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Old November 15th, 2013, 09:37 AM   #11
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If you choose to study humanities (even sciences for that matter) material gains shouldn't be a priority of yours. I'm not trying to get on a moral highground here, simply suggesting that you are choosing the wrong subjects if you want to get rich.
I'm not talking about becoming rich, I'm talking about vitality of the majors, history is not a vital major with all due respect to it, as a result it doesn't get paid too much comparing to other majors and as a result it is less interesting for people, because most people want to feel useful, wage is a secondary impetus for them, primary everyone wants to do something interesting and feel really useful to society.

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The problem as far as I can see is that the people who didn't recommend to others after getting the degree didn't know what they were doing when they took the course, perhaps because they were under the illusion that a uni degree will get them a brilliant job, or maybe they had different expectations from the discipline, either understimating the difficulties of studying history (it's more than just sitting around reading books), or they went in with the wrong mindset. It's one thing to take history as a hobby and another as a discipline.
The problem here is not money at all, the problem is that historians have to operate with the vestiges of content and therefore have to assume too much, if you don't know something in engineering, you simply won't do your job, if you don't know how to finish some part of your historical research due to the lack of content, you may come up with something based on your own assumptions, and nothing bad will happen actually, it's not the mistake of an engineer for example whose bridge will flatten in case of mistake, or the device that he develope will be broke, or the software he programmed will be buggy. Mistakes of historians are not noticable whatsoever (nobody can even check whether there is a mistake or not in many cases) as a result, they have much less responsibility, and less responsible majors are less useful.

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Let's put it this way, if the majority of the people would treat history as a hobby, then history could be in a sense an entertainment industry, a thought entertainment industry. Now try and argue that history as a discipline doesn't produce anything.
Basically it doesn't produce anything except for more arguments, because unlike programmers for example, historians can't even come to the common conclusion. In history a historian can write every BS in his book and look clever, in computer science or engineering such approach is not gonna work sorry, as well as it's not gonna work in healthcare, or in police for instance. If history would produce something, it would be very strictly ordered already.

Last edited by So long; November 15th, 2013 at 09:40 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 10:05 AM   #12

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if you don't know how to finish some part of your historical research due to the lack of content, you may come up with something based on your own assumptions, and nothing bad will happen actually ... Mistakes of historians are not noticable whatsoever (nobody can even check whether there is a mistake or not in many cases) as a result, they have much less responsibility, and less responsible majors are less useful.
I'd say that's a very cynical take on the academia, that historians don't take the discipline seriously because there appearently is a lack of responsibility. Having no definitave answer doesn't mean you can bulls*** your way through history. Assumptions =/= imagination, while biases certainly exist it doesn't make any assumptions illogical. The historian is still still held responsible for what he/she writes/says, I don't understand how less 'responsible' a historian is for his/her work than an engineer.

Also I can't quite draw the link between 'less responsible' and 'less useful'. How exactly do you form your understanding of society without history? You're also comparing two completely different sorts of disciplines, the engineers and programmers you've used as examples are practical disciplines, whereas history lies mainly in theory. One's a discipline where you try to come to an understanding of things, and another is a discipline based on the your understanding. How exactly do you achieve the latter before the former?

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If history would produce something, it would be very strictly ordered already.
I don't quite understand what you mean, care to elaborate?
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Old November 15th, 2013, 11:15 AM   #13
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I'd say that's a very cynical take on the academia, that historians don't take the discipline seriously because there appearently is a lack of responsibility. Having no definitave answer doesn't mean you can bulls*** your way through history. Assumptions =/= imagination, while biases certainly exist it doesn't make any assumptions illogical. The historian is still still held responsible for what he/she writes/says, I don't understand how less 'responsible' a historian is for his/her work than an engineer.
Because any mistake causes nothing, let alone that history has always been interfered by policy, and where policy interfers, real science ceases to exist.

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Also I can't quite draw the link between 'less responsible' and 'less useful'. How exactly do you form your understanding of society without history?
Very easily, most of the people live without history quite happily knowing only when WW II started at best. History is a good for improving erudition, however erudition is not vitally important thing for people.

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You're also comparing two completely different sorts of disciplines, the engineers and programmers you've used as examples are practical disciplines, whereas history lies mainly in theory. One's a discipline where you try to come to an understanding of things, and another is a discipline based on the your understanding. How exactly do you achieve the latter before the former?
Engineering can be theoretical as well, for example algorithmical part, which btw can in many cases be even more important than practical implementation, so theorists can find themselve being equally useful as practical engineers.

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I don't quite understand what you mean, care to elaborate?
Well, a real production requires some organizing, history is not organized at all, everyone writes its own theories, some of course cover with ''academic'' titles, but it doesn't change too much, as well as it strictly depends on the events, if no even happened, no history, it's uncotrollable, while in more precise sciences you are the master of the processes. As well as history can't produce anything since it only describes what was produced basically, exactly the same as journalism, history just describes a large number of events in a monolithic way, while journalists describe concrete events, and exactly the same journalists manipulate with headlines, twist the content, etc, etc.

Last edited by So long; November 15th, 2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 01:28 PM   #14

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All humanitarium sciences, as I expected. Well the list is quite logical, the most important majors are those that produce something.
I believe you might be falling to a cognitive error here, similar to that of survivorship bias. Problem with humanitarium sciences is not in the sciences itself, but with people who tend to be choosing it over anything else.

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Old November 15th, 2013, 03:39 PM   #15

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Technology degrees are always in demand, but the knowledge learned tends to become obsolete pretty quickly. A young person with a Humanity degree is less sought, but the skills learned are fundamental to building leadership in a very wide range of careers. That's an over simplification, of course.

Properly educated graduates in the Humanities, have the basic skills for understanding the world and its problems. They will be confident and able to rise to any situation they may find themselves in. They should be able to apply their learning to a very wide set of problems, and be able to find creative options that will be effective and efficient. True, their knowledge right out of college is limited, but they have the foundations needed to acquire most specialized knowledge in almost any field of endeavor. The ability to read and retain information, think about it critically, and then pull out the salient points in a written document that is both informative and interesting is the hall mark of the Humanities graduate. It is the breadth of education that makes BAs so adaptable in the market place.

Leadership is most sought after, and it is the Liberal Arts graduate who most likely will develop into a strong leader. Why? Leadership requires a deep understanding of people and how they react. Leaders often know less than the hot-shot engineer who can design a circuit, but who is at a loss when dealing with people problems. More problems are human than technical, so the person who has studied History, Art, English, Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Math ... especially Basic Statistics, and even physical education has a "leg up" on those with more constricted studies in math, or the Sciences alone.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 06:06 PM   #16
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The problem here is not money at all, the problem is that historians have to operate with the vestiges of content and therefore have to assume too much, if you don't know something in engineering, you simply won't do your job, if you don't know how to finish some part of your historical research due to the lack of content, you may come up with something based on your own assumptions, and nothing bad will happen actually, it's not the mistake of an engineer for example whose bridge will flatten in case of mistake, or the device that he develope will be broke, or the software he programmed will be buggy. Mistakes of historians are not noticable whatsoever (nobody can even check whether there is a mistake or not in many cases) as a result, they have much less responsibility, and less responsible majors are less useful.

Really? Nothing bad will happen? You mean to argue that the hire supremacists who change history to deny African American heritage any sort of pride had no effect on anything? That the people who used history as a motive for war, genocide and imperialism weren't "making" ba history with sure consequences? How about some modern examples: lets look at Barnard Leais and Dock Chenney. Lewis had absolutely awful and false scholarship, Chenney listens, we invade with awful results and simply misery for millions. That's what poor historical scholarship does. The stakes are FAR higher whn it comes to the humanities. Hell, I'd argue that the emphasis on science is killing our politics and our understanding of the world. That science is obstructing the pursuit of the things that really matter by enabling the upper class to exploit the lower class for profit at unparalleled new levels. But yes, lets find a way to make the factory more efficient. Who cares about reading, writing, dance, musicc, and happiness?
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Old November 16th, 2013, 07:34 AM   #17

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Originally Posted by So long View Post
Basically it doesn't produce anything except for more arguments, because unlike programmers for example, historians can't even come to the common conclusion. In history a historian can write every BS in his book and look clever, in computer science or engineering such approach is not gonna work sorry, as well as it's not gonna work in healthcare, or in police for instance. If history would produce something, it would be very strictly ordered already.
While historians love to quibble about details and interpretations, they regularly work along the same lines. No one sane can argue that Julius Caesar was a secret member of the Ptolemy household. Anyone arguing that will look like a fool and fail in peer review. Academic historians work in similar ways and with similar materials, so no, one cannot "write every BS in his book and look clever".

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Really? Nothing bad will happen? You mean to argue that the hire supremacists who change history to deny African American heritage any sort of pride had no effect on anything? That the people who used history as a motive for war, genocide and imperialism weren't "making" ba history with sure consequences? How about some modern examples: lets look at Barnard Leais and Dock Chenney. Lewis had absolutely awful and false scholarship, Chenney listens, we invade with awful results and simply misery for millions. That's what poor historical scholarship does. The stakes are FAR higher whn it comes to the humanities. Hell, I'd argue that the emphasis on science is killing our politics and our understanding of the world. That science is obstructing the pursuit of the things that really matter by enabling the upper class to exploit the lower class for profit at unparalleled new levels. But yes, lets find a way to make the factory more efficient. Who cares about reading, writing, dance, musicc, and happiness?
Never mind me. I'm just quoting this because it's fabulous.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 08:26 AM   #18
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Really? Nothing bad will happen? You mean to argue that the hire supremacists who change history to deny African American heritage any sort of pride had no effect on anything? That the people who used history as a motive for war, genocide and imperialism weren't "making" ba history with sure consequences? How about some modern examples: lets look at Barnard Leais and Dock Chenney. Lewis had absolutely awful and false scholarship, Chenney listens, we invade with awful results and simply misery for millions. That's what poor historical scholarship does. The stakes are FAR higher whn it comes to the humanities. Hell, I'd argue that the emphasis on science is killing our politics and our understanding of the world. That science is obstructing the pursuit of the things that really matter by enabling the upper class to exploit the lower class for profit at unparalleled new levels. But yes, lets find a way to make the factory more efficient. Who cares about reading, writing, dance, musicc, and happiness?
There were not too much people who started war due to the reading the books of historians. Some ''academic'' historians who write books affect nothing. For example country X can attack country Y because X thinks that Y grabbed some land that was historically belonged to X, however they didn't find it out from historians basically, it's just a memory which can be kept without historians. Nobody started a war just because he read some academician.

Dancing and music are entertainments for people, it is always in demand same as technologies. While historians are not in demand, as well as journalists are not in demand, because people tired of lies, agendas and pursuing political goals in these fields, both professions are discredited and have no future. Technologies will destroy these professions eventually, because everything will be duly recorded and nobody will need to study the vestiges and invent fantasies about the periods according to political, personal or any other purposes.

Last edited by So long; November 16th, 2013 at 08:40 AM.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #19
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I believe you might be falling to a cognitive error here, similar to that of survivorship bias. Problem with humanitarium sciences is not in the sciences itself, but with people who tend to be choosing it over anything else.
Sure, the problem is that history as a major has no protection from coming idiots or people with agenda there. Unlike engineering or medicine, it's very hard to prove that historian is incompetent. In medicine you can easily prove incompetence of a doctor when he/she makes some mistake, it instantly can be noticed. And without protective barrier, history is doomed to accept idiots in its major, as a result, it gradually becomes less demandable, because the fields where even idiots can earn some money, are very attractive and it starts to attract much more people than actually needed, overcrowded majors are always less attractive. There is a lack of doctors, teachers, engineers, programmers, manufactorers but no lack of historians, journalists, lawyers, social psychologists, etc.

Last edited by So long; November 16th, 2013 at 08:33 AM.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 08:36 AM   #20
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While historians love to quibble about details and interpretations, they regularly work along the same lines. No one sane can argue that Julius Caesar was a secret member of the Ptolemy household. Anyone arguing that will look like a fool and fail in peer review. Academic historians work in similar ways and with similar materials, so no, one cannot "write every BS in his book and look clever".
There are parts where historians have no squabbles, but in general, they can't converge at all, especially when it comes to some politically important episodes of history. Nobody will argue about Caesar right now, but many would argue about Charles de Gaulle for example, because his figure is still in demand. Let alone about the periods of the history when there were no proper records, the number of contradictive statements from historians about such periods can be enumerated endlessly.

Last edited by So long; November 16th, 2013 at 08:38 AM.
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