August 12, 2011
It was obvious to me after reading the blog, with its reckless and inaccurate generalizations (cf. Paul Horwitz's commentary), since the author has written in this vein under his own name in the past. And the clues as to his identity the author provided--the number of years in teaching, best law school in his state, a "tier 1" law school, etc., as well as the interview he gave--just confirmed that impression. Since he teaches at a state law school, and in a state that has shown it is willing to fire tenured faculty under the right circumstances, I am somewhat amazed he would do this, since the blog is tantamount to an admission that he is not really doing his job and doesn't deserve his salary (given what I know about him, I'm inclined to believe that). More seriously, when his identity becomes public, as seems inevitable given how poorly he has disguised it, he will have humiliated his colleagues and his school, neither of which deserve his latest exercise in seeking the limelight. I hope he has the good sense to just delete the whole thing before he makes things worse. Out of respect for his school and his colleagues, who deserve much better, I will not be posting his identity.
UPDATE (8/13): I'm glad to see he's already starting to back-pedal on some of his irresponsible rhetoric, perhaps because, as I know from my e-mail, some of his colleagues already suspect he's behind it. (I did laugh out loud when he protested, "I don't think all of legal education is a scam." He might have looked at the title of his blog.) But the entire blog remains essentially fact-free, just anecdotes buttressing wild generalizations about legal education, plus the kind of amateurish theorizing about law and legal scholarship that he's published under his own name in the past. His identity is important because a lot of what he says correctly describes him: not a real interdisciplinary scholar, doesn't produce scholarship any longer, and probably doesn't put much effort into his teaching. I still hope he has the good sense to delete the whole blog. I and his colleagues will be glad to treat this all as "our" secret.
ANOTHER: The fact-free ruminations of our Scamming LawProf might be usefully contrasted with the criticisms of law schools and legal education by Brian Tamanaha (Wash U/St. Louis), which, while not always persuasive, are always based on pertinent evidence, and avoid wild generalizations: we've noted them previously here, here, here, and here, among other occasions. Perhaps part of the difference is that, unlike our Scamming LawProf, Professor Tamanaha is a productive scholar, who is actually doing his job.
June 09, 2011
After reading our example from earlier in the week, a reader in New York kindly sent another example of acute moral insight from Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds (who is apparently already renowned for his enthusiasm for murder, genocide and war!); in this case, Professor Reynolds is responding to a reader's query: "Why should we be all fired up about women's health and not men's health? Is there a special role of government in taking care of women? Why?". Reynolds' answer:
Because women want an Uncle Sugar to take the place of a husband?
Certainly that must be the reason.
June 06, 2011
February 25, 2011
December 22, 2010
A student just forwarded to me a discussion thread from "Top Law Schools" in which someone claiming to be a law professor (and apparently was believed to be a law professor by the students asking question) posted the following:
To most professors, Georgetown is far more prestigious than, say, Duke or Michigan because of its location and (because of its location) it attracts many more heavyweight scholars than the more isolated schools.
The Internet: it's still the nonsense and misinformation superhighway!
August 19, 2010
Ilya Somin (George Mason), libertarian true believer, thinks regular Republican Rick Hills (NYU) has "a good critique" of my views on tenure. Except Rick mostly doesn't discuss my views on tenure, as I pointed out in the comments, though Rick makes up some views he ascribes to me. (Commenters on Rick's thread then make the points I made originally, which is even funnier.) Somin says: "Some of the exchange between Hills and Leiter has do with possible conflicts of interest in the debate. For example, Leiter attacks Columbia professor Mark Taylor for criticizing tenure when he is about to retire and no longer needs its protection." But Leiter never attacked Taylor for this reason, since it would be silly. (Read what I wrote.)
Another triumph for rational dialogue in Cyberspace!
CORRECTIONS THAT AREN'T QUITE CORRECTIONS: Professor Somin updates his post in order to describe as "my statement" someone else's statement (really a fragment of a sentence in a lengthy quotation that had nothing to do with Professor Somin's misattribution of a view about conflicts of interest to me). But I am grateful that he acknowledged the 'misinterpretation.'
July 29, 2010
(Thanks to several different readers for flagging this curiuos back-and-forth. Professor Lindgren appears never to have met a non-story or triviality about which he couldn't blog.)
June 30, 2010
June 11, 2010
May 01, 2010
Stephanie Grace, a 3L at Harvard Law School, sent an e-mail to some 'friends' (one of whom subsequently leaked it), stating, among other things, the following:
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic.
Given the magnitude of Ms. Grace's ignorance, and the fact that ignorance was skewed in favor of racist stereotypes, it is unsurprising that she has been pilloried for her views. (To her credit, Ms. Grace did apologize for the offensive e-mail.) To be clear, as I understand it, all of the following is uncontroversial:
1. There is substantial evidence that IQ is heritable (which does not mean, contrary to what many blogs, as well as the HLS student, seem to think, that it has a genetic basis).
2. IQ is, at best, a controversial measure of intelligence.
3. There is no evidence--literally, none--that IQ differences between racial groups have a genetic basis.
Now the standard source in the know-nothing blogosphere for the contrary proposition to #3 is the 1994 book The Bell Curve by Hernnstein & Murray, which was published without peer review, for reasons made clear by Stephen Jay Gould, James Heckman, and the critical discussions collected in this book. At least as far as actual scientific research goes, the Hernnstein & Murray book has as much credibility as the putatively 'scientific' evidence for Intelligent Design or that global warming is a hoax (the irony, of course, in each case is that the politically motivated purveyors of the pseudo-science invariably accuse the scientific skeptics about their work of having political motivations!) (As a sidenote, though, social science enthusiasts would do well to look at the paper by Glymour in the aforementioned book, which makes the case that the pseudo-science of The Bell Curve is replicated throughout the social sciences.)
A very clear explanation of the main points is this essay by Ned Block (NYU). It is useful, in particular, in explaining why the heritability of IQ is not evidence of its having a genetic basis.