What does Mark Taylor love more than anything? Other people talking about his ideas! So, in the spirit of springtime, I will post daily link to commentary on Taylor’s New York Times op-ed, first discussed by JG here.

Start with Dan Drezner ’90:

Every time I think I’m done with the policy relevance of the academy, some postmodernist pulls me back in

Taylor was a professor at Williams College when I was an undergraduate. I took a course called Religion and Modern Secularism there, which assigned Taylor’s book Erring: A Postmodern A/theology. I found Taylor’s application of deconstructionist thought to theology to be completely inpenetrable somewhat difficult to absorb. So my first thought when I read Taylor’s plea for interdisciplinarity and accessibility in the academy to be along the lines of, “Great, 20 years late and $17 short.”

“Abolish permanent departments, even for undergraduate education, and create problem-focused programs.” Among the “problem-focused programs” he suggests are, “Mind, Body, Law, Information, Networks, Language, Space, Time, Media, Money, Life and Water.”

Hey, this is a fun idea — let’s try to come up with other one-word concentrations!

* Power
* Earth
* Love
* Mud
* Chocolate
* Nothing
* Puppies!

Let’s be clear — this idea is crap. Utter, complete, ridiculous crap. There are plenty of interdisciplinary majors, and more are being created as new problems arise. Taylor’s topics are so silly that I began to wonder if he was purposefully self-sabotaging here.


To sum up: this is a mostly silly, badly written op-ed that seems designed to provoke peals of laughter in order to scuttle the few good ideas contained in it.

Just like EphBlog!

Errr. I mean . . . uhhh . . . Read the whole thing.

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