Subject: Reform of the University System
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2008 09:37:29 EST
Many thanks for your comments, I think that there is a rapidly increasing international awareness that all is not well with academia, especially with theoretical physics, and Steve Crothers has led the way towards a sweeping reform of the system. It is well accepted that Crothers is correct in all respects in his criticism of Hawking and others, who have essentially made physics into a kind of pseudo-theology. Crothers is a TGA Gold Medallist and several of his important papers appear on _www.aias.us_ (http://www.aias.us) . I have co-authored three papers with him, notably papers 93 and 120. His treatment by academia needs to become the subject of an investigation, because it is such a well known and heavily criticised injustice. There are many other deep injustices in academia, and the system needs to be controlled much more closely. The intellectual revolution represented by ECE theory is now sweeping the world, and I have just returned form a conference in which this has been discussed. We intend to do everything in our power to right the wrongs doen to Stephen Crothers.
Dear Professor Evans,
Thank you very much for those comments. I’m sure we could spend many hours in an interesting discussion in your favourite Welsh pub over this. However, since that is unfortunately not possible, let me just add a few observations.
At the age of 55 and after extensive international travels, I finally understood that Australia was the place in which I could in good conscience watch my children and grandchildren grow up. There are of course many unresolved problems here too, but I believe that thanks to the rebellious attitude of the ‘ordinary’ Australians, we have a truly living and vibrant democracy here and one of the most egalitarian societies on the planet. Most importantly, voting is obligatory at Federal, State and Local government levels. A recent American visitor said he was impressed with the lack of pomposity here. An unusually large percentage of Australians are people of ‘good will’, which is manifested e.g. in the highest level of voluntarism in the world.
This is why I am reasonably hopeful that Australia may come to lead a kind of revolution in academia. There is of course the lingering effects of what I call the unfortunate heritage from the old ‘motherland’. The older universities here are still operating much the same as those they were originally modelled on, but the newer ones are refreshingly different. My eldest daughter (now 55) is very pleasantly surprised by the difference after having just completed a Bachelors Degree at a small annex campus here. She is a student representative on the Faculty Board and has therefore a special insight in this. My daughter has now happily accepted an invitation to continue with an Honours Degree and will perhaps go on from there.
The biggest hurdle to overcome now is that the ‘old guard’ cleverly managed to manoeuvre the new federal government to back off from ‘politicising’ science. Sure, no-one in their right mind would want Stalin or Hitler style science policy, but what we got is at the other extreme. A pact was made that all issues relating to science must be delegated to an ‘expert’ council and the elected representatives must limit themselves to coughing up the money. The council quickly followed up with a proposal on how to define ‘Good Science’, which introduced a bureaucratic method with ‘metrics’ proportional to the number of published peer reviewed papers and citations thereof. This is why Crothers can be the greatest genius on earth and still not be able to get inside the thus enhanced walls around the gardens of academia. The minister was made to abdicate electoral responsibility. However, the minister is well aware of the rebellious attitude of the electorate, so no reason to despair.
I was very glad to see the references you made in your chapter 4 paper to Crothers’ work. I wonder if you would allow me to refer to this in my next attempt to get the minister to see that he will need to make provisions for ‘exceptional circumstances’, or risk the wrath of the electorate.
Best regards, Axel Westrenius
On 28/11/2008, at 9:38 PM, EMyrone] at [aol.com wrote:
> It is clear to me that there is an erosion going on of both > democracy and science, because there is an sharp erosion in values > in society as a whole. In particular there is a lack of basic > integrity and lack of respect for tradition, a kind of “iron in the > soul” as Jean-Paul Sartre put it in his trilogy of novels: “Le Fer > dans L’Ame”. Democracy and science have to be fought for all the > time, it is easy to stand back and do nothing, and that allows > people to get elected with a quarter of the electoral register. > These people then become cynical and try to get away with what they > can, the art of the possible. They remain in office for a lifetime, > and would horrify the Levellers of 1647. Similarly in science, a > small group tries to control science and regards genuine new > thought not as an enlightenment but as a threat to an imagined > “power base”. In the case of ECE theory enough people have the > technical ability to understand it form beginning to end, so it has > become clear that there has been extensive unscholarly conduct > among those who should know much better, as Kerry Pendergast puts > it. His biography exposes the mudfest of many years in its dubious > and murky anti-glory. So Kerry has had the courage to bring > everything out in the open. So as always, individual people must > not let themselves be treated as doormats by unelected voices in > the shadows of smoke filled planning committees, or smoke filled > science funding committees, or the anonymous Orwellian controllers > of publishing. Otherwise they will wake up one day to find all > their freedoms gone. Axel Westrenius is now approaching his > eighties, and is the voice of the experienced and intelligent > layman. Politicians should not forget that their electorate is > intelligent. > >