Why Academics Hide in Ivory Towers

In a recent post I asked ‘What is the point of psychology?‘ – a question to which you had some great responses. These responses reminded me that what can seem like a simple question of psychology can elicit a fairly complicated answer. Which sent me back to wondering how people with no training and little exposure to psychological science view the work of academics and researchers.

Then I came across two posts by a couple of academic linguists which can show exactly how viciously people can react to academic research. The Polyglot Conspiracy describes the blogoshere’s reaction to work carried out by linguist Mary Bucholtz into the meaning of nerdiness. Have a read…

The Language Log has a follow-up reaction with more thoughts on the ignorance of networked crowds.

I point to all this because in many ways it’s exactly these kinds of ignorant attacks that many science blogs are hoping to counter, or at least mediate. I’m not saying science blogs are going to change many of these people’s habits of thought, but there does at least need to be an alternative.

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Published: 6 August 2007

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