust their PSATs and SATs?

    They haven’t managed to figure out how to wokely measure aptitude.  They weakened them a bit in the last renorming (10-15 years or so ago, I vaguely recall), but making tests that don’t depend much on preparation leaves little but raw intelligence to measure.

    As noted in the podcast, the SAT was created to identify the jewels hidden in crappy schools, back in the day.  That is why they are aptitude tests, not achievement tests.

    • #16
  17. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    That said, I think it is long past time to find other ways for identifying potential than using the standardized SATs and IQ tests.

    Aptitude tests aren’t going away. They are too useful in the real world. That’s why the government had to make it illegal for corporations to use them. Can’t dismantle the meritocracy as long as they are around.

    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.

    This is precisely what Jordan disparaged. This idea is popular but does not stand up to the facts. Every separate measure of multiple intelligence ever devised has been shown to be closely correlated with Spearman’s “g”. It is a bogus idea meant to sooth the feelings of poor performers.

    And I really like achievement tests.

    These are not nearly as predictive of future performance as aptitude tests. They are great for rewarding past performance. Decent for predicting the future, but not as good as the SAT and friends.

    The College Board has created some fantastic achievement tests in biology and foreign languages.

    Again, good for rewarding performance, less so for predictions.

    I’m sure the others they offer are excellent too.

    The College Board has been doing everything in their power to make testing more woke. Which means less excellent. In general, I’m not a fan.

    I’ve seen the same thing.

    Then why do you trust their PSATs and SATs?

    Testing is better than not testing.

    Good testing is better than bad testing.

    Bad testing is easier to detect, and so they have gone with not testing.  Admissions are becoming entirely subjective in the hands of political commissars, under the rubric of diversity.  It’s race quotas all the way down, and if tests are not conducted (or not considered), then there is no gainsaying it — except on principle.

    You and I have disagreed on “multiple intelligences” before, so I’ll just leave that where it is.

    • #17
  18. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    I’ve now completed listening. What’s going on in academia is absolutely appalling. Credentials will mean nothing. And a pandemic of incompetence will destroy us all.

    • #18
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    BDB (View Comment):
    You and I have disagreed on “multiple intelligences” before, so I’ll just leave that where it is.

    I’m sorry my opinion on the theory of multiple intelligences irks you so much. I don’t know why it does. The theory is not a big deal. And there are compelling arguments around all of the issues pertaining to the Stanford-Binet and other IQ tests. And I am equally sure that the traditional IQ testing serves some valuable purposes.

    I think it is most likely an “and,” rather than an “or,” situation. I’m not bashing standardized IQ and SAT testing as much as I am saying that there are other means of finding talent and ability.

    I could see your getting this upset if I had criticized the standardized IQ test in use today, but I did not.

    • #19
  20. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    MarciN (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    You and I have disagreed on “multiple intelligences” before, so I’ll just leave that where it is.

    I’m sorry my opinion on the theory of multiple intelligences irks you so much. I don’t know why it does. The theory is not a big deal. And there are compelling arguments around all of the issues pertaining to the Stanford-Binet and other IQ tests. And I am equally sure that the traditional IQ testing serves some valuable purposes.

    I think it is most likely an “and,” rather than an “or,” situation. I’m not bashing standardized IQ and SAT testing as much as I am saying that there are other means of finding talent and ability.

    I could see your getting this upset if I had criticized the standardized IQ test in use today, but I did not.

    Actually, I was just noting that we’d already discussed it.  No unpleasantness intended.

    • #20
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