Language Log » Flowchart of the week

Here’s something you might never have expected me to agree with: Academics are very culturally conservative. The source is Mark Liberman at Language Log:

If you asked people to list the typical characteristics of academics, I doubt that they would often think of “conservative”. But academics are among the most culturally conservative groups around, in my experience.

What? Well, yes, considering that it is a certain sort of conservatism that he is referring to. Liberman quotes Phil Ford at Dial M for Musicology:

“Sometimes I think that academics have a kind of mental operating procedure designed to insulate them from having to consider anyone else’s ideas at all.”

Here is how Ford illustrated it:


Liberman filed this under humor, and I hope you’ll take it that way; but with perhaps a touch of truth to give it some kick.

Dare I suggest that something like this conservatism might be operating in a certain scientific controversy we often discuss here?


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