How Education corrupts Research

Abstract: The Education System teaches Discipline and discourages any Research.
The Government uses the University as an instrument to control Society.
Essential for Research is Improvisation, not as a Skill, but as a Freedom.

With slogans such as the ones above, this article argues that the University was established as an Ivory Tower to isolate certain research from society, but has now turned into a public education institute. The University obtained its role as professional educator from its traditional involvement in areas such as law, medicine, philosophy and science. The University claims the exclusive right to determine who is qualified for certain professions and backs up this claim by pointing at its involvement in research.

The argumentation to back up this claim is rejected in this article on the basis that research and education have characteristics that are in many respects direct opposites. Research is looking at solutions - education claims to be omniscient. Education ignores copyrights and similar rights - researchers take them into account. Educators do not accept that what they teach might be nonsense - researchers like to test the methods they develop to minimize product liability. Education is dominated by official qualifications - research appreciates talent and imagination. Research is demand and event driven - education is controlled and regulated. Such differences make any combination of research and education a farce.

A research background is no justification for running a protection racket! Insistence that it does has corrupted the quality of research and made research a mere facade to fool people into accepting the University's claim that it should judge who enters certain professions. The article concludes that the most essential prerequisite for research is not an academic degree, but improvisation, not as a skill, but as a freedom, in the spirit of optionality.

A. Research and Education

The University claims to be able to combine research with education. But can the two go together well and, in particular, can they go well together at the University? Part of the answer comes from a realization how the University and the Education System have evolved into what they are now.

B. Learning in the old days

In the old days, it was common for children to spend most of their youth in and around the family home, or more usually the family farm. Children learned many things while playing and participating in housekeeping and other daily-life routines. Children were meant to follow in their parents' footsteps and usually accompanied their parents wherever they went. It is important to realise that it was not common for children to go to school.

C. Training to get skilled

Those who did not stay at the farm, often learned a trade as an apprentice, working alongside somebody who was already skilled in the trade. Skills to be learned were manual skills. There was no need for literacy. Learning took place by imitation and verbal instructions. Practical experience was essential; there was little theory; learning was on-the-job training, it was an inseparable part of work; and although apprentices were not paid very much, they were paid from the start. Schools were traditionally instruments of the Church to teach selected boys Latin and instruct them how to celebrate mass. School did not give a general education, but instead was a training for the profession of the priesthood.

D. The early Universities

Latin was the official language, the language of the Law and of medicine, botany, astronomy, physics, in short, of science in general. In those days, books were produced by scribes who copied them one by one by hand. This was an art that required handwriting skills one developed only after years of training. In those days, books were thus a rare commodity. The University was first established in medieval times as one of the few places where books were kept. On the basis of its possession of books, the University became a place of science (i.e. knowledge).

In those days, it was dangerous to criticize those in power. Research often meant trouble. Kings welcomed science for its promise to turn stones into gold, but they did not want common people to have access to this 'science', fearful that thieves could get their hands on the formulas, but even more fearful that any 'smart' ideas could start an uproar.

The University was thus established as a place where scientific experiments could be conducted in secrecy and in sufficient isolation to go unnoticed for the rest of the world. The University became the place were books with 'knowledge' were kept, where an almost secret search took place, a quest for the 'Truth', for the 'universal laws of nature'. The University became the Ivory Tower of Knowledge. If any provocative thebries were formulated at this arcane place, they were only to be heard by an elite, often hand-picked by those in power: There were few rebels among them. This control was the background of the development of science as a set of rules. Topics discussed at the University, were remote from social problems in society. The University in the past typically concentrated on studies of theology; physics, medicines, maths, calendars, chemistry, biology, astronomy and music, while the language used at the University was Latin, all in the tradition of school.

E. Challanging Research

The isolation of the University gave scientists some opportunity, some 'academic' freedom to conduct research. At times, some findings lead to consideration and contemplation of an option that, even if carefully described as a theory or hypothesis, inevitably challenged the words of those in power. And as printed books became cheaper and more popular, such 'theories' posed a serious threat for those in power. They sought to confine scientific research to the University, in the hope that provocative ideas would remam there; while submitting children to the Education System.

F. The Education System

The Education System as we know it today was partly set up to prevent people from reading the 'wrong' books. Government-controlled, this Education System (including schools, academies and libraries) has remained exempt from copyright obligations and was given further advantages such as public funding and tax privileges. This made it difficult for commercial operators to inform the masses. Compulsory 'free' education was not so much established out of generosity towards the poor, but as a measure to shape children in the Government's mould. The Government looked at schools and libraries as instruments to indoctrinate children, while preventing them to get in touch with ideas that challenged the Government's control.

G. Control over Professions

The Government also established all kinds of institutions, such as military and police academies, teacher training colleges and para-medical institutes, where students could gain specific academic qualifications in order to start a professional career. This was a new type of education that resulted from the fact that the Government became ever more bureaucratic and dependent on professionals. Education of professionals in areas such as in police, defence, law, taxation, accountancy and health care as well as in education itself, became critical for the Government. And as the rules of the Government became more and more complex, it needed more and more specialised institutions and academies to educate people who could administer the rules. Meanwhile, the University had this aureola of being the place where books were kept, where scientific research was conducted and knowledge was omnipresent. That made it hard to bypass the University regarding education in areas such as Latin, science, law, and medicine. Doctors and those with a background in philosophy also turned out to be excellent teachers. And in its eagerness to grab a share of the Government's funding of education, the University made a bargain with the Government. Originally, the University had chosen students on criteria such as perceived intelligence and financial backing; perhaps even more important than their 'knowledge' was their curiosity, their questions and the interest they showed. But in this trade-off with the Government entrance criteria were shifted to 'prior education', as determined by the Government.

H. Research and Education?

In the process of turning to education, the University renounced the little reputation for research it had built up over the centuries. To obtain more funding, the University created many new studies in areas such as public administration and foreign languages. The University teamed up with professional associations in the tradition of the old guilds; establishing a protection racket, exploiting exclusive control over academic qualifications in an evil plot to control entrance and promotion conditions of certain professions. This situation was further endorsed by many of the monopolies and large organizations that fed on the Government. Those who earned the higher salaries at such organizations usually had to carry academic qualifications.

From this background, research objectivity and impartiality regarding the way society is organized is more than compromised. The University now sees itself as the only judge capable to determine who is fit for certain professions, ranging from doctors and pharmacists to judges and lawyers. The University shapes their minds as well as their positions and their salaries.

The University thus is an instrument to control society in line with the background against which the University was established in the first place: to maintain the position of those in power. The name University itself reflects this, it refers to 'universal laws', to a search for the 'Truth'.

The University puts itself on a pedestal, as if the University is the Ivory Tower that possesses the elixer necessary to make professionals out of students with an aureola of exclusivity. And when this is twisted into an argument why the University should have the right to determine who is fit for certain professions, when the University's record of scientific research is used as the sole justification why the University should have such an exclusive right, then the University's reputation for research becomes discredited and exposes itself as a farce.

I. Research or Education!

Universities believed they could combine research and education. They created many academic studies that were supposed to prepare students for their later professional careers. So called scientific researchers are keen to combine research and education arguing that a professor involved in research in a particular area will not only know all about it, but will also remain up to date with new developments in this area. But such 'scientific researchers' are in fact educators; they believe in the 'Truth' in universal laws that everyone has to obey, in the old tradition of discipline, law and order. They claim that their 'scientific research' gives them knowledge that others lack. They claim to have wisdom that puts them in a position to educate others. But such people have a weird idea of what research is. The deeper background is that education and research are two fundamentally different things. Research is having questions, having an open mind and searching for solutions to specific problems. It is in this search for solutions that learning takes place.

J. The Horror of Education

The Education System, on the other hand, is not interested in questions; it has no questions, instead, it claims to have knowledge and wisdom, it takes the arrogant attitude of possessing the answers to questions! A teacher will claim to possess specific knowledge that the student lacks; the teacher further claims to transfer such knowledge through education. This master-slave relationship is the classical model of dictatorship and, when applied as teaching of knowledge, it becomes indoctrination, tyranny and propaganda for such dictatorial control throughout society. The Education System is out to take away people's minds to mould them into the shape of the 'master'. Being educated becomes a process of forcing students to conform with a singular point of view: that of the teacher. Those who do not submit to being disciplined in this way are punished or expelled, never to make a 'decent living'.

Most students do not learn anything of substance, they only memorize 'facts'. They are told to obtain degrees as quickly as possible; if they ask questions they are pictured as stupid and unsuitable for a professional career. Few realize, let alone object against the full horror and hypocrisy of this system.

K. University's 'Research'

What is called 'research' at the University does not deserve that name: The University starts with the status quo and likes to end with it, a position of 'wisdom' it claims is backed up by scientific evidence. The University, is defensive, 'research' is done from a negative attitude of distrust, scepticism and denial, arguing that whoever sees something that does not fit into the status quo, has made the wrong measurements, interprets data incorrectly or makes invalid assumptions. As more people look into the situation and the questions accumulate, the University changes its strategy to an attitude of: there is a problem.

'Research' at the University only starts after the 'event', after a 'discovery' has been made and has finally been recognised as a 'problem'. Furthermore, 'research' in such a 'problem' only starts after the bureaucrats (who until then denied that there was any problem) have been sufficiently convinced that it is important for the problem to be solved or clarified.

After obtaining approval, 'researchers' will try and figure out what is going on until their entire budget is spent. Such research can stzetch out over years and years. There is no specific target, there is no milestone in the sense that one has achieved a solution to a problem. Time is no barrier at the University. If something defies easy explanation, it only becomes more interesting in the eyes of such 'researchers', they regard this as an argument for further funding. Such 'researchers' aim to clarify the situation and reassure the community that nothing proved to be wrong in the first place or that they can adjust the 'Law' so that their findings fit in.

Then, they will try to get their new 'Law' published in a 'research' magazine. The reward for such 'researchers' is measured in publications in 'research magazines' and quotations from such publications (always with their name). In short, it is a game of personal glorification.

To be accepted in their scientific community, such 'researchers' will claim to have discovered the 'Truth' and reformulated the 'Law', even though time and again a closer look reveals that this illusive 'Truth' and 'Law' is only a construction of their own twisted minds. Perhaps the worst attitude of such 'researchers' is in their avoidance of liability for their 'research'. Their focus on the 'Truth' is an amoral ostrich strategy, meant to avoid being sued or otherwise held accountable for the results of their 'research'.

L. Commercial Research

Commercial research, on the other hand, has an entirely different focus. Commercial researchers have a 'no nonsense' attitude. Small, innovative companies generally do research for a very specific reason; they have a product or service in mind; but they have problems in making it work the way they want to; that is what they are interested in; they will try out whatever comes up in their minds to find a solution. They do not claim to have found the Truth, nor to know the Laws of Nature. They just like to improve their products or services and come up with new ones. They do not claim that it will work under all circumstances, merely that it will work for the purpose for which they developed it to work. In commerce, suppliers are liable for failure. They will be careful in describing the circumstances under which a product is to be used and are likely to recommend limited use. They realise that the method they have developed for this specific purpose, is only one out of many ways to make it work; they are also aware of market pressure: the first to come up with an acceptable method to make it work has an advantage over the competition and is in a position to more successfully market such a product or service.

Private enterprise works under time pressure and will try to minimise costs. Unlike the University, private enterprise does not reject a method that works as suspicious, but welcomes it as the breakthrough that completes the research. Private enterprise is careful with patents, copyright or other rights and is likely to submit new products to testing and other checks to minimise any litigation.

Private enterprise differs in focus, attitude and motivation from the University. Claims from University scientists that 'Nature' works according to a certain 'Law' is simply nonsense and there are no research findings backing such nonsense up. In commercial research, such arrogant and dictatorial views are not appreciated not from an economic point of view, but also not from the ethics of research itself.

Private enterprise is innovative and genuinely interested in making things work. The researcher in private enterprise finds rewards not only in a salary or perhaps a share in the profits, but also in the act of making the product or service for which the research was necessary, work and fulfil a demand. In other words, personal fame and glory is not their main ambition, instead, fulfilment and success are more accurate descriptions of the motives for research in private enterprise.

M. The Independence Myth

Research projects at the University are often pet-projects of professors who cannot be fired and who stubbornly persist with their nonsense, in the face of the obvious. Such 'researchers' do not accept accountability for the way they spend public funds. They give their 'research' names such as 'pure research', admitting that it is not meant to result in any usable outcome. The University boasts about its 'independence' or 'autonomy', arguing that the Govemment may fund research, but that the University should decide how to conduct its own 'research'. Using this argument of 'independence', the University can waste huge amounts of public money without making any progress towards anything, before anyone can even check what is going on. This independence is of course a myth.

The University is not impartial at all, it is up to its ears in politics. From its early beginnings, the University has been tied up to the Government, that only established and developed the University as an instrument to keep society under control. The reason why the University cannot conduct decent research, is that it is corrupted by the politics of monopolies, privileges and coercive exploitation. The 'independence' of the University is a myth fabricated by scientists who refuse to accept the obvious.

What takes place at the University under the name of research does not deserve that name; such 'research' is tainted and corrupted by the despicable Education System. The University is not an environment conducive to learning nor to finding solutions to problems. The reality is that most research takes place in private enterprise and that the little research that is conducted at the University is generally irrelevant. Topics such as the intimate organs of beetles or the success of solo-mothers as chief executives spring to mind. Such 'research' generally ends up in the dustbin of libraries.

N. Explore by Improvisation

In the final analysis, research and education do not go well together at all; that does not mean that there is anything wrong with research; it is just that the Education System does not offer an encouraging environment for research.

Many associate the word research with the University, with visions of scientific laboratories and the smell of chemical experiments; they don't want small child en to do such 'dangerous' things; they think that children should not be involved in research. But a lifetime of schooling and University studies are no prerequisites for research. It is good to stimulate even the smallest child to research things; and if 'research' is a too loaded word, just call it exploration or something like that. The quintessential prerequisite for research is not an academic degree, but improvisation, not as a skill, but as a freedom, in the spirit of Optionality.

Appendix A: The University: from Ivory Tower to a House of Cards

The University was once looked at as the Ivory Tower of Knowledge and still exploits a reputation of 'scientific research'.

But is it not ironic that the University has its tightest grip over those professions that require the least scientific research? Because how much scientific research does one do as a lawyer, an accountant, a language specialist, a librarian, pharmacist or other medical practitioner? Clients of pharmacists and accountants would be horrified to hear they are being used as guinea-pigs in research, wouldn't they?

The University does not have the right environment to do research in the first place. University lacks impartiality and is preaching nonsense in its efforts to find justifications for its own position. University staff are so entangled in theoretical justifications for their monopolies, that their utterances degenerate into un-interpretable rhetoric. As professions lose their privileged and protected position, the University as institution will gradually he exposed as a house of cards.

[extracted from: The University: from Ivory Tower to a House of Cards, Optionality, March 1991]

Appendix B: Science: the failed Search for the Universal Truth

When there are two different explanations for an event, two or more theories on a subject or different views on an issue, the typical scientific approach is to find out which one is right. Science will endeavour to eliminate all but one of the possible theories.

In the scientific world, only one Law can be valid, only one Truth is possible and science claims to have a monopoly on that truth. In the eyes of the scientist, it is all very simple: take a subject and formulate the Law. In the case of gravity, the first thought is: what goes up, must come down, so that becomes the First Law of Gravity. And when Newton, or whoever did formulate the first Laws of Gravity, turns out to be wrong or at least not totally correct, this is no reason for scientists to abandon this desperate search for the single truth. Scientists will simply elect a new Law to replace the old one. An accepted Law will rarely be replaced before a new Law proves to hold the higher ground, so that there will not be a period without rule.

When Einstein formulated his ideas and was successful among scientists, Relativity was heralded as the new hero, the Solution, the Law. The old Law could not explain certain events. Relativity could explain such events as it did not have the fixation of the old Law. In turn, Relativity had to make way for Quantum Mechanics, which had even more flexibility, as it incorporates random elements in its predictions. And although new theories increasingly point out that there simply is no single Law to govern the universe, the scientists continue to hang on to the concept of the single, Universal Law. Scientists now embrace random factors in order to save the concept of the one all-encompassing model that could explain and predict events, even though the events continue to defy this effort.

In an ironic twist of words, the currently most popular model is called Chaos. Yes, the scientists have crowned a new King and the King is called Chaos. Although sufficient evidence points out that there is no single truth, the Fools want to be ruled and have elected the Joker as their King. The people want a King, because, without a King, they feel insecure, afraid that their world of values collapses. And the King is called Chaos, so the people can rest assured that there is a King and thus that there is Law and Order in the Universe, not understanding that Chaos means there is no rule at all.

And yet reality is so simple: only by accepting, yes insisting on multiple solutions next to each other as possibilities can progress be made in industry, commerce and technology. In a competitor claims to have a better solution, that is no reason to give up hope and to sell out to the competitor, no it should act as an incentive to improve one's own methods. Multiple solutions that co-exist with equal validity until better ones come up - is what makes up reality.

Science's search for the illusive universal truth is a failure. The search for a universal Law that predicts all events has ended up with Chaos. The concept of a single universal Truth never existed in nature; it is a concept made up by dictators who refuse to accept a concept of reality with foundations in optionality.

[extracted from: Science: the failed Search for the Universal Truth, Optionality, August 1991]

Appendix C: The Myth of Independence and Objectivity

Educational institutions such as universities often argue that they are above politics, that they are independent from the Government. They claim to be 'impartial' in ideological disputes. They argue to conduct research in an objective search for the truth, not being controlled by politicians or by specific commercial interests. But all this is a myth, exploited by individuals who try to avoid scrutiny of their teachings and accountability regarding their position. Universities are in fact terribly biased, having vested interests in a heavily regulated society with legally protected control over academic qualifications. This gives universities the power to decide who enters certain professions, e.g., what kind of people will sit in future courts as judge, barrister and solicitor. The University determines the shape of entire sectors of society, such as health care and education.

Educational institutions exploit many other privileges under the current system. They receive huge amounts of public funding. Under legal protection, they disregard copyright and other rights that have to be observed in the commercial world. When educational institutions buy items such as computers, they get huge discounts as they buy in large quantities; or they even get them for free, as the captured market of students is likely to privately buy the same type of computer and software; on top of this, they do not pay sales tax, in fact, they rarely pay any tax at all. The list of privileges goes on and on; university sports scholarships are exempt from income tax; donations to university funds are tax-deductible. All this gives formal educational institutions financial advantages that deter competition from smaller, more market-led organisations; the result is an education system that endorses the status quo and the position of the Government, a system that protects its own monopoly and privileges.

Appendix D: The 'Big Bang': convenient Compromise or Nonsense?

The Education System preaches the 'Big Bang' just like it once preached the gospel in the old days. Hubble Space Telescope measurements recently confirmed the age of the Universe to be around 10 billion years by measuring the distance and recession speed of galaxies. But studies of the proportions of chemical elements of stars in the Milky Way show that they are at least 14 billion years old and possibly several billion years older than that.

Some data also suggest that many thousands of galaxies, including our own, are not moving outwards, in line with an expanding Universe, but are moving in the direction of the constellation Virgo. Also, galaxies seem to behave as if they contain many times as much matter as can be observed. Findings of scientific studies that do not support the model of one expanding Universe originating from a single point, are reported all the time.

So, why does the Education System hang on so persistently to the 'security' of a singular explanation? Is there any other reason than that such a theory suits a teacher who wants to be seen as omniscient? Or is it just ignorance? In this magazine (Optionality) one could read about inconsistencies in the Big Bang theory as long ago as August 1991 (see below), but one could also have read this in the newspaper. Perhaps teachers are not very keen readers after all.

Optionality, August 1991:

The so-called 'Big Bang' can be taken as an example of the biased views of scientists. The Big Bang is a good example, as it is supposed to have taken place so long ago that hardly anyone worries about it but scientists.

Back in 1927, when de Sitter first published the Big Bang-theory, it was regarded as a blasphemy to doubt that the Creation of the worl d had taken six days and that this event took place, according to biblical sources, only a few thousand years ago. When geological dating experiments indicated that many substances found on earth were formed many thousands, if not millions of years ago, some people started to doubt the Creation by Divine Intention. The Big Bang-theory was accepted as something of a compromise, as it maintained the concept of a beginning of the universe and merely argues that the start occurred earlier.

It was first speculated that the Big Bang took place some 10 billion years ago, when the whole universe was born out of a single point. However, as recently as January 1991, satellite studies found large groups of galaxies, each with billions of stars, including one structure extending about 500 million light years across. Since they were found to be 10 billion light years away, something had to be wrong. If it took 10 billion years for their light to reach us, these structures could not have travelled for 10 billion years beforehand to get at their present position.

One possibility is that the Big Bang in fact happened much earlier. And quite possibly, structures will be discovered in future that are even more remote and every time the start date of the Big Bang will have to be set back to accommodate them in a Universe that started in a singularity.

If, according to quantum mechanics, it is impossible to pinpoint the exaet origin of the Universe in the first place (due to the inescapable random elements sneaking into our measurements), than it were better to nominate a specific area as the Universe's birthplace. But why hang on to the Big Bang-theory with so much fervour in the first place? Perhaps the Universe was always there, never had a single starting point and will never have an end destination, perhaps there were a number of Big Bangs at different places in the Universe or perhaps different Universes co-exist simultaneously and mingle with each other. And why select any of these options as the only truth?

The issue is not to prove that the Big Bang-theory is wrong and to choose a better explanation for exceptional conditions. The issue is not to come up with ope alternative to the Big Bang-theory, to take the crown currently held by this Big Bang-theory. No, the point is that any view that believes that there is only one single truth, one beginning and one end to a world governed by a single and simplistic Law, is highly suspect. Without support of evidence in nature or in logic, scientists continue to choose for singularity as the best model to work with. But such a view is too similar to the view of a dictator, who tries to control society with methods of force and terror.

Instead of enforcing singularity, instead of chasing the illusive single truth, why not accept a world in which there are multiple views?

[the above text is copied from the article: Science: the failed Search for the Universal Truth, in the same way as it first appeared in Optionality, August 1991]

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