More than half of new PhDs in the US are bogus

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,360
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Theranos is a clamorous case when the charisma and the charm of the individual + the prestige of an academy [Stanford] can value more than the real scientific content of a research [a research which generated an industrial product promising something beyond the present technology]. American Justice is dealing with Elizabeth Holmes and her buddy [Ramesh Balwani].
 
Jun 2017
598
maine
Theranos is a clamorous case when the charisma and the charm of the individual + the prestige of an academy [Stanford] can value more than the real scientific content of a research [a research which generated an industrial product promising something beyond the present technology]. American Justice is dealing with Elizabeth Holmes and her buddy [Ramesh Balwani].
But she didn't have a degree from Stanford (devalued or bogus); she dropped out. It would seem that she was simply a con person who took advantage of a credulous public.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,360
Italy, Lago Maggiore
But she didn't have a degree from Stanford (devalued or bogus); she dropped out. It would seem that she was simply a con person who took advantage of a credulous public.
That's the real point, not exactly the PHD itself. You can obtain a valid and important PHD just to misuse it ... or you can buy a PHD [or you can obtain it because of "political merits", like it happened in Italy until a not so far past].

The real question is about social selection. You can buy all the PHDs you want, but there has to be someone able to evaluate what you can really do [or not] before of giving you a job, money to finance a project, a responsibility in a research institute ... that's what should work properly and that's where there is something which doesn't work properly.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,360
Italy, Lago Maggiore
In the case of Holmes I could even imagine that she didn't need to spend the name of Stanford, it was enough she researched there [as "chemical engineer"]. A chemical engineer coming from Stanford saying to have invented a little machine able to analyze little quantities of blood saying all in a little time. Come on! How can you dare not to trust her?

And I don't remember that someone minded to check her university curriculum or gave importance to it ... overall because she attracted the interest of the market: she offered to investors something which was potentially a source of mountains of money.
 
Jun 2017
598
maine
In the case of Holmes I could even imagine that she didn't need to spend the name of Stanford, it was enough she researched there [as "chemical engineer"]. A chemical engineer coming from Stanford saying to have invented a little machine able to analyze little quantities of blood saying all in a little time. Come on! How can you dare not to trust her?

And I don't remember that someone minded to check her university curriculum or gave importance to it ... overall because she attracted the interest of the market: she offered to investors something which was potentially a source of mountains of money.
That she was a drop out was part of the spiel: her discovery was so great that she just couldn't wait. She did have an advantage in that she didn't have to fool herself into a corporate structure--her's was a start-up operation. She told people what they wanted to hear; a con artist with a target audience that should have known better. IMO her story is not so much any failing in either the corporate or academic worlds--it seems to have been a shabby (but ordinary) scam.
 
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Nov 2016
1,262
Germany
One way of combating mass fraud would be to hand out registered digitalised diploma cards with a photograph, which someone would have to present when applying for a job and which could be checked in the same way as a health insurance card.

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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,030
One way of combating mass fraud would be to hand out registered digitalised diploma cards with a photograph, which someone would have to present when applying for a job and which could be checked in the same way as a health insurance card.

View attachment 25010

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That would help with fakes

But the issue with diploma mills are that these are schools with issue "legit" diplomas for a price.... All you have to do is pay... So I assume they would have no problem digitalizing their diplomas
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,030
That she was a drop out was part of the spiel: her discovery was so great that she just couldn't wait. She did have an advantage in that she didn't have to fool herself into a corporate structure--her's was a start-up operation. She told people what they wanted to hear; a con artist with a target audience that should have known better. IMO her story is not so much any failing in either the corporate or academic worlds--it seems to have been a shabby (but ordinary) scam.
I agree, that hers is not an academic problem... I brought up her case to illustrate the BS artists influence in the corporate world...

But how is it NOT a failure of the corporate world ? Considering the high profile investors and board members, it is a massive failure....
 
Mar 2015
878
Europe
Note that not all holders of diploma mill degrees are bad at the skills in question!
Case in point - University of Harderwijk.
A notorious degree mill that did little teaching.
Probably the most famous Harderwijk graduate?
Carolus Linnaeus.
Who attended the University... for a total of one week.
And defended a dissertation.
Demonstrating that clayey soil causes malaria.