Home » Education, Evolutionary psychology, News » Urgently needed: A random Darwin generator

Urgently needed: A random Darwin generator

In an article that all students and parents willing to sign loan guarantees should read, James Barham indulges in a bit of fun at the expense of the tenured nonsense vendors of the modern Arts faculties*:

Of course, Olasky is well aware of the fundamental problem. In the article, he even mentions a wonderful spoof of “postmodern theory” called the “pomo random generator.”

You just feed a title or a topic sentence into this wonderfully witty piece of software, and it randomly generates a complete essay written in the echt-pomo, gobbledygook, academic style that is indistinguishable from the real thing—and much less labor-intensive than physicist Alan Sokal’s famous 1996 hoax paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries.”

So, here is clearly one place where universities could cut costs: Fire all the pomo professors and procure the same “benefit” that their “research” provides to society at much less expense by means of the pomo random generator!

While we’re at it, maybe we could convince some enterprising young programmer to render a similar service for evolutionary biology. All you’d need would be a “Darwin random generator” to come up with a plausible-sounding, unfalsifiable Just So Story for any given biological trait, and you could eliminate a whole line item from the NSF’s annual budget.

- James Barham, “,”The Best Schools blog More.

Just think: Everybody could be an evolutionary psychologist, without the risk of getting exposed, like Hauser and Stapel. See, those guys’ problem was that the whole system was not yet 100% nonsense all the time. Just most of the time. But the updated Random Darwin Generator system would be certifiably free of that defect.

* Which should have been shut down in 1968, as soon as it became apparent that they could not distinguish meaningful text from nonsense. Note: It is true of many other fine citizens can’t either, but those people do not expect degrees or a salary for their disability.

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6 Responses to Urgently needed: A random Darwin generator

  1. Why would anyone want to randomly generate Darwins?

  2. I remember studying postmodernism in college in philosophy classes. At one point, I told the professor that this was utter nonsense, and he agreed.

  3. Yes, but evolutionary theory isn’t.

  4. Yes, Elizabeth, evolutionary theory isn’t based on testable claims.

    Or were you trying to say something else?

  5. Actually, I distinctly remember being in a discussion section (15 students and prof) in college in the 1990s. We were discussing postmodernism and science. I felt strongly that postmodernist critiques of science were bullcrap, and said so. Eventually we got to discussing examples of well-evidenced scientific theories, and how they weren’t just random optional opinions. I brought up evolution as an example — and then it turned out that half the class objected, because they were creationists! Suddenly the right-wing fundamentalists found something to like about left-wing postmodernist critiques of science.

    This isn’t a novel observation, many have noted that Phillip Johnson basically took the postmodernist critique of science and turned it against evolution, for the purposes of promoting his socially and religiously conservative position.

  6. Johnson did that because the theory of evolution isn’t well-evidenced and is basically a liberal religious position.

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