Scientific Progress is slowing down, all because of an institutionalized barrier-to-entry for scientific curiosity
Bureaucracy. And people unnaturally shying away from curiosity because “this is not their field of ‘expertise’” and “they’re not part of the elite ‘smart’ researchers.”
Between 1919 and 1948, Total Factor Productivity [meant to measure scientific breakthrough,] averaged at its highest, more than 2% a year. This has slowed down since the financial crisis, growing at less than 1% a year.
The study concludes that science has “become bureaucratic, with too many inputs and too much process required to reach success”. — Rate of scientific progress is slowing down by Bhatia, livemint.com, 2019
I hate that fewer and fewer people feel entitled to do discoveries now because, in order to discover something or to publish something, it’s not credible unless you go through some mysterious knowledge left by people from the past: We might’ve missed out on great ideas based on normal people observing normal things about human society, physics because they feel like they need to be a Ph.D. candidate to do such a thing. Because they don’t feel qualified. They’re not some elitist individual.
And this frustrates people: What if someone wants to say something, but they have to go through neverending previous knowledge first? And they feel like they can’t say their observations or write about them because unless they go through it, and they can never get through it all, they don’t feel entitled to publish something new. The result? Bright people and potential scientists counting on some “scientists” to make science.
In the past, scientific inquiry was as much a personal endeavor as it was a university role. The Wright Brothers invented flight while they were running a bicycle shop. They are skilled engineers, and they took it to the next level by themselves and did not feel the forced inadequacy label that current university institutions psychology put on to students. They experimented and problem-solved, they felt capable of discovery. They didn't think they need a master’s or Ph.D. first. Or they must be part of some sort of institution.
We’ve made an oppressive censorship system that takes away the confidence of people and their credibility of themselves, all because we’ve institutionalized discovery, scientific research, and education into rigid systems and exams. That’s not the smartest way to gather as many discoveries and ideas.
The only way to get discoveries and new ideas are by professors creating a discussion environment amongst students, getting inspired by some ideas brought up, and pursuing research by themselves.
But think about the number of students that feel confident discussing strange ideas in class now? In my classes, it is rare to find a lively discussion connecting life examples and different fields together in a topic discussed in class. Usually, people are terrified.
People feel like it’s out of topic, that it’s going to waste the class’s and professor’s time, because they’ve been conditioned to believe that the professor knows it all, and they must follow along. At least that’s what I feel.
We’ve created a rigid system that’s keeping many people away from new scientific insights.