I agree with you to some extent. I agree with your opinion of degrees in the social "sciences", those I would take a person with common sense as an employee first.
However, I find "hard" science subjects are totally different to this. Would you want your GP to have common sense or a degree in medicine?
From my own subject, mathematics, it gives me several advantages over common sense:
A training in logical thought, I can better apreciate what is actually said in a passage and what is mearly implied than I could before I started.
A better understanding of probability that is generally gained by experience.
A fair coin comes up: HHHHH HHHHH
A fair coin comes up: HTHTT HTTTH
Which is more likely?
What will most likely come up next in each sequence?
My degree also helps with other skills, not least that I have been proved able to learn 4 years worth of mathematics and understand it.
The other thing you said was about lecturers being overpaid, They are paid (eventually) a good wage, but nothing to what they could earn in the comercial sector, often for doing the same sort of work. The starting salery for comparison is £12,000 p/a for 3yrs for a PhD (which takes 4-4.5 years normally) or £28,000 p/a doing actuarial work with £1,500 pay rise per professional exam passed, or even more in city trading.
Edited by rumblingspires on 03/19/07 03:18 PM (server time).