Stunned

I am stunned.

A woman I know who lost her husband in a car accident five years ago, with two daughters – one in high school and one entering middle school in the fall, is moving in with her boyfriend this summer. They are thinking about getting married.

Another single mom I know, who has three children, told me she has a girlfriend.

These are not women who are unfamiliar with God or the Bible; quite the contrary.

I confess, the marriage/wedding ceremony for my second marriage was a great source of stress for me, but it was still necessary. It is difficult for me to believe in marriage vows when my ex violated them. But establishing the covenant was still necessary. I didn’t like it, but I did it, with grace and dignity.

So these choices, of women I know, has stunned me.

When did making the right choice because it is the right choice become obsolete? A rhetorical question, yes.

The Great PhD Scam

Nothing against those who are seeking PhDs–they are usually very hardworking folks who embarked on that venture in search of a career path that they thought would be awaiting them upon receipt of that terminal degree.

The problem is the system that awards them, and–I would add–the Academic-Governmental Complex that has fed that beast through widespread malinvestment. At any rate, Nature is picking up on the problem.

According to the multipart series in the journal Nature, the world is awash in Ph.D.s, most of them being awarded after years of study and tens of thousands of dollars to scholars who will never find work in academia, the traditional goal for Doctors of Philosophy.

“In some countries, including the United States and Japan, people who have trained at great length and expense to be researchers confront a dwindling number of academic jobs and an industrial sector unable to take up the slack,” the cover article says.

Of people who received Ph.D.s in the biological sciences five to six years ago, only 13% have tenure-track positions leading to a professorship, says Paula Stephan, who studies the economics of science at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

All together, 10% are working part time or out of the labor force entirely, 33% are in academic positions that don’t lead to a professorship positions, 22% are in industry and 20% are at community colleges or working in government or non-profit jobs, she says.

That 33% of Ph.D.s in non tenure-track positions is especially troubling, she says. It used to be that “post-docs,” post doctoral research positions in a professor’s lab, were a steppingstone to one’s own lab and professorship. But now one-third of Ph.D.s are permanently stuck “basically working as research assistants.” They have no job security and salaries start at $39,000 a year. “That’s appalling: You could get that with a bachelor of science degree,” Stephan says.

It’s not necessarily the education that needs to change, but how the endpoint is presented, says Maresi Nerad, director of the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Even the way anything but being a professor is termed is a problem, she says. People refer to “alternative careers,” which just screams “It’s not the real thing, the real thing is becoming a professor,’ ” she says. The presumption is that if they don’t become a professor, “something isn’t right with them.” But that track hasn’t really existed for the majority for a long time.

In fact, her studies have found that about half of the science Ph.D.s end up working outside of academia in industry, government or at not-for-profits, and they’re very happy and actually make more money and have more autonomy.

The glut tracks back to predictions in the 1980s that an impending wave of professor retirements and rising college enrollment would require a hoard of new Ph.D.s. This didn’t prove to be true, but Ph.D.-track students flooded universities and then couldn’t find jobs.

Can’t say that I Feel Sorry

for this guy.

I realize that the housing debacle–and subsequent financial crisis that continues to this day–has many players on whom to place blame: investment banks, government agencies (local, state, and federal), mortgage companies, middlemen of all stripes, the Federal Reserve, and even individual homebuyers who (a) took out loans they could not afford and/or (b) criminally misrepresented their financial status (income and job) in trying to obtain a loan.

Based on the numbers, Lee Farkas was a small player in this mess. Nevertheless, his prosecution ought to be welcomed. The rule of law is integral to the efficiency of free markets: unless buyers can have reasonable confidence in the value of what is being sold, they have no incentive to buy. Penalizing those who fraudulently represent their assets–we’re going well beyond the normal seller’s hype here–will provide an incentive for brokers to be honest.

Unfortunately, Farkas was selling property that was already owned by other investors. It would be like me selling you Pilgrim’s house, even though (a) he owns it and (b) has not enlisted me to sell it. This was a scheme by Farkas to cover his financial holes with Colonial Bank.

Farkas became accustomed to a high lifestyle that included luxurious homes, private jets, and fine dining. He will now have to prepare for a lifestyle that includes a small cell, one or more same-sex companions, and federal corrections cuisine.

Sin

Tolstoy’s descriptive prose in Anna Karanina brings sin alive and makes it tangible.  On page 186, Tolstoy writes of the adulterers:

“It provoked in Vronsky and Anna a feeling like that of a mariner who can see by his compass that the direction in which he is swiftly moving diverges widely from his proper course, but that he is powerless to stop the movement which every moment takes him further and further from the right direction, and that to admit the deviation to himself is the same as admitting disaster.”

Tolstoy gives a real-life example of exactly what James says:

but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

Sin will give birth to death. We can nip it in the bud and allow God to abort it from us early on, repent, and minimize the consequences. Or we can allow it to complete its gestation process, become full grown, and give birth to enormous consequences.

Those who choose not to repent, who choose to remain in their sin and make excuses for such, continue to deceive themselves and lie to themselves, distorting reality all around them. Tolstoy describes this well on page 189 where Anna is speaking of her husband, Alexei Alexandrovich, to her lover:

“He’s not a man, he’s a machine, and a wicked machine when he gets angry,” she added, recalling Alexei Alexandrovich in all the details of his figure, manner of speaking and character, holding him guilty for everything bad she could find in him and forgiving him nothing, on account of the terrible fault for which she stood guilty before him.”

These passages blew me away at the accuracy of the detail and description. Have you ever experienced choosing a course against the will of God and having it drag you, even while you were watching, away from your proper course? Do you have friends who will hold you accountable and speak the truth plainly to you? When you do hear the truth, are you willing to allow God to enable you to choose to repent and stop, right there and then, and end the swift movement toward disaster? Tolstoy is correct, we are unable to do this under our own power. We need the power of God.

Have you ever watched another make such choices? Have you spoken truth over another and had them reject that truth, continuing to allow themselves to be dragged away and enticed by sin, knowing that the sin would eventually become full-grown and give birth to horrible death?

These words of Tolstoy are spot-on in accuracy of one who continues in their course of sin: “holding him guilty for everything bad she could find in him and forgiving him nothing, on account of the terrible fault for which she stood guilty before him.” The one who continues to sin finds fault in others though they are the one who is guilty. Both my new husband and myself experience this with our ex spouses who were unfaithful. They still blame us for everything, coming up with more stuff, even though they are the ones who stand guilty. They continuously find all the bad and forgive nothing.

Really and truly, this must be a horrible way to live. It was not that her husband was not in need of forgiveness; we all are. It was not that he didn’t have bad in him; we all do. It’s that she magnified the bad, ignored the good, refused to forgive, and refused to see the truth, placing the guilt for her own sin on that of her husband who was innocent of this sin.

Tolstoy truly understood the nature of sin and was able to articulate such.

Womyn of the World Unite

Peter Wood is committing heresy! HERESY I say!

Seriously, he is trodding dangerous ground by pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a semblance of knowledge of history.

Personally, I will drink Guinness…Foreign Extra Stout…to the demise of academia. We should allow student loan debts to be dischargeable in bankruptcies, if only to exacerbate the demise of all that is useless in the academy.

This would be good for everyone: academia would reform and once again become relevant; the dead weight would be gone; and those aspiring to the academy would get a real education, complete with a real economic tradeoff.

Also gone would be the utter nonsense that passes for scholarship,