US academia now favors the hardworking, status-seeking, and ambitious over the truly intelligent
Many I know or know of have complained about this. In China, it's much more socially acceptable to talk about this in the open. For instance, at a workplace, there were two women in their fourties and fifties doing low end job who spoke of how now in China there are more women than men entering college. The gaokao is a test tailored to "select" from ordinary high school students, and the math and science portion of it comes across as scattered and superficial though still better than the garbage in American high schools. The difference in gaokao cutoff between Tsinghua and a school ranked in the 10s or 20s is 30-50 points, out of 750.
Those two women did say that girls do better on many of those academic indicators not because they're smarter, but because they're more conformist, and once the material becomes advanced, the girls are no longer competitive.
What they said is something that's visible to anyone in America who's not delusional too, but people are so afraid to say.
A guy who graduated Harvey Mudd also told me about how its feminist president bastardized the computer science department by making it half female. His words were: And then when they take computability or algorithms, they get wrecked.
I'm not saying that girls who are actually smart with the inclination to indepedently and flexibly go behind what the school or teacher or system is telling them don't exist. They are extremely rare. And for every one of them, there are probably 30 or 100 guys. Emmy Noethers do exist, yes, but they are extremely rare, and policies overtly favoring girls in academia do not produce more of them. Instead you get a bunch of really boring, unoriginal PC women in academia, in place of men who would do much better work with more nerve to call out bullshit.
In fact, academia selects now for such "sheepish" men too. Some of them even preach pro-feminist culture or policies. They are doing that for their own career, ambition, status, or at least out of fear of ostracism.
Girls are generally more "well-rounded," more moderately tempered, more conformist. Most geniuses are men and most fuckups are also men. People who are both (like Bobby Fischer perhaps) are almost exclusively men. So it is fair to say that American academia is being emasculated.
In China, I even see people critical of Terence Tao. Well, a Jewish math PhD who didn't fit in well in American academia either also spoke of how Tao is actually way over rated and over promoted by the mathematics establishment. This is done at the expense of some deeper, more original thinkers. Look at what Alain Connes says below.
Connes: I believe that the most successful systems so far were these big institutes in the Soviet union, like the Landau institute, the Steklov institute, etc. Money did not play any role there, the job was just to talk about science. It is a dream to gather many young people in an institute and make sure that their basic activity is to talk about science without getting corrupted by thinking about buying a car, getting more money, having a plan for career etc. … Of course in the former Soviet Union there were no such things as cars to buy etc. so the problem did not arise. In fact CNRS comes quite close to that dream too, provided one avoids all interference from our society which nowadays unfortunately tends to become more and more money oriented.
Q: You were criticizing the US way of doing research and approach to science but they have been very successful too, right? You have to work hard to get tenure, and research grants. Their system is very unified in the sense they have very few institutes like Institute for Advanced Studies but otherwise the system is modeled after universities. So you become first an assistant professor and so on. You are always worried about your raise but in spite of all these hazards the system is working.
Connes: I don’t really agree. The system does not function as a closed system. The US are successful mostly because they import very bright scientists from abroad. For instance they have imported all of the Russian mathematicians at some point.
Q: But the system is big enough to accommodate all these people this is also a good point.
Connes: If the Soviet Union had not collapsed there would still be a great school of mathematics there with no pressure for money, no grants and they would be more successful than the US. In some sense once they migrated in the US they survived and did very well but I believed they would have bloomed better if not transplanted. By doing well they give the appearance that the US system is very successful but it is not on its own by any means. The constant pressure for producing reduces the “time unit” of most young people there. Beginners have little choice but to find an adviser that is sociologically well implanted (so that at a later stage he or she will be able to write the relevant recommendation letters and get a position for the student) and then write a technical thesis showing that they have good muscles, and all this in a limited amount of time which prevents them from learning stuff that requires several years of hard work. We badly need good technicians, of course, but it is only a fraction of what generates progress in research. It reminds me of an anecdote about Andre Weil who at some point had some problems with elliptic operators so he invited a great expert in the field and he gave him the problem. The expert sat at the kitchen table and solved the problem after several hours. To thank him, Andre Weil said “when I have a problem with electricity I call an electrician, when I have a problem with ellipticity I use an elliptician”.
From my point of view the actual system in the US really discourages people who are truly original thinkers, which often goes with a slow maturation at the technical level. Also the way the young people get their position on the market creates “feudalities” namely a few fields well implanted in key universities which reproduce themselves leaving no room for new fields.
Q: So you were in Paris [ Ecole Normale ] in the best place and in the best time.
Connes: Yes it was a good time. I think it was ideal that we were a small group of people and our only motivation was pure thought and no talking about careers. We couldn’t care the less and our main occupation was just discussing mathematics and challenging each other with problems. I don’t mean ”puzzles” but problems which required a lot of thought, time or speed was not a factor, we just had all the time we needed. If you could give that to gifted young people it would be perfect.
I've noticed too how combinatorics is taking more and more of the rare tenured positions in America than other deeper fields of mathematics. Perhaps because it's a very "problem-solving", "lightweight technique" field that favors the (superficially) clever who often excelled at math contests and publish a ton of papers. Yesterday, I looked up Chen Lijie (陈立杰), a student of Andrew Yao at Tsinghua and now a PhD student at MIT, who's published a ton of papers in theoretical computer science, which MIT is super heavy in. The guy is crazy smart and won first place at International Olympiad for Informatics. That Yao Class selects for those types in their admissions.
I was at once (superficially) into CS theory, but eventually, aside from the practical conerns, and also personal incompetence at that time, I found the field rather incoherent or lacking in depth. I turned more to learning pure math instead. It's also a super Jew heavy field, so much that one could even joke that Andrew Yao is some Jewish backed agent subverting Chinese academia. I did criticize Andrew Yao for being overly "academic" and out of touch with reality in the way he does "computer science" and related the values he instills in his students.
I haven't actually touched math for at least a year, and after I tried to do a PhD in math, I was super disappointed by the atmosphere. Most of the PhD students are effete, the professors don't care or even encourage it. There are a ton of girls who are ridiculous, and even some "minority" professors who even encourage the likes. I feel bad for the few girls in there who aren't ridiculous; they must feel really frustrated.
American academia does seem to attact more of the "small-minded" credentialist status whores nowadays. They're super into grades and papers and conferences and journals and grants. Incentivized with those, they are almost machine like. However, much of what they do is substanceless, and in the current environment, people who point this out are necessarily met with hostility. The "non-playable characters" are now favored over the actually smart. People in China have pointed out how the tenure system essentially encourages mediocre, "conformist" research. A better system would be tenure from the start for more people after an initial rigorous selection process using tests in the likes of Landau's Theoretical Minimum. PhDs should only be awarded to people actually have done first rate research. I remember that in the 50s in USSR, out of all the PRC students sent there, only one guy, 谷超豪, Gu Chaohao, who did differential geometry/PDE/mathematical physics was given the Soviet version of PhD, the rest left with masters. This is in start contrast to the egregious degree inflation we're seeing in present day America that attracts the hard-working, ambitious, and status-seeking.
Interestingly, this Gu Chaohao was from a wealthy family but joined the CPC as a teenager pre-revolution when the war with Japan was still going on. He's almost certainly not a status whore, actually genuinely intelligent, courageous, and independent thinking. In contrast, both Andrew Yao and Terence Tao have very visibly "comprador" or "house nigger" backgrounds.
- Shanghai (born pre-49)
- Hong Kong (family moved post-49)
- Taiwan (family moved post-49)
- America (graduate school)
- Tsinghua (to become a demigod professor in the comprador nature of Jews on top, himself and his students second, and the "ordinary" Chinese the lowest).
Terence Tao (and father)
- Shanghai (born pre-49)
- Hong Kong (moved pre-49)
- Australia (moved following 67 pro-PRC riots in HK)
- America (graduate school)
Andrew Yao is proponent of tenure system in Chinese universities. He is super into being smart, being elite, and learning from and competing with the elite, international collaboration, papers, top conferences, and of course the Turing Award.
Terence Tao is visibly promoted by the Jewish-Anglo media to perpetuate their desired stereotypes of East Asians. That person on Zhihu pointed this out quite bluntly. It's something that many have probably observed but are afraid to say.
We also have seem some Chinese females married to white men getting tenure at good or top school in America. I won't name names or comment on this for now.
I am rather critical of Andrew Yao's approach to computer science in China. "Computer" is at the core an engineering. It should be about semiconductors and microelectronics, then operating systems, programming languages, networks, distributed systems, other foundational software, actually engineering them and creating a tried and true product all by yourself used by millions of people. His picking a bunch of math and computing olympiad winners for this "elite" computer class and grooming them for academic computer science is problematic in its narrow scope. It's fundamentally a comprador strategy, like what the KMT did, with an over-emphasis on credentials and status. Besides, CS theory, which Andrew Yao's program is more emphatic on, is marginal, an odd one out, both in math and in computer science. Almost like being a Chinese-American. In America, the students who go into CS theory are sometimes or even often those not good enough to do real math and who also want to avoid engineering or the real world.
No doubt that people like Terry Tao or Andrew Yao are extremely smart from IQ perspective. In that regard, they are higher than me. But IQ is not everything in research even in the hardest, most abstract of sciences. Taste and perception is extremely important too. The most original thinkers are the ones who are able to think beyond the existing system, whereas Terry Tao or Andrew Yao are more characterized by clinging to one and building on top of it in more incremental way. This is the type of scholar or scientist the American academic system and culture increasingly encourages.
I've written that I'm not so impressed by the Jews anymore in science, because it was visibly the Latin Christians like Newton and Euler who actually pioneered it. Jews are merely the followers. They are in comparison rather artificial. So is the liberalism and multiculturalism they have brought into America and its vassal states.