California Senate Bill 5: Freedom is Coming!

I expect Senate Bill 5 to greatly ease my passage through the hallowed halls of the University of California. Note in particular the following provision:

The Legislature further declares that … students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.

Free to take exception to the data! Unfortunately, the legislature has not yet clarified whether this is meant to apply to data acquired by means of one’s own original research. But the sponsors of similar bills typically have a high regard for the value of diverse opinions, so I can only assume that if I choose to take exception to some set of seismograms whose waveforms conflict with my political and/or religious beliefs, my Ph.D. will not be denied.

My political beliefs, by the way, dictate that rich people’s houses fall down all the time during earthquakes (the earth eats the rich!), as do poor people’s tenement flats (dastardly evasion of building codes!) while lower-middle-class suburbs and student co-ops are untouched. And I fervently believe that God hates both InSAR and the WGS84 satellite datum.


Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences shall respect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas, and provide students with dissenting sources and viewpoints.

Attention humanities and social science professors! I will be happy (for a small fee) to provide dissenting sources and viewpoints on such uncertain and unsettled curricular questions as:

  • Whether or not “bephallicled” is actually a word (English; linguistics)
  • Where cranky old anti-feminists put their tampons (Women’s Studies)
  • Whether or not “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” represents a realistic approach to history and historiography (History, Film)
  • How to teach your horrible children some manners (Education, Cultural Studies)
  • Other controversial topics in a wide variety of fields, at your request! (Rates negotiable)

(And it was poor form of me to forget to credit Steinn SigurĂ°sson for the link)


  1. denisdekat wrote:

    I wonder if folks will use this to argue intelligent design in their classes…

  2. yami wrote:

    Undoubtedly. Though the bill recognizes, by omission, the relatively certain and settled nature of some human knowledge in the physical sciences so there may be an out.

  3. Joe wrote:

    man, I could have used that when I was getting my MS. It would have been alot easier to take offense to the data than to spend all that time making cross sections.
    the world is gettin’ scarier.

  4. des von bladet wrote:

    Joe: There is much of the world that belongs to the being scareder space rather than the being scarier space, although it would be agreeable if large parts and influential parties in your once-great (and still heavily-armed) nation didn’t openly aspire to levels of sanity previously associated mainly with North Korea.

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