[Taxacom] A good year indeed!

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 08:06:53 CST 2014


These conversations just prove the essential point - life is not fair.

John Grehan

On Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 8:46 AM, Richard Jensen <rjensen at saintmarys.edu>
wrote:

> Mike,
>
> Perhaps I didn't make myself clear.  My point is that excellence alone
> cannot ensure success.  Just as in nature, the "most fit" individuals in a
> population may fail for a variety of reasons unrelated to factors that
> determine fitness, in many academic/institutional environments the same can
> happen to excellent individuals.  By politics, I meant that someone may be
> fired (not-tenured, promoted, etc.) for reasons that reflect nothing more
> than the internal politics of the institution or simply because someone
> higher up does not like the individual or (as in one case I know well) does
> not believe that taxonomy/systematics is good science!  Yes, we can learn
> how to play the political games, but that doesn't ensure success when
> others don't play by whatever rules are the foundation of those games.  I
> have seen individuals whose work is, at best, mediocre, "earn" tenure and
> have seen individuals who were excellent denied same.
>
> In a world in which selection worked well, this wouldn't happen. But, it
> does, so obviously there is more to what's going on than simple survival of
> the "most excellent" or even survival of those who are "enough excellent."
> The vagaries of human social interactions are exactly why the natural
> selection model fails in human societies.
>
> Dick
>
> On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 5:01 PM, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > Dick,
> >
> > No one wants to admit the dirty little secret, but we should never really
> > forget that among the skills needed to be excellent are those of
> > personality and ability to politic that allow one to succeed.  A
> brilliant
> > scientist that cannot be tolerated personally will not be good for our
> > science.  They are not "excellent." Some that are so adept as to be
> virtual
> > charlatans can sometime garner resources that support others who are not.
> > It is a total pool issue. As we train students, these characteristics
> must
> > be nurtured as well as others.
> >
> > Mike
> >
> > On 11/13/2014 2:35 PM, Richard Jensen wrote:
> >
> >> As long as we don't forget about genetic drift, then there is a kernel
> of
> >> truth to what Mike says.  And, unfortunately, there are often instances
> in
> >> which those who survive (get hired, "earn" tenure), do so by virtue of
> >> politics and personalities.  I have seen several such cases and
> colleagues
> >> have told me about others.  It's the nature of the beast, and all any
> of us
> >> can do is try our best to ensure that those selected and retained have
> >> succeeded by virtue of the quality of their work.
> >>
> >> Cheers,
> >>
> >> Dick J
> >>
> >> On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM, Stephen Thorpe <
> >> stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz <mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>> wrote:
> >>
> >>     Who has the right to decide what is or isn't "good enough" or
> >>     "best enough"? If those who end up with the jobs are by definition
> >>     the "best enough", then it is meaningless circularity ...
> >>
> >>
> >>     --------------------------------------------
> >>     On Fri, 14/11/14, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu
> >>     <mailto:mivie at montana.edu>> wrote:
> >>
> >>      Subject: Re: [Taxacom] A good year indeed!
> >>      To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >>      Received: Friday, 14 November, 2014, 8:32 AM
> >>
> >>      Jason,
> >>
> >>      On further reflection, I may
> >>      see where you misunderstood.  Social
> >>      Darwinism is the idea of the survival of the
> >>      fittest.  It is absolute,
> >>      and the social
> >>      losers lose because of a fault of their own.
> >>
> >>      This has nothing to do with my
> >>      comments. It is more the "survival of the
> >>      fit enough."  Do not look at it from the
> >>      individual side, where the
> >>      underemployed in
> >>      our science cannot be said to be deficient, but from
> >>      the health of the science, where those who
> >>      "win" a job are as an
> >>      aggregate,
> >>      a highly selected pool of excellence.  This makes things
> >>      grim
> >>      for any individual, as the
> >>      "best" might never get a job, but the "best
> >>
> >>      enough" does.  However, I am talking
> >>      about the future of insect
> >>      systematics, and
> >>      it is looking solid.  Many jobs this year, and a large
> >>      pool of excellence.
> >>
> >>      Mike
> >>
> >>      On
> >>      11/13/2014 1:00 PM, JF Mate wrote:
> >>      >>
> >>      As in all human enterprises, the laws of Malthus apply to
> >>      our science.Our "reproductive capacity" is far
> >>      higher than the carrying capacity of our institutions. There
> >>      will always be a larger supply of propagules than can
> >>      survive (i.e. be provided academic jobs), and selection will
> >>      take the best and discard the others, often a majority. Some
> >>      cohorts will have very strong selection, so that a tiny
> >>      percentage make it through, and at other times selection
> >>      will be relaxed, and a larger percentage will make it. Of
> >>      course, this means that sometimes very excellent propagules
> >>      will be discarded in lean times, and less excellent ones
> >>      will make it through in fat times. However, the academic
> >>      reproductive rate will always provide a diverse pool with
> >>      different attributes and abilities, so that the overall
> >>      resulting set will be maximally beneficial to the future.
> >>      > Mike, you are flogging a dead horse with a
> >>      new stick. Do you think it
> >>      > wise to
> >>      appeal to social darwinism to support your own personal
> >>      > opinion?
> >>      >
> >>      > Best
> >>      >
> >>      > Jason
> >>      >
> >>      _______________________________________________
> >>      > Taxacom Mailing List
> >>      >
> >>     Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >>      > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >>      > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
> >>      searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >>      >
> >>      > Celebrating 27 years
> >>      of Taxacom in 2014.
> >>
> >>      --
> >>      __________________________________________________
> >>
> >>      Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
> >>      F.R.E.S.
> >>
> >>      Montana Entomology
> >>      Collection
> >>      Marsh Labs, Room 50
> >>      1911 West Lincoln Street
> >>      NW
> >>      corner of Lincoln and S.19th
> >>      Montana State
> >>      University
> >>      Bozeman, MT 59717
> >>      USA
> >>
> >>      (406)
> >>      994-4610 (voice)
> >>      (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
> >>     mivie at montana.edu <mailto:mivie at montana.edu>
> >>
> >>      _______________________________________________
> >>      Taxacom Mailing List
> >>     Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >>     http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >>      The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
> >>      searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >>
> >>      Celebrating 27 years of
> >>      Taxacom in 2014.
> >>
> >>     _______________________________________________
> >>     Taxacom Mailing List
> >>     Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >>     http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >>     The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> >>     http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >>
> >>     Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Richard Jensen, Professor
> >> Department of Biology
> >> Saint Mary's College
> >> Notre Dame, IN 46556
> >>
> >
> > --
> > __________________________________________________
> >
> > Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
> >
> > Montana Entomology Collection
> > Marsh Labs, Room 50
> > 1911 West Lincoln Street
> > NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
> > Montana State University
> > Bozeman, MT 59717
> > USA
> >
> > (406) 994-4610 (voice)
> > (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
> > mivie at montana.edu
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Taxacom Mailing List
> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> > http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >
> > Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Richard Jensen, Professor
> Department of Biology
> Saint Mary's College
> Notre Dame, IN 46556
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
>



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