This appears to be the premise of an unduly dismissive commenter responding to a recent post on homeopathy. For your enjoyment, here is what he/she had to say:
I hope you will forgive me for sounding a tad harsh here, but a trade school certificate from a tenth rate university does not qualify you to speak about scientific research, pro or con. An OT MA is science only in pretension, not in fact. Ditto for an undergrad BA in psych, albeit at a much better university. Get a good Ph.D. in a hard science, then get a few decades under your belt as a real researcher, publish in major peer reviewed journals, and perhaps you will have earned sufficient knowledge (and humility) to be able to comment intelligently. Otherwise I regret to say, it just may be possible that some of your blogging may be more about the hubris inherent in being young (29 years old) than about carefully weighed, thoughtful analysis.
So we’re all clear on the new rule, yes? Until you have earned a PhD in a hard science (i.e., bio, chem, physics) from an Ivy League school, have gotten a couple of decades of research under your belt, authored publications in major peer reviewed journals, and are much older than 29, if you have an opinion on something scientific, for heaven’s sake,
SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU ARROGANT LITTLE BASTARD!
Because of course, if you don’t meet all of those qualifications, you couldn’t possibly have done extensive research. You couldn’t possibly have thoughtfully looked at both sides. And, if you are like me, all of the following is not even close to qualifying you for any type of scientific thinking:
* Hon. B.Sc in Psychology Research and Cognitive Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto;
* A 3.9 GPA in my MS/PhD program in Cognitive Psychology at Rutgers University – before I dropped out, having finally realized how terrible the job market is for psych profs and how tedious I found most of what I was doing to be;
* Completion of an MSc(Occupational Therapy) at the University of Western Ontario, which far from being a “10th rate university”, is among the top 15% or so of Canadian universities; furthermore, the average incoming GPA to the OT program was ~3.6/4.
* 4-5 years of experience working in labs in Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, and Social/Personality Psychology.
* 12 full course equivalents (FCE) at the undergraduate and graduate levels in statistics, research methodology and design, and lab research. Since a typical school year contains 5 FCEs, this experience is equivalent to taking nothing but scientific methodology, statistics and lab research courses for about 2.5 school years.
* Being an intellectually curious person who regularly reads up on areas of interest.
What this commenter has demonstrated is a form of elitism. What is more, the comment exudes incredible ignorance with regard to everything it addresses. In addition to radically under-estimating pretty well everyone that has not become a tenured university professor, it radically over-estimates the value of the education and experience required to meet the commenter’s criteria.
The 50 year old PhD that our commenter has given exclusive speaking privileges to need not be dramatically more scientifically literate in a broad sense than a Masters graduate, a very keen B.Sc graduate, or an exceptionally keen person without university education but with a determined willingness to engage in years of independent study of critical thinking, scientific methodology and particular areas of research, and intellectual fellowship with other rigorously interested parties.
It really does not take nearly as long as our commenter seems to believe to become scientifically literate and informed. The 50 year old PhD’s understanding of how science works, scientific thinking, and the like, was probably for the most part about as developed as it was going to get by the time he or she was part-way through their Masters, if not earlier. In terms of developing expertise in their field, they could easily have been quite up to snuff before the completion of their PhD. Speaking from personal experience, I was able to hold my own quite well with leading scientists in my area of research – first language acquisition and related areas of cognitive development – prior to even starting my Masters at Rutgers. Most of the many years invested by mid and late career PhD scientists are spent doing the laborious, time-consuming and often tedious work that goes into doing and getting funding for good science, not in developing scientific literacy or subject matter expertise.
However, as a service to the commenter, I’ll recommend that he visits the blog of University of Toronto biochemist, Larry Moran, if he wants more credentialed views on homeopathy. Maybe while our commenter is there, he’ll notice that like many other esteemed scientists, Larry positively encourages the masses to engage with science.