August 20, 2013

Statistics > Philosophy ... I disagree, sir, I disagree.

Mathematics preferred over creativity and critical thinking, I'm sad to announce.

Last year I tutored students in Philosophy of Science in Psychology, I did it because I wanted to, because I love teaching, because I had taken the class the previous semester and saw peers struggle, because I wanted to learn from my own tutor and gain experience for my (hopefully) future job. All students in the class passed and I received excellent feedback from students.

I attempted to get paid for my services this year since I can't take student loans any more and need to get a "real job"... so sent e-mails to the right people and received a response; "while we appreciate the effort you have put into the course, we are focusing on the statistics-part of the three courses A, B and C and there is unfortunately no room in the economy for tutors in Philosophy of Science in Psychology".

I think philosophy is at least as important as statistics. Philosophy taught me (amongst a massive number of things) how to look at a study and then neatly pick out what the actual arguments and conclusions are based on which data and analyses are presented (and not presented). Statistics taught me to mass-produce those arguments and conclusions, and reading (even published) articles it is not clear that everyone understands what they are producing..

It's like .. I'm having a hard time thinking of a metaphor.. Sigh.. It's like anything else you do.. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you can.. Oh nevermind. No example. My point is, it would have been reassuring to see other parts than statistics be prioritised and valued by higher-ups, could have given a broader base to stand on and larger understanding of the tools (including statistics) we use in psychological research.

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