Gobo wrote:One wonders when some physicist is going to cross disciplines and finally solve all of the soft sciences' research questions. Imagine the accolades that person would receive.
There are some physicists who think they can do this, especially in the cognitive sciences. And let me tell you, it is fucking annoying. I don't mind physicists working in neuroscience because they bring valuable skills to the table. What I hate is reading a paper about consciousness by three physicists. Or a book. You can dig out some threads in the Science board where you have a bunch of physics students who have read these books trying to argue with people who actually study the mind and brain. It is slightly ridiculous.
sje46 wrote:Anthropology not only uses falsifiable methods, but is also a science. Why has Randall gone so low to insult entire fields without understanding them? That's what dickheads do to make them feel superior to others.
I was a psych major in college (and I am a grad student in it now... but at least my concentration is called "cognition and neural systems") and so I think I can shed some light on the situation. Most people think Psychology is about Freud, feelings, therapy, unicorns, rainbows, and so on. And for a percentage of psychologists, it is. But for some of us, it is vision, memory, brain structures, cellular neuroscience, computational models, and so on. Consequently, I find myself explaining on the fora that a good amount of psychology is full blown science, and not a pseudo or social science. If psychology is less than science, many biologists who study animal behavior, evolution, or cellular biology would have to be relegated to "social science" status. A major gripe of mine is that introductory psychology courses don't really explain that psychologists do things beyond the puppies and rainbows despite covering the brain and sensory systems. At least they slam self-help books and psychoanalysis.
With anthropology, people think of cavemen and people with bones in their noses. But in reality there is more to it than that. And by making this comic, Randall has shown that he doesn't know what he is talking about. He is an artist and t shirt salesman with an applied physics degree. I don't see where he gets off acting like this.** And to be honest, the Physics, Computer Science/Engineering department at CNU isn't exactly the most rigorous in the world. And worse, I honestly think that the Psychology degree I got there taught me more about the scientific method/theory/philosophy than the other science departments. Between the present comic and this one: http://xkcd.com/435/
I have to wonder if he is an elitist. The "applied" argument is wrong on so many levels. Reductionism anyone? Read some chaos and complexity theory. And don't get me started on string theory....I honestly believe that string theorists can't call themselves scientists (totally different thread....).
**I think the comic itself is pretty good. Just not the alt text.