Statistics

Young Anon Seeks Advice On Whether To Become A Mathematician

Got this terrific email with interesting questions from Anon. The obvious perspicacity of its young author caused my heart to soar like a hawk, and to have renewed hope of Renewal. Which, alas, is not likely to happen until I am long gone.

I’ve recently discovered your work at the perfect time. I’m finishing a BA in pure mathematics this spring and have become skeptical that much of any science is “telling us the truth.” This is extraordinarily complicated, as you well know, but the “studies” in which we abstract from reality in such a way as to apply number to the world with some measure, then to accumulate a bunch of these numbers in an idealistic laboratory setting, churn them around some statistical analyses with seemingly arbitrary verification measures, then claim X, Y, and Z about reality, is beginning to seem increasingly preposterous. Not to mention the epistemological problems from top to bottom.

Have you spoken to Alex Pruss about these problems? I would love to be a fly on the wall. If I want to push your questions of probability, statistics, and philosophy of science to the nth degree, do you think a master’s in mathematical statistics is the correct path? Applied math? Rogue studying outside of academia? Do you have any advice columns for young mathematically inclined men?

Dr. [James] Franklin sent me a pdf of his book and I hope to get to it soon. Aristotle has been coming up correct for too many years now, and I think Feser’s book about Aristotle is crucial for the path forward. I hope to find a used copy of your Uncertainty text soon.

P.S. I heard your talk with Coffin. The term “based” comes from, oddly enough, a rapper out of California called “Lil B.” In the mid-2000s he started calling himself based and released an album in 2007 called Based Boys. He would call cool or good things that he liked based and often went by the title Lil B the BasedGod or The BasedGod. The dissident right began using his word ironically around 2010. It grew slowly then suddenly. He was actually quite funny and sort of a quasi-troll. No idea what he’s been up to in the last 5-7 years.

Godspeed,

[Anon]

I didn’t know about based’s origins, but we have indeed embraced the term with gusto now.

I’ve never spoken with Pruss, who has the book (among others) Infinity, Causation, and Paradox, the Abstract of which is:

Infinity is paradoxical in many ways. A particular large family of paradoxes is examined that on its face is widely varied. Some involve deterministic super tasks, such as Thomson’s Lamp where a switch is toggled an infinite number of times over a finite period of time, or the Grim Reaper, where it seems that infinitely many reapers can produce a result without doing anything. Others involve infinite lotteries. Yet others involve paradoxical results in decision theory, such as the surprising observation that if you perform a sequence of fair coin-flips that goes infinitely far back into the past but only finitely into the future, you can leverage information about past coin-flips to predict future ones with only finitely many mistakes. It turns out that these, and a number of other paradoxes have a common structure: their most natural embodiment involves an infinite number of items causally impinging on a single output. These paradoxes can all be solved with a single move: embrace causal finitism, the view that it is impossible for a single output to have an infinite causal history. The book exposits such paradoxes, defends causal finitism at length, and ends up considering connections with the philosophy of physics, where causal finitism favors, but does not require, discretist theories of space and time, and the philosophy of religion, where we get a cosmological argument reminiscent of the Kalam argument for the existence of God.

I am with him on his causal finitism, an ontological concept. My work is mainly epistemological, with the notion that, not only can’t there be infinite causes of an event, we also we can’t have infinite knowledge. Of course, most of the standard probability tools embraced assume that infinite knowledge is not only possible, but common. I speak of infinity in it various flavors from time to time to show how awesome and reckless standards assumptions are.

The paradoxes caused with infinite probability distributions all drop away when using finite (i.e. discrete) probability. No worries about having the wrong distributions, or priors, etc. I say in Uncertainty that we should start with finite premises matched to the measurement and decisions that are to be made. And only after that (hard math) can we extrapolate to infinity for the gains in ease of calculation it brings us.

Starting, as it were, at infinity, instead of leading up to it as a known tool of approximation, is the cause of much over-certainty and angst.

Franklin’s book—Franklin is the literary executor of David Stove—is An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics: Mathematics as the Science of Quantity and Structure, an excellent introduction to the topic. It is the philosophy of math behind all these other things.

Maybe you missed the dog that didn’t bark. The reason to be so cheerful about this email is that young Anon has made it through the system unscathed. So far. Will this luck continue?

What to do and where to go next depend much on your circumstance. Only you can judge that. Academia will only grow more debased, with more and greater Diversity and Perversity quotas. Plus mask and, at your age, needless vexxine mandates.

If you think you can make it through and not get cancelled, or have your morals corrupted, it is good to do so. Like it or not, we live in an Expertocracy, and the only way to become a member of the ruling class and influence it is to become Expert at something.

The other consideration is finding somebody good who will take you on, and protect you from the Stupidity Storms which will only grow more common. The mentorship of a knowledgeable leader can be invaluable. I would love to have students, and have much work for then to do (especially if they are hardcore math), but they won’t trust them with me. Any work I assign from my perch far away from university would count for nothing.

As long as you can convince future employers your math philosophy degree is equivalent to what they want from mathematicians, which shouldn’t be too hard, it would be worth studying what you, under guidance from some based professor, find fascinating.

All of us here (mostly geezers and cranks) wish and pray the best for you.

(P.S. I sent young Anon a copy of Uncertainty.)

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Categories: Statistics

24 replies »

  1. If you have a strong cup of tea, I can tell you all about the ‘Infinite Probability Drive’.

  2. Your posting caused my heart to fly like a hawk. Thanks! And thanks for pointing me to Franklin’s book. I know several mathematicians because of where I have worked and where I went to graduate school at NYU. I was a student at the Courant Institute some 40 years ago. I’m not a mathematician myself (chemical and computational physics) but was part of an interdisciplinary group with a large presence of, mostly applied, mathematicians. However, I did consider switching to pure mathematics but in the end decided it was too boring and to nominalist. I did study Hardy’s Pure Mathematics and enjoyed it greatly though I eventually realized his view was too effete to carry me over the seas of life.

    My thesis work concerned the then fairly new concept applying Monte Carlo methods to the exploration of, in my case, the Schrodinger Equation. Monte Carlo got me into probability theory and the subject of distributions. I took some classes in probability theory at Courant and came away with the idea that I probability was not just an application of measure theory or even set theory. In fact, I always had problems with the whole notion of, say, Borel sets as being relevant to probability. To have completeness one must consider the possibility of absolutely perverse and monstrous sets. Indeed, my current and aging (I’m now over 70) opinion that there are basically two forms of real probability: discrete and computational continuous distributions. The former is the usual consideration of finite event spaces and the study of combinations, permutations, and so forth. The latter is what I picked up from my work which is that a computational continuous distribution is one that can be defined by a finite number of steps involving the transformation of a uniform distribution as drawn from a pseudorandom number generator. All other continuous distributions, those corresponding to the complete set of measurable functions, are like the Borel sets; they have no meaning even if a pure mathematician can provide one! The key is in Franklins title where the word “quantity” arises. I have a running little tête-à-tête with a pure mathematician friend in which I argue that he may know number but he doesn’t know quantity. Some time ago I attempted for the nth time to drive home the point by going into my shop (I’m not a watchmaker) and bring out a micrometer. “Here, smart guy! Use this!” Naturally, he couldn’t and in fact I’m not sure he understands a Vernier Scale at all. Quantities derive from finite processes using the body and senses and involve physical as well as mental judgment. Mathematicians in their citadels do not understand this and those who claim to have something useful (and even true in some cases) say are using only the latter. Indeed when it comes to the former they are usually all thumbs! (As I was when I first started and am only now starting to get a “feel” for working with material objects. Not sure I’ll live long enough to acquire anything like real mastery.)

  3. Excellent discussion.

    I recall when I studied engineering at the undergraduate level, the heads of the departments were practitioners, many with their own consultancies, and the programme was largely case based. Looking back this was an excellent grounding, and the bachelors graduates were highly sought after by industry.

    When I returned 4 years later to do further post-graduate study, this had largely been swept away, and the school went to a research-based foundation. Most of the heads were gone, and new, younger, “publish or perish” academics took over. Undergraduates suffered.

    It seems that undergraduate programs, which is really why Universities should exist, have been gutted in favour of higher level research (as this is where the money is). Another sign that Money Corrupts All.

  4. The major problem in physics is the belief that the map is the territory.
    The two major problem in physics are the belief that the map is the territory and belief in the Copenhagen interpretation.
    The three major problems in physics are the belief that the map is the territory, belief in the Copenhagen interpretation, and cultural Marxism.
    The n major problems in physics are the belief that the map is the territory, belief in the Copenhagen interpretation, cultural Marxism, and a reliance on infinities.
    The n + 1 major problems in physics are …

  5. “not only can’t there be infinite causes of an event, we also we can’t have infinite knowledge” Humans cannot have infinite knowledge, but God can. Except with time. I am a total disbeliever (math denier?) in space and time being connected as Einstein said. God does not know the future. Time is linear and unknown beyond the current point.

    I’d get cancelled for sure, I know.

    I used to love to discuss infinity, but it got weird and gives me a headache now, as does causation without correlation, a concept I did not make up. The internet is full of such things.

  6. ”All of us here (mostly geezers and cranks) wish and pray the best for you.”

    Hear, hear! Heartening that in spite of Big Ed. brain-flattening some young minds emerge undamaged, destructive programming detected and rejected. Remarkable. As if some inner guide, incorruptible, were inscribed in men’s hearts. Wonderful.

  7. Sheri:

    God does not know the future.

    Written by someone “stuck” in time.

    God is not ‘stuck’ in Time. ‘The future’ has no relevance to God.

    God knows the result … God knows the outcome …

    but yes? … or is it no? … God does not or does ‘know’ the hour …

    Just as I AM … the HOUR IS

    ” Time is linear and unknown beyond the current point.” But God is not ‘stuck’ in the ‘current point’.

    No cancellation if you ask ?

    See also Kurt Vonnegut Jr ‘Slaughter House Five’ regarding ‘stuck’ or ‘unstuck’ in Time

  8. Contrary to most fields of academic study, mathematics does not (and can not) rule out the existence of ‘information’ which is beyond our own epistemic knowledge. Perhaps this explains why – the mathematician – tends evaluate all expert opinions with an innate cautious skepticism.

  9. When I saw a mathematician start counting and then say “you reach infinity” and then proceeded to say infinity+1, I wanted to reach through the YouTube connection and slap him. I hope he was playing a joke. He proceeded to continue down the path and got to infinity + infinity…

    On one side of my coin, I was annoyed. On the other side, I paused and wondered if thinking about something a little differently for a moment was bad. Sometimes, thinking wrong things helps me find better things. I forgave the professor his transgression.

    In the spirit of that, I once wrote a question on Quora, “What is the Graham’th digit of Pi?”

    A mathematician responded quickly that it was a bullshit question. He was right.

    At the same time, which is more reasonable? Infinity + 1 or Grahamth digit.

  10. “If a man has any genuine talent, he should be ready to make almost any sacrifice in order to cultivate it to the full … When the world is mad, a mathematician may find in mathematics an incomparable anodyne.

    The noblest ambition is that of leaving behind something of permanent value …

    In these days of conflict between ancient and modern studies, there must surely be something to be said for a study that did not begin with Pythagoras, and will not end with Einstein, but is the oldest and the youngest of all.”

    — G.H. Hardy, *A Mathematician’s Apology*

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-mathematicians-apology-g-h-hardy/1117106444

  11. Should a bright, young Anon pursue Mathematics as a career?

    Yes, absolutely, we have dire need for more truly expert (a loaded term) numbers people. And we have even a more dire need for numbers people who also hold some share of wisdom. If he or she can do that, then YES, we say why not!

    On the other hand, there’s this: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/modern-mathematics-confronts-its-white-patriarchal-past/ (“Modern Mathematics Confronts Its White, Patriarchal Past….
    Mathematicians want to think their field is a meritocracy, but bias, harassment and exclusion persist”)….as critiqued here: https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2021/08/29/scientific-american-and-math-go-full-woke/ (“Scientific American and Math Go Full Woke”)

    So if the Young Anon is to venture into that Mathematical Wilderness (of pain), he should be well aware that there be monsters there, with jaws that bite, and claws that snatch. If he is a he, he will encounter all the bitterness and hate encapsulated in the SA essay…AND….he will have to compete for position with individuals who themselves become anointed by color and sex. It will not be easy.

    But IF….as Kipling noted:

    If …you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…”

    If he can do all that, then press on I say!

  12. One of my regrets in life is cutting short my training in mathematics at calculus. Oh well, that’s life. I should have cut biology short in its stead.

  13. “What to do and where to go next depend much on your circumstance. Only you can judge that. Academia will only grow more debased, with more and greater Diversity and Perversity quotas. Plus mask and, at your age, needless vexxine mandates.

    If you think you can make it through and not get cancelled, or have your morals corrupted, it is good to do so.”

    I second Brigg’s advice and would add the following:

    Don’t go to a school that mandates the cow-treatment. It is not worth risking one’s long-term health for a degree.

    Don’t take on any debt for further schooling.

    Recognize that this kind of research will most likely not be supported by any institution. So the most important thing is to have the underlying knowledge needed to pursue it. That kind of training can come from a degree but can also come from outside learning.

  14. God does know the future….see verse 36 and all …

    1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

    3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

    4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 ” For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
    8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

    9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

    15 Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.
    18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

    23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

    29 But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
    31 And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

    32 Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

    36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
    39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

    42 Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

    45 Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    Matthew 24: 1-51.

    God bless, C-Marie

  15. My advice: Get a job. Any job that you can, but preferably a professional job in a closely-related field. Software or engineering, maybe. Work for at least a few years, accumulate some savings, learn the basics of investing, get some work experience, get out of debt, maybe get a decent vehicle, etc., and continue to read the math that interests you in your free time. Provided that you don’t hate the job, you’ll have placed yourself in an extremely good position.

    Then when you are ready for a change, head back to grad. school. You will be going into it with far more resources than your peers, and you will get far more out it then they do, and probably finish faster. You will have a focus that they lack (and they don’t know they lack).

    Heck, you might even consider going to grad. school while you are working.

    That’s my $0.02.

  16. I think the right way forward depends on what this man’s motivations are.

    1.) If the goal is just to understand where science and statistics fail, then I would suggest pursuing a master’s degree, possibly a PhD after that, in pure mathematics. Probably a specialization in Real Analysis, but definitely with a firm background in measure or integration theory. At the same time, do self study in statistics and philosophy. From what I have seen statistics at the Master’s level tends to completely side-step the philosophical issues and take the classical methods (or whatever the current trend is) as valid by decree. Those programs will help you see what statisticians are currently doing, but usually not why any of it works or does not work. There will be variation from school to school though. In theory you could do a philosophy degree and do a self study in math and statistics, but a.) digging into this field requires more of a mathematical foundation than you will have from a bachelor’s degree, and self-study is difficult until you have roughly a master’s level of understanding and b.) modern schools are worthless in terms of teaching philosophy anyway, so you’ll be forced to learn that by self study no matter what you do. (Learning about Marxist critical theory and cultural imperialism ain’t going to help you learn about how science works.)

    2.) If the goal is to be respected enough in the statistical community to actually be able to make criticisms that have an impact on how people do things, a degree in statistics is going to be necessary (though not sufficient.) With everyone using and abusing statistics, no one will trust you above what their book or mentor said unless you have credentials, no matter how correct your arguments are. But I think it’s a bit of a fool’s errand to try to change the wider opinions on statistics at this point. (You can certainly change the minds of the minority, but you won’t need credentials to that.)

    3.) If the goal is to see how statistics are applied in practice, and to get a very close look at what resembles reality and what doesn’t, then working in an industry while simultaneously doing self-study is the best option. Probably something along the lines of quality control for a factory. When a faulty model means that the company produces tons of defective crap that needs to be recalled, the models will get adjusted in a hurry. The other big industries for heavy use of statistics would be medicine and meteorology/climatology, but failed models can live forever in those areas. I guess big data/data science/machine learning stuff is popular now, but I doubt you’d learn much about statistics by delving into those fields. In my experience companies in those fields tend to treat statistics as arcane magic that sometimes make computers do impressive things for poorly understood reasons.

  17. And if you do go the academic route, I will echo some things already said:

    -Don’t take on any debt. In mathematics or statistics you should be able to find a program that gives you a stipend that pays for everything. You’ll probably have to teach, but this is both a good career path and also will sharpen your understanding of the topic. Plus as a “bonus” you’ll get to see both how idiotic administrations can be and learn how you can often sidestep their worst demands.

    -Go to a school that offers many opportunities for online learning, even if you don’t intend to take online courses. These are less likely to have vaccine requirements for students. (Though if you do get a stipend as a TA keep in mind that you’ll also be considered an “employee.”)

    -It’s probably impossible at this point to avoid a school that doesn’t have diversity requirements. It is likely that you will have to write a statement about your commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity as part of your application. I would advise writing a statement which technically meets the requirements but says nothing woke or anything that would be objectionable to your conscience. For example this might just be to say that there are many different types of people that you will encounter, people have different points of view, and you do not support banning any race or religion from mathematical/statistical education. If you get accepted with a “weak” statement like that it probably means that the department doesn’t actually care and most of the professors won’t be brining wokeness into their classes anyway. If they demand things that pay homage to more specific social justice points, they are likely to bring that same crap into their classes and you wouldn’t learn anything worthwhile anyway.

    -Be aware that anything you say to your fellow students, professors, etc. can be used against you in the future. Don’t plan to center your social life at school. Be the bland guy that is serious about his studies, is remembered as a nice guy, but doesn’t talk about his personal life much.

  18. As long as he stays away from Harvard and avoids all psychological experiments I would say go for it. Ted Kaczynski found out the hard way. If you read his history, diversity was a thing back then too.

    It takes a different type of person to go all the way in mathematics. I worked for Oregon’s top physicist about 50 years ago as an undergraduate research assistant. I didn’t fully know what genius was until I got to know our group’s mathematician who would visit from the UK every summer. I never did care for algebra, but was asked to check his equations for bound rotons in superfluid helium-4. At first I programmed up a Monte Carlo analysis and threw numbers at them to see what would happen. Not much except ridicule from the professors. He then asked me to sit down with him and wrote out the derivation quickly on one sheet of paper in about 5 minutes, almost none of which I followed. He also did several other things that indicated super high IQ. While my major was physics, math is a truly amazing field, but I found calculus and numerical analysis more to my liking, and there was nothing wrong with Boolean algebra either that I could see.

    When it came time to either go out into the cold cruel world, or on to a Masters or PhD, I decided to break out into the area of computer programming. Oregon’s first professional astronomer retired right before I graduated and they opened up his position without tenure. There were about 300 applicants and that was incentive enough to suggest to me that learning the rest on the job would be best. At least back then I was able to pay for my education debt free from the research job.

    I did learn a lot about how The Science(TM) works. It was decided to add another telescope to the observatory and bids went out. Everything looked fine except a scoundrel turned in the lowest bid for the mount and drive, which is one of the most important parts, other than the optics. They knew he would screw it up but the state required using the lowest bid, so they got what they paid for, a scope that was more powerful than the old one but couldn’t track stars very well.

    The applied math field of deep learning is very important to many companies these days. It is driving advances in medical imaging and many other fields related to machine vision. There is still a lot of work to be done, and it is mostly linear algebra with a little statistics, but could stand some help from good common sense. In other words, it is easy to get garbage out if you put garbage in, and that is where infinity meets a limit.

    The uses it is being put to in agriculture are just amazing. Machines that pick fruit and zap weeds with a laser as they automatically go down a row of young veggies are some of the amazing things coming along. While one could argue one is taking jobs away by working in this field, I don’t see it that way. Corporations keep wanting to speed up the machine until a human can’t keep up and then wonder why their products are crap, just because production rates seem to be the road to profit these days. I would rather see the human training the machine when it encounters a new problem while also improving the quality of the products produced. And many of the jobs lead to repetitive stress injury when they run too fast.

  19. Thank you for the advice, Dr. Briggs. Thanks as well to Rudolph Harrier in the comments. As if the current landscape weren’t complicated enough, I am newly married and our first child is on the way, so there is a further wrinkle!

    I like the idea of finally making some money and establishing myself in the real world, as the life of a student is not particularly freeing, but I’d also like to take my intellectual predilections as far as they’ll go. There are good professors out there, I suppose I’ll have to find one and in the meantime create some lucrative side ventures.

    Please keep the prayers coming!

  20. Anon, you beat me to the punch. What I was going to say was this:

    Your destiny is to meet a wonderful girl, fall hopelessly in love, marry her, have boundless sex, get her pregnant, and nine months later you are going to be a father. A husband and a father. And that, Anon, will be your most important job, the best thing you do with your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding beyond measure.

    Fatherhood isn’t cheap. It requires a ton of money. Unless you marry into fabulous wealth, you’re going to have to buy a house, a couple of cars, food, diapers, jewelry, and assorted other expensive stuff. She won’t be able to support you — she’ll be all pregnant and then deeply engaged in baby care, which is exhausting and will prevent her from earning enough money. You’ll have to hunt the buffalo, slay it, and drag it back to the cave so your family can eat.

    You’ll need some way to bring home the bacon. Whatever you do, you’ll need a background in basic accounting and finance. You must accumulate wealth. A house won’t get you a business, but a business will get you a house.

    Academia is for losers. It’s daycare for incompetent adults. If you’re smart, you should be able to find a way to make money. It’s great that you see the holes in The Science. Don’t let those buggers trap you for pitiful pay. The world is your oyster. Use your noodle. Go for the gold.

  21. I second that recommendation. Academia is no place to start a family. It makes sense for young unattached men and for older established men.

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