A couple weeks back, there was a flurry on this blog about education and the degrees gained in the annals of higher learning. I wrote something about testing, Lisa and Page each wrote articles about confident people with degrees and then why that didn’t in fact make getting a degree unimportant, we had commentators on either side, it was all very fun to be a fly on the wall for. I think one of the reasons this particular debate hit hard was because as skeptics, we have a bit of a divide between the professionally academic and those of us with… non-traditional education. It is reflected clearly in our skeptical super-stars. On the one hand, we have guys like Phil Plait and doubly doctoral Massimo Pigliucci (is he actually at three now?). On the other hand, we adore Adam Savage and have practically nominated James Randi for skeptical sainthood.
There has been some sniping coming from both sides. Randi has at times stated a certain disdain for those classically trained. I get the impression that he was told to get out of the field a few times and this is his “FU” back. That could just be me. I’m a writer who specializes in drama and I like trying to deduce motivations. On the other end, often I will listen to those from Academia and it can sound like I’m being told that those without degrees should automatically conform to the beliefs of those that do. I am not the only one who has felt this way, I still distinctly remember a year ago at our first SkepticampNYC the question of a man who saw himself as a working-class skeptic who felt he was being kept out of the conversation (go to about two and a half minutes into the video from Skepticamp to be reminded of the question). … continue reading this entry.