Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Anti-MOOC Echo Chamber

Jonathan Rees is a Prof at the University of Colorado at Pueblo who got his 15 minutes when somebody like Matt Yglesias quoted one of his anti-MOOC screeds. I commented there until I, and seemingly all but the true believers, were expelled. Now his comment section consists solely of variations on "Yea, Verily." Anyway, I keep reading as a matter of anthropological interest.

If his brand of denialism seems strangely familiar, it's because all the denialists are really singing just one tune: "I know what I want to believe so don't try to confuse me with facts." Honest skeptics are very different. They really do want to hear facts that might contradict their hypotheses, even if those hypotheses are deeply held.

Cultural conservatism is not only a fact, it probably is adaptive at some level. A culture that admits innovation is certain to be transformed, sometimes rapidly, so every stable culture has conservative elements built in.